Tuesday, January 3, 2017

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She was only 21 years old – but she was well on her way to becoming a superstar. Aaliyah was enjoying huge success with her music, and she was beginning to emerge as an actress with a great future. But all that ended in one awful moment in the Bahamas when the plane carrying her and her crew crashed shortly after takeoff. What made the crash even more tragic was the fact that apparently it was avoidable – at least on the preliminary findings of the investigators. The plane had been loaded with something like twice its maximum baggage capacity. And investigators believe that it was all that weight that made the plane go down.

  • stress
  • Paul
  • struggle

Monday, December 12, 2016

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It was a beautiful day for sailing, and our friend Dave had invited us to go out on Long Island Sound with him and his wife. It was not hard to decide whether to go, believe me. The Sound was actually relatively calm that day. There was a very gentle breeze and not a cloud in the sky, but suddenly Dave announced to us, "We're heading in." I couldn't think of a single, rational reason to waste the rest of such an idyllic afternoon. I said, "Why Dave?" He said, "To beat the storm." Right?

    Friday, December 2, 2016

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    I remember seeing it first in the news from the first Gulf War, and then in Afghanistan. Well, you continue to see it as we have conflicts around the world; those amazing high-tech weapons that hit their target with this pinpoint accuracy. Oh, yeah, they say that there are "targeting errors", but for the most part, those weapons go right to their intended target – weapons like Cruise missiles or what they call "smart bombs". I still remember back in that first Gulf War, a correspondent was in Baghdad, and he described this Tomahawk missile roaring in over the city. It paused, and then it literally made a sharp turn to the left and went straight down into this military facility. Apparently, its tracking system determined that it was slightly off course, so it corrected it, and "boom!" it went right to the target. That's amazing stuff!

    • struggle
    • integrity
    • decisions
    • choices
    • honesty

    Thursday, November 24, 2016

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    Maybe it was the dumb voices I did. But the kids used to love it when I read "Winnie the Pooh" to them. Tigger with his irrepressible "hoo-hoo!" bouncing everywhere. And Eeyore with his head down and his ever-present gloom. I'd rather be Tigger than Eeyore maybe without the bouncing. I mean, I want to be the one to leave sunshine in the room, not storm clouds.

    • stress
    • peace
    • Joy
    • bitterness
    • Thansgiving
    • thankful

    Friday, November 18, 2016

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    One summer our staff had a picnic at the home of one of our volunteers. And this volunteer has a swimming pool. Actually a few people came prepared to go in the pool that day, but I knew one of them would be our son-in-law. He was there only minutes before he was in his swim trunks and diving in. What I didn't expect was who was in the pool with him – our one-year-old grandson. He looked so small in that big pool. But he was loving the water and floating along fearlessly. Not because he could swim, of course. Look, he was advanced – of course, our grandson, but not that advanced. No, his daddy had him sitting in his own personal inner tube, so he had no trouble staying afloat.

    • faith
    • stress
    • struggle
    • Joy

    Friday, November 11, 2016

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    Missionary pilots are some of my personal heroes-especially since the incredible job they did moving our Native American team across Alaska some years ago. Often there really wasn't much of a runway to land on or good weather to fly in, but they always got us there safely. On one flight, I was in the co-pilot seat (yeah, of all things) in a little six-seater aircraft, and our pilot, Gary, was flying us to a Yukon River village through some low visibility, low ceilings-just generally lousy weather. And as we neared our destination, he said, "I hate this part. We're in the dead zone." "Dead zone" isn't exactly what I want to hear from a pilot when I'm flying with him, so I asked Gary what he meant by that. He described that part of a flight where you cannot communicate with the tower or with any other aircraft. You're kind of all alone. It doesn't last long, he explained, but if you're in trouble or you're going down, nobody knows. It's a lonely stretch. Well, after a couple more minutes, Gary broke into a big smile and he said, "Good. We're back." I smiled, too.

    • faith
    • stress
    • struggle
    • fear

    Tuesday, November 8, 2016

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    Florida has many beautiful things about it – great beaches, great theme parks, and great weather. But to be perfectly honest, it's not one of the most exciting states just to drive across. I mean, it's like terminal flatness sort of. You know, like Illinois where I grew up. There's nothing wrong with the South Florida landscape that a nice mountain or a hill wouldn't help. Well, in West Palm Beach there is one. A hill, that is. It actually rises to the breathtaking height of 55' above sea level.

    • pain
    • hurt
    • Your Mission
    • struggle

    Wednesday, November 2, 2016

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    I have some great memories of ministering in South Africa some years ago. Got to reach some lost young people and their parents, and train youth leaders to reach young people as well. My schedule was really intense, but our Field Director and I managed to sneak away for a couple of hours in a wild game park. And the Lord of all those African creatures was really good to us, because He sent us zebras and rhinos and hippos, and many more of God's African best.

    • faith
    • prayer
    • God's will

    Friday, October 28, 2016

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    Our daughter was really in a hurry to get home that night in February, and her aunt wasn't. Her aunt had taken her shopping and was taking her time. One more thing to buy, one more stop, and one more store. By the time our daughter finally got home, she was pretty frustrated. She sort of sputtered as she walked in the front door, only to hear 25 of her best friends shout, "Surprise!" It was her birthday, and yes, it was a surprise! After some oxygen and smelling salts, she began to realize the reason for all those delays. It was all time needed to get her surprise ready. It was worth the wait.

    • faith
    • patience
    • God's Timing
    • trust

    Wednesday, October 26, 2016

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    When you drive into Missouri and Arkansas, you are entering cave country. And the tourist signs prove it...believe me. You could spend an entire vacation just touring all the caverns, using your imagination to see how that stalagmite looks like Snoopy or an Indian chief. As we were roaring down the Interstate one very chilly day, we saw this sign that said, "Fantastic Caverns – a warm 60 degrees." In winter, 60 sounds pretty warm. In summer, 60 sounds pretty cool. So, seasons change and the temperatures change, the cave never does.

    • struggle
    • fear
    • temptation
    • safety
    • security

                

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