To Honor Those Who Serve….

I wrote this 4 years ago, but I think it’s worth sharing again. I want to acknowlege a few of the pastors who have touched my life and helped me in my journey through life: my Dad, Bill Henry. Mark Hitchcock. Dennis Newkirk. Chuck Robinson. Lonny Lee. There are many others, and I’m not leaving you off to offend you!

As a nation, we have several designated days for remembering. Yesterday was the anniversary of an unfathomable tragedy for these United States. In May, we honor our fallen service men and women; in November, D-day.

EVERY day of the year is an anniversary for honoring someone who has given their life for another. It is Army and Air Force, Marines and Navy; Police officers and firemen. Ambulance personnel, EMT’s and ER doctors and nurses. Airline pilots and personnel. Everyday, ordinary people. Pastors.

Why would I add “Pastors” to this list?

Have you looked at your pastor lately? REALLY looked? I’m not speaking of preachers who stand in the pulpit on Sundays and lead separate lives during the week, or the ones who are all about appearance and wealth. I’m talking about Pastors, and missionaries who devote their lives to service. Men who love their spiritual flock as their own families. Men – and their wives – who sacrifice themselves to God and His work.

We, as their flocks, their congregations, are doing better these days to recognize their need for respite from their service, I think – but our pastors need our care and support. Physical care and support, obviously, but even more importantly they need our emotional and spiritual support.

My Dad served in the United States Merchant Marines as a radio officer during WWII. Over the course of his life, my Dad gave his life in total to serving his Lord and his flocks at the expense of his health. Wherever, whenever he was called, he gave everything he had, even at times at the expense of the family. Even during his last days on this earth he was witnessing to his health care workers. He gave all. What an example.

To me, he was and is a great example of a hero.

Every day, I miss him. I can’t wait to see him and have his arms around me in heaven. Let’s dance, Daddy. I love you.

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Lest We Forget

July 4, 2019. 243 years ago, a group of men gathered, in secret, to forge ahead with actions that would end up costing many of them – literally – their fortunes and their lives. They did it in the name of freedom. Freedom from tyranny, freedom of religion, freedom to decide their own fates. Freedom to escape the rule of ‘class’. Were these men perfect? Far from it! Did they make mistakes? Absolutely! Yet they forged ahead, determined that their children and their children’s children and so on would have a place to live in freedom.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

We the People. No country, no nation before us was ever started with a Populous government! With all of the controversy over the Betsy Ross flag and Nike’s decision to pull their shoe that displayed it because it is a “slave” flag, let me refer to Article XIII of the Bill of Rights:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Was there slavery? Yes. It was in the form of both outright ownership of persons and indentured servitude. Was it against the Constitution? Yes, it was. Is it still occurring in the United States? Yes, I am sorry to say, although it is to a much lesser extent than in other countries. Our ancestors fought wars to prevent undue rule and unjust rule. The Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War; WWI and WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Afganistan, the Middle East….. We are still fighting over unjust practices and inhumane treatment. The Civil War wasn’t about slavery; it was about States rights!

What’s my point?

There will never be a perfect place to live on this earth, because humanity is flawed to the core. No man or woman is perfect, and we will all do and say offensive and stupid things. Bearing that in mind, and knowing that in these United States we are all responsible for ourselves, we are Blessed! What other country allows such blatant disrespect to it to flourish within it’s borders? Where else on earth can people publicly make fun of and disrespect their leader without experiencing dire consequences?

Since 1776, millions of men and women, United States citizens, have given everything for our freedom. There are currently hundreds, thousands, military personnel putting their lives on the line, every single day, for our freedom. Ditto for the Police officers, Sheriff departments, Border Patrol Agents, every type of Law Enforcement; all First Responders – Fire, EMT’s. Where else in the world do these freedoms and protections exist? Nowhere, to the extent of those in the United States.

It’s a day to be thankful. We can worship how and when we please, we can speak out – and act out – against our government in freedom.

GOD BLESS AMERICA.

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Sadly, this jigsaw puzzle is no longer available.

And Justice For All

Watch the Pledge of Allegiance, a word-by-word meaning explained by Red Skelton, on YouTube, recorded 14 January 1969….. and watch it all the way to the end. It’s only 4 minutes out of your day and totally worth it!

“For justice may be slow and invisible, but it always renders its true verdict in the end.” – Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad

I am so blessed to live in this country where our Pledge of Allegience includes these words: “under GOD” and “with liberty and justice for all.” Is it true? Is there liberty and justice for all? Nope, not even close. But – why? Whose fault is it that we are so lacking in those two tenets? It’s very simple, really. This is a nation made up of human beings. We are not just, individually or collectively, thanks to our inherent sinful natures, but as a nation, we try. There is no other place in the world that has the freedoms that we have, and it is because of the strong Christian faith of the founders of our country. That said, it is also a country of severe injustice and prejudice. Those attitudes won’t ever be completely overcome as long as humans are in charge, and that is why it is so critical for us – the followers of the LORD JESUS CHRIST – to tell others of the Gospel. There will be JUSTICE FOR ALL in the end!

“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.” – JAMES 5:7‭-‬12 NASB

Are you prepared for Justice to be meted out in your life? If I were to be judged on my own merit, I would be sent straight to hell. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, go straight to jail. I thank Jesus that He is my Advocate, and that He has covered my sins with His Blood. The scales of Justice will show every human to have ever lived as severely lacking….. It is only through the Grace, Love, and Mercy of our God, and through the Blood of Jesus that was shed for us that we won’t be consigned to hell. We may not see justice in our lifetime, or it may seem to be slow, but there will be Justice for all in the end. GOD will see to it.

Are you ready to face Him? Have you pledged allegiance to Him?

Honor – and Ruin: NOT PC

Honor – and Ruin: NOT PC
Define hon·ornoun
  1. high respect; great esteem. “His portrait hangs in the place of honor”
  2. adherence to what is right or to a conventional standard of conduct. “I must as a matter of honor avoid any taint of dishonesty”

What has happened to honor? Aren’t we supposed to honor our government officials – if not the person, then the office? That’s how I was raised…. Unfortunately, politicians are making such a laughing stock of their positions and their office, and straying so far from our constitution and our laws, it’s becoming more and more difficult. So many think they are above the law. They can hold a position, an ideology, that they present as what we the people need – but it doesn’t apply to them.

I “should be” grateful that they want to oversee and control my life, providing me with what they think I need. Since when is that even remotely okay? I live in America. The United States of America. We have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights. Some of my ancestors migrated here in the 1800’s and early 1900’s – and some were born here. We (almost) all have ancestors who came here to escape poverty and/or lack of freedom, and they came legally as immigrants. Some came as indentured servants, and some came as slaves – of all colors. When my ancestors arrived, they did several things: find jobs (not welfare), and learned the common – English – language.

Some became well-off financially, and some struggled, but I believe that regardless of their financial circumstances, they came and stayed because of the freedom afforded them. Freedom of speech, freedom to protect themselves instead of having to rely on the police or a police-state. Freedom to move around the country without governmental restrictions. These are all reasons that I choose to stay and protect my country.

You see, true immigrants don’t move to another country to make into a mirror of where they come from. We don’t move from one community to another in order to change it to what is familiar. We move so that we can find like-minded people whose ideas and beliefs mesh with our own.

Why do people come to America today? The majority, the ones who do it legally, do it because of the promise of freedom. They leave their country of origin because of oppression; because they believe they can have a better life here. They learn English and they find work.

I believe that we the people had better get a grip! Honor isn’t being taught in our homes or our schools, and it isn’t even up to our schools! We aren’t teaching our kids to honor their parents or other adults. We aren’t teaching them to honor our country, or our Constitution. We aren’t teaching them the principles this country was founded on – freedom and honor.

Without those, we are ruined.

It’s That Time, Again

“My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance ….. ” – James 1:2‭-‬3 NRSV

Tomorrow, we vote. At least, I hope and pray we all do! Do we vote our conscience, do we vote party-line, do we vote the politically correct way – or do we skip it altogether because we don’t like the choices? I think that for the followers of CHRIST it has become a battle to know the ‘right’ way to vote. Negative political ads flourish on television and social media, every candidate trying to destroy their opponent’s credibility. Often, it comes down to picking the lesser of the two evils as presented. These are indeed times of trial for us. We cannot, unfortunately, take anyone at their word. It’s a definite challenge to “consider it [ALL] joy,” when it appears to be more of a time to weep.

I know who I will vote for. I have done the research, I have spoken with candidates when possible, I have talked with friends who might know the candidate, and I have prayed. Read the rest of these verses from James:

“…. because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask GOD, Who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the LORD.” – James 1:2‭-‬8 NRSV

I admit to being frightened by so much of the current rhetoric and hate being spewed out across all of the media. The reality is that these United States are being dragged into an exceedingly liberal, socialist time. Regard for Christians is falling rapidly as we embrace diversity in everything, including religion (except Christianity!), and especially the religion of “ME.” Selfishness abounds and is rampant in our so-called heroes of the day. The honor and respect for patriots, our armed forces, and our leaders is rapidly waning as Hollywood and pro-athletes and liberal politicians take over.

What can I as an individual do? Pray. Vote. Most of all, I must bow to GOD’s superior Will, realizing that it may not be what I see as the best for my country….. but that doesn’t mean I will just lie down and let my country go to hell in a handbasket! No matter what happens tomorrow, or in the next election, or the next, I know this without a doubt: GOD WILL PREVAIL IN THE END. There will be much tribulation, and many trials, for CHRIST-followers before our LORD returns, including the rise to power by the Liberal Socialism being touted as the answer to those trials. [Side note: L.S. is NOT the answer! Only JESUS.]

Don’t lay down, and don’t be complacent. Listen to Carrollton sing “Made For This” from their album “Made For This.” Ask GOD, and ask in Faith, never doubting. In the end, Satan loses. How do I know? Because my LORD promises the defeat and destruction of all of the Enemy’s handiwork. (Read the “back” of the Book, Revelations.) Amen!

American, My Home

“If at any time I [the LORD] announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.” – Jeremiah 18:7‭-‬10 NIV

From history, we know the country we now call the United States of America was founded by early settlers who crossed the ocean, fleeing religious persecution, bigotry, and poverty. Yes, I am aware that there were already native people here, and yes, I will stipulate that the new settlers brought their own forms of bigotry with them, but that I don’t want that to be the focus here. Founded as a Christian nation, with Christian values written into the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, we have strayed far from the Founder’s vision of a united, free nation. It seems as though anything and everything is acceptable today – that is, anything except following JESUS CHRIST and proclaiming that He is LORD. I’m afraid that GOD was speaking directly to the U.S. in verses 9-10, and in these next verses, too:

“….. ‘This is what the LORD says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’ But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’ ” – Jeremiah 18:11‭-‬12 NIV

Why do we do that? Telling GOD, our Creator, no??? Here He is, telling us plainly what is going to happen to us, to our nation, if we don’t make some major changes, now. I can’t change the world, or the state I live in, by myself. Individually we aren’t very powerful, but together, especially when we allow GOD to work with us and within us, we can do anything. That’s what he tells us in 2 Chronicles, giving us hope of salvation for our nation, and even for our world.

“…. if My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

LET FREEDOM RING!

“For the Spirit GOD gave us does not make us timid, but gives us Power, Love and self-Discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our LORD or of me His prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the Gospel, by the Power of GOD. He has saved us and called us to a Holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His Own Purpose and grace. This Grace was given us in CHRIST JESUS before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our SAVIOR, CHRIST JESUS, Who has destroyed death and has brought LIFE and Immortality to light through the Gospel.” – 2 Timothy 1:7‭-‬10 NIV

Okay, you are probably asking what in the world does this scripture have to do with our celebrating the freedom of our country today? Without the Freedom of our LORD, there is no other freedom. We are Blessed to live in this great country (yes, great, despite all of her problems) where we can believe and worship and give testimony to our beliefs without fear of government retaliation. It is nearly impossible to do this in many countries around the world. It is unfortunate, though, that even in the U.S.A. many followers of CHRIST are singled out and persecuted, while any and every other belief system is tolerated, and encouraged. Our soldiers and sailors, fly-boys and marines and other maritime services have given life and limb to ensure our freedoms….. yet so many citizens spit on them and ridicule and revile them for that service.

Today, I celebrate my freedom as a citizen of this great nation, and I celebrate my freedom from death through JESUS CHRIST. Both of these freedoms came with tremendous sacrifice! Not my sacrifice, but the unbelievable and incomprehensible sacrifices of our country’s men and women, and most importantly, the sacrifice of my LORD and SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST. Grace and Mercy abounds, Amen!

“If My people, who are called by MY Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I WILL Hear from heaven, and I WILL forgive their sin and WILL heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

Time to hit our knees, people!!