Pearl Harbor – Three Big Mistakes or God Taking Care?

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On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service attacked Naval Station Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii Territory, without warning and without a declaration of war, killing 2,403 American servicemen and injuring 1,178 others. The attack sank four U.S. Navy battleships and damaged four others. It also damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, and one minelayer. Aircraft losses were 188 destroyed and 159 damaged.

One little bit of history is recorded in a small book titled “Reflections on Pearl Harbor” by Admiral Chester Nimitz. Here’s the story:

“Sunday, December 7, 1941, Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington, D.C. He was paged and told there was a phone call for him. When he answered the phone, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the Commander of the Pacific Fleet.

“Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet. He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941 and found a spirit of despair, dejection, and defeat.

“On Christmas Day, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction. Sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters everywhere. As the tour boat returned to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, “Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?”

“Admiral Nimitz’s reply shocked everyone within the sound of his voice. He said, “The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America. Which do you think it was?”

“Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked, “What do you mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes an attack force ever made?” Nimitz responded:

“Mistake #1: The Japanese attacked on Sunday morning. Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave. If those same ships had been lured to sea and sunk out there, we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

“Mistake #2: When the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking them, they failed to bomb our dry docks opposite those ships. If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired.

“As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised. One tug can pull them over to the dry docks. We can have them repaired and back out at sea by the time we could have towed them to America. And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.

“Mistake #3: Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in above ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill. One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply.

“That’s why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make or God was taking care of America.”

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” Rom. 11:33-34

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Legacy Deo

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-9-55-49-pmLegacy is a word that means bequest, inheritance, heritage. Deo is the Latin word for God. Those two words comprise the new name of Lutheran Foundation of Texas: Legacy Deo.

Our legacy from God is who we are and everything we have, including possessions, wealth, fullness of life, faith, forgiveness, and eternal salvation. Our legacy to God and to our loved ones is thanking God for his gifts by using them wisely, during, at the end of, and beyond our lifetime. Helping people in that process is the ministry of Legacy Deo.

Here are portions of a recent public letter from Larry Ohls, Chief Executive Officer of Lutheran Foundation of Texas for the past seven years:

A God Honoring Legacy

The year 2017 will be a very special NEW year for this organization. It will be the beginning of a new era for this foundation that was chartered over 56 years ago.

Over the last 15 months our organization has evaluated the brand identity of this ministry. We spent a great deal of time considering and discussing our core values, mission, purpose, and vision for the future. After extensive research, examination, and prayer the decision was made to change the Foundation’s name to Legacy Deo.

Our new name reflects the essence of what we do as an organization: to assist Christians in leaving a legacy that honors God and builds His kingdom. Over the past 56 years, this Foundation has worked to inspire giving that impacts life forever. Going forward, it is our vision that God’s people, each and every one, will leave a legacy for faith and family like so many before them.

I also want to inform you that effective December 31, 2016, I am retiring as Chief Executive Officer. I plan to continue as an advisor with Legacy Deo and assist in any manner that adds value to the organization. The Board of Directors has selected Rev. Dr. Gerald Kieschnick, President Emeritus of the LCMS, to lead this ministry as Chief Executive Officer. We are blessed by God to have a man of Rev. Kieschnick’s talent, experience and commitment to guide us into the future.

It has been an honor to direct this organization over the past seven years. I consider it a blessing to have served alongside a talented staff that is dedicated to influencing the lives of Christian donors and the life-enriching ministries they support. To God be the glory!

Larry P. Ohls

Larry has been a great leader of this organization for the past seven years. I’ve known him all his life and pray his retirement will be a blessing for his wife Carolyn and their family.

It is my privilege to accept the leadership role of this very important ministry. With God’s help and Terry’s blessing, I look forward to helping individuals and families create a legacy for their loved ones, their congregations, and other charitable organizations with the gifts God has entrusted to their care.

For information and assistance on how to begin that process for your family and your favorite faith-based endeavors, see the contact information below.

Legacy Deo. God’s Gifts. Your Legacy.

Trusting God’s Promise

Church 1This article is intended specifically for Terry’s and my fellow members at Zion Lutheran Church in Walburg, Texas. It’s also directed toward every person, young or old, lay or clergy, faced with the decision of how much is enough to give back to God. That’s not always a simple decision.

A couple months ago it became obvious that the total weekly offerings at Zion were falling about 20% short of the amount required to meet budgeted expenses. On several separate occasions I expressed to Terry my concern about this matter. A few weeks later we decided to do something.

Our decision was to increase the amount of our weekly offering by 25%. Frankly, this was not an easy decision. Last year we had pledged a sizable amount for Zion’s three year Capital Stewardship Campaign. Already stretching our finances to meet that challenging pledge, the thought of adding an additional 25% to our weekly offering caused me to furrow my brow.

Then I read again the words of Malachi 3:8-10: God said to the people of Israel: “You are robbing me.” The people asked: “How are we robbing you?” God answered: “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Put me to the test and see if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour out upon you a blessing so great that you will not be able to take it in.”

Really not anticipating any specific blessings over and above the spiritual ones we’ve been receiving bountifully throughout the 50 years of our lives together, imagine our surprise when two totally unexpected checks arrived in the mail within weeks of our decision to increase our weekly tithe and offering! The sum of those checks was over five times more than the total amount by which our offerings were increased for an entire year!

This past Sunday afternoon I shared this story with the crowd of folks who had gathered for our congregational voters’ meeting for the purpose of adopting our budget for the coming fiscal year. It was not an easy meeting. I expressed to the crowd my wonderment whether those two checks would have arrived even if we had not made the decision to increase our weekly offerings. I quickly added that although that may certainly have been the case, I would always be convinced that they came in fulfillment of God’s promise in Malachi 3.

My encouragement to each of you, dear friends in Christ, is to put the Lord to the test, as he has challenged us to do. The bountiful blessings you receive may not be the same as ours. They may be even greater! Regardless of the type or amount of your blessings, I pray and predict that you will experience special joy in the process of anticipating the fulfillment of God’s promise!

God’s Presence in Your Life

FloodOne of the most profound questions I frequently hear people asking goes something like this: “If there is a God, does he really know who I am and does he really care about my life?”

As a Christian person, husband, father, grandfather, pastor, theologian, ecclesiastical supervisor, former regional and national church body leader and current Concordia University presidential ambassador, my answer is this: Absolutely yes!

It may seem God is absent from our lives in times of personal difficulty or national disaster. But the Bible says God is always with us. He knows how many hairs we have on our head (Matt. 10:30). Nothing in all creation can separate us from his love, not even death (Rom. 8:35-39).

A few years ago LCMS Eastern District President Chris Wicher shared with me a story that some might dismiss as mere coincidence. I think it illustrates God’s presence and activity in our lives.

Chris and a few pastors and other men were driving around the flooded area of Pittston, Penn., looking for people who needed help in cleaning up their flooded homes. They came to a couple standing in front of their home, simply staring at the damage. The car stopped and one of the pastors asked if they needed help.

The people responded “No, not really. We don’t know where to begin and besides the house does not yet have electricity restored.”

The would-be helpers told who they were and that they were driving around to see if they could be of help. They told the couple, “We have a generator, pump, mops, buckets and Clorox.”

Quite moved by this generous offer, the homeowners accepted the help and in a few hours the cleanup was completed. But that’s not all. Not five minutes before the carload of generous helpers offered their assistance, the couple had prayed to the Lord for direction and help! I would submit that God answered their prayer by sending some very good-hearted men to their door.

The love of Jesus moves people to acts of kindness. Such kindness demonstrates, in this and in many other circumstances, the presence and care of God in the lives of his people.

An Atheist’s View On Life

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Recently I read this clever yet poignant way of contrasting an atheist’s view on life with that of a Christian. Some complete sentences below, reading both down and back up to the top, include more than one line. I think you’ll be able to figure out where the punctuation marks belong!

 

An Atheist’s View on Life

I will live my life according to these beliefs
God does not exist
It is just foolish to think
That there is a God with a cosmic plan
That an all-powerful God brings redemption and healing to the pain and suffering in the world
Is a comforting thought, however
It
Is only wishful thinking
People can do as they please without eternal consequences
The idea that
I am deserving of Hell
Because of sin
Is a lie meant to make me a slave to those in power
“The more you have, the happier you will be”
Our existence has no grand meaning or purpose
In a world with no God
There is freedom to be who I want to be
But with God
Everything is fine
It is ridiculous to think
I am lost and in need of saving

A Christian’s View on Life
(Now read this from bottom to top, beginning with “I am lost …”)

Author Unknown

New Year Reflections

New Year 2014Every New Year’s Day for the past 31 years I’ve reflected on an event that occurred January 1, 1983. My dear father, Martin Herbert Otto Kieschnick, went to heaven that day at the tender age of 66 years, 6 months, 2 days. I miss him every day and thank God for his influence in my life.

That influence continues to be exerted upon our entire family through my dear mother, Elda Mary Hellman Kieschnick, now 97 years, 8 months, 20 days of age. With the significant exception of Dad’s passing and in light of Mom’s effervescent spirit and cheerful outlook on life, most of my New Year thoughts look through a windshield, not a rear view mirror.

The Complete Speaker’s Almanac points out that the month of January is named after the Roman god Janus: “This particular Roman god had two faces, enabling him to look ahead toward the future and back at the past at the same time. As we get rid of an old year and look forward to a new one, we all try to be a little like Janus. We know through experience what we did wrong and what we did right, and hope to do better this year. Some people make ambitious New Year’s resolutions; others just take a deep breath and hope for the best.…”

How about you? Are you looking back or looking ahead? Are you making ambitious New Year’s resolutions or just hoping for the best? Resolutions have a way of losing their urgency shortly after the New Year rolls around. And I’ve never been one simply to hope for the best without trying to do what I felt necessary for the best to occur, with God’s abundant blessing. My reflections and projections, hopes and prayers for the New Year go hand in hand.

With that in mind, I share with you A New Year’s Wish from an anonymous source:

May God make your year a happy one!
Not by shielding you from all sorrows and pain, but by strengthening you to bear it, as it comes;
Not by making your path easy, but by making you sturdy to travel any path;
Not by taking hardships from you, but by taking fear from your heart;
Not by granting you unbroken sunshine, but by keeping your face bright, even in the shadows;
Not by making your life always pleasant, but by showing you when people and their causes need you most, and by making you anxious to be there to help.

 
And A New Year’s Prayer also from an unknown author:

Spirit of the Risen Christ, be with us today and always.
Be our Light, our Guide, and our Comforter.
Be our Strength, our Courage, and our Sanctifier.
May this New Year be a time of deep spiritual growth: a time of welcoming your graces and gifts; a time for forgiving freely and unconditionally; a time for growing in virtue and goodness.
Come, Holy Spirit! Be with us today and always! Amen!

 
Terry and I pray God’s abundant love, peace, hope and joy will come to you in the year ahead!

If I were the Devil: Paul Harvey

Paul Harvey Credit:  Wikipedia

Paul Harvey
Credit: Wikipedia

Several years ago radio commentator Paul Harvey spoke this Warning for a Nation:

If I were the devil, I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree: thee. So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first. I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. And with the wisdom of a serpent, I’d whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.”

To the young I would whisper that the Bible is a myth. I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what’s bad is good and what’s good is square. And the old I would teach to pray, after me: “Our Father, which art in Washington …”

And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d pedal narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.

If I were the devil I’d soon have families at war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves, until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.

If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions. Just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug-sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.

Within a decade, I’d have prisons overflowing. I’d have judges promoting pornography. Soon I could evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls and church money.

If I were the devil I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.
If I were the devil I’d take from those who have and give to those who want it until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And what’ll you bet I couldn’t get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich?

I would caution against extremes, and hard work, and patriotism, and moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on TV is the way to be. And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed, with diseases for which there is no cure.

In other words, if I were the devil, I’d just keep right on doing what he’s doing!

Paul Harvey. Good day!

Jerry Kieschnick Signature

Dr. Gerald B. (Jerry) Kieschnick
One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism – Eph. 4:5
For previous issues of Perspectives go to www.jerrykieschnick.wordpress.com