Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Time Has Come for Your Sweet, Perfect Rest

In loving memory of my "baby brother", Kenneth Joel Morton Senior, AKA; "Kenn."

Kenn and his granddaughters (left side - Addie, Right side - Avery)
 8/31/2018 - his last good day with them.

Gone before his time, many would say
But God always chooses our perfect passing day
Our time of sorrow upon us, though it may be short it will be unsweet
But your perfect rest is now made complete

Time has now come to lay your burdens down
Time also to pick up your life's golden crown
A crown of recognition that your human sojourn has reached its end
Now resurrection life with Jesus in earnest begins

Eternal rest, perfect and sweet
Eternally to sit joyfully at Jesus' feet
Walking hand in hand with Jesus and Trish on heaven's golden shore
All the while joining others in singing His praises forevermore

Peacefully resting, no longer in pain
neither does fear or doubt linger, only pure joy and peace remain
Growing in relationship with Jesus, the King
Working in His Kingdom at whatever may a smile to Him bring

Brother, I do miss you more than I'd ever thought
For surely you gave me loads of brotherly harassing
But there will come a day we'll all be together again
 Our great God's eternal praises forever to sing!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Finding Joy In Light of Events Soon to Come

“...Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me; Lord, be my helper! You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
Psalms 30:10-12, NKJV”

As many of you know, I traveled east with my oldest brother, Dave, last summer and fall so that I could visit with my mom and youngest brother, Kenn in Tennessee and then attend my grandson’s wedding in Kentucky in late September. I arrived back in Carson City, Nevada October 4th.

In early November the Lord started telling me that I needed to go back to Tennessee because my little brother was dying of liver cancer. I knew that God was right, I needed to go, but I had no funds to pay the way and my RV van conversion was in need of some major repairs to make it roadworthy once more. So I began praying and preparing for this new chapter of my life. He didn’t give me a “leave by” date, so I planned for a spring departure in early April so that I could be there by my birthday on the 21st. This would give me time to save some money to have the repairs done on the van and stock it with all the necessities of life for the trip.

Well, April came and went without bringing the funds needed for the trip east, so I continued to wait, pray and prepare. God had supplied the money needed to fix the van in early December, so I kept busy going through my things, deciding what I needed to take and what could be given away and stored for later.

December also lent itself to my seeking help from our local U.S. Senator to get my long-awaited Disability back pay released to me to finance my trip. With the help of Catherine Cortez Masto's office, I received this payment in mid-May … nearly two years after having been awarded my Social Security Disability. So I started making plans in earnest to leave Nevada for Tennessee. I set the date for Sunday afternoon, May 20th, after church and our fellowship lunch.

I was able to travel through places I had never been and spend time with a friend in Branson, MO, too. I loved the time spent with Tina and the kids. I was blessed with a home cooked meal, shower and a comfortable bed in their home Friday, May 25th. The trip took me a week, I arrived at mom and Kenn’s home on Sunday afternoon, May 27th.

I have been here helping mom with the house and meeting Kenn’s needs for nearly two months now. I am working on finding my place in the community and the local body of believers. But God is very, VERY good. He gives me songs in the night and eases my mind.

This morning, July 17, 2018, my mother shared with me her prayers for Kenn. She said that she has been praying that if God was going to heal him, to do it soon. But if not, to let him begin his rest and be at peace. Listening to her, I thought of my recent prayers. Mine centered on her. I have been asking the Lord to give my mom peace and comfort.

This afternoon, as I was running some errands in town, I prayed again for my mother. I prayed that the Lord hear and answer her prayers and give her peace and rest.
This evening, as I was doing my daily Bible reading in [Isaiah 51:1-Isaiah 54:3, I couldn’t read these verses without singing the choruses contained therein.

As music is a part of my very being, I couldn’t help myself … I sang what I heard echoed deep in my soul and my heart filled with Great Joy in Jesus my Lord. The songs in this portion of the book of Isaiah [Therefore the Redeemed of the Lord, Put on the Garment of Praise, and Our God Reigns] and one not found in these chapters, but is a theme that runs throughout the Bible [Arise and Sing, you Children of Zion] are still ringing in my ears, especially the last one. Let me share those words with you:

                                    Arise and sing, you Children of Zion
                                    For the Lord has delivered thee.
                                    Arise and sing, you Children of Zion
                                    For the Lord has delivered thee.

                                    Open up your hearts and rejoice before Him
                                    Open up your hearts and rejoice before Him
                                    Open up your hearts and rejoice before Him
                                    For the King is our God!
It was in the singing of these scriptures that I felt God impress upon me that it was time. Time to let Him turn my mourning into His precious joy.

After reading the words and letting them flow through my mind, through my soul, way down deep into my very heart of hearts – into the very throne room where Jesus reigns; how could I allow sorrow and mourning back in?

The passage in Psalms that I quoted above states that He, Jesus, turns our mourning into dancing. He has ripped off our “sackcloth” and clothed us in His joy and gladness. But, He can’t do these things if we tie His hands up in our grief. We have to “let Him in.” We have to allow Him to access to our grief, pain, and suffering so that He can share the burden and give us His peace (Ephesians 2:14) and rest (Deuteronomy 5:14, Matthew 11:28-30).

Have you ever thought about the words Matthew used in the passage I referenced above? I have. Let me share a few things I have learned from this setting of scripture:

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30, KJV.

Jesus is calling all those who labor under a heavy load or burden to ‘take up His yoke.’ So what is a yoke and how do you take it up? In agricultural cultures, before mechanized farm equipment was invented, farmers used teams of cattle, horses, or mules to pull their plow and other equipment used to prepare their fields for growing crops. They would place them in pairs, hooked together with a yoke. Jesus is asking us to share OUR load … OUR burden with Him.

When farming was so primitive, and a farmer bought a new ox, etc. to pull his plow, he would yoke an older animal to the new one so that it would learn how to read the farmer’s signals from the older animal’s experience. Thus, Jesus, our Head Shepherd, has requested that we take up our position in His yoke so that we can learn from Him our position in the team and how to ‘hear’ the Father’s signals and commands.

When we walk with Jesus as our teacher and yoke mate, we have opened our hearts to hear from the Father all that He wants us to know. We also allow His joy to lift our burden and lighten our hearts and minds … thus our mourning can now be turned into dancing and He is able to clothe us in His Great Joy. Yoked together with Jesus we can …

            Break forth into joy, oh my soul
            Break forth into joy, oh my soul
            In the presence of the Lord, there is joy forevermore
            Break forth, break forth into joy, oh my soul!


            God has turned my mourning into dancing for me
            God has taken my sackcloth
            God has turned my mourning into dancing for me
            I will ever praise His name.

Yes, as Solomon once said,
“To every thing, there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance …” Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, KJV

As David said in Psalm 30:12, NKJV, “To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

So when your burden is heavy, take the time to mourn. But remember Jesus is waiting for you to take up His yoke and allow Him to help you to shoulder your load. He will lighten the burden and turn your mourning into dancing, filling your heart with His great Joy in the process!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Wednesday ... To Laguna Pueblo and Beyond

Tuesday night, after fueling the van and generator, I camped in the truck parking lot at the Acoma Pueblo truck stop, hoping to re-visit Laguna Pueblo this morning before actually starting today's adventure. When I reached the turnoff, however, I found that the overlook that Dave and I had stopped at on our last trip through this area was closed for maintenance and repairs. So gathering more pictures and information for another writing project was not possible at this time ... maybe on my return trip.

So I pointed the van towards Tucumcari, New Mexico, and my next fuel stop. The scenery on today's leg of the trip was gorgeous. All of the colorful rock formations and desert low lands would have made beautiful pictures. Unfortunately, my phone was telling me that the memory was full and pictures could not be saved. The memory was full? I had put a 128 GB micro SD card in it just before I left, how could it be full? Sorry, no more pictures this trip.  :-(   I think I will ask KJ, my nephew, how to correct this memory issue.

I didn't get as far as I had planned on today's leg of the trip; the weather wouldn't allow it. The day started out sunny and bright, but by the time I had reached Tucumcari, the clouds had gathered, thick and dark ... almost as dark as just after sunset. Clouds were OK, they kept the van's engine cool, but the atmosphere nearly melancholy.

As I approached Amarillo, TX, I had been through one major downpour and the sky looked as if it were priming for another round. As it was nearly 4:00 pm local time I started looking for a place to spend the night. As I left Amarillo, another deluge began which took nearly all my visibility. Lasting about 20 minutes, it quit just as quickly as it had begun. And I thanked God profusely for the clearing skies.

Just then I came around a huge curve in the road. Off the left shoulder was an eighteen wheeler laying on its side. It looked as if it had been gently picked up and laid there... except for all of the emergency vehicles that were rapidly joining the scene. For the rest of the time I was on the road this day, I prayed for the driver of that truck and any passengers he may have had with him. I also thanked God for my safety since I had been on my journey. Our God is SOOOO good!

About 20 minutes after passing this truck wreck the sky was looking thick and gloomy once more. That's when I saw the sign for a 'picnic area' a mile up the road. It seems that the roadside rest areas that are common in California and Nevada aren't in other states. But throughout Texas and Oklahoma, they have Picnic Areas. These are roadside pull-offs that provided picnic tables and trash cans. No restrooms or drinking fountains.

At this particular picnic area several trucks that had pulled off and were settling in for the night. I parked the van and got out to speak to one of the drivers that was setting up orange cones around his rig.

"Sir, do you think anyone will mind if I park here overnight?" I asked.

"No, Ma'am," He replied. " that is just what we plan to do, too."

Saying thank you to him, I set about preparing to start the generator and settle in for the night.

Having tucked us in for the evening, I will leave you here in the picnic area east of Amarillo, TX until tomorrow.

Good Night!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Tuesday ... turning in circles in Flagstaff, AZ.

The most notable thing about being in Flagstaff, AZ was that my GPS wouldn't let me leave. It kept me running in circles through the town for nearly 30 minutes ... that is until I realized that I needed to remove a location once I had arrived to get it to move on to the next destination.  Live and learn.

I had planned to stop at Laguna Pueblo, but I was very tired, so I stopped just 15 minutes short of the goal and parked among the truckers at Acoma Pueblo.

Today, Wednesday 5/23/18, I am headed to Elk City, OK for tonight's camping. I will be gassing up in Tucumcari, NM as that is the halfway point for today.  I will share a little more this evening or in the morning before I get back on the road.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Grammy Leigh’s Amazing Adventure!

**Sorry, I couldn't find the pics that go with this segment. I will add them later.**
I, and my furry family, left Dayton, NV about 1:00 pm on Sunday afternoon. It was a mostly cloudy day and the road was about as busy as a lazy, spring afternoon should be. We made it to Tonopah, NV about 5:00 and gassed up the van and the gas cans for the generator and immediately left out for what was to be a blissful even camping beside the hot springs at Alkali Flat.
I said ‘supposed to be’ as it seems that the Flat, and the hot springs, had disappeared in a dust storm … LOL! Well, probably not! But my phone was dead and my directions were hidden deep inside its circuitry. I took ‘the road less traveled’ that headed toward the Flat for about 15 miles, no Hot Spring in sight. And as I was in uncharted territory, I headed back toward Hwy 95 South toward Las Vegas. We ‘camped’ in the truck parking lot, across from Denny’s, in Beatty, NV. And there ended our first day on this road trip.
I awoke Monday morning – very dark and VERY early – to my mattress laying flat against the platform. It seems that my three-legged cat, Hop-Along Catsity – or Hop for short, had popped it once again. So much for a NEW Airbed … it would have to be replaced while I was in Las Vegas later in the day.
The day ahead looked gray and cloudy – at least the weather did. But the open road beckoned me on, so we mounted up and headed out. First stop, Fort Armargosa and coffee. It was a brief stop and the coffee was tasty. Now, onward ho!
I arrived in Las Vegas about 9:00 am, seeking a place to buy a ‘non-air’ mattress. I stopped at a mattress store and told the salesman what I was looking for and that my funds were very limited. He gave me an AWESOME deal on the mattress, just $2 over cost – over $400 savings. Praise God! I made a couple of other stops then met my cousin, Mary Morton Keum, at a local restaurant for dinner. I had planned to treat her, but God had a different plan – she bought me dinner. We talked for a good long while over our plates of food. I would have loved to spend more time chatting, but the open road was calling me on and the shadows were quickly turning into darkness in the skies above. So we hugged and said our goodbyes – wished I had taken some pictures. Oh well, next time. And there will be a next time as she gave me an open invitation to stop and park a while at her place in the future.
We traveled on down Hwy 93 to Boulder City and the Hoover Dam Lodge Overflow for our second night of camping. This ‘campground’ was also a truck parking lot, just across the street from … you guessed it, Hoover Dam Lodge. Well, it is now nearly 7:00 am, and I still need to have breakfast and break camp, so I will close …

It’s time to be … ‘on the road again. I just can’t wait to be on the road again …’ more of this adventure to come in the days ahead!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Trip Eastward - Tennessee or Bust!

Sis. Leigh and Barnabas ready yo depart.

Hi, all.

I have been in the planning an preparing stages for a trip to visit my family in Tennessee and Kentucky for some time. I have felt since Christmas that I was to make this journey, but lacked the funds to do so. But the planning and preparing were to continue until the Lord made the funds available; now He has.

The necessary funds, my back pay from Social Security Disability, were deposited into my bank account on Wednesday, May 9th. I was awarded my Disability in September of 2016. It was approved to start in January of that year, but there is a five month waiting period before benefits begin. So my benefits were to begin June 3, 2016, thus the reason for the SSA owing me three months back pay (June, July, and August of 2016).  I was told by the Reno SSA office that it should be about 90 days from the date of the first payment I received before I would get that back pay.

I received my first payment October 2016, and so thought I would have my back pay by January 2017. No Joy! I have waited 16 months beyond that expected payment date.

There have been many things that I needed to purchase - i.e. a generator as the one in the van wouldn't run, gas cans for taking generator fuel, etc. But now all is purchased and the van nearly loaded. So my departure is nearly on the horizon.

I am bringing a couple of furry, four-legged friends along for the ride; no loneliness here!

I plan to pull out of Mound House, Nevada on Sunday afternoon, right after our fellowship lunch after Sunday's church service. I have posted a copy of my Itinerary below. And I plan to post here each evening as I travel across the country. This is an approximate Itinerary as I have sent out letters of introduction to several of our AB of C sister churches so that I may share God's word as I travel ... God willing!

Stay tuned here for further updates!

Tennessee Trip Itinerary

 Dear Family and Friends,
My plans are subject to change at any time, especially from May 24th on as I have sent requests to speak at several churches in Arkansas and Missouri. I will post updates on my website,, and my Facebook page, Grammys Gems.

Please contact me if you have any questions about my itinerary me at:

Leigh Morton
A Hippy in His Service
… and yours!

Sunday, May 20, 2018:
Carson City to Tonopah
Camp: Tonopah, NV
Alkali Hot Springs Campground

Monday, May 21
Tonopah to Hoover Dam, NV
Rest Stop: Las Vegas, NV
Dinner: Sweet Tomatoes
9460 W Flamingo Rd, LV, NV 89147
Camp: Hoover Dam Lodge Overflow
            Boulder City, NV

Tuesday, May 22
Hoover Dam to Grants, NM
Rest Stop: Flagstaff, AZ
Dinner/Camp: Grants/Laguna Pueblo

Wednesday, May 23
Grants, NM to Elk City, OK
Rest Stop: Tucumcari, NM
Dinner/Camp: Elk City, OK
            Elk City Lake Park

Thursday, May 24    
Elk City to Hot Springs AR
Rest Stop: OKC
Camp: Cedar Glades Park
            Hot Springs, AR

Friday, May 25
Hot Springs, AR to Branson, MO
Rest Stop: Clinton, AR
Camp: Branson, MO
            With Tina Stottle

Saturday, May 26
Branson to Neelyville, MO
Rest Stop: Willow Springs, MO
Camp: Beaver Lake

Church Sunday in Neelyville, MO.

Dear Friends at Coon Island Pentecostal Church,
I would love to take time off the road here to speak with your congregation as I travel through your area. Otherwise, I will be staying in Shelbyville, TN for several months. This is only a few hours journey from you and I would be glad to make time in my schedule to accommodate your scheduling needs.
Monday, May 28
Neelyville, MO to Shelbyville, TN
Rest Stop: Nashville

End of Road - for now: Shelbyville, TN

Monday, January 8, 2018

God's Grace Through the Ages

Text: Genesis 6:5-8 KJV

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

 God’s Salvation didn’t begin with Noah and his family, it has been with us from the time the very first sin was committed in the Garden and will remain with us throughout all eternity.

I will show how God applied His Saving Grace in four instances and tell how you can find this Great Grace still today.

Grace in the Garden, Genesis 3:1-21, NIV:

1.     Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2.     The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 
3.     but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4.     “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 
5.     “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6.     When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 
7.     Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8.     Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 
9.     But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10.  He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11.  And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12.  The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13.  Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14.  So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
    and you will eat dust all
the days of your life.
15.  And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”
16.  To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
  with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
    and he will rule over you.”
17.  To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
      through painful toil you will eat food from it all the
days of your life.
18. It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
    and you will eat the plants of the field.
19. By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food
    until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
    for dust you are
    and to dust you will return.”
20. Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.
21. The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

I know many of us know this story from our youth. Eve was deceived by Satan who appeared as a serpent in the Garden. Adam and Eve, through their disobedience, learned of their nakedness and were ashamed, so they thought to cover themselves with what was handy – some leaves from a fig tree. They must have needed a lot of them, for fig leaves are small by comparison to a human body. God knew of their sin and punished them, but before He sent them packing He gave them a promise of His plan of Salvation and covered them in His grace when He clothed them with the skins of the first animals sacrificed for that purpose.

Adam taught His children of God’s great love and of His plan of Salvation to come. I believe that he also taught them how best to honor and serve God and what to bring Him as a proper sacrifice – a broken heart and contrite nature. I believe we see this in the offerings given by his sons, Cain and Abel. Cain came with an offering from his crops, but his heart wasn’t in it, so he gave his gift in rebellion. But Abel gave a gift of love, the best that he had among his flocks.
Therefore Abel accepted and received God’s grace but Cain rejected it and ran from God all of his days

 Grace Through the Storm and the Flood, Genesis 6:1-6, KJV:

1.     And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
2.     That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3.     And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4.     There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
5.     And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6.     And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

I know we have all heard that the ‘sons of God’ mentioned here are angels who came to earth and saw how beautiful the daughters of men were and decided to take them as wives, thus creating the giants. But as I was reading my daily chronological Bible this week I read a portion of the commentary that just makes more sense to me than the traditional explanation we have been given. So I will quote it here:
            “In the accounts of Seth, Cain and their descendants is a hint that two distinct groups of people have been developing. Those descending from Seth – Enoch, for example – were apparently people who lived righteous before God. On the other hand, those descending from Cain, as typified by Lamech the murderer, appear to have degenerated into unrighteousness. Therefore, although there might be found individual exceptions within these two families, it can generally be assumed that Sethites were godly people and the Cainites ungodly. At this point, however, the record seems to indicate that “the sons’ of God”, perhaps referring to the Sethites, or in any event to those who have a God-fearing heritage, now begin to intermarry with the “daughters of men,” not because they are righteous, but only because they are physically attractive. The apparent result is that such a mixture of the godly and the ungodly leads to the obliteration of moral distinctions and righteous living.”

But, as we read in our text, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Noah lived a life of true righteousness before God, so God gave him and his family – eight souls in all – a plan of Salvation from the annihilation of mankind and the destruction of the earth. He told Noah to build a ship – an arc of His great grace – to save himself, his sons and all of their wives.

Oh, the ridicule they must have suffered at the hands – or rather the mouths – of their neighbors. There had never been rain on earth before the promised Flood came. There was never such a large boat constructed before either, so his neighbors laughed out loud … that is until they could laugh no more. For all of Noah’s laughing neighbors disappeared in the torrential flooding that came just seven days after he and his family entered into the arc.

Could more people have entered into God’s ship of Grace? I believe they could have, for God doesn’t choose for anyone to perish. He prays that all would seek His salvation, they just had to believe their need for salvation and receive God’s grace.

Grace in the Wilderness, Exodus 14:

We all know the story of the Exodus of the children of Israel from the land of Egypt. So for sake of time, I will not read this chapter. But in Exodus chapter 14, it tells us how God made a path through the sea and the Israelites walked across on dry ground. It also tells how the Egyptians followed them out onto that dried ocean floor and were slaughtered by the Lord for their trouble there in the sea. For He buried them under the waters He had held back for His people. This was His provision of Grace to Israel after they had suffered 400 years of bondage under many Egyptian rulers after the death of Joseph. As they prepared for their great escape, God gave them specific instructions of what their final meal would be in Egypt, of what to wear and what take with them – including the wealth they were to take from the hands of the Egyptians, their former captors. And what they were to remember about their escape … what to teach future generations. For all of these things were the foretelling of His Eternal gift of Grace to mankind. The told of Messiah to come. They told of Jesus and His gift of grace to all who would believe.

God’s Final Gift of Grace, Jesus:

Luke tells us of the birth of Jesus, the promised Messiah, in chapter two of his gospel. How Mary went with her husband Joseph to Bethlehem to register for the census and pay the tax Caesar had decreed. His birth was the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s promised grace. Grace came about 33 years later during the Passover celebration in Jerusalem when He was sacrificed on the cross for the sins of all mankind, was buried and spent three days and nights in the tomb and was gloriously resurrected at the end of that time.

Matthew 27:45-54, NIV

45.   From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 
46.  About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
47.  When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
48.  Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 
49.  The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
50.  And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
51.  At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 
52.  and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 
53.  They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
54.  When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

At the moment Jesus gave up His life for us, the Hand of God caused the curtain that separated the Holy place from the rest of the temple to be torn in two from the top to the bottom. If the curtain had ripped from the bottom up, people could have argued that a man had done the tearing. But no man could tear the Temple curtain as it was many layers of fabric and animal skins thick. However, being torn from the top, no man could have even attempted this feat ... only God Himself could meet this challenge.

This torn curtain of separation now allowed righteous men and women, of every race and culture, direct access to God without having to go through the priests and their rituals as written in the law. God’s grace, the Salvation given us by Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, made a way for us to enter in.

 Grace must be accepted and received:

We have only seen four of the many times that God granted grace to mankind. In every instance of God giving grace, it must be accepted and received by those to whom He has poured it out. Even in cases of a collective outpouring, the acceptance and receipt MUST BE by individual persons. No one can receive it for you or for me, each must accept it for themselves.

If Adam and Eve had not each accepted their covering of grace from God’s hand, the unaccepting one would have remained naked and ashamed.

If each person in Noah’s family had not accepted God’s Word at face value and received His grace inside the arc, they would have died in the flood.

If each man and woman of the children of Israel had not believed Moses, and ultimately God, as they escaped the from Egyptians there on the banks of the Red Sea, they would have died in that sea alongside their former captors without receiving His way of escape.

It is still the same today. God has NO grandchildren. No step-children. No other type of generational relations – only sons and daughters. Therefore, each person must make their own decision to accept or reject God’s grace by believing and receiving Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
By the way, not accepting Him IS rejecting Him. Even putting off the choice for “someday” is a choice against God and His great grace.

And this is that gift of grace, Romans 6:22-23, NIV & 7:4-6, NET:

Romans 6:22-23

22. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 
23. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 7:4-6

4. So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you could be joined to another, to the one who was raised from the dead, to bear fruit to God. 
5. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful desires, aroused by the law, were active in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 
6. But now we have been released from the law, because we have died to what controlled us, so that we may serve in the new life of the Spirit and not under the old written code.

So my friends, if you haven't already accepted God's Way of Grace, stop now and ask Him to forgive your sin in repentance and receive His Salvation and His Great Grace.

You can watch this message here.

Why Prayer is Important In a Christian's Life by John J Wiltse

Bro. John shares the importance of Prayer in a Christian's life.