First Coming

Something regarding the day just past:

First Coming. By Madeleine L’Engle

He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.

He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine.

He did not wait till hearts were pure.
In joy he came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out.

He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.

We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

Beginnings are not endings

“I was born a slave … I am not sure of the exact place or exact date … My life had its beginning during the most miserable, desolate and discouraging surroundings.”

Booker T. Washington* described his start in life as such: “I was born a slave … I am not sure of the exact place or exact date … My life had its beginning during the most miserable, desolate and discouraging surroundings.” I have known personally many people in my life time who start life in difficult and incredibly ‘unfair’ circumstances. Rejecting parents of one child over another and ignored by parents who are involved in an addiction. Then there are those born with crippling and debilitating diseases. Or in the prime of their life are struck down as paraplegics. [Joni Erickson-Todda] There is absent parent[s] who are in prison or too sick to care for them. In today’s chaotic culture, many grow up in families surrounded by family who are murderers, child abusers and con-artists. Some grow up in or are sold into a type of slavery like sex-trafficking, even here in the US.

Consider Joseph, who is held up as a hero of the Bible. Jacob, his father, grew up as conniving and treacherous man. He took advantage of his father’s blindness and stole his older brother’s inheritance. Jacob’s father-in-law Laban cheated him several times with livestock and marriages.

Jacob’s sons took after their father. Joseph who was the 11th son born, was the youngest. Jacob played favorites with his sons. He was not shy about showing favoritism toward one child over other ten brothers. He did this in different ways: Jacob gave more affection, more privileges and less discipline to Joseph who was his favorite. Is it any wonder that this created animosity and jealousy among the other 10 older? One day when Joseph was a young man they saw an opportunity to be rid of him. They sold Joseph into slavery to some Egyptians slave traders. To cover their crime, they created an elaborate story, complete with hard evidence, to convince their father of Joseph’s unfortunate demise by a wild animal attack.

Joseph, the favored son with the nicest clothes, started life as a loved and cherished son. Suddenly he finds himself in a foreign country as a slave among foreign gods. But did he focus on yesterday? No. Let me say this, I believe that there is only one reality, today. Yesterday and tomorrow are not reachable. I cannot change the past or the future therefore, they are not in my realm of reality. All I can change is what is in front of me at this moment.

Back to Joseph. He remained faithful to his God and the Bible says “The Lord was with Joseph…” [Genesis 39:2] That is a game-changer in any circumstance. What changes, if I choose to believe God, is my attitude. Jesus levels the playing field. He is the only One who can change tomorrow. Someone said that “People go through life looking at the wrongs people do to us in the yesterdays.” How sad. They fail to see that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” [Hebrews 13:8 ESV] We may not escape the circumstance we are born into or the circumstances thrown at us either by whim or design or our ignorance or stupidity. The good news is that “if God is for us, who can be against us?” [Romans 8:31 NIV]. When everything is all said and done, if God is in us then it does not matter who is against us! Beginnings are not endings!

There is a principle …

“If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten.”

There is a principle that states: “If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten.” Maybe you have heard this before. We live in a chaotic world with regular mass shootings, police brutality, countries rattling swords and other countries, and world-wide bigotry. There is no peace. Purpose for living seems allusive. And that seems to be the very theme I encounter in ministering to others. People young and old are searching for purpose and peace. And there seems to be no end to the different avenues people take trying to obtain what they want.

Just recently a young [30ish] Christian man [I’ll call him Joe] contacted me wanting help. His complaint was that he was under spiritual attack and depressed. I knew Joe was part of a ministry in the church we both attend. I asked him what he tried to do about it and he said that he would go and have the prayer team pray over him and that seemed to help, and he would feel better for a while. But then it would start all over again. The other thing Joe said he was doing was spending time with friends into wee hours of the morning talking and talking, trying to understand why this was happening. I asked him how that helped, and he could not answer me.

 

We set up a day to meet at a local coffee shop and he picked 8AM as the time. 8AM came and went and finally at 8:15 I called him. No answer. Then about five minutes later Joe called me, profusely apologizing and said he would be there in 20 minutes if I could wait. I did. He said he slept through his alarm because he had been out with friends talking till two or three in the morning. We set up second meeting and the same thing happened and no meeting. I tried one more time with the same outcome; same reasons and no meeting.

Later that week I sent him a text with this question: “Are you allowing God’s enemy to rob you of the very things you desire?” Then I shared this verse: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” [2 Timothy 2:15 ESV] Then I asked him if he was spending any time in the Word daily. He said he did not really have time.

We talked about “not having time” to spend time with Jesus. We have time for other important and not so important things. I shared with him that there was only one primary source for understanding how to live as Christ-follower. Sure, friends are important, but they are a secondary resource.

The one mistake that young Christians make is not understanding the concept of discipleship. Listen to this Olympic Champion Eric Lindell: “You will know as much of God, and only as much of God, as you are willing to put into practice.” Guess what? Becoming like Jesus can only happen with practice and listening directly to God as the primary source. “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” [Hebrews 4:11-12 ESV]

So “Joe” … if you want to get out of the crazily repeating cycles in your life, you might want to change what you are doing. Just a thought …

A Narrow Road to the City of God

We are, without doubt, living in a new normal; covid-19 isolation, blindness to racial discrimination, people generally resistant to medical advice, increasing incidencents of rogue police, increasing divisiveness across our country, an extended surge of street demonstrations, lack of official accountability for racial murder, lack of congressional and White House leadership, rampid tone deafness, fear of color, and a hardened lack of empathy.

Our country is tearing itself apart. Some are appalled while some are cheering. We appear helpless to solve recurring injustices because in our rush to ‘out God’ from our hedonistic society, we have thrown out common decency of rendering justice, showing mercy and walking humbly. Our forefathers, while not always correct in their worldview, generally did not confuse politics with faith, as demonstrated in the Constitution. We have done two things: substituted politics for faith and instead of actively “In God We Trust” have gone to “In Political Person We Trust.”

I would agree with Dr. Carl Ellis, Jr.: “Anyone who allows their politics to drive their faith is an idol worshiper. I will put it straight like that. The Kingdom of God is not determined by politics.” As Christ-followers we are to be marching to a different drummer. Our words and actions are not to be shaped by the current wind of politics but by the Word of God. We should be listening to Jesus speaking and not listening to and expounding political sound bites.

No matter which side of the political fence we reside, when we rush blindly after a political candidate, listening only to what we want to hear, we are going to be pimped by his politics. We are going to compromise what God says about the principles of justice, mercy and humility. We are going to promote some human standard over God prescribed standard. The reality of our words and actions driven by politics will show whether we are behaving Coram deo. 

The prophet Micah said this:

“He has shown you,

O man, what is good;

And what does the Lord

require of you

But to do justly,

To love mercy,

And to walk humbly with your God?’

[Micah 6:8 NKJV]

The kingdom of this world is defined by ideology. The Kingdom of God is defined by theology [what God tells us]. The Christian who tries to straddle the fence will be disappointed every time. “Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there  is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish.” [Psalms 146:3-4 NKJV]

In this new normal in which we live, ‘be wise as serpants’ and remember “holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was  faithful in all His house.”

[Hebrews 3:1-2 NKJV]

<‘///>< Glen

A Narrow Road to the City of God

Anyone who allows their politics to drive their faith is an idol worshiper. I will put it straight like that. The Kingdom of God is not determined by politics.

We are, without doubt, living in a new normal; covid-19 isolation, blindness to racial discrimination, people generally resistant to medical advice, increasing incidencents of rogue police, increasing divisiveness across our country, an extended surge of street demonstrations, lack of official accountability for racial murder, lack of congressional and White House leadership, rampid tone deafness, fear of color, and a hardened lack of empathy.

Our country is tearing itself apart. Some are appalled while some are cheering. We appear helpless to solve recurring injustices because in our rush to ‘out God’ from our hedonistic society, we have thrown out common decency of rendering justice, showing mercy and walking humbly. Our forefathers, while not always correct in their worldview, generally did not confuse politics with faith, as demonstrated in the Constitution. We have done two things: substituted politics for faith and instead of actively “In God We Trust” have gone to “In Political Person We Trust.”

I would agree with Dr. Carl Ellis, Jr.: “Anyone who allows their politics to drive their faith is an idol worshiper. I will put it straight like that. The Kingdom of God is not determined by politics.” As Christ-followers we are to be marching to a different drummer. Our words and actions are not to be shaped by the current wind of politics but by the Word of God. We should be listening to Jesus speaking and not listening to and expounding political sound bites.

No matter which side of the political fence we reside, when we rush blindly after a political candidate, listening only to what we want to hear, we are going to be pimped by his politics. We are going to compromise what God says about the principles of justice, mercy and humility. We are going to promote some human standard over God prescribed standard. The reality of our words and actions driven by politics will show whether we are behaving Coram deo. 

The prophet Micah said this:

“He has shown you,

O man, what is good;

And what does the Lord

require of you

But to do justly,

To love mercy,

And to walk humbly with your God?’

[Micah 6:8 NKJV]

The kingdom of this world is defined by ideology. The Kingdom of God is defined by theology [what God tells us]. The Christian who tries to straddle the fence will be disappointed every time. “Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there  is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish.” [Psalms 146:3-4 NKJV]

In this new normal in which we live, ‘be wise as serpants’ and remember “holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was  faithful in all His house.”

[Hebrews 3:1-2 NKJV]

<‘///>< Glen

Barely escaped …

Central Asia: A Jesus film team barely escaped Muslim radicals when they tried to show the film in a village. A year later, sensing God calling them back to the village, they saw God’s miraculous hand open the way for them to show the film and see 167 accept Christ. Please pray for these new believers to stand strong, and to grow to spiritual maturity in a hostile environment. Pray that they may be bold and wise in sharing their newfound faith.

Read the story – www.tiny.cc/wb02

God is moving

Egypt celebrates Christmas on 7th January. About 15% of the 80 Million are Coptic Christians in this difficult Muslim country. The many attacks against Christians has actually brought renewal in the Coptic Church and evangelicals are growing by an astounding 4.6% per year. Pray that the active forgiveness displayed by Christians after each of these numerous attacks and the Christians joy and boldness at their festivals may shake the Muslim population to seek Jesus.

Read the full article here:

https://sat7.org/post/sat-7-shares-the-joy-as-cairo-worshippers-fill-streets

Seize The Priority

A challenge for 2020. Peter’s challenge over 2000 years ago is for us men today. Like his friends then and us today, we are either being carried away and losing our stability, or we are growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Pet 3:17-18). 

Standing still is not an option. 

There is no neutral in the Christian life, back then or in the coming year. 

We are either regressing in the faith or progressing. 

Losing stability or gaining maturity. 

Shrinking or growing. 

It is our choice daily of priorities. What is your priority during the first 15 minutes of waking?

The World

Tired of headlines full of murder, terror, human trafficking and corruption? Here is just a small sampling of what the Creator King is doing:

Although around us, things look like they are getting worse, God’s kingdom is expanding at an unprecedented rate with over 4000 new churches born each week; in the past 30 years the church in Nepal has gone from a few hundred to over 1 million, in Muslim Algeria the church has mushroomed to 180,000. The kingdoms of Islam and Hinduism are being shaken. Praise God for incredible growth of His church, looking ahead at 2020, ask God how you can be praying for the nations.

By Grantley Sherwood (a repost)

WHERE IS OUR SECURITY?

I think that I am reading my bible correctly when I say that God is interested in a person’s character over his action and talk.

In the “end days” Jesus warns us that there will be a game afoot to deceive the church of Jesus. And the game is extended over all denominations alike. People in leadership are saying and doing things that run counter to what God Himself instructs. For example: “You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed. (Deut 18:21-22 NIV)

I keep reading and hearing from evangelical Christians that God is using President Donald Trump without his really knowing it. I find it startling, by all appearances, none of his spiritual advisors are telling him to repent of his habitual lying and mocking behavior. It is incredible to me that this President acts and talks in such an undisciplined manner. The media seems full of outspoken folks identifying themselves as evangelicals, bending over backwards supporting the man and his behavior; doing so without demanding what is central to Christian behavior, repentance and a change in his habitual actions.

I think that I am reading my bible correctly when I say that God is interested in a person’s character over his action and talk. King David sinned flagrantly, and he experienced the consequences. However, he repented immediately when confronted with his multi-level sins. He asked God to “create in me a clean heart.”  Saul, another King, was the people’s choice and had no inclination of repentance. God knows the hearts of all of us just like He knew the hearts of David and Saul You can fool the people some of the time, but you can never fool God.

Evangelicals miss the heart of God and the final instruction of Jesus to us when we equate our security to men in power. China, Russia or the caliphate is not the true enemy to our security. President Trump’s agenda is not out security. If we claim to be Christ-followers, then we need to pay attention to what is on God’s heart, the integrity of His church.

Not only are we tearing ourselves apart as a nation, but we are sabotaging ourselves in the Church from within. When will we wake up and realize that we are in a freefall into Apostasy. Jesus calls us to a different way of life. Listen to His final words to us on earth: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” [Matthew 28:17-20 NIV]

Where are the voices of the watchmen on the wall? There are a small minority of Christians out there who are warning of being wary of the increased selling of God’s security in the areas of political influence, personal gain in health and wealth; or even supernatural power. Are we listening? Are we engaging with the Spirit of truth through the Bible? We need a change of our collective and individual heart. We need to be looking at God’s way that produces holy living. Jesus clearly does not promise a life of ease. Instead, He tells us if we are serious about following Him, then we need to be prepared for a life of losing ourselves and our agendas to authentically be in the game of bringing the lost into His fold.

USS Midway History

I have the privilage of volunteering in the midst of living history. This year the USS Midway turns 75 years old and the ol’ gal is still in pretty good shape. Come on by if you are in the San Diego area and check us out. Check out TripAdvisor to see what they say about us. 

………

The USS Midway was the longest-serving aircraft carrier in the 20th century. Named after the climactic Battle of Midway of June 1942, Midway was built in only 17 months, but missed World War II by one week when commissioned on September 10, 1945. Midway was the first in a three-ship class of large carriers that featured an armored flight deck and a powerful air group of 120 planes.

From the beginning of its service, the Midway played key roles in the Cold War. In 1946 it became the first American carrier to operate in the midwinter sub-Arctic, developing new flight deck procedures. The following year Midway became the only ship to launch a captured German V-2 rocket. The trial’s success became the dawn of naval missile warfare. Just two years after that, Midway sent a large patrol plane aloft to demonstrate that atomic bombs could be delivered by a carrier.

Midway served with the Atlantic Fleet for ten years, making seven deployments to European waters, patrolling “the soft underbelly” of NATO. A round-the-world cruise took Midway to the west coast in 1955, where it was rebuilt with an angled deck to improve jet operations.

Midway’s first combat deployment came in 1965 flying strikes against North Vietnam. Midway aircraft shot down three MiG’s, including the first air kill of the war. However, 17 Midway aircraft were lost to enemy fire during this cruise. In 1966 Midway was decommissioned for a four-year overhaul.

Over a chaotic two-day period during the fall of Saigon in April 1975, Midway was a floating base for large Air Force helicopters which evacuated more than 3,000 desperate refugees during Operation Frequent Wind.

As potential threats to the Arabian oil supply grew, and to relieve strain on U. S.-based carriers, Midway transferred to Yokosuka, Japan, making it the first American carrier home ported abroad.

In 1990 Midway deployed to the Arabian Gulf in response to the Iraqi seizure of Kuwait. In the ensuing Operation Desert Storm, Midway served as the flagship for naval air forces in the Gulf and launched more than 3,000 combat missions with no losses. Its final mission was the evacuation of civilian personnel from Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines after the20th century’s largest eruption of nearby Mount Pinatubo.

On April 11, 1992 the Midway was decommissioned in San Diego and remained in storage in Bremerton, Washington until 2003 when it was donated to the 501(c)3 nonprofit San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum organization. It opened as the USS Midway Museum in June 2004.

Repub from: https://www.midway.org/about-us/midway-history/

KEY DATES in USS Midway History

1946       Operation Frostbite: First Carrier to operate extensively in the sub-Arctic

1947       Operation Sandy: The only successful launch of a German V-2 rocket from a ship, the dawn of naval missile warfare.

1963       First successful landing using “Hands Off” auto-pilot technology.

1965       Midway pilots shoot down first MiG of the Vietnam War.

1973       Midway pilots shoot down last MiG of the Vietnam War.

1973       First aircraft carrier home-ported in a foreign country: Yokosuka, Japan,

1975       Leads the evacuation of Saigon; rescues 3,073 refugees in two days.

1991       Flagship of Persian Gulf air operations in Operation Desert Storm.

1991       Rescues 1,800 Americans fleeing Mt. Pinatubo eruption.

1992       Decommissioned in San Diego, California.

2004       Opens as the USS Midway Museum in San Diego.

2010       Surpasses 5 million visitors since opening.

2012       First Navy ship museum to host 1 million visitors annually.