Wednesday, December 7

75 Years ago... December 7th, 1941

Special 75th Anniversary reflection
Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz…
his profound perspective and insight into the bombing of Pearl Harbor.


“Thanks to Admiral Nimitz’ ability to see, we have, on record, a much better account of what actually happened at Pearl Harbor than the accounts told by the script writers of the movies TORA! TORA! TORA! (1970) and PEARL HARBOR (2001)." - Keith

Our part is to recognize that, when it seems we are
surrounded by troubles and woe, in the words of the prophet Elisha, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." (2 Kings 6:16-17)

Find this, and more, in our 30-year review of TTM in TTM MAGAZINE.
The rare ability to see, instead of merely looking, is illustrated in the true account of U.S. Navy Admiral Chester Nimitz’s profound insights as he surveyed the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Admiral Nimitz had eyes that could see with respect to tactical naval warfare. He was so well studied and experienced in the art of war that it did not take him long to recognize where the Japanese had made three fatal mistakes in their planning for and execution of their attacks on our ships at Pearl Harbor. These three errors rendered them unsuccessful in their attempt to utterly destroy the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet.
If you visit Pearl Harbor, you will find boats ferrying people out to the USS Arizona Memorial every 30 minutes. In the gift shop there you will find a book entitled, “Reflections on Pearl Harbor” by Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz. In that book, you will read that on Sunday, December 7, 1941, Admiral Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington, D.C. when he was paged and told there was a phone call for him. When he answered the phone, he found that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was on the line.
The President told Admiral Nimitz that in light of the attack on Pearl Harbor Admiral Nimitz would now be the Commander of the Pacific Fleet. Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet, landing at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941. He found such a spirit of despair, dejection, and defeat that it would seem the Japanese had already won the war.
On Christmas Day, 1941, Admiral Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters everywhere you looked. 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. Admiral Nimitz 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’s explanation is summarized below.
Mistake number one: 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 then sunk, we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.
Mistake number two: When the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks that were sitting across from those ships. If they had destroyed the dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of the damaged 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, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time it would have taken to tow them to America; and I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.
Mistake number three: Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in storage tanks on top of the ground only five miles away. One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our entire 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. It was Admiral Nimitz’ many years of first-hand tactical experience that gave him the ability to recognize that “The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make.” In turn, it was that same experience that equipped him to be able to see God’s divine intervention where most saw only despair and defeat.
The young helmsman and so many others looked at the devastation and were in many ways crippled by the destruction and despair. On the other hand, Admiral Nimitz looked at the same devastation and saw something completely different. He knew how unlikely it was that the very capable Japanese war planners would miss three such obvious tactical points while preparing their assault, and this made it evident to him that God had intervened on America’s behalf on December 7, 1941. As devastating as the loss of our brave men and women were that day, as Admiral Nimitz states, the results would have been much worse if God had not intervened on our behalf.
Even as Admiral Nimitz looked at utter devastation and could see the grace of God at work on the behalf of our great Nation, we have the same opportunity to look beyond whatever it is that we may be going through and see the redeeming power of God working on our behalf as well. As the Scripture says in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” These are not empty words: God means every one of them, and He wants us to trust Him to do His part.
God promises that in every trial He will provide the way of escape. He also promises to never leave us or forsake us. We need to believe Him and we need to seek Him early, so that when we do find ourselves in trouble, He will open our eyes that we may truly see: because eyes that look are common; eyes that see are rare!



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Saturday, November 12

Honoring our American Military Veterans and so many Unsung Heroes



As the war efforts are unpublished in the headlines of the evening news, so is the public awareness of the massive growing needs of our brave warriors and their families. With suicide in the military veteran population increasing as a result of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and depression, the troops that are suffering are, by far, not the only sufferers.  

Perhaps the least mentioned are the thousands of children who are being left without parents, either by death or by emotional absence. Either way, an epidemic of kids, needing to be loved, and in many cases, re-parented, is increasing every day. We must reach them with the fact that, though their Dads and Moms may not be with them in one way or another, their Heavenly Father most certainly is, and He is only a prayer away!

No less devastating are those who give their all to serve us in battle only to return to find that they cannot find jobs. Of the many millions of troops who have served in America’s “war on terror” in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 2.9m have transitioned to a civilian life plagued by high rates of homelessness, unemployment, and even substandard health care they desperately need.

How is TowardsTheMark, Inc. helping?
Along with the resources that we have written and produced, we have a specially-selected library of hand-picked book, CD, and music resources that effectively minister to the many needs of our troops and their families. If you, or others you know, are suffering from the visible or unseen effects of war, please share our information and contact information with them, so they know we're here to help, with prayer, experience, and practical support they can use.

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Wednesday, October 26

Wisdom Not Just For Wednesday

Where do YOU run, when trials of life come?

As you can see is the basis of many of our posts and podcasts, no matter what trials we are up against, we are NOT gonna let the little devil distract us from the HUGE and LIVING GOD, Who can resolve whatever we go through and even redeem it to our advantage. But, we had to first learn that we must run to Him when those trials of life come.
Our rejecting the lies of the devil and running INto God enables God to do miracles in our lives that are tremendous!  “For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life. But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies' sake. ” (Psalm 31:13-16)
One of the greatest truths we have learned through our pursuit of walking in oneness with God is, as God's written Word says it best, “Blessed is the man that trusts in The Lord, and whose hope The Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
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We can turn the tide of destruction in the lives of those around us who are listening!  We need to truly understand this!  We must choose to NEVER quit or give up, and decide that the devil can NEVER win in our life's painful and devastating trials, believing the TRUTH is God's Word that is our go-to that ALWAYS trumps the devil's lies! The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) Selah!
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Wednesday, September 14

Who will be caught up to be with Jesus when He returns?

"And when these things begin to come to pass,
                    then look up, and lift up your heads;
                                          for your redemption draws nigh."

                                                                                                          (Luke 21:28)


  Perhaps one of the most startling and painful things that I have experienced in my life took place at pre-season football camp in college. It wasn't something that occurred during conditioning in the weight room, during practice on the field, or even during a game. It was what happened at 4:00 AM each morning during "four-a-day practices".

           Each morning the members of the coaching staff would position themselves up and down each hall of the athletic dorm. Just as their synchronized watches hit 4:00 AM, each of them began blowing those obnoxiously loud and ear-piercing boat horns or, as I call them, "heart attack" horns. And, at the same time, they would scream at the top of their lungs, "Wake up! Wake up!"


           Aside from my time working on the water front at a marina during high school, I had never heard so much violent profanity coming out of the mouths of so many guys at one time, as when in response to those horns being blown! To this day, I can't find words that can even remotely begin to relay how excruciating the pain, and how agonizingly disorienting it was! You see, enduring four hard practices during each day of training camp was so fatiguing that our being woken up that way was literally a shock to our system. Each morning, those who fought their way out of bed and into the locker room were provided with another opportunity to make it onto the team roster. Those guys who didn't fight their way out of bed, and, instead, ignored the wake-up call and went back to sleep, were disqualified and sent off to clean out their lockers and leave camp - no if's, ands, or buts about it!

           The crucial importance of answering the wake-up call, and staying awake, had everything to do with either making the team or being disqualified from pursuing a spot on the team. On a side note, the guys who took the initiative to bring their own alarm clock to use in getting up on their own, they were the guys who beat everyone else to the locker room for practice, and always grabbed the coaches attention first. Interestingly, this same principal applies to our Christian walk of faith as well.

           In 1979, through a series of events orchestrated by God, I came in off the road from doing music outreach concerts. That's when I focused my life on reaching out to people and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There was no question in my mind that God was calling me to use my gifts, talents, and everything else I had to give, to share the Gospel that Jesus Christ preached, so that those who needed and wanted Him would have an opportunity to know Him and to receive Him into their hearts and lives. I can remember, just like it was yesterday, I asked Jesus if He would anoint my life, and raise me up to be used in His work, to watch out for, pray over, and awaken those who have been lulled to sleep by the venomous cares of this world.

           From the moment I knew in my heart that God was calling me to start this work, I began praying two foundational prayers. The first was asking God if He would prepare, equip and strategically position me for the privilege of working with Him, to lead His beloved children into His loving and waiting arms. My second prayer was asking for God to clear the way for me, and now Brenda and I together, to play a substantial role in His final harvest of souls. This was my passion then, in 1979, and it has grown even greater every year since then. My closing in prayer had always been, and even is today, "Father, I ask for Your wisdom to obtain Your strategy so that we can reap an abundant harvest of souls, working with You, so that You will be glorified in the eyes of everyone we reach!"

           As a result of my prayers, Jesus helped me understand and share with others the crucial life-or-death importance of making sure we are not lulled to sleep, blinded by the cares of this world, or distracted from Christ's unfathomable love for us. The first passage that comes to mind is where Jesus gives us an emphatic warning to watch and pray, saying, "Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch."  (Mark 13:33-37)

           What I have always loved about this passage of Scripture is just how plainly Jesus lays out what is expected of us. If we maintain our focus on what Jesus has entrusted to us -- occupy our place as He provided it for us; maintain the work He has equipped and created for us to do; and walk by faith in His authority -- our watching and praying for His return becomes a natural part of the process. Walking in the authority of Christ also ensures that we line up to fulfill the call of God on our life, both, as a member of His Family, and as a warrior in His Army.

           Isn't it as though we often complicate what God makes simple?! It would be a mistake to focus so much on *when* Jesus will return, that we miss out on the very joy and privilege He came to provide for us, to begin with. We must enjoy becoming “one” with our Heavenly Father - us in Him, Him in us, every moment of every hour of every day. So... those who are gonna be caught up to be with Jesus when He returns, will be those who are caught up with Him right now!

           On the other hand, if we let down our defenses (studying The Word of God and putting on the Full Armor of God), we can be sure that wicked spirits will come around. Beware, at the time of our vulnerability, it gets easier to fall prey to the media (a central and growing source of deception), and the many distractions that come to consume our life in this world. We won't have long to wait before our focus turns more toward the world's cares, leading us away from our Father, ever so gradually, unless we catch the alert and "wake up" before it's too late.

           There is a wartime alert and command for military personnel that perfectly illustrates this important point. When military personnel are away from base, or "on leave", and an enemy force is approaching the camp, the watchman on duty sounds the alarm, commanding the troops that, "ALL LEAVES ARE CANCELLED; EVERYBODY BACK TO BASE!" It is time now for the WATCHMEN - those who have eyes that see and ears that hear - to sound the alarm for the benefit of those who need AWAKENED. Sound the alarm to the wicked spirits that come to steal, kill, and destroy our offensives - robbing us of the unspeakable joy awaiting ALL who WANT, and diligently seek, our Loving Father!

           On a sobering note, it is vitally important that we, as Christ's watchmen, heed the warning Jesus gave when He spoke to Ezekiel, "But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand." (Ezekiel 33:4-6)

           Some who teach this message will wrongly emphasize that we must primarily secure our escape from eternal damnation. We must realize that the real benefit of giving our heart and life to Christ, is getting to enjoy oneness with The Lord and Savior, and leading other individuals into Truth. Our focus must be for awakening folks to the reality that they must also turn their eyes and hearts, wholly, to our unfathomably Loving God and Father, and experience Life (and have it abundantly). We cannot allow ourselves to make the terrible mistake of being focused only on preparing ourselves to see the return of Jesus. We mustn't cheat ourselves from sharing with others the privilege of lifting up Christ Jesus every minute, and working with our Heavenly Father every single day.

           There are growing numbers of folks who lack the knowledge of God's Word. Simply put, we don't have to be so caught up with preparing for Jesus Christ's return if we are already caught up in working with Him right now. For all who will heed the "wake-up" call, they will stand to gain an eternity of joy, at its fullness. The greatest joy, and unspeakable pleasure of all, will be the privilege of looking on God for all of eternity! "Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." (Psalm 16:11)

           God is our Loving Father. Unfathomable fulfillment awaits each one of us when we come to offer back to Him our gifts and talents that He so graciously has given to us. To do our part to fulfill His plan and passion for all of His Wonder-Full Creation, we serve The Consummate Family Man and Father, God. Just as we refer to Jesus Christ as, "The King of kings and Lord of lords," God is "The Loving Father above and beyond all dads!"

      "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." (John 12:32)

      This message is provided to help fan the flame in your heart for Christ Jesus, His wonder-full ways, and His plan and purpose for us in this life. To ask questions, make a special donation, place a special order for books or CDs, or to share a testimony or prayer request with us, please click for e-mail, or write a letter and mail it to us at Toward The Mark, Inc., P.O. Box 1152, Yorktown, VA 23692-1152 - see it also on our website.

      We look forward to meeting here for the next blogpost as we KEEP PRESSIN' IN! Please make sure to invite your friends who are unsaved, or those who just need encouragement. We pray that God bless and keep you!

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Friday, September 9

Weekly Wisdom: True LEADERS Speak LIFE!

The tongue of the WISE is Health.  -Proverbs 12:18b


Where “Sticks and stones may break some bones..." words spoken in the wrong way can cause even worse damage to a person’s heart!  Psalm 57:4 explains, “My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.
You see, you don't need a knife or a gun to commit murder!  Sowing weed seed, by speaking wrong words over the life of a person, leads to death if it isn't rooted out.  Luke teaches us that, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)
We can turn the tide of destruction in the lives of those around us who are listening!  We need to truly understand this!  PEOPLE'S LIVES CAN BECOME FORMED INTO EXACTLY WHAT WE SAY, Death and life are in the power of the tongue...” (Proverbs 18:21a) so ... SPEAK LIFE!

  

  

  

  

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