November 19, 2019

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You may not remember much of your World History class, but you probably at least remember the nations of Europe fought it out for a long time to see who was going to be Number One. For many years, their biggest way to fight it out was with their big navies. So, if a ship from England saw a ship from France, you could expect some fireworks. Of course, the way you knew what country a ship was from was that flag they flew from the top of the mast - their colors. When they would see a ship approaching on the horizon, they usually lowered their colors until they could see whether that other guy was a friend or an enemy. But occasionally there was a ship that approached those encounters in a radically different way. There were a few courageous captains who would give a simple six-word order to their crew, "Nail our colors to the mast!" But you could just hear the first mate saying, "Captain, that means we can't lower our colors, no matter what." To which the captain would say something like this. "That's right."

November 18, 2019

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My friend Margaret had just been to a family gathering in the Midwest, and she saw many loved ones there, including her deputy sheriff nephew. Now, as she started heading home, her foot got, shall we say, a little heavy. Or at least that's what the officer who pulled her over seemed to think. As he turned to go back to his car with her license and registration in hand, Margaret said, "Do you know Deputy _________?" and she mentioned her nephew's name. The officer did know him. After a few minutes of record checking and paperwork in his squad car, the officer returned to Margaret's car and said, "I'm just going to give you a warning," followed by, "I checked with your nephew."

November 14, 2019

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Hollywood really missed this one. It was a movie no one was willing to distribute; a movie most thought would have a limited audience. But from its midweek opening, Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" a few years ago took off like a rocket. Soon it became apparent this movie portraying the agonizing last twelve hours of Jesus' life was going to be a blockbuster, whose box office numbers were up there with the record-breakers. But according to Director, Mel Gibson, this movie ultimately wasn't about commercial success. It was, for him, a deeply personal project, portraying what he described as "Christ's wounds that healed my wounds." The personalness of Jesus' death to him surfaced vividly on the day they were filming the driving of the nails into Christ's hands. It's a not-to-be forgotten moment. The director himself grabbed the mallet and spikes from the actor who was supposed to be nailing Jesus to the cross. The cameras kept rolling, and in the movie it is Mel Gibson's hands we see, wielding the hammer and driving the nails into Jesus' hands.

November 12, 2019

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My son-in-law had to fight a battle that's all too familiar to frequent flyers - it's called Baggage Wars. That's when your suitcase goes somewhere other than where you're going. He fought a four-week battle, calling almost daily to see if the airline had located a missing bag with some pretty valuable items in it. Hooray! They finally found it! It had been checked to Chicago. Of course, it went to Portland, Oregon. It was checked on one airline and ended up tagged by a different airline. It started with his name on it, and it ended up with someone else's name on it. I don't know how this happened. Somehow his valuables did not end up where he thought they would. They were tagged for another destination.

November 4, 2019

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Often it was the highlight of my day, and my wife led me to believe that it might have been the highlight of our toddler son's day, too. She told me that the little guy heard my car pull into the driveway each night and that was his signal to go running for the door that I always used. As I opened that door, I was often greeted by a cute little guy charging my direction and calling out one word at the top of his lungs, actually one syllable, "DA!" He couldn't manage "Daddy" or "Dada" yet, but I knew he was calling my name.

October 28, 2019

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Some of our most memorable vacation moments as a family have been spent on the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina. It hasn't always been beautiful for ships that were navigating those treacherous shoals that are off the shores of the Outer Banks. In fact, it's estimated that over 2,000 ships have gone down there over those centuries. But a lot more lives could have been lost there if it hadn't been for the Cape Hatteras Light, one of the most famous lighthouses in America. Its octagonal tower rises massively above the beach and the sand hills, and it's been the guiding light that kept many ships from going aground. It's stood there for nearly two centuries. Imagine the storms that she's weathered, including more than a hundred hurricanes! Storms that blew away so many other structures, but the lighthouse still stands.

October 25, 2019

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We had spent a couple of days at the home of a friend at the New Jersey Shore, just a block away from the Atlantic Ocean. We arrived at night as this powerful storm started hitting our area. So we went to sleep with the loud lullaby of winds that roared around our room and pounded the rain against the windows like pellets. The next morning, the ocean was something to see. Crashing waves, a heaving tide, this wild and angry look, and all kinds of junk thrown onto the beach by all that turbulence.

October 22, 2019

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Twenty-three seconds. It takes you longer than that to eat a slice of pizza, or at least it should. It takes me about that long just to say three or four sentences. Now, a short TV commercial is longer than that. But every 23 seconds, something absolutely amazing happens inside you. Your blood pumps through your body during that time, delivers oxygen and nutrients to all your cells, and carries away the impurities from your cells and starts back through again in 23 seconds. Mind-blowing! That's what it takes to keep you going. You've got to have that oxygen delivered regularly. You've got to have your cell garbage taken out regularly, and your blood gets it done.

October 18, 2019

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Because of my strong love for Native Americans, I was especially interested in a story author Leonard Sweet told in a book of his. It's about a rite of passage that one tribe had for its boys when they turned 13. On that birthday, a warrior blindfolded the boy and took him several miles from camp. Then the warrior took off the blindfold and left this young teenager in this dark, dense forest. The young man was expected to stay there for the night and fend for himself. When it got dark, it got really dark. The trees were so dense he couldn't see the moon, he couldn't see the stars. Oh, but he could sure hear those eerie sounds of the wind, the howls of the wild animals nearby, and the rustling of the leaves that sounded like an approaching enemy. For most boys, it was a night without sleep. And then the dawn began to break. And then the young man could see the forest as it really was; the flowers were blooming, the majestic trees swaying in the wind, and the wildlife scurrying around for food. And then, the biggest surprise of all. The boy would see an imposing male figure, standing in the woods only a few yards away. He'd be startled at first, until he recognized the man. Unbeknownst to this frightened young warrior, his father had been there the whole time, ready to protect his son against anything that might harm him.

October 15, 2019

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In his classic, "Old Man and the Sea," Ernest Hemingway told about a very weary old fisherman who, like most of his village, had had hard times most of his life. He's barely eking out a living, goes out one day and decides to travel farther than usual to fish. And to his amazement, he hooks the largest fish he's ever seen in his life - so big he can't even bring it into his boat. So he begins to tow his prize fish behind his boat, excited about what this catch could mean and how it might be the beginning of a wonderful turn of his fortunes. It's the dream catch of his life! But as he comes into the harbor and up to the dock, his joy turns back to an even greater despair than ever before. All the while that he's been towing his prize; the other creatures of the sea have been feeding on it. And all that's left of his dream is bones.

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
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Harrison, AR 72602-0400

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