Nona and I just got back from our cruise to Alaska a few days ago. We had 3 days up in Denali and then 7 days on the Coral Princess cruise ship along with 14 other friends. It was a great trip for many reasons but not the least of which was seeing and being awed by the Lord’s creation. Here are just a few pictures that won’t even do justice to how spectacular it was in real life.
Remember this: The whole earth declares the glory of God. You can see it in the awesome beauty of the Alaskan wilderness. You can see it in the faces of the people you see everyday. You can see it when you look up at the stars each night. You can even see it in some of the most unlikely places or things if you look hard enough – like in mosquitos. I’ll tell you about that in my next epistle.
In the meantime, look around and be awed by all the creative ways that the Lord displays His glory.
The world was very different when I was two years old.
The year was 1960 and the craziness of what many people consider the most tumultuous and divisive decade in history had not yet kicked in. The world, and our country in particular, would look very different by the time 1970 rolled around.
The history books will tell you as much as you want to know about some of the significant events of the ’60s: The Cuban Missile Crisis. The assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. The assassination of Martin Luther King. The Civil Rights Movement. Vietnam. The Apollo 11 landing on the moon. The Beatles. Woodstock. Helter Skelter. The Black Panthers. Etc.
But what the history books will make little mention of was probably the two single most influential decisions that have been made in the life of our country that are still having far reaching and disastrous effects. In June of 1962 the Supreme Court voted to remove prayer from our public schools and they followed that up in 1963 with a mandate to ban Bible reading.
These two decisions effectively set the tone for the morality of our country for the last 50+ years. We have been in a downward moral spiral ever since and it is only going to get worse.
So here is what I want to say to you about that.
The Supreme Court can keep public schools from having institutional prayer and Bible reading but it can’t keep you from praying and reading your Bible. Prayer and Scripture are two of the things that God has given us as believers to help us stay close to Him. When you stop doing these two things you will inevitably move away from Him – just as our country continues to do. If you want to maintain your moral compass in a world where that compass no longer exists then read, ponder, and abide in God’s Word and spend time talking with (not to) your Father in Heaven.
May the Lord fuel you with an ever increasing desire to know Him better.
In June of 1968 I turned 10 years old. I moved across town from one house to another in Aiken, SC. I started 5th grade at a new (to me) school (Aiken Elementary). I left behind one set of neighborhood friends and met a new set. I had surgery to remove a swollen lymph gland from the side of my head. My folks were divorced and my dad lived 60 miles away. There was a lot of upheaval in my life that year – but nothing compared to the upheaval that our country was experiencing.
1968 was a very bad year for the United States. Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King was assassinated. Robert Kennedy, who more than likely would have won the presidency, was assassinated. We were in the middle of the Vietnam War, the My Lai massacre took place, and the anti war movement was at its height. Richard Nixon was elected president in November and that initiated 6 years of political disaster.
And Helen Keller died – 51 years ago today at the age of 87.
In case you are not familiar with her, Helen Keller was blind and deaf from infancy. And yet she became an accomplished writer, lecturer, and international advocate for the disabled. She graduated cum laude from Radcliffe and in 1964 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by President Lyndon Johnson.
Keller was famously taught how to speak and read by Anne Sullivan. The first word that she learned was “water.” She later described the experience this way: “I knew then that ‘w-a-t-e-r’ meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free.”
There was a time many years ago when I was in many ways like Helen Keller. I was spiritually blind. I was deaf to the words of Scripture. And my sin had disabled me from enjoying a relationship with God – a relationship that I had been created for. And then when I was 17 my soul was awakened when I placed my faith in Jesus. I saw the light. I experienced hope. I found joy. I was set free. Jesus said in John 7:37-38…
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
May you also thirstily drink from the fountain of living water and find soul awakening refreshment by believing in the One who died so that you can live! (see Pop Pop Epistle #52 for a few other thoughts about this living water)