Archive for May, 2022


May 30, 2022

Sovereign God of all creation, grant that the soul-stirring tributes, the gratitude expressed, and the patriotism passionately proclaimed this day carry over tomorrow to the gritty, frustrating, chaotic, increasingly desperate work of maintaining this fragile, failing republic for which our forebears and associates spilled all their blood to preserve. May it not have been in vain. There is no hope for a rebellious nation that is legislating, adjudicating, mandating and mocking You out of public life, but by your Amazing Grace. I beseech you, LORD of heaven and earth, with all the love that is within me, that I might fly to my eternal abode with assurance that my grandchildren will have a life in America as blessed as mine has been. In Christ, who spilled His blood while I was yet His enemy, that I might live with Him forever, I pray, Amen.


May 28, 2022

I penned the words in the meme in a Wall Street Journal Memorial Day op-ed 26 years ago. In the hundreds of letters and phone calls I received in response (a feat I have never been able to duplicate) from every quadrant of the political spectrum across America, there was not one quarrel with the statement. That would not be the case this Memorial Day 2022. Such is the state of our culture that every part of that calling is under attack.

There has been no shortage of wars in my lifetime, nor is the future rosy in that regard in this fallen world. In the twilight of my years my country is now also engaged in a cultural civil war to expunge God from atop the honor roll of noble calling and radically redefine the rest. It’s the most consequential war of all and the enemy is making advances on all fronts. Ronald Reagan said, “If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be one nation gone under.”

I pray with Lincoln at the Gettysburg Cemetery that the United States of America might this day rededicate itself to that cause for which 1.1 million Americans in all our wars have given their last full measure of devotion–“that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

This Memorial Day, 2022, a million fallen patriots cry out from the grave, “Fight on, soldier. God, duty, honor and country are still the noblest calling.” Remember your priorities. Love your country, but love God more. The nations rage, the people plot in vain and rulers scheme against the Lord who sits in heaven, but he laughs and holds them in derision (Psalm 2). The battle is not “against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Come to church this Lord’s Day and get refueled and rearmed. See you there.


May 28, 2022
We both were gung-ho, two young fighter jocks.
Our blight was psychotic—a love affair.
Belov’d was inert, ferocious and fast.
She looked mach one as she sat in the chocks.

The Super Sabre, but we called her “hun.”
A sweptwing killer and seraphic fly’r,
We fondled her switches and lit her fire
Then mated on takeoff—became as one.

My wingman and I liked night sorties best.
The trucks all southbound on Ho Chi Minh’s Trail
Made lovely explosions when we prevailed.
The dark made it hard, but we ace’d the test.

Once as we ravaged a truck motorcade,
Big triple-A guns tried to spoil our fun.
I pulled off the trucks and dove on a gun.
High noon at midnight—a bold (?) escapade.

The big guns went silent. Were they all dead?
Can’t know for sure on an inky dark night.
My wingman then asked where to take the fight.
“Just drop another round right on their head.”

For a lifetime now those words I regret.
More guns belched fire as he dove in the night.
Two huge explosions said both lost the fight.
MIA is the term—he and his jet.

The term haunts the soul so much more than “dead.”
The God who made both of us worked His plan,
And eons from now we’ll both understand:
His blessing was greater--he went ahead.

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).


May 27, 2022

In remembrance of Vince, Lance, Larry and Lynn. Friends. Fighter pilots. God willing, we will rendezvous again in CAVU skies and war will be no more.


Special lyrics for Vince (my wingman), Larry (my Sqdn CO) et al, MIA:

For missing pilots, Lord, we pray--
Tho it's unknown jungle where they lay--
Let not their souls be MIA
In the Mansions of the Lord.

No more tracers,
Foes to fight,
No more terror in the night,
Just Divine embrace,
Eternal light,
In the Mansions of the Lord.

Where there are no wars
And no loved ones' tears,
Nor haunting wond'ring
Throughout endless years.
There God's love conquers all our fears--
The Mansions of the Lord.


May 25, 2022

I caught an advance showing of Top Gun II last night. It was highly entertaining fantasy that challenged the limits of verisimilitude. The characters were caricatures of the highly gifted flesh and blood fighter pilots of my day, even more so than the original movie. As a squadron level Top Gun in the units in which I served in the Vietnam War era, it is embarrassing, even shameful to contemplate how I might now be viewed by friends who see the movie. Be it known that Hollywood has once again grossly distorted reality in the name of entertainment. Save your homage for America’s real heroes this weekend – Memorial Day.

That being said, the state of the art of cinematography puts you in the cockpit of a jet fighter in a very realistic way in Top Gun II. My seatmate told me I was grunting under the g-forces as I sat in my posh movie theater recliner. The flying scenes blew the lid off my memory cache and my mind has slipped the surly bonds. I’ll be dancing the wild blue with my tail on fire for a week.

Half-a-century after I  last flew an F-100, “Sinner Saved by Grace” is a far more important title to me than Top Gun. The prize that I pursue is “the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” That requires a major mindset change, from “we were the best and we knew it” to “I am the worst and I know it.” The truth is my landings equaled my takeoffs because a Sovereign God willed it. I survived and my wing man died because a Sovereign God willed it. I put more bullet holes in the target rag than my squadron mates because a Sovereign God willed it. That is where all the credit is due. My faith in God and all it entails is an undeserved gift from God. That is the very definition of God’s grace, so incomprehensible to an unconverted heart. 

When you come to my house today you may well not even notice the F-100 model sitting on a high shelf, but you cannot miss God’s Word writ large on the wall as you come in and go out of my front door. Joshua, the greatest Old Testament military leader and man of God, spoke these words in his last hours: “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). It’s my mission statement as long as I have breath. The thrill of victory that The Lord of Hosts promises will far exceed anything I ever experienced in life in the danger zone, and it will be endless. Our God reigns.

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13b–14).


May 22, 2022

“The moment a man realizes that he is only a pilgrim in this world, that finally he has to die and face God, and that there is all eternity before him, his whole outlook on life changes.” — Martyn Lloyd Jones

It was more an affirmation moment for me and happened early on when I was flying in wartime and life was on the line. There were a number of moments when my pilgrimage appeared likely to be very short. My survival, in spite of some gross errors and the enemy’s best efforts, was proof positive there is a Sovereign God looking after me on this pilgrimage, an outlook change indeed–all doubt removed.

In another of his classic quotable quotes, Martyn Lloyd Jones said, “A sinner does not ‘decide’ for Christ; the sinner ‘flies’ to Christ in utter helplessness and despair.”

At an age when the aches and pains of a well-worn body bring the nearly continual reaffirmation that I am but a pilgrim in this world, I still fly–to Christ in utter helplessness and despair over my inability to keep his Commandments. When I hear myself praying for forgiveness for the same sins I have repented of seventy times seven times before; when I get to the end of my devotional reading and realize I haven’t retained a word; when my mind wanders down a bunny trail so far I can’t even remember where I quit reading the Bible or praying  and started daydreaming, I fly to Christ with the publican’s prayer on my lips: “God be merciful to me,  a sinner” (Luke 18:13-14). When I run out of patience far too soon and utter a sharp word to my beloved spouse, I fly to Christ. When I mentally start composing gotcha’s and snappy comebacks against those who have learned my weaknesses and seemingly love to trigger them, I fly to Christ. When I pray aloud in a group setting and I am more concerned with how I sound to my fellow sinners than how I sound to the God I have sinned against, I fly to Christ. The older I live the more I realize just how desperately I need the very Savior that I offend with my besetting sins, and I fly to Christ in utter helplessness and despair–the sum total of my contribution to my salvation. Even then he inclines my will to fly to him (Phil. 2:13). It’s all his grace from first to last. God be merciful to me, a sinner. By your grace may I, like the publican, go down to my house justified.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9).

See you in church.


May 15, 2022

Rounding the final turn of the 2022 Kentucky Derby, Sonny Leon, in his debut Derby ride astride Rich Strike, was in the back of the pack of 20 horses. He was the longest shot in the race (80-1) and so far behind he couldn’t see the front. But Leon sensed he had a lot of horse still left. He deftly threaded him through the dangerous heavy traffic of flying hooves and tons of tiring horseflesh. Suddenly, with clear sailing ahead, in a feat of supernatural endurance Rich Strike appeared to go into afterburner and accelerate away from the field to win the most thrilling horse race I have ever seen.

Just last fall Rich Strike was purchased after a claims race–the discard pile for racehorses deemed to have no future by their owners. His purchase price was $30,000, a pittance in this spendthrift sport. He was a presciently named horse–a rich strike indeed. The Derby win paid $1.86 million.

Jesus Christ used sheep and shepherds often as a metaphor in his ministry, and the Apostle Paul spoke of running the race with endurance. I think this horse and jockey in this race work pretty well as a metaphor for my life. I think my father named me after his favorite draft horse, half of a team he called Jeff and Jerry. Jeremiah, the Old Testament derivation of my name, means “lifted up by God,” and that’s pretty prescient too, even predestined. God in his incomprehensible providence plucked me off the discard pile of depraved mankind, but he paid the opposite of a pittance for me–the unconscionable price of his son’s death on the cross. Prior to that my odds of winning were far worse than 80-1, impossible in fact. The third person of The Trinity, The Holy Spirit, is my jockey. He has guided me through heavy, sometimes dangerous traffic, and now we are on the home stretch of a good long race through an endurance not my own. I know not where the finish line is, but my jockey does, and unlike Rich Strike, mine guarantees the win is mine. It will be more glorious then a hundred thousand screaming spectators could ever imagine. A stole of roses will fade but my crown will never tarnish and the celebration will never end. Our God reigns!

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:28–30).

See you in church.


May 8, 2022
Lizz & Colin, Liz & Logan

The older I get and the closer to Heaven’s Gate I get the more fiercely I love my family. One more time I must proclaim God’s Grace from this family mountaintop milestone on this special Lord’s Day, then Monday it’s back to the mundane days of faithfulness.

Rare is the heart so hard that it cannot groan with gratitude for the sacrificial love of a mom. This Mother’s Day this Grandpa’s heart is overflowing with love and admiration and appreciation for two mothers who happen to be my daughter and daughter-in-law. Amid the family hoopla over two graduations in 24 hours, high school and college, two amazing homeschooling mothers, Lizz and Liz, stand thankful for God’s Amazing Grace in educating their sons, Colin and Logan. Both ladies are college graduates who sacrificed professional careers outside the home to be stay-at-home moms. When the time came to make schooling choices they both decided, after much self-examination, research and prayer, to take on the challenging task themselves. What capable, dedicated, loving mothers they proved to be, and what learned, confident, cordial young men they turned out. Colin Mele was chosen to deliver the welcoming address on behalf of the Classical Conversations Class of ’22, and Logan Wetterling received a B.S. in Nursing, magna cum laude.

Last week Lizz told Facebook friends and her fellow teachers (mothers) in Classical Conversations, an integral part of the rapidly growing homeschooling movement in America, “It stretched us all and required endurance we didn’t know we had but God has been so very faithful. It’s all been worth it. Soli Deo Gloria!”

This Mother’s Day/Lord’s Day this grateful grandpa can only humbly add a three-fold amen!

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).

See you in church.

Colin Mele
Logan Wetterling, RN


May 7, 2022

“The world promises much but delivers little, and it’s a world that is passing away…” Those are not ordinary words heard amid the exuberance of Graduation Day. Quite the opposite in fact, but the message could not be more positive.

A classical conversations graduation ceremony for homeschoolers is truly unique. With usually small classes they are able to have every parent speak to their graduate in turn on stage as they hand them their diploma before the assembled friends and family. Herewith a quote from our son-in-law’s words to our grandson.

“Colin, I trust you will do great things, but to be honest, I care less about what you will make of yourself. My hope and prayer is that you will take all of your skills and talents and all that you are and focus on making much of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because the reality is the world you are entering into is one that promises much but delivers little, and it’s one that is passing away. But by grace you are a child of God, which means you are a resident of a far greater Kingdom. One that is eternal and where promises are fulfilled. So again, my hope and prayer is that you will focus on that Kingdom, and put your treasures in that Kingdom, and faithfully follow Christ.” — Anthony Mele

That is a radical paternal charge in our free-falling culture, but safer sounder advice I’ve never heard at graduation in this dangerous age. We are so proud and grateful for this graduate, the mother who taught him for 12 years and the father who brought him up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Our God reigns.


May 1, 2022

Brace yourself for some unabashed bragging–the air is intoxicating at the pinnacle of grandparenthood. It is such a joy to watch your own flesh and blood climb maturity mountain and then to celebrate with them at the summit. We have another graduation to be grateful to God for this spring. Logan Wetterling, grandson #1, graduates with honors from college with a degree in nursing. He compressed a four-year program into 3 on two scholarships (athletic and academic) while competing on the Henderson State University (Ark.) swim team. It was a feat his swim coach told him freshman year couldn’t be pulled off by a medical student. Now it’s on to graduate school for a Masters Degree in Nursing Administration while he uses up his last year of NCAA eligibility on the swim team AND goes to work fulltime at a nearby hospital–three 12-hour shifts per week. The guy is still looking for the limits of his performance envelope! This is the same smiley little guy who could barely make a shadow and spent his early years looking at the world through smudgie thick glasses…when he could find them. This is the same skinny bespectacled kid who was struggling unhappily in public school, along with his two siblings, when his frustrated mom, Liz, courageously chose to emulate her sister-in-law, Lizz, and homeschool all three. Unfettered by an education system geared to accommodate the varied capabilities of a roomful of students, Logan thrived. He was every homeschooling mom’s dream–show him this year’s stack of textbooks and hand him the syllabus and turn him loose. At age 13 he discovered swimming and uncovered a fierce competitive spirit and a work ethic to marvel at. These days he’s got abs that Grandpa in his prime could only dream about, and a scalpel-sharp mind.

Congratulations Logan! God has graciously granted you success in your college endeavors. I pray that he will continue to bless you as you apply your extraordinary gifts in a career of caring for others. And pace yourself–life’s a marathon. Run with endurance the race that is set before you, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of your faith… (Hebrews 12:1b–2a).

See you in church.

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