Tag Archives: prayer

A Day of Infamy

The day began much as any other weekday—get the family out the door to school, finish dressing for the day, and stop at the office. This day would also include a drive to Taylor (MI) for a meeting with pastors from across Michigan. Typically, the truck radio was tuned to Detroit’s WWJ all-news radio. Although that Tuesday, September 11, 2001, may have begun routinely, it was about to change.

I muttered about the rush hour traffic along I-96, unaware of the events transpiring in the skies over New York. Governmental agencies were scrambling, trying to locate American Airlines Flight 11 on radar—to no avail—until it crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. At 8:48a, the first live pictures broke in New York City on WNYW-TV. In horror, New Yorkers watched a live feed as more than 100 people, trapped by fire and smoke in the upper floors, jumped to their deaths. But this is only the beginning of horrors.

In the span of less than two hours—before anyone could really grasp what was taking place—thousands of lives had been lost. Let me ask you—Where were you when the world stopped turning on the morning of September 11, 2001?

As we watched in stunned horror, we could not help but recall (Psalm 9:17 KJV) The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” Could there be a man or woman alive who witnessed these horrific scenes who was not wondering, “What is happening to America?”

Surely, such a series of tragedies should serve as a clarion wake-up call for Americans to soberly contemplate—“God, what do you want us to see, to understand, to learn from these attacks?” Although man may have meant it for evil, is there some good that God can bring from this?

Just before midnight & just before retiring 16 years ago tomorrow night, President George W. Bush penned into his journal these words: “The Pearl Harbor of the 21st Century took place today … “

Indeed, as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated in his speech to Congress, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked … “

Today—11 September 2017, we are commemorating a day of infamy. Let us never shy away from the searing memories of that September day, lest we forget the price that was paid by innocent people who were ruthlessly slaughtered as they were just doing their jobs.

Let us never forget the price paid by the heroes who risked and gave their lives in an honorable attempt to save as many lives as they possibly could before they themselves paid the ultimate price. Neither should we forget those brave men and women who risked their lives in service to their fellow man, and who will live with the haunting memories and physical handicaps for the remainder of their natural lives.
BTW, do you pray? If so, wouldn’t right now be an appropriate time to thank God for those Americans—both living and deceased—who performed beyond their natural abilities during this crisis which has changed and challenged America?

Today, we are also considering a nation in decline. Sadly, the warning signs are everywhere; the caution flag is out. However, the child of God should not be shocked as we review the events of the last sixteen years, especially in light of 2 Timothy 3 as a prophetic template.

This know also that in the last days, perilous times shall come … For men shall be lovers of their own selves … Covetous … Boasters … Proud … Blasphemers … Disobedient to parents … Unthankful … Unholy …

Without natural affection … Trucebreakers … False accusers … Incontinent (or lacking sexual control) … Fierce (meaning aggressive and violent) … Despisers of those that are good

Traitors … Heady (impulsive and rash in behavior) … High-minded … Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God … Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof …

These also resist the truth … Men of corrupt minds … Reprobate concerning the faith … But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived …

Those of us who know the Word of God and the God of the Word must understand two critical things. First, these are the last days and the human picture will not be a pretty one, but rather a scene that declines from bad-to-worse.

Secondly, as believers, we’re called upon to remain faithful, fervent, fearless, and fruitful. Faithful does not mean a fatalistic outlook on life; neither does it mean that we resign ourselves to thinking that our lives cannot or will not make a positive difference on the world in which we live.

Faithfulness does mean that we fearlessly set our sights toward the future, believing that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us for His cause. Faithfulness does mean that we throw ourselves into the battle for eternal souls throughout our world, since God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Again, I ask, do you pray? If so, today is an excellent time to renew our commitment to God, presenting our bodies as living sacrifices in His service, that by all means available to us, we might save some. Why not pray that kind of commitment prayer to God, wherever you are today?

Finally, on this sixteenth anniversary of 9—11, I am not only commemorating a day of infamy, and considering a nation in decline, but I am also calling a people to action. At 7:24 pm, September 11, 2001, members of Congress joined together on the steps of the United States Capitol and sang, “God Bless America!”

While I firmly believe in that great song—made famous by vocalist Kate Smith—Congress should have been leading this nation in prayers of repentance, giving God a viable reason to bless America. They did not do so, and based on the track record of the last 16 years, they apparently had no intention of doing so.

However, my question is this—even if Congress will no longer truly embrace the principles and precepts that our founding fathers held dear, will you? Will the people who claim to know God choose to live like we know Him?

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

While we may sing of God’s blessings on America, “obedience is better than sacrifice!” … how much pressure from without and from within will it take to bring America to our knees in repentance? We need leaders whose character runs deeper than the latest photo op.

Has sixteen years laden with disasters not captured our attention? If the vicious attacks of 9-11 didn’t turn our nation to God, what will it take? How many Hurricane Katrina’s, Harvey’s, and Irma’s will be enough wake-up call for us? Are we even listening?

God will not force us to obey and follow Him, whether as individuals or as nations. However, throughout history the bitter consequences of disobedience traditionally do one of two things—either lead us to repentance or further harden our hearts in further resistance.

A wise young leader of a nation once stated, (Joshua 24:15 GWT) But if you don’t want to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve … (but) … my family and I will still serve the LORD.”

My appeal to you is simple: Make a fresh commitment to God today to become a man or woman if influence for Christ. With Elijah of old, I say to you, (1 Kings 18:21 KJV) How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.

It is insufficient for modern believers to drift along ambivalently or complacently in these closing moments of time, considering that the eternal destiny of millions of people is at stake. We must be sober and vigilant and, as I stated earlier, fearless, fervent, faithful, and fruitful.

BTW, do you really pray? If so, then now would be the best time. Here’s my prayer today:

Heavenly Father, I come to you this morning with sober heart, mind, and spirit—sober because of my own sin, because of the sins of our nation, and because I recognize that your spirit will not always strive with us, and because you have given us ample opportunity to repent.

I come into your presence at this very moment realizing that as a nation, we have forgotten you as our God, realizing that you would much prefer that we repent voluntarily of our sin than for us to be judged by your righteousness for it.

As best as we know how, we humble ourselves before you now, praying, seeking your face, and determining to turn from our wickedness. We also come, throwing ourselves upon your mercy—that you will hear our prayer from heaven, that you will forgive our sin, and that you will heal our land.

We pray for those who lead us at every level of government—that your spirit might move mightily upon their minds, that your hand would turn the king’s heart where you desire—that your people might have rest and enjoy peaceable lives, even in a world filled with turmoil, wars, and rumors of wars.

We especially pray for the families of our nation who have an empty seat at their mealtimes because a loved one paid the ultimate price, honorably serving the people of this great nation.

Further, I pray that this date of infamy will lead many to newfound faith in Christ and believers to a renewed commitment to standing firm in their faith, as well as becoming proactive as citizens at the ballot box—voting the principles and precepts that they profess to believe. And, God, we want to live in such a way that our lives give you reason to bless this nation once again, and our prayer will always be God bless America!

In the name of the One who saves to the uttermost, Jesus Christ, Amen.

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There Is Hope

For more years than I can remember, I’ve spoken somewhere on weekends surrounding America’s patriotic holidays.  Sunday, 03 July 2016 will be no exception, but will be one of those rare occasions when I will speak at the church that Debbie and I call “home”—North Auburn Hills Baptist Church.

Approaching America’s 240th birthday, reflecting on the current election cycle, and considering the condition of our country, I must confess grave concern for the country that has been my home base for 66 years and counting.  So as not to discourage you, let me quickly disclaim that I believe there is hope!

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah opens one of the Bible’s most horrific chapters with a ray of hope this way—Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save; neither is His ear heavy, that it cannot hear.  However, he then proceeds to describe the dark days in which America … er, Israel, was living.

Skipping from the opening verse, we find a summary description of America today—a parallel—that should arrest the attention of thinking citizens, sober our thoughts, and lead us to petition the God of Isaiah 59:1, as described in Isaiah 7:14!  Consider just four common characteristics between Israel of some 700 years before Christ and America today—highlighted in four critical words.

Justice

(Isa 59:14a HCSB)  Justice is turned back …  In the vernacular, we would say that justice has been turned on its head, upside down, everything is backwards.  America’s victims of crime watch a never-ending stream of criminals going free, restitution never paid.  Be strong and of good courage, my friend, for God the Righteous judge rules over all the earth.  Remember verse one—He hears and He can save!

Righteousness

(Isa 59:14b HCSB) … righteousness stands far off …  In a practical sense, righteousness is simply “morally good.”  A deep study is not necessary, when a casual glance at television, a movie screen, or newspaper reveals daily that America increasingly is anything but morally good, choosing rather to trust in vanity. Take hope my friend!  There’s still hope in verse one—only one call away!

Truth

(Isa 59:14c HCSB) … truth has stumbled in the street … (“fallen” in the KJV).  The meaning is the same—truth doesn’t matter in our culture today!  History is being rewritten.  Truth is being hidden, while falsehood is being paraded as though it was the truth, in order to accomplish someone’s agenda.

The truth is, God’s agenda will be accomplished in the end.  By the closing chapter of this world’s history, all liars (those who refused to live truthfully) will find the burning truth forever in the horrific abode of the father of lies, yet eternally separated from the truth, the way, and the life!  That is not something in which one should glory, but rather with broken heart, fear and trembling, choose to be a living sacrifice, that others might hear the truth while there is time!

However, if you are reading these words, be encouraged!  As long as we have breath, we have hope—and it still stands back in verse one!

Honesty

(Isa 59:14d HCSB) … and honesty (or equity) cannot enter …  At the end of the day, honesty is a proper dealing with the three aforementioned qualities—truth, righteousness, and justice.  You see, it is possible for one to know truth, but be dishonest and unjust, thus missing the boat on righteousness as well. That’s why in our courts of law, a witness swears an oath—hand on the Bible—to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  The purpose is to bring about justice, making something that was wrong right again.

That’s also why sinful man needs the hope back in verse one, a hope ultimately found in God alone.  All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, but He is near and willing to give to us His own righteousness.  Justice for our sin was served some 2000 years ago, when Jesus Christ willingly made an in-full payment for us.  His death was not about His own sin, but rather your sin and mine—which brings us back to the hope in verse one!

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you join me in asking God to draw America back to Him, that we as a nation might become a country of justice, righteousness, truth, and honesty once again?  Or perhaps you feel like God is far, far away.  Not so, my friend—He is only one prayer away!  Call on Him today while He is near!

Finally, in spite of all the woes of our world and country, my fellow Americans, let’s celebrate the freedom that we enjoy and for which much of the world longs!  Happy 240th Birthday, America!

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

Celebrating Freedom with a Hero

Celebrating Freedom with a Hero

Preparation

Debbie and I are hosting an after-Christmas dinner tonight for our local children and grandchildren.  While I spent New Year’s Day working in the office, she spent the day cleaning and preparing for this family get-together.

Before leaving for her office at the Detroit Skating Club this morning, she walked me through all the steps of preparation that I must make before everyone else arrives late this afternoon—plates, napkins, chips, bowls, dips, platters of hors d’oeuvrs, ice bucket, drinks, etc.  She wanted to make sure that we are ready for the arrival of our family members.

Well, all of that started me thinking about other preparations.  For example, I’ve noticed that most people carry a spare tire—(not the one around the middle)—in or on their vehicles, just in case they have a flat tire while traveling.  I suppose that most adults have some kind of health insurance, just in case they get sick.  A few of us have a “go bag” or “bug-out bag” stashed somewhere, just in case there is an emergency.

Just in case …

Here’s my question—have you made preparation for the one event that is certain to happen to you?  This is something that few people care to discuss, for fear of sounding a bit morbid (pun intended). However, there are no if’s, and’s, or but’s” about it, as mother used to say.  “It is appointed unto man once to die … “ (Heb 9:27)

Like it or not, that event is one day closer for each of us than it was yesterday.  Have you made the preparation?  I’ve had a wonderful life—every year—since 1950, in spite of a few tough times, storms, and valleys along the way!  Could this be the year that the icy fingers of death tap you or me on the shoulder because our numbered days have come to their end?

BTW, do you pray?  If so, perhaps today would be a great time to pray, while it’s in your control, in preparation for that time that is beyond your control—death!  I know!  I know!  “What a depressing way to begin a new year!” you may be thinking.

Quite the contrary—there’s nothing in the world more depressing than the thought of anyone who ever reads these words failing to make preparation for the inevitable in life!  The Good Book says, “Today is the day of salvation!”

BTW, if you do not pray, the greatest way that I know of to begin praying would be to blurt out to God in your own words that you recognize that you are a sinner … that you recognize that He is the Savior … and that you want Him to personally be your Savior!

Then, tell someone else that you made that decision!  Don’t know who to tell?  Write and tell me!

What an exuberant thought—I’m prepared!  Cheers!

dale

ONE LIFE TOUCHES MANY OTHERS

It isn’t the longevity of his life that has arrested my attention today, but rather the impact that his life has made on the lives of others.  After all, Justin was only 32 years and one day old when his life came to an abrupt halt in the sands of Anbar Province, Iraq.

Yesterday—September 30, 2011—would have been my oldest son’s 37th birthday.  Today is the fifth anniversary of his death.  It’s always a tough time, but out of the sadness always comes numerous thoughts and blessings.  This has been true today as I have been traveling through New England with my best friend of 40-plus years, Dave Brown. 

Perhaps the prevailing thoughts are related to the impact that Justin’s life made on others.  For example, he always had a way of bringing excitement to our family.  Earlier today I saw a picture, taken at my daughter Charity’s house, as Justin and I were tossing his second son (Jayden) back and forth from 6-8 feet distance.  What pleasant memories!

In fact, Brandon and Charity’s great room in Ann Arbor (MI) was the scene of a lot of laughter and excitement—like on my youngest daughter Joy’s fifteenth birthday, as a contest raged between Justin and Joy over blowing out the candles—all meaningless stuff to others, except to “the siblings,” whose lives have been marvelously impacted by a brother who loved them. 

Although there were times—more than I remember—when he drove his father to the brink of insanity, his life continues to impact me, and I would like to think, making me a better man for it.  From his first “big wheel” to his last vehicle—a Jeep—Justin could destroy anything!  In that Jeep, he and I spent the better part of three days and nights together, driving from Twenty-nine Palms (CA) to Clarkston (MI) just before he deployed to Iraq.   I’ll value that time for the rest of my life!

The last time that Justin and I were together was at the hospital in Commerce Township (MI), just minutes before his daughter Caitlin was born.  Although his wife Patty was in the labor and delivery suite, they graciously allowed me to stay with them until I had to catch my flight to Great Britain.  Neither my wife Debbie nor I will ever forget Justin walking us to the door, saying his goodbyes, then racing back for the birth just 40 minutes later! 

Why bother to pass along such personal stories?  Because you also have a life—and your life should also be touching the lives of those around you in a positive and inspiring way! 

As I write this, I am sitting in the family room of my best friend’s house.  Dave’s daughter Angie was just here, and represents another person—beyond family—whose life was touched by Justin’s.  When the two of them were small children, our families were next-door neighbors, but the influence of those days continues.

BTW, do you pray?  If so, perhaps this would be a great time to consider your own influence in the lives of other people, and ask God to help you make it count.  Never discount the positive influence that you can have in the lives of others.  After all, even a word appropriately spoken at the right time is as valuable as “apples of gold!”

 

Dale’s book, Leave A Well in the Valley, can be purchased in soft cover at www.dalepeterson.org or a Kindle version at www.amazon.com.  In the book, Dale shares from deep personal experiences how one can not only survive the tough times in life, but also turn those tragedies into triumphs. 

 

A DAY OF INFAMY

The day began much as any other weekday—get the family out the door to school, finish dressing for the day, and stop at the office.  This day would also include a drive to Taylor for a meeting with pastors from across Michigan.  Typically, my truck radio was tuned to Detroit’s WWJ-AM 950 all-news radio.  Although that Tuesday, September 11, 2001, may have begun routinely, it was about to change.

Even as I muttered about the rush hour traffic along I-96, unaware of the events transpiring in the skies over New York, governmental agencies were scrambling, trying to locate American Airlines Flight 11 on radar—to no avail—until it crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  At 8:48a, the first live pictures broke in New York City on WNYW-TV.  In horror, New Yorkers watched a live feed as more than 100 people, trapped by fire and smoke in the upper floors, jumped to their deaths.  But this is only the beginning of horrors. 

Before these details can be understood, American Airlines Flight 77 is hijacked at approximately 8:50a.  At 8:51a a flight controller at New York Center notices a problem on United Flight 175 from Boston to LA.  Attempts to establish contact are futile.

At 08:52 F-15s are scrambling from Otis Air National Guard Base.  By 08:56, the transponder for Flight 77 is turned off and primary radar contact is lost.  The aircraft travels undetected for 36 minutes due east toward Washington, D.C. 

At 08:58, United Airlines Flight 175 takes a heading toward New York City, where at 09:02 the plane and its passengers crash into the south face of the South Tower of the World Trade Center at a speed of 590 MPH. 

While early news coverage by at least three major networks is focusing on the first plane crash, millions of Americans see the impact of the second plane live.  Parts of the plane leave the building from two sides, falling to the ground up to six blocks away.

By 09:08, the FAA has banned all takeoffs nationwide.  At 09:26 the FAA bans all civilian aircraft regardless of destination—a national groundstop is in effect. 

But at 09:28, hijackers storm the cockpit of United Airlines Flight 93, commandeering the flight.  Meanwhile, at 09:37 American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the western side of the Pentagon.  All 64 crew and passengers onboard are killed, as are 125 Pentagon personnel. 

At 09:42, Ben Stiley of the FAA grounds all air traffic over the United States and diverts incoming international traffic to alternate destinations.  US airspace is shut down.  All aircraft in flight are ordered to land at the nearest airport as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, a few civilian heroes on Flight 93 begin a passenger revolt at 09:57, less than two minutes before the South Tower of the World Trade Center begins to collapse—56 minutes and 2 seconds after the impact of United Flight 175. 

At 10:03, United Airlines Flight 93 is crashed into the rural terrain of Somerset County, Pennsylvania. 

Back in Washington, D.C., the west side of the Pentagon collapses, followed by the collapse of the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 10:28.  This collapse is also viewed on live television. 

In the span of less than two hours—before anyone could really grasp what was taking place—thousands of lives had been lost.  As country singer Alan Jackson asked in song, “Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?  

As some of us watched in stunned horror, we could not help but recall (Psalm 9:17 KJV) The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”  Could there be a man or woman alive who witnessed these horrific scenes who was not wondering, “What is happening to America?”

Surely, such a series of tragedies should serve as a clarion wake-up call for Americans to soberly contemplate—“God, what do you want us to see, to understand, to learn from these attacks?”  Although man may have meant it for evil, is there some good that God can bring from this? 

            By the time President George W. Bush retired just before midnight ten years ago, he had penned into his journal these words:  “The Pearl Harbor of the 21st Century took place today … “

Indeed, as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated in his speech to Congress, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked … “

            And today, September 11, 2011, we are commemorating a day of infamy.  Let us never shy away from the searing memories of that September day, lest we forget the price that was paid …

… by innocent people who were ruthlessly slaughtered as they were just doing their jobs  

… by the heroes who risked and gave their lives in an honorable attempt to save as many lives as they possibly could before they themselves paid the ultimate price

… by those brave men and women who risked their lives in service to their fellow-man, and who will live with the haunting memories and physical handicaps for the remainder of their natural lives

… by the thousands of nameless men and women around the globe who, in the first few hours of multiple tragedies were scrambling to make intelligent and fast decisions to avert further disaster

BTW, do you pray?  If so, join me in a prayer of thanksgiving for those Americans—both living and deceased—who performed beyond their natural abilities during this crisis which has changed and challenged America.   

Today, we should also consider that, sadly, our nation is in decline.  The warning signs are everywhere.  The caution flags are waving.  The child of God should not be shocked as we review events of the last decade, while using 2 Timothy 3 as a prophetic template for understanding. 

Those who know God and His Word must understand two critical things: 

First, these are the last days and the human picture will not be a pretty one, but rather a scene that declines from bad-to-worse.  Second, as believers, we are called upon to remain faithful, fervent, fearless, and fruitful.

Faithful does not mean a fatalistic outlook on life, and neither does it mean that we resign ourselves to thinking that our lives cannot or will not make a positive difference on the world in which we live.  Faithfulness means that we fearlessly set our sights toward the future, believing that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us for His cause.  It mean that we throw ourselves into the battle for eternal souls throughout our world, since God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Therefore, we should determine on this occasion, that we will renew our commitment to God, presenting our bodies as living sacrifices in His service, that by all means available to us, we might save some. 

BTW, do you pray?  If so, why not pray–right now– that kind of commitment prayer to God?   

            Finally, on this tenth anniversary of 9—11, we are not only commemorating a day of infamy, and considering a nation in decline, but we should also be calling our nation to repentance. 

At 7:24p, September 11, 2001, members of Congress joined together on the steps of the United States Capitol and sang, “God Bless America!”  While I firmly believe in that great song—made famous by vocalist Kate Smith– Congress should have been leading this nation in prayers of repentance, thereby giving God a viable reason to bless America.  They did not do so, and based on the track record of the last decade, they apparently have no intention of doing so. 

My question is this—even if Congress will not truly embrace the biblical principles and precepts that our founding fathers held dear, will you?  Will the people who claim to know God choose to live like we know Him?

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

While we may sing of God’s blessings on America, “obedience is better than sacrifice!”  How much pressure will it take to bring America to our knees in repentance?  We need leaders whose character runs deeper than the latest photo-op.  

Has a decade laden with disasters not captured our attention?  If the vicious attacks of 9-11 didn’t turn our nation to God, what will?  Hurricane Katrina wasn’t enough wake-up call?  When Irene came knocking recently, were we listening?  Do current crime statistics and news reports of violence not arrest our attention?  Will prolonged unemployment rates not help us to consider our ways?

God will not force us to make decisions to obey and follow Him, whether as individuals or as nations—but often throughout history, the bitter consequences of disobedience traditionally do one of two things:  lead us to repentance or to further harden our hearts in defiant resistance. 

A wise young leader of a nation once stated, (Joshua 24:15 GWT) But if you don’t want to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve … (but) … my family and I will still serve the LORD.” 

            My appeal to you is simple:  Make a fresh commitment to God today to become a man or woman if influence for Christ.  With Elijah of old, I say to you, (1 Kings 18:21 KJV) How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.   

It is insufficient for modern believers to drift along ambivalently or complacently in these closing moments of time, considering that the eternal destiny of millions of people is at stake.  We must be sober and vigilant, fearless, fervent, faithful, and fruitful.

 Let us pray and serve to that end.

Another Great Opportunity!

In the midst of global Christian history, some of the richest comes to us from Europe, and especially England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.  Like any fire, the fuel must be continually kept on the fire for it to maintain its light and warmth.  At times, what was once a great lighthouse to the world, the light from the British Isles has grown dim, but there has always been a faithful remnant, so that the light has never gone out.

From John Knox in the 1600s, to the Wesley’s of the 1700s, and great voices of each century since, the light has shone brightly.  And I’m of the mind that God is not finished with His wondrous works to the children of men amongst these British Isles today.

Somehow, I believe that He can raise up yet another prayer warrior like George Mueller, godly mother like Susannah Wesley, or prince of preachers like Spurgeon—and that it could just happen at any time.  It is with this hope in mind that I anticipate the closing camp of the 2011 camping season in Great Britain! 

LIFT-UK 2011 begins Monday, 08 August, where I have the privilege to address the leadership team just before registration opens at Cefn Lea Park, Newtown, Wales.  All week long, I will walk and work amongst the campers, praying by name for each one who does not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ to accept Him as Savior this week.  I will also pray that those who know Him already will consider presenting themselves, individually, as living sacrifices for His service.

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you join me in these prayers?  Since the “fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much,” we can expect God to answer and do great works in human hearts and lives of young people as a result of serious prayer. 

However, those are not my only requests.  Please pray, too, that God would do an eternal work in the lives of the American young people who are partnering with us through LIFT Student Ministries.  Over the last 40+ years of ministry, I’ve witnessed more than 65 young people make that life-long decision for vocational ministry service as a result of their short-term mission involvement.  My petition is that God would do it again through this group of dedicated young workers.

Well, the all-too-familiar intercom voice is calling me to my plane.  Cheers!

To Tell the Truth

Ions of time ago, way back in the dark ages before time began … in the 1950s, there was a television show called To Tell the Truth, produced by Goodson-Todman Productions.  The show, featuring a host and panel of four celebrities who must discern which one of three other people–(one truth-teller and two impostors) was actually telling the truth.   The show aired in one form or another for six decades. 

I sometimes wonder if the odds at finding the truth weren’t better on that television show than they are in real life today.  It seems there is an epidemic of lying in America these days! 

The latest, and most obvious, case is the conviction of Casey Anthony in an Orange County, Florida court, where Judge Belvin Perry sentenced her to four, consecutive one-year prison terms for lying to law enforcement during the course of their investigation.

In Detroit (MI), a major news item continues to be the jail time being served by Detroit’s former mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, who amongst other things lied in court, perjuring himself, and is serving time currently in a federal prison.

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens is in federal court in Washington on charges that he lied to Congress in 2008 concerning his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs.

If these charges of perjury weren’t so serious, it would be laughable that any American citizen would ever be hauled into court for lying to Congress.  Are there actually politicians (as opposed to statesmen) inside the Beltway that know the difference anymore between telling the truth and lying? 

I have an idea!  Let’s haul all of Washington, D.C. into Judge Belvin Perry’s courtroom and let him sentence them one year for each count of congressional and presidential lies!  Do you think there are enough beds in American prisons to hold them all? 

Since childhood, I’ve wondered why anyone would have to swear on a Bible in a courtroom to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”  Shouldn’t everyone tell the truth, every time, to everyone, everywhere? 

Now, don’t get me wrong—it isn’t like I haven’t told a few lies in my own lifetime.  To say or imply otherwise would be … well … lying!  But when one steps into the witness stand in a court of law, or when one takes an oath of office such as mayor, representative, or president, the citizenry of this nation should be able to expect those officials to tell the truth. 

Perhaps it’s time for Americans to demand more truth and less political spin (lies) from our elected officials.  If it’s reasonable to expect advertisers, and baseball pitchers, and lenders, and ordinary citizens to tell the truth about missing children, products, and steroid use, then it is certainly reasonable to expect that our elected officials do the same.

But, that’s just my opinion!  But then again, I’m tired of watching a great city like Detroit reduced to ruins while the politicians who have ridden it to the ground live “high on the hog” at taxpayer expense.  I’m wearied, watching Washington bankrupt America while pretending to have our best interest at heart. 

Maybe reality is like the old not-so-funny joke:  How do you know if a politician is lying?  (His lips are moving.)  Or that other sarcastic comment, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

BTW, do you pray?  If so, perhaps the words to an old song could help us to improve the conditions and the culture in which we live—It’s time to pray to the God who watches o’er us … It’s time to seek His help without delay … It’s time for all America to pray.  Amen?

Cheers!

Happy 235th Birthday, America!

Of all the holidays associated with our country, the Fourth of July is my favorite, but this year I “come to the party” with mixed feelings.  While I love my country, celebrate the freedoms we enjoy, and recognize that throughout the world millions of people yearn to enjoy these same freedoms, my heart is grieved by the imminent danger our nation is facing. 

The peril to which I refer is not necessarily some grave danger from without, (although there is clear and present danger without), but rather the growing, not-so-subtle dangers from within our own ranks, especially inside the Beltway in our nation’s capital, though not limited to that by any means.

My concern is the void of common sense.  As I listen to and read the news coming from Washington, state capitals, and the courtrooms across the country, I wonder if there is any common sense left anymore.  Across America is the same basic concern—Washington/government has gone astray.

My concern is the lack of fiscal responsibility.  If it isn’t bad enough that our national debt is climbing rapidly past $14,462,000,000, (that’s $129.500 per taxpayer and $46,400 per citizen), the very people who have made the decisions for this federal spending rampage continue making irresponsible financial decisions.  To add insult to injury, they blame each other.  FACT:  The 535 men and women who have been making these decisions, collectively, are irresponsible in their spending of taxpayer dollars—and yet they want to raise the limit on the credit card (national debt ceiling)!

Here’s an announcement for governments throughout the land—stop living on credit and make the hard choices necessary to live within your means.  My two-year-old  granddaughter doesn’t have $46,400 to pay the bill! Oh, by the way—that’s just common sense, but that’s seems to be in short supply and a fresh supply of that can’t be printed by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing!

My concern is the growing moral depravity.  America’s violation of morality takes on many forms these days, with violations from the White House to the outhouse.  The commentary is truly sad when our (former) president, who can’t define “is,” set an example for the young people and children of America on what not to be.  Tradition has it that George Washington couldn’t tell a lie.  Apparently modern politicians can’t tell the truth!  Only well-read and thinking Americans can tell the difference.

With New York’s senate joining five other states to declare same-sex marriage to be “legal,” Andrew Cuomo seemed to fall all over himself to find a pen to sign it into law before midnight.  Mayor Bloomberg, really misspoke when he stated, “The Republicans who stood up today for those principles I think will long be remembered for their courage, foresight and wisdom.”  Mayor, I have news for you—those Republicans were cowards for not standing for proper moral principles, they exhibited anything but foresight, and there was not a shred of wisdom in going against nature and nature’s God.

My concern is the ignorance of history.  To suggest an ignorance of history alone is a bit misleading.  Let’s bring to the table for discussion the fact that American history is being revised to the point that, if and when the subject is given attention in the national educational system, it barely resembles the sequence of events that actually transpired.  Sometimes what is being omitted is more important than what is presented—especially when the omission includes the very principles that permeated the values of our founding fathers. 

My concern is the dereliction of duty.  Witnessing the flood of illegal immigrants streaming across our borders—specifically, our southern borders—the federal government, charged with the responsibility to secure those borders, not only fails to do so, but attacks and threatens the states most affected by the failures of the feds!  We’re not talking “Oops, we forgot to lock the door” here, folks.  We’re talking about a real, known problem that is sucking the resources out of hard-working Americans’ pockets to care for illegals.  It isn’t that America doesn’t care—we do care—we have cared, for 235 years, but there is a right way and a wrong way to become a legal part of the American family. 

Finally, my concern is the rejection of God.  Since before our beginning—read the Mayflower Compact)—God has been a part of this nation.  Our forefathers sought God’s guidance and wisdom in making decisions.  God was acknowledged, credited for blessing this nation, and His name as well as His Word were a part of almost everything that was built or written.    

This is where knowing American history and the Holy Scriptures accurately will destroy the rationale that is being thrust upon us by a liberal politico, media corps, and the likes of the ACLU.  The entire world knows that America is in trouble economically, morally, politically, and socially.  However, too few Americans have explored why this is the case.  It may have little to do with political parties, but it has much to do with the violations of biblical principles—principles once embraced by this great nation.

BTW, do you pray?  If so, perhaps after reading the following passage and reflecting on it, you will pray for America—to humble ourselves, to pray, to seek God’s face, to repent, and to once again enjoy the forgiveness and favor of The Almighty.

(2 Timothy 3:1-5 KJV/NLT) This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  (NLT) For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.  They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.  They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.  They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! 

Truly, let us pray!

LET THE CEMETERY SPEAK

Since childhood, I’ve been privileged to periodically visit Arlington National Cemetery (Arlington, VA), and for those experiences, I will be eternally grateful, because the foundation of respect and values established in the formative years of my life.

Because of my own parents’ values, they made certain that my siblings and I were exposed to the rich geography and history in America, which included numerous visits and vacations in Washington, D.C.  While I was energized many times by running up the stairs to the top of the Washington monument, and intrigued by the wonders of the Smithsonian Institute, I think I was most impacted and influenced by Arlington National Cemetery. 

Ralph, Hazel & Dale Peterson, circa 1954

 

As we walked in silence amongst the headstones, it was as though I could hear the silent shouts of those who had paid the ultimate price for the freedom that I enjoyed, but did not understand at that time.  Of course, there were no audible voices, but in my mind I imagined who these men and women had been in life, the circumstances of their deaths, and the loneliness of their families left behind. 

Visits to Arlington always included the solemn changing of the guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier where, in the 1950s and 1960s, when the reverent silence was only broken by the brief and staccato-like voices and crisp clinks of the guards and their boot heels and weapons.  Regrettably, these days there seems to be little reverence or respect, but rather constant movement and even boisterous voices throughout any audience that gathers. 

It’s at times like my last such experience at the Tomb of the Unknowns, which happened to be with my oldest son Justin, a USMC Captain, that I wonder if very many people grasp the significance of such moments and places anymore. 

On this Memorial Day 2011, it would behoove all Americans to set aside some time—at least a few minutes—to quietly but deliberately walk through a national cemetery, not just to see it, but to reflect on what is represented by those rather plain, uniform headstones.  Parents, you could use this holiday for one of the greatest lessons you ever teach your children by a one-hour visit, pointing out numerous lessons and explanations, answering questions, and most importantly exemplifying the respect due to America’s fallen who, by their service and sacrifice, have insured our freedom. 

On that last visit to Washington, my son Justin and his wife Patty took Debbie and me, along with their son Jayden, to the World War II memorial.  As we spoke in hushed tones about what we were seeing and thinking, Justin spotted a young lad, perhaps nine or ten years of age, climbing on one of the memorial’s walls.  As quickly as a flash of lighting, Justin was standing by the young boy, ordering him off the wall, and with the demeanor of a USMC drill instructor (sans the volume) let the unaccompanied minor know that was not proper behavior and that this was not a playground. 

Yep, I was proud of Justin—then and now. And I plan to make my annual Memorial Day stop at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly (MI) for a time of reflection in Section 5 at Site 595.  Debbie and I will talk softly.  We will probably laugh quietly.  We will cry.  We will pause to gaze across the acres of graves on what was once the property of Mr. Bryson Dexter Horton, the inventor of the “Square D” electrical switch, and remind my precious wife Debbie that what we are seeing is “the price of freedom”—yours and mine—and paid for with the lives of the sons, daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters of those represented by each simple headstone.

Memorial Day at Arlington

Let’s not forget that represented also by each grave marker is an empty seat at dinner tables, a son or daughter whose parent will not teach them how to catch a baseball or swing a bat, a spouse who now bears the family burdens alone, and a parent whose dreams for their son or daughter now reside with honor and respect (as in my own case) in a section and site rather than on a street and in a city. 

Neither let us forget that for those who, like Justin, put their faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, we who are alive and remain behind have an awesome hope and expectation—we expect to see our loved ones again and therefore do not sorrow because we lack hope. 

Although the world joked and laughed this past week when the prophecy of an unwise preacher who set dates and times for the rapture, I for one still anticipate that great event at any moment.  And since no one knows the day or the hour, I plan to live in such a manner as to be ready to catch up with my son—in a moment—in the twinkling of an eye!

BTW, do you pray?  If so, why not take this Memorial Day 2011 to exercise the discipline of prayer?  Thank God for the countless airmen, sailors, soldiers, and Marines who paid for your freedom?  Ask God to encourage and preserve those who serve, as well as their families who must make-do in their absence.  Appeal to the Lord on behalf of those who have an empty seat at their table, especially for those whose sacrificial experience is still fresh in their hearts and minds. 

And for all Gold Star families in Michigan, coming soon to a Michigan Secretary of State office near you will be a special Gold Star license plate.  Here’s a link to read about it: http://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,1607,7-127–256829–,00.html

Cheers!

Debbie & Dale Peterson

AMERICAN TROOPS & WASHINGTON

Five years ago today, my oldest son USMC Captain Justin D Peterson, deployed to Iraq, where six months later he was killed while returning from a mission.  This time of year will always be special in my mind, and I traditionally use “milestone moments” for introspection.  Justin’s deployment with a small border transition team is one of those times, in part because it is surrounded with other important family events.

 For example, Justin’s only daughter, Caitlin, was born on 6 April 2006, only hours before his deployment, which had already been pushed back allowing him to be present for her birth.  How could I ever forget that day, since Justin and Patty had been gracious enough to let me stay with them in the birthing suite at Huron Valley Hospital until I had to race to catch my flight to Great Britain?  Forty minutes after saying goodbye to Justin, who had left Patty long enough to walk my wife Debbie and me to the car, he called to say, “Well, Dad, Caitlin’s here!”

Patty and Caitlin Peterson

However, today as I reflect, I am not only recalling tender moments like the one that I have just described, but also realizing the quagmire in which America has sunk, especially relative to those brave men and women in uniform who hazard their lives to keep us safe, and to the families whose fathers or mothers make additional sacrifices in our stead.

As I write today, the “highest leaders” in our land are embroiled in a budgetary stalemate inside the Beltway, and in what has become their standard modus operandi, they play their political games on the backs of and at the expense of the very people they are charged constitutionally with leading. 

Not only does the “establishment” (which includes both Democrats and Republicans) continually operate in such a manner that our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will be laden with an unsustainable debt, they also are quite cautious to take steps to protect their own interests, salaries, and eternal benefits!  It’s time that every elected official at every level of government, especially Washington, D.C., throws himself or herself into a new caution—a caution to truly protect the populous whom they are to represent—even if it means throwing themselves on their own swords, as it were.

The latest political ploy—a government shutdown—appears to have little meaning to Washington.  Oh, I know—they trot themselves in front of cameras at every opportunity and talk—spewing a rhetoric that has worn terribly thin with the grassroots who pay not only their absorbent salary and benefit packages while they (in particular the Obama administration) are now threatening the meager paychecks of our troops and their families. 

Let me be clear—this gets personal, especially when I watch my five-year-old granddaughter blowing out her birthday candles, and I fight back the tears, realizing that this little girl will never know her daddy, other than the pictures and stories that others tell her.  Her mother and brothers are now being threatened with a cash flow shutdown by the very president that swore to uphold the constitution with a genuine concern for the people of this nation—including little girls whose daddies go off to fight for freedom!  

Maybe it would be a great idea for America to stop paying the people that we have elected to represent us in the House, Senate, and the White House until they establish a sustainable budget for each fiscal year.  And when they vote on bills for which they do not appropriate adequate funds, reduce their take-home pay by that same amount—in other words; let the fiscal irresponsibility be borne by the fiscally irresponsible people who fail at doing their jobs. 

Oh, and while we’re at it, why not scrap the special health care and retirement programs they all enjoy at this time and run them through the VA hospitals and Social Security?

Yes, as I reflect today, I’m very proud of my son Justin and his contribution to America.  However, I am ashamed of those men and women in Washington who, under a guise of caring about this great nation, are continually making choices and casting votes that are undermining this country and violating the very principles that lead to God’s blessings and the prosperity of our nation. 

And, just in case I have been too vague, that means that I am ashamed of much of what Barack Hussein Obama has done and is doing as my president.  The same is true for my Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow. 

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you join me in praying that somehow, by His miraculous working, God would so speak to the hearts and minds of those we have elected, that once again common sense, honesty, and truth would begin to prevail inside the Beltway, in state capitols, and in local municipalities? 

(Ezekiel 22:30 KJV) And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. 

How desperately we should pray that, as God continually looks for such men and women today, He will find such a person—in Washington, in Michigan, and in my house!

Semper fi, troops!