Archive for December, 2020


December 31, 2020

Should old friends and yesterdays be forgotten? That is the question that revelers will be asking in unison tonite. Curiously, Auld Lang Syne’s author, Robert Burns, the greatest Scottish poet who ever lived, did not publish it in his lifetime, perhaps because it did not meet his standards of artistic profundity. Superficially it’s a vacuous ditty that never answers the question yet, in the mystery of rhymes and words, it provokes deep feelings as only poetry can in the nostalgia of New Year’s Eve.

The Bible makes it crystal clear that remembering is a very big deal—the word appears 234 times—none clearer that Deuteronomy 8:18—“You shall remember the LORD your God…” Israel had seven divinely, meticulously mandated annual festivals, and three of them were specifically about remembering God and His great miracles on their behalf. But New Year’s Eve wasn’t one of them. Nevertheless, as the culture worships at the altar of old and new, it’s a great time to remember the blessings of God and joyfully anticipate another year of earthly life in the palm of His hand.

At this stage of my life time has accelerated—New Year’s Eve occurs more frequently and all my yesterdays are as last night’s lightning flashes. I remember them as miraculous manifestations of that Light of The World that knit me in my mother’s womb and holds me in the palm of His hand and controls my next breath and has even grander plans for me beyond my comprehension. So I’ll celebrate by remembering my unmerited blessings and be deep in a long winter’s sleep as the ball falls, with visions of a Happy New Year that will never end. Our God reigns!


December 29, 2020

 “…the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7).

Introduction: Oct–Dec, 2015. Outside the big window a bitter night wind howled thru the multi-colored leaves of autumn in the north woods. Inside an emaciated, speechless, intermittently conscious old man lay with his torso angled up among a maze of wires and tubes running into his body. A bedside nurse quietly monitored multiple computer screens and digital readouts that told her the younger of the Wetterling brothers, though drugged into a calm facade, was desperately fighting for his life. In the hushed and dimmed post-midnight buzz and hum and gurgle of the Mayo Clinic’s CCU (intensive care for cardiac patients), I sat facing him at bedside, my forearm resting on the bed railing, praying, pleading, and begging for God’s mercy. His eyes opened and locked on mine.  He slowly raised his arm from amid the rumpled sheets and weakly clasped my hand as if to arm wrestle, a well-practiced sport in our youth. His forearm pivoted on his elbow as he slowly wagged our hands sideways no more than two inches, his fixed gaze otherwise expressionless for several seconds, then his hand went limp and he drifted off again. Never has more love been conveyed between two humans than that moment, and it will be with us for eternity—we’re brothers by birth and the blood of Christ.

He joined the church eternal five years ago today.

DISPATCHES FROM THE GLORY ROAD, a short story based on my Facebook posts written in the heat of that battle for friends and prayer warriors, is available in ebook format at Amazon ($0.99).  For a free PDF formatted version (26 pages), email request to .


December 27, 2020

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone” (Isaiah 9:2, circa 740-701 B.C.).

Isaiah’s seven century prophecy fulfilled: And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:8-10).

 “…the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned” (Matthew 4:16).

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

I am so thankful, this Christmas Season, that God’s light has shown in my unworthy heart, and I pray that it has shown in yours as well, dear friends. There is no greater gift.

See you in church.  


December 25, 2020

Our Christmas tree is a family testimony of God’s covenant faithfulness over generations of Wetterlings—so many heartwarming stories represented by so many ornaments. Here’s one representative story: The small handmade delicate wooden ornaments (lower left, upper right) are from a salvaged scrap of 2X4 destined for the ash heap, born again on my scroll saw as a work of art to adorn our Christmas tree—a symbol of what a loving God has done in the life of a wayward wretch He plucked out of the burning. 

I’m sure your tree can tell similar stories. But they all fade in comparison with the glorious birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—the Son of God become Son of Man, that sons of men might become sons of God—born this day in the City of David. May the reality of that amazing act of Divine love dwell richly in the hearts of your family for all generations, till He splits the sky and comes again. Merry Christmas from our family to yours.

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:1)


December 24, 2020

My friend, Dave O’Malley, a Canadian Graphics Designer and lover of all things airborne (and designer of the cover of my first book—Son of Thunder) tells of a Christmas Eve tradition at his house. Read his well-written story, then listen to the BBC radio recording of the classic Frederick Forsyth story—The Shepherd—a Canadian and UK Christmas Eve tradition.   

The Shepherd—a Canadian Christmas Classic > Vintage Wings of Canada


December 20, 2020

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

It was a rescue mission like no other. In a dark world of fallen creatures spiritually dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1), where no one seeks God (Romans 3:11), the Son of God, in an amazing act of condescension, arrived as a helpless baby born in the meanest of conditions. God shined a bright light into the darkness, and the darkness has not/will not overcome it. It was the glorious inauguration of God’s plan of salvation for sinners—sinners so in bondage to sin they could not help themselves. The mission was planned in the throne room of God before the world began, to flip the destiny of some from hell to heaven. God’s perfect justice requires that sin must be punished. In His infinite love, God sent His only begotten Son to take that punishment, an atonement for sinners on the bloody torture rack of the cross, the earthly pinnacle of the wrath of God. In the greatest of all accounting entries in the Ledger of Life, Christ’s righteousness was credited to sinful men and their sins were debited to Christ. He took the punishment that sinful man deserved that man might receive the forgiveness he does not deserve. His last words were, “It is finished.” Mission accomplished! That baby wrapped in the warm glow of our cultural Christmas customs actually came to turn the tide on a raging battle “against the cosmic powers over this present darkness…” (Ephesians 6:12). He came to die in agony on a cross, and rise again and reign that the children of God might have eternal life with Him. What marvelous manner of love is this? My heart melts within me…

 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14)

See you in church.


December 13, 2020

Covid came to our house this week. He probably thought he’d found a soft target—a 77 year-old heart that subsists on wire mesh and recycled cow parts puts me up near the pinnacle of the mortality curve for this malady. What he didn’t reckon with was recycled parts bequeathed by a brahma bull. So far I’ve had much worse colds. A nagging dry cough and some fatigue the second day have been the only symptoms. Karen then caught it from me and her only symptoms have been a slight headache for two days and a once-in-awhile-cough. She has no comorbidities. Our immunity boosting vegan diet is likely a major factor in the mildness of our cases. We think we’re on the mend, but sometimes Covid comes off the canvas to take another swing. I think he tried that once already but the brahma kicked him down again. Metaphorical musings aside, the foundational truth is the Lord heals all our diseases, for His own reasons, and we are thanking our Sovereign God this Lord’s Day.

We’ll see you in virtual church.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1-5) 


December 6, 2020

The Second Sunday in Advent, December 7, 1941, was Holocaust Sunday for the US Pacific Fleet and a day of infamy for America. At 7:53 a.m. over Pearl Harbor, Mitsuo Fuchida (who became a Christian after the war), in the lead plane of a 353-plane Japanese attack force, looked down on the most target-rich environment ever witnessed by a fighter pilot in the history of aerial warfare. Ninety-six utterly unsuspecting U.S. warships were docked or moored dead in the water within a 1.25-mile radius of Ford Island in the center of Pearl Harbor, all plump dozing ducks on a sunny Sunday morning in Hawaii.   

In the bottom bunk of a 10 by 10-foot officer’s stateroom of the heavy cruiser, USS San Francisco, below the deck and above the waterline, slept Ensign John E. “Jack” Bennett, just graduated from Annapolis the previous February. The sound of deep thuds woke Jack. His world was quaking. Bombs and torpedoes were exploding in the harbor. He leaped to the porthole and looked out to see a Japanese Val dive-bomber with a bright orange meatball painted on its fuselage just in front of its tail, strafing sailors running down the dock…

Two hours and two waves of attack after Fuchida radioed “Tora Tora Tora,” 18 ships were sunk or seriously damaged and 188 airplanes were destroyed and 159 damaged (all on the ground), 2,403 sailors and soldiers were dead and 1,178 wounded…

For the next three years and eight months Jack Bennett was in some the hottest battles of WW II in the Pacific, including Guadalcanal and 5 war patrols in the highly decorated submarine USS Queenfish. Fifty-five years [and numerous miracles] after Holocaust Sunday, after a distinguished career in nuclear subs and a hitch in Sacramento on Governor Ronald Reagan’s staff, Jack and I met and became best friends, and, with “no time to waste,” fought the greatest battle of all–the one for his soul.

Condensed excerpt from No Time to Waste. The book is free in Kindle format today and tomorrow—Dec 6-7. Merry Christmas.

See you in church.

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