The other day in the airport, I saw a mother and her daughter hustling to make a plane. But the little girl's face was covered with a mask that was basically a screen - she could see through it, but it was protecting her face. In just a glance, I could see that her face had been badly burned. She had long sleeves and long pants on, but my guess is that she probably had burns on other parts of her body, too. I really felt for her - and for her mother. She appeared to be a burn victim, doing all she could to heal and recover.

Our bedroom is on the southwest corner of the house - and that's the direction stormy weather comes from more often than not. So, believe me, we can tell when the weather's changing - especially when the season's changing. Often, in the night, our weather alert system goes off - then the severe thunderstorms come roaring in - the lightning keeps illuminating our backyard - and the wind and rain come slamming into the wall between our bed and the yard. You can sure tell when the season's changing!

Our daughter gave us one of the greatest gifts of our lives when she and her husband gave us our grandson. We all got the blessing, but she had to do the work. And now she’s getting ready to do it again! Yep, grandchild number two! Now I know it’s not the process of having the baby that made her go through this again. Her first pregnancy wasn’t a whole lot of fun, and labor, well it really wasn’t fun at all. But in spite of that painful process, she’s doing it again – because of the beautiful result it produces.

I have tried to explain American football to people from another country, and it isn't easy. Imagine a man trying to explain football to his friend who's never seen it played. This friend says, "I'd really like to play football. Tell me about it." "Okay. There's this leather ball, and there's this 100-yard field with white marks. And basically, all you have to do is run from one end to the other with the ball." A month later the foreign friend comes limping up with his arm in a cast, his body covered with bruises and bandages. And then comes the obvious question, "What happened?" And this poor would-be football player says, "You told me about the ball. You told me about the field, but there's one thing you forgot to tell me. You didn't tell me about these eleven human gorillas who would be trying to stop me!"

Florida has many beautiful things about it - great beaches, great theme parks, great weather. But to be perfectly honest, it is not one of the most exciting states to drive across. We're talking about terminal flatness here. There's nothing wrong with the South Florida landscape that a nice mountain, or even a hill, wouldn't help. Well, in West Palm Beach there is one. A hill, that is. It actually rises to the breathtaking height of 55 feet above sea level. My assistant Gayle has a sister in that area who loves to go hiking on and around this beautiful hill. It's wonderfully landscaped, there's some water there, some biking, hiking, jogging trails, recreational areas. Now anyone who knows the topography of South Florida would wisely ask, "Where did this hill come from?" Garbage. Yup. This lovely spot used to be an ugly, old landfill. But someone had the brilliant idea of making something useful, something even beautiful of what had just been a lot of garbage.

"They had to use the paddles on him." Now that sounds like something we might say about an exasperated parent's response to an out-of-control child. But the paddles we're talking about here were the ones they used on our neighbor recently when he was rushed to the hospital with a heart attack. His wife said they saved his life by using the "paddles" on him. Actually, what they used was a device called a defibrillator. Now you see why most people call them the paddles. The defibrillator has two paddles that, after they are placed on the patient's chest, generate a strong electric jolt to restart the heart. More and more ambulances are carrying them and more and more emergency medical technicians are being trained to use them. Even commercial airliners are beginning to have them on board. When the heart stops, something has to be done to get it going again - even if it takes a big jolt.

About every five years or so, I run into my scrapbook while I'm going through this closet. Oh, there's the geeky-looking, eighth-grader there, holding his county spelling bee trophy. Oh, there's chubby little Ronnie in his Indian outfit on a vacation to Minnesota. And, the picture of our championship Bible quizzing team. Now it's also a lot of fun when we pull out the old photos of our family. Two decades of Christmas Eves, scenes from scores and scores of vacation adventures, sons in football uniforms, a daughter all dressed up for her first recital - ah, the memories. Now it isn't that we haven't had some not-so-great things happen. There was the automobile accident, the painful injuries, the bouts with various sicknesses - but somehow they just didn't make it into the memory book.

I was with several members of our Team in the relentless evangelism schedule of one of our "Make A Difference" Weekends. We were getting pretty tired and our minds were totally focused on our outreaches. In fact, so tired and so focused, that I forgot about a radio station that was calling me for a live interview that afternoon. Now, I had just awakened from a brief nap and the phone rang. Thinking it was one of our Team members, I jokingly answered, "Good morning" - at 4:00 in the afternoon. Somehow, I was able to rebound immediately and go enthusiastically into that interview, and I don't think the folks on the other end ever knew I was surprised by their call. When I told my Team members about this, Esther said, "Ron, I've seen you come to life like that a lot of times. You're like a ventriloquist's dummy." I thanked her for sharing that, and she felt she should clarify what she meant. She said, "No, no. You're like this." Then she closed her eyes, hung her head, and leaned lifelessly against the wall. Then, without warning, she opened her eyes real wide, started moving her head from side to side, and said, "Hi, everybody! How ya doing?" I laughed so hard I could barely drive.

My friend Jim loves to wear this shirt that says, "I've been to the wilderness" - that's on the front. On the back it says, "I can handle anything." Sounds a little cocky maybe, but he did earn the right to wear the shirt. He went on a two-week wilderness program where they pushed him, and all those on the trip, to go way beyond their limitations. Running for miles, climbing for hours with a heavy backpack, living off the land, blazing trails, enduring the heat, going solo for two days with almost nothing to live on. Hard? Yes. Fun? Not particularly. Worth it? Ask Jim. Or, better yet, read his shirt. "I've been to the wilderness - I can handle anything!"

Spock, Scotty, a doctor called "Bones," the Starship Enterprise, the transporter, the Klingons - they're all part of a universe millions of people know as Star Trek. And if the oft-repeated TV shows weren't enough, the Star Trek crew became the stars of several major movies. And then came the new crew, set even farther ahead in our future - "Star Trek - The Next Generation." They were still boldly going where no one had gone before on the Starship Enterprise. But "Star Trek I" and "Star Trek II" had at something more than a ship in common - they both had a strong captain in command. First, Captain Kirk - who always seemed to have things under control. But then along came the "Next Generation" skipper - Captain Picard. He had a lot less hair than Capt. Kirk - but he seemed to be even more in charge. There was never a question as to who was in charge of the ship, the crew, and the situation. And when Capt. Picard would give an order, he would follow it with three "no argument" words that were always the bottom line - "Make it so."

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)

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