Monday, August 30, 2021

Friday, August 27, 2021

Healing Verses

“Pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.” (Proverbs 4:20–22)

"He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds, we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” (Psalm 147:2)

“For I am the Lord who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26)

“I will give you back your health and heal your wounds.” (Jeremiah 30:17)

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

"Then Jesus said, ‘Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Repeating The Same Mistake

Let's examine the facts:

President Barack Obama and Vice-President Biden presided over the devastating withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011. Biden boasted at the time that pulling the troops out of Iraq "could be one of the great achievements of this administration," and thanked President Obama "for giving him the chance to end the Iraq war."

However, the war in Iraq was far from over, and in reality the withdrawal rejuvenated the terrorists that had been decimated by the presence of American troops. The vacuum resulted in the Islamic State capturing territory in Iraq and Syria that was the size of the country of Britain. The atrocities that they committed included not only terrorizing the local population but over 140 attacks in over 25 countries. Yet we can determine from Biden's statements on record that as late as 2013 he felt "happy" and fulfilled" with the decision to withdraw the troops from Iraq. 

Fast forward 2 1/2 years and the Obama administration relented and sent U.S. forces back into Iraq to deal with the terrorists they had allowed to prosper. Incredibly, we have to jump to 2020 to finally see an admission from Biden that the decision to withdraw all the troops from Iraq "was a mistake." And  during the presidential campaign of 2020, Biden even pointed fingers at President Trump's decision to withdraw a small force of U.S. troops from Syria saying, "when we leave a vacuum, like he's leaving it, it creates significant opportunities for difficulty." 

You think?

And yet . . . 

Friday, August 20, 2021

Thursday, August 19, 2021

C.S. Lewis Quotes on Heaven

"Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind."

"Joy is the serious business of heaven."

"Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither."

"To every soul, God will look like it's first love because He IS its first love. Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it - made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand."

"If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this."

"The fact that our heart yearns for something Earth can't supply is proof that Heaven must be our home."

"The good things even of this world are far too good ever to be reached by imagination. Even the common orange, you know: no one could have imagined it before he tasted it. How much less Heaven."

"If we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell."

"Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly. For all that can be shaken will be shaken and only the unshakeable remains."

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Prayers For Afghanistan

"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2)

Even with the restraining force of a U.S. military presence, Afghanistan was listed by Open Doors as a land where “persecution is only very slightly less oppressive than in North Korea.” Christian converts faced dire consequences if their new faith was discovered. As Open Doors notes, they either had to flee the country or they would be killed. “How we survive daily only God knows,” says one secret Afghan believer. “He knows because he has been kind to dwell with us. But we are tired of all the death around us.”

Today, as U.S. troops rapidly exit the country, followers of Christ in Afghanistan have become even more exposed to persecution. Girls and women will also suffer, as will those who helped Western forces for the past 20 years. We need to diligently pray for these vulnerable populations, and ask that God will protect them from the suffering to come.

Monday, August 16, 2021

In Times of Loss

I lost a good friend today - and his passing was almost a year to the day from another good friend leaving this world as well. (August is fast losing its place as one of my favorite months) 

In times of deep loss I have found it comforting to remember that Jesus also experienced the loss of one of his good friends. ""When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept."

Jesus was not immune to the pain and sadness of this life - He experienced loss, betrayal, and death just like everyone else who has taken a breath on this planet. And I love the fact that Jesus didn't sweep away the emotional responses of Martha and Mary but instead He simply grieved with them. Jesus knew where his good friend Lazarus was - and He knew that Lazarus was more alive at that moment than he had ever been here on earth. But Jesus also knew that this was going to be a powerful touchstone for a lot of people, throughout history, to see the power of God, even over death. So despite the pain, the anger, and the sadness, He knew that this was bigger than anyone could imagine - that there were spiritual ramifications that would ripple for thousands of years and yet . . . He didn't try to explain away the grief and sadness that came with Lazarus death, instead, Jesus wept. 

There is nothing that we will ever experience that Jesus Christ has not already felt many times over. He has been wounded for our transgressions, He has taken the entire wrath and punishment of God for our transgressions. But, He is not just our Savior, He is our friend, walking with us and sharing in our experiences, good and bad, that we all encounter. Because He loves us. 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

No Hitter In His First Major League Start!

Arizona Diamondbacks rookie left-hander Tyler Gilbert no-hit the San Diego Padres on Saturday night, August 14th, making big-league history on an individual and league-wide basis as part of a 7-0 blowout victory. 

Gilbert, 27, was making his first career start and just his fourth career appearance in the majors. Nevertheless, he became the fourth pitcher to ever toss a no-hitter in start No. 1, joining Theodore Breitenstein (1891), Bumpus Jones (1892), and Bob Holloman (1953), according to research conducted by's Sarah Langs.

Additionally, Gilbert's no-hitter was the eighth in the 2021 Major League Baseball regular season, setting a new record. The most no-hitters thrown in a single season in modern times had previously been seven, a mark that was reached most recently in 2015. Eight, then, ties the all-time record, which was set in 1884. (Note that seven-inning no-hitters are not included, as MLB does not consider them to be official no-nos.)

Gilbert's no-no is the third in Diamondbacks franchise history. Randy Johnson first threw a perfect game against the Atlanta Braves in 2004 (Ugh), and Edwin Jackson then threw a no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010. 

What a way to start your Major League Career! 

Friday, August 13, 2021

A Simple Act Of Faith

A friendship that impacted a man's eternal destination. A bond shared between a black man from the United States and a white man from Germany. One man carrying the hopes of his nation and race, the other man undergirding his country's nationalistic pride and ambition. Luz Long, was a German long jumper favored to win his event in the 1936 Olympics. He was white, blonde, and the perfect candidate to portray Adolf Hitler's superior Aryan beliefs. He had already won the German long jump championship six times in 1933, 1934, 1936, 1937, 1938, and 1939. Hitler, the self proclaimed chancellor of the German Reich, had made no secret of his beliefs that these Olympics would be the global stage where his Aryan people would position themselves as the superior race.

Jesse Owens, a black man from the United States, was experiencing the pressure of competing in this stadium located in the heart of Nazi Germany. He had won the gold medal in the 100 meter race earlier but was struggling to qualify for the long jump contest. This stress could have been amplified by the actions of Hitler who shook hands only with the German victors after the first day of competition and then left the stadium. International Olympic Committee president Henri de Baillet-Latour insisted that Hitler greet every medalist or none at all. Hitler opted for the latter and skipped all further medal presentations. So it was with great expectation that Hitler watched from his perch high above the throng, awaiting the triumph of his favorite German athlete, Luz Long, in the long jump contest. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Field of Dreams Baseball Game

Tonight, Thursday, August 12th, 2021, a Major League Baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees was played in Iowa, for the first time in history. MLB built a baseball stadium next to the Field of Dream stadium, which was originally built for the movie (best baseball movie of all-time in my opinion) which was filmed in 1989. The White Sox won it in the bottom of the 9th with a two run homer - what a night! 

"People will come, Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn into your driveway, not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door, as innocent as children, longing for the past. “Of course, we won’t mind if you look around,” you’ll say, “It’s only twenty dollars per person.” And they’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it, for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk off to the bleachers and sit in their short sleeves on a perfect afternoon. And find they have reserved seats somewhere along the baselines where they sat when they were children. And cheer their heroes. And they’ll watch the game, and it’ll be as they’d dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick, they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come, Ray. The one constant through all the years Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come."

And on a personal note, just hearing the first few notes of the perfect soundtrack from the movie causes me to tear up immediately. Time moves differently in the game of baseball, where stats originate from its start in the 1800's, and there is a direct correlation between that kind of timeless moments and the relationships that we covet the most. It is sacred, almost spiritual in its impact. This film is in my opinion one of the most perfect movies ever made. People do come to this location, and some day I hope to walk on that field, carrying my glove and baseball, and play catch in the twilight of that Iowa cornfield. 

People come to that field, over thirty years after the movie was made, and I believe there will be a steady caravan of people until Jesus returns, longing for the emotional connection they felt when they watched the movie. 

Friday, August 06, 2021

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Quotes from St. Augustine

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.”

“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.”

“Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.”