Attitude Check—No Blooper
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."1
Recently I wrote in a Daily Encounter about a pilot's "attitude check." A part of what I quoted was as follows: "But that word 'attitude' can be a life-or-death word for a pilot. One of my friends described a plane's attitude to me as its position relative to the ground, to the horizon…. After decades of flying, including landing on aircraft carriers, he summarized the importance of a plane's attitude this way: 'Right attitude, you keep flying. Wrong attitude, you stop flying.'"
And yes, I had several sincere readers inform me that I made a blooper as the word I should have used was "altitude" and not "attitude." I always appreciate corrections from readers. Often they are right. When they are, I make the correction on the archived copy.
However, regarding the "attitude check" I asked a pilot friend about this. He then sent the Daily Encounter in question to several pilots and a pilot instructor, all of whom said the Daily Encounter was correct that "attitude" is as important as "altitude." The pilot instructor, Jennifer Avery, wrote, "Altitude is critical too, but it doesn't matter how high you are, if your attitude is wrong you will still certainly crash—it just takes longer to hit the ground. Student Pilots are taught that: Attitude + Power (RPM) = Performance (i.e. speed, height, rate of turn, rate of climb or descent)."
One of the pilots, Alan Stray, who is with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the Australian accident investigators, gave this marvelous illustration: "By the way, regarding instrument approaches using the ILS [Instrument Landing System], if you keep the needles [hair lines on the instrument panel] crossed, you will fly the approach safely down the localiser and on glideslope. If the localiser needle moves to the left or right, you follow it to bring it back to the middle of the instrument and likewise if the glideslope needle moves up or down, you follow it until the needles form a cross. If you keep your eyes on the cross you will arrive at 'home'." (See 2 below.)
I had no idea what the localizer or glideslope were, but what a marvelous illustration regarding life. If we keep our eyes on the cross [of Christ], putting our trust in Him for our eternal salvation, we too will arrive safely at home to be with the Lord forever.
Right Cross we live—wrong "cross" we die—eternally.*
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in the words of the hymn-writer, 'In the cross of Christ I glory, towering o'er the wrecks of time; All the light of sacred story Gathers round its head sublime.' I thank You that because of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, I have been forgiven of all my sins, and have the assurance of eternal salvation to live with You forever in heaven. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
*For a safe “spiritual attitude check” see “How to Be Sure You’re a Real Christian” at: http://tinyurl.com/real-christian
1. Hebrews 12:2 (NIV).
2. NOTE for those who are interested: Pilot Les Nixon of Australia's Outback Patrol, (http://www.outbackpatrol.com.au) explained that the ILS (Instrument Landing System) is a radio system installed at every major airport runway in the world. The pilot's radio locks onto two signals concurrently, one for latitude—left and right, and the other for altitude, the glideslope up and down. When the two fine hairs on the instrument panel cross and center, the plane is exactly on the ILS glideslope. It usually starts about 10 miles out at 3000 feet above ground level, and progressively guides the plane through the rain, snow, fog and dark to the threshold of the active runway.