D-Day minus 1

The Secret Language of D-Day

Everything about World War II is full of superlatives.  There is nothing about the planning, logistics, espionage and execution of World War II that is not amazing to the

French Underground

French Underground

point of being incomprehensible.  The courage and fortitude of the troops was so heroic that they all command our honor and respect.  No wonder they keep using the War as a a topic for movies that never grows old.

One little known aspect of the War, and D-Day in particular is the work of the

underground networks.  British and American  groups worked with the French to assist in gathering information as well as sabotage.  In the movie, The Longest Day, a resistance group is huddled together around a radio, waiting for a BBC broadcast.  There are certain phrases that carry hidden messages within.  An advance notice of the

BBC messages

BBC messages

impending invasion came at 9:00 PM, June 1, 1944

“Les sanglots longs des violins de l’automne”  (The long sobs of the violins of autumn)

This meant the invasion would happen soon, within the next few weeks.  The second half of the message came at 8:15 PM on the night of June 5.  The invasion would begin within the next 48 hours

“Blessent mon coeur d’une angueur montone”  (Wound my heart with a monotonous

Ike and troops

Ike and troops

langour)

One final announcement,  “Jon has a long moustache.”  and the word was “GO!”

Angels In Our Lives

Featured

Does God Physically Intervene in our Lives?

In Psalm 91, God says he will deliver us from pestilence, plague, attacks from our enemies, and guide us in such a way that we will avoid all these things.  We don’t know how he does it.  It’s invisible to us in a spiritual realm.  The Bible talks about His right hand and the Spirit doing mighty works, but it also says a lot about angels.

Psalm 91:11-12   For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.  In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.

This sounds so out of bounds, that people use this as a reason to call the Bible a “book of fairy tales,” and so on.  Many, if not most Christians, find it hard to believe these extra – terrestrial beings are real and have any tangible influence in our activities.

In “From Woodstock To Eternity,” Dustin Morgan has a few encounters with the other realm, so to speak, and God’s hand is introduced throughout the book, showing that He has always been there to bring Dustin around.  In one hair raising incident, he is about to crash his pot laden plane into the trees when God calls two angels to go to his aid.

Up in the heavenly Control Room, Jesus is watching all this and shaking His head.  He calls two of His angels, Clarence and Fred, and explains their assignment to them.

“Do you see Dustin down there, getting ready to crash into those trees?  He’s really been

a hard nut to crack.  I saved him back in Texas, but he’s making it awfully hard on himself.  Legion’s got him all twisted up in knots.  Now, I’ve got a plan for his life, and he can’t kill himself before he accomplishes it, so I’m going to have to send you two down there to help him out.  Clarence, you’ve done some of this kind of work before, but you’re going to need Fred here for backup.”

Now, this is probably not exactly how it happened, but Morgan’s plane did regain engine power, and it did fly over the trees.  The problem with so many of the inexplicable things in our lives is that we don’t know if it was God, or an angel, or what.  But there is a key to gaining access to Him

Ask – Seek – Knock                                 More about this later.

Happy VE Day!!!

Victory in Europe May 7, 1945

The longer it goes, the more we forget.  It was 71 years ago today that American troops

Happy VE Day

Happy VE Day

came home after a war that killed hundreds of millions of people.  We fought back against world domination, unspeakable cruelty and death camps.

 

Coming Home

Coming Home

For great information on VE Day, click “coming home”.

 

VE day newspaper

VE Day Crowd

VE Day Crowd

Battle of Midway

Here are some pictures from that day I hope will spark your gratitude for the freedom that The Greatest Generation won for us.

The Execution or the Plan

The Plan is the Heart of the Matter

Most of the time, in normal life, our plans are good and solid, but they don’t come to pass due to poor execution.  Especially if it is delegated to incompetent or untrustworthy people.  Even when we try to carry out our own plans we can mess up somewhere along the line.

Making plans

Making plans

This applies especially to big plans, such as life goals, major moves, decisions for your family, etc.  If it seems like your plan is just not coming together, there is one factor that everyone must be willing to consider.  Your plan is wrong in the first place.  This is not a new idea.  Proverbs 19:21 says, There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the LORD’s counsel–that will stand.

Plan Execution

Plan Execution

This applies even when your plans are meant for good.

But how about when they are not meant for the most upright of goals?  This is the problem people outside of the law have to face whenever they are caught.

In the book, From Woodstock To Eternity, Dustin Morgan has to face this contradiction in his life when he ends up in a lonely jail cell.

“If I had only done this, or not done that, then it would have worked.”

In this case, it wasn’t the execution – it was the plan!  The vial of coke was there, because that’s how he had planned to live. 

He stares at the blank, pale yellow walls of his prison cubicle, and allows the reality to flow in.  He knows that as long as he continues living this way, the vulnerability will be there – like stripes on a tiger.  No amount of precautions or self-imposed checks and balances will guarantee it won’t happen again.  There will always be a forgotten roach in the ashtray, an open container in the car, a misplaced film tin in the trunk, an empty vial in the suitcase.  And they will always lead back to this place.  It’s worse than that.  The next time he gets caught, it’ll lead to the state penitentiary.

This leads him to a life changing conclusion:  It’s Not Working!!!

Life can be confusing.  Is it a matter of pressing on?  Is this just a test?  Was I wrong in

Indecisive

Indecisive

the first place?  How will I know?  It is very easy to get caught in the middle of indecision.

We all have to reach this point when God is trying to get our attention.  If we do not let him deep inside to change the way we have always thought things should be, we will never see total victory.

Be willing to give your plans to God and let His counsel stand in your life!

Easter Day 3: Resurrection

The last guest post from Josiah Cooper with a dynamic description of Easter Sunday

Easter post 3 of 3:

Dawn broke on the first day of the week, signaling the end of the Sabbath. The preparations for Jesus’ body before His burial had been incomplete the weekend before because the Sabbath was drawing near, and now those He loved were on their way to the

Guards at the Tomb

Guards at the Tomb

tomb to finish their labor of love. Two obstacles stood in their way, the Roman guard placed by Pilate at the request of the religious leaders, and greater still was the stone that sealed the entrance to the tomb.

Suddenly, as they draw near, the ground begins to shake violently and a bright light outshining the dawn explodes from the direction of the grave. The Roman guard, who have been skillfully trained to fear nothing, wither in fear and pass out as

As dead men

As dead men

“dead men”. As the ground ceases its trembling, the ladies see the stone has been rolled away and a mighty angel sitting on it as though he is expecting them. His message is short and simple: “Jesus isn’t here”! He shows them the place where Jesus lay and tells them that they will see Him in Galilee.

Jesus has had a long weekend. Not only did He have to to go through the whole dying thing, but what we don’t often consider is the necessity of His death. Death was His ticket to the underworld where He did suffer for the sins of the world until the moment the Father said “ENOUGH”. Hearing His Father’s voice, a voice He had not heard since since He was forsaken at Calvary, brought new life into His being, and the tables of Hell were turned! The very chains that bound Him in torment He seized and with them He chained together sin and death. Looking over and seeing the souls in the graves, He turned and locked eyes with Satan, the former Angel of Light, whose countenance at this point must have been

Keys to Hell and Death

Keys to Hell and Death

priceless. In an instant, Jesus has him by the collar, demanding the keys to Hades, and snatching them from Lucifer’s bony fingers he leads captivity captive and frees those in the prison of Hell.

“ARISE, MY LOVE!” The words carry such power as Jesus’ soul returns to His body that the earth shakes and men tremble. An angel is dispatched from the heavens, his broadsword at the ready, wings flared at his decent to earth, surrounded in purest light. Sheathing his sword behind him, he leans into the stone and effortlessly moves it aside, taking a seat atop it as he waits to deliver his glorious message: “Why seek ye the living among the dead?…But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.”

As they left the tomb, the stunning message and reminder from the angel ringing in their ears, Jesus Himself meets them on the road. He greets them, affirming what the angel has said and promises to see them soon.

They return to the house where the disciples have been hiding out and tell them the good news “Jesus is risen!” Peter and John rush to the tomb to see for themselves going inside, they see the place where He lay and the linen garment that had wrapped His head folded neatly. Marveling to themselves, they leave, very curious about what is to come next.

Two men are walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus and a stranger joins them, listening to their conversation as they travel. They are discussing the events of the past weekend and their despair that the man they had hoped would be their Messiah and deliver them from Roman oppression had been so savagely cut down and killed. The stranger begins talking with them about their history and how prophecies for centuries had foretold what the Messiah would be and what He would do. His voice and manner of speech sound familiar, and when He looks away, Cleopas catches the eye of His friend and mouths “who is this guy?”, only to get an expression of similar bewilderment as his answer.

Entering Emmaus, the trio draws near to a house and the stranger implies that He is going further, but Cleopas and his friend invite him to dinner. Something about this guy and his knowledge of the scriptures is so magnetic and rich that they’re not ready to say

The Road to Emmaus

The Road to Emmaus

“goodbye” just yet. The men sit down to eat. Wine is poured, and the stranger offers to say grace. Taking the bread in his hands, he prays “blessed are You oh LORD our God who brings forth bread from the earth”. Breaking it, he offers a half to each of the other two men. Their eyes burst from their faces as everything becomes crystal clear, for they are looking at the hands of Him who was pieced! Looking up at one another, speechless, they turn to Jesus only to find that He has disappeared!

Such excitement fills them that they run the entire 7 miles back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples again the news they’ve already heard “The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.” As they recount the story, Jesus appears in their midst greets them with peace. Revealing His scars, He invites them to touch and see for themselves that

He Is Risen

He Is Risen

they might believe. To add to His reality, they give him food, which He eats, proving that He is no ghost, but very much the Jesus that they know and love.

Jesus is risen, He is risen indeed!

Easter Post Day 2

Another guest post from Josiah Cooper Part 2 out of 3

Day 2:  Confusion and disappointment

Disappointed Disciples

Disappointed Disciples

After Jesus’ death, the people most closely involved must have experienced a wide range of emotions. His own mother had watched him die and is in the care of John the Beloved. Is she grieving? Does she find peace in knowing that it was to this end He was born? Does she remember His promise to rise again?
His disciples are scattered, and as we will later find, many of His followers are completely shattered as their hope of a military leader/deliverer had just been executed.

Torn Veil

Torn Veil In the Temple

The religious leaders are completely bewildered concerning the events that occurred as Christ breathed His last. The earth had shaken, great darkness had fallen, and the veil of the temple rent in twain! Still, they are somewhat relieved that they can carry on with their ritual feast and sacrifices, completely unaware that the final Sacrifice has just been made! Even they cannot shake their own concern, as they consult with the governor to have a guard placed at the tomb because they remembered better than His disciples His promise to rise again.
I’m the meantime Jesus is in Hades preaching to the souls held captive there. Even in death He does the will of His Father.
The Sabbath is passing, and life is beginning to return to normal after the events of the weekend.

Or are they?

Stay tuned…

Easter Post 1

Easter Day One

I am happy to present this guest blog from my son, Josiah Cooper.  In three consecutive posts, he covers the death, burial, and resurrection from a very different perspective.  I hope you will enjoy.

Happy Good Friday, my friends!

Today we remember the dismal account of Jesus’ road to the cross. I feel though that we often overlook the greater spiritual conflict that took place.

Jesus, being fully human and fully divine acknowledged “The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:38. He was quick to remind his disciples as he was being arrested “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” Matthew 26:53.

legions of angels

legions of angels

My historical expertise fails me as to what a legion numbers, but suffice it to say, that’s a lot of angels! (Further research has shown that a Roman Legion was 6,000, making twelve legions of 72,000 angels!!) And they are no cherubs playing harps. These guys are William Wallace-meets-The Rock with wings, and they are poised for action with their hands on the hilts of their broadswords!

But Jesus would not be kept from His divine destiny, and holds His peace that He might ransom you and me!

Pilate’s wife was even troubled in her dreams concerning Jesus, and sent word to her governor husband to have nothing to do with Jesus in judgment.  In a final blow to the

Wooden cross

Wooden cross

forces of darkness, as Jesus breathed His last, the earth itself revolted! The sky turns black, the ground shakes so violently that the dead are awakened and enter Jerusalem and “appear to many” – Matthew 27:52-53.

The entire universe felt the effects of Jesus’ death, but none so significantly as the powers of hell themselves…

…stay tuned.

Writing Tips: You explain too much!

Too many modifiers spoils the broth

I have always considered myself a good writer (who hasn’t?),  so when I launched into my first novel, From Woodstock To Eternity, I had to stretch myself to write colorful, moving, and dramatic scenes.  I painted beautiful and enticing settings as the story progressed.  The action moved along quickly and decisively.  Finally, I created a masterpiece of rich, colorful settings that stirred the senses, brought you into the story, and made you wish Front Coveryou were there.

If you find nothing wrong with the first paragraph, you are like many readers who are unaware of the nuances of descriptive writing.  While my followers loved the story and said they could not put it down, I soon began receiving some reviews from professional editors who found fault with some of my techniques. I share with you the following:

Do not use multiple adjectives or adverbs

  • If you have three adjectives, cut out at least one.  In the paragraph above, with “colorful, moving and dramatic scenes,” cut out “moving” for “colorful and dramatic scenes.”  This actually gets to the point quicker and has more impact.
  • If you have two adjectives, consider cutting out one.  With “beautiful and enticing settings,” cut out “enticing” for “beautiful settings.”  This has the same effect.
  • For adverbs, “quickly and decisively,” just write “decisively.”
  • Agents and editors do not like the “ly” word.

The same rule applies to phrases

  • Instead of “Finally, I created a masterpiece of rich, colorful settings that stirred the senses, brought you into the story, and made you wish you were there.” just write “Finally, I created a masterpiece that made you wish you were there.”

 You get two benefits from these corrections.

  • Your story begins to snap.  Shorter sentences yield more movement and action.
  • Cutting is hard, but you have to do it.  Agents want manuscripts within a certain word count.  These techniques used throughout the book cut the word count considerably

Now read the edited version

  • I have always considered myself a good writer (who hasn’t?),  so when I launched into my first novel, From Woodstock To Eternity, I had to stretch myself to write colorful and dramatic scenes.  I painted beautiful settings as the story progressed, and the action moved along decisively.  Finally, I created a masterpiece that made you wish you were there.

I think that sounds better, but I never would have known it if I had not taken the knife to my story.

Missions Are For Missionaries

How missions benefit missionaries

The general view of missionary work is that the missionary goes to a land to teach people the Gospel of Christ while helping them with essential needs.  So, people who have never been on a mission trip think it is a great and noble sacrifice for the sake of others.

Medical Missions.DAY 04 (44)

Samaritan’s PurseDAY 04 (53)

Missionary distribution of food and clothing.

VISION MISSIONS

Provision International

Missionary building projects for churches and private homes.

Amor Mission Trips to Mexico

However, it is a well known fact in the missions community that the “others” are not the only DAY 04 (98)ones helped.  When church groups come back DAY 04 (66)from a foreign culture, the look of joy and wonderment on their faces does not come from the blessings they bestowed on the natives.  It comes from the blessings the natives bestowed upon them.

They stole my heart!

I still remember a young lady giving a report to the church about a mission trip to Mexico.  She held the microphone for quite a few seconds, and after she regained her composure, she simply said, “Those children stole my heart.”

In the book, From Woodstock To Eternity, Dustin Morgan and his wife Lisa go on a mission trip to the island of Granada.  Having come out of a hectic lifestyle in which he thought Christianity would be boring, he was amazed to witness the Gospel in action.

Grenada is a purging, cleansing experience.  Dustin and Lisa feel like the mission trip is doing more for them than they are doing for the people.  Every evening, members of their team gather on one of the street corners, play their guitars, and sing praises to the Lord.  Morgan’s heart warms him from the inside as he basks in the confidence that he is right where he needs to be. 

While they are singing, many locals gather around to listen or join in, clapping along in their rhythmical, island beat.  Suddenly, Pastor Terry steps out in the open air and starts to proclaim a message about the saving power of Jesus.  They are having a revival right here in the middle of the street!  A couple of local islanders raise their hand to get saved and walk up to the Pastor.  He lays his hands on their heads and they bow in prayer.  Dustin whispers in Lisa’s ear,

“I tell you what, I never would have seen anything like this in my old days.  I feel like we are experiencing something that has been going on for centuries.  I bet people felt the same Spirit when George Whitefield was preaching in the colonies, or even when Paul was on Mars Hill in Athens.  I had no idea being a Christian would be anything like this.

You can see how this would impact Dustin and Lisa’s faith.  They saw Jesus in action.  They witnessed the Holy Spirit move and change people’s lives.  They shared the joy with people from a different culture, making them all brothers and sisters in the Lord.

This experience greatly influenced Dustin and Lisa, but years later, when they had children, they did the same thing together as a family.  And guess what?  The little children stole their hearts away.

See Missions Are For Families