Monthly Archives: December 2006

Resolutions

I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans for your welfare… to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 

new-years-hawaii.jpgHauoli Makahiki Hou (How-oli Mah-kah-hee-key Hoe) – Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year again. Time to make my New Year’s Resolutions.

Number one on my list for 2007 – I’m going to get organized. I know I’ve said it before, but somehow, I just feel this is my year. I’m going to make it happen!

Dream on, Del! Never happened before. Never will. No way.

How about something more doable. This coming year, I resolve to keep my car clean. Inside and out. That’ll make my wife very, very happy. She is obsessed with riding in a clean car.

My wife is actually afraid to ride in my car - afraid something might crawl up her leg.

She keeps her car so clean you can eat off it. My car? Well, you can eat off it too. There’s usually a couple old french fries on the floor. Maybe a bag of half eaten Chicken McNuggets in the backseat. Yep. Lot’s of good eats in my car!  

But seriously, I do have one resolution for 2007. Not so much a resolution. More a goal.

My goal is to spend at least a few minutes everyday, all 365 of them, reading God’s Word and journalling. I don’t want to miss a single day.

You see, the day I miss might be the day the enemy tries to trip me up. Finds a chink in my armor. Exploits a weakness. I must continually fortify myself against his attacks.

But that’s the negative side of the coin. On the positive side, each day I spend in the Word is an opportunity for God to speak truth into my life. An opportunity for me to draw closer to Him. And that’s an opportunity I don’t want to let slip by.

Why not join me this year? How’s about we do it together.

Lets go for “Three-sixty-five” in “Double-oh-seven!” 

And if we make it all the way to the end, next year we can go for three sixty six!

Who made the muck?

For every man must die. His breathing stops, life ends, and in a moment all he planned for himself is ended. But happy is the man who has the God of Jacob for his helper, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the God who made both earth and heaven, the seas and everything in them. Psalm 146: 4-6

muck3.jpgA few days ago, I watched a panel of “experts” debate the subject of evolution vs. intelligent design. As I listened to the evolutionists espouse their views, it occurred to me that it must be very depressing to be an atheist.

Think about it. Here you are, convinced that you evolved out of primordial muck. Now, after millions of years, you have reached the absolute height of the evolutionary process…. then suddenly…. YOU DIE! You cease to exist. It’s over.

Evolution has taken you as far as it could go. But it could not find a way to counteract aging. It could not overcome death. Worse yet? It could not find a way to continue your existence beyond death. You close your eyes and cease to exist. How depressing is that?!

As I watched the program, I found it amusing. Those who were arguing evolution got worked up. Their tempers flared. They hurled insults at the other side. And I thought to myself, if all you have to look forward to is a state of non-existence, why get so passionate about it? What difference will it make in the long run?

Today’s verse says,

“Happy is the man….whose hope is in the Lord his God, the God who made both heaven and earth….”

Now, that is something to get passionate about! That is something you can zealously defend.

Oh, and by the way, the passage answers another question the evolutionist must certainly ponder:

Who made the muck? 

The Gertilas, the Shirleys, the Derreks

There are many ways in which God works in our lives but it is the same God who does the work in and through all of us who are His. 1 Corinthians 12:6

christmasblend.jpgSitting here at Starbucks, drinking coffee and spending time in devotions… it’s interesting the friends you see come through.

First, there was Gertila. Gertila is a widow, probably in her mid 70s. She is quiet, peaceful, gentle, just about the sweetest person I have ever known. She loves the Lord and she is a prayer warrior.

Then Shirley came through. Shirley is a real “Hallelujah” “Praise the Lord” kind of gal. Like Gertila, she too loves the Lord and she’s not ashamed to let the whole coffee shop know it. You go, girl!

Then there’s Derrek. Thirty something. Rugged, athletic, good looking guy. It’s a weekend night and he could be partying. But Derrek has more important things to do. He’s sitting in the overstuffed chair spending time in devotions. Talk about dedication!

Today’s passage tells us God works in each of our lives in different ways. He displays His power through each of us uniquely and individually so His eternal purposes can be fulfilled.

No two of us are alike. We come in different sizes, shapes, colors, nationalities, personalities. There are the Gertilas, the Shirleys, the Derreks, and God uses them all to accomplish His plan. To share the love of Jesus, so the whole earth will be filled with the glory of God.

Well, at least, the whole coffee shop!

No excuses

For since He, Himself has been through suffering and temptation, He knows what it is like when we suffer and are tempted, and He is wonderfully able to help us. Hebrews 2:18

manger2.jpgI am inspired by stories of people who have excelled, who made it to the top of their game though they started with little or nothing. An athlete or businessman, a world leader, one who grew up in poverty but rose to a position of prominence.

A favorite book on my shelf is “Gifted Hands,” the autobiography of Dr. Ben Carson, a world renowned neurosurgeon. Raised in the ghetto by a single mother, the odds were stacked against him, yet he made it to the top of his profession. His story inspires me to seek excellence.

I am also inspired when I read how Jesus faced the same human frailties we encounter, yet He was victorious.

…but (He) was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

Now, none of us are likely to reach a state of sinless perfection in this lifetime, at least I know I won’t. Still, we don’t have to fall into the trap of sin every time Satan sets a tripwire in our path. God has equipped us to live victoriously.

He has given us wisdom to know right from wrong. He gives us His Spirit to empower us. We have His Word to strengthen us against the enemy. He places others in our lives to watch over us, guard our blind spots. And He has given us His example to follow.

He has equipped us with everything we need to live victoriously. Yet if we do stumble and fall, He gives us mercy and forgiveness. Helps us back to our feet. And we move forward stronger and wiser than before.

So it’s up to us. We can make excuses for our shortcomings and stay in the ghetto, or we can  rise above, and live victoriously.

Let’s aim high. Set our sights on  things above. Let’s go for God’s very best!

AM? PM? FM?

Never let it be said that Christ’s people are poor workers. 1 Timothy 6:1

north-pole2.jpgI spent thirty-something years in radio, most of it at Christian stations. Actually started in 1971 at KJNP, North Pole, Alaska. Go ahead, Google it. It’s a real town. The main industry there was the Santa Claus House. People would send their Christmas Cards and packages there to be re-mailed back to friends and loved ones. Postmarked, “From the North Pole.” Not sure who the brain surgeon was that thought that one up but it seemed to work!

In the summertime, the sun would never set. My  body clock got so out of whack, I could never tell if it was 12 noon or 12 midnight. For a while, I pulled a weird split shift where I worked six to ten AM then came back and worked six to ten PM. More than once, my newsman would come in the studio and say, “Del, you’re saying ‘Good Morning.’ It’s evening, Dude.”

I worked briefly at a couple of non-Christian stations, one in Buffalo, Minnesota, the other in Havre, Montana, and I’m pleased to say that, with a few exceptions, most of my Christian fellow-workers consistently gave 110% percent. That’s how it should be. Paul is telling us not to be poor workers. It’s a shameful testimony.

One of the biggest compliments I ever received was from a non-Christian Program Director. Someone asked him how many people worked at the station. “One. I’ve got twelve people on staff but Del is the only one who works.”

Working in a Christian ministry is not all fun and fellowship. It’s not a Sunday pot-luck. There are long hours, heavy demands, deadlines to meet. My boss would give me a piece of production marked ASAP – as soon as possible. But if he really wanted to put a rush on it, he would mark it STP – sooner than possible.

“Del, how soon can you get this done?” Oh, by ten. “Get it to me by nine.” So I would step into a phone booth, put on my cape and go to work. Others preferred to simply keep a can of spinach nearby.

Funny thing I learned, the harder you work, the faster the time goes by. The more effort you give, the more feeling of pride you take in your job.

But above all, always remember, the Lord is taking notice.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23, 24 (NIV)

As you go about your responsibilities today, do it with all your heart. Do it as unto the Lord. Remember:

never let it be said that Christ’s people are poor workers.

“Don’t worry about it” ???

christmas-in-hawaii2.jpgAt 7:55 this morning, my windows began to rattle. The sound became thunderous as five F-15 Eagle jet fighters from the Hawaii Air National Guard flew the “missing man” formation over Pearl Harbor. They came in so low over my home the pilot could have picked a papaya off the top of my tree.

Sixty five years ago to the minute, Japanese war planes flew that same route in their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, plunging the US into war with Japan.

Years ago, I spoke with a gentleman who has carried a heavy burden since that Sunday morning in 1941. It was his first day at the Schofield Barracks duty station. He received a call from a radar installation on the North Shore of Oahu that detected incoming planes. Assuming they were our own B-17s, he uttered four words he has regretted his entire life. “Don’t worry about it.”

Later, a congressional investigation absolved him of negligence. They placed the responsibility on his superiors for inadequately preparing him for his responsibilities. Still, he lives under a cloud of guilt.

I often think about the responsibility God has given me as a husband and father. You see, we have an enemy and nothing would please him more than to pull off a surprise attack on our family. We need to be watchful, alert, always on our guard. 

not ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Cor. 2:11).

When our children were young and we would send them off to school, every morning we would all go through motions like we were putting our armor on. “Helmet of salvation? Check. Breastplate of righteousness? Check. Belt of truth? Check. Shield of faith? Check. Sword of the Spirit? Check. Shoes of the gospel of peace? Check.” Okay, we’re ready to go! They might have forgotten their pencils and tablets but they never forgot their armor!

Looking back, we came through a few battles. More than a few. I know you have as well. And there will be more to come, sorry to break it to you. But in all things, we can be more than conquerors through Jesus Christ who loves us and gave Himself for us.

So keep your armor on, my friend. You can leave home without your American Express but don’t leave home without your armor!

Wanted: Dead or Alive. Preferably Dead!

As Saul and his men began to close in, David tried his best to escape, but it was no use. But just then, a messenger reached Saul that the Philistines were raiding Israel again, so Saul quit the chase and returned to fight the Philistines. 1 Samuel 23:26-28

Who said God has no sense of humor?! I got a chuckle reading this passage today. It is so full of irony.

Think about it. David has two major enemies; the Philistines, who have his picture on every post office bulletin board in the land, and Saul, who sees David as a threat to his throne.

So Saul chases David down and corners him. No way of escape, no place to hide. David is toast.

Then Saul’s cell phone rings. Satellite images show Philistine troops unexpectedly amassing on the Israeli border. Saul has to pull back from his assault on David and return to the Pentagon.

The Philistines actions have unwittingly allowed their arch rival, David, to escape the hand of Saul!

The irony blows me away!

When David was trapped, I’ve got to believe he was praying. “O God, send someone to get me out of this mess! You saved me from the mouth of the bear and from the lion. You spared me from Goliath, the Philistine Giant…”

And I can imagine God saying, “Philistine? Did someone say Philistine? Hmm, I’ve got an idea…” and he uses one of David’s enemies to spare him from the other.

So where are we going with this? What is the message for us today?

When you and I are in trouble, we should never limit the way God can rescue us. He may send help from the least likely place. The last place on earth you are expecting. Just keep trusting Him. You never know how He will come through!

Not If but When

Don’t be weary in prayer; keep at it; watch for God’s answers and remember to be thankful when they come. Colossians 4:2

Not sure about you but I needed this passage today. Good reminder!

It’s easy to get discouraged when we don’t see our prayers answered right away. Often, it’s a matter of timing. He’s in one time zone. We’re on the other side of the International Date Line. We need to sync our watches with His. Adjust our schedule to His.

Paul is saying, don’t be weary. Don’t give up. It’s too soon to quit, to throw in the towel. Just keep watching for His answers. They’re on the way.

Paul reminds us to be thankful and he doesn’t say, “if” they come but “when” they come. The answers will come!

I have a little habit I adopted a couple years ago. It works well for me. Let me share it with you.

I’m facing some mountains in my life, and they are pretty ominous. Foreboding. I’ve prayed long and hard but they still loom in my way.

So I’ve decided I’m not going to spend a lot of time looking at them. Not that I’m in denial. I’m not pretending they don’t exist. But if I stand there and stare at them all day, I fall into discouragement.

So rather than look at the mountains, I look for any and every sign of encouragement, that God is at work, no matter how small it may seem, and then give Him thanks for it.

Thankfulness takes our focus off the problem and places it on the One who can solve the problem. He is the one on whom we should fix our eyes, not on the mountain.

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith… (Hebrews 12:2)

The mountains you face, whether in your family, your finances, your health, look for every sign that God is at work, no matter how small it may seem, and give Him thanks.

And if He answers in a way you did not expect, that’s okay too. Even better! He knows what’s best.

Keep looking down!

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us… raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-6

Think about it. You and I are seated together with Christ in Heavenly places!

Nice view up here!