March, 2011 Archives

31
Mar

Forgiving John Hinckley

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


C1426-16 President Reagan waves to crowd immediately before being shot in an assassination attempt, Washington Hilton Hotel.

Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library

March 30, 1981 came within an inch of infamy.  Thirty years ago yesterday, President Ronald Reagan became the first American president to survive being shot in an assassination attempt.

At 2:27 pm Eastern Time, after Mr. Reagan had delivered a luncheon speech to AFL-CIO representatives at the Washington Hilton Hotel, he was near his limousine when John Hinckley fired six shots at him.  The first bullet struck White House Press Secretary James Brady in the head, exploding inside his skull.  He was left paralyzed on one side with permanent impairment, and is now almost completely blind with spinal stenosis.  He will live the rest of his life in a wheelchair and bed. Read the rest of this entry »

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30
Mar

Teen moms and airplane bullets

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


Teem Mom logo from the series on MTV

Logo from MTV Series Teen Mom (Courtesy of user Bleff at en.wikipedia.org)

Have you heard about the “Teen Mom” series?  The MTV reality show follows four teenage girls coping with motherhood.  According to ABC News, the network has been widely criticized for glorifying teenage pregnancy, amid allegations that other girls have gotten pregnant in hopes of getting on the show.  Some young parents are paid as much as $60,000 per season for their stories. Read the rest of this entry »

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29
Mar

What does America stand for?

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison

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A protest in front of the White House in support of protesters and rebels throughout the Middle East.

A protest in front of the White House in support of protesters and rebels throughout the Middle East. (Photo by Phil Roeder via Flickr)

Are we doing the right thing in Libya?  Last night, President Obama told the nation that our intervention was necessary to stop a potential massacre which would have “stained the conscience of the world.”  Some have criticized the president for moving too slowly, while others argue that the intervention lacks a compelling national interest.

The debate raises a question: what is our “compelling national interest”?  Where are we going as a country?  What does America stand for today?  Yesterday I stated my belief that the next generation of Americans will be critical to the future of our democracy.  Let’s consider that assertion this morning. Read the rest of this entry »

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28
Mar

The “youth bulge” and the future of America

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison

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A young anti-government protester wears an Egyptian flag mask during demonstrations inside Tahrir Square in Cairo February 7, 2011.

A young anti-government protester wears an Egyptian flag mask during demonstrations inside Tahrir Square in Cairo February 7, 2011. (Credit: Reuters/Dylan Martinez)

Global poverty has been cut in half since 1990.  There were 24 wars in the world in 1984, but five in 2008.  Time‘s website gives us these facts and other goods news this morning, part of its “10 ideas that will change the world” series.

Idea #1 is called “Sweet Bird of Youth! The Case for Optimism.”  Here we learn that the world is experiencing a “youth bulge,” resulting from the combination of dropping child mortality rates and continued high fertility rates.  Working-age people save the most and create more funds for growth and investment.  According to Harvard’s David Bloom, as much as a third of East Asia’s “miracle” growth over the past few decades can be attributed to the rise of youth and young adults in their cultures. Read the rest of this entry »

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25
Mar

Locking the Oval Office

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison

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President Barack Obama meets with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office shortly after she was confirmed and sworn in, Jan. 21, 2009.

President Obama meets with Secretary of State Clinton in the Oval Office (Credit: Pete Souza)

“A massacre in Benghazi was prevented.”  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made this statement yesterday in assessing the military coalition which has been working to destroy Libyan air defenses.  Today’s Washington Post reports that the international coalition will now put NATO in charge of enforcing this no-fly zone. Read the rest of this entry »

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24
Mar

God never wastes a hurt

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison


A refugee receives attention at a relief centre in Minamisanriku town in Miyagi Prefecture March 22, 2011.

A refugee receives attention at a relief centre in Minamisanriku town in Miyagi Prefecture March 22, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria

Yesterday I was asked the hardest question Christians face.  After speaking in chapel at the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor and to a lunch meeting with student leaders, we finished the day with a Q&A session open to anyone on campus.  One of the students asked how I would respond to people who are dealing with suffering they didn’t deserve.

The question hit close to home, as it was my father’s issue.  He fought in World War II, where he saw his best friends die in foxholes.  If God is all-loving, all-powerful, and all-knowing, why does he allow such innocent tragedy? Read the rest of this entry »

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23
Mar

A letter I’ll never forget

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison

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A U.S. 37 mm (1.5 in) gun fires against Japanese cave positions in the north face of Mount Suribachi.

A U.S. 37 mm (1.5 in) gun fires against Japanese cave positions in the north face of Mount Suribachi. Courtesy of user: W.Wolny at en.wikipedia.org

Sacrifice is the theme of today’s news.  USA Today describes Japanese plant personnel working to contain the nuclear disaster there.  The Wall Street Journal reports that two Air Force pilots were forced to eject from their failing aircraft in Libya and have been rescued.  And the BBC tells us about four protesters killed by security forces in Syria.

Continuing our theme, this week I’m reflecting on Lent in light of the World War II Museum I visited last weekend in New Orleans.  The section which was most moving to me was the wing dedicated to the conflict in the Pacific.  More than two million young Americans went to war there.  My father was one of them. Read the rest of this entry »

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22
Mar

Radiophobia, Anne Frank and Lent

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison

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Anne Frank pictured in May 1942

Anne Frank, pictured in May 1942

“Radiophobia” is an abnormal fear of radiation.  The term is being discussed today with regard to the nuclear crisis in Japan.  What does it feel like to know that you have been exposed to radiation on a level which threatens your health and even your life?

Now such fears are surfacing in Japan.  Foreigners are leaving, lining up at immigration departments and airports.  People fear contaminated food and milk products.  In Tokyo, just 170 miles from the damaged Fukushima power plants (less than the distance from Dallas to Austin), people are unsure whether or not to trust the authorities’ assurances. Read the rest of this entry »

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21
Mar

Japan, Normandy and Lent

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison

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80-year-old Sumi Abe (C) is helped by emergency workers after being rescued from under the rubble in Ishinomaki City

80-year-old Sumi Abe (C) is helped by emergency workers after being rescued from under the rubble in Ishinomaki City (Credit: Reuters/Asahi Shimbun)

An 80-year-old grandmother and her 16-year-old grandson were rescued in Japan yesterday after nine days trapped in their kitchen.  They survived by eating yogurt and drinking water, milk and Coke.  Jin Abe eventually dug through the debris onto the roof of the house, where he alerted rescuers.  They found his grandmother wedged under the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, I find myself wondering what is happening to the “Fukushima Fifty,” the anonymous plant managers who continued battling nuclear meltdown as others were evacuated last week.  Recent reports indicate that five have died, 15 are injured and others say they know the radiation will kill them.  Nonetheless, they and others who have joined them refuse to leave. Read the rest of this entry »

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18
Mar

Are these the end times? (part five)

posted in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison

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An aerial view taken from a helicopter from Japan's Self-Defence Force shows damage sustained to the No. 4 reactor (C) at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex in this handout taken March 16, 2011 and released March 17.  Credit: Reuters/Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO)/Handout

An aerial view taken from a helicopter from Japan's Self-Defence Force shows damage sustained to the No. 4 reactor (C) at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex. (Credit: Reuters/Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO)/Handout)

What if damaged nuclear reactors in Japan spew enough radiation into the atmosphere to reach America?  According to today’s Wall Street Journal, the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t expect this nightmare scenario to become a reality.  But if events in Japan impede nuclear power development around the world, would this heighten our dependence on foreign oil?  General Motors is shutting a Louisiana plant due to parts shortages in Japan—how will the tragedy there affect the global economy? Read the rest of this entry »

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