I was researching an upcoming sermon by reading a commentary by Arthur W. Pink, one of my favorite authors. It was written during World War 2. He was writing about God’s ability to keep the two spies in Jericho from their enemies when he recounted the following story:
“We deem it more than a coincidence that in the very midst of preparing this article we heard – the first time in five years – from an old reader in Holland. During the last half of that time, while the enemy was occupying that country, our friend and his wife concealed three Jewesses in their home, and the last ten days before liberation actually had two Germans billeted with them; yet no discovery was made of their refugees.”
God is able to hide you when you need hidden, and protect you when you need protected. We are safe in His hands. Believe it.
Tags: hiding, World War II
Leon Kessler passed away last night. Leon, also known as Arthur, and Esther were a part of our church many years. Leon was a blessing to me. He was a World War 2 veteran who was stationed at Pearl Harbor during the attack on December 7, 1941. He spent his time in the marines going from island to island in the Pacific freeing them from Japanese control. He saw a lot of combat and returned home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Leon was not a church goer and was pretty rough around the edges. But, he had a conversion experience in the 1980s that dramatically changed him. Although he understood that all his sins were under the blood of Christ, he had haunting memories of the things he had seen and done in World War 2 that bothered him up to the end. He and I joked about it, but we both knew this was a very real battle for him.
Leon didn’t trust church leadership or the government. On several occasions he gave me a financial gift in cash, because he was afraid the church or the government would keep part of it and he didn’t want any record to be turned in as taxable income.
My fondest memory of Leon was when my sons and I took him to the Garrett theater to see ‘Pearl Harbor’ when it was first released. Fortunately, it was a Monday night and only three other people in the theater, because Leon spoke his opinions right out loud: “Why, they’re killing way too many people!” and “That never happened!”.
What will you remember about Leon Kessler?
Tags: Remembering, World War II
Martin Neimoller, a Lutheran pastor in Nazi Germany in the 1930s, summed up eloquently the final result of not getting involved. “In Germany, they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time, no one was left to speak up.”
Neimoller lived to know the full import of the words Edmund Burke wrote a hundred and fifty years earlier, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for enough good men to do nothing.”
The story of the Good Samaritan teaches us a powerful lesson about the need to get involved if we are to make a difference.
Tags: involved, World War II
Not many history buffs know about Slapton Sands. It is a memorial on the southern shores of England to a tragic memory from the past.
On April 28, 1944, the Allies were preparing for the Normandy invasion known as D-Day. They were engaged in Operation Tiger, a training exercise in amphibious beach landings. The military knew that practice made all the difference when the real thing began.
Suddenly, enemy gunboats appeared and killed over 700 American servicemen in a surprise attack. Today, a monument stands on Slapton Sands to commemorate the sacrifice of those young men who died while training for battle but were never able to enter the conflict.
Like those soldiers, we face an enemy who hides himself and seeks our undoing. That’s why Paul told us to keep on the whole armor of God. Peter also said, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Stay on your toes and prayed up.
Tags: spiritual warfare, World War II
During the North African campaign of World War 2, some German troops became detached from their source of supplies in the desert. With their throats parched by the intense desert sun, they were overjoyed when they found a newly constructed British waterline. Shooting it full of holes, they fell on their stomachs and began gulping furiously.
But they realized something too late – the British had been testing the pipeline with salty seawater. Within 24 hours all of the Germans were dying of thirst. Recognizing the severity of their situation, they quickly surrendered.
How does God get us to quickly surrender? I believe sometimes he permits us to go too far, to get too much, and to experience deep failure. He permits this so we will turn to Him. Its a strategy that works well with hard heads like us.
Jesus taught a parable in which He said, “Go out…and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind” (Luke 14:21).
Tags: thirst, trials, trouble, World War II
Several years ago I went to the hospital to visit a World War II vet who had just had open-heart surgery and was very well medicated. When he saw me he said, “Preacher! Untie me.” They had his hands tied to the sides of the bed because he kept trying to pull his tubes out. He asked, “Why do they do this to me?” I replied, “Probably because you won’t be good.” He leaned back on his pillow and smiled. He knew exactly why they did that to him.
He wanted me to help him break out of there like it was a prison. Because I knew him and his often flashbacks to combat with Japanese soldiers, I just joked with him a bit, and he received it. This man knows I love and respect him, so was open to my words to him, even if they were not what he wanted to hear.
If we want to minister to the tough cases, we have to earn the right to speak into their lives. Then, when the right crisis moment comes, we’re both ready. My assignment for you this week is this: Find someone who is cold to the things of God, and begin to develop a relationship with him/her. Buy them a soda or coffee or candy bar. Give them a compliment (women appreciate compliments on how they look, men like compliments on what they do). Ask them about their hobbies or children. Don’t bring God in until they’re ready. Just earn respect by caring about them. God will do the rest in due time.
Tags: evangelism, World War II
The big news right now is whether or not to release the gruesome photograph of Osama Bin Laden with a bullet hole in his forehead. Many Americans seem to think it will make us feel better if we see him mutilated a little since his plan mutilated so many on 9-11, and there are radical Muslims who are saying Bin Laden is still hiding out there someplace and the US is lying. On the other hand, there are those who believe such a humiliating photo would incite retaliation from radical militants around the world, making us look even more like bullies, since Bin Laden was confirmed unarmed when he was killed.
This is an awesome opportunity for us Americans to reflect on our values. After World War 2, the US and our allies pumped millions of dollars into Germany and Japan to rebuild the infrastructure of those nations, until they both became major competitors in the world marketplace. That’s the way Americans do things. When we go to war, we destroy our enemy. When we make peace, we bless our enemy.
What do you think the US government should do with those photographs of Osama Bin Laden, and why?
Tags: enemy, World War II