Revelation 3:2—Be alert and strengthen what remains, which is about to die, for I have not found your works complete before My God.
Guards stopped us at the entrance to Forward Operating Base (FOB) Ho Chunk and checked our IDs before allowing my Command Sergeant Major (CSM) and me to walk unarmed into the camp where several units were assigned. As we inspected the premises we saw unmade beds and gear strewn haphazardly inside tents. Soldiers walked by us out of uniform. At one point I ducked inside a tent and noticed several unsecured weapons. I grabbed an M16 and slung it on my shoulder. As we continued observing, warning sirens sounded and a quick response force rushed by us to meet a notional threat. I wondered what soldier was running around trying to find what happened to his M16! The captain in charge of the FOB (known as the mayor) approached us and spoke to us for several minutes. Amazingly he completely missed the fact that I was carrying a rifle—not something generals do.
There is an insightful television program called Undercover Boss. Each episode, the owner or CEO of a company is disguised and then works for several days with different employees with differing responsibilities. Often the boss is inept at the tasks the employee is to teach him which puts pressure on him to do better. As he works with each selected person he also finds out what life is like in their shoes. Some are struggling financially or dealing with challenges that make life difficult.
Four of us were enjoying an informal time of fellowship when the topic came up of how we identify with Christ around others. One of the men pulled out his cell phone and showed how it had an icon of Christ as his background photo. Ron said he had also had a picture representing Christ on his phone. He pulled it out to show us, but all we could see was icons of missed calls that blocked the picture underneath.
Do you ever wonder what the point is for reading books of the Bible that primarily contain prophecies of God’s impending judgment against certain people and nations? Jonah, Nahum and Zephaniah all prophesied against the Assyrian empire. When Nahum predicted the impending destruction of the capital city, Nineveh, Assur-bani-pal was its evil king. Nineveh was full of bloodshed, deceit, plundering and constant warring against others (3:1).
Cassidy sent out an email to her boss. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Grok Inc. cited several recent incidents that occurred and accused Konrad, a coworker and fellow executive, of harassing her and generally acting like a jerk. The boss was surprised because he had worked with Konrad for years and had never before received complaints like this about him or observed him to act in a way that was disrespectful to others. So he asked his CFO to call him. When she did, he questioned her as to what exactly Konrad had done. In the course of the conversation the boss realized that Cassidy was making several bad assumptions about her coworker. It especially galled him that she had not discussed her concerns with Konrad before sending him the negative report.*
She was a wealthy woman of the best kind— thoughtful and generous. She noticed a man of God in need and she fed him. As he often frequented her town, she talked her husband into building a home addition so the man would have his own room furnished to meet his needs. Grateful for her kindness, the godly man asked her what he could do for her. She declined his offer. So he asked his helper what could be done for her. He noticed that her husband was old and she had no children. So he called her to his room and as she stood in the doorway told her she would have a son the following spring. She asked him not to lie to her, but sure enough she gave birth to a boy. Years later the woman’s son became ill and died. His mother immediately traveled to Mount Carmel where she found Elisha, fell on the ground and grabbed his feet.
How fantastic would it be if we could read minds? Imagine if you could see the exact thoughts running through the brains of your family, neighbors, coworkers and even enemies! Perhaps it would not be such a great thing. It might be convicting, maddening, or massively discouraging. I propose that our behavior would be the main element that triggered people’s thoughts towards us and this would certainly heighten our awareness of consequences.
I just finished reading the best book I ever read concerning Biblical principles on giving wisely. The author is Jonathan Martin and the title of his book is Giving Wisely? You can find and purchase it from www.amazon.com.
Have you ever had a period in life where you felt like an idiot and wish you could crawl in a hole and hide? I think I’m just emerging from the hole.
Coffee Cottage is a popular coffee shop near George Fox University. One of their favorite draws for students is the free wireless service. Often I come in to find many tables occupied with folks writing papers or working projects on their laptops. But unless a person knew that wireless was free and available, they could work on their computer and have no idea they could access internet connection capability simply by asking for the password.
Okay, I admit it. There are days I just don’t feel like working out. However, if I want to have good muscle tone, a healthy heart and a strong body I have to exercise. Physical fitness doesn’t just happen. It takes consistentwork. We all know what occurs when we don’t exercise regularly. One workout (jogging, weight-lifting, aerobics class) per week, will not make me physically fit! Unfortunately, it’s be fit or be fat.
A home improvement con artist swindled a 100 year-old blind woman. He rang the woman's bell, unsolicited, to offer to do any repair work needed. The woman told him that for years she had struggled with a door that was difficult to open because it rubbed against the rug. To fix the problem, she agreed to pay the man $8,000, to jack up her house.
Luke 16:10-12—Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much. So if you have not been faithful with the unrighteous money, who will trust you with what is genuine? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to someone else, who will give you what is your own?
My college class motto is “Strength As One.” I believe it is more profound than we realized when we selected it. What makes our class special is a collective sense that our ability exponentially increases through our unity. Implied in our unity is an understanding that we are accountable to one another.
I was privileged recently to attend a gathering in San Antonio, Texas, of World War II veterans from the 104thTimberwolf Division. These venerable survivors gather each year to reminisce of war memories, catch up in recent events and celebrate each other along with any accompanying children affectionately known as “pups.”
Until she passed away, I loved to meet with Lillian for prayer. She lived in a retirement community called King City. Each of the houses were separated by brick walls and the only way to enter a home was through the garage or a gate in the front. Whoever designed her neighborhood obviously valued privacy and security. There was little sense of community. No wonder lonely Lillian so much looked forward to meeting.
I’ve never had a ministry to the poor. Few of my friends are financially needy and those I work and live around are middle or upper-class families. While my finances have often been sparse, compared to most in the world I am incredibly well off. So, I wondered what it would be like to spend so many hours each week helping those at the center of ever-converging problems from which escape seems bleak and overwhelming.
William did an amazing thing this past Christmas. The eleven-year old son of Cindy and David carefully selected each Christmas gift for his parents and his older brother, Walt. The dynamics of this family are not unusual. The oldest son has close ties to his dad while the youngest is close to his mother. That is why William’s gift was so special. William desired to have a better relationship with his father. So he wrote David a touching letter that pointed out his own understanding of why their relationship was weak. Then he mentioned his desire to be close to his father. Inside the letter was $10 William gave to his dad to purchase a fishing pole so they could go spend time together as father and son—fishing.
David Sarasohn, a local writer, slammed President Bush for falsely portraying events in Iraq, in an editorial in The Oregonian. He mocked the President for ignoring the reality of life in Iraq as the media portrays it. Shame on the Commander-in-Chief for believing the direct eyewitness account of soldiers and statesmen instead of the six o’clock news! Because I am privy to inside information to a wide array of events in that land, I am increasingly dismayed by the biased and distorted view David and most of the media portray. It is bad journalism to daily report the number of casualties and castigate the Bush administration for every misstep while selectively ignoring every positive development that occurs in the rebuilding of Iraq’s broken infrastructure. If loss of life is truly the media’s concern, why don’t they tally and print the number of Americans killed each day in traffic accidents in the United States? If morality is so important as to fester for weeks over prisoner abuses, why is there no outrage over drunk drivers or the daily despotic practices of lawless terrorists? Could it be that deeper principles are at work? I’m convinced the media is not about reporting information it is about selling philosophy—truly bad news for everyone.