Reflecting His light

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But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

(2 Corinthians 3:18)

 

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Two are Better!

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This photo delights me…and brings to mind a dear friend! From a Boeing postcard, the woman on the left seems to be “hand-propping” the vintage 1925 “Model 40” – while her friend reaches out to stabilize, and help ground her.

Every good and perfect gift is from above.

Indeed, I know this particular friendship is truly a gift, given from our Father in Heaven, in His infinite knowledge and perfect timing… The bonus:  she is simply a joy to be around!

In reality, two people – whether husband/wife, coworkers, brother/sister, best friends…together – are better than one! Expressed mathematically,  one plus one is greater than two (1 + 1 > 2). This parallels the principle of Crew Resource Management (CRM) in aviation which advocates teamwork; in particular, it is the individual crew members functioning as one. Working together, performing in concert – ensuring flight safety and operational efficiency while, at the same time, vigilant to potential threats and errors. Finally, with teammates – the journey (or the work) is more fun and interesting!

Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up

Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

Recently, I was getting “checked-out” to fly a Piper J-3 Cub – a vintage, pre-war (1939) aircraft with no electrical system (therefore, no engine starter). The process of starting the engine required careful coordination between me and my instructor. Communication was essential, with one person at the controls in the cockpit; the other, in the line of fire – to turn the propeller “by hand.” (No affiliation to photo below)

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My instructor wanted to make sure our phraseology, commands and actions were mutually understood and unmistakable:  he would be holding the brakes ensuring no forward movement, verifying the mag switch remained off and the throttle at idle. Meanwhile, I stood in front and grasped the propeller – that shortly  would be rotating nearly 1000 RPM!

Often in life, we can not avoid such precarious positions, therefore it is vital to have a trusted member on your crew – someone who has your safety and our best interests at heart. The term synergy captures this concept:  the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc.

Horses are often used to illustrate the benefits of synergy. I’ve read that a team of two horses can together pull over twice the weight of one, alone. Similarly, most twin-engine, light aircraft can easily maintain a climb with both engines operating at maximum power. However, for some the loss of one of the engines reduces climb performance – not by 50 percent, as you might expect – but rather, by 80-90 percent! This is because the weight and drag of the dead/failed engine adds significantly to the total thrust required from the remaining engine.

Operating with such a small performance margin, if the pilot does not promptly respond with the proper procedures, a loss of control will result. This demonstrates, in challenging situations – such as a heavy weight climb, on a hot day – indeed, two (engines) are better than one!

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1-2)

For much of my life I didn’t understand the truth written in Galatians Chapter 6 – that we must have someone to help bear our burdens – lest we be crushed by their weight. My friend Carol has been such a bearer for me…encouraging, mentoring, together studying God’s word, steadfast in accountability, setting an example, being able to laugh and to cry together…someone through whom God, Himself, ministered to me. From Hebrews 3: 13:  but exhort one another daily, while it is called“Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Sometimes, in life, we just need help getting our engine started – and then have someone to join us as we take flight. Fasten your seat belts…and enjoy your journey!

For Carol:  I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,  being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…

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A Temporary Home

A temporary home for this special bird…as she awaits Justin and Anna!

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Traveling the world as an airline pilot, I am often reminded of the temporary nature of this life. Our time on this earth is so very short, as both James (4:14) and the Psalmist (39:5) describe it:  “but a vapor…”

Trust me, a pilot’s life is not as glamorous as you may think! It is a constant revolution of doors:  airports, vans, hotels, then more airports and hotels. A hectic life of PUSHING…then w a i t i n g, while living and working among fellow travelers for days on end. A typical airline pilot is away from home, more or less, 14-18 days per month. At times he may go out (to work), not knowing where he is going… making it tough to pack!

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When I travel, I take along (drag, really) a 21 x 14 x 8 inch wheeled suitcase and a large briefcase. Made of ballistic nylon, they contain plenty of pockets. I often marvel how I can get by for so long with my life stuffed into these two bags.  I believe its because I recognize my dwelling in this home-away-from-home is only temporary. Though I am content for a time – in unfamiliar surroundings, in foreign countries – interacting with strangers and pilgrims – I know that soon I will be home…with loved ones, and in my own home. What an awesome thought!

The challenges and inconveniences of life on the road, in a foreign land – on this earth – are more easily endured with the promise of a sweet homecoming. So too, as Christians, we are assured of the promises that await us in our homeland – that is, a heavenly country – that God, Himself, has prepared for us. This is the eternal perspective that we can have by faith in Christ and it brings great comfort and hope – wherever we are in the world physically – as it surely did our patriarchs in Hebrews 11 (8-16):

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;  for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God…

…These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. 

For Angelica…May these words comfort and encourage you in the mission fields of Mexico…and in the mission field of life. Thanks for caring for Miss M! Love, Aunt E

Angelica and Mocha

Angelica and Miss M!

 

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Happy New Year!

This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning…  (Lamentations 3:21-23, NKJV)

And this means, so too, His mercies are new every year! May you spend this year at His feet, experiencing His ever-lovingkindness!

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Mount Rainier Sunrise.

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Baby Girl

 

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July 9, 2003 – December 17, 2015

 

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In Excellent Memory: Burt Goranson (1949-2015)

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But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

https://www.sunsetgardenstricities.com/obituaries/2015/july/burton-burt-goranson

http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2013/12/31/2754370_pasco-man-one-of-last-to-fly-out.html?rh=1

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A Great Light

I am the way… (John 14:6a)

I first began flying airplanes over 25 years ago – before position-awareness technologies such as satellite-based (GPS) navigation and terrain-enhancing moving maps were common. One of the many requirements for my FAA (private) pilot’s license was completion of a “long cross country” – flying solo.

The last leg of my required cross-country journey was planned over northeastern Michigan, from Alpena to Tri-City Airport (KAPN-KMBS), navigating primarily by sight – or visual reference to the ground. Such operations are classified as “VFR” (operated under Visual Flight Rules and visual aides) and supplemented with aeronautical charts.

I recall, while flying back to my home airport, how quickly it become dark. There were no sources of ambient light – no moon, and no cities or highways, often useful in verifying direction. Instead, only miles and miles of dense forest that somewhere merged beneath me into the vast, blackened expanse of Lake Huron to the east. Above me and below – hard pressed on every side (2 Corinthians 4:8a) – the darkness seemed to consume me. I grew hesitant, uncertain of my course.

…If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles… (John 11: 9b-10a)

As I flew southbound a light was visible in the distance. Growing brighter as I watched and flashing steadily as if to beckon, it was quite different – set apart – from all others. Seeming familiar, I wanted to turn the airplane toward the light. Becoming hopeful, my heart quickened…could this be my destination?

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light… (Isaiah 9:2a)

Light has long been used as a source of guidance for pilots.

May 15, 1918: Takeoff on first official air mail on Washington-Philadelphia-New York route. The pilot lost his way and landed twenty minutes later in Waldorf, Md., breaking prop blade; the flight was cancelled. (Photo/caption: www.airmailpioneers.org)

The first navigational beacons were actually bonfires maintained at strategic locations along air mail routes. Intended for conspicuity, a beacon is designed to draw attention, giving direction to those searching for their way. Throughout the Bible, God uses light to guide mankind – revealing His way. Indeed, He has provided for us a great light by which to navigate this journey…a marvelous light:

…that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light… (1 Peter 2:9b)

Like the bearing pointer of an ADF (Automatic Direction Finder) – an aircraft navigational instrument used to find the location of a radio beacon – the Bible always points to Jesus Christ, regardless of our heading. He is a beacon for those who choose to search for and to follow through the darkness of this world. Jesus, Himself, declared:

“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Even after years of flying experience, and equipped with the sophisticated technologies of modern airliners, I still cherish the peace and reassurance that comes when calling my home field beacon “in sight,” especially after a long journey. But as I flew solo through the darkness in that little Cessna, I had no such confidence. Was the light I saw my destination? My heart told me it was, but in my flesh I was anxious.

For you will go before…to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:79; Emphasis mine)

I began to contemplate the other lights that twinkled in the distance. They competed for my attention, as if to draw me away, offering something better. Hesitant to commit to the beacon, I considered the likely scenarios of pressing on: landing at the wrong airport…running out of fuel…crashing… Surely, I faced certain death (or, at least, great embarrassment…)! Nevertheless, languishing in indecision, fear crept in as the darkness enveloped me.

…they grope in the darkness with no light… (Job 12:25)

Video Note: As the sun Son comes, the fog begins to burn away (check out the sheep wandering near the approach end, 00:04 mark – Great video)!

Throughout the Bible, darkness is representative of evil and deception; of living in the flesh, in sin and disobedience.

…the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light…For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light…” (John 3: 19-21)

Darkness is the path to destruction and we all have sinned (Romans 3:23)…we don’t want to fall short of the glory – or the airport! But pressing on in our sin, choosing to live in darkness, we remain lost – sure to perish.

Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery ways; in the darkness they shall be driven on and fall in them… (Jeremiah 23:12)

I needed to make a decision… Just then, I heard a voice calling out to me on the aircraft’s VHF radio.

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it…” (Isaiah 30:21)

It was the air traffic controller monitoring my flight. Knowing I was a “student” pilot, he had been watching me carefully and with his help, he confirmed and (mercifully) vectored me to the light – my destination!

…God watched over me…by His light, I walked through the darkness… (Job 29:3)

I chose to follow the Controller with the knowledge that He had my best interest at heart. It was a humbling experience, but I was very thankful to be headed home – following His instruction!

…He will guide you into all truth… (John 16:13a)

Just as I needed to identify and turn toward my home beacon that night – in life – we each must decide to earnestly and continuously pursue the light of the world – Jesus Christ. By His word, the God of all Creation, promises to deliver us from the darkness. As Paul experienced, enroute to Damascus:

“…as I journeyed…along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining…I heard a voice speaking to me…rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose…I will deliver you…to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:12-18)

Video Note:  Landing at dawn, KPDX, Runway 10R (Fruit of the Spirit is patience – worth the wait – great video!)

As Christians, we have been called out of the darkness and delivered for a purpose – to fulfill the Great Commission, so that people will turn from darkness and to His eternal and marvelous light!

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)

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