Friday, June 29, 2007

The Berlin Wall

I was able to see a portion of the Berlin Wall on a recent trip to Dallas, Texas. The hotel I was staying at, the Hilton Anatole, has a large collection of artworks and artifacts. This section of the Berlin Wall was a part of their collection.

I took a few minutes and thought about the significance of the Berlin Wall in 20th Century history. It was literally the dividing line between the communist East, and the democracies of the West.

Ronald Regan Delivering his "Tear Down This Wall"
speech at the Brandeburg Gate in Berlin.

June 12, 2007 was the 20th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan's famous "Tear Down This Wall" speech.

The key passages was this:
"General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
You can read the full text of the speech here.

But even better, through the magic of You Tube, you can watch an excerpt of this famous speech yourself:

Amazingly, that line was struck from the speech several times. The speech writer, Peter Robinson, had originally written the line. But whenever the speech was vetted with State Department, and National Security advisers, they kept striking this passage from the speech. They were afraid that this line was too provocative, and too bold.

Finally, President Reagan had to sit down with his advisers, and remind them that he was the president, and he would say whatever he wanted to say.

The Berlin Wall Being Torn Down

Well the rest, as they say, was history. Within 2 1/2 years, the wall really did come down. Within another year or so, the whole Soviet Empire collapsed, and freedom was restored to hundreds of millions of people who were formerly behind the Iron Curtain. And that Iron Curtain was most symbolized by the Berlin Wall.

All I can say is: I really miss The Gipper!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Great Escape

Last Sunday, my wife and I gave talks at the Westridge Academy for Girls. This is next to the Westridge Academy for Boys (formerly known as the Utah Boys Ranch). Both schools are a residential treatment facility for troubled teens.

Here are a few excerpts from my talk that I would like to share:

I remember when I was in college, I found myself getting into some problems with my schoolwork. I was getting behind in my classes, and I was taking some classes for which I was not adequately prepared. The end of the semester was approaching, and the day of reckoning was night at hand.

I used to have a think spot up Provo Canyon, overlooking Deer Creek Reservoir. I would driver there when I needed some time to be alone, to think and ponder. As pressures began to mount, I decided to go to my usual think spot to try and sort things out. However when I got there, I just kept on driving. The next thing I knew, I found myself on Interstate 80 – headed for Denver.


I hadn’t planned for a long trip when I left. I didn’t bring anything with me -- no cash, no change of clothes, no food nor drinks, not even a toothbrush! I lived off of gas station hot dogs and soft drinks. (I did have my oil company credit card with me.)

At first my road trip seemed exciting. I drove all night long. I arrived in Denver and found a room to stay in – in what I later learned was a bad part of town. I went to a Hockey Game in Denver. It was minor league hockey back in those days, and the team from Salt Lake was in town playing the local Denver Team – The Salt Lake Golden Eagles vs the Denver Spurs.)

As I sat in that cheap motel room, I began to think again about my situation, and the difficulties from which I was trying to escape. Even though I had driven some 500 miles, my troubles just followed right along with me! I just couldn’t shake them!

Nowhere To Hide

I realized then and there that no matter how far I ran, my problems were still with me. You can’t run away from your troubles, and you can’t run away from the Lord -- no matter how far you go. You can’t run away from who you are. You are still a child of God no matter what. You are still accountable for your actions no matter where you go.

There is no place on earth that is so far away, but that the Lord knows you are there. He is always there, and he always knows where you are. No matter how far away you go, and no matter what you may have done – The Lord already knows all about you. There is no place we can hide.

God will always be our Father, and we will always be his children. There may be times in our lives when we turn away from him, and don’t acknowledge Him as God, and that He is Father. However, that does not change the fact that he exists, and that we are his children.

He will never turn away from us – even if we have turned away from Him. No matter how far we may think we are Him – He is always only a prayer away! He will always listen. He will always answer when we call upon Him.

I know in my life, that He has never given up on me – even when there were times when I may have given up on myself.

The Master Physician

Christ can lift our burdens. He can heal our wounded souls, and He can mend our broken hearts. He is the Master Physician.

I know that he lives. That He is the Son of God. And that he is the Savior of the World.

He knows you, and he knows your heart. He knows what troubles your soul, and he knows how to heal you.

He has touched my life. He has calmed soul, bound up my broken heart, and has given me peace, understanding, and hope of a glorious eternity – provided that I honor the covenants I have made with Him.

These blessings are available to all. Every soul is precious to the Lord. I know He can heal our hearts, if we will let Him in.