Category Archives: Be A Friend

Life events and kingdom activity demonstrating and enjoying friendship, and service to the King.

Doing God A Favor

Or “Theology 101”

Hannah with the children of La Balsa

When I heard what Gary, Tim, and Kevin had prepared to teach the pastors at this year’s pastors conference, I was a little bit incredulous. They were teaching the pastors theology, which is the study of God and his attributes, from a book entitled “The Attributes of God” by A. W. Pink.  My first thought was that something a little simpler and a little more practical might be in order. But my second thought was that these men are led by the Spirit and they probably heard correctly about what they were to teach.

The power of what they were teaching was apparent to me the first morning as I sat with the Honduran pastors and listened, being encouraged and instructed right along with them. Further confirmation of its power came immediately after lunch as I was riding in the back of a pick up truck to Capucales with Giovanni, a young Honduran minister and worship leader.

He was fired up about the teaching and freely shared with us what impacted him. He said, “Many people think they’re doing God a favor to believe in Him or serve Him.” And “People who are not believers think that about believers, that they are just doing God a favor to follow Him or believe in Him. But nothing could be further from the truth!” he exclaimed. “God does not need us. We need him.”

The steep road from La Balsa 🙂

In two short sessions, Giovanni’s awareness of the greatness and power of God had been greatly increased, leaving him inspired and sensing God’s true place in His creation. It’s a privilege to know him, serve him, and make him known. That’s the truth, according to the thousands of years of revelation we have recorded about Him in Holy Scripture. He indeed needs nothing nor anyone. Something akin to the summary of philosophy and theology that Solomon, reportedly the wisest man who ever lived, wrote at the end of his life, recorded in Ecclesiastes. “When all is said and done, fear God and keep his commandments.”

A. W. Tozer also wrote some books on theology, “The Attributes of God,” and  “Knowledge of the Holy.” The second he said was written for worshipers, not theologians, although it would stand up to theological rigor. I love that. And I love his book which I try to read one or more times each year. It’s a very small book, but there’s an old saying,”Beware of small books.”:-) In the introduction Tozer says something else amazing, “What you believe about God is the most important thing about you. Because it will affect everything you do.”

Pastor Kevin – One of the Teachers

So Theology 101 was indeed what the Lord had for these pastors and it hit it’s mark, as evidenced by the lively questions and discussions during and after the teaching times. The Scripture comes to mind, “They that know their God will do valiantly.” So these pastors who came to receive from the Lord left encouraged and empowered. Encouraged that they knew the Lord better and should continue this pursuit. And empowered with a renewed level of faith in the Most High.

May the Word of the Lord continue to accomplish what it was intended to do. Amen.

*******

And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:10)

Through God we shall do valiantly, And it is He who will tread down our adversaries.” (Psalm 60:12)

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.” (Isaiah 40:22)

[Link to trip video]          [Link to trip photos]

Some Stay by the Baggage

Kevin Teaching at Pastor’s Conference

I knew that my good friend and brother Kevin had a lot to do with preparing the materials for this pastors conference. Finding and getting the books, “The Attributes of God,” by A.W. Pink, in Spanish was quite a feat!

Then I asked him how he was able to get the workbooks for the pastors to take back to their villages in Spanish? He said, “My wife translated them from English to Spanish.” I inquired if his wife spoke Spanish, something I more and more wish I could do? He said that she didn’t, but used an online language translator to do the translation, then asked a friend and co-worker who was a Spanish teacher to proofread and edit it.

Teaching Materials . A.W. Pink

I immediately thought, “Are you kidding me!?” Hours and hours of loving labor went into this project. I told Kevin this was amazing and his wife was amazing! He of course agreed. 🙂

Think about all the hours required and the motive behind it. It certainly moved me, and still does. The love, the sacrifice, and the courage to attempt such a thing is remarkable. Immediately, I thought of David and the Ziklag incident, where two hundred of his men were unable to go to the battle, and instead stayed with the baggage.

Conference in Progress

When David returned from the battle successfully, some who didn’t understand God’s heart and perhaps had too great an opinion of themselves and their part in the mission’s success, didn’t want to share any of the reward with those who had stayed with the baggage.

David, who was a man after God’s own heart, told them otherwise, and it became an ordinance in Israel that day, that he who stays with the baggage shares alike with him who goes down to the battle. This story came to my mind immediately when Kevin told me about what his wife had done .

Shelia at Home

I personally feel that everyone who gave to this mission financially, and those who prayed shared just as much in its success as those who went. But for her sacrifice I certainly wanted to give a “shout out” to Sheila Nugent. 🙂 I look forward to meeting her someday.  🙂 May God bless her, those she loves, and everything she puts her hand too. Amen

[Link to trip video]          [Link to trip photos]

*******

“And who will listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down to the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.” So it has been from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.” (1 Samuel 30:24–25)

A Honduran Exorcism

Ok, let me be transparent and real about this. I have no agenda or theology to exalt or to put down. Just the facts, Ma’am! That’s the goal of this short writ.

One evening after a time of praying for the pastors, one of the Honduran pastors, Pastor Minellio, was praying for the sick and a few of our team noticed him shaking as he prayed for the one in need, the power of the Holy Spirit being felt strongly by all.

Afterwards there was a time of fellowship under the arbor where we shared lunch and dinner with the pastors and their families. The team that noted the Honduran pastor shaking asked him about that?

He then related the following story. He said that in his village in the mountains one of his friends seem to be depressed and at one point tried to take his life. This pastor and two more friends who loved the man, determined to fast and pray for three days for him with him being continually with them, witnessing their fasting and hearing their prayers.

On the third day, according to this “shaking” pastor, their suicidal friend had a single, violent vomiting episode, and at the same time moment, the three praying friends were knocked to the ground by some unknown force!?

After that moment their friend has been free of oppression, depression, and acts normally. And when our new “quaking” pastor friend prays for people and senses the Holy Spirit is near, he shakes as he prays.

Indeed, he says when it happens to him, he knows or recognizes the Holy Spirit is near to heal or deliver or help.

After watching him, and sensing the Spirit ourselves, we all believe it’s true and happened just that way.

This pastor is a very quiet, always kind, pleasant, and humble – even shy.

We only report what we saw, and felt, and heard. 🙂

The Lord be magnified for helping those in need. And for equipping and empowering His own to help or serve in the process. Amen

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“But if I cast out devils by the finger of God, the Kingdom of God has come near to you.” Luke 11:20

[Story related by Gary, Tim, and Whit who were witnesses.]

[Link to trip video]          [Link to trip photos]

The Ninety and Nine – Carmen’s Story

Do you remember Jesus parable from Luke 15 of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son(s)? You may want to read it to refresh yourself. Then listen to this story!

Once upon a time there lived in a mountain village in Honduras a young girl named Carmen. A missionary group visited her village to minister to the children there, hosting a vacation Bible school–teaching the children songs, Bible stories, and loving on them. There were several women in this group, including Jennifer from north east Louisiana.

Jennifer noticed a young girl at the meeting and felt strongly drawn to pray for her. She went to her and asked if she had need of prayer? The girl indicated she didn’t know of anything, and Jennifer just prayed a prayer of blessing over her, but was perplexed by the strong unction to pray and the strong draw to the girl. Later after reflecting on it, she felt the Lord impressed her the prayer was for some future need. She had a strong impression,  “Something that hasn’t happened yet.”

Jennifer & Carmen

Three more ladies in the group told Jennifer, one by one, they were drawn to the same girl, Carmen, and one even said,”To pray for something that hasn’t happened yet.”

I’m going to leave out some other amazing detail and coincidences for brevity and tell you that Jennifer went back home to Louisiana and prayed for this young lady Carmen  by name for the next eighteen months.

As a single mom, raising two children, and working, it would take a miracle for Jennifer to be able to go back to that village and find Carmen, and see what had happened to her. But she had a burning desire to do just that.

Carmen’s Son . A Prophecy. A Destiney

Somehow!? At the last minute Jennifer became a part of our team. She came with us not knowing if she’d be given the opportunity to go to Carmen’s village, or if Carmen would still be there?

As it turned out she made her desire known to the team, and we split up one day so that half of the team went there to minister, so Jennifer could find Carmen, or at least know what had become of her. I was on that half of the team and saw the amazing outcome.

After it appeared that all the children in the village, about thirty or so, had shown up for some songs and interactive worship, along with about eight women and five men — there was no Carmen.

Loving Honduran Children

My good friend, Brother Dr. Jay we call him as he’s a veterinarian, moved over and said to me, “Let’s pray Carmen comes! This is so important to Jennifer.” So we did, right then and there, as our twenty-something, worship-team leaders started worshiping and we looked out on the beautiful, mountainous jungle that had an alpine feel to it due to our high elevation.

About five to seven minutes later, you guessed it, Carmen, a very attractive young woman with her two young sons, came walking up the road to the meeting!:-)

There was an excited embrace by Jennifer and a few quick words and greetings that we observed from a distance. Then all took their seats as the service had begun. There followed excellent, beautiful, peaceful worship led by our own Hannah with Giovanni and Marilyn, her musically-gifted, Honduran counterparts.  Then there was kid’s ministry, and a word from the matriarch and spiritual leader of the village, and the meeting was finished.

Folks were mingling and filing out, slowly drifting away to their homes or daily pursuits. Time didn’t matter. We were basking in the scenery, and the tangible, felt presence of God during the service. It was so beautiful and peaceful.

Carmen and Jennifer immediately joined each other at the front of the church. Carmen would learn from Jennifer about all the ladies praying for her. And about Jennifer praying for her by name for eighteen months.

Carmen’s Village

Jennifer would learn from Carmen that she had been hospitalized in Olanchito for abdominal bleeding and had been very ill, “Something that hasn’t happened yet,” at the time of the offered prayers.

Also during that hospital stay, some believers had visited Carmen, prayed for her healing, and asked her if she wanted to receive Christ as Savior? At that time, she felt she wanted to do so, but didn’t.

A Prayer Answered and A Prayer Offered :):)

Jennifer asked her, “Well do you want to do so right now?” ”Yes,” she said with a smile, hearing of God’s love and caring for her and His sending so many. 🙂 So she did just that with Jennifer and Giovanni assisting and witnessing her prayer for salvation.

There’s more!? But for heaven sakes, that’s enough! A person would have to be blind, deaf, or both not to see the incredible lengths the Lord went to, to find this lost one He cherished, and bring her safely into His fold.:-)

His name be magnified! May Carmen and her family be blessed of the Lord. And may the Lord continue to pour out his Spirit and help the village of Capucales Honduras.  Amen

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“What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” (Luke 15:4)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:19)

Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart,” (Luke 18:1)

[Link to trip video]          [Link to trip photos]

First Mission – Honduras

En Route Above the Clouds Over Houston

From January 10th to January 16th as part of a nine person mission team, I visited Olanchito Honduras.

The team was mostly from different churches in North Louisiana with one tag-along from Northwest Arkansas, me. This was my fourth Honduras mission trip with this team, and the first time to meet three of it’s members.

We all bonded wonderfully, and were led by the Spirit seemingly in every endeavor. Early in the week, and certainly by weeks end, we had become the best of friends! 🙂 All of us felt a sense of awe at what God had done through us and around us.

Descending into Miami International Airport on my way home, it seems so surreal already. And I’m peacefully full of joy about all we did and experienced. So much so, I’m happy to try to write about it, or not write at all? It is more than I could put into words anyway! We all felt that way as we shared our thoughts at an after-dinner debrief in Tela last night.

And what would a web audience, some probably known to me, and some unknown, like to hear about? Ah, these are more like questions for the Spirit of God, Who led us wonderfully throughout the week. So I’ll rely on Him to bring things to mind and tell parts of the story.

In A Prison

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

I’m against long blogs, so this may require several short ones. Some possibilities include: A Women Named Carmen, Hannah & Whit —Dynamic Duo, Honduran Pastor’s Exorcism Story, Daniel of Olanchito — Deliverance and Restoration, La Balsa Revisited, Tim — A Birthday to Remember, Prison Encounter, TV in the Park, Theology 101 — Pink & Tozer, Those Who Stay with the Luggage, A Proclaimer Indeed, Tegucigalpa — Laura & Divina. We’ll see how the Spirit leads?

In a Park

In the Mountains

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A summary might read like this.

[1] We prepared materials and held a two day pastor’s conference for fifty-one people, mostly pastors and wives, who came out of the mountain villages to receive encouragement, training, and fellowship with each other around the Bible.

[2] We ministered in a Honduran prison for two hours with music, a spiritual invitation, and prayer for inmates who responded. We encouraged the prison fellowship leaders who seemed nonexistent three years ago. Lastly, we distributed some books, food, tooth paste and tooth brushes to inmates who seemed very appreciative.

[3] We attended a Thursday night meeting in a local church with a “Celebrate Recovery”  ministry where Kevin taught and Gary shared.

[4] We attended a Sunday night meeting at the same church with about fifty people where we saw deliverances and healing as the Spirit moved in response to our prayers and His purposes. Jennifer shared a powerful testimony of the healing, salvation, and the seeking out of one young Honduran woman that only the Spirit of God could have orchestrated. Then Tim shared a powerful testimony from his own recent life about forgiveness in a rapid-fire fashion that left Laura, his translator, gasping for air! 🙂

As We Arrived

Our Peaceful Mission House and Base of Operation

That’s the long of it! And perhaps the short of it? 🙂 But a few more short stories will follow. 🙂

Stay tuned! 🙂  Adiós, amigos

 

[Click here for a short video]

[Click here for photos of the mission….]

First Fight

Saturday night just before midnight twenty something men stood around a fire, bundled up as the wind chill temperature was hovering near the teens, to kick off a twelve week plan to spend more time seeking God, communicating with and encouraging each other, break old habits, gain some new ones, commit to exercise and physical discipline to better their health, and to read a book together over that period, discussing it to challenge themselves intellectually and spiritually. It’s a men’s ministry program called “Fight Club.”

I participated in it last year, and the leaders asked me to be their kick off speaker, to encourage the men and exhort them in their quest this year.

Saturday was Epiphany, and I thought that appropriate and predictive of their success. Epiphany means an “ah ha” moment or a divine revelation. The later is the true meaning of the word as it’s been used from antiquity. Epiphany is celebrated the world over in Christendom as “Three King’s Day,” or the first revelation to gentiles that the Christ Child was indeed the Messiah, King of Kings, and the Son of God. And I believe these men, if they can by the Lord’s help, stay their courses are in for revelations and some “ah ha” moments themselves.

That we are in a fight with sin, our flesh, and dark spirits becomes clearer and clearer as we mature. Or when you look at human history as recorded in human literature. Or you can simply look into the best selling book of all times to read about the battle, the causes, and the cure.

I know I look forward to the new year more and more as they pass. I appreciate a time that seems naturally given to reflecting on life, making needed adjustments, then going again at life and living. The longer you live, you understand more and more, you need forgiveness, and you need help. In short, you need a Savior. And you need a Helper. A spiritual boost from a Counselor and Guide beyond the natural.

Thankfully we have both available to us, and we have the process and path outlined in Scripture, the same best selling book of all times I alluded to earlier. Seek Him, as the Three Kings did, and you’ll find Him for yourself, just as they did. It’s His promise.

The Lord’s blessings and nearness be on the men engaged in Fight Club.

Best wishes to you and those you love for a happy and prosperous New Year!

 

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jer 29:13

“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.” Matt  2:10

“And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” Neh 4:14

Let This Year Be New

Greetings! It’s the first of the year, and while journaling by the fire yesterday, I felt the Lord impress me to get back to writing, and speaking, and communicating, anything He puts in my heart to share. Whether it’s writing letters to brothers in prison, attending prayer meetings and Bible studies, sharing testimonies from my life or sharing what the Spirit is showing me from Scriptures while on mission trips, or just hanging out with family and friends? Last year, and certainly the last half of last year, I took a break from sharing much publicly and rested in His presence with His leading.

The first day of the new year is here.Thank God for new beginnings! And thank Him for new years. These cause us to stop and ponder our lives. How fast they are going? Their meaning? At the very least we pause and focus, if not for circumstantial assessment — whether good or bad at the moment, then on the brevity of our lives. We’re thankful that we still have “time to choose,” but feeling simultaneously that we have “no time to lose.” 🙂 To live well and steward our days and years whether they be few or somewhere near the seventy the Bible says God has planned generally for man.

If all goes to plan, I want to share some thoughts about “firsts” that have come to me recently, and that you may find interesting as well, insights worth thinking about.

What is the greatest commandment? Or said another way, what is the first among commandments? Of course, if you’ve had much Bible training or education, your mind would run to the time a pharisee asked Jesus the same question. The occasion, question, and Jesus’ answer are recorded in three of the Gospels.

Nine out of ten people would say He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength,” and “The second is like unto it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” “for on these two hang all the laws and all the commandments.” Profound. Powerful. Weighty words, from the greatest human Who ever lived, Who also had insight and connection to the Divine. The lawyers nodded and were silenced. The crowd too.

But Mark records that the very first words from Jesus’ mouth were, “Hear of Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One!” I wonder why the others didn’t record that as well? Could it be that is was so familiar to them and their Jewish audience that if just part of it was quoted, they would all say and know the rest in their minds?

Indeed, since 1500 years before His day and 2000 years since, faithful Jews around the planet have recited it in their prayers, written it on their door posts, taught it to their children, and worn little scrolls containing it on their wrists and foreheads. It’s called the Shama and is recorded in it’s entirety in Deuteronomy 6:4. “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Whatever the reason I think it important to note He said it and it was the first thing from His lips. So the most important or first command may be to “Hear” or “Listen” as the Hebrew word is most often translated. And to “consider it true that the Lord is One.” It’s something to ponder, and to ponder the ramifications of what Jesus said first.

 

 

 

 

What Do You Say?

It’s been awhile since I’ve written or blogged. I’ve practically given up FaceBook for a long season and promoting my book that way? It’s been a quiet time of enjoying life, reflecting on life, and seeking the Lord personally for myself. Oh, I’ve been active in kingdom circles and activities, maybe too much so? I attend three men’s meetings each week. A life group from the church I attend meets in our home weekly. And we support a number of missionaries and mission causes. But some deep disappointments and spiritual circumstances have had me derailed, disillusioned, and not serving the Lord in the same way I’ve served in the past.

I mentioned the men’s groups I attend. Hopefully I bring something of value to the table for some of them occasionally, but I mainly attend for myself. The spiritual food from others who seek the Lord, and determine to live for and with Christ, sacrificially and faithfully. To the end. These men touch me deeply with their lives, honesty, humility, and humor. This is most valuable to a man in some spiritual despair and disillusionment.

I find myself wanting to dive off into this, and the lessons learned, and how the Lord spoke to me about it this morning in my Wednesday men’s group, but not now. Suffice to say, it was about grumbling in the wilderness. A spiritual wilderness for me. But we know from Exodus and the NT that grumbling is not good! It can derail your life! Your life with God. And the good plans He has for you. Enough on that, you get it! I got it this morning, thankfully, when I heard the Scripture and the Spirit highlighted it in my heart and experience. And in the safety of those men, I shared it, bringing some healing and release to me.

We prayed for many things today, but one jumped out at me. A friend of one of our members  had lost his sixteen year old grandson in an automobile accident last week where he was ejected from a vehicle and then run over by the same.:( This same grandfather had lost a wife in an untimely death, and was “mad at God,” as reported by my friend. Certainly this is understandable and we’ve all known of situations like this, trying to pray, counsel, and morn with those who morn. And this is right, of course. I guess? But this is what came to me…

It was written on a church bill board or marquee a few blocks from my house that I viewed driving home yesterday. It says, “God owes you nothing. God gave you everything.” Kindly stark! Isn’t it? But absolutely true as you start to meditate on it, in light of the Bible, and the human experience, isn’t it?

I’ve determined to keep my blog posts short, to better serve readers, and because I like short posts myself. 🙂 So the main point of my musing and insight this morning will come later, when this writ is continued…

 

Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.” (1 Corinthians 10:10)

The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint.” (1 Peter 4:7–9)

 

 

 

“You Owe Me… Nothing”

The Western Wall . Jerusalem

And I owe you … Nothing (Except to love you.)! 🙂

With Easter still fresh on our minds, I want to challenge you, and myself, about forgiveness. About practicing “forgiveness” and “living forgiven.” I believe understanding these two concepts are curial to living a life of freedom and peace before God and with others.

I’m not claiming to be an expert in this matter or even say I’ve mastered “forgiveness” myself. But I do believe I’ve recently received a little revelation on the subject that’s profound, easy to ponder, and an “acid test” of sorts to determine if you are living “forgiven and forgiving” or not?

St. Scholastica . Fort Smith

It’s two simple questions you can ask yourself. I’ll tell you what they are, why they are important, and where I got them.

Questions one is, “Do I owe you anything?” That is, am I in debt to you in any way? If the answer is “yes,” then I must make every effort to settle my debt by payment or seek to have it forgiven.

Why is this important? Or a goal you should always be working toward, or trying to maintain? Because it’s the clear teaching of Scripture, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other.” (Romans 13:8a) Debts owed usually affect relationships negatively, and rob the involved parties of real peace and freedom.

Sea of Galilee . Israel

Question two is, “Do you owe me anything?” That is are you in debt to me in anyway? If the answer is “yes,” then I must make every effort to collect the debt or forgive it? So that your balance sheet is clean and does not affect your relationship with me or with others.

This is the clear teaching of Jesus about His Father, and His kingdom in the area of “debt and forgiveness.” Look at Matthew 18:21-35, which is perhaps the clearest and most telling truth on “forgiveness” in the Bible.

The Jordan River . Israel

This is where Jesus ties forgiveness to debts. Especially in the areas of large debts of personal injury that are hard to place a price upon or repay. We see that is the context of the parable because of the way it starts with Peter’s question to Jesus, “How often should I forgive my brother who sins against me?”

Sometimes the debt is so large, forgiveness is the only alternative to settle the affair, if the debtor is to have any chance at a fresh start, dignity, hope, and a life worth living. Still, this forgiveness is not required by justice or by law. It’s a grace or mercy extended by a loving heart out of concern for the well being of the debtor and his family.

Fort Smith . Arkansas

Indeed forgiveness is best extended and understood by these statements. “I forgive you. You owe me nothing.”

“Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation, restitution, or approval of sin. Forgiving, according to Jesus in his parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35), involves a singular decision of the will by which you consider another person no longer indebted to you.”
(from The Red Feather by Tom Elliff)

Amen אמן

In light of the huge and impossible-to-repay debt that God has forgiven us by the sacrifice of His Son, and at His Son’s request, we must forgive others their much smaller debts. Do you agree? Then go and do likewise. Godspeed.

Jerusalem

And may it be, or I should rather say, it will be, healing for your soul. And the souls of those about you. God’s peace.

 

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8)

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:1)

Other Quotes on Forgiveness:

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. ~Mahatma Gandhi

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. ~Lewis B. Smedes, “Forgiveness – The Power to Change the Past,” Christianity Today, 7 January 1983

Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting. ~William Arthur Ward

Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. ~Paul Boese

Friends Freedom Flight

Awaiting the Freedom of Flight

As some of you know, and others may have gathered, I’ve been led to a life long career and love of aviation. After having the unanticipated pleasure of flying fighter jets and commercial airliners, I’m experiencing presently the unanticipated joy and opportunity to own and fly a private airplane.

This experience continues to teach me a lot about God. His largeness, His generosity, His joy in creation, His joy in adventure, and His joy in showering good gifts upon His children. I continue to be humbled by His goodness, as well as, quietly and joyfully overwhelmed by the same.

N188DL Visiting Her Previous Home and  a True Friend

Recently I was invited to join a fraternal organization of pilots with all types of back grounds in aviation. Apparently it’s a friendship fraternity centered around flight. It’s a bit mysterious, and I usually steer well clear of secret or mysterious organizations, but I took courage by meeting the members a number of times, and because two of the members have been my close aviation and personal friends for more than thirty years. “What could be wrong with it?” I thought. And, “I’m all about friendship!”

Getting a Friend Out of the House for a Spiritual Lift

So on the appointed night of my acceptance (or rejection?), I felt the Spirit impress me to write a short poem as an acceptance speech, should there be an acceptance, and such an occasion to speak afterwards arise? 🙂 This I did hurriedly by the fire on a scrap of paper, the inspiration and words flowing into my mind surprisingly quickly, within five minutes. Sticking it in my pocket I kissed my wife goodbye and headed out the door to the meeting.

And Enjoying a Day Out in Creation

After the hilarious  meeting, I was asked to step out, while I assume some sort of vote was taken. I returned and it was announced that I  had been accepted as a member to smiles, laughter, and a short round of applause. While this was dying down, I ripped the little paper from my pocket, and announced, “ I have prepared an little acceptance speech for you, in the event you accepted me? If it’s appropriate to do so? It’s actually an acceptance poem.” They nodded their quizzical approval with smiles, and I began.

Friends On a Mountain Top to Enjoy a Sunset

[The name of the organization isn’t important, and I told you they were a bit mysterious, so I’ll just use XX for the name. 🙂 Thank you for your understanding.]

XX

What the heck’s a XX?
I don’t really know.
It seems by evenings end,
I may be one though.
It may be a man
With courage to leave the ground,
To launch toward the sky,
Where more that blue is found.
To soar with the birds
And look down on things,
To trade gravity’s bonds
For engines and wings.
And to walk among men,
Who similar paths have trod.
Some trusting in their aircraft.
And most trusting in God.
A fraternity not earthbound,
With skill and courage they flee, 

Mostly they have in common

The desire to be free.


Thank You Brothers and Friends In Flight , 
And have a good night. 

An officer asked me for the poem which I handed over with a smile. And I wouldn’t even have a copy except for the fact it was published in their national magazine last month.

There is a lot of freedom in flight, along with adventure, joy, beauty, spiritual truth, and friendship. But instead of exalting flight, the gift, I want this writ to exalt the Giver of flight, friendship, and freedom, even Jesus Christ, the Lord. His peace to you all in this Easter season of meditation and contemplation of His holy life, and His holy gift, freedom. Also His joy!!

Flying Into the Sunset … Arriving Home

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5:1)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue … you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”” (John 8:31–32)

[Dedicated to Friends who soar in flying machines, and spiritually.]