Posted by: Tom Graves | August 18, 2015

ROOM ENOUGH FOR ME!

The week after Christmas last year, God set up a divine appointment between me and a couple that would have a great impact on my life. I was at work in the meat department at Wal-Mart when Ron and Ginger came through. I don’t remember how the subject came up, but I discovered that they were the responsible party for providing a meal at Dining with Dignity, one night a month, for the homeless and hungry in St. Augustine through River Oaks Community Church. (The program is actually run by a St. Johns County organization called Home Again St. Johns. They coordinate for a different group to provide a meal for about 80 to 100 individuals every night of the month.) Ron and Ginger invited me to attend and I attended the January 5th, 2015 meeting and helped serve the people.

I thought about Jesus’ story about the end times when all nations are gathered before Him (Matthew 25:31-46) Verses 32-35, “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: FOR I WAS AN HUNGRED, AND YE GAVE ME MEAT: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in…” Somewhat surprised, they asked “When did we do that to you?” Jesus answered in verse 40b, “…Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

I have been blessed these last eight months to be able to minister with Ron and Ginger and their support group. I am amazed at how these people respond to provide meals for the homeless. Jeanie also provides a dish or two each month. My task now is to pray for as many of the guests who will allow me to during the evening and prepare a prayer list for Ginger’s prayer group. Ginger has also provided me with sealed elements of Communion so those guests who desire can receive Communion. It is a very rewarding time for me. I have also had the privilege of leading several of our guests to pray and receive Jesus as their Savior. I have also made friends with some of the support group.

A couple of months ago, I was introduced to Phil, a member of the support group who had written a song reflecting the feelings and questions of many of the guests.  It is titled “ROOM ENOUGH FOR ME.” A link to the song on You Tube follows and if you are going to watch it I would advise tissues. The scenes are from actual meals that are being served at Dining with Dignity.

Here are the words to the song; they are also printed on the video.

ROOM ENOUGH FOR ME 

Here I am again

See how bruised and stained

I feel way to numb and far away

To speak your Name

 

I can picture You

See a crowd of beggars gathered round

Ragged, barely breathing, broken souls

But Your arms are reaching out

 

Chorus:

Lord, can you tell me is there room enough for me

I’m so far down that I’m finding it hard to believe

That Your arms are still wide open

Your love is big and deep

Just wanna know is there room enough for me

 

I try to walk, I fall, I climb, I crawl

It’s all that I can do just to clear my eyes

Some how, some way, some Grace, some day

Will You show me ‘cuz I’m blind

 

Is it life, is it sin, is it pride, innocence

When it all, when it all goes wrong

Is it just to drive us deeper, and deeper and deeper in Your arms

 

Repeat chorus

 

When this life is over

There’ll be no need to believe

No faith, no fear, no struggle

Jesus, just to finally see

There’s room enough, there’s room enough for me

 

Words and music by Phil Hair, copyright 2015, used by permission

Find a place with your church or in your community to get involved! Remember, “…Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Blessings,

Tom and Jeanie.

 

Posted by: Tom Graves | August 4, 2015

BEING FILLED WITH GOD’S LOVE!

BEING FILLED WITH GOD’S LOVE!

Several months ago, I was introduced by video to a man named Leif Hetland. [1] He introduced me to the concept of a “Baptism of Love” that God had poured out upon him in response to his pressing in and his passion to experience more of God. The stories of the transformation in his life and ministry were amazing. In 1995, he was a Baptist Pastor in Norway with a vision to grow his church to 200 members. God had other plans for him and called him out under the ministry of Randy Clark who was the spark God used to ignite the Toronto Revival in 1994. In the last twenty years, Leif’s ministry, Global Mission Awareness, has been responsible for the conversions of over one million Muslims to Jesus. [2]

I was reminded of others in church history that had had similar encounters with God and experienced similar results. The following are just two of many accounts.

Charles Finney, the leader of the Second Great Awakening in America described his encounter thus: “I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Spirit… that seemed to go through me, body and soul. I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and through me. Indeed IT SEEMED TO COME IN WAVES OF LIQUID LOVE… like the very breath of God…No words can express the wonderful love that was spread abroad in my heart.” [3] (emphasis mine)

I find it very interesting that D. L. Moody who seems to be a hero to many cessationists also spoke of a similar encounter with God: “I was crying all the time God would fill me with His Spirit. Well, one day in the city of New York – oh what a day! I cannot describe it. I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I HAD SUCH AN EXPERIENCE OF HIS LOVE THAT I HAD TO ASK HIM TO STAY HIS HAND. I went to preaching again. The sermons were not different; I did not present any new truths; and yet hundreds were converted. I would not be placed back where I was before that blessed experience for all the world.” [4] (emphasis mine)

I have no doubt that Paul’s experience that Moody mentioned resulted in the “Love Chapter” of I Corinthians 13! Have you ever considered the fact that Saul could be considered the first “religious terrorist” who killed those who did not follow “his religion,” yet an encounter with God’s love changed him into the Apostle Paul!

IS GOD’S LOVE WHAT’S MISSING?

Is the Love of God what is so missing in many churches today? Just a few days ago at Wal-Mart, a woman whom I had never seen before began to pour out to me how rejected she felt and beat down she felt after attending church. I did not ask her about church or comment on church, she just “vented” to me. I recognized it as a divine appointment and asked if I could pray for her. She said “Yes.” I took her hand and I prayed for her to be healed of the rejection and pain caused by the church and to experience Father’s Love. She began to weep as God’s Love enveloped her. It was an amazing moment. She thanked me and left a different person!

Last night at a meals for the homeless program, I had an opportunity to minister to a woman who was searching for God and truth. She called herself an agnostic and said she didn’t want to have anything to do with church. She said she believed in a higher power, but didn’t know who or what that was. She said she had a passion to help people like those who were there last night. She was at a crossroads in her life, but didn’t know which way to go. I prayed with her (based on Isaiah 30:21, “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”) that she would hear God’s voice guiding her. She talked about her mom being very negative, even abusive. I prayed with her to forgive her mom. I told her about God’s love for her and Jesus dying for her. She agreed to pray and ask Jesus into heart so I led her in a prayer. She broke and wept and gave “everything in her life to Jesus!” I prayed for God to heal her hurts and wounds, to pour in the oil and the wine and to baptize her in the Holy Spirit. She said she had a Bible and I recommended she read the Gospel of John. She said her favorite book of the bible was James. We discussed it some. Apparently she has been reading in the Bible for some time, searching for the truth. She found the Truth last night, His Name is Jesus! I prayed for her to be filled with the love of God so she could give it away to others.

MY JOURNEY TOWARDS BEING FILLED WITH GOD’S LOVE

In September of 2014, I had begun praying two prayers of Paul from Ephesians on a fairly regular basis. The first was based on Ephesian 1:15-23, “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” (KJV)

The second prayer was based on Ephesians 3:14-21, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And TO KNOW THE LOVE OF CHRIST, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”(KJV) (emphasis mine)

I am convinced that my introduction to the ministry of Leif Hetland and his emphasis on God’s Love was a direct answer to these prayers from Ephesians. I typed these prayers out from the Amplified Bible and personalized them, printed them out and try to pray through them every morning if possible. Here is how I personalized Ephesians 3:14-21, “For this reason [seeing the greatness of this plan by which we are built together in Christ], I bow my knees before the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, For Whom every family in heaven and on earth is named [that Father from Whom all fatherhood takes its title and derives its name]. May He grant me out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in my inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling my innermost being and personality]. May Christ through my faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in my heart! May I be rooted deep in love and  founded securely on love, That I may have the power and  be strong to apprehend and  grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [THAT I MAY REALLY COME] TO KNOW [PRACTICALLY, THROUGH EXPERIENCE FOR MYSELF] THE LOVE OF CHRIST, WHICH FAR SURPASSES MERE KNOWLEDGE [WITHOUT EXPERIENCE]; that I may be filled [through all my being] unto all the fullness of God [may I have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within me, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that I [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond my highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams] – To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).” (emphasis mine)

I have not yet arrived where I want to be, nor am I where I believe God wants me to be but I can tell that my attitudes toward others are beginning to change. God’s Love is beginning to fill my heart and God is sending people across my path who need to experience the Love of God. I look forward to the day when I have such a strong encounter with God’s Love, the Love of Christ, which impacts my life even as it did those men in the stories above.

IS THIS LOVE AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE?

Jesus Himself prayed for us to experience this Love in His High Priestly prayer in John chapter 17. Jesus made it plain that He was praying for all who would believe on Him. That includes you and me! John17:20,21 “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” Then He prays the most amazing thing in John 17:26, “And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: THAT THE LOVE WHEREWITH THOU HAST LOVED ME MAY BE IN THEM, and I in them.” KJV (emphasis mine)

Here it is in The Amplified Bible, “I have made Your Name known to them and revealed Your character and Your very Self, and I will continue to make [You] known, THAT THE LOVE WHICH YOU HAVE BESTOWED UPON ME MAY BE IN THEM [FELT IN THEIR HEARTS] and that I [Myself] may be in them.”  (emphasis mine)

And now in my favorite translation, The Passion Translation, “I have revealed to them who you are. And I will continue to make you even more real to them, SO THAT THEY MAY EXPERIENCE THE SAME ENDLESS LOVE THAT YOU HAVE FOR ME, FOR YOUR LOVE WILL NOW LIVE IN THEM, even as I live in them.” [5] (emphasis mine)

Jesus revealed the Goodness and the Love of the Father in the life that He lived on this earth. How did He do this? Acts 10:38: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: WHO WENT ABOUT DOING GOOD, AND HEALING ALL THAT WERE OPPRESSED OF THE DEVIL; for God was with him.”   (emphasis mine)

Do you want to know what Father God is like? Look at Jesus in the four Gospels. Jesus is “…the brightness of His Glory and the express image of His person…” (Hebrews 1:3). Everyone who came to Jesus for healing or deliverance received what they came for. He never told anyone, “Sorry, you’ve got to keep that sickness; it’s for your benefit!” He healed them all! That’s what the Love of God does.  Peter was so filled with God’s love that his shadow healed people as he walked by (Acts 5:15, 16) “…and they were healed every one.”

May we see that day come again as the Love of God fills His Church in these last days!

Blessings,

Tom and Jeanie Graves

Works Cited:

[1]Link to Sid Roth/Leif Hetland – https://youtu.be/4kH0UXHCdYU

[2] Hetland, Leif, Baptism of Love, Link: https://globalmissionawareness.com/

[3] H. Wessel, ed., The Autobiography of Charles Finney, Minneapolis: Bethany, 177 ed, 122-123.

[4] W. R. Moody, The Life of D. L. Moody, New York, Revell, 1900, 149.

[5] Link: http://www.thepassiontranslation.com/

If you get this blog as an e-mail, click to go to my site for the videos at the end of the post.

 

Posted by: Tom Graves | July 27, 2015

GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES!

I love God’s Word because it is Truth! Pilate asked Jesus “What is truth?” (John 18:38) but never gave Jesus a chance to answer him. However, Jesus had already declared the answer in His High Priestly Prayer in John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth: THY WORD IS TRUTH.”

Unfortunately, there are many today that believe that truth is “relative” or “situational.” For them, there is no absolute truth. If they believe in God, they believe He is just like us. But Numbers 23:19 declares that “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” When God makes a statement, it is TRUTH because God does not lie. His Words do not change just because the situation changes.

When God made His Covenant with Abraham, He made certain promises in Genesis 12: 1-3, “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: AND IN THEE SHALL ALL FAMILIES OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED.” Those promises have not ended or changed, Israel is still God’s chosen people! In Genesis 17:3 God said to Abraham, “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations FOR AN EVERLASTING COVENANT, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.”   

We know spiritually that that means Salvation for mankind through the coming of Messiah. But I think it has a meaning in the natural realm also. Take ten minutes to watch the video “Israel Inside, How a small country makes a big difference” and discover how God is literally blessing all the families of the earth through inventions and ideas that He has given to Israel!

Are you aware that even though Israel is a nation of only seven million people, it is third in the list of nations that have the most companies traded on the New York Stock Exchange? That is amazing and it is the Hand of God on His people!

God is Good and He keeps His Promises!!!

May you and yours be blessed today by our Good God!

Tom and Jeanie

Click link for video.

 

Posted by: Tom Graves | July 7, 2015

FIFTY YEARS AND COUNTING!!!

FIFTY YEARS AND COUNTING!!!

Tom’s perspective on a 50th  anniversary

About fifty-three years ago, I accepted an invitation to a friend’s birthday party not knowing that it would be an evening that would change my life. Not only did it change my life, it literally set the course for the rest of my life. It was God’s plan for me. I was seventeen years old, a junior in high school, but I considered myself a loser of sorts, especially when it came to girls. I didn’t consider myself “handsome” by any means, and to hit it off with a “good-looking” girl, you had to be “handsome.” But that night at the party a most amazing thing happened! When I arrived at the party, there was a girl there I had never seen before. She was fifteen and was one of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen. Her name was Jeanie Wilson.

I begin to prepare myself for the rejection that I was sure was coming, that is if I ever even got introduced to her. The moment came, we were introduced and to my amazement, she seemed to like me. My heart was pounding and it was like I knew from that very moment that this was the girl I was going to marry. We went to different schools and lived about ten miles apart in different small towns, so seeing her again posed a major problem. We were even on different telephone exchanges so it was long distance to even try to call her. She had very strict parents and the rule was “no dating until you are sixteen!” She would turn sixteen the next January and I was hoping to be able to get a date with her then.

I finally went to her home and met her parents and asked them if I could date Jeanie. The rule was once every two weeks on a Friday night and you have to have her home by 10 PM. At least I was getting to spend some time with her. On the twenty-seventh of January, I asked her to “go steady” with me and she said “YES!” From that day on, we never dated anyone else. When I graduated from high school in 1963, I moved to Atlanta to go to school. I was working in the daytime, going to school in the evenings and was able to buy a used car. That enabled me to drive home every other weekend to have my date with Jeanie. The two week rule never changed as long as she lived at home, even after she graduated from high school in 1965. My mom had said, “If you want to be able to see her more often than once every two weeks, it looks like you are going to have to marry her!” I took her advice and asked Jeanie to marry me while she was still a senior in high school. She said yes!!! I gave her an engagement ring for Christmas that year, but her folks wouldn’t let her keep it.

Together, we began to plan for an elopement that would take place once she graduated from high school. That spring, we planned on a day when I would drive down from Atlanta, pick her up after school and go to the courthouse to apply for a marriage license. Jeanie often stayed late at school helping teachers or working in the office (she was valedictorian of her class) so there was no suspicion on her parent’s part. All went well and the marriage license came in the mail a little later. I quit my job and dropped out of Georgia Tech that May in 1965 and moved back home to Beech Island, SC. I got a good job as a draftsman with an architectural firm in Augusta, GA.

Then the moment came when Jeanie and I decided to tell her parents that we were getting married. It was Wednesday, July 7, 1965 and I had arranged to get off work early and to have Thursday and Friday off. I got to Jeanie’s house a little after 5 PM, knocked on the door and her mom came to the door. I could see Jeanie standing well behind her. Her mom didn’t say anything when she opened the door, but the look on her face asked, “What are you doing here? It’s not Friday!” Jeanie immediately said, “We’re getting married!” Her mom responded with, “You’re what???” I was allowed in the house and we explained our plans and the whys and wherefores. We invited them to come to the service, which was amazing, because I had not even lined up a minister at that point. Jeanie got her prepacked suitcase and we left, telling them we would call and let them know where to come.

We went back to Beech Island and called Dr. Zach Ford Bond, a retired minister and friend of the family and he agreed to perform the ceremony. My folks were on vacation at Tybee Island, so I called them and told them I was coming down that evening and bringing my wife. They were able to get us a room at the same complex where they were. I called my Aunt Libby and invited her. She and her family came. That evening, fifty years ago today, Jeanie and I were married. Once married, Jeanie’s mom and dad accepted me with open arms. I became not just a son-in-law to them, but a son.

It has not been an easy fifty years for Jeanie and me. We have had our ups and our downs. At one point about twenty years ago, Jeanie threatened to leave me if I did not get help for my anger problems among other things. We went for counseling to Shiloh Place Ministries in Conway, SC and they recommended I attend a certain seminar to help overcome my problems, which I did. There has been steady improvement in our marriage since then. We agreed to stick it out together and Jeanie honored that agreement. I can tell folks that I have been happily married for 50 years, but Jeanie has been happily married for a little less than 20 years. Thank you Jeanie for sticking it out with me through those rough times. Without you, I would not have made it.

I have discovered the truth of Proverbs 18:22, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor from the LORD!”

Happy 50th anniversary to the love of my life!

Tom

Jeanie’s comments

This is pretty much our story – short version. It was not long after we met that I knew he was the only man for me and I knew that I loved him. The love we had for each other and then the Love we knew from God made our marriage last, even past the breaking point. Tom is so much sweeter these days and he makes the best Belgian waffles I have ever tasted. It makes me even more glad I married him!

I bless and honor him because he is a man whose heart is always seeking to know God more and love Him more. That is what helped Tommy make our commitment to one another last. I thank the Lord that we have each other and will have many, many more years together.

Happy 50th Tommy, the only man for me!

Jeanie

 

 

Posted by: Tom Graves | June 15, 2015

JUDGE OF THE JUDGES

JUDGE OF THE JUDGES

We are living in perilous times. Psalm 2:1-3 is being lived out in a changing America.

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” KJV

Listen to these verses in THE PASSION TRANSLATION.

  1. “How dare the nations plan a rebellion, Ranting and raging against the Lord Most High? Their foolish plans are futile! 2. Look at how the power brokers of the world Rise up to hold their summit, Scheming and conferring together Against God and His Anointed King, saying: 3. Let’s come together and break away from the Creator. Once and for all let us cast off these controlling chains Of God and his Christ!” TPT

It is amazing how quickly things have changed in just the last few years. Those who are orchestrating these changes are using the courts to do their bidding and changing long held standards of morality and decency. But Psalm 58:1-11 gives us an encouraging Word from the Lord. The Title of this Psalm in THE PASSION TRANSLATION is,

“JUDGE OF THE JUDGES.”

1-2. “God’s justice? You high and mighty politicians Know nothing about it! Which one of you has walked in justice toward others? Which one of you has treated everyone right and fair? Not one! You only give ‘justice’ in exchange for a bribe. For the right price you let others get away with murder.”

3-5. “Wicked wanderers even from the womb! That’s who you are! Lying with your words – Your teaching is poison. Like cobras closing their ears to the most expert of charmers, You strike out against all who are near.”

6-9. “O God, break there fangs; Shatter the teeth of these ravenous lions! Let them disappear like water falling on thirsty ground. Let all their weapons be useless. Let them be Like snails dissolving into slime. Let them be cut off, never seeing the light of day! God will sweep them away so fast That they’ll never know what hit them.”

10-11. “The godly will celebrate in the triumph of good over evil. And the lovers of God will trample The wickedness of the wicked under their feet! Then everyone will say, ‘There is a God who judges the judges;’ And ‘there is a great reward in loving God!’” TPT

Be encouraged! God wins!!!

Blessings, Tom and Jeanie

TPT: Scripture quotations marked TPT are taken from The Psalms: Poetry on Fire, The Passion Translation, copyright 2014. Used by permission of BroadStreet Publishing Group, LLC, Racine, Wisconsin, USA. All rights reserved.

Link: http://thepassiontranslation.com/

 

 

Posted by: Tom Graves | March 28, 2015

Miracle on 5th Street (I once was deaf, but now I hear)

THIS IS A RE-POST FROM MORNING STORY AND DILBERT. A GREAT STORY ON SIMPLE OBEDIENCE! CLICK THE TITLE BELOW TO ACCESS. YOU WILL BE BLESSED! TOM

Miracle on 5th Street (I once was deaf, but now I hear).

Posted by: Tom Graves | March 4, 2015

BLOOD MOON THREE

BLOOD MOON THREE

What is a BLOOD MOON? Why is it important? Read on and you will find out! God declared in Psalm 104:19a that, “He appointed the moon for SEASONS…” We read the word SEASONS and have a tendency to think of the four seasons, spring summer, fall and winter. But it is much more that that! When God created the heavens, Genesis 1:14, “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and LET THEM BE FOR SIGNS, AND FOR SEASONS, and for days, and years.”  The Hebrew word translated SEASONS, in both verses is Strong’s “H4150: מועדה   מעד   מועדmô‛êd  mô‛êd  mô‛âdâh – mo-ade’, mo-ade’, mo-aw-daw’ From H3259; PROPERLY AN APPOINTMENT, that is, a fixed time or season; specifically a festival…”(emphasis mine) [1]

Notice that first of all it is an appointment with God. And those appointments are God’s feast days. Leviticus 23:2 says, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning THE FEASTS OF THE LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even THESE ARE MY FEASTS.” Both times the word FEASTS is used in this verse it is the same Hebrew word, H4150, used in both Genesis 1:14 and Psalm104:19!

So then, what is a BLOOD MOON and what does it have to do with God’s feast days? A BLOOD MOON is simply a lunar eclipse where the moon turns a deep dark red during the total eclipse. So far, in the last year, there have been two lunar eclipses. And both occurred on God’s feast days! The first occurred on Jewish Passover, April 15, 2014, the second occurred on the Feast of Tabernacles, October 8, 2014.  BLOOD MOON THREE will occur on Jewish Passover on April 4, 2015. The fourth BLOOD MOON will occur on the Feast of Tabernacles on September 28, 2015. Is this just a coincidence or is God trying to tell us something? Remember, the moon is for signs on feast days, of which Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles are major feast days.

This is not the first time in history that this grouping of BLOOD MOON events has taken place. “Such events have occurred only three other times in recent centuries, and each time they were linked to significant events for the Jewish nation…For example, when it happened in 1493 and 1494 Jews were expelled from Spain. The blood moons in 1949 and 1950 came right after the nation of Israel was assembled, giving the Jews a homeland for the first time in thousands of years. And in 1967 and 1968 it was linked to the Six-Day War.” [2]  

Think about all that has happened in Israel and the Middle East in the last year, the Gaza war, the rise of ISIS and Iran on the verge of having the nuclear bomb. Some of the news sounds like it is right out of the Book of Revelation, “…and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God…” (Revelation 20:4b). 

A BLOOD MOON AND A SOLAR ECLIPSE 

Joel 2:31 states: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.”  This is quoted by Peter in Acts 2, on the day of Pentecost, another of God’s Feast days. Here, God talks about happenings in the sun and moon, just before the coming of the Lord! So when does the sun go dark and does it happen on a feast day? The next solar eclipse will be on March 20, 2015, just a few days from now!

The “…added significance is that the total solar eclipse on 3/20/15 is on the biblical calendar of Nisan 1. Nisan 1 begins the religious New Year according to the scriptures… This date was the grand opening of Moses tabernacle in the wilderness. This is the day a great sign came and fire fell to light the burnt offering. So here we have a total solar eclipse beginning the religious year followed two weeks later by a total lunar eclipse/blood moon on Passover followed by the next solar eclipse (partial) on Sept 13th which just so happens to be Rosh Hashanah!” [2] God is definitely trying to get the world’s attention.

THE FEAST OF PURIM

I hope you heard Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress today (March 3, 2015). As he spoke about the threat from Iran, he mentioned Haman and Queen Esther whose story is told in the Book of Esther in the Bible. In the Gaza war, I was struck by the similarity of the name Haman with the terrorist organization Hamas. Both had the same goals, the destruction of Israel. The feast of Purim celebrates the victory of Israel over Haman’s plot to completely destroy the people of Israel. It is celebrated from sundown, March 4th to sundown March 5th. That is the day after Prime Minister Netanyahu made his speech! Coincidence? I don’t think so.

FROM HAMAN TO HAMAS BY WAY OF IRAN!

Listen to Psalm 83:1-8: “Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, THINE ENEMIES MAKE A TUMULT: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, COME, AND LET US CUT THEM OFF FROM BEING A NATION; THAT THE NAME OF ISRAEL MAY BE NO MORE IN REMEMBRANCE. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites (these are the Arab nations of today); of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek (HAMAN was a descendant of Amalek, we will see him in a moment); the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre(these are the inhabitants of Gaza); Assur (this is the nation of Assyria which is modern day Iran) also is joined with them: they have holpen (helped) the children of Lot. Selah.”

Is it simply an amazing coincidence that these nations and peoples who are today calling for the destruction of Israel were called out in this Psalm about 3000 years ago? This is no coincidence, rather it is the prophetic Word of God! Iran’s leaders have been repeatedly calling for the complete destruction of Israel as a nation. But that is nothing new. Some 2500 years ago the city of Shushan, which was the capital of the Medes and Persian Empire, was located in what is today modern Iran. There was a man that lived there by the name of HAMAN. HAMAN’S story is found in the Bible in the book of Esther which I encourage you to read in its entirety.

To set the context, about 100 years earlier, the Assyrian Empire under King Nebuchadnezzar, who ruled from ancient Babylon, conquered the nation of Israel and burned Jerusalem and carried away most of the well-to-do Jews. He took them into Babylon which was in modern day Iraq. Then the Medes and the Persians (Iran) conquered the Assyrians (Iraq) and that is where our story begins. (The same battles between Iraq and Iran are still being fought in modern times!)

HAMAN had a hatred for a man by the name of Mordecai who was a Jew. But HAMAN’S hatred did not stop at one man. HAMAN’S hatred for the Jews was so intense that he wanted to see them all destroyed. HAMAN was promoted to second in command under King Ahasuerus and he saw his chance to get his diabolical plan put into action. Esther 3:8-10 &13: “And HAMAN said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them. If it please the king, LET IT BE WRITTEN THAT THEY MAY BE DESTROYED: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries. And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto HAMAN the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy…  And the letters were sent by posts into all the king’s provinces, TO DESTROY, TO KILL, AND TO CAUSE TO PERISH, ALL JEWS, BOTH YOUNG AND OLD, LITTLE CHILDREN AND WOMEN, IN ONE DAY, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.” Sound familiar?

Listen to these comments based on excerpts from HAMAS’ Charter:

“1.) Hamas isn’t looking to negotiate a peace deal with Israel. It wants to destroy Israel. Quoting Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, the charter reads: ‘Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.’”

“2.) Actually, Hamas’ charter goes beyond destroying Israel. It longs for Jewish genocide: ‘The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’”

“3.) The international community may love the peace process, but Hamas makes it clear in its charter that it doesn’t believe in peace conferences. As its charter states: ‘Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.’” [3]

The same demonic spirit that was ruling over the Persian Empire and that drove HAMAN is also driving the organization of HAMAS and is still ruling over and driving the nation of IRAN in calling for the extermination of the Jews. The exciting part of HAMAN’S story is that God delivered the Jews from the order of extermination written by HAMAN, and HAMAN was ultimately hanged on the very gallows that he had prepared to hang Mordecai (you must read the book of Esther to find out how God did it).

Make no mistake about it, God is also going to deliver Israel from the threats of HAMAS and IRAN before it is all over and it is not going to be pretty! War never is!

Zechariah 12:2: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.” 

Zechariah 12:8-10: “In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: AND THEY SHALL LOOK UPON ME WHOM THEY HAVE PIERCED, AND THEY SHALL MOURN FOR HIM, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”

Romans 11:26: “AND SO ALL ISRAEL SHALL BE SAVED: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”

Zechariah 14:12: “And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.” That sounds like the result of a nuclear weapon going off. Could it be like the bomb maker that gets killed by his own bomb as he is working on it? That is certainly something to think about. We are living in exciting times! Jesus is coming soon!

Blessings, Tom and Jeanie

For further study check out the works cited:

[1] Strong, James. The Exhaustive Concordance Of The Bible. McClean, Va.: Macdonald, n.d.

[2] Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/10/blood-moons-expert-watch-2014-and-2015/#mlwyaz7hQz8cT1KH.99

[3] Link: http://dailycaller.com/2014/07/22/9-things-you-need-to-know-about-hamas-straight-from-its-charter/ There is a link in this article to the full charter of Hamas.

 

 

I am reposting this article because I believe it tells the truth. Please pray for Netanyahu’s protection.

Blessings, Tom

Netanyahu is coming to Washington next week because Obama left him no choice – Caroline B. Glick

via Netanyahu is coming to Washington next week because Obama left him no choice – Caroline B. Glick.

Posted by: Tom Graves | March 1, 2015

Last Days? Heavenly Signs Abound During Netanyahu Speech

Last Days? Heavenly Signs Abound During Netanyahu Speech

via Last Days? Heavenly Signs Abound During Netanyahu Speech.

Posted by: Tom Graves | February 24, 2015

THE TESTIMONY OF GOD, PART 2

MY GOD IS REAL, ANSWERING THE CALL OF GOD

A continuation of THE TESTIMONY OF GOD, PART 1, THE CALL OF GOD

We now had a decision to make. How would we prepare for the ministry to which God had called us. With the help of Pastor Arnold, I decided to apply to the Associate program at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. I discussed the whole situation with my business partner and he felt I needed to set a date for leaving the company that would allow me to finish the two houses we had underway at the time. Since I held the builder’s license he would not be able to continue building after I left, so we would not start another house. After working out a schedule to complete the houses, we set May 31, 1977 as my termination date. I was now committed. I already had my house for sale because I had plans to build a bigger house. I had purchased eighteen acres of land with two pond sites and had bought a double wide mobile home and placed it on the property. My plan was to live in the double wide after my house sold, while I built my ponds and new house. To complicate matters, I had mortgages on my present house and on the eighteen acres of land. Everything had to sell for me to be able to go back to school. To my amazement I had God’s peace. I knew that He was in control and was working everything out in its proper time. I was learning to trust God on a day to day basis.

The first thing that sold was the double wide and it was moved off the property. Next, the eighteen acres sold. I neither made a profit nor lost money on either sale; I simply broke even, but it increased my faith in God. Sometime in April, I received a letter from Seminary informing me that my application had been approved, but there was a catch, I was the fortieth applicant and there were only thirty-two spots available. For the next six weeks it seemed like nothing at all happened in my favor. Friday, May 31st arrived. I had not sold my house and had not been accepted at Seminary, yet I cleaned out my desk on this final day of my job with total peace in my heart. As I contemplate those days, I often wonder why, today, I sometimes have a hard time finding the same peace that came so easy for me in those days.

THE BEGINNING OF MIRACLES!

I left the office that day and went to the Post Office to pick up our mail. God was faithful, the letter from Seminary read, “Congratulations, you have been accepted in the Associate Program…” Elated, I hurried home to tell Jeanie the good news. As I got to my driveway, there was a car sitting there and a man was getting out. It was our real estate agent and he had a contract for the sale of our house with an amazing stipulation, the sale would close and we would have to vacate the house within ten days. We accepted the contract as written. It was one of the most fantastic days I have ever experienced. God came through in a most miraculous fashion. But this was just the beginning of a fantastic journey with God!

Monday morning, Jeanie and I left home around 5:00 AM headed for the Seminary to find a place to live. We arrived on campus about 10:00 AM and I went straight to the housing office. I showed them my letter of acceptance and announced I had come to obtain campus housing. The lady behind the counter pushed a legal pad over to me and said rather matter-of-factly, “Sign the list and we will call you when campus housing is available. Right now, there is about a nine month wait.” I was devastated! I explained my situation, I had to move by the weekend. She suggested that I check out the bulletin board on the opposite wall for any ads for rentals. There were only a few ads and it did not take long to find out they were all rented.

Since we were only about twelve miles north of Raleigh, North Carolina, we decided to look for a place there. We returned to Raleigh and bought a newspaper. Because of a construction boom around Raleigh, rental property was almost non-existent. The few ads for rentals in the newspaper read something like this, “For an $80.00 fee, we will be glad to show you our rental property.” I was not willing to pay just to look at a house I probably would not want to rent anyway. By now it was lunch time and we decided to go back to Wake Forest and ride the streets looking for a “FOR RENT” sign. We thought, after last Friday, God certainly has a place for us. We covered every street in town and followed the roads out into the country side for five to ten miles in all directions but there was nothing for rent.

DESPERATION SETS IN!

We were getting desperate now, so we decided to go back to Raleigh and pay the $80.00 fee to see what was available. About half way back to Raleigh, just before I reached the Neuse River Bridge the Lord spoke to me in my spirit, as plainly as I have ever heard Him speak, “What are you doing?” He asked. It was so real, I answered out loud, and out of sorts, “What do you mean, what am I doing? I’m looking for a house.” Jeanie, apparently wondering if I was losing it, and what had come over me, asked, “Who are you talking to?” I told her that God had spoken to me. I actually pulled the car over on the shoulder of the road and stopped to compose myself! Did I really hear God speak? This was a new experience for me. This just doesn’t happen! God does not speak to people today, except through His Word, or at least that is what I had been taught. Sitting there on the side of the road, God responded to my answer by asking me, “Who have you asked?” This was amazing! I was actually having a conversation with God! I recounted the day to Him, where we had been, who we had asked. Then God asked the third question, “Have you asked Me?” Sheepishly, I hung my head and answered, “No.”

GOD’S CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS TO ME!

I had been so caught up in the emotion of Friday that I had failed to ask Him about that Monday. He was not angry with me and He gave me instructions, “Turn around, go back to Seminary, they have a place for you.” I was obedient, but I was also in a quandary. Being raised as I was, my theology did not make room for God to speak with me as He had just done. I was sure that the people in the housing office held the same view. How was I to walk back in there and tell them that God Himself had sent me back and told me they had a place for me? I could see them calling for the authorities to carry me off. I decided to go back into the office and go to the bulletin board as if I was checking for any new ads. If nobody spoke to me, I would leave. I did not get a response from God about it, so I assumed my plan was OK.

THE MOMENT OF TRUTH!

I pulled into the parking lot of the housing office just before 4:00 PM, took a deep breath, got out of the car and went into the office. The moment I came through the door, the same lady that had waited on me earlier that morning and informed me of the nine month waiting period was still there behind the counter. To my amazement, she remembered me and broke out in a big grin and said, “I’m so glad you came back! You won’t believe what has happened.” Maybe I had heard God after all! Emboldened, I said, “Try me!” She began to recount her story. She explained that the Seminary had an agreement with Wakefield Apartments in Raleigh to help with their housing shortage. That morning, all the allotted apartments were filled, but not long after I had left the office, a student who lived at Wakefield Apartments, had called saying he had received a call to a church field and would be moving into the church parsonage before the weekend. Since there was no waiting list for Wakefield Apartments, we could rent the apartment he was vacating. To make it even better, the Seminary students got a reduced rate and we were able to get the apartment for $125.00 per month. We rushed back to Raleigh and got there just before the Wakefield office closed at five. We signed a lease agreement, paid the deposit and moved in the apartment just a few days later. God is good, but He does cut it close some times.

I will acknowledge that I do not have conversations with God like that every day or even every week. But it does still happen. I do believe that as we learn to “Practice the Presence of the Lord,” He will speak to us on a regular basis and give us personal instruction and direction for our lives. Jesus said He could do nothing of Himself, but only those things He heard and saw from the Father. John 5:30, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. And John 8:38a, “I speak that which I have seen with my Father…” If Jesus needed to hear from the Father, how much more do we?

One of my favorite verses is John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” A number of years ago as I was meditating on this verse and asking the Father when I would see this become a reality in my life, God said to me, “When you do the things that Jesus did, you will do the things that Jesus did!” Let that sink in for a moment, or as David would say in Psalms, “Selah” which according to the Amplified Bible means, “[Pause, and calmly think of that]!” (Psalm 3:2 et al.). What were some of the things that Jesus did? He fasted, He prayed, sometimes all night, He listened to the Father’s voice and He did what the Father asked Him to do. Lord, Speak to our hearts!

To be continued…

Blessings, Tom and Jeanie

 

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