They said they would do it, the task well defined
But then they turned left, then right, then behind.
They scorned those in power subverting their will
When sudden calamity finished their thrills.
So don’t hitch your wagon with those who rebel
Unless you would like your pain to excel.
Proverbs 24:21,22—My son, fear the LORD, as well as the king, and don’t associate with rebels, for destruction from them will come suddenly; who knows what distress these two can bring?
Daniel 1:17—God gave these four young men knowledge and understanding in every kind of literature and wisdom. Daniel also understood visions and dreams of every kind.
Daniel, probably in part because of my given name, has always been my hero. In studying his Old Testament prophetic book that contains his story, there are at least five superb applications that ought to inspire us to be like him.
“Charles Clark cleans toilets at Trinity High School in Euless, Texas. But he also helps kids turn their lives around — not because it was his job, but because it needed to be done . . .” You can watch him in action at http://omeleto.com/215307/. Charles is committed to excellence. This janitor takes pride in sweeping away dirt, mopping floors and sanitizing rooms because he takes his job seriously. When he is not cleaning or repairing, he pours his life into mentoring teenagers who need guidance and the reassurance that someone loves and cares about them. Mr. Clark understands that the students who populate Trinity High School are the greater investment. So in the natural flow of work, he makes time to listen, to encourage and to touch the hearts of students.
Loquacy ran up the red winding trail as fast as his four little legs would take him. He did not stop until he reached the wide brown mound where Sage lived. The old wolf sat above the entrance and looked curiously as Loquacy panted, trying to catch his breath.
“Help me Sage,” the young Chihuahua gasped. “I seem to have made a mistake and I don’t know what to do.”
A man takes boxes of jelly beans and pours them on the floor. He then goes on to illustrate that each jelly bean represents a day in a person’s life. (http://omeleto.com/193535/) Using an average lifetime of 77.76 years he pours out 28,385 jelly beans. Next he forms piles according to how the average person’s time will be spent. We see the following breakdown:
George really loves his three sons and he also really loves scouting. As a teenager he significantly grew through his scouting experience and remembers the pride on his father’s face when he made Eagle Scout. If circumstances were different he would still be a scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts. When his oldest son, Hal, was in the scouts, George invested time in him so he was able to compete and do well against older boys. But Hal got to a place where he didn’t enjoy scouting and wanted out. He shared with his mom Shannon his desire to quit and she felt the stress of wanting to help him while knowing how passionate George was about his sons becoming Eagle Scouts.
Admiral Yi Sun-Shin (1545–98)is one of the most famous military heroes in Korean history. He was born into a poor family but through hard work and effort rose to become a brilliant strategist and Admiral. At the age of 28 he took the government examination to become an officer but during the practical portion fell off his horse and failed. Shamed by his failure he worked harder and four years later he retook the exam and passed. Eventually his persistence and wisdom convinced his superiors to give him command of a naval station in Cholla province.
I can imagine what happened. She had lived there too long. Over time, she grew increasingly used to the sleaze to the point where the vices probably no longer shocked her. No doubt she and her friends gossiped about the bizarre and strange conduct of the city’s inhabitants. Perhaps she was close to the two men soon to marry her daughters. Even her husband hesitated—unsure about leaving. In the end when the persistent angels grabbed their hands and pulled the four of them outside the city warning them to run and not look back, she didn’t get far before she turned away just once to see what should not be seen. That turning away made her a pillar of salt. (Gen. 19)
At the beginning of each year I pick a theme to observe and mark in reading through the Bible. In 2010 the theme was wisdom along with the nineteen base words key to examining this topic: wise, teach, instruct, advise, know, learn, understand, counsel, reveal, discern, insight, intelligence, guide, sense, mature, inform, perceive, realize, and revelation.
Have you ever wondered how astronauts fly up into space to rendezvous with a space station or other orbiting objects such as the Hubble space telescope? It is an incredibly difficult task. Let’s listen in to scientist Palmer Bailey as he articulates the challenge:
"The basic problem is that both of the rendezvousing objects are in individual orbits around the Earth. The shape and size of a spacecraft’s orbit is determined by its velocity. Thus if you try to speed up to catch something travelling ahead of you in the same orbit, you change your orbit and then are no longer in the same orbit . . . Therefore, if you are in orbit behind your rendezvous target and try to speed up to catch it, what actually happens is that your increased speed is used up raising you into a higher and therefore slower orbit and you fall farther and farther behind. You must slow down, thus dropping into a lower but quicker orbit until you are ahead of your target, then speed up at just the right rate to go into the higher slower orbit as the target craft catches up to you. It’s pretty tricky to get that timing just right."
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.
He jumped in too early. A white policeman arrested a prominent black professor, and eager journalists needled President Obama to answer before he knew all the facts. He misspoke. Perhaps a lingering frustration gave birth to an unfortunate vetting. That silence can be golden is an understatement for a man besieged by microphones. Our society is sensitive to racial harmony—and should we be surprised, given that our melting pot is a degree away from a boiling kettle!
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.
This evening, I’m sitting at a desk at a Residence Inn in northern Virginia. At some hour today I reached a new milestone—I turned fifty. This is a splacious moment (my word for great!) With each passing year, I get to learn new things in older ways and I’m grateful to God for the privilege.
Recently I sat on a plane next to a man named John. Several months ago, John’s wife of 15 years left him for another man. She was his second wife. His first wife left him after 10 years of marriage for similar reasons. When I looked in his eyes, I saw a kind, confused man. I shared with John that the reasons his wives left him were not really about or because of him, they were about the emptiness in their hearts that marriage was not filling. After interacting with his ex-wives, John hears that neither of them is happy. As he described his current journey to see his girlfriend, it was obvious that he also is unfulfilled.
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.
Recently while flying back to Portland, I sat next to a man who worked for KLOVE, a Christian-owned corporation of radio stations that play Christian music. Because of my passion for worship and experience listening to the local KLOVE station, I queried him about how they chose the songs they aired. He told me that songs were selected according to the interests of the listeners. I challenged him on the accuracy of that statement. In essence, big labels sign artists and promote their music. While the public as a purchasing body has a say in what is popular, in fact companies sign artists based on what their market analysis determines will be well received by “young listeners.”
The top supervisor position in a Brigade I will be commanding opens at the end of the month. A team of four of us conducted interviews with three job applicants. One of the individuals on the hiring team, Jack,* clearly favored one of the applicants and pressured the rest of us to hire her. His choice did the best job fielding questions and technically seemed the most competent for the job. By the end of the interviews the team leaned towards hiring her. Inwardly I did not feel comfortable selecting her. It felt like we were rushing to make a hire—squeezed by time and loyalty to select a woman who had served in our organization a long time. I silently asked God for His help that we would do the right thing. Instead of immediately offering her the position I gained approval from the other three leaders to conduct a more thorough background check.
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.
Labor Day is a holiday celebrated in America the first Monday in September. It is unclear who first conceived of this day but for over 100 years it has served as a tribute and dedication to the social and economic achievements of American workers. Regardless of what country we live in, work is an important facet of our everyday lives.