Thursday, July 22, 2004

When I'm in a new city, I don't usually make visiting a local cemetery one of my sightseeing priorities. But I did during my recent ministry trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia. I visited the cemetery where 121 passengers of the doomed Titanic are buried; many with names still unknown. Not long after the midnight radio transmission, "Have struck iceberg," three telegraph cable repair ships were dispatched from Halifax to make the 500-mile trip to the collision site to pick up the bodies of victims. In a way, the aftermath of the sinking of the Titanic is a tale of two ships. One was the Carpathia, the ship that rescued hundreds who had made it into lifeboats, later taking them into New York Harbor. The Carpathia carried a ship full of rescued people. But not the Mackay Bennett, the first funeral ship to arrive at the scene of the sinking. All they found was 328 people, floating in their lifejackets, frozen to death. The first one they found was a little two-year-old boy, floating face up. They were devastated. By the time they sailed into Halifax Harbor with every church bell in town tolling, there were three long rows of bodies on their deck - every one a person who did not have to die. Those lifeboats had been half empty. But as the people in the water cried out for help, the people in the lifeboats just kept rowing away. So one ship carried those who had been rescued. The other ship carried those no one cared enough to rescue.

Monday, June 7, 2004

Wow! The world sure looks different on a foggy morning. I mean, the neighbor's houses aren't even there anymore, the hill I can see out the back door vanishes, and on the road, it's suddenly hard to find where you turn or to plan much beyond the car immediately in front of you. I remember one 40-car pileup that took place in our area because of dense fog. When it's foggy like that, it looks as if the world's going to be gray all day, but all day seldom lasts past, oh, 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning. Why? Well, the fog developed overnight when there was no sun to warm the air and evaporate all that moisture. Sometimes, when the fog gets thick, well, we just lose sight of the sun.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I don't know if there was ever a time in our son's life when he checked the mailbox so many times. Now you're thinking "Oh, a letter from a girl, huh?" No, it was grades from college. See, this was during our son's last visit home when he was going to college, and the grades for the semester just completed were supposed to be mailed to him at home. Of course, I was thinking they should have been mailed to me, because they sure mail the bills to me! Well, it got a little frustrating and as he talked with all his college friends, because they, in other parts of the country, already had their grades. And every day that they didn't come, well, he got a little more frustrated. Now why was he so eager to get his grades? He had every reason to believe that he had done very well this time. And finally, they came. Best grades by far since he started college - he was on the Dean's List! High five's all around!

Monday, March 15, 2004

Some years ago, my wife got a very serious case of hepatitis. Later, the specialist told her that the battle for her liver was so acute he could hear the blood rushing to save it, "Just like Niagara Falls," he said. Thank God, she recovered fully with no trace today of that disease or any of its effects. But it took a while - seven months of bed rest. That was an interesting time for Daddy - suddenly known as Mr. Mom - and for our three children. Thankfully, our church brought dinner to our home almost every night. God bless them! It's a good thing. I mean, if it had been up to me to feed the kids, they probably would have been on the cover of something like World Vision magazine eventually. But as tough as it was, my wife said she had much to praise God for in her recovery from hepatitis. For one thing, no one could really look to her or count on her for seven months. Here's what she said about it: "God gave me the gift of cleansing my schedule!" He weeded out a lot that didn't matter after all and left only what did matter.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

One of the great names for Jesus in the Bible is the "Lion of the Tribe of Judah." When noted author, C. S. Lewis, created a character to be his Christ-figure in his "Chronicles of Narnia" fantasies, he introduced us to Aslan, the lion-king of Narnia. In Lewis' enchanting books, Narnia is a land where the animals speak, where the forces of evil are strong, and where Aslan, though only seen on rare occasions, is the dominant figure. Lucy is one of the children who is transported to Narnia. In one of the later books in the Chronicles, Lucy is finally reunited with the Lion-King, Aslan. I'll let C. S. Lewis take it from here: "'Welcome child,' he said. Lucy said, 'Aslan, you're bigger.' And he answered, 'That is because you are older, little one.' 'Oh, not because you are?' Lucy said. 'Oh, I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.'"

Friday, February 6, 2004

There's just enough of a kid in me that I really love those glass elevators they have in some hotels. You know, you get in on the main floor and then you ascend to the top floor, all the time watching the big things in the lobby become small things in the lobby. And the limited view you had down there, oh, suddenly turns panoramic. Or if you've been in some of the world's great skyscrapers, you may have tried some of their elevators. We're talking lobby to observation deck in a matter of seconds, rising scores of floors in less time than it takes to place some phone calls. So, at 10:02, you're down in the lobby or even the basement - and at 10:03, hey, you're looking out over the entire city. All because of an elevator.

Wednesday, February 4, 2004

There are not too many TV shows that you remember for 30 years. But I still remember a TV documentary that was filmed during the Vietnam War - it was called, "Same Mud, Same Blood." The correspondent traveled with this infantry company that was made up mostly of white soldiers from the Deep South with a few others who were black - a unit commanded by a black sergeant. Now, we're talking a time when America was being convulsed with civil rights conflicts. But the documentary told the amazing story of how a company that started out with huge racial walls between them became molded into a group of guys who would die for each other - after all, they were "same mud, same blood." There was something about being in war together that brought people close together who might otherwise have never have had anything in common.

Monday, February 2, 2004

It's no fun to be sick on Thanksgiving Day, and my honey was. Much of the family was together for Thanksgiving, but she was the one person who just felt too sick to join the festivities. She had more than a 101-degree fever, swollen glands, a burning sore throat, and a full nose and ears. Nothing fatal, just real "feeling crummy" stuff. And she didn't want to give any of us a Thanksgiving gift that we would not be very thankful for. Now, our daughter and son-in-law and two grandsons weren't able to be with the rest of the family, so we connected by phone that day, and each of them passed the phone around so we could talk to them all. And I, of course, asked each one if they would pray for their grandma. And each person said they would. Except for our little two-year-old treasure. When I asked him if he would pray for Grandma that day, I suddenly heard something like this on his end of the line: "Jesus, pray Grandma, sick, better, Amen." He just jumped right in and started doing it!

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

For many years, J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy, Lord of The Rings, has fascinated thoughtful readers. Like C.S. Lewis (who was helped to Christ by Tolkien actually), Tolkien communicated spiritual truths through allegorical myths in a world called "Middle Earth." His works have now captured the imagination of people who had never heard of his books through three epic motion pictures based on them. At the heart of Lord of The Rings and its epic battles is the ring. It's a gold ring that is the key to enormous power - but a power that inevitably addicts the possessor to its power. That power ultimately corrupts and destroys the one who holds it so tenaciously. It is, in fact, called by one main character, not the ring, but "The Precious."

Thursday, January 15, 2004

It all started with an SOS from a counselor who was talking with a young woman after a meeting where I had spoken. Her frustrated counselor just said, "Boy, this one's really hard." Sure enough, Kelly seemed really shut down. I said, "Kelly, do you want to have a relationship with Jesus?" When she said yes, I asked her why. She responded, "Because part of me is missing, and I know it's Him. But if you only knew how many times I have tried to accept Christ, and nothing happens." Well, I was stuck - until the Lord gave me one question for Kelly - and it changed everything. It might change everything for you.

            

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