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

link quote

 [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

link quote

“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

link quote

“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

link quote

“‘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—

D-Day Prayer

Franklin D. Roosevelt at prayerOn the evening of June 6, 1944, the Allied troops were already well into their D-Day landing in Europe. That evening President Franklin D. Roosevelt took to the radio airwaves to offer up this prayer—

Almighty God,

   Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. 

   Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

   They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

   They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest—until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violence of war.

   For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good-will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

   Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy Kingdom….

   With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace—a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

   Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen. —Franklin D. Roosevelt, on D-Day evening (June 6, 1944)

Links & Quotes

link quote

“You see, growing in grace doesn’t mean doing more or greater things for God. True growth comes in doing the same things over and over, with more heart assurance that we’re doing everything for Him.” —David Wilkerson

“As males, we draw sexual gratification and chemical highs through our eyes. If viewing sensual things merely provided a flutter of appreciation for a woman’s beauty, it would be no different than viewing the awesome power of a thunderstorm racing over the Iowa cornfields. No sin. No problem. But if you’re getting sexual gratification, it defiles the marriage bed, and you’re also paying prices you may not even see. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature from that nature will reap destruction (Galatians 6:7-8).” —Steve Arterburn

My neighbor shared this thoughtful quote with me: “What if you woke up today with only what you thanked God for yesterday?”

I love working with ICCF. We have helped on two projects in Cedar Springs already, and a third project is now in the works. Check out the wonderful family we will be helping. And if you would like to help, click here.

China’s expanding military plans are quite alarming. We must remain vigilant!

[VIDEO] Pastor Bobby Conway answers the question: What does it mean to call on the name of the Lord?

Links & Quotes

link quote

“The test for apostles and teachers is not that they talk wonderful stuff, not that they are able to expound God’s Word, but that they edify the saints (Ephesians 4:12).” —Oswald Chambers

“Does your self-esteem need attention? You need only pause at the base of the Cross and be reminded of this: The Maker of the stars would rather die for you than live without you.” —Max Lucado

“Sometimes the enormity of war overwhelms the truth that all great struggles are just the sum of individual stories. Each is more than just the story of one soldier’s service and sacrifice. Their service ripples across their families, friends and their communities. Memorial Day reminds us it is the noble sacrifice of many that makes us who we are.” —James Carafano

“How can we expect to foster a pro-life culture if we hide our beliefs in the shadows? Abortion clinics have flourished by boldly and unapologetically declaring their stance. As a result clinics like Planned Parenthood have become a mainstream part of our culture; being invited into our government’s budget, school systems and communities. Pro-life options have been bullied into a corner where their life affirming options are patronized under a label of intolerance.” I love this: a pro-life pregnancy center is going to open in Georgia just 10 feet away from an abortion clinic.

Here’s another reason I love Cedar Springs: our City has adopted an family escaping war in Africa.

%d bloggers like this: