Meditation 2 Corinthians 2:14-16—But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life. And who is competent for this?
Adriano made a mistake. The Uruguayan was given $500 in pesos from his uncle to help pay for his tuition. Instead of paying the University of Montevideo, he loaned it to a friend who claimed his mother was sick and unable to pay her hospital bills. Later, Adriano found out he had lied to him and used the money to gamble. When the school bill was due, the friend couldn’t pay him back, so he had to explain to his uncle why he dropped a class.
On Saturday, family and friends gathered to honor and remember Ralph Erickson. Ralph lived a whole life of 90 years, serving as an Army Chaplain, a Clinical Pastor, and a Grief Counselor. Married twice (both of his wives, Joanna and Darlene, passed away), Ralph was a man who loved Jesus and who cared deeply about his family and people. He served as an Army Chaplain for 24 years, with two tours in Vietnam. He received the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, and the Air Medal (a medal for aviators awarded him for the incredible number of hours he spent on helicopters to minister to troops).
A Russian proverb says, “Repetition is the mother of learning.” Zig Ziglar noted, “Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.” Great leaders are masters of repetition and recognize it as a tool for more effective leading.
Will is a senior at Liberty University and a member of the Army ROTC program. He will commission as an officer in less than a month. I was blessed when he asked me to help him create a sponsorship program for their ROTC department. In this case, sponsors are older men or women who have served in the military as senior officers or NCOs and who are willing to be mentors to any of the cadets who would like to be paired with them to meet and learn and become better prepared to serve as officers. With the help of four mature individuals I was able to recruit, we shared with several cadets who came out on a Monday evening to learn about the critical importance of mentoring.
Meditation 2 Corinthians 5:11--Therefore, because we know the fear of the Lord, we seek to persuade people. We are completely open before God, and I hope we are completely open to your consciences as well.
Last week I decided to learn how to play the fastest-growing sport in the nation—pickleball. So far, I have played five times in three locations and met over forty people. The game is described as a marriage between ping pong and badminton, or as I like to say, ping pong on steroids. It is a ton of fun, and I’m amazed at how friendly and welcoming the community is.
Five women work for an organization that helps relocate children who have illegally crossed the border to reputed family members living in the States. They take great pride in their work and ensure the safety of the kids they accompany. But then they began to notice a pattern—children they were asked to escort were sent to locations where there was suspected child trafficking and sexual abuse. When they raised concerns and pointed out case study reports that should have kept the children from being “dropped off,” the government overruled their concerns. Their own “Christian” organization, while acknowledging their reports and expressing support, turned a blind eye choosing profit over principle.
The walk of faith is constantly filled with paradoxes. Think about it! We must surrender to win. We must fall to rise. We must bow to be blessed. We must die to live. And if you are a Paratrooper, you must jump from the aircraft for the parachute to open. We are constantly bombarded with this or that view of faith.
Over forty years ago, on April 1, 1982, I pinned on a US Army Ranger Tab. When I began that program on February 2, 1982, I started with some of the Army’s best soldiers. God used it as one of the most formative lessons in my walk with Him, so that I might know Him better.
Ralph was invited to preach by pastors who had seen his television program broadcast throughout Latin America. Two pastors met him at the airport and took him to the venue—an auditorium full of worshipers. As the service progressed, the host pastor asked Ralph to be finished preaching by 9:00 p.m. so people who required public transportation could make the last bus. Two groups provided music and even played some of the same songs. An offering was taken, and the person facilitating it decided to preach a short message and then had one of the bands come up and play yet another song. By the time Ralph was introduced to speak it was 8:55!
Janet has her own cleaning service; for years, she had no trouble gaining enough clients to run a successful business because of her work quality. As her business expanded, she hired another worker, and that’s when the problems began. When Janet cleans a room, it is immaculate, but with her new employee Justin, it was not the same. She showed him the cleaning materials to use and demonstrated what “right looks like.” At first, she thought his cleaning lapses merely required on-the-spot corrections. But Justin’s work continually languished. He responded with excuses when she would point out deficiencies rather than learn and improve. After three frustrating months, she had to let him go.
Meditation Romans 8:3-4--What the law could not dosince it was limited by the flesh,God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like oursunder sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplishedin us who do not walk according to the fleshbut according to the Spirit.
My dad loves to teach the men he is discipling the five steps in training a man (applicable to men and women): 1. Tell them why they should follow Christ—Matthew 4:19. 2. Show them how to follow Christ—John 14:21. 3. Get them started in following Christ—Luke 9:23. 4. Keep them going as it relates to following Christ—John 15:4. 5. See that they pass it on . . . reproduce what they have learned—Mark 6:7,12. Let’s focus on the fifth step establishing that training effectively occurred.
Mary Geegh is one of my heroes. She wrote a fascinating booklet called God Guides. Mary wrote, “I determined to listen to God for guidance in all matters, and I promised Him I would obey whatever He told me.” Mary had a critical spirit towards a coworker, so, in line with her new conviction, she asked God’s guidance on how to repair the rift between them. God told her to give her colleague a fresh egg. Mary thought that would insult her and resisted God’s prompting. But later, with prodding, she did what God asked, and He used that egg to refresh the woman and to bring new love into Mary’s heart for her—all the friction was gone! Mary created a habit that would change her life and give her countless stories of God miraculously working in her and through her for His Kingdom.
Patricia P. Driscoll and Celia Straus wrote in Hidden Battle on Unseen Fronts, “As a society, we don’t take very good care of one another. Ours is a disposable culture: our children, our elders, our ill and infirm, our natural resources are often ignored, overlooked, forgotten or mistreated.” Did you know that respect for the elderly is tied in scripture to reverence for God? God did not make people obsolete, objects of derision or relics to be ignored or kept out of the way. We as a society have done this because collectively, we view feebleness and weakness as properties to be avoided. We don’t wish to be reminded of the last chapters or days of life before death. We want to be strong, healthy and admired. But we see life from such a limited and sadly vain vantage. God made life, and He made it with eternity in mind. When we disrespect the elderly, we disrespect what He created, which is never a good practice.
Cassandra was baptized in church on Easter in front of hundreds of cheering people. Her testimony was amazing. She spoke of getting pregnant as a young teenager. She shared her struggles with shame, feelings of inferiority, and rejection. Then she testified how a stranger introduced her to Jesus but that she had not followed Him. She credited her husband with getting her involved with the right crowd of people who taught her what it means to pursue God. Now her life is on a heaven-honoring trajectory. She loves ministering to people and most importantly pursuing God.
What is the source of wisdom? Is it academic institutions? If we want to be wise is the best method to gain the highest degree and be immersed in learning institutions, listening to teachers and professors? Or is it experience? Do we agree with Confucius? “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” Will Rogers had a more colorful adaptation, “There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.”
Meditation Daniel 5:26-28--This is the interpretation of the message: MENE means that God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end. TEKEL means that you have been weighed in the balance and found deficient.PERES means that your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.