Monthly Archives: April 2013

Back to Haiti

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I am privileged to be returning to Haiti in two weeks. Our work with International Orphan Support continues to expand. While in Haiti, I will be able to visit homes for children in Montrouise, Dufailly and Pierre Payan. IOS is unique in that all administrative costs for operation are covered by its leaders. 100% of individual contributions go to the homes that take care of the children. If you’d like to make a donation that will help the children in Haiti, please click on the link about a go to the “Give” page.

Thanks for considering this and for helping us to spread the word!

Rick Whitter 


In Times of Tragedy, You Can’t Hide What’s Inside

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It’s been a tough week. West, Texas, the Boston Marathon, and countless lesser-recognized crises that didn’t even make the news. Honestly, it’s been a tough recent past. It seems that we are stringing together a series of really ugly tragedies. So much pain.

When everything is great, hypocrisy comes easy. But please notice how bad times have a way of bringing out whatever is inside us. This week, first responders in Boston are being heralded because they ran toward exploding bombs. Volunteer firefighters in Texas rushed to the scene only to lose their lives. Although there are only a few of these heroes, all over the country, whatever was inside of us came out.  Fear, anger, hatred; all of these are legitimate responses to the tragedies. Some run for cover while others run into the fire. Some get even more political and blame the “other” party. Some take advantage of the crisis and loot nearby stores. Whatever is inside comes out in times of crisis. You can’t hide it.

While you can’t hide what’s inside, I do believe you can change what is inside:

If your first response to bad news is giving up, pray for strength from God.

If your first response is revenge, pray for justice.

If your response is to cower in the corner or to panic or to lose control, pray for courage.

The problem with these responses? They offer no hope. No one is helped.

If your response is in any way anything other than hope-filled, God can help you.

The heroes of today are analogous to Christ. When humankind was in serious trouble, He came running, bringing hope. He was the First first responder.

Here is the bad news: another tragedy is on the way. Tomorrow or next week or next month something bad will happen. Make no mistake, the strong will rise to the occasion and make a positive difference. The weak will be controlled by the tragedy.

We need to be strong. God help us be strong in Your strength.


The Only Way to Repair a Broken Marriage

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Whether it’s broken by infidelity, boredom or stress, a messed up marriage is one tricky fix. The problems usually begin with insensitivity on the part of one and hurt feelings on the part of the other. The frustrations turn to anger and communication breaks down. By this time, things are headed south quickly and somebody had better get a clue before it is too late.

And for the record, don’t let anyone tell you it’s never too late. Of course it’s too late once one of the parties involved goes too far; say for example – gets married again. There are some bridges that, once crossed, can never be used as a return route.

So what is the only fix for a broken marriage?

It’s when both people involved decide that they will do WHATEVER it takes to save their marriage. They may no longer be in love. They don’t have to care deeply about the other person. And they may feel that their marriage is not worth fighting for. But if the couple mutually agrees that they will stop at nothing to salvage, heal and restore their marriage, it will happen for sure. Refusal to give up is a powerful ally for a bruised marriage. For the record – nothing is impossible with God.

“Whatever it takes” means basically the same thing for both people. Whatever has happened to cause damage must stop happening immediately. Past hurts must be let go. Trust must be built. Both parties must be in the relationship to serve their partner. Total participation by both people is required. These details explain why this idea is so hard to realize. If it were easy, we would see fewer divorces.

So why is it so rare to find a marriage that is saved at the midnight hour? Because people who are so broken find it nearly impossible to believe that there is hope. Unforgiveness, pain and the desire for freedom set the agenda. If therapists or pastors can only get people to see that the real solution is in their hands, and get them to accept the possibility for change, many marriages could be saved.

It can happen. It is rare, but it is possible.

The problem is, most people are not willing to do “whatever it takes” – so this concept probably won’t gain much traction. However, if only one marriage is given a second chance, that would be awesome.

Please apply this idea as necessary. If you don’t need it, please pass it along to someone who does.

By the way, this approach is the best way to AVOID problems in marriage. Let’s prevent so we don’t have to repair.


Jealous Husbands Don’t Scare Me

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There is one reason why I am not concerned about a jealous husband coming after me: I have not been doing things that I shouldn’t be doing. I have not cheated with someone else’s wife nor have I cheated on my wife.  Please don’t take this as bragging and I know better than to get prideful; but there is a deep sense of comfort that comes from knowing that my conscience is clear.  I remember hearing my pastor talk about this topic when I was a kid and I didn’t really understand. He spoke of the freedom of walking down the street with confidence, knowing that no one was gunning for him because he’d been messing around – because he HADN’T been messing around! I understand now and I treasure the fact that God has taught me the value of relationship integrity.

I know too many guys who have been guilty of adultery and I also know many who have been victimized by it. While Hollywood normalizes these activities, the results in real life are always devastating; lives are being destroyed.

Let’s pray for men in general and husbands specifically. Pray for purity and fidelity among us. Pray that we older guys can model for younger guys what it means to be a man of purity. Pray that young men in America will not believe the lies being pushed by our culture that say manhood is determined by sexual activity. Pray for fewer reasons for crimes of passion. Let’s ask God for forgiveness of our sins and that He will help us to overcome our temptations and make us more like Christ.

I Corinthians 16:13 in various translations…

KJV: Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

MSG: Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute.

Douay-Rhelms: Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, do manfully, and be strengthened. (I love that: “do manfully”!)

Whitter: Keep your guard up, dig deep in Christ, don’t be a weakling, win the war!


I Found Myself Numb

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I heard myself saying the right things but I felt myself feeling nothing. As we were at the bedside of a yet another dying person, I was disturbed, not at the idea of death or even the mourning of a family but that I had grown so accustomed to the scene. This was after many years of pastoring. Too many funerals, too many emergency room visits, too many death-bed experiences. I had become the pale-faced, cold-blooded undertaker we’ve all seen on old westerns – except that I was supposed to be a pastor. It wasn’t that I didn’t care; I really did and was hurting for the family. It was simply a matter of overexposure and lack dealing with grief properly.

I didn’t get numb overnight. Unfortunately, I’ve had more than my share of morbid experiences: Identifying bodies burned in a house fire; gruesome deaths of children; and having to do things in hospitals that nurses didn’t want to do and family members couldn’t bring themselves to do. The breaking point seemed to be the slow and agonizing death of a young friend. I stood helplessly by his side for months and watched as his wife and young son let him go. I helped the undertaker load his lifeless body on the gurney.

I had allowed a shell to build up around my heart. For years, while conducting funerals, I have heard remarks like, “I don’t know how you held it together.” But this was different – this wasn’t composure.

I got my wake up call before it was too late. When I realized I wasn’t experiencing the proper response to death, I knew something had to change. I have since made necessary adjustments. These changes are too personal to share but they were precise and effective.

So how does one in my profession avoid becoming cold-blooded? My few suggestions would be:

Allow yourself to grieve (possibly in private because your breaking down in public could cause a tidal-wave response).

Be sure to debrief after especially difficult experiences.

Seek counsel when the load is heavy. Even those in the helps industries need help.

Pray that God will keep your heart tender. See Ezekiel 36:26.

I don’t regret my life work. In fact, I treasure it and am honored to be called by God to do this work. But I would like to avoid this pitfall in the future and help others to also avoid it.

Don’t let yourself become numb.