All posts by Edward E Moody Jr

The Right Stuff

2018 has been a difficult year, but many have written that the difficulties of 2018 pale when compared to 1968. Fifty years ago today Senator Robert F. Kennedy was fatally wounded after winning the Democratic presidential primary in California.  Earlier in the year, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.  In 1968 the nation experienced the seizure of the USS Pueblo by the North Koreans, the Tet offensive in Vietnam, the unrest at the Democratic National Convention, and the Soviet invasion of  Czechoslovakia. There was a lot of pain and many setbacks.

Then on December 21, Apollo 8 was launched.  Had the launch or mission failed, the US would not have achieved the goal of landing on the moon before the decade of the 1960s ended.  The Apollo crew followed in the footsteps of their predecessors, the Mercury Astronauts who were chronicled in the book and movie, “The Right Stuff.”  Clearly, the Apollo 8 crew and all who worked to get them into space had the right stuff.

The Apollo 8 mission was a great success as the crew orbited the moon, providing us with the iconic photo of earth’s rising.  The crew read Genesis 1 on Christmas Eve and lifted the spirit of the United States.  Some have even written that Apollo 8 saved 1968.  Months later the United States successfully placed a man on the moon.

While chaos swirled around them in 1968 the Apollo 8 team remained focused on their mission.  They would not stop assassinations and unrest but they performed their duties faithfully throughout the year (and before) ant the whole country benefited.

We can learn from the Apollo 8 crew and the team that launched them into space as we experience the difficulties of 2018.  We too need to stay focused on our mission: raising our kids, strengthening our marriage, doing our job in a way that brings honor to God—developing the right stuff.  We can’t control the actions of others but if we do well what we have been put here to do others will greatly benefit.

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In Debt to the Unknowns

_absolutely_free_photos_original_photos_unknown-soldier-memorial-4272x2848_69449Each Memorial Day the leaders of our country honor who have made our freedom possible with their lives by gathering at Arlington National Cemetery.  The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is the perfect example of the sacrifice many have paid.  Since we now have DNA testing there may never be another unknown soldier but there are nearly 5,000 unknowns from past wars buried at Arlington.  The Unknown Soldier stands in contrast to those who have gone to schools, churches and other public places and harmed scores of people.  The quickest way to become known to the world is to commit a catastrophic act.  On one day the person is relatively unknown, after some acts there may be few that would not recognize their name or picture.  It has always been this way, we even know the middle names of those who have assassinated important officials.  It has been hypothesized that there have been so many conspiracy theories about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy because of the contrast between his life and that of his alleged assassin.  It is truly as the book of Ecclesiastes (9:18) says, “. . .one sinner destroys much good.”

Today we celebrate those who are largely unknown. They come from all parts of our nation and all walks of life.  Were it not for their sacrifice we would not be able to assemble, worship, travel freely, and enjoy our way of life.  Let us think about them and their sacrifice and do our best to learn their names on this day as we ask ourselves, “Where would we be without the unknowns?”

Pay to all what is owed to them . . . respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Romans 13:7

 

What Does God Want from Me?

 

Everyone has expectations of us. Employers have expectations of their employees. Teachers have expectations of their students. Citizens have expectations of their government. Spouses have expectations of each other. Parents have expectations of their children. What about God? Does God have expectations for us?

The Gospel of Luke (Luke 10:25) records an incident where a man asked Jesus, “What do I do to inherit eternal life?” In other words, “What are God’s expectations of me?”

It sounds like the man was asking, “What is the minimum I must do to go to heaven?” When I read this question it reminds me of questions I have heard some students ask like, “What do I need to do to get a B?” It feels like they mean to ask, “What is the minimum needed to do to get by.” Don’t we all think that way from time to time? We may ask inwardly, “What must I do for my kids to turn out all right” or “What must I do for my marriage to survive?” or “What must I do to keep my job?”

Sometimes when we are having a hard time meeting the expectations of someone we throw up our hands and ask, “What do you want from me? What do you expect?” especially if we want to do the minimum and move on.

I think the man who asked this question of Jesus only wanted to do the minimum required to get into heaven because he already new the answer to his question (Luke 10:27) as evidenced when he quoted Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He knew what God expected of him.

Love God 

God expects us to love Him. But how much does He expect? He expects us to love Him with all of our heart so we are not allowed to store bitterness, anger or unforgiveness in our heart (Psalm 4:4). He expects us to love him with our soul, the essence of our being, and the immaterial part of our life. He expects us to love Him with our strength or our aptitude and power. So, when we go to school or work we work for the Lord (Colossians 3:23). He expects us to love Him with our mind so we must love God with our thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5b), and our attention. God expects us to love Him with all that we are.

Love People

How do you know if you love God? If you love God, you will love people. This man who questioned Jesus knew that God expected him to love people. But how many people and what kind of people did God expect him to love?

Again, he only wanted to do the minimum so he asked, “Who is my neighbor?” He should have asked, “How do I love my neighbor?” Jesus answered his question and the one he should have asked by telling the story of the Good Samaritan. Since Jesus ended this story with the command, “You go, and do likewise” (Luke 10:37) we would do well to examine the story.

First, Jesus answered the question, “Who is our neighbor?” Our neighbor is the person who brings problems upon themselves. This person traveled down a dangerous road alone and fell among robbers (Luke 10:27), just like many had probably warned him about. Our neighbor is also the one for whom there appears to be little hope (Luke 10:30b), this man is referred to as “half dead.”

Then the story took a turn. The people most like the fallen man refused to help him. They would not even get close to him (Luke 10:31-31). The person least like the man, a Samaritan, is the one that actually helped him. Samaritans were the enemies of the Jews, yet this man helped when no one else would. Jesus conveyed to His questionnaire that even his enemy was his neighbor. Therefore, even his enemies (Matthew 5:44).

How do we love other people?

Then Jesus told the man how to love other people. The Samaritan went to the fallen man and when he was exposed to his situation “he had compassion” (Luke 10:33) for him. But this was real compassion, which always will move a person to take action. The Samaritan man performed specific acts that were helpful (Luke 10:34), and even spent around four days of his wages (Luke 10:35) to help the man. What a difference he made in a life of a person who had previously been an enemy. So what does God expect of us?

Love God and love other people (even our enemies). It sounds pretty simple, but if we really apply it on a daily bases it will change the activity our life and the lives of those around us.

For more go to this link.

Do you want to make all of that studying stick?

There are a lot of us who made resolutions about exercise at the beginning of the New Year.  It appears now that exercise doesn’t just help with your weight, physical, and mental health but it actually enables you or learn more.  In fact, if you want to remember something, get moving.

A recent study in Current Biology indicated that people who exercised four hours after a learning session were more likely to remember the material two days later when compared to those who did not exercise after a learning session. The researchers could not explain why memory was aided by exercise but this research does remind me a bit of my own studying when I was a student in grade school.  After several hours of class, my teacher seemed thrilled to thrust me and my classmates on the playground to run and jump and burn up all of that pent up energy. Apparently, that wasn’t just good class management, it also helped us remember more of what we’d learned.

 

So if you made a New Years resolution about learning another language, or reading a few books, throw another one in about exercise.  After studying a few hours on a subject go biking, running, walking or whatever you like to do to get active. You just might find that exercise helps you with your other resolutions as well.

 

Take pictures this Christmas—if you are having a good time

A joyful heart is good medicine.

Proverbs 17:22a

Should you take pictures this Christmas or just enjoy the moment? Actually, some recent research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology indicates that taking photos can increase the enjoyment of positive experiences. This contradicts an often held belief that picture taking can be distracting. In the research, people took pictures while eating meals, visiting museums and taking bus tours. In almost every case there was more enjoyment and engagement for the people who took pictures. But what should you do if that family gathering is not going so well? The same research also indicated that taking pictures while doing something unpleasant made the situation even more unpleasant. So as you are celebrating during the holiday season, go ahead and take some pictures—if you are having a good time!

 

What will They Do on Their “Worst Day Ever”?

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“This is the Worst. Day. EVER!”

If you have children, I bet you’ve heard them say this once or twice when things don’t quite go their way. Like maybe when they have to clean their room or eat all their dinner. We smile, because we’ve all been there, but at the same time, we know that these things in no way represent the “worst day ever.” Deep in our hearts, we know that one day, our children, who we love, will face their worst day ever and it will involve much more than daily chores and eating vegetables.

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Eddie Moody share at a local D6 Connect family ministry event. His talk focused on the story of Daniel and his friends and how to raise godly young men and women in a time where their faith is becoming increasingly unpopular. He talked…

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Thank you Sheepdogs

Lt. Col. (Retired) David Grossman, MD, a former professor at West Point, has written extensively about the different kinds of people in our world.  He says we live in a world that contains, sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs.  Most people are sheep.  The sheep just want to go on with their lives.  They don’t hurt other people and often even resist thinking there might be others who wish to do them harm.  Unfortunately, the world also contains wolves.  The wolves prey on the sheep.  They take advantage of them and wolves would feed on and destroy the sheep were it not for the sheepdog.  The sheepdog lives to protect the sheep.  The sheepdog, Grossman says, often scares the sheep.  Sheep do not understand sheepdogs.  Sheep like to live in denial about the dangers of wolves, and of course the sheepdog is a reminder that there are wolves in the land.

The sheepdog pays a high price to defend the sheep.  The sheepdog must constantly prepare for the moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.  The sheepdog cannot live in denial as can sheep.  The sheepdog has experienced indescribable horror that a sheep would rather pretend did not exist.  Grossman says, it is not necessary for the sheep to fully comprehend the price paid by the sheepdog, but it is critical that they acknowledge and appreciate the sacrifice that has been made.  Where would we be without sheepdogs?

Those of us who live in the United States you are protected everyday by sheepdogs who serve in our Armed Services.  Many throughout the world benefit from their service.  Each one of them signed up to do what they do.  They knew they would be going into harms way.  They hunt wolves.  Recently, we obtained a bit of a glimpse into the life of a sheepdog, when he was killed in Iraq.

Master Sergeant Joshua L. Wheeler, a member of Delta Force was killed near the city of Kirkuk during a daring rescue mission.  Wheeler had been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan 11 times.  He’d been awarded 11 Bronze Star medals.  Over his 20 year career he’d likely hunted a lot of wolves.  He’d also saved the lives of a lot of sheep.  In the raid in which he was killed around 70 Iraqi prisoners were freed from ISIS captivity.

Wheeler is just one example of the thousands of sheepdogs who protect us.  Where would we be without sheepdogs?  What kind of life, what kind of society would we be.  Thank you sheepdogs for all you have done for us.