Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Still Can't

Over 40, 000 people layered in winter gear on a crisp fall evening; some huddled together for warmth as you can see their cold breath.
Each person is waving a small American flag as they stand in a sign of respect as they listen to a retired military officer sing
God Bless America.

This was the scene at Game One of this year's World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals. Amidst all of the hoopla and strategy by some in recent years of taking God out of  everything that is America, herein lies  a sign of hope. Can't keep a good man down, and in this case Our Heavenly Father.

Just this past week I found myself inside my bank to make a transaction, and what to my wandering ears appeared? A Christian-themed song being played in the bank. The bank was playing a Christian radio station for it's customers. This is a sign of hope.

These two events gave me hope that not all of America has abandoned God. America needs God just as much as the other countries in the world. Perhaps this is perfect timing for America, as 94 year-old  world renowned Evangelist Billy Graham prepares to make his final sermon, which will be televised world-wide on November 7th. Although his message is more toward bringing America back to its knees, somehow I have the distinct feeling many throughout the world will be touched. God knows, we need it.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

All Things Possible

You won't find this story in the local media news nor the cable news outlets. A story that can inspire America, but it's unfortunate how well hidden it is. It's kind of like saying, "Psst...Hey, I got a secret. God is doing something great within our midst."

What was once the bloodiest maximum security prison in America, Angola Prison has been in revival for over 17 years. It all started after a police officer found Jesus and went to the prison to forgive an inmate for killing his partner. After touring the facility and seeing the raw images it portrayed, the policeman raised over $150,000 to build a 700- seat chapel.

 Since 1995, the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has been offering classes at the prison.
What were once gang members, murderers and rapists, are now ministering the gospel to other prisoners.

And today, the plan is to move a thousand minimum security prisoners to Angola Maximum Security Prison so they can be ministered and mentored to before being released to life outside prison.

Nelson Mandela once said,
 "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."


Now if only the church in America could cast away it's division between each other and work together; imagine the revival that would take place.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Survival in Unity

"Usually when you go the extra mile, you get a gold star. I got sent to the Principle's office."

Ever find yourself buried under a mountain of paperwork in your office, and then wish someone would magically appear to help you?
A Con-Way Freight driver was delivering a file cabinet to a Principle's secretary at a new school. The delivery man felt sorry for the woman and the huge mess of paperwork amidst her desk and proceeded to help get her office organized with the new file cabinet. This true story is in a Con-Way Freight ad to reach more customers.

A recurring theme that's been developing lately within the news, even in my blog post last week, is the concept of putting others before ourselves. This past weekend I watched the film Into The White, a true story of 3 German Soldiers who's plane went down during World War 2. In order for them to survive the harsh Norwegian winter in the wild, they find themselves bunkered up in a Norwegian cabin with two British Soldiers, whose plane was also shot down.

Upon crossing paths with each other at first, it is obvious that things don't start off well between these enemies. Aside from who gets to sleep in the bunks and who doesn't, and who's prisoner is who's, things dramatically change when one of the German Soldier's wound becomes worst. What I also found interesting in this story was how things drastically changed because of mutual need. And when this mutual need for each other takes place, an unlikely friendship develops between these men. Upon being rescued by Norwegian soldiers, the German Officers were placed in a Canadien Prisoner of War camp until the end of the war.

In 1977, one of the British soldier's contacted the lone surviving German Officer of that epic tale of survival. The two met in Munich and shared a few stories together.

"Even if a unity of faith is not possible, a unity of love is." - Hans Urs von Balthasar, a Swiss Theologian

You can watch this great film of survival and unity on Netflix.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

It's a Doggie, Doggie World. Or Is It?

Have you ever stumbled across something you weren't expecting to find, and then it turns out to be an awesome experience?
On my most recent vacation we were driving along the Pacific Ocean and pulled over at a beach in Del Mar, California. Upon our wondering eyes we stumbled across a dog beach; a part of the beach that is specifically for dogs and their masters. I , being a nature photographer, went crazy with the camera as I watched and laughed at these dogs and their reactions to each other and to the ocean.
I believe I counted over twenty different breeds of dogs. Everything from: Poodles to German Shepherds to Labradors to Saint Bernards and Daschunds; all playing, having fun and circling the beach in unity.

Naturally, this got me thinking about us humans and how we relate to each other, and the unfortunate government shutdown here in the United States. As the week started out with the threat of a government shutdown last Monday, Senate Chaplain Barry Black, a Rear Admiral for over twenty years, began to pray before each day's session like he always does. But this time his prayers were more direct to both political parties.

Monday's prayer included the Chaplain asking God to deliver us from governing by crisis.

The next day in his prayer he asked God to help us unite for the common good of our nation.

When the government shutdown began and both parties obviously not in unison, the Chaplain was even more direct in his prayer:
"Our Father, help us to replace cynicism with faith, and take away our selfishness, smugness, and pride.

With no end in sight to the United States Government shutdown, perhaps they could learn a lesson from dogs and practice unity.
And of course, the only way any nation can thrive and survive in unity, is if it's people follow the command of the Lord:

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. ( 2 Chronicles 7:14)

If you live in an area with no access to a Bible, checkout: www.biblegateway.com


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Great Reminder

One of the many pieces of scripture you will find at my desk is Psalm 91; a great Word to reflect upon each morning as we begin our day:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler[a]
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”
A great reminder that God cares about our life and our situations; He's got you covered.