Poetry Saturday—They Stand

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They stand at attention saluting our flag,
or they place a hand over their heart.
They’ve stood together on foreign lands,
each one has done their part.
They’ve defended this nation and some have died
to ensure that you’ve kept your rights.
They’ve watched as their buddies fell to the ground,
and they’ve slept in the jungle some nights.
They’ve crawled in the mud while covered with blood,
our children, our daughters, and sons,
and never, not once did they go on strike,
saying they did not get enough funds.
Many days they have gone without sleep
as they fought for this country we love.
Thousands of them have lost their lives
and went with our God up above.
To us, they are heroes, but to them it’s their job,
they do what needs to be done,
defending this country that we so love,
even down to the last one.
We give them a day to memorialize them,
to honor them for all that they do,
but a year would not be honor enough
for the service they give that is true.
Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines,
men and women that are so grand.
They serve this nation of America,
and forever, together they stand. —Barney Fritcher

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One Of The Few (book review)

one-of-the-fewI love to read stories that take me “behind the scenes.” Which is one of the reasons I enjoy reading autobiographies, where the author is candid and transparent, and gives me the scoop on things I wouldn’t have experienced myself. That’s exactly what I got in One Of The Few by Jason Ladd.

Jason takes us inside the United States Marine Corp, specifically into the seat of a Marine pilot. We get to see firsthand the grit, intelligence, and perseverance it takes to be one of the few, the proud, the Marines. Learning a little more about what it takes to attain this elite status, increased my respect for our men and women in military service even more.

But as I read Jason’s story, I quickly learned that he was learning from his own life experiences as well. As he pursues his dream, as he learns new skills, as he is confronted with the harsh realities of wartime situations, Jason must also come to grips with his beliefs about spiritual matters. His journey is uniquely his, but he shares his story in a way that will benefit anyone who is either wrestling with spiritual questions, or anyone who is trying to befriend someone who is skeptical about the Christian faith.

One Of The Few resonated with me on many levels: a great personal story, excellent leadership lessons, new military insights, and great Christian apologetic skills. Definitely put this book on your “to be read” list.

I am a Boone Shepherd book reviewer.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

[PHOTOS] Today is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Here are some great pictures of our Marines in action.

“Your hope for the future is not in what you did yesterday, but improving today so that you can meet the future head-on.” —John Maxwell

Did you know that 90% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted?! Here are 9 people with Down syndrome who live highly successful lives.

“‘Circumstances over which I have no control’ is a perfectly true phrase, but it must never be made to mean that we cannot control ourselves in those circumstances.” —Oswald Chambers

“The whole Bible and all past history unite to teach that battles are always won before the armies take the field. The critical moment for any army is not the day it engages the foe in actual combat; it is the day before or the month before or the year before. … Preparation is vital. Let this be noted by everyone. We can seek God today and get prepared to meet temptation tomorrow; but if we meet the enemy without first having met God, the outcome is not conjectural; the issue is already decided. We can only lose.” —A.W. Tozer

“We must open our Bibles every morning with this prayer—‘Give us this day our daily bread.’” —Charles Spurgeon

Good advice on how to respond to people who are antagonistic toward your Christian faith.

Hmm, Pope Francis demotes (again!) a U.S. cardinal who is doctrinally conservative.

Links & Quotes

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Some interesting reading from today…

“Good performance is the road by which one travels toward life. He who travels this road is in quest of life. ‘Take courage and do manfully.’ This road has its reward. As often as we become fatigued by the journey’s labor, we are enlightened by the grace of a solicitude from on high, and we ‘taste and see that the Lord is sweet.’ And thus comes to pass what was said above—what prayer asks, contemplation finds.” —Hugh of St. Victor (1096-1141 AD)

Help bring home USMC Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi.

[VIDEO] First century synagogue unearthed in Magdala may have been one in which Jesus taught.

A touching reminder from Ken Davis on how he honors his father on Memorial Day.

“We were created to glorify God (Isaiah 43:7), and because Paul said, ‘Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God’ (1 Corinthians 10:31). So it is sin to pursue any good deed, or any act of worship, without the intent to glorify God. But God is not glorified where we find Him less pleasing than other things. He is belittled. Knowing this, we cannot be indifferent to whether we find God pleasing in the actions we pursue. In all those actions, if we would glorify God, we must aim to find Him more pleasing than anything else.” —John Piper

“The One who made and counted all the stars—who monitored every action of the Roman Empire and who keeps all the galaxies in the orbits—has His eye fixed on you. And, Jesus asks, ‘Are you not worth much more to Him?’” —David Wilkerson

“If we function according to our ability alone, we get the glory; if we function according to the power of the Spirit within us, God gets the glory.” —Henry Blackaby

Joker One (book review)

At first glance, Donovan Campbell’s narrative of his time in Ramadi, Iraq, might seem like a typical war story. But, as the old cliché says, you cannot judge a book by its cover.

Joker One is the name of a United States Marine Corps platoon. But Joker One the book is really more about leadership. Lieutenant Campbell leads us through his day-by-day struggles to lead his men to success. Along the way he has to do the full 360-leadership cycle: leading up with his commanding officers; leading sideways with other commissioned officers; and lead leading down with his squad leaders. Along the way he discovers something remarkable: his Marines are great leaders themselves.

Lt. Campbell sees his men grow in their own leadership skills under his mentorship. He finds his strength in them. He carries a heavy leadership load until his men have to carry him. It reminded me so much of the leadership principles that others have postulated for the board room, but the Marines of Joker One make them happen on the battlefield.

This is a gripping story. Some of the battle scenes are gritty, and some of the language is a little rough (this is probably a PG-13 book). The love and respect that develops between this officer and his men is an amazing study in leadership. It’s also a book about decision-making under fire, the consequences of those decisions, pain, redemption, faith.

I cried and I cheered while reading this book. I hold the members of our military in very high esteem. This book raised my level of respect for our airmen, sailors, soldiers, and Marines even higher. You will be challenged and stirred by the exploits of Joker One.

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