Thursday, June 22, 2017


Before modern communication was available mankind has tried all sorts of way to communicate to one another in the fastest way possible.  The Indians used smoke signals, the U.S. used the pony express, and the ancients used runners to run from place to place to send needed messages.  The list could go on and on.

I have seen documentaries that show another way of communicating – by use of carrier pigeons.  This practice was started with the ancient Persians, who had the art of training them.  They were used for many years – especially for military purposes during wary.

On October 3, 1918, during World War I, British troops were trapped close to enemy lines.
There were around 500 men were surrounded by the Germans, with no help, food or ammunition. The trapped troops sent a pigeon to their army post, and the message said:  “Many wounded. We cannot evacuate.” Regretfully, this first pigeon was shot down. They sent another pigeon with another message: “Men are suffering. Can support be sent?” This pigeon also was shot down.

Finally, the British sent a third pigeon named Cher Ami (French for “dear friend), but the Germans opened fire and shot him down. Cher Ami managed to rise again and continue his flight, having been shot in the breast, with only one eye left and with one leg hanging by the tendon and covered in blood.  Despite his condition, Cher Ami was able to deliver the message  (25 miles in 25 minutes) to the British camp, saving the lives of more than 194 British soldiers.
Cher Ami became the hero of the 77th Infantry Division. Army medics worked long and hard to save her life. They were unable to save her leg, so they carved a small wooden one for her. When she recovered enough to travel, the now one-legged bird was put on a boat to the United States, with General John J. Pershing personally seeing Cher Ami off as she departed France.
Upon return to the United States, Cher Ami became the mascot of the Department of Service. The pigeon was awarded the Croix de Guerre Medal with a palm Oak Leaf Cluster for her heroic service in delivering 12 important messages in Verdun. She died at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, on June 13, 1919 from the wounds she received in battle and was later inducted into the Racing Pigeon Hall of Fame in 1931. She also received a gold medal from the Organized Bodies of American Racing Pigeon Fanciers in recognition of her extraordinary service during World War I.

To American school children of the 1920s and 1930s, Cher Ami was as well known as any human World War I heroes. Cher Ami's body was later mounted by a taxidermist and enshrined in the Smithsonian Institution. It is currently on display with that of Sergeant Stubby in the National Museum of American History's "Price of Freedom" exhibit.

Whatever you are going through today – whatever state you might find yourself in – DON’T GIVE UP! You might be shot up with one gone and only one leg hanging by the tendon.  DON’T GIVE UP!   Your victory is right around the corner. Perhaps the odds are against you and you feel all alone.  You might be fighting all sorts of obstacles around you – DON’T GIVE UP!
Because of who is on your side – Victory is coming your way.

Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) 4:13  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Psalm 18:1-2 (NKJV) 18:1  I will love You, O LORD, my strength. 2  The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

I woke up singing a song this morning that I haven’t sang in many years.  It’s a simple song but it definitely a powerful song called “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.”

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim

(By Helen Lemmel -

This older hymn has many verses is starting to get a resurgence in popularity again right now in many churches.

The author and composer of this hymn, Helen H. Lemmel, relates that one day, in 1918, a missionary friend gave her a tract entitled “Focused.” The pamphlet contained these words: “So then, turn your eyes upon Him, look full into His face and you will find that the things of earth will acquire a strange new dimness. “

These words made a deep impression upon Helen Lemmel that she could not dismiss them from her mind. She recalls this experience following the reading of that tract: Suddenly, as if commanded to stop and listen, I stood still, and singing in my soul and spirit was the chorus, with not one conscious moment of putting word to word to make rhyme, or note to note to make melody. The verses were written the same week, after the usual manner of composition, but none the less dictated by the Holy Spirit.”

The hymn was first published, in 1918, in the form of a pamphlet in London, England. It made its way to the United States, in 1924 and has seen its popularity rise in many circles.

Helen studied vocal music and married a rich European.  Her husband left her because she was blind.  She was alone and unable to write down her music.  God continued to use her even through her pain and loneliness.  She wrote 500 hymns in her lifetime.

Helen Howarth Lemmel was born on November 14, 1864 and lived for 97 years as an author of many hymns and poems.

Think about that – a person who was blind writes a song about turning our eyes upon Jesus.  That… we would turn our focus and attention to the one who is able to get us through anything that we face in our lifetime.

I don’t know who this is for today but I feel an urgency that there is someone who is reading this that needs to be reminded about where your focus should be.  Whatever you’re going through – God is with you today.

Turn your eyes to Jesus.

“I’ve seen the face of Jesus… He smiled in love on me;
It filled my heart with rapture, my soul with ecstasy.
The scars of deepest anguish … were lost in glory bright;
I’ve seen the face of Jesus … it was a wondrous sight!
Oh, glorious face of beauty, Oh gentle touch of care;
If here it is so blessed, what will it be up there?”



Up in the arctic circle there is tribe of Eskimo's who have learned to set a very simple yet effective trap for wolves. First they sharpen a knife razor sharp. Then they dip it in the blood of a seal they have killed. (you see seals are fairly easy to trap but wolves are very dangerous).
After dipping the knife in blood they set it outside in the cold so the blood freezes on the knife. After if freezes (a matter of minutes) they dip it again into the seal blood and again take it out an let the blood freeze. Layer after layer they make a blood popsicle. When they are done, the knife's blade is hidden inside just like a popsicle stick. Now they take the knife out into the wilderness where they think a wolf might be.  There they bury the handle of the knife in the snow leaving the blood popsicle standing up and they leave.

Now after a while a wolf will come along guided by his sense of smell and find the "bloodsicle". He will being licking it, enjoying every taste. Over and over he licks the knife and soon his tongue is so cold he cannot feel it any longer. It's numb. But his taste for blood is growing and he is not getting as much as he wants - you see, popsicles are slow eating.
Finally his licking exposes the razor sharp edge of the knife. It cuts into his tongue again and again but he does not even notice for his tongue can no longer feel anything. The wolfs own blood now flows from his cut tongue. The wolf is thrilled, blood is now more plentiful and he continues to lick more and more.

Soon he notices something is wrong, he is getting weaker not stronger. Since he knows blood as food he increases his efforts to feed on the ever increasing flow of blood. His last thoughts are of how good the now warm blood tastes. Within minutes he licks his last and collapse next to the now fully exposed knife. Here the Eskimo knows he will find the wolfs
body the next morning.

The knife in this story is an example of how sin draws us in and captures and ensnares us to the point of death.  What starts out innocently ends up in a spiritual death with no return. Dont be fooled by the enticements of sin.

“Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.”
James 1:14-15 NLT

May God speak to your heart today about the sins in your life that may be drawing you away from Him and His presence.  He is waiting for you to call out to Him for help and deliverance.  One prayer can turn things around in the right direction.  It's not too late. CAll out to God today.

Monday, May 1, 2017


How many have ever failed at something in your life? I know I have – over and over. We all do.

Abraham Lincoln is an example of failure.
  • His first business venture was a failure
  • He lost the election the first time he became a candidate for the State Legislature
  • In his battle with Douglas for a seat in the Senate, he gained the majority of the popular vote, but lost the election due to the way the vote was apportioned at that time
  • Yet he took it all in good humor with a determination to do right and with charity toward those who opposed him
  • He finally won the presidency

Another famous example is that of Demosthenes, who is known as one of the greatest of the ancient Greek orators.

  • His first speech was greeted with derisive laughter
  • His weak lungs, shrill voice and inability to pronounce the letter “r” made him difficult to understand
  • Some of his friends reproved him for his timidity and cowardice and suggested ways that he might overcome his defects
  • He spoke with pebbles in his mouth
  • He practiced on high mountains and by the oceans
  • He practiced incessantly
  • Eventually he became one of the greatest orators in Greek culture
  • “Never was the Greek language carried to a higher degree of perfection.  Never has been exceeded before or since in power of persuasion, in penetrating reasoning…”

Yet, without his initial failure and the guidance of friends, he might not have been spurred into taking the path of achievement.

Mark, in the Bible,  failed over and over.

Many scholars believe that it is possible that it was Mark who fled from the soldiers who arrested Jesus. (Mark 14:51-52).

Mark was trained by Paul, Peter and others. (Acts 12:25-31)

Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem and decided to take John Mark with them.

It was a season of great harvest on the church and Mark was in the middle of it. (Acts 13:2-5).

When the pressure started to build – Mark quit. (Acts 13:13).

We are not told why John Mark left the group and returned to Jerusalem – but it did cause Paul and Barnabas to get into it later and break up over it. (Acts 15:37-39)

Eventually he repents and begins to serve with Barnabas.  (Praise God for second chances!)

I John 1:9  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (NKJ)

It is interesting, even though Paul didn’t want him around – He eventually was willing to forgive and forget his past.

Look at what Paul says at the end of his ministry…

2 Tim 4:11  Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. (NKJ)

When opportunities are lost – are they lost forever?

The same opportunity may never be available again.  But that does not mean other opportunities, even greater ones – may not come later on in life.

Mark followed Barnabas and became the kind of faithful assistant and minister he had failed to be on the first missionary trip.

Ten years later – Paul commends Mark to the Colossian church and included him among the people who had been a comfort to him.

Colossians 4:10-11              Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him),
and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort to me. (NKJ)

Paul was willing to forget his first impressions about John Mark.  He was willing to forgive the past as well as forget it.

Paul was nearing the end of his life.  In his final instructions – he asked Timothy to bring Mark with him.

Think what that must have meant to Mark.  Picture how he must of felt at that time.

Paul took special pains to point out that Mark had proved himself and was now useful.

This becomes even more significant when we read the words in 2 Timothy  4:10…

2 Timothy 4:10  for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica-- Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. (NKJ)

“I am not concerned that you have fallen. I am concerned that you arise.” —Abraham Lincoln

Joshua Becker gives us an encouraging Guide To Overcoming Failure…

1. We admit that we experience it. Despite the universality of failure, our world goes to great lengths to hide it. People always have and people always will. Our default position too often is to downplay our weaknesses, but those who find growth in failure begin by simply admitting its existence in their lives.

2. We recognize failure is common. And because we know all experience it, we find comfort knowing we are not alone in it.

3. We look for personal responsibility. Our initial tendency is often to blame others or uncontrollable, external factors. After all, to admit defeat is to admit defeat. But rarely are the failures in our lives entirely the responsibility of someone else. And until we take personal responsibility in some capacity, we can never move on to the next step.

4. We process our weakness. Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” This holds true in both success and failure. When failure occurs, which it always will, the wisest of us journey inward to determine the cause and intentional steps we can take to learn from the experience. And in time, we learn to champion humility.

5. We let go of the factors outside our control. One of the most hope-filled moments in life is when we find the courage to let go of what we cannot change.

6. We grow through pain. We live in a society passionately committed to avoiding pain. But there is benefit to be found in discomfort. While I would never encourage anybody to intentionally seek pain through failure, it will arise. And when it does, it will be okay. In fact, it will teach us things we could never learn elsewhere: patience and perseverance for example.

7. We forgive. If our pain is partly a result of someone else’s failures, we find freedom in forgiveness.

8. We turn to others. Nobody successfully navigates life alone. When the hope inside us begins to fade, we look for it in others. We turn to family. If family is not available, we turn to friends. And if friends are not available, we look for intentional communities around us to find support.

9. And then, we share our stories. It may not happen right away—some failures take longer to process than others. But eventually, we find opportunity to share our story. When we do, we share it with honesty and humility. Through it, we discover opportunity to provide hope, strength, and encouragement to others. We find influence for good. And we begin to make sense of our failings.
Failure is never the end. It is instead, a necessary part of the journey. May we keep hope alive. And find redemption through it.
“I am not concerned that you have fallen. I am concerned that you arise.” —Abraham Lincoln