Monday, January 7, 2002

When the President of the United States declared a war on terrorism, the lives of millions of American military personnel suddenly changed dramatically. Some of the first to be affected were the crews of our major combat ships, like aircraft carriers. In a matter of days, thousands were shipping out. Reporters were trying to guess what their destinations were. But, of course, not even the crews knew. Except for a few commanders, their orders were unknown.

Tuesday, January 1, 2002

When America decided to go after the Taliban in its war on terrorism, there were a lot of warnings about what a difficult battleground Afghanistan can be - and what a tough enemy the Taliban would be. That is why so many of us were so surprised when the Taliban fighters seemed to retreat so quickly from city after city in Northern Afghanistan as the Northern Alliance advanced. But Taliban defectors said that the relentless American bombing had really affected their morale. The U. S. military strategy going into the Afghan conflict was not a new one - begin with an air war - heavy bombing to "soften up" your enemy before the ground forces make a move. As we learned in the Gulf War, it can lead to a surprisingly quick victory.

Wednesday, December 12, 2001

It happened during the Gulf War, and we've seen it in the war in Afghanistan. It's those amazing high-tech weapons that hit their target with pinpoint accuracy. There are, as they say, occasional "targeting errors," but, for the most part, those weapons go right to their intended target - weapons like Cruise missiles and what they call "smart bombs." I still remember a correspondent in Baghdad, during the Gulf War, who described this Tomahawk missile roaring in over the city, pause, and then turn left and then straight down into a military facility. Its tracking system apparently determined that it was slightly off course, corrected it, and went to the target. Amazing.

Monday, December 10, 2001

The crews assigned to the recovery effort after the September 11, attack on the Pentagon had an awful job to do. Working in 120-degree heat, they were making their way through the wreckage left behind when terrorists flew Flight 757 into the Pentagon. They didn't find any survivors. They did find a mass of concrete and metal debris; the metal too hot to touch. But USA Today reported that they did find a sign of hope as they looked into that black chasm inside. On a second floor, right next to where the jet sheared off a section of the building, was an undisturbed stool. On it was a thick, open book - a Bible. It wasn't burned. Neither was anything around it or on the two floors above it. The leader of the recovery team was quoted as saying, "I'm not as religious as some, but that would have me thinking. I just can't explain it."

Tuesday, November 20, 2001

It was a fogged-in morning at the country house we were using for our vacation. The valley below us, the mountains beyond us were nowhere to be seen. In fact, you couldn't see much beyond the front porch. But by about 10:00 A. M., the sun was obviously doing its thing. I could sit there and literally watch the mist being sucked upward and up and away by the heat of the sun. I called my wife's attention to the vanishing moisture, and she made an interesting observation. She said, "That's what happens to you when you dehydrate" - which I did a few months ago. But actually watching the moisture being sucked away - and thinking of that happening to me - well, it will make a fellow be sure he's got a bottle of water with him most of the time.

Friday, October 26, 2001

It was one of those real short nights. I had just spoken for a large youth event, and the night went late for the best of reasons: God brought hundreds of young people to faith in Christ that night. The counseling of all those kids took a blessedly long time. Now Jason, who was one of the organizers, took me to my hotel that night and told me he would be picking me up in a few hours for my very early morning flight. I said, "I'm sorry you have to get me so early when you've been up so late." He said, "Oh, don't worry. I'll just roll out of bed, throw on a baseball cap, and come on over." Well, bless his heart, that's just what he did. When we got to the airport, I asked him if we could pray together before I went on my plane. He respectfully took off his baseball cap, and we had a neat time of prayer. When I opened my eyes at the end, he still had his cap off. And a very creative hair style--I mean, it was all over the place! He even laughed about it. The cap covered what he didn't want anyone to see--except when he was praying.

Wednesday, October 24, 2001

It sounded like strange justice. I heard about a judge who sentenced a juvenile offender to, among other things, go watch a movie. The movie was called, "Saving Private Ryan"--a movie that critics say portrayed with savage realism the D-Day Invasion and the awful brutality of war. The judge wanted that juvenile offender to see what his freedom cost the people who fought for it.

The movie also introduced a new generation to that amazing invasion that was the turning point of World War II. The mission: retake Europe from the grip of Adolf Hitler. Now how did they capture something as big as Europe? By just dropping paratroopers in the middle and saying, "We are taking Europe!"? No-o-o-o. That's what D-Day was all about--tens of thousands of Allied soldiers putting everything they had into capturing one little beach on the coast of France. That's a long way from Berlin, but it's what the military calls a beachhead - a small piece of ground that you get under control. Then you move from that to another small victory and another beachhead. So the heroes of D-Day moved from that beach to take a farm, and then a bridge, and then a village and then another village. Until one day they marched into Berlin. They had conquered all that ground - not in one blazing victory - but one beachhead at a time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2001

John and Becky were gone when this huge windstorm hit their neighborhood recently. Although no one could be sure a tornado was involved, the winds were clocked at 70 miles an hour. John and Becky told me that when they returned later that day, their street was closed. A huge pine tree had been blown down, and it fell right across the road. Now other kinds of trees had lost some branches, but the wind had actually totally uprooted this evergreen. Well, a neighbor explained to John that it really isn't that hard to uproot a pine tree - no matter how big it is. Because even though it's a big tree, it has shallow roots - so it's relatively easy to bring it down.

Monday, September 10, 2001

One of the great privileges of my life was serving in the leadership of the Northern New Jersey Billy Graham Crusade in the Meadowlands. For many of us who had been trying to reach people in this very hard corner of America, it was thrilling to see that arena nearly full on that opening Wednesday night. The arena seats 18,000 people, and filling it in Jesus' name was a victory of historic proportions. By Thursday, it was totally full--but I was strangely restless. By faith, we had set up 8,000 chairs and jumbo-tron video screen in the parking lot, just in case there was overflow. It looked like we wouldn't need it - as the press so graciously reminded us. Even though we were seeing unprecedented attendances and spiritual harvests, I felt led to pull together several of our Crusade leaders after the second night. After thanking God for all He had done, I asked them to pray with me a prayer that I had never prayed before. "Lord, if anyone other than You is holding a lid on this thing, if there's even more You want to do - blow the lid off!"

The next night the arena filled pretty quickly. I was on the platform, seated next to Dr. Graham, when they handed him a note. He showed it to me. It said, "There are 13,000 in overflow!" Dr. Graham said, "I think you should go see it." Well, I did. And what a sight! Eight thousand chairs full, 5,000 people standing, sitting on car hoods, on the ground, even on the porta-johns...and Billy Graham preaching the Gospel on the big screen! It looked like a cross between the feeding of the 5,000 and a drive-in movie. And the rate of response that night was higher in the parking lot than it even was indoors! So much for that lid!

Monday, September 3, 2001

My wife was waking up to a sound she hadn't heard before - and she couldn't identify. It sounded like crinkling cellophane - and it was coming from inside our bedroom walls! Now, somehow I missed this little symphony, but she sure picked up on it. Since we were pretty sure no one was actually crinkling cellophane in our walls, we looked into other possibilities. Like carpenter ants, for example. And sure enough, that's what it was! Those little marauders were feasting on the wood in our house...and they were gradually eating our home! We didn't even have to think about what to do. "Hello, Mr. Exterminator?"

            

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

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