My good friend Dan moved from Tigard to Albany Oregon to work with Dana, another mutual friend. Unfortunately, Dana’s business experienced a downturn and he had to let Dan go. In 2012 Dan felt led to stay in Albany and serve as an Associate Pastor in a Calvary Chapel.
Acts 9:13-15—“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard from many people about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And he has authority here from the chief priests to arrest all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go! For this man is My chosen instrument to take My name to Gentiles, kings, and the Israelites.”
My parents are living on a farm in Zolfo Springs with my brother Nate and his wife Melissa. Recently, their guard dog Shepherd went missing. Less than a week later, Nate’s longtime companion, Minnie, was hit and killed by a truck on the road outside their home. As my parents were out walking alongside a ditch looking for Minnie, a car stopped and the driver asked what they were looking for. A conversation ensued in which the driver asked about getting permission to fish in the farm. Dad explained that he was the owner and he would agree for Alex and his wife Elisa to fish as long as they were willing to let him share with them about Jesus. They decided that was a fair arrangement and after fishing a couple of times at the pond and catching nice Bass, Alex one afternoon sat down on the farm porch and conversed with Dad about John 3:16. He ended up placing his faith in Jesus.
Matthew 6:10—Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Let’s make a case for the ten greatest empires/kingdoms of all time.
#1. The Roman Empire: Considered preeminent for its sheer power and long-standing influence in military and political systems, art, literature, and religion.
#2. The Mongol Empire: Five times the size of Alexander the Great’s territory, Genghis Khan established a kingdom that stretched from Eastern Europe to China.
#3. The British Empire: Almost a quarter of the earth’s landmass was covered by an empire effective in warfare and trade.
2 John 6—And this is love: that we walk according to His commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: you must walk in love.
The first Biblical reference to love God is recorded in Exodus 20:6. Moses teaches the Israelites to keep God’s commands and thereby demonstrate their love for Him. So, when John defines love in his letter to his readers, he is not sharing with them a new concept. But, as we all know, it is hard to walk in love with God. How do we strengthen willpower to be better God-lovers and, in the process, improve loving others and ourselves?
Joe works hard at work and by the time he gets home he is exhausted. Too often he is impatient with his children and snaps at his wife. When he loses his temper and yells at her it is not because he wants to be a jerk or to act in such an unloving manner. The fact is his willpower is nearly sapped. Unfortunately, because of this, he is also insensitive to the fact that his wife, Alice, is also exhausted from watching high-energy children and operating at the tail end of being sick. Her willpower and ability to understand his feelings is also at a low end.
1 Peter 4:1,2—Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, equip yourselves also with the same resolve—because the one who suffered in the flesh has finished with sin—in order to live the remaining time in the flesh, no longer for human desires, but for God’s will.
For ten days I underwent training to be an assessor as part of my responsibilities for a new job I will be taking with the military. By Friday night of the second week I was exhausted. This job is intense because it requires me (when I am on call) to make a final recommendation to senior U.S. or Canadian leaders at the critical point of what appears to be an enemy attack. Because I have no experience in aviation, I have to learn new terminology and methodologies in order to make key decisions for terrible contingencies that can occur rapidly.
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.
I had the privilege for several weeks of working with four Army generals. In discussing the importance of a good reputation, several of them shared why it was vital to avoid any appearance of impropriety. Their conduct was measured not just by standards but also the perception of those standards. Aside from their own moral and spiritual convictions what they were willing to do or not do was tied directly to the people they served. I was encouraged that powerful men modeled integrity with humility.
Why did God scatter people across the globe and confuse their languages? The Scriptural interpretation for an offended God is often based on a literal reading of Genesis 11:4, “And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky. Let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise, we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” But why would God be angry with people for plotting to fabricate some skyscraping tower? I don’t know any stupid architects. No one can build anything that reaches heaven. Therefore, there had to be something about the purpose of the tower that drew God’s wrath. Marvin Rosenthal provides us analysis from his careful research.
Samson amazingly typified the nation of Israel. He was specially chosen by God, and empowered with eye-popping strength. Yet, like his countrymen, he chose the cravings of his flesh and failed miserably. What prompted the man set apart for God to make decisions set apart from God?
Prayer can be one of the most disingenuous exercises we undertake as Christians. When I go to the Lord in conversation am I intent on discerning His will or am I out to gain my own agenda? My life is full of plans. I know what I would like to happen. It’s my life and I know what is best for me. Immediately I have gone astray. I have made the cardinal error that so many Christians insist on making.
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.
Each year senior military officers attending the Army War College choose a gift to present to the school. Because of differing tastes, this exercise of selecting a gift proves to be the most contentious challenge each class will face. Typically, students pick a reputable artist and commission that artist to paint a historical event the class chooses. Civil war themes are by far the most popular and sell the most prints. One year when the artist revealed his sketch, one southern student on the selection committee complained that there were no confederate soldiers present. Another member objected that no black Americans were depicted. So they sent the artist back to his canvas. Imagine their surprise when the clever painter produced a beautiful portrait of black Union soldiers guarding sullen Confederate prisoners!
Psalm 32:5,10--Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not conceal my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You took away the guilt of my sin. Selah . . . Many pains come to the wicked, but the one who trusts in the Lord
will have faithful love surrounding him.
I was supposed to go to Hawaii for two weeks of military duty. I’ve always wanted to visit that island paradise so I was pretty excited. Until I received a notice in the mail telling me my orders were rescinded. When I called the people responsible for issuing them I discovered that another person with the last name of York was supposed to have his duty cancelled but mine was mistakenly revoked. It was too late to correct the mistake. Instead, the Army sent me to North Carolina. Because of that snafu I ended up attending a Civil Affairs course. This in turn enabled me to join a unit less than seven miles from our home and ultimately to leave the Infantry to become a Civil Affairs officer. In the course of the last five years, God has given me wonderful opportunities to meet people and serve in challenging assignments all because of a clerical goof. Looking back, I see the hand of the Lord at work redirecting my steps.
When we look at a glass to fill it we stop pouring before the water reaches the top of the cylinder. When we stand on the staircase and contemplate jumping (for those of us who have not yet attained full maturity), we only leap as far as we believe our legs are able to sustain the impact of landing without incurring injury. When we drive an automobile, we know what speeds to go to operate the vehicle safely. When given a task by God, we measure what we will do by what we determine is our capacity. And immediately we superimpose our notion of our capability upon our Creator.
On Oct. 9, 2001, Old Guard 1st Sergeant Robert Watson stood rigidly at attention ready to receive a freshly folded American flag from the casket of a soldier killed by the September 11 attack on the Pentagon. But as a member of the prestigious detail moved to hand Old Glory to Watson, he refused to receive it. A small sliver of white was visible in the triangular fold. Only the blue and white stars should have shown. With his hand he could have covered the mistake and few if any would have noticed the flaw. But while the family waited and a number of VIPs, to include the Chief of Staff of the Army watched, 1st Sgt. Watson stood unmoving.
“Strength as One” is a great class motto. Attending my 20th West Point reunion was a fresh reminder of a unique gathering of unpretentious classmates who are a joy to be around and a blessing in so many ways. By measured statistics, the class of ’81 is special both in service to our country and in generosity. I found myself again humbled that God would allow me, a scrawny missionary kid from the Philippines, the privilege of spending four years of my life with such outstanding people.