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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fly the Flag

The flag is flying outside our house today.

I wish more Americans would display the flag. It stands for freedom, justice, and courage. Many courageous Americans have laid down their lives so the rest of us can live free. It seems to me that displaying the flag is such a simple act, but it signals such a profound message. Long may the Stars and Stripes wave, and long may our nation retain its motto, “One nation under God.”

A lifelong friend applied for U. S. citizenship Monday. The person who interviewed him asked only three questions: (1) “What are the three branches of our government?” (2) “Who becomes president if the president dies while in office?” and (3) “What color are the stars on the flag of the United States?” Apparently the test for citizenship has been simplified since I became a citizen in 1965.

The responsibilities of citizenship haven’t changed. We need to obey the laws of the land, vote regularly and intelligently, pay taxes, and defend our liberty. Christians have a further obligation. We must pray for our leaders (2 Tim. 2:1–3). Surely there has never been a more urgent need to do this. Many unfriendly nations and combative insurgents would like to destroy our nation and our values. But their weapons and misguided zeal are no match for even the weakest Christian who prays, “God, bless America!”

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Gas and Bread on the Rise

The average price of a gallon of gas in the United States has reached $4.00. A loaf of bread averages about $3.00. We all may have to walk more and eat less to stretch our income in these inflationary times, but walking more and eating less may lead to weight loss and better health. I wouldn’t mind shedding a few pounds and acquiring better health. How about you?

Frankly, when I accompany Gloria to the grocery store, I can’t look a loaf of bread in the wrapper. It’s too painful to read the price. I worked every summer in retail bread sales from 1952 to 1957 and sold bread for 12 cents a loaf. Donuts were 29 cents a dozen, and a pie or double-layered cake was 45 cents. Try to find one donut today for 33 cents or a piece of pie or cake for 45 cents!

So, times have changed, and the changing times have brought soaring costs of goods and services. But the best things in life never change. The Bible remains God’s infallible, authoritative Word. Prayer is as powerful as ever. Salvation is still God’s gift freely bestowed on all who trust in Jesus as Savior. And our heavenly Father still meets His children’s needs.

“My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” Paul assured the Philippian believers (Phil. 4:19). I take that word “all” to include a gallon of gas if we need it and a loaf of bread if we need it. Maybe we should recall Philippians 4:19 the next time we pump gas or reach for a loaf of bread.

Our daughters Sherrie and Heather took quite a few pictures of our 50th Anniversary celebration, and Sherrie organized them into a slideshow. If you would like to view the slideshow, go to

Monday, June 9, 2008

50th Wedding Anniversary

This past weekend was busy but blessed. Our daughters, son, and granddaughters hosted a wonderful 50th Anniversary celebration for us at the Hilton Garden Inn’s Majestic Hall in Colorado Springs. More than one hundred guests attended the open house, including my lifelong buddy Ralph Bell and his wife Jean. They drove from Fort Collins to participate in the happy occasion.

Ralph retired last year from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association after 40-plus years of preaching in crusades around the world. We became friends in the second grade at Court Street School in St. Catharines, Ontario, and continued our friendship through grade school, high school, and Moody Bible Institute. We proposed to our future wives the same day, and we both moved our families to Colorado in the summer of 1971.

When Ralph and I were high school students, we became Christians. Ralph became a Christian and then persuaded me to become a Christian. Later, we were baptized the same day and became active members of a Bible-teaching, missionary-minded church. Ralph met Jean, a schoolteacher, when he attended Moody. I met Gloria when she and I were students at Moody.

Gloria's sister Dawn flew in from Springfield, Virginia, for our celebration and stayed at our home, much to our delight and the delight of our three little dogs. We all had a great time with Dawn, who is 23 years younger than Gloria and several weeks younger than our daughter Sherrie. She and Gloria are not identical twins by any stretch of the imagination, but their personalities are certainly a close match. We hope she will visit us again, long before our centennial anniversary celebration.

Although it was 50 years ago that Gloria and I exchanged our wedding vows in Alexandria, Virginia, her hometown, it doesn’t seem that long ago. Nor does it seem very long ago that we met at Chicago Gospel Mission on Madison Street just west of the Chicago Loop. Moody Bible Institute had assigned a number of students, including us, to the task of finding kids in the mission’s neighborhood, whom we would walk to Sunday school, teach, and walk back to their homes. By drawing numbers from hats, Gloria and I were paired and sent onto the streets in search of kids. Soon—very soon—we were dating. Three years later, after I graduated from Moody and then from Houghton College, we married. The wedding took place June 7, 1958, only five days after I graduated from Houghton.

The Lord has blessed us with two daughters and a son, two sons-in law, and two granddaughters, all of whom are very smart with a good sense of humor. And most important, all of them are Christians. A side benefit is the fact that my sons-in-law play golf.

Gloria devoted her life to raising our children, but took brief excursions into the world of work as a retail clerk, customer service rep, and part-time Jill of all trades at publishing houses where I worked as an editor. We still chuckle about the time a customer entered the Christian bookstore where Gloria worked. He asked her manager, “Do you carry the Greek New Testament?”

“I don’t know,” the manager replied. “Who wrote it?”

I edited for 30 years, and with the exception of two years, I also ministered in churches. I was a full-time pastor from 1958 to 1971, and then ministered either as a part-time pastor or interim pastor. Altogether, I have served 15 congregations, and I am currently serving as an interim pastor in Penrose, Colorado.

Gloria and I enjoyed receiving well wishes from former church members in several states and seeing several area congregations represented at our 50th celebration. Cards from many friends in Canada and throughout the United States made our day even more special.

Thanks to the Lord for His faithfulness! And thanks to our family and friends for honoring us on our 50th Anniversary!