Tag Archives: act

Charge Into the Fray

Story of the Day for Monday December 11, 2011

Charge Into the Fray

                 Then David said to Solomon, his son, “Be strong and courageous, and act . . .”  

                                                                             1 Chronicles 28:20

 During the Civil War, President Lincoln appointed Gen. George McClellan to lead the Army of the Potomac, and capture the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.

When he took command in July of 1861, McClellan’s troop strength was 50,000. By November it had swelled to 168,000 – the largest army ever assembled in modern times.

As the mighty Northern army slowly rolled toward Richmond, the Confederates knew, with their 35,000 men and few cannons, they could not defend their capitol.

False reports came to McClellan that the enemy troop strength was three times what it actually was. McClellan still had almost twice as many men, but he became so alarmed he refused to attack. Instead he gave his fears free reign. He began to imagine his adversary’s troop strength as greater than his own, and make panicky pleas to Washington for more reinforcements.

McClellan’s forces were bolstered to 192,000, but still he refused to attack. He still believed he was outnumbered.

The Confederate generals were brilliant at assessing the character of their opposing generals. Once they concluded that McClellan was easily unnerved, they did everything they could to accommodate his fears.

In order to gain time in bolstering their defenses at Richmond, the Rebels set up cannon emplacements to block their advance. When their jittery leader finally had his troops advance, they discovered the “cannons” were simply logs that had been stripped of their bark and painted black. “Quaker guns,” they came to be called.

But the showstopper was left to the southern general, John Magruder. His pathetically skimpy troops were no match for McClellan’s troops. So, he sent his troops up a hill and then made them walk past a gap in the hills where the Union troops could observe them. They then formed a circle. All day long they would march in a circle – leading the wide-eyed McClellan to believe they were vastly outnumbered.

Back in Washington, President Lincoln repeatedly wrote to his general, urging him to “strike a blow” – that he must act. But McClellan refused. If he had “acted,” he could easily have taken Richmond. But he never tried.

 

When King David neared the end of his reign, he appointed his son, Solomon, to succeed him. In addition to governing a nation, David called upon his son to build a magnificent temple for the Lord.

This mammoth undertaking was large enough to scare anyone from attempting it. But David gave his son what he needed. He told him not to be afraid; the Lord would be with him. “Be strong and courageous,” David counseled, “. . . and act.”

 

Fear can assemble troops faster than General Magruder to cow you into submission. Sometimes, the only way to puncture the illusion is to charge into the fray.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

 

Drops of Water on the Summit

Story of the Day for Saturday June 18, 2011

Drops of Water on the Summit

                       . . . Jesus firmly decided to go to Jerusalem. 

                                                             Luke 9:51

  Keri Russell said, “Sometimes it’s the smallest decision that can change your life forever.”

Triple Divide Peak, in Glacier National Park, is the only mountain in the world that feeds into three oceans. Rainwater falling on the western slope drains into the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, and eventually flows into the Columbia River — which drains into the Pacific Ocean. The northeastern slope flows across Canada into Hudson Bay and the Arctic Ocean. And rain from the southeastern slope feeds into Marias River, which flows to the Missouri, and then joins the Mississippi River to empty into the Atlantic Ocean.

Three raindrops could fall within an inch of each other on Triple Divide Peak, and each one would end up in a different ocean.

The religious authorities in Jerusalem wanted to arrest and execute Jesus, but they didn’t know how to get their hands on him. As long as Jesus stayed put up north in Galilee, he had a huge following of people who would protect him.

The most momentous stride in history was the first step Jesus took when he decided he would walk south to Jerusalem in order to die.

Making a decision and acting on it can change the entire destination of our lives. The problem is that – unless you decide to run for the presidency or to have yourself shot out of a cannon – no one really notices what you’ve done. Or cares.  No one finds the first inches a raindrop travels on Triple Divide Peak to be of any significance. Who noticed Jesus’ first footstep after he firmly resolved to walk the dusty road to his own execution?

We can talk a lot about God’s will. We can think a lot about The Dream that the Lord has put in our hearts, but everything depends on the direction of our first footstep . . . and taking it.

My friend, Carl, once asked me: “Three frogs are sitting on a log and one frog decides to jump into the pond. How many frogs are now sitting on the log?”

“Two,” I said.

“No, three. Because, until that frog acts on his decision to jump, he’s nothing but a frog sitting on a log.”

For several years now, I’ve wanted to climb Triple Divide Peak and pour a few drops of water on the summit – and think of the water levels rising in the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic Oceans.

I’ve never stood on the top of Triple Divide Peak, however, because I’ve never made the decision to do it. One of these days, though . . .

                                                  (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)