MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON: HOPE, PRAY, SURVIVE

It’s been ten years since an incident involving US Airways Flight 1549 was called “Miracle on the Hudson.”

“On January 15, 2009, US Airways Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger became an overnight hero when he and his crew safely ditched a commercial airliner in the freezing waters of the Hudson River after an unlucky encounter with a flock of geese. All 155 passengers and crew aboard survived….” (Conde’ Naste Traveler)

It’s been the subject of countless news stories, books, and a Clint Eastwood movie, “Sully,” starring Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart, and is still remembered by many of us. True stories with life-and-death drama and real-life heroes usually are memorable.

Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and first officer Jeffrey Skiles had precious few seconds to plan and execute a safe landing of the plane. A portion of the Hudson River between Manhattan and New Jersey was quickly deemed the best choice for an emergency landing. Miraculously all on board survived (with only five serious injuries).

“What’s remarkable is how quickly everything happened, especially given the outcome. Two minutes after taking off from LaGuardia airport, the plane ran into the flock of Canada geese. The birds hit both engines, creating the near total loss of thrust…. The plane was just 2,800 feet up and nowhere near its cruising speed — meaning the pilots had, maximum, a few minutes to find a safe path to the ground.

That left the river below them, which was in fact a rather fine choice. That part of the Hudson is about 4,000 feet wide, so the pilots didn’t have to come down perfectly parallel to the waterway like they would on a 150-foot-wide runway. It’s a whole lot longer, too, so they wouldn’t have to worry about overrunning it if they came down too late. And while water’s not as smooth as a paved runway, it’s an acceptable place to touch down in a pinch.”
(Alex Davies, “Wired”)

“The NTSB concludes that the captain’s decision to ditch on the Hudson River rather than attempting to land at an airport provided the highest probability that the accident would be survivable.”

I have hope when heroes like “Sully” Sullenberger and Skiles are identified. They did their best that could be done, and lives were saved. It’s been called a miracle, and I agree. I think it was a beautiful and providential pairing: divine assistance with two people ready to participate in the miraculous during a fleeting moment in time.

Surely survivors were thankful, and they may live with more hope than before they experienced the miracle up close and personal. Considering how a seemingly ordinary event on an ordinary day with ordinary people can in seconds turn into an extraordinary need for a miracle, I’ll try to live in hope and will continue to pray.

I’ll place my hope in Sovereign God as my pilot and pray for a miracle. Then if I survive may I be faithful to abide in the Creator and Sustainer of life. If I don’t survive, then He’ll take me home, and either way it’s a win for me.

 

“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.”
(Psalm 103:19)

The Spirit of God has made me, and the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33: 4)

“Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from Whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by Whom are all things, and we exist through Him.”
(I Corinthians 8: 6)

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
(Colossians 1: 17)

JOHN TRANTHAM: HOPE IN SOLID FOUNDATION

During the last century sounds so long ago, but today’s blog post comes from a time more than three decades ago. However it is said it still seems a long time ago, but the message is timeless.

My family knew an old retired pastor, B. John Trantham, who loved God and sharing the gospel of hope in Christ. He did those things well with the helper God had given him when he was a young man, the sweet and (in my memories) always smiling Mrs. Trantham.

Even at an advanced age this Christian brother still had powerful thoughts and messages to share. I remember one in particular that he called Fourfold Foundation of Faith. It neatly presents John 3:16, a summary of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If any one verse could be the foundation of Christian faith, then surely it could be this one.

John 3:16 offers four important aspects: God’s Love, God’s Gift, God’s Gracious Condition, and God’s Great Salvation. This Bible verse says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

“For God so loved the world” presents the first foundation part of GOD’S LOVE. “That He gave His only begotten Son” shows the second foundation part of GOD’S GIFT. “That whoever believes in Him” is the third foundation part of GOD’S GRACIOUS CONDITION. “Shall not perish but have eternal life” offers the fourth foundation part of GOD’S GREAT SALVATION.

Together these four aspects of faith are one firm foundation upon which the Christian faith can be built. Together they explain enough of the gospel for one who believes to know the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

One doesn’t have to know it as Fourfold Foundation of Faith. Know that trusting John 3:16 as the foundation of faith makes an eternal difference. Ponder that verse, and trust God’s Love, Gift, Gracious Condition, and Great Salvation. Do it today!

BIRTHDAY BLESSING: HOPE FOR BELLA’S FUTURE

Ciao, Bella!!!

Happy birthday with love to my precious granddaughter! How perfect that Bella in Italian means “beautiful.” I totally agree that you are — even if we’re not Italian!

Remember that it’s more important to be beautiful on the inside than on the outside. It’s better to be kind and good and loving than just to look pretty. Follow God everyday to become truly beautiful in your heart!

Remember that it’s more important to be wise than just smart. It’s better to be wise enough to make right choices and think good thoughts than to be smart enough to be a clever fool. Learn God’s ways to grow in His wisdom to live right!

God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. He will be with you ALWAYS! Remember one of our favorite verses: “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me!” (Phillipians 4:13)

I remember your birth brought hope for your future, prayers, and excitement! The first time I met you as a beautiful bundle of baby I unleashed a load of love and released tears of joy. It was a moment I will always cherish and never forget.

You, granddaughter, are a gift from heaven, and I am blessed beyond measure to be your grandparent! To your parents: THANK YOU for your part in the Beautiful Bella miracle!

To God, the Creator of Life: Thank You for this amazing gift of a granddaughter! May her life be filled with Faith, Hope, and Love. May she walk Your Way, believe Your Truth, and live Life according to Your plan. Thank You for her time now on earth, and thank You even more for her eternal life to come in heaven that will never end, because her name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord.” Psalm 127:3

HOPEFUL or HOPELESS: HOPE RIGHTLY PLACED

Hope is a good thing. Hope is a needed thing, but it matters in whom or what my hope is placed. I believe it makes all the difference in the world.

Hope misplaced is, well, hopeless. Hope rightly placed results in whatever — or Whomever — hoped for being reached or received.

If my hope lies in something or someone false or even non-existent, will I receive that for which I hope? Of course not! My hope must lie in that which has the ability or capability to fulfill my hope. My hope must be rightly placed.

Perhaps the saddest thing in life is being hopeless. To live without hope is hardly living at all. Hopelessness may be the reason for many suicidal deaths.

How different is the life promised to believers who have chosen to place our hope in Jesus Christ. The difference is abundant living versus hopelessness. (That’s only in this life on earth. It gets even more important in the  afterlife, because the difference is eternal life versus eternal death.)

Jesus said, “…I came that they might have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) Why would anyone choose less when it is so freely offered?

Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, so in Him hope is rightly placed. Hope will not be disappointed when placed in the One whom God gave for that purpose.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus) that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) That’s reason for hope!

As Edward Mote, the author of the beloved hymn, “The Solid Rock,” professed in 1834: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness….” Amen!

LOU HOLTZ’S LIFE RULES: SOMETHING TO HOPE FOR

Harvey Mackay and I have something in common. We are both Lou Holtz fans and for more reasons than football. We both respect his motivational influences on others.

I benefitted personally from his life lessons about 40 years ago when I listened over and over to one of his talks on an audiocassette in the pre-CD era. I think his lessons are memorable and full of hope today.

Mackay wrote the following in 2012, but I want to share it because of its relevance today.

Lou Holtz’s 3 Rules of Life by Harvey Mckay:

“Everybody needs four things in life: Something to do, someone to love, someone to believe in and something to hope for.”

“I wish I had said that, but it is from my friend Lou Holtz, the author, motivational speaker, sportscaster and retired football coach. I recently invited Lou to speak to a professional group I am mentoring, and he was his usual outstanding self. It’s no wonder that the Washington Speakers Bureau calls Lou one of the best speakers in the world.

I’ve heard him speak 100 times, and he still amazes me with his practical, down-to-earth and simple advice.

…Holtz simplifies things by following three simple rules:

Rule No. 1 — Do right. ‘Just do the right thing,’ Lou says. ‘We’ve all done dumb things and wish we hadn’t done them, but you can’t go through life with an albatross around your neck saying, ‘I made a mistake.’ Say you’re sorry, make amends, and move on.’

He added: ‘I think it’s wrong to be bitter. We all have a reason to be bitter. We’ve all had injustices done to us by society, by a spouse, by a friend, but you can’t go through life being bitter. We’re always blaming someone else. Wherever we are, it’s because of the choices we make.’

Rule No. 2 — Do everything to the best of your ability with the time allotted. Lou says: ‘Not everybody will be an All-American. Not everybody will be first team. Not everybody will be great. But everybody can do the best they can with the time allotted.’

Rule No. 3 — Show people you care. I have seen this rule in action many times. Lou is constantly asking people, ‘How can I help you? How can I assist you?’ He means it. He has a burning desire to help people.

Lou Holtz says he can get by with only three rules because the people you meet have three basic questions.

The first question: Can I trust you?

‘Without trust, there is no relationship,’ Lou said. ‘Without trust, you don’t have a chance. People have to trust you…. The only way you can ever get trust is if both sides do the right thing.’

The second question: Are you committed to excellence?

Lou explained, ‘…you are committed to certain standards….do everything to the best of your ability.’

The third question: Do you care about me?

Holtz said: ‘…Caring about people is not making their life easy. Caring about people is not being their friend. Caring about people is enabling them to be successful.’

A few years ago I was asked to help raise money for a Lou Holtz statue at the University of Notre Dame. On the pedestal, his players had chosen three words — trust, love, commitment. Those words represent Lou’s core values.

If people follow these three rules, their self-confidence grows. They don’t worry when the phone rings. They have no doubt about what they are doing. They lift everyone up….

  1. Mackay’s Moral: Life is a lot easier if you always play by the rules.”

CHUCK COLSON: FREEDOM, MEANING, and HOPE

I remember 1973 when Watergate was a daily news topic. It proved to be an interesting time to be a college student in Dr. Robert McChesney’s political science class.

Fast forward 20 years to 1993 in Pittsburgh at a Billy Graham Crusade. Chuck Colson was invited to share his testimony  20 yrs after Watergate and more importantly 20 years after his surrendering his life to Jesus Christ.

Chuck Colson had been heavily involved with illegal Watergate thefts and had fallen from high political power and influence to a low of incarceration in prison.

Colson’s words brought hope then and still do now.  His message: “I thank God for Watergate, and I thank God for prison, because through that experience I came to know what it is to have a day-in and day-out relationship with the Living God, Jesus Christ. And I’ve discovered, over these last 20 years as I reflect back on it, the three most important things have come from it: Freedom, Meaning, and Hope.

Colson explained those three lessons. Freedom from guilt and sin was more important than freedom from prison. Meaning is not what you do but what Sovereign God chooses to do through you that matters in life. Real hope is not in government but in the power of God working in the hearts of people.

He related, ” I wouldn’t trade the worst day of the last 20 years for the best day of the 40 years preceding it, because I know Jesus Christ is true.”

According to this former marine, fallen top White House aide, ex-felon, best-selling author, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries, and hopeful born-again Christian, you, too, can experience freedom from guilt and sin, meaning when you surrender yourself to God, and “hope in One Who was raised from the dead and Who lives today, the Hope of Glory, Jesus Christ.” (CC)

(Visit prisonfellowship.org for info about Prison Fellowship Ministries, which now serves in 117 countries. To learn more about Chuck Colson’s life and beliefs, read BORN AGAIN or any of his many books.)

PRAYER: NEW HEART… NEW HOPE… NEW FUTURE

Dear Lord, You know I’ve prayed for her… for her grandparents… for her mother… for her children… for her to have a future and a hope. I realize You love her and patiently waited for her. You created her, knew her so well… knew even the number of hairs on her head. You saw her pain… and the pain of those who love her.

You understood her need for Your redemption… for Your power to change her direction… for Your joy in her life… for Your wisdom to trust You… for Your peace that passes all understanding… for Your faithfulness… even when she felt hopeless.

The dark night was real, but Your Word says joy comes in the morning! Tuesday morning brought that joy when she called her grandmother from rehab. It was the call long awaited. She at last had reached the end of herself… and the beginning of new life in Christ!

May she choose to be filled daily with Your Spirit… to find strength in Your joy… to walk in Your Way, Truth, and Life. May she experience Your hope… to pray, to grow, to share Your love. May she model godliness… as a woman… mother… daughter… granddaughter… friend….

Thank You, Lord, for the miracle of a new heart… a new hope… and a new future. Amen.

(The above prayer was inspired by true events in the life of a real person. Her recent decision brings hope to me, so I’m sharing.)