Thursday, March 29, 2012


"A picture is worth one thousand words".....and in some instances much more.  All of us have been moved to an emotional reaction from an image that just won't go away.  It's like it's embedded forever. 

So, where the heck did that quote ever come from anyway?   Here's what I found in some research I did:  The idea that a picture can convey what might take many words to express was voiced by a character in Ivan S. Turgenev's novel Fathers and Sons, 1862: "The drawing shows me at one glance what might be spread over ten pages in a book."

A similar idea was seen very widely in the USA from the early 20th century, in adverts for Doan's Backache Kidney Pills, which included a picture of a man holding his back and the text "Every picture tells a story".

Neither of the above led directly to 'a picture is worth a thousand words'. Who it was that married 'worth ten thousand words' with 'picture' isn't known, but we do know that the phrase is American in origin. It began to be used quite frequently in the US press from around the 1920s onward. The earliest example I can find is from the text of an instructional talk given by the newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane to the Syracuse Advertising Men's Club, in March 1911:  "Use a picture. It's worth a thousand words."

This phrase was never more evident than on November 25, 1963 when a young UPI photographer captured one of the most poignant and reproduced images of the past half-century.  "One exposure on a roll of 36 exposures,” Stan Stearns marveled decades later:  little John F. Kennedy Jr., grief-stricken, saluting his father, President John F. Kennedy's coffin as it rolled by on a caisson.

"Just the mention of the salute can still revive memories for those who lived through that day. It remains one of perhaps a handful of pictures that evoke the span of the mid-20th century along with Joe Rosenthal’s image of the flag-raising on Iwo Jima during World War II" said Adam Bernstein of the Washington Post. 

More recently we've had images that have presented themselves from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Those pictures have been gut-wrenching and others heartbreaking as one of my Facebook friends alluded to in regards to the picture below.  One of a brave "little military man" saluting his father's casket.

There are four other pictures that come to mind as I think about the significance of their impact to not only garner our attention.....but one that grabs hold and doesn't let go.  One is of a soldier in Afghanistan who is offering his condolences and prayers to five of his company's fallen.


And then there is Petty Officer Jon Tumilson's dog, Hawkeye, that captured national news with his reverent and compassionate loyalty as he laid next to his master's casket.

And these two awesome images........

and a picture that speaks of tragedy and Hope all in one..

As you can see, pictures do tell a story and in some cases more than one.  And as we've been led to believe, a picture is worth a thousand words.   

The blog today is in remembrance of all the photographers who have spent their lives trying to "capture the moment".  Bu specifically, I want to remind you of Stan Stearns, the John-John photographer.  Stearns passed away on March 2nd of this year.  He was 76. 

For Mr. Stearns, the compensation for his most noted photograph was entirely in glory.
“I got $25 for winning picture of the month” at UPI, he said. “That and my regular paycheck.  It’s frustrating when I think of how much money that picture has made in the last 30 years. Probably $3 million to $5 million.”

We'll never be able to repay Mr. Stearns for his work.  That's a given.  And it should be noted that of the 70 photojournalists cramped into a space made for half that many that November day, only two captured the image of the famous salute.  Most had their attention focused on Jackie Kennedy.  

If that's not saying something...



Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Kirk Cameron of "Growing Pains" fame is creating quite a commotion with the release of his new movie, "Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure".   

MONUMENTAL is an ambitious documentary about actor Kirk Cameron’s quest to understand why America is falling apart and what made it such a great country in the first place.  Many Christian leaders are saying this is a very important movie with excellent information supporting the Christian roots of the American experiment.

Here's a short summary of the film:   MONUMENTAL is an ambitious documentary about actor Kirk Cameron’s quest to understand why America is falling apart and what made it a great country in the first place.  He’s asking these questions because he has young children and wants them to have a better future.  Kirk’s search for answers takes him to England to find out more about the Pilgrims, who created the first representative government when they landed in Plymouth. Massachusetts.  Using interviews with historians and experts such as Marshall Foster and David Barton, he finds out more and more about the Christian roots of the American experiment.  And by the way, MovieGuide recommends the flick which is set to debut on March 27th.  Here is a trailer of the movie.

But not so fast.  Brannon Howse, the host of a national radio program that is broadcast nationwide as well as the host of the Worldview Weekend Hours, a weekly television program that airs on NRB-TV feels the movie has much misinformation within the 90 minute tribute to the "Search for America's National Treasure".  Here is Howe's criticism at length.

"I believe those involved with this project are very sincere in their endeavor, however, I have serious reservations abut the message the film project appears to be conveying.  I feel the need to be gracious with people on this topic because for many years I was committed to the fallacy of moralizing, Americanism, Christian activism and the need to "reclaim America". I even pulled one of my own books which was published in 2005. I have pulled several Worldview Weekend DVDs that promoted the reconstructionism or "reclaiming America" message. I have asked my radio and television audience to forgive me if my example caused them to take their focus off our ultimate calling which is the proclamation of the gospel.
I called my friend Kirk Cameron and left him a voice mail in the early summer of 2011 to warn him of the Americanism trap that had ensnared me for a time and I wanted him to learn from my mistakes. If Kirk had returned my call I would have shared some of the information contained in this article concerning America's founding. This article and movie grieves me because Kirk has been a friend for several years and has stayed in my home and traveled and spoken for many Worldview Weekends. In addition to asking him to privately examine this evidence with me, I also invited him to be a guest on my radio program for February 27, 2012 to discuss his film and his appearance on the TV program of Mormon Glenn Beck to discuss his Christian film; but that did not take place.

Therefore, even at the risk up upsetting friends, I must now turn my attention to warning the church of the trap of uniting the things of God with the ungodly things of this world and believing that God will bless our nation when such actions will only hasten God's judgment on our land. 
Aside from the "let's get back to our founding fathers" message that I find objectionable because many of America's founding fathers were hostile to the gospel, the movie Monumental appears to use as one of its major props The National Monument to the Forefathers, formerly known as the Pilgrim Monument.  The monument is a major part of the artwork and publicity of the film including in the movie trailer. 

It is my belief based on hours of research that the Monument to the Forefathers is not a Biblically acceptable rallying point or symbol for Christians or Christian families or the way we should go for several reasons. One major reason would be that historical documents report that the monument had its cornerstone laid by Freemasons who were involved in part in funding and erecting this monument. The historical record also reveals that the cornerstone includes a plaque with the name and title of the Grand Master of the Lodge of Freemasons of Massachusetts. The historical record also reports that members of the Pilgrim Society that assisted in establishing and paying for the monument included freemasons and funding from freemasonry lodges. Below I have included the speech given by the Mason Grand Master of Massachusetts at the cornerstone ceremony on August 2, 1859.
Documented in the book Plymouth Memories of an Octogenarian by William T. David, published in 1906, the laying of the cornerstone for the Monument to the Forefathers included a "Masonic procession" consisting of a long list of Masonic lodges and the Knights Templar, a Catholic order.
At ten o'clock a Masonic procession was formed on Main Street, consisting of the Massachusetts, Boston and DeMoley encampments of Knights Templar, under command of John T. Heard, [Mason Grand Master] and marched to the Rock, president of the Pilgrim Society and invited guests, St. Paul's lodge of South Boston, lodge of Cambridge, Liberty lodge of New Bedford, Star of the East lodge of New Bedford, King Solomon lodge of Charlestown, Boston brass band, Washington lodge of Roxbury, the Plymouth lodge, Plymouth brass band, Royal Arch chapter of New Bedford, Boston encampment of Knights Templar, Royal Arch Chapter of South Abington, South Abington band, DeMoley encampment, Grand lodge of Massachusetts. 
When you add in the Knights Templar, a Catholic Order, the Masons and the Pastor of the First Church that offered a prayer, this was a real ecumenical project and monument so why are Christians rallying around it?
One of the sculptors of the monument was Alexander Doyle who also was involved in a marble sculpture of Mason President James Garfield. This sculpture stands over the crypt that contains President Garfield remains in Cleveland, Ohio.

2 Corinthians 6:14, Romans 16:17, 2 John 9-11, forbid Christians from being bound together with unbelievers in a common enterprise. These verses further reveal that there can be no agreement between the temple of God [Christians are the temple of God] and idols. These verses make it clear that the church, [and Christians make up the church] are not to take the practices, methods, symbols, and enterprises of the unsaved world and incorporate them into our worship and service to God.
In I Kings 18:21 the Prophet Elijah admonishes the Children of Israel to stop mixing their worship of God with paganism.
And Elijah came to all the people, and said, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people answered him not a word.
Ironically, the Masons worship Baal. As researcher and Mason expert Ed Deckers reveals:
It is in the Royal Arch Degree that the secret name  of the Masonic deity is revealed. That name is "JAHBULON."  "JAH" is the short form of the Hebrew name of God, "Yahweh," or "Jehovah." "BUL" is a rendering of the name, BAAL. "ON" is the term used in the Babylonian mysteries to call upon the deity, "OSIRIS"! The secret ritual book of the Craft prints the letters J.B.O. It states that:
"We three do meet and agree-in peace, love and unity-the Sacred Word to keep and never to divulge the same-until we three, or three such as we do meet and agree."

Let's be very clear; this statue was built by people that had no convictions about having it erected, funded, and dedicated even in part by men that served Satan. Should Christians now unite around and worship God at this monument? Should Christians invite the church to use this statue as a symbol of spiritual service to God?  Should Christians use this statue as a symbol of anything but to reveal man's vain and futile attempts to mix God or Christianity with paganism? Should this monument really be a Gilgal stone for Christians? 

Christians seeking to "reclaim America" or "get back to the founding fathers" will not invite God's blessing by holding up men, institutions, traditions, and symbols that are not honorable to God. Christians will not invite God's favor but God's judgment when they disobey His Word and mix pagan beliefs, a pagan statue, and worldly symbolism with our worship and service to Him. 

So you can see from the movie information released by MovieGuide and the response from Mr. Howse there is a tremendous difference in thought and where he movie is headed.  I'd encourage any and all to set aside March 27th to catch this controversial project.  It could be Monumental.



Monday, March 19, 2012


Accused of the murder of 16 Afghan villagers, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales might go down as one of the more infamous names in United States military history.  What ever happened that caused a soldier who had served numerous deployments to commit such a heinous act?

For whatever we find out, it will not answer the real question for us all.  Are any of us capable of such an atrocity?   To put a different spin to the question, let's hear from Bale's wife, Karilyn, as she detailed the Bale's family life in the military through her blog, courtesy of the New York Times.      

"She detailed her pregnancy, with her husband a world away. She described the knot she got in her stomach from missing him. She wrote of her disappointment after he was passed over for a promotion.

But mostly, Karilyn Bales — the wife of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers last week — relayed the simple anguish of life as a military spouse, tending to a home with two young children, with a husband summoned for repeated deployments.

“Bob left for Iraq this morning,” she wrote in her family blog on Aug. 9, 2009. “Quincy slept in our bed last night.”

Staff Sgt. Bales (left) at Fort Irwin, California in August, 2011  

Though much of the family’s online presence appears to have been removed in recent days, the fragments that remain capture the daily travails typical of any family with a loved one stationed abroad.

A little less than a year ago, in March 2011, Ms. Bales wrote on her blog that her husband had not received a promotion to E-7, sergeant first class. The family was disappointed, she said, “after all of the work Bob has done and all the sacrifices he has made for his love of his country, family and friends.

But Ms. Bales was also relieved, she wrote, because she hoped that the Army might allow the family some autonomy in choosing its next location, after Sergeant Bales had spent years at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State.

She listed her top choices: Germany (“best adventure opportunity!”); Italy (“2nd best adventure opp”); Hawaii (“nuff said”); Kentucky (“we would at least be near Bob’s family”); and Georgia (“to be a sniper teacher, not because it is a fun place to live”).
In some of these locations, Sergeant Bales’s chances of being deployed to a war zone would probably have been lower. Wherever they went, Ms. Bales said, she hoped to rent out their house in Lake Tapps, Wash., she wrote, “so that we would have it to come back to when our adventure is over.”

More often, Ms. Bales focused on ordinary struggles. She described surprise phone calls and solo doctor’s appointments, attempts to clean the house while Sergeant Bales was gone and the “bad dreams” she woke from after a nap on the day he left in 2009.
She recalled discussions of baby names with him while he was away, and celebrating Easter one Sunday early, so that Sergeant Bales could decorate eggs with their daughter, Quincy, before leaving home again.

In 2006, while she was pregnant with Quincy, Ms. Bales wrote that though she was careful not to wish the days away, “I only want the days to go by fast when it comes to Bob coming back home.”

A few days later, Ms. Bales wrote about a common tic she shared with her unborn child: “I get the hiccups all the time these days, I always think that Bob is thinking about me.”  One morning, she continued, she could feel the baby hiccupping in her belly. “I guess Bob was thinking about her too,” Ms. Bales wrote.

When Quincy was born in December 2006, Ms. Bales wrote, she received a call at the hospital. “It was Bob calling from the airport in Kuwait!!” she wrote. “It was so good to hear his voice. I told him how the birth went and he got to hear Quincy squeaking in the background.”

In August 2007, she described some of the child’s first words. “Much to Daddy’s happiness,” she wrote, “she now says ‘D’ as in Dadadadadada.”

Ms. Bales’s post from March 2011, about the Army promotion, appears to have been the blog’s latest entry. In it, she seemed to hint at why she maintained the site in the first place. The collection of posts was a “time capsule,” she wrote, and she hoped that her children would one day “enjoy reading about the decisions that Mom and Dad went through during their lives.”

With a relocation expected, she said, the family’s coming months would be full of change. “I am hoping to blog about it and look back in a year,” she wrote, “to see how far we have come from right now.”

I'm sure Karilyn didn't see her husband's actions could she think a man who was the loving father of her children capable of such an act?  Does Staff Sgt. Bales seem like the typical murderer we've seen depicted over the years?  I think not. 

A Fox News report this afternoon painted a picture of  a man (Bales) who was feeling the pressures of financial and legal woes.  This is only a beginning.  I'm sure no rock will be left unturned as every media outlet imaginable does its due to speak.

ABC News reported this today.  "Staff Sgt. Bales. who allegedly shot and killed 16 Afghan villagers, including nine children, during a nighttime rampage, is meeting with his lawyers for the first time today.

Bales has yet to be charged, although charges could be filed as early as today.
According to military law expert Eugene Fidell, Bales will likely face either life in prison with possibility of parole or the death penalty, a punishment the military hasn't carried out since 1961.

In capital cases deposition testimony is not allowed, Fidell told ABC News. This means if there are Afghan witnesses to the massacre, they must travel to the U.S. to testify in person. And since they cannot be forced to testify some witnesses may decided not to make the trip because they do not trust the U.S. military.

Bales, a 38-year-old father of two, is being represented by John Henry Browne a Seattle attorney whose clients have included serial killer Ted Bundy and Colton Harris-Moore, the "Barefoot Bandit."  Browne, who said he has taken on only three or four military cases, will have a team that includes at least one military lawyer.

"You couldn't imagine a more difficult case, I don't think," Browne said. "This case has political ramifications, it has legal ramifications, it has social ramifications. So you couldn't really imagine a bigger case."

Bales is being held in an isolated cell at Fort Leavenworth's military prison in Kansas. He is a man some describe as a virtual case study in what war can do to a person. Neighbors, friends and fellow soldiers all describe him as an easy going family man.
"It's like you're talking about two totally different people," Michelle Cadell, Bales former neighbor, told ABC News. "Every older woman in the neighborhood calls him 'my Bobby,' not Bobby Bales. You don't know who Bobby Bales is. It's my Bobby."

What strikes me most in the dialogue above is the point that Bales could be a case study in what war CAN do to a person.  This causes me to reflect and pray for any soldier, parent of a soldier, spouse of a soldier or child of a soldier asking for God's protection in what they do for us and the sacrifices they make not only to body, but to mind and family. 

And additional prayer to the Bale's family and the families of the sixteen killed last week. 

Father, in the midst of our trials may the problem at hand not be the single focus of our prayers.  Help us to seek You for godly understanding and patient endurance, so that our lives are spiritually maturing in the process of waiting upon You to answer our prayers.  May seeking You be our primary focus in fulfillment of Christ’s command in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto You.” In His precious name we pray, Amen.



Sunday, March 11, 2012


When I was arranging the program for the Prayer Vigil for the Iowa National Guardsmen in Afghanistan and Iraq last May, music was essential for the mood and the setting.  I turned to one of the music leaders, Matt McNeece, at Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines for a suggestion.

Matt immediately offered John Cheatem's name.  Cheatem was a young singer who had wowed the Hope Church community with a number of his songs, but none was received any better than his version of "Amazing Grace".  Simply put, his rendition of the old stand-by song, could put a frog in your throat and tears in your eyes. So.....knowing what talent John had, I was humbled to say the least to have him share his gifts with our Vigil audience.  His presentation was excellent.  That's how I first got to know John.  Ever since then, I've followed young Cheatem on Facebook watching him continue his music career.  Not in Iowa these days...he's moved to Atlanta, Georgia to pour himself into a lifelong dream as a professional singer.

Who is John Cheatem?  Here's a little insight.  In June of 2010, the Des Moines Register wrote a "Why you should know Him" article.  Below is some of that report:

Why you should know him: Cheatem sings at his church, the Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines.  He released his first album, "In Your Will," in February, 2010 and his first concert shortly after that packed in nearly 1,400 people to Hope. He recently won Iowa's Vocal Hero Competition.

I started singing when: I was 14, but I was horrendous until about 18.

My musical influences are: God, John Legend, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, and of course, Michael Jackson. That's a given.

My personal influences are: God, my family and my friends who support me.

One of my favorite hymns to sing is: Definitely "Amazing Grace."

As you can see, "Amazing Grace" is a favorite of his.  And mine.  That won't change for me and I'm sure for him.  But.....Friday night, John posted a version of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" in falsetto.  "Ok....I did this song....I'm SCARED of this song but dang it, I did it", he said in his post. 

The reason I'm sharing this video with you is quite simple.  We've had visitors from 126 countries come to "My Father's Voice" in the past year and a half.  If I can help provide any additional  exposure for John through this blog, so be it.  If you're connecting with us from Malta, or Israel or Ireland or any of the other 123 countries, enjoy.  I should add that he has numerous others songs on You Tube.  Check it out.  And by the way, you can follow him on twitter @johncheatem. 



Tuesday, March 6, 2012


It's been quite a while since I've had some direction from my Golden Retriever, Mason.  If you'll recall in earlier posts, my great buddy has had a habit of saying the right things ....just when I needed some assurance or when there was something of importance he wanted me to know.

Realize Mason communicates through a bark or two, his low growls, a series of whines or a perk of his head when the TV or radio are blaring.   This morning I had the tube on as I was getting ready for a day of work.  I wasn't really concentrating on the cable was really serving as background noise more than anything.

He's at it again!!!!

I happened to glance over at Mason where he had his attention focused squarely on the "box".  That was my cue to stop and watch.  Here is what the message was for me and no doubt many of you.  Picture a person who has experienced much and learned even more.  Here is the story.

"One day at a time.”  "That is my favorite saying as I live as a cancer survivor", the guest said. "Whether I am working at my job as an assistant high-school principal or officiating on the sports field, living one day at time has many implications; but the most important is that I need God to get me through each day no matter what I am doing or confronting.

On difficult days at school, I may pray for help as I work with a problem student. On the sports field, I ask God to help me make the right call. And as a cancer survivor, I thank God each day for my life.

For Christians, “one day at time” can mean starting and ending the day with Christ, whether it is through prayer and reading the Bible or listening to others as they witness to their faith through meditations in The Upper Room. Nahum 1:7 says: “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” Our Creator is present with each and every one of us, every day of our lives.

When the interview ended I looked over at Mason figuring he'd slid to floor level for some after breakfast rest.  Not so.  His mug was still focused, intently at the images before him.  And then, slowly he turned his head towards me.  As our eyes met, I could see a twinkle of contentment in his baby browns.  Like he'd done a good deed.

I needed to be reminded of "one day at a time" and how important it is to live in the present and not in the past or the future.  Yup, Mason your did your good work.

Later on in the morning I had a video forwarded to me.  A "must" see, was the tagline.   Guess what it was.  A dog video for crying out loud.  As I watched in amazement at the characters before me, the overriding thought I came away with is just how important and loyal dogs are to us.  Take a watch and see if you don't agree courtesy of Pilobolus Dance Theatre in..."Shadowland".  This is for you Mace.

Thanks Mason.  One Day at a Time. 



Friday, March 2, 2012


A friend sent me a text yesterday morning suggesting I read Psalm 91.  Not only read it, but read it again and again and again and again. The simple homework was read one verse each day of the 16 that make up the Psalm, write a 250 word piece on each day's Psalm and fast for the two Sundays within the timeline. 

When I saw the text and the Psalm mentioned, my mind immediately reverted to the Prayer Vigil that was held for our Iowa National Guard troops last May at the State Capitol grounds in Des Moines.

As we were finishing preparation for the event, a gentleman came up to me and said "Psalm 91.  I want you to remember that verse and how important it is to our servicemen and women.  Read it and read it again".  I looked at the man's face and was amazed at the passion and sincerity he portrayed.  Here was a man clutching a scrapbook of pictures and news articles of his daughter's deployment.  He handled that scrapbook with love and care.  He was a man full of pride.  Each sentence he spoke became stronger in conviction of his daughter's duty.  You could tell he longed to see her again, but until that time he knew she was protected each and every day.  "You know how I make it through the day?  I read Psalm 91 over and ever", he said.  "Remember that"....

Would you Please just read Psalm 91?

Frankly I did remember Psalm 91 for quite some time after the Prayer Vigil, but like most things we humans do, I became distracted and soon my thoughts went astray.  In real terms, Psalm 91 had become irrelevant to me.  Yesterday, I got my remembrance.

If you haven't read Psalm 91 before, I've attached it below for you to read.  It doesn't make any difference what walk of life you're in.  There is substance for you to follow.  I hope you enjoy the read:

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
   my God, in whom I trust.”
 3 Surely he will save you
   from the fowler’s snare
   and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
   and under his wings you will find refuge;
   his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
   nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
   nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
   ten thousand at your right hand,
   but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
   and see the punishment of the wicked.
 9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
   and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
   no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
   to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
   so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
   you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
 14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
   I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
   I will be with him in trouble,
   I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
   and show him my salvation.”