Deepest Blue

Never before in our history has one group sought to cast aside our Constitution as strongly as those who label themselves ‘Progressives” nor has there ever been, in our history one President so inflated of ego, bewitched by socialism, and so flagrant at dismissing the rule of law by which he is to govern.

 

There is something to be said for bright sunshine across a frozen field covered in snow. The brightness of the white is brighter than ever before and the blue of the sky is the deepest blue, so deep that you feel like it goes on beyond forever. A weather phenomenon, new to me in my nearly sixty years, lies across the frozen field. The weathermen called them snow rollers. They look as though someone started to make a snowman and then after rolling for a little while, gave up and walked away; although there are no footprints near them. The weather folks say that this only occurs when three weather variants come together at the precisely the right moment. The air must be a frosty sub-zero, the snow an exact balance of moisture and snowflakes and just the right cross wind blowing along an open stretch of land. Snow rollers are born! Honestly, they do not do much after they are born, they just sit there in the field, looking like the bottom of a snowman someone gave up on! Some of the larger farm fields around here this week have hundreds of these round wonders and some are quite large! If the gods of Mount Olympus decided to have a snowball fight, this is where they would come.

Beyond that dazzling white snow though and those amazing snow rollers, is that amazingly blue sky. The poets call the color, azure. The uniqueness of the name fits the stunning quality of the color. Color is an incredible connection to the senses. It stirs the soul at times and can open the heart to a bravery it never knew it had. Two pictures come to mind when I consider that color. One is on my office wall and shows an eagle majestically perched on a high mountain precipice with that stirring blue behind him to the horizon. Beneath is an edited quote originally from 1 Corinthians 16:13 “Watch, Stand, Be Strong” is beneath the eagle. The Young’s Literal Translation quotes the actual passage as:  “Watch ye, stand in the faith; be men, be strong.”The next photo I have is included here, also of an eagle, his talons clutching the rock crag as he scans the horizon for danger or sustenance. Below him is the following poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson:

The Eagle

He grasps the crag with crooked hands,

Close to the sun in lowly lands.

Ring’d with the azure world he stands.

Eagle on Summit
Eagle on Summit

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls,

He watches from his mountain walls.

And like a thunderbolt he falls.

At one point in our American history, our forefathers considered the turkey as our national bird. Without disparaging the turkey, I’m glad someone suggested the eagle in her place. The majesty of her, whether in flight or at rest; she is a magnificent creature, strong, valiant and with a great deal of character. Everything we want our nation to be. An old bumper sticker piece of wisdom once said, “It’s hard to soar with the eagles when you are surrounded by turkeys.”

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, they had more than their share of trouble. The Christians of the first century were maligned by the religious East; seen as suspicious by the rough people of the northern regions, particularly the mountain ranges that travel up through what is now Eastern Europe and Central Asia; and the Christians were hated by the decadent Romans who controlled the world with their vast armies; corrupt officials and cruel provincial governors. It was wise for Paul to solicit them to be watchful, standing in their faith, and strong of character. Americans as a people and Christians who are also Americans should be able to empathize with the Corinthians and we should heed Paul’s words, perhaps now more than ever in our history.

The shadow of ungodly Communism and Socialism is being cast across this nation from Washington D.C. and westward. Never before in our history has one group sought to cast aside our Constitution as strongly as those who label themselves ‘Progressives” nor has there ever been, in our history one President so inflated of ego, bewitched by socialism, and so flagrant at dismissing the rule of law by which  he is to govern. A popular quote of unknown origin, simply states that “All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” This, my fellow Christians and my fellow Americans is NOT the time to do nothing. Rather, we must ‘Watch’ – keep aware of what the enemies of freedom and democracy, of our very Republic are doing; stand in Faith – knowing that God is on His throne, He is holy and righteous and will not be mocked, we should bow in repentance before Him; be men – men of character who stand for values, who lead their families, who work hard and pray harder; be strong – strong in the Lord, living in His strength, fighting the good fight with the Gospel armor in place, the Word upon our hearts and a prayer upon our lips.

Barack Hussein Obama will not be the cause of the fall of America, if she falls. Good Americans who did nothing will be to blame. What do you choose your legacy to be?

A phrase first known to be used in 1650 to describe someone as faithful and devoted is – True Blue. When we look upon that amazing sky that God has provided over us, may we recommit ourselves to be true to our faith, our families, and our country.

Drinking Deeply from the Well

In those tough times, Christ’s followers should be those who come alongside, provide the refreshing water, explain the new way that is open to those who are hurting, and help them to get strong and to help lift them up when they fall.

 

True North Ministry logo

Rev. Ross L. Riggs, D Min

 An introduction to True North Ministry ~ strengthening the hands that hang down and feeble knees and helping to make paths straight ~ (Hebrews 12)

When Christ taught lessons that became some of His dearest and most treasured, He took the listener, the learner, right to their own dry spot. He knew their hearts and where they most needed the refreshing truths of His Word. His talk with the Samaritan woman, who had come to the ancient well that Jacob had dug centuries before, came directly to the dryness of her heart. He told her that if she drank from the water of life that He offered, she would never thirst again. Although she thought of her physical thirst, Jesus had so much more to offer. (John 4:1-26)

Jesus planned the encounter with this Samaritan woman. He knew that she would arrive at the hottest hour of the day to draw water because of her position of shame. Even in the Samaritan community, she could not draw when the other women came to draw. She was too shamed by those around her to be permitted to draw water with the other women of the town.

How surprised she was when Jesus spoke to her. After all, she knew Him to be a Jew and no self-respecting Jewish woman would talk to a Samaritan woman; they were mixed-breeds, having been subjected to Assyrian slavery and inter-marriage. For a Jewish man and a teacher, a rabbi, to not only speak to her, but ask a favor of her was more than her mind could absorb.

Jesus knew all these thoughts were spinning through her mind. Still, Jesus understood the depth of the well from which He was able to draw and the depth of her need. When Jesus asked the woman to provide for him a drink of water, He opened the way for dialogue that would shine a straight ray of light directly to the darkest parts of her hurt. She was to find not only the refreshing coolness of the water of life that Christ could bring to her dry parched soul. Christ’s light banished the darkness from her life to provide her a direction for the future paths she could never find alone.

One of my favorite stories that I recall from my teen years, when I would stay up late at night to catch the A.M. radio station, WWL, New Orleans Louisiana. (I can still hear how they would say that call-sign!) It took just the right atmospheric conditions for their signal to reach NE Ohio; but I often was able to listen to the story tellers that came on late nights. One in particular was of a navy ship out at sea in a dark stillness. The captain of the ship radioed to the vessel he believed to be about to come on a collision course with his ship.

“Unidentified vessel, this is the USS Franklin, change your course ten degrees to starboard.”  Much to his surprise, the reply came:

“Negative. Advise that you alter your heading ten degrees to port.”

Furious, the Captain responded, “Sir, this is the USS Franklin, an armed vessel of the United States Navy. I order you to alter your course ten degrees to starboard!”

Once again came back the calm reply, “Negative, sir. Alter your course ten degrees to port.”

Fearing now that a crash was imminent, the still fuming Captain would not be swayed. His voice boomed over the radio waves, “I am a Captain of senior rank aboard a United States destroyer. What is your rank and vessel that you refuse to alter course under a direct order? I demand a reply.”

Calmly, the voice replied, “I am a Seaman, Second Class, sir.  I am the lighthouse.”

So often, just as pride made the Captain risk wrecking his ship rather than take the course of safety to which the lighthouse directed him, how often do we ignore the directions the Lord has given in His Word as a light to our path? The book of Proverbs has a verse that reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”[i]

True North Ministry is based on that simple proverb. The earliest explorers, whether on land or sea, sought the brightest star, the North Star. They knew that single light would direct them home. That star would always appear in the same place in the night sky. Its light was true. A single beam of light, the North Star never veered from its post, always there to direct sailors home from the sea and adventuring explorers home back from their excursions. A fancy star with all kinds of lights shining from it and around it would be useless as a guiding star. If the lighthouse would have cast out dozens of beams in different directions, it too would be useless for keeping ships from going aground on the rocky shores.

An author known for his entrepreneurial work in local business, Steve Adams, said this about a focus for anyone’s life work. He explained that it must be like a laser beam, not a disco ball. The same is true for a ministry. Our goals must align with those of Christ. When He told His disciples that they must follow Him where He was about to go, one replied that if they did not know where it was that Jesus was going, ‘How could they know the way?’ “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”[ii] If that is not an exclusive statement, then such a statement doesn’t exist!

One of the key problems in the post-modern world is its lack of belief that a single truth exists. Everyone’s truth is as credible s everyone else’s. That is just wrong and there is no other way to say it. The world is full of men and women just like the Samaritan woman at the well who found Jesus there. Their souls are as dry as an Iraqi sandstorm. They need the refreshing water of life that comes from the throne of grace. Millions of people are lost in that very same sandstorm and they cannot find their way. They need Jesus to direct their paths. There are those whose lives are adrift at sea, being tossed about by every wind of doctrine or ‘new’ thinking that comes along and they need the creator of the North Star to guide them safely home. Their pride may keep them trying to sail in another direction but eventually, they run out of headings to take as each one fails, and there is just one heading left to take; that is Christ’s. God’s Word informs us that those who seek to follow Christ are to: “Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.”[iii] (The ‘Therefore’ refers back to the fact that God will discipline His children when they need it. So, the writer says… before, during and after that disciplining; do these things which will strengthen and help you and others.)

Tough times come sometimes because God disciplines. Sometimes they come simply because we live in a fallen world and bad stuff happens, even too good people. Then, too, there are also consequences for our actions. In those tough times, Christ’s followers should be those who come alongside, provide the refreshing water, explain the new way that is open to those who are hurting, and help them to get strong and to help lift them up when they fall. That is the essence of True North Ministry. Will you join us in prayer daily as we seek God’s blessing on this new and growing ministry?

 “The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”[iv]