Cultivating Fresh Faith Through Your Lifetime

by Lucy Wyndham

Cultivating Fresh Faith Through Your Lifetime

Japan, Germany, and Monaco are countries approaching an aging population looking into retirement or settling in retirement homes. Among the older adults, this is probably the time to slow down, reflect, and take leisure time walking along the coast side, travel the world, or build and live in a wonderful lakeside home. The Millennials and Gen Z’s are picking up the weight and chase after the ‘American dream’ faster than ever. But, before technology became a staple in our lives, our forefathers made sure to look into the Word through meditation, mindfulness, and reflection. Looking for a fresh perspective in your walk with God? Each day provides an opportunity to an enriched life filled with a purpose.

The joy in ALL circumstances

A verse in Philippians 4 pointed, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice’. A worldview devoid of God would have only pinned joy as an event that lasts only for a moment.  But life is a struggle and it doesn’t always go your way. It’s not always happy and it’s not always on time with whatever you asked of God. True joy in your life shouldn’t be dependent on your circumstances. Once we know our Savior, Jesus Christ, we look beyond the circumstances and into the face of the one who gives us substance and meaning. This is why it’s so important to meditate on the truth and joy available to us, as this simple daily practice will help us face our struggles and change our perspective for the better.

Whose image is on you?

In the Gospel of Mark, a man once asked if ‘it is right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’ to which Jesus replied, ‘Bring me a denarius and let me look at it… Whose image is this? And whose inscription?’ The man replied, ‘Caesar’s’ to which Jesus responded to give to Caesar what is due to his and to God which is due God’s. Ravi Zacharias, a renowned Christian apologist, made a poignant remark of the questioner’s ‘disingenuousness’ by not asking a follow-up question. If it wasn’t the case, the questioner would’ve asked, ‘What belongs to God?’ to which Jesus would have replied, ‘Whose image is on you?’. To have a calling, you first need to have a caller. Each of us is called for a holy life in Christ, to bear the image of his father, and fulfill the purpose He predestined since time immemorial.

Rethinking retirement

If you’ve never heard it before, more adults are retiring early. While there are many reasons people want to retire early, there’s an ugly truth to this ‘upside’.Adults retiring early experience loss of identity and security. The fear of the unknown may also set in once income dwindles, inflation rate shoots up, and the market crashes. Set scheduled time to reading inspirational texts to guide us in honoring our Creator and love of your neighbor. Living the faith does not come with an ‘expiration date’ and building a robust prayer life liberates you from material concerns.

Make every work matter

God cares for the world through us. Even the first task of man on earth is to ‘work and take care of’ the Garden of Eden. The Bible is replete of insinuations of God feeding His people. The only catch is that it has to be done through work. So what does this imply in your walk in the faith? From the grandest work of a CEO running a multi-billion company to washing dishes, no work is menial, and each work carries with it great dignity. As we are all parts of the body of Christ, we are called to become the ‘hands and feet’ of God.

https://godinterest.com/2019/07/10/cultivating-fresh-faith-through-your-lifetime

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Christ’s prayer for His followers, offered long ago in Jerusalem, is still His prayer for us today.

BY CHARLES F. STANLEY

Last words carry great significance because they reveal what’s important to a person. That’s why we gather around a loved one’s bed as the end draws near, hoping to hear final thoughts, instructions, or wisdom. And of all the recorded last words, the most valuable are those of the Lord Jesus. Before He went to the cross, He spent an extended evening with His disciples, celebrating the Passover. His final words in John 13-17 show us His heart for those who belong to Him.

 

Consider the roller coaster of emotions the disciples experienced in those last days and hours with their Messiah: They’d watched the crowds welcome Him into Jerusalem as “the King of Israel” just a few days before (John 12:13). But now they were gradually being awakened to the fact that things were not going to turn out as they hoped. They’d left everything to follow Him, and now Jesus was telling them He was going to die.

To see this from the disciples’ perspective, we need to better understand their expectations. According to the Old Testament prophecies, the Messiah was going to come as a conqueror to subdue Israel’s enemies, exalt the nation to global prominence, and rule over the entire world (Isa. 2:1-4). As His followers, they were anticipating places of prominence, authority, and greatness in the kingdom. They didn’t realize that they needed a Savior more than a King. The Messiah had to first offer Himself as a sacrifice in order to save His people from their sins.

 

THE LORD’S PLAN

When Jesus first began to speak of His upcoming death and resurrection, Peter actually rebuked Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You” (Matt. 16:22). Despite Jesus’ repeated assertions, they could not fit a dying Messiah into their belief system. But on this last night, the reality was finally sinking in, and they were filled with grief and sorrow at the thought of life without Him.

Despite Jesus’ repeated assertions, they could not fit a dying Messiah into their belief system.

Christ’s response to their trauma is best described in John’s gospel: “Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1). Everything He said was for the purpose of strengthening their faith. Before their world began to turn upside down, Christ said, “I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He” (John 13:19). Then He revealed what was going to happen:

  • One of them would betray Him (John 13:21).
  • He was about to leave and go back to His Father, and they couldn’t follow Him (John 13:33), but He would return and take them to the Father’s house (John 14:1-3).
  • He promised that He would send them another Helper (John 14:16-18John 16:7).
  • He would still provide whatever they asked for in His name (John 14:13-14).
  • They would have a new kind of relationship with Him (John 15:1-5).
  • They would be hated and persecuted by the world but could have His peace (John 15:18-19John 16:33).

These confused and fearful men in the upper room became the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20). Jesus was entrusting them with the task of taking His message of salvation to the world. From an earthly perspective, this looked risky. They were not an impressive group. In fact, they lacked spiritual insight and the courage to stand with Christ when their lives were in danger. Yet Jesus knew their future success didn’t depend on their own abilities but on His power, provision, and intercession. Therefore, as the evening drew to an end, the Lord lifted His eyes to heaven, and this is how He prayed:

 

These confused and fearful men in the upper room became the foundation of the church. Jesus was entrusting them with the task of taking His message of salvation to the world.

FOR HIMSELF (JOHN 17:1-5)

First, Christ prayed that both He and the Father would be glorified in His death, which would bring eternal life to all whom the Father had given Him (John 17:1-2). The cross was not a defeat, and Jesus was not a victim. By completing the work He’d been given, including His redemptive death on the cross, the Son glorified His Father.

 

FOR HIS DISCIPLES (JOHN 17:6-19)

Next, Jesus prayed—not for the world but for those who believed that God sent Him. They were precious gifts to Christ, and He had been glorified in them through their faith in Him. Now He was going to send them into the world with His message. Therefore, Jesus asked His Father to protect them from the evil one and sanctify them in the truth of His Word.

 

FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE THROUGH THEIR WORD (JOHN 17:20-26)

In conclusion, Jesus broadened His intercession to include all future believers who would make up the body of Christ—His church. Just imagine, on that night almost 2,000 years ago Jesus prayed for you. And what did He request? “That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:21).

He wasn’t merely asking that believers get along with each other, although we should. Jesus was speaking of the spiritual unity of all Christians with the Trinity and each other. Every true believer is baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit and becomes a part of His body. Together, we are sent to proclaim the gospel so that the world may believe.

 

THE ANSWER TO THE LORD’S PRAYER

God answered Christ’s prayer for that little band of men gathered with Him for the Passover observance. They faithfully took the gospel to the world, and we now have their testimony recorded in the Bible. What’s more, the heavenly Father continues to answer Jesus’ prayer as new Christians enter into the spiritual unity of Christ’s body. In fact, believers around the world gather to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, which Christ established that last night.

For His final request, Jesus said, “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory” (John 17:24). A day is coming when everyone Jesus prayed for will meet together in heaven with Him and with each other in perfect unity. And we can know with certainty that this will come about because the Father always answers His Son’s prayers. In the meantime, the church is called to strive toward unity here and now—loving one another just as He loves us, and testifying to an onlooking world about His transforming power.

 

Photograph by Ryan Hayslip

https://www.intouch.org/read/magazine/the-pulpit/from-the-upper-room

Life and Death

Eva Green

After chatting with a colleague about the state of our humanity and sexuality and lack of roles and ownership of life, I continue to be impressed with the stronghold that gangs, mafioso, cults and community groups have within their cultures..  For our generic culture in the west we are, as described on t-shirts; ‘comfortably numb’ and ‘walking dead’… There is no sense of urgency or life or abundance, only a continuation of yesterday..

The ‘stronghold’ groups have a sense of living, of being on the edge of life and death, and an understanding that they may have to pay with their life for their lifestyle.  (And also true, if they desire to leave the stronghold.)  They seem to have an understanding of roles, of urgency, of fighting for what they believe, of no compromise.  They have an identity that is beyond their own individual lives.

God has created us all to live for more.  He has set eternity in our hearts.  To be part of something bigger than ourselves.

In our western culture of independence, comfort and taking care of ‘number 1’ we are confused and weak.  We have misplaced the order of God, man, animal and creation, and now have a twisted view of order depending on what our beliefs are.  Some people would fight for animals over humans, and most of us put man (ourselves) over God as priority.

God has placed an order in creation.  Man to rule over animals and land, and to take care and be responsible.  In His church He has placed an order of Himself being head.  In the family, He has placed the man to lead.  This is not to rule over and be abusive, but to be accountable to God Himself of how he leads in love (as Christ loves His church).

We have incredibly talented people giving their lives to use their talents (which is how God intended), but unless it’s done for God it is done in vain: the devastation of a life lived fully but with nothing left standing.  Life without legacy.

Jesus says in Revelation 3.20 that He is knocking on the door and calling us, and whoever opens it to Him, He will come in and eat with them.

In my own life, I so often put Him on snooze.  I have no urgency.  He can wait….

Jesus tells us that He has come to give us life in fullness and abundance.  He promises us a FULL LIFE and not one that just continues on from yesterday, but that EACH DAY has it’s own problems but that He has supplies to cover us, in every area- practical (manna), emotional (strength), and spiritual (mercy and grace).  He is for living life fully and free; we have the whole world to use but don’t own anything.

My prayer is that we have the urgency to live for God and search out for all the fullness that He has for us and our worlds, and that we have tight and secure families and communities that show God among us with freedom.

https://pondermentslife.wordpress.com/2019/07/08/life-and-death/

Spiritual highlights during Apollo 11’s moon landing

Chuck Norris relates little-known religious observations during historic event

I read a fairly wide array of books and periodicals. One of the latter I really enjoy is the American Family Journal.

In the July 2019 issue, Associate Editor Rusty Benson interviewed Stephen McDowell, historian, prolific author and founder of Providence Foundation. It is a phenomenal interview on the founding of our nation.

Last week, I wrote my column titled, “In God We Must Trust.” Humbly speaking, it’s a must read, especially for those who might have missed it because of the holiday weekend. I believe patriot articles should be read all summer long and not just bottled up on July 4, especially since the Declaration of Independence was ratified in July and the engrossed copy signed on Aug. 2 (at least by the remaining delegates). We also celebrate our Constitutional birth on Sept. 17 – its 232nd anniversary this year.

Stephen McDowell’s interview almost reads as a sequel to my last column. I addressed the power of the role of God and religion in our republic. McDowell narrows the subject to discuss the role of Christianity and the Bible. Let me give you a few highlights.

In McDowell’s article, “Christianity and the Constitution,” he quotes a prestigious literary journal of 1867: “The American government and Constitution is the most precious possession which the world holds, or which the future can inherit. This is true – true because the American system is the political expression of Christian ideas.”

That is why McDowell explained in his interview: “The power and form of the Declaration and the Constitution are biblical. Power being the underlying ideas that are reflected, and form, the structure of how our government was set up and flows out of those ideas.”

The Declaration begins by saying “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

“Now that statement is full of biblical ideas. First, the founders recognized that absolute truth exists. Right and wrong, moral and immoral, legal and illegal – these emanated from a Creator,” McDowell said.

He added, “…the rulers, as well as the people, are subject to the laws. No man [or woman] is above the law. We are a self-governing republic in which power emanates from the people, who themselves are under the Creator.”

McDowell elaborated, “We live in God’s world, not in a made-up world of Karl Marx or Darwin or any other political philosopher. God created it to function based upon a set of physical and moral laws. If we violate His laws, we suffer the consequence. The Bible teaches that, and history confirms it.”

By quoting extensively from the founders, McDowell builds a case that we must return to our founders’ faith, civility and morality. They weren’t perfect, but they built our republic upon the bedrock of Christianity.

As our second president John Adams wrote to our third president Thomas Jefferson on June 28: “The general principles, on which the fathers achieved Independence, were the only principles in which, that beautiful assembly of young gentlemen could unite, and these principles only could be intended by them in their address, or by me in my answer. And what were these general principles? I answer, the general principles of Christianity, in which all those sects were united: and the general principles of English and American liberty, in which all those young men united, and which had united all parties in America, in majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her independence.”

Speak of great men of old and amazing patriots who had some pivotal sacred moments, I bet few students today learn that the crew of Apollo 11, whose moon landing we commemorate this week on its 50th anniversary (July 20), had themselves some profound Christian moments when they were up in space and particularly on the moon.

Some have religiously categorized astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin as the deist (Armstrong), the Christian (Aldrin) and the atheist (Collins) who went to the moon. But that’s an oversimplification.

The truth is, Armstrong was a Christian (not a Muslim, as some falsely reported), Collins was a nominal Episcopalian and Aldrin was an elder at his Presbyterian Church back in Houston.

Perhaps the most under-reported story about Armstrong’s faith concerned his visit to Israel following his historic trip to the moon, which is conveyed in Thomas Friedman’s award-winning book, “From Beirut to Jerusalem” (winner of the National Book Award).

The story goes that Armstrong was taken on a tour of the old city of Jerusalem by Israeli archeologist Meir Ben-Dov. When they arrived at the Hulda Gate, which is at the top of the stairs leading to the Temple Mount, Armstrong asked Ben-Dov whether Jesus had stepped anywhere around there.

“These are the steps that lead to the temple,” Ben-Dov told him, “so He must have walked here many times.”

Armstrong then asked Ben-Dov if those were the original stairs and Ben-Dov confirmed that they were indeed.

“So Jesus stepped right here,” Armstrong asked. “That’s right,” answered Ben-Dov.

To which Armstrong replied with this monumental statement: “I have to tell you, I am more excited stepping on these stones than when I was stepping on the moon.” Wow!

Speaking of stepping on the moon, before Armstrong and Aldrin actually did, they made another historic step. While Collins stayed back in the lunar module, Armstrong looked on respectfully as fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin performed a communion ceremony before the two set foot on the moon.

 

The communion bag and chalice used by Buzz Aldrin during his lunar communion. (Credit: David Frohman, President of Peachstate Historical Consulting, Inc.)

The communion bag and chalice used by Buzz Aldrin during his lunar communion.
(Credit: David Frohman, President of Peachstate Historical Consulting, Inc.)

Former White House Special Counsel Charles Colson, who served under President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1970, once wrote a column about it, the details of which Armstrong confirmed.

Colson wrote, “What you may not know, however is that for many of the early astronaut heroes, the ‘right stuff’ included deep religious faith. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are best known as the first astronauts to land on the moon and take that ‘giant leap for mankind.’ But you probably don’t know that before they emerged from the spaceship, Aldrin pulled out a Bible, a silver chalice, and sacramental bread and wine. There on the moon, his first act was to celebrate communion.”

Buzz made the following announcement to Mission Control during that spiritual moment: “Houston, this is Eagle. This is the LM pilot speaking. I would like to request a few moments of silence. I would like to invite each person listening in, whoever or wherever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the last few hours, and to give thanks in his own individual way.”

Aldrin reported later: “In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture [Jesus’ words in John 15]: ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit.’”

(That scripture reminded me of something I read earlier in Stephen McDowell’s interview: “Christianity has brought great blessing to mankind. … But if we remove the Christian faith and its principles, then we’re going to get worse and worse fruit. That’s what’s been happening the past century.”)

It is especially fitting and poignant that Aldrin also read Psalm 8:3-4 on the moon: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; ‘What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?’”

Aldrin later wrote in Guideposts magazine: “The very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.”

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church reported that: “Each year since 1969, Aldrin’s church, Webster Presbyterian, holds a Lunar Communion service to commemorate Buzz Aldrin’s celebration on the Moon.”

 

A handwritten card containing a Bible verse that Buzz Aldrin planned to broadcast back to Earth during a lunar Holy Communion service, featured in a space-related auction in Dallas, Texas, 2007. (Credit: LM Otero/AP Photo)

A handwritten card containing a Bible verse that Buzz Aldrin planned to broadcast back to Earth during a lunar Holy Communion service, featured in a space-related auction in Dallas, Texas, 2007. (Credit: LM Otero/AP Photo)

Speaking of sacred scripture, I just have to include what else I read on the website of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church about NASA, the Bible and the moon:

The Apollo Prayer League was a group of NASA engineers, scientists, administrators and astronauts. The League was headed by Rev. John Stout, a NASA Information Scientist and chaplain who worked closely with the astronauts and NASA personnel.

The Apollo Prayer League created a microfilm Bible and 300 microfilm copies were carried to the lunar surface. The microfilm is about 1.5 inches square, and yet contains all 1,245 pages of the King James Bible. These pages so small that they must be read under a microscope. This Lunar Bible is the only complete copy of the Bible to have flown to the surface of the Moon.

The microfilm Lunar Bible was flown on three Apollo missions. It was packed onboard Apollo 12 spacecraft, but was mistakenly left on the Command Module. It was then placed onboard Apollo 13, and was with the astronauts during their perilous return to Earth after the explosion of the Service Module. The Lunar Bible copies were finally carried to the Moon in the pocket of astronaut Edgar Mitchell on Apollo 14.

I’d bet my Texas ranch that your child or grandchild wouldn’t learn the above sacred and historical facts today about the Apollo missions in any public school. How sad. So it’s going to take us patriots to get the word out. Please share this column with everyone you know during this 50th anniversary week of the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

https://www.wnd.com/2019/07/spiritual-highlights-during-apollo-11s-moon-landing/

Our Father Defends (#OurFatherDevotional)

July 17, 2019 by Ronne Rock
This year, we’re sharing ways in which our God is truly Father to the fatherless in our special #OurFather devotional series. This month, former Orphan Outreach staffer and global missions advocate Sarah Herbek challenges us to consider what it means to uphold the cause of the orphaned and vulnerable with “Our Father Defends.”

 Psalm 82:3-4 – Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

At first reading, Psalm 82 might be a little confusing. Who is this Psalm talking about? Who is coming before God? The individuals being rebuked in Psalm 82 were Israel’s rulers or judges, leaders responsible to promote justice, to punish evildoers, and to defend the weak and the oppressed. But this was not happening. The vulnerable and fatherless were being taken advantage of. So, God is accusing these leaders and making it clear what a judge is supposed to do.

Psalm 82:2-4 says, “Enough! You’ve corrupted justice long enough, you’ve let the wicked get away with murder. You’re here to defend the defenseless, to make sure that underdogs get a fair break; Your job is to stand up for the powerless, and prosecute all those who exploit them.” (MSG)

Judges are to be a haven of justice for the weak and oppressed, the unprotected, the orphan and widow. God puts certain people in leadership for this purpose but He desires that all His people would do what is right. He created us to rule over His creation (Genesis 1:26, 28) and part of having that authority from God is to defend the orphan just like He would and does. Anyone with authority or influence of any kind (which, according to Jeremiah 22:3, is all of us) must care for the orphan and the widow, the oppressed and afflicted. We act on behalf of God as we carry out the mission of God that He promised will be fulfilled in every nation (Genesis 12:3). It is our privilege to be a part of that mission. We are to live in a way that aligns with the character of God, including His justice. As Paul put it, an earthly ruler is “… a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil” (Romans 13:4). We are God’s agents who are to bring light to the darkness, and carry out mercy and justice in His name!

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OUR VISION AT ORPHAN OUTREACH IS “TO SHINE BRIGHTEST WHERE THE WORLD IS DARKEST.”

So what is God the Father as a judge like? In the context of Psalm 82, He is the ultimate judge! The righteous judge! He is a defender. He stands between those who would harm and take advantage of the weak. He perfectly applies mercy and justice (Micah 6:8) — mercy that preserves dignity and justice that creates lasting change.

Robert Lupton put it this way, “Twinned together these commands lead us to holistic involvement. Divorced they become deformed. Mercy without justice degenerates into dependency and entitlement, preserving the power of the giver over the recipient. Justice without mercy grows cold and impersonal, more concerned about rights than relationships. The addict needs both food and treatment. The young woman needs both a safe place to sleep and a way out of her entrapping lifestyle. Street kids need both friendship and jobs.”

This might seem like an overwhelming task, but we must remember that not only has God promised that one day He will remove all injustice (Revelation 21), but He has commissioned this task to His Church all over the world. We are not in this alone, and that is why we can partner with each other to pursue mercy and justice together, one person (or child) at a time.

Memorize Micah 6:8 today. Then, write down and thank the Lord for ways you see His people advocating for the weak and vulnerable!

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
    and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 NLT)

Questions for you to ponder:

  1. What is the difference between justice and mercy? How are they similar?
  2. Where might God be asking you to make changes in your life in order to grow your knowledge of Him?
  3. What ways can you engage in promoting mercy and justice in your sphere of influence?

http://www.orphanoutreach.co/media-resources/newstory.asp?pageid=6532


Narrow Path Ministries is in the process of opening an orphanage. An Endowment fund has been established  to fund the orphanage.


 

Praying on the moon? It’s been done

Bill Federer recounts little-known religious observation during lunar landing

 

moon_astronaut

“One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” stated Astronaut Neil Armstrong, July 20, 1969, as he became the first man to walk on the moon, almost 238,900 miles away from the Earth.

The second man on the moon was Colonel Buzz Aldrin. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent a total of 21 hours and 37 minutes on the moon’s surface before redocking their lunar module Eagle with the command ship Columbia, which was orbiting 57 miles above the moon’s surface.

Buzz Aldrin earned a Ph.D. from M.I.T. and helped develop the technology necessary for the mission, especially the complicated lunar module rendezvous with the command module.

Buzz Aldrin shared a story, “An Astronaut Tells of a little-known but Significant Event on the Moon,” printed in Guideposts Magazine, October 1970), and in his book, “Return to Earth,” published by Random House, 1973.

Before the two astronauts stepped out of the Lunar Module onto the moon’s surface, there was a planned time of rest. Buzz Aldrin asked for radio silence because NASA was fighting a lawsuit brought by an intolerant atheist, Madalyn Murray O’Hair. She objected to the previous Apollo 8 crew reading the first chapter of the Book of Genesis in their Christmas radio transmission in 1968.

During the radio silence, Buzz Aldrin then privately partook of communion, stating:

For several weeks prior to the scheduled lift-off of Apollo 11 back in July, 1969, the pastor of our church, Dean Woodruff, and I had been struggling to find the right symbol for the first lunar landing. We wanted to express our feeling that what man was doing in this mission transcended electronics and computers and rockets. … Dean often speaks at our church, Webster Presbyterian, just outside of Houston, about the many meanings of the communion service.

“One of the principal symbols,” Dean says, “is that God reveals Himself in the common elements of everyday life.” Traditionally, these elements are bread and wine-common foods in Bible days and typical products of man’s labor.

One day while I was at Cape Kennedy working with the sophisticated tools of the space effort, it occurred to me that these tools were the typical elements of life today. I wondered if it might be possible to take communion on the moon, symbolizing the thought that God was revealing Himself there too, as man reached out into the universe.

For there are many of us in the NASA program who do trust that what we are doing is part of God’s eternal plan for man.

Webster Presbyterian Church is located at 201 W. NASA Road 1, Webster, Texas, and is known nationally as the Church of the Astronauts as John Glenn, Buzz Aldrin, Jerry Carr, Charlie Bassett and Roger Chaffee were active members during their time at NASA. The flag Buzz Aldrin left on the Moon was designed and built by a member of Webster Presbyterian Church, Jack Kinzler.

Buzz Aldrin continued:

I spoke with Dean about the idea as soon as I returned home, and he was enthusiastic. “I could carry the bread in a plastic packet, the way regular inflight food is wrapped. And the wine also-there will be just enough gravity on the moon for liquid to pour. I’ll be able to drink normally from a cup. Dean, I wonder if you could look around for a little chalice that I could take with me as coming from the church?”

The next week Dean showed me a graceful silver cup. I hefted it and was pleased to find that it was light enough to take along. Each astronaut is allowed a few personal items on a flight; the wine chalice would be in my personal-preference kit.

Dean made special plans for two special communion services at Webster Presbyterian Church. One would be held just prior to my leaving Houston for Cape Kennedy, when I would join the other members in a dedication service.

The second would take place two weeks later, Sunday, July 20, when Neil Armstrong and I were scheduled to be on the surface of the moon. On that Sunday the church back home would gather for communion, while I joined them as close as possible to the same hour, taking communion inside the lunar module, all of us meaning to represent in this small way not only our local church but the Church as a whole.

The Houston Chronicle and the Huffington Post have published articles about Buzz Aldrin’s communion on the moon.

Aldrin continued:

Right away question came up. Was it theologically correct for a layman to serve himself communion under these circumstances? Dean thought so, but to make sure he decided to write the stated clerk of the Presbyterian church’s General Assembly and got back a quick reply that this was permissible.

And how much should we talk about our plans? I am naturally rather reticent, but on the other hand I was becoming increasingly convinced that having religious convictions carried with it the responsibility of witnessing to them. Finally we decided we would say nothing about the communion service until after the moonshot. …

I had a question about which scriptural passage to use. Which reading would best capture what this enterprise meant to us? I thought long about this and came up at last with John 15:5.

It seemed to fit perfectly. I wrote the passage on a slip of paper to be carried aboard Eagle along with the communion elements. Dean would read the same passage at the full congregation service held back home that same day.

So at last we were set. And then trouble appeared. It was Saturday, just prior to the first of the two communion services. The next day, Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins and I were to depart Houston for Cape Kennedy. We were scheduled for a pre-mission press conference when the flight physician arrived and set up elaborate precautions against crew contamination. … We had to wear sterile masks and to talk to the reporters from within a special partition. The doctor was taking no chances. A cold germ, a flu virus, and the whole shot might have to be aborted.

I felt I had to tell him about the big church service scheduled for the next morning. When I did, he wasn’t at all happy. I called Dean with the news late Saturday night. “It doesn’t look real good, Dean.”

“What about a private service? Without the whole congregation?”

It was a possibility. I called the doctor about the smaller service and he agreed, provided there were only a handful of people present.

So the next day, Sunday, shortly after the end of the 11 o’clock service my wife, Joan and our oldest boy Mike (the only one of our three children who is as yet a communicant), went to the church. There we met Dean, his wife, Floy, and our close family friend Tom Manison, elder of the church and his wife.

The seven of us went in to the now-empty sanctuary. On the communion table were two loaves of bread, one for now, the other for two weeks from now. Beside the two loaves were two chalices, one of them the small cup the church was giving me for the service on the moon.

We took communion. At the end of the service Dean tore off a corner of the second loaf of bread and handed it to me along with the tiny chalice. Within a few hours I was on my way to Cape Kennedy. What happened there, of course, the whole world knows.

The Saturn 5 rocket gave us a rough ride at first, but the rest of the trip was smooth. On the day of the moon landing, we awoke at 5:30 a.m., Houston time. Neil and I separated from Mike Collins in the command module. Our powered descent was right on schedule, and perfect except for one unforeseeable difficulty. The automatic guidance system would have taken Eagle to an area with huge boulders. Neil had to steer Eagle to a more suitable terrain. With only seconds worth of fuel left, we touched down at 3:30 p.m.

Mission Control was nervous, as they were descending faster than anticipated and the guidance system computer was sending off an alarm.

It was later discovered that a switch was on causing the radar to also look up to locate the Columbia in case the landing had to be quickly aborted, and the computer was dithering between the upward and downward signals. Neil switched to manually land the craft, with Buzz relaying instrument readings, while the rockets were kicking up a cloud of blinding moon dust, obscuring vision of the boulders below.

At Mission Control in Houston, Charles Duke, who was later on Apollo 16, was NASA’s CAPCOM (Capsule Communicator). Acknowledging the successful landing, Duke replied: “Roger, Twank. … Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot!”

Buzz Aldrin continued: “Now Neil and I were sitting inside Eagle, while Mike circled in lunar orbit unseen in the black sky above us.”

Mike Collins snapped the photo of the Eagle separating from the command module Columbia and drifting down toward the Moon. Collins was alone in the Columbia, circling the dark side of the Moon. He wrote that “not since Adam has any human known such solitude,” and that he was “sweating like a nervous as a bride” till the Eagle returned (The Guardian, July 18, 2009): “Collins’ deepest fear: that he would be the only survivor of an Apollo 11 disaster. … Despite their apparent calm … no one was more stressed than Collins. … (He) was obsessed with the reliability of the ascent engine of Armstrong and Aldrin’s lander, Eagle. It had never been fired on the Moon’s surface before. … Should the engine fail to ignite, Armstrong and Aldrin would be stranded on the Moon – where they would die when their oxygen ran out. Or if it failed to burn for at least seven minutes, then the two astronauts would either crash back on to the Moon or be stranded in low orbit around it, beyond the reach of Collins in his mothership, Columbia.”

On the moon’s surface, Buzz Aldrin recounted:

In a little while after our scheduled meal period, Neil would give the signal to step down the ladder onto the powdery surface of the moon. Now was the moment for communion. So I unstowed the elements in their flight packets. I put them and the scripture reading on the little table in front of the abort guidance system computer. … Then I called back to Houston. “Houston, this is Eagle. This is the LM Pilot speaking. I would like to request a few moments of silence. I would like to invite each person listening in, wherever and whomever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the past few hours and to invite each person listening, wherever and whomever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his own individual way.” …

 

Chalice used in lunar communion

Chalice used in lunar communion

On World Communion Sunday … many Christians through the world will unite in spirit as they – each in his own church, according to his own tradition – participate in celebrating the Lord’s Supper. … For me this meant taking communion. In the radio blackout I opened the little plastic packages which contained bread and wine.

I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup. It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements. And so, just before I partook of the elements, I read the words, which I had chosen to indicate our trust that as man probes into space we are in fact acting in Christ. … I sensed especially strongly my unity with our church back home, and with the Church everywhere.

I read: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.”

Webster Presbyterian Church on NASA Parkway near Houston, Texas, keeps the chalice used on the moon and commemorates the event each year on the Sunday closest to July 20.

While Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were on the moon, Mike Collins orbited behind the moon, becoming the most distant solo human traveler, completely out of radio contact from Earth, nearly a quarter of a million miles away.

Isolated in space in the command module Columbia, Mike Collins wrote: “This venture has been structured for three men, and I consider my third to be as necessary as either of the other two. I don’t mean to deny a feeling of solitude. It is there, reinforced by the fact that radio contact with the Earth abruptly cuts off at the instant I disappear behind the moon, I am alone now, truly alone, and absolutely isolated from any known life. I am it. If a count were taken, the score would be three billion plus two over on the other side of the moon, and one plus God knows what on this side.”

A little known event in the USA-USSR Space Race was that two hours before Armstrong and Aldrin blasted off from the moon, an unmanned Russian lunar spacecraft, Luna 15, crashed-landed in the nearby Mare Crisium.

After their moon walk, Armstrong and Aldrin climbed back into the Eagle. Their large spacesuits, which included life support backpacks, made maneuvering difficult and the circuit breaker was broken which controlled ignition for the life-off rockets. This potentially serious accident was fixed with the tip of a felt pen. To reduce weight, they threw out unnecessary moon walk equipment, then re-compressed the Eagle. They lifted off, successfully re-docked with the Columbia, and headed back to earth.

Buzz Aldrin stated via television, July 23, 1969: “This has been far more than three men on a mission to the moon. … Personally, in reflecting on the events of the past several days, a verse from Psalms comes to mind. ‘When I consider the heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the Moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; What is man that Thou art mindful of him?’”

Armstrong added: “To all the other people that are listening and watching tonight, God bless you. Good night from Apollo 11.”

Buzz Aldrin’s popularity was the inspiration for the character “Buzz Lightyear” in Pixar’s animated movie Toy Story (1995).

Charles Duke later flew to the moon as an astronaut on the Apollo 16 mission. On April 21, 1972, Duke and John Young explored the moon’s rugged Descartes region. Years later, Charles Duke spoke at a prayer rally during the Texas State’s Republican Convention in San Antonio’s Lila Cockrell Theatre, June 22, 1996.

His remarks were printed in the book “Charles Duke: Moonwalker” (Rose Petal Press, 2nd edition, 2011, p. 256-261): “I have been before kings and prime ministers, junta leaders and dictators, businessmen and beggars, rich and poor, black and white. … One of the most touching times was in the office of one of the cabinet ministers in Israel. … After the introduction I was asked to share my walk on the moon with the Israeli minister. ‘Mr. Minister,’ I began, ‘I was able to look back at the earth from the moon and hold up my hand and underneath this hand was the earth. The thought occurred to me that underneath my hand were four billion people. I couldn’t see Europe, America, the Middle East. I couldn’t see blacks or whites, Jews or Orientals, just spaceship earth. I realized we needed to learn to love one another, and I believed that with that love and our technical expertise, we could solve all of mankind’s problems. …’ The promises of the Bible are true and, I believe, speak the truth in every area – whether it be in spiritual matters, nutrition, history, or even science …”

Charles Duke added: “In 1972 aboard Apollo 16, I saw with my own eyes what is written in the Scriptures. In Isaiah 40:22 it says ‘It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth.” And in Job 26:7, it is written ‘He hangeth the earth upon nothing.’ Who told Isaiah that the earth was a circle? … And how did the writer of Job know that the earth hung upon nothing? … This is the Lord I love and serve. This is the Lord who transformed by life. This is the Lord who transformed my marriage. I used to say I could live ten thousand years and never have an experience as thrilling as walking on the moon. But the excitement and satisfaction of that walk doesn’t begin to compare with my walk with Jesus, a walk that lasts forever. I thought Apollo 16 would be my crowning glory, but the crown that Jesus gives will not tarnish or fade away. His crown will last throughout all eternity. …”

Charles Duke concluded: “Not everyone has the opportunity to walk on the moon, but everybody has the opportunity to walk with the Son. It costs billions of dollars to send someone to the moon, but walking with Jesus is free, the Gift of God. ‘For by Grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.’ You don’t need to go to the moon to find God. I didn’t find God in space – I found him in the front seat of my car on Highway 46 in New Braunfels, Texas, when I opened my heart to Jesus. And my life hasn’t been the same since. Now I can truly look up at the moon and the stars and with the prophets of old exclaim, ‘The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork.’”

Brought to you by AmericanMinute.com.

 

https://www.wnd.com/2019/07/praying-on-the-moon-its-been-done/

I’ve Found A Great Hiding Place

by Pastor Ray Patrick

I’ve Found A Great Hiding Place

As a child, one of my favorite games was hide and seek. We looked for the best place to hide in the house or back yard, and waited quietly for our friends to try to find us. It’s a great game for kids, but as adults, we also look for a good place to hide from time to time. A place of refuge, a place of safety, or a place to rest when we feel overwhelmed by the circumstances of life, a place where the enemy of our soul can never find us.

I’ve got good news. God has the perfect hiding place for you! You don’t have to hide at work. You don’t have to hide in relationships. You don’t have to hide in food or addictions, because God Himself promises to hide you! He freely offers you shelter from the storms of life, any time you call upon His name.

Today, remember there’s only one place the enemy cannot find you. There’s only one place where opposition cannot steal from you. There’s only one true place of safety and rest for your soul, and that is in the arms of Jesus. Know that He loves you, and He is ready to receive you when you call upon His name! Hallelujah!

“In the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.”

(Psalm 27:5, NIV)

Pray With Me
Yahweh, today I come humbly before You giving You all of me. Father, thank You for hiding me in Your shelter and keeping me safe from the storms of life. God, today my soul finds rest in You, please hide me from the enemy of my soul, as I seek You and praise Your Holy Name, in Jesus’ Name! Amen.

https://godinterest.com/2019/07/10/ive-found-a-great-hiding-place/?