Our Dear Loved Ones, including our circle of Friends, from Herb and Norma
Douglass, December 2004
We are embarrassed beyond measure in noting that 2003 simply slid by us as fast as Seabiscuit in his final turn. In November, 2002, we thought that we had finally downsized our dream retirement home of 3800 sq. ft. to our 1580 sq. ft. match shed in Sun City, Lincoln Hills; no more lawn to mow or fruit trees to spray and prune, no more dozens of miles to shopping centers.
something happened! The calendar
suddenly filled up with promised cruises to family members, speaking
assignments, and writing promises—and 2003 ended up finishing God At Risk with
its 490 pp—proofing pages, and watching the four-year project go through its
birth. We were fascinated with the cover and everything else that the
professionals put into the production.
So, we felt
dreadfully guilty reading your Christmas greetings last year that piled up
everywhere knowing that we had not done our part. So we vowed it would be different in 2004.
But apparently, not really. Too
many chickens (promises/assignments) do come home to roost!
2004 has been a year of privileges, among which has been half-time devoted to
strategizing donor relations for Amazing Facts ministry—a clear voice
of timely Adventist distinctives. Around which we weaved seamlessly our fun
trips/assignments and family connections. For instance, in January, we were in
Tampa for a church request; in March, for a week in Denver, teaching at AFCOE
(Amazing Facts College of Evangelism); in April, in Palm Springs for a
presentation on God At Risk and a Easter sermon reflecting on what we
did, and did not, learn from Gibson’s Passion; in May, at AUC’s
graduation at the request of its new president, Dr. George Babcock, who is truly
doing long-needed adjustments to our alma mater; in July, a week speaking at the
Oklahoma campmeeting; in August, first at ASI in Cincinnati and a few days with
Brother Jim and Joan in Norwalk, Ohio; then a week with Dan and Marilyn Cotton
at their Shanghri-La, their summer home at Port Townshend overlooking the
shipping lanes into Seattle, etc.
But in September, the lifetime cruise from Dover, England, through the Kiel Canal (Germany), Warnemünde (Germany), Tallinn (Estonia), St. Petersburg (Russia), Helsinki (Finland), Stockholm (Sweden), Copenhagen (Denmark), Dover. This is not the place to review our sky-high memories but it far surpassed even our expectations. Weather was great all the way! We anchored at Newbold College, outside of London, for several days before and after the cruise. Taught some classes to students from all over Europe—many of them who know what tough times were and are. What a privilege to listen and share with these men and women! The College became our home base for visiting Stonehenge and west England, Oxford and Stoke Poges, and Canterbury Cathedral. A rental car and the left-side of the road added to the fun!
In October, we made our annual trip to Belgrade, Montana to visit Donna and Britney (nursing school student). Just driving through Nevada, Idaho, and Montana, is enough to fill up our joy cup—such scenery and wonderful folk along the way that put us back 50 years to what this country was once known for—civility and courtesies.
Several days in early November we were at the Southwestern Adventist University, Keene, Texas, for four presentations sponsored by the EGW Research Center, led by two wonderfully focused women. And in December at Daytona Beach (Florida), we joined twelve of the busiest evangelists and families in North America who were taking a most welcome breather as we discussed core issues in contemporary theology. Then we hurried back for a trip to Palm Springs to visit daughter, Vivienne Sue, and attend a Robb Dennis Christmas Chorale Concert where she was one of the soloists.
is already filling up but that is another story. Readers of God At Risk are asking for various emphases
for their church weekends, especially on expanding contemporary issues that
unfold last-day events.
When have world events been more compelling to those who are trying catch
the steady trend of events? When
have the core concepts in the Great Controversy between God and Evil been more
defined? The fundamental word in this Great Controversy is
“freedom”—when have freedom and security ever before been such “hot”
topics, exciting such visceral reactions? Not
only in the world concern against international terror, but also on college
campuses which were once noted for academic freedom and the arenas of open
discussion without fear of being silenced by a lop-sided appeal for
“tolerance,” (another word Orwelled). Nothing
like it in my lifetime!
the chief of unfreedom and its consequences, through the centuries, has only
improved his skill in combating Truth and its consequences.
In heaven (Revelation 12) long before Eden, and ever since, the universe
has been the victim of his four-part strategy: 1) Pretense—the use of
consistent, destructive lies under the cloak of loyalty; 2) Scapegoating—blaming
others for the damage he was doing; 3) Word obfuscation—redefining the
meaning of words, including the substitution of personal opinion for absolute
truths; and 4) Coercion—the use of power to control or destroy others.
We all can think of people in our own lifetime as well as many examples
in biblical times who have used one, or perhaps all four, of these strategies of
But the ultimate showdown will be in the near future when the affairs in the United States as well as everywhere else will see Truth trampled and its loyalists misunderstood and lied about, when they will be blamed for troubles not of their own making, when the clear words of great documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution undergo radical revisions, and when the power of the State will coerce those who oppose the scuttling of freedom under the flight to security.
a ride just ahead! What should all
this mean to all of us, especially at Christmastide? I
know that the dark night of evil will one day be over.
I know that the forces that invaded Bethlehem can liberate my weak,
fuzzy, muddy mind and keep it clear and clean.
know that my Liberating General has personally agreed to be my Shield and
Defender. I know that some days and nights will be dark and strange and
unexpected in my life and in the life of my loved ones. But I also know that the
hope of final liberation from the bloody hand of Oppressive Evil gives me the
reason to be joyful, and trusting, and at peace, during those dark hours.
you may be, so was He. But He
fought on, trusting His Heavenly Father. So
may we. Baffled at times?
So was He. Disappointed with
friends, even loved ones, so was He. But
He knew that the forces of light and truth were stronger than the forces of
deceit and moral garbage. And He did not give up.
And so we may keep holding
on a little longer, one more day, one more
week, one more year. We too
will never give up.
times, I think I hear the trumpets. And
they are not playing taps, but reveille. On
one hand I see the twilight shrouding integrity and honor and on the other, I
see the brightening of the eastern sky, for that rising sun that will never set!
Our marching orders are to keep walking into the light until the Light
Bearer returns. Trust those
hands that were nailed to the Cross— because when you let Him take your hands,
they will never let go. That’s His promise, not mine.
Christmas will be no longer a holiday but your personal holy day, now and
the absence of our usual personal notes this year, but time vanishes before our
Herb and Norma Douglass – 1538 Perdita Lane, Lincoln Hills, CA – 916-408-5881 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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