Ralph went to the National Training Center (NTC) in California serving as the Fire Support Officer (FSO) for an infantry battalion scheduled to be evaluated. Ralph looked at the terrain model as the battalion staff discussed what tactics they should choose on their upcoming day of battle. He realized that it was very similar to terrain he had trained on with a Cavalry unit. As the leaders selected their preferred course of action he disagreed and felt they were heading into a trap. The battalion commander (BC) asked him to share his ideas. So Ralph passionately laid out a battle strategy that he was sure would defeat the opposition. His senior leaders agreed with him and the next day they won their battle decisively.
One would think that with the uncertainties of life and certainty of death, people would be intrigued, perhaps even obsessed, with knowing if there is a Creator and, if He in fact, has a plan for His creation. It amazes me how many people I meet who seem uninterested in what happens to them when they die. Yet, this is THE MOST IMPORTANT question everyone should want to know the answer to because one second after death will be too late to decide. For this reason, among many, I value theology.
On my wall is a painting of the Old Testament prophet Daniel standing on a cement floor calmly looking out a window as seven lions to his right seemingly gaze with him. His image of courage and peace in a room meant for his consumption, inspires me. Of all the saints in the Old Testament, Daniel seems the most Christlike to me.
Jim Van Yperen wrote a terrific book on resolving conflict entitled Making Peace: A Guide to Overcoming Church Conflict. One of the topics Yperen tackles is individualism. He notes specifically that western individualism actually works against spiritual vitality and fellowship because it breeds autonomy at the cost of biblical community. Individualism results in consumerism.
Dr. Gary Bredfeldt, author of Great Leader, Great Teacher, has some poignant observations to share about the character of leaders. He notes that values are valuable as principles, qualities or standards. Values represent leader beliefs that come from heartfelt commitment—that indicate emotional investment. They can be morally neutral and subjective and, as society increasingly becomes relativistic, values (which are not moral absolutes) gain greater favor. Values can be personalized and tied to race, gender or class.
Meditation Proverbs 26:20--Without wood, fire goes out; without a gossip, conflict dies down
Dr. Henry Cloud shares a concept called triangulation in his book The Power Of The Other. Triangulation sets up what he calls the victim-persecutor-rescuer (VPR) triad. I’m A and you are B and someone else is C. If I’m bothered by something you, B, have done, disagree with you or somehow feel victimized by you, this makes you the persecutor. Rather than go to you and share my concerns I go to C and share making C the rescuer. I want C’s support. This then becomes triangulation and it is always wrong despite the many reasons Christians contrive to justify this behavior.
Zerubbabel by lineage could have been a king of Judah in the line of David. Instead he served as a governor and one who was exalted by God. “‘I will take you, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, My servant’—this is the LORD’s declaration—'and make you like My signet ring, for I have chosen you.’ This is the declaration of the LORD of Hosts” (Haggai 2:23b). He was a great leader. Yet God made it clear through the prophet, Zechariah, that it was not Zerubbabel’s human power that accomplished God’ will, but rather God’s Spirit.
We know from Genesis 5 that Enoch was the seventh generation from Adam, and he is the supposed writer of The BookofEnoch considered an apocryphal book and part of the Pseudepigrapha. Enoch 100:8 states: “Woe to you, ye obstinate of heart, Who watch in order to devise wickedness; Therefore shall fear come upon you And there shall be none to help you.”
Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, coined the term disruptive innovation. Essentially it describes how a product or service begins at market bottom and then inexorably rises in the market until it at some point, displaces well-established competitors. A small, new company that is weak on resources successfully overcomes proven incumbent businesses by offering what the incumbents overlook in providing their more established clientele. An example of this is Microsoft and Apple moving into the computer industry and turning it upside down by providing affordable desktop and laptop computers.
Once upon a true time, a woman was carrying a heavy sack of cereals on her head down a dusty Kenyan road. As she walked the rutted earth on that hot sunny afternoon, a man in a blue, paint-faded pickup truck pulled up alongside her and asked, “Je! Ungependa safari?” (Would you like a ride?). The woman, after wiping the sweat off her brow, smiled at him and said, “Ndio Asante” (Yes, thank you). So, he pulled over to the side of the road, put the truck in park, and got out to help the woman. She put the sack on the truck bed and the man assisted her in climbing into the back. Then he returned to his cab and continued on his journey.
The Hebrew word navel, basically means wither or lose heart. It is used twenty times in the Old Testament. The word describes Moses in Exodus 18:18—warned about wearing out from trying to judge the people alone. Eleven times it refers to plants dying. Isaiah uses it to show people withering from sin (Isaiah 64:6). When you think of the condition of the world right now does it feel like it is withering? Such a thought should not be surprising for God warned us that this would happen.
Necessitarianism is “the doctrine that all events, including acts of the will, are determined by antecedent causes; determinism.” The word first came into usage in 1825. The philosopher Spinoza was the most famous defender of this metaphysical principle (the key groundwork of his Ethics), considered as the strongest form of hard determinism which disputes the libertarian’s concept of free will.
Trina is a disrupter. She never lasts long in organizations because she has a bad habit of stirring up trouble. When she finds weaknesses in people she exploits them. She enjoys pitting one person against another. She is a gossiping genius. At first her gregarious nature and warm appearance win her instant friends. Slowly, as they learn she cannot be trusted with information, they pull away.
I have a theory for which I would love to get your feedback. Earth’s inhabitants all spoke the same language when they were created. That ability to easily communicate fed their pride and they decided not to spread over the earth in obedience to God’s command (Genesis 1:28). They preferred to build a prodigious city with a colossal tower where they could make a name for themselves or, in essence, do whatever they felt like doing (Gen. 11:1-4). Because of their pride and idolatrous hearts God came down to their city, called Babylon, and decisively acted.
Meditation Matthew 14:12-14—Then his disciples came, removed the corpse, buried it, and went and reported to Jesus. When Jesus heard about it, He withdrew from there by boat to a remote place to be alone. When the crowds heard this, they followed Him on foot from the towns. As He stepped ashore, He saw a huge crowd, felt compassion for them, and healed their sick.
Meditation Ezra 8:21-23--I proclaimed a fast by the Ahava River, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask Him for a safe journey for us, our children, and all our possessions. I did this because I was ashamed to ask the king for infantry and cavalry to protect us from enemies during the journey, since we had told him, “The hand of our God is gracious to all who seek Him, but His great anger is against all who abandon Him.” So we fasted and pleaded with our God about this, and He granted our request.
While at a golf fundraising event I saw a marine veteran wearing a t-shirt that proclaimed, “I Identify As Vaccinated.” It radiated humor but was actually rather brilliant. It subtly broadcast with absurdity the politically-correct notion that someone can identify as whatever gender they desire. As the federal government moves to require schools to accommodate transgender students not surprisingly there is an immediate push back. College of the Ozarks is suing President Joe Biden because his executive order on “gender identity” violates the school’s religious freedom by compelling it to force their students to share dorms and shower facilities with members of the opposite sex. So let’s take a closer, deeper look at the whole issue of identity.
West Point classmate Bill Bowman shared his story with the Long Eternal Line team who gather each Tuesday night for prayer. Bill suffered a bad car accident that crushed his back and should have left him permanently paralyzed. While in the hospital Bill shared how Jesus held him and comforted him. Bill apologized for not walking the right path and the Lord shared with him that his story was not over yet. Miraculously, Bill and his wife were able to have a baby girl they named Sarah. Bill nicknamed her Suubi—a name that stuck.