John George graduated into heaven recently. He was a man for whom I will eternally be grateful. At a time when I was a cocky senior at West Point, he accurately confronted me about pride and forever changed my life. John knew that the Bible warns us in Proverbs 16:18 that “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.” His exhortation scared me to death that God would not use me for His kingdom.
Forty-four men wrote over a period of sixteen centuries sixty-six books that display coherent unity and progressive revelation from Genesis to Revelation.The Bible reveals God’s redemption plan for humanity. It offers the best leadership, marriage, child-raising, family-relations, financial, conduct, attitude, character, teamwork, physical, spiritual, emotional and wisdom-producing advice and instruction on the planet. Yet, I believe we would be shocked, if we knew how many Jesus-followers have never read through this supreme gift from God.
You could hear them screaming at each other five offices away. Heads poked out to see what was going on—I was afraid words would escalate to blows, but fortunately that did not happen. Don looked like he was going to have a heart attack, his face was beet red and he was shaking. Rich’s jaw was clenched and his palms rolled into fists but with three of us coaxing we managed to get them separated and back into their own offices.
I asked Rich what happened. He said he went into Don’s office to ask how Allie was doing on the project she was working with him. Don told him she was worthless and to get out of his office, he was sick of taking Rich’s broken employees and felt like Rich deliberately was out to make his life miserable. Rich said the way Don spoke penetrated his brain and hit his anger button. He knew Allie had her weak areas but he was proud of her hard work and resented Don’s judgmental attitude. Furthermore he didn’t appreciate the way the older manager always blamed people instead of trying to get along. So instead of finding a response to deescalate the tension, he spoke the first thought that raced across his brain, “Don you are a loser and I’m sick of trying to help you.” Those words brought Don out of his chair and began a two-minute shouting match.
Jadon is almost 21 months old and being his grandpa is one of life’s great blessings. Jadon’s first word was “ball.” Virtually as soon as he learned how to walk he began kicking balls. He will walk and run around the room for quite awhile either throwing or kicking soccer balls, footballs, tennis balls (well you get the idea) and it is amazing to see his coordination. Jadon’s first phrase was “I love you” which he learned from Mark and Sarah. But his first connection of two different words was “more food.” Mentally he figured it out that more combined with food communicated that he was still hungry.
A runner sees endurance as vital to finishing a race; a parent sees endurance as the ability to shepherd a child to adulthood. Endurance originates from the compound Greek word: hupo (under) + meno (to remain) to give us the concept continuing under pressure. It is much more than a physical resolve, it is a mental resolve. Without sufficient why, the what loses meaning and we are more prone to quit.
There are those who scoff at the reality of demons. The whole notion of religion or the existence of God seems like relics of an antiquated belief system. Tell that to the four men who on September 20, 2011 stood around Vlad and prayed for him, watching as he writhed on the ground as one and then another demon left him. Two days later Vlad called Dad and said he was again under attack. So the two met near my parent’s home and walked together up a nearby mountain.
How often do you seek answers from the Bible so as to know what to do? For years Kathleen and I have not been able to sell our home and because of this our equity is tied up. Not having the ability to free up this money is frustrating. I wonder how many hours I have spent trying to identify a solution to our situation. Recently, I read in Psalm 16:5, “The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot” (ESV). What a great reminder that He is in control of my lot (in context lot refers to the future but here it makes a nice property statement)! He will resolve our housing situation when the time is right. Occasionally finding answers is not the issue. What I need is to be at peace with the Answer.
When I was in Junior High School, Billy Graham came to Seoul, Korea. I was able to sit on a platform not far from where the speakers stood and take pictures. At the time (early 1970’s), it was the largest Billy Graham Crusade ever. Looking behind the platform there on Yoido Island there was an immense sea of people. Dr. Graham explained to this spiritually hungry audience the meaning of the gospel. He quoted John 3:16, read other Bible passages, and outlined in simple terms God’s plan of salvation. Hundreds of thousands of Koreans stood and moved forward when he gave an invitation. Countless faces were wet with tears of repentance. Perhaps heaven’s citizens stood and cheered as they watched this grand spectacle.
In reading through the Bible in 2009, my selected theme was truth. Earlier this week, Chris primed our pumps asking us what truth is. I am going to finish off the year sharing what I learned from this vital Biblical topic hoping that it encourages and challenges you as much as it did me.
Psalm 85:11—Truth will spring up from the earth, and righteousness will look down from heaven.
A nonfiction book that I highly recommend is Hard Faith. You can buy it off Amazon.com or purchase it directly from us. I love Hard Faith because I know the author Dan Berg and I’ve seen firsthand how he successfully overcame incredible pain and adversity with his wife. The only reason Dan is walking well today aside from the ever-present grace of God, is that he stuck to his values. He wore the robe of faith when the world suggested other attire.
In an age of relativism the roar of the crowd is to tame God’s Word. Two traps await Christians in this hostile environment.
Have you ever noticed how bookstores are packed with books on how to be a successful leader? Many aspire to be the quintessential person in charge. Did you know that the most authoritative book in the world on leadership is the Bible? Not only does the Bible give us the inspiring example of the perfect leader—Jesus Christ, it also is packed with descriptive accounts of other men and women who were fantastic leaders.
Luke 6:47,48-- I will show you what someone is like who comes to Me, hears My words, and acts on them: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built.
The Thanksgiving holiday is supposed to be about remembering how blessed we are by our Almighty Father in heaven. If gratitude is the point, food is the reminder. In truth, a hearty feast is a wonderful custom for celebrating our blessings. Not a Thanksgiving goes by for me that I don’t think back to traveling to Newburgh, NY with my roommate and best friend, Dave Mead. We would totally stuff ourselves at his grandmother’s house—eating was a competitive sport for two young cadets.
My house has been on the Oregon market for ten months and counting. Recently, my wife and I decided to pull the listing. Now we are faced with several decisions. Do we rent? Do we try and sell with a different realtor? What other options are there for this morass of uncertainty?
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.
Joel 2:28,32a--After this I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will have dreams, and your young men will see visions . . . Then everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh will be saved . . .
Do you remember the 507thMaintenance Company and it’s infamous soldier—PFC Jessica Lynch? She was badly hurt, the sole survivor in her Humvee which crashed into a disabled truck attempting to escape an ambush. Lynch did not fight the enemy as the media first reported. But another fellow soldier did—PFC Patrick Miller. He won the Silver Star for his valiant efforts and a Purple Heart. Miller was fortunate to have survived and later as a captive to be rescued by a Marine patrol. You see he and those who could fight almost all experienced jammed weapons. Their rifles barely worked because they rarely cleaned and maintained them. It had been seven months since Miller last fired his M16! Evidently, the soldiers of the 507thtook their weapons for granted. Their primary job was to repair and maintain equipment in the rear. They did not expect to be involved in any fighting.
Our neighbors have a new puppy, Sadie. She is a lovable Pit Bull full of energy and eager for attention. To keep her from getting lost or running away, it was necessary to finish fencing in their yard. So, with help from family members, holes were dug, cement was poured, and metal posts for a chain-link fence were sealed into the ground. That fence is not going anywhere; Sadie is quite secure.
Freddie recently conversed with a gas station attendant. The man told him that he could never place his trust in the Bible because it was inaccurate. He claimed that in 2 Chronicles 4:2, the circumference measurements listed for the circular Sea of cast metal (used by the priests for their ceremonial washing), did not match up. This greatly disturbed Freddie. Knowing God’s Word was on the line challenged his own faith. So he studied the disputed passage. He discovered that the measurements were from brim to brim and not rim to rim. The circumference distance was precisely accurate. Freddie was elated! Soon he’ll share his discovery with that petro-pumper.