Angst is probably a great word to describe the mood of hundreds of millions of people who wearily wonder who their next leader will be. After a political process that takes too long, an ugly trail of tawdry politics and professional dirt-slinging, most of the nation just wants this election to be over. Compounding the problem is the almost universal cry, “With over 323 million people, these are the bestcandidates to emerge?” It would seem the world’s third largest nation has a huge problem when it comes to electing a leader with integrity.
Those of us who meet the requirements for voting, and who carry out the responsibility to vote, will cast our ballot and hope for the best outcome possible. While we might not always like the choices available, or feel good about the state of our political system, we ought to always remember the following.
Often each week I focus time in prayer for my family. Specifically, I ask that every one of my children, grandchildren and nieces and nephews would faithfully walk with God and that they would have a deep love for Him. I am thankful that my parents pray the same thing for me! Living for God is never something we can take for granted. The reality, as you already know, is that we live in a temptation-laced world. Our wills constantly grapple with God’s will. So easily we can be enticed to embrace, chase, proclaim and invite into our lives earth’s delicacies that look appealing, yet leave us sick and empty. How many people wander away from God simply because no one is praying for them?
Flattop (3,510 feet) is Alaska’s most frequently climbed mountain. Located just 13 miles from downtown Anchorage in Chugach State Park, the views from its summit are stunning. I was in Anchorage to meet with participants in an emergency exercise timed to coincide with the 50thyear anniversary of the 9.2 earthquake that hit Anchorage. After our meetings I left with the two officers who accompanied me to take pictures at a park site near the airport. While there we met Kendra, a local resident, who told us Flattop was the place to go to get the best views of the area. We assumed we were going to arrive at a place where we could take photos from our car so you can imagine our surprise when she led us from the parking lot to Glen Alps trailhead to walk 1.5 miles and climb 1280 feet! This would have been okay except that the trail was mostly mud and snow and near the top very icy and steep.
Do you know what one of the largest family species on earth is? Grass! Commonly known as Gramineaethere are more than 9,000 known species of grass. God created grass to provide a major food source worldwide. Rice, corn and oats come from grass plants. Grass plants provide helpful ingredients for making sugar, bread and even plastics. Grass is used in construction (bamboo). It is also invaluable in combating erosion.
Romans 13:14—But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.
Often I find Christians in the United States discouraged, wondering why it seems like there is little activity by God in our land. There is a sense that our nation is increasingly secular and a growing unease. I believe that materialism is a far greater threat to the growth of our faith than outright opposition. Why do I say this? My friends who face suffering, prison or the loss or rights because of their walk with God actually find renewal and supernatural strength in the testing of their faith. While those who live in comfort find it hard to die to self and actively proclaim truth. Yet contrary to what many of us may be thinking—there is a major work of God going on around much of the globe.
In my last Reveration (Asking) I shared about meeting Jeff Knight at a Founder’s Day Banquet. The following Wednesday I was standing beside the plane at the Denver airport waiting for my bag to be delivered. Next to me was an elderly gentleman who asked me what my job was (I was in uniform). I explained to him that I was responsible for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) for the United States Army Reserves. He then shared that he once served as the Professor of Military Science (PMS) for Wheaton College. Knowing Wheaton’s admission standards for the PMS position, I asked the gentleman if he was a Christian. Indeed he was. Then I noticed that he was wearing a sweater with the Army mule emblem. I asked him if he was a West Point graduate. Indeed he was—graduating in 1952. He then shared that his wife’s brother-in-law was also a classmate of his and that his name was (are you ready!!!) Jeff Knight.
I’ve moved so many times in my life that I’ve never had to reorder business cards. But moves are trickier these days. First, I wonder if my knee is going to give out while I’m carrying the desk down the stairs. Second, it seems like furniture keeps getting heavier. Third, I thought I was doing a good job downsizing, so how in the world did we get so much stuff? Ah, but it’s all good. Moving is an opportunity to start afresh, to trust God around new bends and to meet new people. Fortunately, this office move was less than a mile away.
If someone offered you a house with no foundation would you take it? I suppose if you lived somewhere where no storms or catastrophes occurred that would be okay. But, since no place on earth is trouble-proof, it is exceedingly wise to build upon a strong foundation. Now imagine sharing that Jesus is the Savior with someone who has never heard the gospel. Jesus’ mission prophesied in Isaiah 42 was to fulfill God’s promise to rescue people, to be a light to open blind eyes. Jesus told His disciples in Mark 16:15 that the whole creation should hear the good news about Him. But too often this news only concerns Jesus coming to earth, living a sinless life and dying on the cross to save us. Left out is the incredible part of why He came in the first place. If we don’t understand the whole reason for Jesus coming we have a foundationless house! We need to take people back to the beginning . . .
They are mentioned in one paragraph in the Bible and then (with the possible exception of Acts 15:22) never again. They walked near Jesus from the time He was baptized by John to His ascension to heaven but we know next to nothing about them. What kind of personality and gifting did each man have? How frequently did they gain access to the Master?
One day Jesus asked His disciples to go with Him across the lake. So they got in a boat and begin crossing the Sea of Galilee when a fierce storm without warning hit them. I love this story of adventure and danger for the lessons it teaches us.
1 Kings 17:14—For this is what the Lord God of Israel says, ‘The flour jar will not become empty and the oil jug will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the surface of the land.”
Joseph is one of my favorite Biblical characters. He is such a great example of what it means to trust God though times and circumstances may be trying. I believe there are three key lessons we can about God from Joseph that will help us in our daily living.
I feel like I’m living in a giant bubble that increases with size and darkens in color. I wonder when it will explode and what outcome I can expect. Almost daily I receive emails from people that love President Bush and despise John Kerry. Conversely, I get messages that bash Bush and laud the Massachusetts Senator. Each person is certain of his or her views. I don’t ever remember seeing this nation so polarized and divided over who should be its next Commander-in-Chief. Perhaps in the tempest it is wise to remember the temptation to lean on our own understanding sets us up for failure. If our hope for the future is pinned on a man or a party we are destined for an overdose of pain.
Have you ever engaged on a mission convinced you were doing the Lord’s will only to see your efforts defeated by some unforeseen event? Have you taken a job sure that it was God’s choice for you only to discover the boss was mean-spirited or the co-workers adept at making your life miserable? Have you lost a family member or experienced prolonged illness, convinced that God would bring healing and He didn’t? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions you probably have sincere issues to discuss with God regarding His will and timing.
1 Samuel 6:7-9--Now then, prepare one new cart and two milk cows that have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up. Take the ark of the Lord, place it on the cart, and put the gold objects that you’re sending Him as a restitution offering in a box beside the ark. Send it off and let it go its way. Then watch: If it goes up the road to its homeland toward Beth-shemesh, it is the Lord who has made this terrible trouble for us. However, if it doesn’t, we will know that it was not His hand that punished us—it was just something that happened to us by chance.”
When we use the word providence in reference to God we mean that He faithfully foresees and effectively preserves, provides and governs over His creation most often through secondary causes. Proverbs 20:24 says, “The very steps we take come from God; otherwise how would we know where we’re going?” (The Message)
Imagine being told you are headed to Iraq and you may not see your family for a year. You are trained with specific skills and given an important mission. Once you get past the emotional struggle of leaving your family you focus in on the task ahead of you. But everything changes. Instead of deploying overseas your unit ends up at Fort Lewis and you and your fellow combat engineers are assigned to work as gate guards for the installation. Meet SSG Osborne! Such was the fate he and his fellow National Guardsmen from Oregon encountered.
April 28this a milestone in the York household. My oldest son Bryan celebrates his 16thbirthday. Bryan was diagnosed with a brain-stem tumor on February 14, 1991. His doctor told us he had zero chance of survival; his tumor was a ticking time bomb. At the age of three Bryan endured 72 radiation treatments that shrunk his tumor, damaged his hearing, impaired his mobility, and degraded his ability to process information. In June of that same year, a group of young-married couples gathered with Kathleen, Bryan, and me to weep, pray for him, and worship in song our awesome God. The Holy Spirit descended into our midst and healed our son. He also profoundly taught me the power and hope that comes from worship.
Author of Origins of Life, theoretical physicist Freeman J. Dyson says, “As we look out into the universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked to our benefit, it almost seems as if the universe must in some sense have known that we were coming.” Hmm. It’s not the universe that knew we were coming!