Friday, January 25, 2019

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Tupperware can be a good thing. Those sealed plastic containers can preserve leftover food so you can enjoy it later. Tupperware can be a bad thing, if you forget about it. Sound like the voice of experience? I know from some distasteful personal experience what can happen when you do forget it - intermediate life forms, morphing into something unrecognizable. The problem comes when that Tupperware with leftovers in it slowly gets pushed farther and farther back in the fridge, until it's tucked out of sight behind the pickle jar and a gallon of milk. Ultimately, the lost little Tupperware will make its presence known. Yeah, as you open the fridge and utter those inevitable words: "What's that smell?" The smell isn't going away until some domestic Green Beret storms the depths of that fridge and bravely opens that Tupperware and carries away the rotting contents inside, or beats them to death with a stick if necessary.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

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When our older son was little, he would sometimes wander into the living room, crawl into my lap, and snuggle up so close I wasn't sure how he could breathe. One night he looked up at me with those big blue eyes of his and he told me something I've never forgotten. He said, "Daddy, when I'm in your arms, I feel so safe."

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

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I first learned about the United States Life-Saving Service years ago on a family vacation. We got to see a life-saving station that actually has been preserved at a strategic point along the Atlantic coastline. There used to be a lot of them. In some areas, they were like just seven miles apart, you know, along the coast. Each one was staffed by a seven-man crew. I'm going to tell you, these guys were ultimate heroes in every sense of the word! When a ship was in distress near their assigned area, they'd go out into the surf, out into the storm, even a hurricane to try to rescue the people on board. They lived their motto: "You have to go out. You don't have to come back." They saved countless lives who otherwise would have been lost.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

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We call him Evil Bert. He's not a nice guy at all. I was speaking for our Warrior Leadership Summit conference for young Native Americans when Bert made his appearance. Actually, I had asked a friend to make a puppet for me to use. That puppet had a dark mustache, dark eyes, a dark beard, and a wicked expression. I affectionately called him Evil Bert. Evil Bert carried a plastic bat in his hands as he and I walked through the audience. Suddenly, Bert would lash out and hit someone with his plastic bat. People wisely started ducking when he got close. The really smart young people there figured out the dark secret about Evil Bert. It wasn't really Bert that was hitting them. It was the guy who was using him as a puppet. That would be me.

Monday, January 21, 2019

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I was in Cincinnati, working on the message I was going to give that night, and I had a wonderful view of the Ohio River out my hotel window. But it wasn't until I talked with an African-American brother that night that I realized the significance of that river in the history of his people's long fight for freedom. In the days of slavery, many slaves managed to run away from their slave masters, thus beginning their desperate flight for freedom. If they were captured, well, their fate could be severe punishment or even worse. If they could make it to northern Kentucky, across the river from Cincinnati, they were on the edge of their goal. And, once they were in what was the North, they would be helped to safety, maybe in Canada, or by those who ran safe houses on what became known as the Underground Railroad. Once I heard the history, I saw something very different as I looked out my window at the Ohio River from Cincinnati. I was thinking of slaves looking across from the border in Kentucky, realizing that if they could just get across that river, they'd finally be free.

Friday, January 18, 2019

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You know, the opening of a new store in town usually creates a buzz. Like maybe one of those major discount stores, or that do-it-yourself place like Home Depot or something. Well, that stirred things up when it opened in our community some years ago. I’m not doing a commercial; it’s just an observation. Some observers say that Home Depot's comprehensive inventory and competitive prices have actually helped interest a whole new wave of people in doing their own home improvements. (If I only had the ability to use those things they sell!) But any, it's sort of meant to be a one-stop shopping place for everything you need to build your home. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

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We were nearly 3,000 miles from home when my wife was hit by this agonizing attack of gallstones. The situation was so acute we had to get her to a hospital where it was quickly determined she was going to need surgery to remove the stones. From what we understood (and this is the old-school way of doing it) it could take six weeks for her to be able to travel back after the operation. Back home a cure would have meant this invasive incision. But God, of course, had this planned all the time. The hospital that friends directed us to just happened to have on its staff one of the premier laser surgeons in the country. Now, they're more common today, but not back then. He zapped those gallstones with a laser beam and they were history. My honey was good in just two days! A while ago, a friend of ours lost his glasses - for good. He had a laser procedure on his eyes - lasik surgery - and almost immediately his vision deficiencies have been corrected. Who needs glasses? Gallstones gone, vision corrected - with the power of a laser - with the power of focused light.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

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Our friends Marv and Annie were with us at a convention in Chicago. They're from Denver; I was in my hometown. Annie's doctor had let her make the trip to Chicago even if she was eight months pregnant. Well, we had a reception our first night at the convention downtown. I jokingly told her, "Hey, if the baby decides to come tonight, just call our room. This is my city, girl. I'll take care of everything!" Yeah, well, it didn't turn out to be a joke. The call came in the middle of the night, and minutes later we had a lady in hard labor in our back seat. Oh, my goodness! I thought we'd have time to get out to our obstetrician in the suburbs. Not a chance! I had no idea where downtown hospitals were. I never needed one. Oh, boy! I finally found one - a veterans' hospital. No maternity ward! Well, eventually I found a hospital with great facilities - just in time. Today we all laugh about it, but it's certainly not one of my proudest moments.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

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My father-in-law gave my wife and her sister Grandma and Granddad's old farm house in the mountains, and so we had to do some restoring on that little special spot. And since we were able to be there only occasionally, my wife decided to plant accordingly. She said, "I'm planting perennials." Now I'm kind of horticulturally challenged, so my wife had to explain a little further. I'm beginning to understand better now that you can actually plant annuals or perennials. Annuals will bloom for a little while - let's say, like geraniums (How am I doing?) and then they'll be gone. Unless you replant geraniums the next year, which is extra work and hard to do when you're not there. Nope. We need perennials. So my wife planted things like crepe myrtle, and she planted azaleas, she planted honeysuckle. (Hey, I'm getting good at this.) Now as you might guess from their name, those perennials are not going to die on you. Perennials will always be there for you! We all need perennials!

Monday, January 14, 2019

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Now, CNN doesn’t often do a news stories about high school football player, but there was something very special about this South Carolina player they described this way: “Sometimes the biggest heart on the field can fit into the smallest player.” Well, the name of the player--Kos, a Siberian orphan, adopted by an American family, and as they told the story, he has no legs. He lost them the day he and his friend decided to hop aboard a freight train. For some reason, his friend pushed him and he landed under the wheels of that train. 

            

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