Adversity, Bible, Life's Moments

Awake…Again…’Cus the Lord Knows Me Well.

3:00am, Ricki, do you know where you are? How far have we traveled together? Seriously, oh man, the challenges we’ve stared down, climbed over, worked through, or even ignored…remember? Do you recall that time, really it was a season or should I say siege, during which you just kept wagging your head back and forth muttering “No, no, no, no?” Yeah, that’s the one. And…yup, that one too. Well, yes, that also. Now do you know where you are? Where you always are? Umhmm, you got it.

Remember when I said, “I will never leave you or forsake you?”

Right. That’s how I said it in the later Letter to the Hebrews. But do you remember how I said it first?

Yup, there you go. Moses was finishing. Joshua was getting started. Your brothers and sisters long ago needed encouragement as the time for entering the Promised Land was upon them. So, what did I have Moses say? Exactly, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6) That was a long time ago…about 3400 years! And then again, about 2000 years ago, my people needed that encouragement , so I reminded them again. (Hebrews 13:5)

So, “Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

Now do you remember where you are? Yes, yes, yes, you are with me. We got this.

Thank you, Jesus. O Lord, thank you.


Border Crises Abound and The Children Suffer.

The border crises continue! Will they never end? Once again, please do not think I’m engaging the political gamesmanship regarding illegal immigration. Rather I’m begging and praying for the rescue of children.

Please, please read the USA Today article at the following link for the latest update on the long standing border crossing crisis regarding littles.

Spanning two administrations, government bureaucracies have failed hundreds upon hundreds of innocent border crossing children… miserably. I’m not speaking of dreamers or 19 year olds currently attempting to cross, but little tykes nestled in Mama’s arms or held by her hands. They are innocent. They are held in camps. They are often taken and separated from their family. Whatever any others motives may be, theirs are innocent. They just want their Moms, Dads, and peace. For the sake of the children, we should replace the broken cisterns of failed government intervention with a coalition of NPOs like Samaritan’s Purse and Sisters of Mercy. This long standing siege, through which thousands of children have been failed by our broken bureaucrats, will not end until “we the people” quietly, humbly, come together and stop allowing the two sided government to take turns being egotistical, self-absorbed, and wreckless. We need leaders who lean right who are other-centered enough to say “The right is not always correct,” and leaders who lean left who are other-centered enough to say “The left is not always correct.” We just can’t take much more of today’s left vs right warfare. The cost is too high. Neither do we need old-fashioned political compromise.We need leaders who embrace contrition. We need a 1000 Mother Teresa’s before we ever need another Barak Obama or Donald Trump, another Rachel Maddow or Sean Hannity, or even another Stephen Colbert or Dennis Miller. For the sake of the children we need revival.

P.S. Also, please see…

Bible, Culture, Life's Moments

Memorial Day Thoughts…

Grandpa McGrath’s leggings: WW1

I am thankful I come from a long line of veterans. Some fortunate enough, like me, to never see combat. Others, not so fortunate. I am also thankful I have never had to suffer the ultimate loss of any of those who served in combat. However, for some, to whom I owe everything, the losses of those they fought with are staggering. From my Grandpa Micky on my Mom’s side in WW1, to my Dad and Father-in-law and my wife’s step-father, and uncles in WW2, to my brother-in-law and my cousins in Viet Nam, and my nephew in this long war against terrorism, the numbers are hard to even imagine. Dad and Earl stormed the beaches in WW2…Dad in the Pacific, Earl on D-Day. Both made it from basic training to the beaches, through multiple large battles, to mop-up patrols, and finally home. They literally lost 1000’s of their brothers…all around and very near them on their full assaults, behind their covers, in their fox-holes, and further to the rear and both flanks, but never their fronts…because both served with squads on point. Dad and Earl and Lee separated from service upon their returns home. Dad was recalled for Korea. He fought again. He was recalled for the Berlin Crisis. Thankfully resolution occurred before any fighting started. He was then called again. So he took up his weapon and his aid bag and fought and bandaged and splinted and removed dog-tags yet again in Viet Nam. His service spanned 35 years with 22 on active duty and 5 (possibly 6…we’re not sure) in combat. Through it all he grieved most the condition of his little brother who returned from the Korean War with what we now call PTSD. His little brother never really recovered. Family breakdown and alcohol became his partners until the alcohol consumed him and brought death far too soon. So, actually, I was wrong earlier when I said, “I am also thankful I have never had to suffer the ultimate loss of any of those who served in combat” for surely Uncle Jim’s death was the last fatality due to WW2 to strike so close to Dad’s heart.

So to those in my family who fight no more, to those still with me, to those now on active duty, call me to attention because I owe you my salute, my respect, my love, my freedom, indeed my life. To my dear Brat Family: the same salute, respect, and love do I extend to you and yours. Your Dads and your Moms, who served just as faithfully as their husbands, are just like mine. They are heroes, legends…ordinary people who rose to extraordinary heights. All my love.

Father, thank you for them all. Please honor them. For those gone by, attend them as no human hands ever could. For those still with us, encourage them, keep then, protect them, prosper them.


Looking Out For The Next Generation

I am a youth advocate. Many are. Perhaps most. This advocacy requires that we help young people learn how to think, not just what to think. Critical thinking skills and the art and science of problem solving must include how to frame a debate…how to consider all sides… how to see an argument and its counter argument(s) and how to arrive at a conclusion. Regardless of our own positions, it does next generations no good whatsoever to indoctrinate. The only real way someone can make an informed decision is for that someone to actually know how to get to an informed decision.

The article linked below touches this much needed conversation/ debate/ corrective in both today’s academic and journalistic circles. It’s a recent tale of a teacher, her students, the Walkout on Behalf of the 17, and, apparently, her desire to seize the day during a teachable moment to help her students truly understand the dynamics inherent in such decisions and actions. Her story is creating ripples in a big pond. Folks are taking sides. Read the article. You’ll get it. Unfortunately, with the scope of information available in the article, one can hazard only a couple of conclusions.

1. If the information presented is truthful AND complete, it seems this teacher tried real education and was unfairly shut down. Something to which my experience would cause me to respond, “I’m not surprised considering the direction American academic institutions have been trending for several decades now.”

2. If the information is less than truthful OR incomplete, then any reader’s comment on this teachers situation would be pointless since the article is either unintentionally incomplete and therefore poor journalism or intentionnally misleading and therefore yellow journalism. To which my experience would cause me to respond, “Either way, I’m not surprised considering the direction American journalism institutions have been trending for several decades now.”

My point? Both are cause for concern. So quit looking to the pundits, the politicals, and even the professors for solutions. Do what YOU can and all YOU can to be a youth advocate who knows the difference between true education and indoctrination.

Adversity, Bible, Life's Moments

Josh McDowell and My Sister

Josh is one of my true heroes. I remember attending a conference back in the mid 80’s in which he was the keynote speaker. My sister, a single mom with three children, lonely, hurt, abandoned by her one true love, attended with me. I had recently penned a long letter to her. She chose to pull it out and read it again during one of the breaks. Josh saw her. Sat next to her. Asked what she was reading. After hearing it was an encouragement letter from her little brother, a young pastor, he asked if he could read it. She said yes. He read it. Then, with tears of both sadness and joy between them, he prayed for Floria. I’ll never forget her excitement as, later in the day, she told me of the encounter. She made this confirmation, “He is the same up close as he is in the pulpit. I believe I can trust him…and, like you, he says it’s gonna get better.” I’ve read his books. I’ve kept up with his ministry. I’ve seen many of his talks. And I know Floria was right. She’s with the Lord now. I miss her. Josh is still a powerful servant-leader. I look forward to meeting him one day…if not here, then in heaven…with my sister. She will say, “Y’all were right.”

I know you’ll like his powerful testimony in the following video. It’s not too long. You won’t be disappointed.



Praying for Darren Aronofsky

I read a quick review about “mother!” I learned, while being offensive, it had a quarrel to pick with Christianity. Decided to watch it. Glad I did. (Trust me tho, in other ways, I’m sorry I did.)

The man behind the movie also made “Noah” a few years back. According to what I’ve read since seeing his movie, he’s an avowed atheist. Saying the movie was offensive is a monumental understatement. It’s also gross, violent, immoral, and seriously tedious, doctrinaire, and superficial. What actors and actresses are sometimes willing to do for “art” amazes and bewilders me. Yet this is not what I find bothering me.

I find myself wondering and praying. I wonder what lies in the soul and the past of Darren Aronofsky–the movie’s creator…and I pray for him. There is a hurt pouring from every move of his “artistic” life. It’s a hurt producing more pain. Thinking he’s genious, he’s merely simplistic. Thinking he’s discovered the true nature of God, he’s lost in the misinformed statements of the Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens crowd. Thinking his problem is intellectual, he is blinded to the socio/emotional obstructions covering his hurt heart.

I do not intend to see more of his movies, but I intend to keep him in prayer. I also intend to remember the words of a godly woman from Multnomah School of The Bible, Pamela Reeve, who said to her students, “Take your shoes off when you enter someone’s life, because it’s holy ground.”


Dear Mr. Aronofsky, I recognize the risk in my post. I recognize folks can easily take my words and position to be immeasurably arrogant and self-important. I’ll take that risk. Not doing so runs another risk…not caring, not being compassionate enough to address my observations. My guess is that you run the same risks, so you make movies based on what you think and feel. Offense may not be intended, but it may very well be taken. Of course, no one other than the Creator and the sub-creator can know for sure whether offense was intended. So I can not know whether or not you meant to offend this customer, but rest assured you did not. Been there, done that speaks volumes. Your worldview is neither new, original, or even interesting. It’s just kinda worn out. It fails to prevail. Intended to eradicate something, it merely twitters itself away. No amount of sensationalism–on the big screen, in a book, lecture, play, or antics of a jester can prevent death giving way to death. I do so hope you keep searching. Your sin and mine start in the same place. The ways upon which it travels, however, are obviously different. So again, keep searching…and I promise, I will too.