Walking In Your Wilderness

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Deuteronomy 32:10 says “He found him in a desert, and in a howling waste of a wilderness, He encircled him, He cared for him as the apple of His eye”. What a powerful picture is painted here of God’s concern and care for those who a wandering in a wilderness of life. It matters not if they chose it for themselves, it happened unexpectedly or God Himself actually took them there. The point is, they were in it alone, and in His own time God came to them and cared for them, whether they deserved it or not.

I say the above because there is a time in everyone’s life when they find ourselves totally alone. This is not so much a physical thing, but it’s more of an emotional and spiritual season of isolation. When it finds us, we cannot avoid the impact it has on everything we hold dear. This wandering might last a few weeks, a few months or even longer, but once it arrives, it does not depart until it’s work is done. This isolated plateau of the soul is identified in the Bible as a place called “the wilderness”. We arrive in this place by ourselves, distracted and in an unrefined condition, but rest assured, we will not leave it the same way.

In this empty season no one is there to carry us, guide us or give us the companionship we think we need. Not one person is there at our side, providing step by step instructions to bring us into the new place we need to be. The fact is, every man or woman of God who is destined to fulfill their life calling, has to make this journey. Even those who do not know God, but are hungry to do better, will be taken to this place. The truth is, I believe this trip into the wasteland of our soul, is a necessary part of healthy personal and spiritual growth. As a result, it is my conviction that these times of barrenness should not be avoided, but they should be looked at with clarity, embraced with sincerity and fully walked out.

It is only during our wilderness experience that we are fundamentally changed. Our metal is tested, our character is developed and our flaws are painfully exposed. It can be a powerful time of personal evaluation and transformation. The excess baggage and wrong thinking we have picked up in life are finally thrown off. What is really important and genuinely necessary comes into clear focus, perhaps for the first time. For some, this brings a shocking revelation of how shallow and self-absorbed they really are. For others, it is a grand adventure as they rediscover who they are, and begin to build upon that good foundation to become even better. These are powerful times we enter into alone and unsettled, but emerge focused and quite comfortable in our own skin.

I was just in such a season not long ago. I got back from a powerful ministry trip to the Philippines. Myself and an Apostle did two conferences and ministered at numerous church meetings. When I returned home, my wife then flew off to California to be with our daughter, who was having our 10th grandchild. I was alone in our house, after all that personal attention and activity, surrounded by the “stuff” of our lives. I was totally alone for two weeks, and the impact this had on me was quite deep. It became a time of introspection, where I was able to seek God, ponder my life and consider how I got “here”. I reflected on the family I grew up in, the wilderness seasons I had been through, and the lessons I learned that made me the man I am.

I pondered how my father was a strong presence of security in our home. He made us feel wanted, valued and safe. He was an intelligent, slender, quiet, thoughtful man who spoke very few words, but meant every word he said. He was kind and gentle, filled with internal strength yet tender. He had a will of iron and a backbone that could support it. He was an outdoors-men to the bone and loved the woods, but could still carry his own with any city dweller. His word was his bond. He had a peaceful stability about him that filled our lives, and had the power to make everything alright, even when it wasn’t. On his death bed, his bright blue eyes looked at me with a calm resolve and they were able to reassured me that even this would be fine.

His example, both the good and the bad, served to shape me in ways I am just now discovering. Among other things, he taught me the wholesome value of a strong cup of hot, black tea and a slow cooked venison stew. He taught me the blessing of honest work and the need for personal sacrifice when it came to family. He showed me that failing to plan for retirement meant you could never retire. He showed me how to love the wife God gave me, and how to care for my family, no matter what the personal cost might be. He demonstrated the value of living debt free, and within our financial means. He also showed me why it was important to pay cash for the things we needed or wanted. The truth is, my father taught me how to be a real man.

Because of that, I became the kind of man my children could look up to. I showed them it’s OK to not always be right, but it is good to always be willing to make things right. They learned how to be a leader in their own homes, and the voice of reason to their children, when it is needed. They were shown how to love their wives and children in ways that are meaningful to them, and to do what must be done to provide for their families. Most of all, I taught them not to see the government as their source of income. Welfare is NOT a lifestyle, it is an emergency crutch until someone who needs it can get back on your feet. They were taught to seek God, plan with care and work hard. They learned from me that these things are more than enough to bring them all the provision they will ever need.

How did I learn these things, you might ask? These truth’s became life lessons during my wilderness wanderings. They became real when there was no one to prop me up or carry me, but Jesus. It was the time I found myself needing a teaching job. I prayed and sought God, and the perfect job opened up where there had been none the week before. It was the time I quit my teaching job, at age 35, and my a wife and three boys followed me back to college. We needed a place to live in Plattsburgh NY, and out of nowhere an apartment opened up near the college that we could afford. It was the time our cupboards were totally empty and I gave my sons the last of the powdered milk and instant mashed potatoes for breakfast. I went to class hungry that morning, but when I returned home that evening, food filled our shelves, our hallway and every counter top in our kitchen. I told no one but God about our need, and He showed me His faithfulness.

Without those wilderness journey’s my knowledge of God, and experiences with Him, would be sorely lacking. Unless I had been willing to walk through those barren wastelands, I would have never seen God’s ability to bring such abundant provision in my desperate lack. My faith was built up, my trust was properly anchored and my life story was enriched, all because of a desert trip. How grateful I am that many times God has led me into a waste-howling wilderness, to be tempted, tried and tested. At times I failed, but even in my failure I still learned valuable lessons that changed my life forever. The truth is, I would not trade those experiences for any amount of money or fame, because they made me, and my family, what we are today.

Right now, are you looking at a dry, sandy landscape, where there is no water and everything looks dead? Are you feeling alone in a barren landscape, with no clear answers, and you wonder where God is in all of it? If so, let me suggest to you that your current condition is actually designed by God to change you in ways you don’t yet understand. He is simply doing with you the very same thing He did with Jesus. What a privilege that is!

You need to walk it out, one step at a time, and pray with an honest and pure heart. You need to get real about your weaknesses until you find the place of rest in God. Once you are open to change and ready embrace your own weakness, you can then exchange your whole, weak mess for the strength God offers. Until then, you will find yourself a desert dweller. Perhaps this is your time to finally change and fully embrace the truth about who you really are. Once that’s been done, you can move on. Never forget that today’s wilderness is the perfect foundation for the God-ordained life you will walk in tomorrow !

The Power Of Restoration

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Over the years, I have fished streams, lakes and the ocean around NY State, Canada and in Alaska. Every trip has been a blessing and a privilege I genuinely enjoyed. Although I appreciate every kind of fishing, my favorite will always be a small trout stream like the one in this photographed which I took yesterday. I am sure this is because I spent many hours as a boy, with a trout rod in my hand, standing beside my father. He took me into the little-known trout ponds and hidden streams that he had fished since the early 1900’s. These places, in the heart of the Adirondacks, were untouched natural gems, where we went to get away from people, be together in the woods, and bring home dinner. Dad was one of the last old-time guides in Northern New York, and his love for trout fishing was no secret. Fortunately, he instill that same love within my heart and soul as well.

A pristine trout stream, like the one above, is a thing of beauty and mystery. Each rock in the water, overhanging bank and deep bend in the river presents a new challenge, and a new possibility for catching Speckled Trout. Once you learn to “read” a particular stream, it begins to feel like an old friend that will give up it’s secrets and bounty, every time you go. That friendship can last a lifetime, but it has to be maintained, nurtured, and cared for from year to year. You steward that stream, which means you never abuse it, over use it, or neglect the signs that it may be in need of rest. I have a number of these in the Adirondack Mountains, and I cherish each one.

Over the past 30 years, I discovered these old friends through many different avenues. Some were found by driving back roads on my old 1980 Honda CX500, while others were located by searching topographic maps. Some I found during hunting season, and others I just stumbled upon as a blessing from God. One in particular, is very special to me, because I found it on a day when I was ready to give up. I stopped my motorcycle on a back road, just to rest, clear my thoughts, talk to God and settle my heart after going through a very painful divorce. The moment I shut the engine off, I heard the unmistakable sound of running water, yet there was nothing in sight to indicate it was there. When I pressed through the heavy brush, a small, healthy trout stream caught my eye, yet I had never seen it on any topo map. For a fisherman, this is the equivalent of hitting the lottery, and it changed my life.

Regardless of how a stream came to my attention, each is a treasure to me, and I guard their location with everything in me. Once a kid in our neighborhood tried to follow me to a stream, but I knew his car. After seeing the same vehicle behind me for several miles, and several turns,  I took him on a trip through the mountains.  Eventually I stopped at a diner for a very long breakfast, while he sat in his car on the road side. Upon leaving the diner, I walked up to him and handed him a cup of coffee, saying, “Hope you enjoyed this scenic Saturday morning drive”, then I drove home.  My friends have seen pictures of the trout I catch on a regular basis, and many ask me to take them fishing. My response is always the same , “sure, where would you like to go?” If they want me to reveal one of my streams, my response is something like, “If I did, I’d have to kill you”.

My reason for being so secretive about these streams is rooted in a harsh reality that showed up a few years ago. I broke the “Emmons family rule” and took a friend with me to one of my local streams. The time together was fun, but it brought out an unhealthy competition in me which destroyed the solitude, and sense of unrushed peace I  long for in those places. Worse than that, I didn’t realize by bringing another person there, I doubled the fishing pressure on that stream, which upset the management I had established for it over the years

Within two years, the size and number of trout caught in those waters dropped way off. For all practical purposes, I knew I would probably have to write that stream off my list. Then, to add even more problems into the mix, he took others to my stream. Soon I saw that several people had found this stream. There were other sets of boot tracks on the bank when I arrived to fish, and a bit of trash left behind which I picked up when I left. I realized this was the death knell to a stream I loved, and had fished successfully for more than a decade. It also sealed in me the absolute rule that I never reveal a productive trout stream to anyone.

Yesterday I decided to try one of my other dead streams again, as I traveled north on my cx500 for a morning of fishing. I stopped at my favorite diner for breakfast, and while eating my eggs and rye toast, a thought crossed my mind. I wondered if one of my old “friends” had come back to life. You see, I have not driven on this specific dirt road, past that stream for the last 4 years. I knew it had basically been fished to death. Since it was empty for so long, I wondered if everyone else had abandoned it as a lost cause. If that was the case, there might be a chance it had come back to life, and was restored to it’s former productive state.

I drove down the old familiar dirt road and parked out of sight. Then I hiked the half mile back into the woods where I knew the stream took a sharp bend. At that spot there is a deep, clean pool of water that undercuts a glacial boulder which sits right in the middle of the stream. I pulled the ultra-light rod from my creel and baited the snelled hook. The moment my nightcrawler hit the water, there was a splash, and the line was rapidly pulled under that rock.  My heart pounded as I set the hook, and sure enough, out of the water came a beautiful 9-inch speckled trout. That was the first of many I caught on that stream. I kept four, and the rest I threw back. I am pleased to say that my stream has been restored, and the power of that restoration has revitalized something in me as well.

You may be in a place where something you once loved and cherished has been lost. Perhaps it happened through a mistake you made, or through something someone else did in ignorance. Whatever caused the problem, let me suggest that the best thing you can do is relax, give it time to rest, and let things heal.  Stop second guessing why things happened as they did. Does it really matter at this point?  Embrace your situation and accept the fact that they are what they are. Just let it go!  Like my trout stream, if given enough time, everything in your life will work itself out as it should be. Restoration, in one form or another, will surely come to you. Be encouraged! If God can restore a trout stream to better than it was before, then he can surely bring restoration to you!

Now go have a great day and enjoy every moment of the life you have.

A Stone On Your Head

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In 1834 the following story was written by English historians who were compiling a review of County Crayke. It is the true account of a gentlemen named Simeon Ellerton.

“Simeon Ellerton died here, Crayke, North Yorkshire, England, January 3, 1799, at the advanced age of 104. He was a noted pedestrian, and was often employed by gentlemen in the neighborhood on commissions to London and other places, which he always executed on foot, with fidelity and diligence. He lived in a neat stone cottage of his own building; and what was remarkable, he had literally carried it upon his head!

It being his practice to bring home from every journey the proper stone he could pick up on the road, and place it on his head, until he had accumulated a sufficient quantity to erect his habitation, by which time, although the motive had ceased, this practice had grown so much into a habit, that he imagined he could travel the better for having a weight upon his head and he seldom came home without some loading. If any person inquired his reason, he used facetiously to answer, ‘’Tis to keep on my hat’.”

The article went on to say that local residents all thought he was a “curious fellow”, a bit touched in the head, or at the very least, a bit eccentric. Because of his practice, the term “rocks on your head” began to be used to describe anyone who acted out of the norm, or had behavior considered a bit strange. What is fascinating, is that the term is still in use today. It has come down to us in the form of “rocks in your head”. Yet the fact is, the man it was intended to mock,  actually lived an honorable life. He was trusted and respected by all who hired him, and lived to the ripe old age of 104, during a time when the average person died before the age of 50. Hardly the life of one who should be mocked!

For me this is such a great story. It demonstrates the value of quiet resolve, personal diligence and clear vision, which are so important if you are going to accomplish anything in life. Let’s face it, few people today would stop to ask why a man was walking the roadside with a rock on his head. Most would assume he was mentally unhinged, or an emotional prisoner to some trauma in life. He would most likely be reported to the authorities and locked in some psychiatric ward. Fewer still would have the diligence, fortitude and patience to carry out a practice everyone questioned. The mockery of others, and the sheer magnitude of the task at hand, would simply wear them out.

There is a powerful lesson to be learned from the humble determination of the man who carried a rock on his head. He is the model for all of us who think outside the box. We all live in a world that tries to conform us to it’s way of doing things. Dress like this, talk like that, think like this and act like so. Drive this car, use this makeup, live in this kind of house and dress in these clothes. Conform, or you are an outcast and will have no work! The point is, most people are nothing more than rats running in a social maze and they are too blind, or too scared, to see things for what they really are.

And so, those of us with a rock on our head, who carry this load along life’s road, are doing so because it secures our future.  We are carrying the stones of a place not yet built, where we will live free, think free and enjoy independence from that which influences and manipulates the rest of the world. Run like mindless lemmings, if you so desire, into the sea that this world offers. But, as for me, I will go against that flow every time, and much prefer to be the odd ball. An outcast in some circles, perhaps, but who cares! While they are running like gerbils on their caged-in treadmills, I am having amazing failures and wonderful adventures in the real world that take my breath away!

I, and those like me, are the curious ones that others wonder about, as we serve God, pray and live biblically principled lives. We gladly walk our road with a rock on our head, knowing that in time we will have a “neat stone cottage” approved by God. It may not be tomorrow, but one stone at a time it will be built. As this world goes it’s merry way, deeper into conformity and sin, laughing, mocking and looking at us with curiosity, we will be building a future that will not be shaken, one stone on our head at a time. My question is, what’s on your head my friend, and what future are you building?  If you don’t like what you see, let me invite you to join us on our journey into the presence of God. You won’t regret it! Now go find a nice stone….. and have a great day!

 

Life As A Priority

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In the early 1900’s, life in rural America was so much simpler than it is today. Many, like myself, think this was life as it should be. The steam locomotive, wagon and horse were the main forms of transportation. Every community had a hardware store and blacksmith shop. The general store, post office and barbershop were gathering places for local news. The sawmill and gristmill were centers of community commerce, and farmers brought their crops into town to sell locally. People were happy to depend on each other in times of crises, or to meet basic, daily needs.

Life was slower, less distracted and more deliberate in those days, and each season had its own necessary preparations. There were family gardens and crops to be planted in spring, structures to be built in summer, wood to be cut, a harvest to be brought in and animals to be hunted in the Fall, and winter was used to mend, fix and prep everything for the next year. Front porches on every house were lined with comfortable wooden rockers that adults sat in during the evening and they shared a cup of coffee and good conversation. Best of all, neighbors looked out after each other on a daily basis and there was a sense of belonging that cemented things into that specific time and place.

The cars, bicycles and motorcycles were novelties, for the most part, and the average person viewed them as toys for the rich. People heated their homes with wood and lighted the night with kerosene lamps or home made candles. Hand made bi-planes crawled into the air under the guidance of inexperience daredevils, who landed them in empty fields that served as airports. Doctors made house calls and left the necessary medicine for their patients, all for a whopping price of $5. Milk and heavy cream were delivered in glass bottles to the front door by local dairy’s along with eggs, cheese and butter.

A “tab” was run up at local stores by most everyone, and this was paid off without interest, at the end of the month. Loans were made, and finances exchanged with nothing more than a handshake and a verbal agreement. No signed contracts were needed, and in many cases, no one wrote down how much was borrowed. People were basically honest, but beyond that, they knew their family name was on the line if they failed to honor their agreement. There was genuine trust and respect that people gave to one another, and nothing less was to be expected.

There was one school in each community and it had locally hired teachers who taught two elementary grade levels in a single room. Each high school grade had it’s own room and teachers specialized in two or three subjects. Elementary teachers stayed with the same class all day while those in high school rotated between classrooms and grade levels to be taught different subjects. Students all walked to school, there were no busses, and they either carried their lunch in a brown paper bag or ran home to eat at lunchtime. The average class size in these community schools was 8 to 12 students per grade level, and that was also the size of each graduating class.

It’s hard to believe, but this is very close to the world I grew up in. Our small village in the northern Adirondacks seemed to have a “Brigadoon” quality about it that resisted modernization. It disliked change of any kind, and each new decade took it further and further out of step with the world that was changing all around it. Quite honestly, we were proud of that fact, and in many ways I still am. Why? Because, I got to live in a world that was quickly vanishing away. I got to know some of the life my father had lived, in the early 1900’s, and it connected me to him and to our family history. I not only heard his stories of years gone by, but I was able to experience some of them for myself, which made them real.

Dad road in an open wagon, and I got to ride in the back of his 1954 Willies truck on summer nights. He swam in Sumner Brook on hot summer days, and 55 years later so did I. I attended the same schoolhouse he did, sat in the same desks and wrote on the same chalkboards. Our family ate breakfast and dinner together as a family every day, and life rotated around when those meals were ready. We adjusted our activities to our family mealtime, not our mealtime to our activities. Eating at my mother’s table was a constant that established our family life and time together.

Now imagine this; when I was 9 years old my father called Cohen’s Hardware Store, just down the hill from our house, and told the clerk to give me two “farmers helpers”. Dad was clearing stumps and rocks from our backfield and these made the job much easier. With $2 in hand I arrived at the store, handed the clerk the money, and he gave me two paper bags. One had sawdust in it and the other did not. He then gave me stern instructions to keep them separate and take them directly to my father.

What was in the two bags? One held two blasting caps with 10 inch fuses, and the other held sawdust that encased and two half sticks of dynamite, called “blanks”. Once a blasting cap was inserted into the “blank”, and the fuse was lit, you were in business to remove any stump or rock that might be in the way. Today people would be arrested for such a thing, but back them it was just everyday life. I had a respect for the power of what I held and I also respected my father. In addition I trusted the store clerk and they both trusted me to do exactly as I was told. Needless to say I did not let them down and the whole system worked fine. There were no permits, no laws broken and no harm was done. It was regulation free and worked for everyone.

We learned respect for authority, obedience to our parents and we accepted the wisdom of common sense. We listened to what would be dangerous, or wrong, and we kept that knowledge close at hand. We took responsibility for our actions and discovered the value of honoring the old ways that served past generations so well. The deep-rooted connection to the life that had always been, was embraced as truth, and it kept us safe, brought focus and connected us together as a community.

This was the life for me during the 1950’s, and when it began to disappear, something in me disappeared with it. The sense of permanence, historical family foundations and the knowledge of knowing where you belonged, began to fade away. Then my mother moved from our hometown at the age of 90, and a few years later Normans General Store closed, after being there for 120 years. With these two events, all connection to who we had always been was gone. Every tie to family history, and the reality that I could no longer go “home” was a shock. It set me adrift, and I felt like I was floating in a sea of uncertainty in a rapidly changing world that clearly would never be the same.

I was eventually able to get my bearings because the core values of that solid, grounded, generational life, served me well. However, many today live their lives with a directionless, rootless apathy. The need for job security often moves families across the country multiple times. Statistics show that people move, on average, every 5 years. Today, huge schools bus children in from miles around, and class sizes average in the hundreds. Millions of dollars are spent on sports programs, free breakfast and lunches and special clubs. Yet with all of this, more children are overweight, the quality of education continues to fall and students are less prepared for the workforce than ever before.

Where is the answer in all of this? Are we to go back to the horse and buggy, the kerosene lamp and the hand pump of 100 years ago? No, but we might do well to go back and revisit the values, the priorities and the heart of those earlier times. Imagine what it would be like to rediscover the art of human connection. Think of how wonderful conversation could be without the constant interruption of television, computer screens or cell phones buzzing and chirping invasively into every moment of the day. How grand would it be to sit around the dinner table and eat a well-prepared meal rather than rushing off to yet another event.

How in the world do you do this? One word: PRIORITIES! The priority you place on things always determines how they fit into the life you live. There is no exception to the rule, and no way to avoid the consequences either. You will always, and I mean always, find time for what’s really important. Tell me your kids are important, yet you are always working and never have time for them; YOU LIE! Say that family is important, yet you never take a vacation together, never do fun things as a family and rarely share your thoughts or feelings: YOU LIE! Say that saving for retirement is important but you constantly go into debt and buy things that you can’t afford; YOU LIE!

Let me challenge you to live a life of priorities. Set a standard that others will be blessed by. Set the wrong priorities and it will become a curse. Living a life of priorities is the only way to live happy and fulfilled. We may not be able to go back to what was, but we can get our priorities straight and capture a better way to live. If you want to recover some of what has been lost, let me encourage you to consider the above. If you will, you can change what is, and those who follow after you will be able enjoy the history you have created. Let me ask you, in the end, what’s that worth!

Caught In The Grip Of BI

Over the years I have witnessed many different levels of, and reasons for, ignorance. Some of it was induced by multiple generations of a welfare poverty mentality, and some came because of high school drop-out followed by the inability to get a good job. Some came through drugs and alcohol, while others embraced ignorance because of rebellion to authority. This was usually punctuated by a lifestyle of crime and repeted stays in jail. Whatever the reason, there is yet one more occurrence of ignorance that is most tragic of all. This is BI – Blind Ignorance!

The grip BI  has on those who are mindlessly following, and emotionally manipulated by it, is extreme. This crippling ideology is painfully evident in those who lost the last presidential election. The inability to coop with or face life, irrational fear of elected officials, public displays of despondency and confusing truth with unfounded rumors are all part of this new bizarre malady. Grown adults need comfort pets, play dough therapy and child regression sessions in order to return to work or college classes, and get through their grieving process. Why? Well…  things didn’t go their way and they don’t know how to accept it….. REALLY??!!

BI afflicts the well educated and the uneducated. It infects those who have been taught selective US history rather than documented historical truth. It invades college campuses through liberal professors, and is found in high school classrooms that exchange traditional education for social indoctrination. It is evident in liberal courtrooms where frivolous lawsuits are accepted as a way for “victims” to rake in millions of dollars rather than do an honest day’s work. It is seen where activist judges of lower courts stop an entire branch of the US government and hold the country hostage by keeping it from protecting it’s citizens of the invasive  aggression of a violent religious ideology . Youth sports programs promote it when they incorrectly assert that every kid deserves a trophy, no matter how mediocre their skill level or uncommitted they were to the team.

Saddest of all, it arises in emotionally driven mobs who take to the streets without really knowing why. These groups accept any information from any source that supports their current emotional state. Being so openly distressed and driven by a herd mentality, they refuse to look at the actual facts that might unravel their newest cause. They scream their latest mantra while blocking traffic, and wearing pink “V” hats that represent female genetalia. Keep in mind, this is the same group that claimed they were ready to run the nation. How scary is that??? 

When we observe those who are driven by B I , we see logic, honor, compassion, free speech and the rule of law all get thrown to the wind. The collective mindset becomes the ruling force, and the raging voices suspend the legal rights of  those not in the flow. Celebrities chime in as “experts” to be reckoned with, and the news media jumps in with one overblown report after a another to verify the “crisis” and vilify any opposition. Basically, B I  means things revert back to what ruled during the French Revolution or the slave trade of Africa. This is the idea that “might and misinformation makes right”. If you are well funded,  loud enough, violent enough and disruptive enough, long enough,  you MUST be right.

Does this kind of disruptive socialism sound strangely familiar? It should, because it’s what started happening since the historic election of President Trump. It is world history on rewind. In fact, historical truth is full of clear examples provided for us by Marks, Lenin, Alynski , Mau Tse Tung and Hitler. All of these used the same pattern of social unrest, mob rule and B I  to force their utopian ideals on an unsuspecting and uninformed public. Once emboldened by lawless unrest, that goes unpunished, the ideology spreads. When it comes to illegitimate anarchy, B I is the preferred weapon of choice because it works at a gut level on uninformed, emotional mobs. Most importantly,  emotionally driven mobs identify with B I  rather quickly and react to it with unisoned ease.

So what is the solution to a world that is being swept up and carried away by one blind, emotionally ignorant, deliberately planted, half-truth after another? As people march, and burn, and shout their way past reason, free speech and free elections, what is the antidote to such viral, misinformed stupidity?  Very simply put,  it’s truth…BIBLICAL TRUTH! Fresh relationship with God and His Word, can rescue nations. Teach it, embrace it, dig for it, hold on to it and don’t move until you know you have it.

In addition, go back to the roots of real journalism and let investigative reporting uncover the documented facts. Learn what was actually said or done, and by whom. Expose people to the context, not just the content  of statements. Interview who was actually present as an eye witness at the time, and print their observations, rather than what sells copy. Honest, genuine journalism. Imagine that! The evening news actually containing factual news of interest like it did when reported by Chet Huntly, David Brinkly and Walter Cronkite.

Until we remove political agendas, deliberate slanting of information,  blatant bias and “leaked” misinformation, designed to incriminate the opposition, there will be no return to civilized life as we know it. News agencies and reporters need to stop editorializing, stop demonizing and  stop criticizing. Investigate, uncover the truth, factualize and confirm the information you have collected. Only then are you fit to  report those findings to the public. Any personal commenting beyond the unvarnished facts is NOT your call, and does not help the nation.

Finally, we must embrace our foundational faith in God once again. That means we must face the reality of what does not work. Religions, cults, livestyles and political ideologies that are incompatible with, resistant to and hostile against a Biblically sound lifestyle must go. If it is in conflict with God’s word, then it’s not for us. We are a constitutional republic with a governing body that set in place clearly defined laws, courts and law enforcement. These were all built on biblical principles, and were established to protect the honest, support the helpless and punish the lawless. 

 Move away from that truth and this system will degrade, continue to falter and ultimately fail. Our founders knew that such an experimental system would only work in a society of godly, moral and honest people. As we have slipped from these foundational moorings, we have lost the very anchor that brought stability, clarity and vision that made our nation great. 

So in all this,  what is the real enemy we should be fighting? It’s BI, blind ignorance, that inflames ignorant, emotional activism. If we dedicate ourselves to unfolding the truth, and expose this generation to historical facts, rather then selective history, the nation will find healing. If we defend biblical morality rather than embrace the personal preferences of every broken soul, the nation will find direction. If we honor one another with honest communication, rather than take to the streets screaming down everything in opposition, the nation will find peace. 

My question of the day is quite simple, are we willing to lay aside our own agendas in order to obtain what this nation needs? Are we willing to look to Him who can rescue us from our own depravity? That answer, my friends, is within your heart and held in hands. Perhaps it is time for us to all be silent, let faith, prayer, biblical  truth, reason and the rule of law guide our actions once again. Who knows… God may yet deliver us from ourselves, and restore this nation we love called America.

Leaving It In God’s Hands

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Ranked among the luckiest people in the world, Alan E. Magee survived a free fall of almost 22,000 feet from a B-17 bomber during a raid in WWII. On 3rd January 1943, Magee got into a Flying Fortress bomber on his seventh bombing mission. He was 24, and was one of the ten-man crew of the bomber. They took off from Molesworth, England, and their target was a German submarine port in France. In total, there were 85 B-17s involved in the raid, along with some fighter planes escorting them.

When Magee’s  B-17 reached the French town of St Nazaire, it came under heavy fire from German anti-aircraft guns. The bomber took a couple of nasty blows on its wing and engine.It soon started spiralling downward towards the ground and was spinning at a very high rate of speed. Magee had no idea how to control the plane but he did see a small opening,  which he quickly jumped through. Once in mid air, he realized he had actually jumped out of the plane… but without his parachute!

Magee plunged almost 22,000 feet, and went unconscious just before his body crashed onto the roof of the St Nazaire railway station. The thick clothes he wore and his hit on the soft wooden roof between the rafters cushioned his 160 mph fall and he landed on his back in a pile of shingles, wood splinters and boxes on the station floor. He regained consciousness, as the Germans were taking him to the hospital. His only words were, ‘Thank God I am alive.” His only injury was a sprained shoulder and bruises on his back and legs.

Magee was only willing to tell his story a total of 3 times during the rest of his life. He was an intensely private man and looked at his escape from certain death as a miracle from God. He said that even his German captors treated him with great respect, knowing the details of what had happened to him. During one of the interviews he gave, Magee was asked what went through his mind as he was falling towards the earth without a parachute. Magee simply said he was strangely at peace because he knew he was in God’s hands, stating, “In a situation like that what else can you do? ”

When asked, doctors said the one big thing that saved his life was the fact that he was totally relaxed when he hit the roof. Had he been awake, his natural reaction would have been to tense up and brace for impact, which would have killed him instantly. However, in his relaxed state his body acted like a fluid and was able to distribute the shock of impact across his entire body. That dynamic capacity of fluids to dissipate shock waves is one of the things that spared his life.

Few of us, if any, will ever find ourselves in the situation Alan Magee was in. Helpless, hopeless and plunging into certain death in a few short minutes. However, all of us will find ourselves in situations where we are forced to rely on something outside ourselves and outside our own ability. When life gets totally out of our control, what then? The loss of a job, the rebellion of a child, a divorce or a sudden life threatening illness can feel like a deadly plunge. All of these can take over our lives and emotions rather quickly , with no good end in sight. What we do, and how we respond in those times, will determine  to a large degree what the final outcome will be.

Let me suggest that what you need to do in such situations is relax and put it in God’s hands. Stop trying to figure things out or second-guess how you got in the situation in the first place. Does it really even matter once you’re in it? Worse than that , all the wasted energy, agonizing thoughts and what-if’s don’t change a thing. Do what Alan Magee did and surrender to the inevitable, be at peace within and wait till it’s over.

Ps 46:10 says “Be still and know that I am God” and Proverbs 3:5-6 says ” Lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths”. When all is said and done, it’s in God’s hands and you can count on the fact that He will cause all things to work for the good. Stop the manipulation, the fussing  and the striving to make things go your way.  You only see in part anyway, and God sees the whole picture from beginning to end. Like it or not, He has the upper hand!

So, why not tune your heart to God,  enjoy the view, relax and just go with the flow. When it’s over,  God will have those ready who can pick up the pieces. And you? Well, …..  you will have a great story to tell about the faithfulness of God! Now go enjoy your free-fall and take in the view. Enjoy the process because it will soon be over and, like it or not,  you are sure to have your answer!

 

 

The Missing Pieces Of Time

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Time….. It is the subject of science fiction movies and multitudes of books. It is evidenced by the decay of everything around us. It shows up when we gaze into the mirror and see wrinkles and gray hair looking back. It becomes painfully real when we go through old photo albums and see people who have gone on to their eternal rest. It never stops, has no favorites it passes by, or special people it refuses to impact. The endless march of time comes to all of us, and how it touches each can be very different.

I mention the above because the other night I was watching a favorite show of mine called  “NOVA” which is on PBS. This particular show was about three girls who were born like every other girl on planet earth. However, they were handicapped and they all exhibited something that is considered to be the rarest of unknown, and unstudied diseases on earth. These three girls do not age. At one point in their early childhood development the aging mechanism within just switched off, and no one knows why.

After a lifetime of study, one genetic researcher decided to use the world’s largest supercomputer to map the entire genetic structure of these girls. After months of painstaking analysis, the team discovered the disorder was caused by a missing, or misplaced, piece of  DNA. DNA is the master blueprint for all life as we know it, so when a piece of it goes missing that is not a good thing. The protein that is produced by this missing material is not present in these girls, and because of this missing genetic material, they simply do not get any older. Strangely enough, no boy has ever been diagnosed with this same disorder. It is strictly a malady that afflicts human females.

One of the girls being covered in the story was 21 years old. Any person looking at her, myself included, would conclude she was no more than 4 years of age. Her growth and physical development simply stopped at that point, and she is forever “suspended in time” as a post-toddler. Not one inch of height, not one sign of physical development, no hormonal changes, and not one bit of mental maturation or development has happened in the past 18 years. She is, for all practical purposes, a child, and will forever remain that way until she dies. Most baffling of all, doctors have no idea how long she may live. She does not show any of the normal cellular breakdown that happens to  all living things as they age, so her lifespan is totally unknown.

What they finally uncovered in their research was quite incredible. Ageing is the result of the action of specific proteins that are made by a specific piece of DNA. When that piece is not there, the ageing process just stops. So now comes the million dollar questions I had rattling around in my brain. Could this be the proof that those in the Book of Genesis did live hundreds and hundreds years, as the Bible states, all because the genetic material for aging was not present in early creation? Is this the source of the mythical fountain of youth that Conquistadors searched for?  Now that we know which genes control the ageing process, are we one step closer to extending human life indefinitely? For those who have enough money, and the right technology, do we really want to do this?

It would seem that science fiction has once again become science fact, and it brings to mind a Biblical reality from Genesis 11:6. In this passage, the people united under their own strength to defy God, and they wanted to build a tower that would reach up to heaven. That is, man wanted to ascend, by his own strength and intellect, to become like God. The scripture says; “The Lord said ‘Behold they are one people, and they have the same language. And this is what they begin to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them'”. So, God confused their languages in that place of natural, man made unity.

In the girls above, the missing pieces of DNA brought about something that looks like it has great potential, but it is actually harmful and detrimental to all who are touched by it. It is the same for those who try to bring about unity and change by misguided naturally and emotionally driven means. When pieces of the necessary DNA for a God-ordained unity are missing, it will fail. Those missing pieces bring about an aberrant cohesion of misinformed people who lack the focus and peace of something that will serve the purposes of God. This type of thing is going to fall into disorder, and will always do so in God’s appointed time.

The personal and emotional desire to unify and build something of our own making, will always be ended by God Himself! How ironic that God calls people to work together, but it always takes on a dark quality, if that urge is motivated by something other than the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:3 says; “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. In other words, when people are working together as directed by the Spirit of God, there is going to be a clear unity, and overriding peace present. When those qualities are not part of a combined effort, the prophetic perspective is that this is a group of misguided, naturally and emotionally oriented people who are building another “Tower of Babble”.  Whatever they are united to create is doomed to simply become a painful  example of miscommunication, and it will ultimately collapse under the weight of it’s own confusion. 

Don’t let the natural or emotional disruptions in life cause you to lose any sleep. The rantings and chantings of unruly mobs, or misguided reports of fake news outlets, will make you think that the world is in chaos, poised to go up in flames. However, nothing could be further from the truth. There are a lot of missing pieces in all of this, and what you see is not what’s real, or lasting. Others may want to convince you they are reaching up to heaven in self-determined change, but it “Ain’t Necessarily So”, as the old song goes. There is a lot more to the story then any of them understand, or are willing to admit.

The missing pieces, and time itself, are on our side. When we refuse to react, and we simply respond with the relaxed confidence that comes from living with a Biblical worldview, the answers eventually come. From that place of God-ordained unity and peace, the Spirit of God will always fill in the missing pieces, and bring every answer that has lasting value.  I don’t know about you, but I am excited to see what will happen in the next few years. Expect the unexpected. Most of all, know that prayer is what brought about the national change we so desperately needed, and it will only be prayer that can finish what God has begun. Lift up your eyes and rejoice, because God is about to do great things! The natural mind does not comprehend it, but those who see beyond the natural, will see it and rejoice!