Honoring Veterans The Right Way [repost]

Disclaimer: I’m a patriotic crier. I love the United States of America, and proudly call her the greatest nation in history. So whenever I watch a patriotic movie, or serve at a veteran’s funeral, or even sing the national anthem before a Cedar Springs football game, I get misty.

I believe we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our veterans. But I also believe we may not be honoring that debt in the right way.

We usually honor our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have given “their last full measure of devotion” by playing taps at their funeral, firing a 21-gun salute, or even putting a flag in the sacred ground of their burial site every year at Memorial Day.

But what about our vets who are still living? Don’t they deserve more than just an occasional visit on Veterans Day?

In many ways, we treat Veterans Day like we do Thanksgiving Day: it’s just one day on our calendar to take care of our obligations to be grateful, and then we can continue on with business-as-usual until the next year.

Wouldn’t it be more fitting for us to treat Veterans Day—like Thanksgiving Day—as a culmination of another year full of gratitude? After all, it’s very likely that we wouldn’t even be able to enjoy our business-as-usual lives if it were not for the sacrifices of our veterans.

The Apostle Paul gives us a good pattern to follow. Four times in his letters he says, “I thank God for you every time I remember you” (Romans 1:9; Philippians 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:3; Philemon 4). In these times of thanks, he is remembering others who put their lives on the line for freedom, just as our veterans have done for us.

Here are at least three things we can learn from Paul’s thankfulness to apply to our gratitude for our veterans —

  1. Keep mementos of remembrance around you. Perhaps it’s an American flag, or a picture, or a Veterans Day program. Simply find something that will jog your memory frequently about the debt of gratitude we owe to our vets.
  2. Pray for our veterans. Paul often told his friends that when he was filled with thoughts of gratitude about them, he turned those thoughts into prayers for them.
  3. Turn your feelings into actions. When you see one of your mementos and say a prayer for a veteran, take it a step further. Jot a note to a vet, send an email, send flowers, or take them out to lunch. Perhaps you could invite a veteran into your home for Thanksgiving or Christmas or Easter, or “adopt” a veteran on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.

The point is this: Let’s not make honoring our veterans something we only do on November 11. Let’s remember them often, be thankful for them always, and turn those thoughts and gratitude into action all year long.

Last Full Measure Of Devotion

“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” —Abraham Lincoln 

Book Reviews From 2016

Links & Quotes

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 [VIDEO] John Maxwell has a special message for veterans as he talks about heroism—

“God never says ‘no’ to us unless ‘no’ will make us ultimately happier.” —Jon Bloom

“You may remember the Old Testament story of the Israelite spies sent to scout out the Promised Land. They came back saying, ‘Yes, it’s a land flowing with milk and honey. But it’s also full of giants and walled-up cities. We’re not able to go up against these people. Compared to them, we’re mere grasshoppers’ (see Numbers 13). Now, these men didn’t accuse God. They never said, ‘God isn’t able. He isn’t strong enough.’ They dared not voice such unbelief. Instead, they focused on themselves, saying, ‘We’re not able. We’re like little bugs in our enemies’ sight.’ Yet that is not humility. And it isn’t innocent, harmless talk. Rather, it’s an affront to the One who is the Light of the world, who commands us to believe, ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me’ (Philippians 4:13).” —David Wilkerson

“The voice of God indeed daily calls to us; calls to the world to abandon sins and seek the Kingdom of God wholeheartedly.” —C.S. Lewis

J. Warner Wallace uses his skill as a cold-case detective to examine the testimony of the New Testament Gospel writers. Here is his case for why the Gospels were written fairly soon after Christ’s ascension.

Unfortunately, this is true: The First Amendment Is Dying.

[VIDEO] Was Jesus a myth?—

Links & Quotes

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“Authority never comes from you, but from God through you, therefore let God introduce or withhold as He chooses.” —Oswald Chambers

“The best of men are men at best; and, apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, and the power of divine grace, hell itself does not contain greater monsters than you and I might become.” —Charles Spurgeon

“The Bible is the grand repository … It is the complete system of divine truth, to which nothing can be added, and from which nothing can be taken, with impunity. Every attempt to disguise or soften any branch of this truth, in order to accommodate it to the prevailing taste around us, either to avoid the displeasure, or to court the favor, of our fellow mortals, must be an affront to the majesty of God, and an act of treachery to men.” —John Newton

“Seeking the Kingdom of God is not a matter of doing first things first. Seeking the Kingdom is not just the first thing on the Christian’s daily to-do list. Seeking the Kingdom is a first things always proposition, so that whatever is on our to-do list on any given day, seeking the Kingdom is the first things pursuit which defines and directs everything else we do.” —T.M. Moore

Eric Metaxas said, “Children are being sexually abused in Afghanistan, and our soldiers are being told to turn a blind eye. That’s got to stop.” Read more in his commentary Their Custom, Our Complicity.

In the style of C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, Burk Parsons writes a letter to pastors.

A thought-provoking piece from Nancy Pearcey, in light of the Kim Davis situation and the Obergefell decision: The Bait-and-Switch Over Same-Sex ‘Marriage.’

Seth Godin points out, “Thinking of one’s self as a failure is not the same as failing.” Read more from On Feeling Like A Failure.

Links & Quotes

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“The spiritual life is life in Jesus Christ, our risen and reigning Savior and King. We are in Him and He is in us, and we are learning to desire Him and deny whatever keeps us from depending solely on Him for full and abundant life.” —T.M. Moore

“The Bible itself gives us one short prayer which is suitable for all who are struggling with the beliefs and doctrines. It is: ‘Lord I believe, help Thou my unbelief [Mark 9:24].’” —C.S. Lewis

“The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here…. [These] are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the ocean.” —Jonathan Edwards

Senator Ted Cruz calls on pastors to speak out about abortion: “Preaching from the pulpit biblical values on life and comparing those values, the teachings of Jesus, to this nationwide business of trafficking in the body parts of unborn children is a message that needs to be heard across this nation.”

When 200 retired US generals and admirals speak out on this Iranian deal, I would think our Senators should take notice.

Links & Quotes

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“‘And Enoch walked with God’ [Genesis 5:24]. If so much as this can be truly said of you and me after our decease, we shall not have any reason to complain that we have lived in vain.” —George Whitefield

“A neglect of secret prayer has been frequently an inlet to many spiritual diseases, and has been attended with fatal consequences.” —George Whitefield

“You have heard many men’s dying words, and these are mine: A life spent in communion with God is the pleasantest life in the world.” —Matthew Henry, to a friend when near his death

Sgt. Jason Kelley is a wonderful asset to my hometown, and our surrounding area. So I couldn’t be happier that he has been named Kent County Deputy of the Year!

We are losing a pastor who has been so involved in our city. Pastor Tom Holloway is moving to South Carolina, and I am going to miss him.

A U.S. Army chaplain has found an innovative way to water baptize soldiers. Love it!

Eric Metaxas asks, “How can anyone defend Planned Parenthood after the sickening video came to light this week?” Check out his insightful answer.

[VIDEO] Here is the video from another Periscope broadcast I did about handling fear—

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