Make Sure It Is Readable

Key Bible Verse:  “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Make a large signboard and clearly write this name on it.’” (Isaiah 8:1 NLT)

I arrived home to find a hand written note from my daughter posted on my bedroom door. It informed me of an important time change and location of her conference track meet for that day. She also wrote her phone number in case I should have any additional questions.

I often hand write notes to myself on Mondays as reminders of the things I hope to accomplish throughout the week. The witness is a check mark next to an item indicating it has been completed.

Writing things down on paper helps to assist my memory. Immediately writing something on a piece of paper provides a memory aid which allows for recollection of an idea or plan before it gets lost in the reservoir of my mind.

God sometimes chooses His people to hand write notes. What kind of things does God want me to write about?  I believe God still instructs people to hand write His notes to people. They may be notes concerning God’s warning, encouragement or promise.

One translation renders Isaiah 8:1 “write it in ordinary letters.” The writings must be in ordinary letters or language everyone can read and understand or else it will not be of much use to anyone.

Today, we benefit of the many varied writers who listened and took dictation from God as they wrote down His Word for us to read, enjoy and act upon many years later. Madeleine L’Engle wrote: “If I can write things out I can see them.” When God speaks to your heart – I would encourage you to write it down!

Written by (R) Major Keith J. Welch

When You Think You’ve Failed

Faithfulness and obedience to the Holy Spirit may not always produce the results we hope for. This Spirit may say, “Go!” but the one we speak to may respond with, “No.” Perhaps our enthusiasm will be met with anger or violence. The opportunities may have presented themselves, and we may have been frozen in fear or stand unprepared to give a reason for the hope that is in us. We may ask God to make us a blessing to someone today and find ourselves having said nothing about the Lord of love and His gift of salvation. Whatever the failure, it can feel devastating.

Failure can provide an opportunity to deepen our dependence on God and trust His power of redemption. A negative response to the gospel isn’t something that we should necessarily take as a sign that our words have not hit the mark God had intended. Perhaps we have been given the task of tilling some very hard ground. Truth can bring pain, and pain isn’t often warmly welcomed. It is crucial to walk carefully with the Holy Spirit when dealing with hardened hearts and scarred lives. But we must be faithful to His leading and direction.

Jesus warned His disciples of certain rejection as He shared the Passover meal with them before His crucifixion and resurrection. In John’s gospel, we read His words, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you … if they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:18-20).

Evangelism is about connecting people, made in God’s image, with the One who made them and loves them best. These same people have been given the freedom to accept or reject His gifts of salvation. Rejection could very well be a test of the love and grace we describe in our witness. If we are genuinely concerned about those to whom we speak about salvation, we will see them as more than tally marks or members. They will continue to be valued and loved as people who will one day no longer be able to resist the powerful grace of God.

It is important not to let the hard and challenging opportunities keep us from saying something about Jesus and His power to forgive, cleanse, heal and transform lives. We must say something … it is what a witness does. So, whether our words are welcomed or rejected, we must remember that it is best to love, even if one is not loved in return. It is worth it.

God does not waste anything. He is the master of redemption. Even the failure to recognize the Spirit’s leading in opportunities like this can be used to draw us to grow more sensitive and responsive.

Failure can provide an opportunity for reflection. Could our motives have been muddled? Is it time to sharpen our skills? Do we need to deepen our understanding of Scripture? Does a greater sensitivity to the Spirit need to be nurtured? Rejection can inspire us to love as Christ loves. Fear can be transformed into bold determination. Missed opportunities can call us to intentional living and careful attention to the Holy Spirit. Failure is redeemable if we offer it to God for use in His transforming work.

Excerpted from “Say Something” by Stephen Banfield and Donna Leedom, © 2013 Crest Books Available at

Interview With Actor Corbin Bernsen: “Sunrise In Heaven”

Legendary TV & movie actor Corbin Bernsen sat down with the War Cry to talk about his latest film production, “Sunrise in Heaven.” He plays the lead character, Jim, a military man and overly protective father of his daughter who is seeking to spread her wings in a relationship with a young man who is enlisted in the Air Force. Bernsen is best known for his portrayal of the lawyer Arnie Becker in the hit TV series “L.A. Law.” Younger audiences will recall him as the father, Henry Spencer, in “Psych,” another long-running TV series.


War Cry: How does your personal faith determine what roles you take?

Corbin Bernsen: A larger answer to that is my personal faith is an exploration of faith. I tried to make it clear that my faith is a journey and a discovery. It’s a constant education, if you will—an enlightenment. Not everything I do is a faith-based move. I have now a greater understanding of who we are as human beings and our God-given potential. I understand that we are reflections of God, as God’s children. If I’m going to play a bad guy, I understand you may not be the character, but by distancing yourself from the character you can become a better reflection of God.


War Cry: In the film “Sunrise in Heaven,” you play Jim. There is an external crustiness to him, but there is also an internal softness to Jim.

Corbin Bernsen: Jim knows deep down that his daughter is good. He also knows that this young man is good. He has this struggle inside that will not allow them to let their relationship take shape. A lot of people walk that road. A lot of people say, “Help, I want to be thin. Why am I eating? I want to kick drugs; oh, I’m doing drugs. I want to quit drinking. Why am I having this drink?” We have this kind of struggle within us. [We struggle] to do the right thing, but we don’t do it.” Jim knows this boyfriend is right. He knows, but he can’t let his past go. He can’t let his fear go. We have so much darkness in us that is based on fear. And the dark and fear definitely opens you up to the darkness in life. Jim works this guy. He is as good a person as he is an expert marksman. He just can’t really fit in with Jim.


War Cry: What were some of your favorite aspects of playing the role of Jim?

Corbin Bernsen: I like the notion of just being a father. I have a lot to go on, as I have four sons. We have such expectations of not only the destination we want for our children but the path that we think they should follow. Often, that’s reflected in the past of what we thought worked for us. “I did it this way; therefore, you must too.” But you don’t take into account, “What if times have changed?” I know what’s on the list for my kids. I just wanted them to be good, decent people. I can’t dictate whether they are rich or poor, living in a mansion or appearing in a hot movie. I have taught them helping people is vital in life.


War Cry: Who inspires you?

Corbin Bernsen: Well, she’s gone—my mother inspired me, God bless her. (Editor’s Note: Wilma Jeanne Cooper was an American actress, best known for her role as Katherine Chancellor on the CBS soap opera “The Young and the Restless.”) She was a wonderful actress who had this incredible dynamic. She was the one who really put the basic lessons of Christ in my life, teaching me to know right and wrong. She put that in my heart, and I always remember her for that. Other things inspire me, like when I hear a band like U2; you get the feeling they know what they are talking about. You see these people of deep faith… I am inspired by people like that very specifically, because it’s okay; you can have faith in Christ and like Him, and you can have rock and roll too.


War Cry: You’ve been involved with The Salvation Army over the years. What drives you to support The Salvation Army?

Corbin Bernsen: I think actually it started when I was a child, and I saw my first Red Kettle. It is the first place I really understood the notion of charity; contributing even a small amount of money in the kettle goes a long way in helping others. My mother taught me about the importance of giving. I remember telling her I only had a penny, and she told me, “That’s your Army.” So my first interaction as a child was to give at the Red Kettle. That’s why when I designed the snow globe for The Salvation Army, it was really important for me that the Kettle was a part of it, because that was the inspiration.


War Cry: What’s the best gift that a fan has ever given you?

Corbin Bernsen: Many people know about my snow globe collection; it’s very well documented now. (Editor’s Note: Corbin has one of the largest snow globe collections in the world, with 8,000 globes!) I love when somebody gives me a homemade snow globe, because they know I like snow globes. So it’s personal, especially if it’s one that they made themselves!


War Cry: What’s next for you?

Corbin Bernsen: I actually have a film coming out called “Life with Dog.” It’s a wonderful little film that I wrote and directed. It will be available on DVD at Walmart [and on] Amazon, and it will be available on Pure Flix starting in July.


War Cry: On behalf of The Salvation Army, thank you for all your support over the years, and we pray God’s blessings to you, your family and future endeavors.

Corbin Bernsen: Thank you to all in The Salvation Army. I know the work that The Salvation Army does. My relationship with The Salvation Army brings great meaning and purpose to my life, so, thank you.


Corbin Bernsen most recently appeared as Vulcan on Starz’s groundbreaking series “American Gods” and Bill McGann in Showtime’s “Billions.” He and actress Amanda Pays have been married for 30 years and have four sons whom they raised in Los Angeles. Recently, the couple moved to a farm house in Upstate New York and are currently restoring it.

The Story of A Life: Leaving a Spiritual Legacy

In our more sober and sobering moments, those personal and silent, we are bound to consider this: what will our children, in fact, any who come after us—children, grandchildren, others who became part of lives, those within our spheres of influence—remember about us when we “leave the surly bonds of Earth” and are gone?

What will they say was important to us? Has it become important to them? What have they learned from us? What would they say they learned about God, about life, about His plan for life, from the way we lived, from who we were and from what we did? About how to care for a spouse, or children, or strangers and those different from us? About responsibility, character, loyalty? How will they remember us? And if they do, what will be remembered? In other words, what will be the story of our lives?

Of course, we might wonder if we would be missed, and if missed, why and for what? It seems that looking into the future this way requires us to look into the past. A biblical reference can be helpful here—Isaiah 51 to be precise.

Here, God is speaking to His people through the prophet Isaiah. The people are discouraged, practically without hope. Nothing has gone right. Has God kept His promises? Let me suggest that this is a concern only to those who take God seriously. Hope deferred can be a hard trial.

Judgment had come to the people of God. They were in exile, being punished for their disobedience. God has even admitted to having abandoned His people, albeit briefly (cf. Isaiah 54:7). As an antidote, to provide comfort and consolation, the Lord advised His people to remember who they are, from where and what they have come: “Hearken to me, you who pursue deliverance, you who seek the Lord: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were digged” (Isaiah 51:2 RSV). Or, as The Message presents it: “Listen to me, all you who are serious about right living and committed to seeking God. Ponder the rock from which you were cut.” It is as though God is saying, “Remember yesterday, as you prepare for tomorrow.” The lessons of the past can be instructive for what is to come.

Memory Matters
When we cease our reflecting and realism takes over, we may even wonder if memory matters at all. Memories are not entirely in our control. For one reason or another, we may lose them. However, without memories, we could scarcely be moral creatures, because we would have little on which to base or make moral decisions. But, because we do have memories, we have an obligation to consider them and cannot avoid responsibility for what our memories may bring to mind. Elie Wiesel, the well-known survivor of the Holocaust, remarked that if we stop remembering, we stop being. That is perhaps one thing that we dread, especially as we age—that in our personal lives, we will lose our memories. We dread memory loss; it means an enfeebled and weakened life. We fear that situation for ourselves and pity the condition in others. We will lose who we are, because who we are is not just shaped by what happens today, but what happens over all of our days.

And leaving a legacy has to do with memory, i.e., what will be remembered—about us, about what was important to us, about what we did and who we were. A legacy is a way we make promises to the future, as others remember the past and act on what they have learned and remember. What we have learned from those before us contributes to who and what we are today.

Memories, legacies, help us to recognize that we do not have a corner on wisdom or experience. In fact, no age has such a corner. No generation does. That is why we have a high and healthy regard for history, and a high and healthy regard for the future as well. We do not worship the past, but neither are we iconoclasts, destroying everything that is older than we are. So, when we remember, what do we see? Which of our memories must be committed to those who follow?

“Look at your origin,” Isaiah says, “Look at what you were, look at from what you have come from.” Recognizing the work of God yesterday can only result in hope for tomorrow. This is a hopeful, hope-filled God.

We are talking about the lessons of the past. What have we learned from them? The lessons of the past only have meaning as we remember them. So, what have we remembered? What have we learned from the legacy delivered to us?

We look to the past to consider from where we have come and to consider who has produced us, who has influenced us, who has helped us, who has encouraged us, who has guided us, who has reminded us we could be better than we were—that we were better than to be doing some of the things we had done, better than to be saying some of the things we said.

But that was then. What about now? What will those who follow confess they learned from us? We will all leave a legacy of some kind. What kind will it be? Assuming our legacy is not something haphazard over which we have no influence or control, what direction and purposefulness can be brought to bear? We would call it forming a legacy. Just how is it formed?

Where Legacy Begins
A legacy is formed by deciding what is important to us, who depends and relies on us, who learns from us, who looks to us for the answers to life and its opportunities and its questions.

Like the Israelites of old, those whom Isaiah was addressing, we are persuaded and convinced that it all begins with God. We present and represent the things of God to those who look to us for direction, guidance, support, understanding and answers to the questions of life.

We who have found meaning for life, the meaning of life, through an intimate relationship with the God who created us all, want those whom we are teaching and mentoring to know that relationship as well. We believe that life, real and fulfilled life, only takes on meaning as it is lived in the knowledge that God is the One to Whom we are ultimately responsible and accountable.

It requires intentionality, a decision that we will live in such a way that those who come under our influence will have no doubt as to what is important to us and that what we believe is of ultimate importance and eternal significance. Sometimes that relationship, that knowledge, comes in definite and well-defined ways; at other times these words of William Booth, from “Training of Children,” describe the experience:

Question:May not children grow into salvation without knowing the exact moment of conversion?Answer:Yes, it may be so; and in the future we trust this will be the usual way in which children will be brought into the Kingdom. When the parents are godly, and the children are surrounded by holy influences and examples from their birth, they will doubtless come to know and love and trust their Saviour in the ordinary course of things. The Holy Spirit will take possession of them from the first. Mothers and fathers will, as it were, put them into the Saviour’s arms in their swaddling clothes, and He will take them, and bless them, and sanctify them from the very womb, and make them His own, without their knowing the hour or the place when they pass from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light.

Whichever way God allows it to happen for us and for those who follow us, our affirmation will be, as it was for Isaiah: ” …Joy and gladness will be found… Thanksgiving and the voice of a song” (51.3 RSV). All the while, the legacy we leave will find favor and fruit in the lives of those we will lead and those who will follow. In other words, it will be the story of a life.


Commissioner William Roberts’ last appointments as an active Salvation Army officer were as USA National Commander and as Chief of the Staff at International Headquarters in London. He and his wife, Commissioner Nancy Roberts, live in Farmington Hills, MI.