How You See Things Makes The Difference.

Faith rose in Peter as he heard the word from the Master. “Come”. With hopeful excitement Peter hoisted himself up on the edge of the boat and began to let himself down onto the water. I can only imaging how he felt as he placed his foot on the water. It held! This is fantastic! As he put his other foot down and it held too, Peter began to look around for Jesus. As he set his eyes on Jesus, Peter began to put one foot in front of the other, walking on the water toward Jesus.  Wait…here comes a wave. Oh No! It went over the top of my foot. I can’t walk on the water when the waves are going over my feet! All this wind. I’m having to lean into the wind and it seems to be pushing me further in to the water! Oh No! I’m sinking. Jesus! Help!

Peter started out well, didn’t he?  In Matt 14:28 Peter sees Jesus walking on the water and calls out “Lord, if it’s you, bid me to come to you on the water”. I find it interesting that Jesus didn’t say “It’s me but you need to stay in the boat”. What did Jesus say? One word. “Come”.

While Peter kept his eyes on Jesus and his mind on the command “Come”, he was able to walk on the water. He had a promise that was actively strengthening the surface of that water to hold him up. It was Peter’s faith in the Word of Jesus that made that water strong enough. We know this because it was when Peter began to look at the circumstances and let them fill up his vision, that he began to sink. His faith in the promise allowed him to walk on water. His unbelief allowed him to sink.

We know this by what Jesus said once they were in the boat. “Oh you or little faith, why did you doubt?”

Photo: Jonas Svidras @ STEP.CAMERA

On December 9th of 2017, I took my wife’s car into a local oil change shop to get the oil changed. It seemed like a typical visit and took about 30 – 45 minutes. As always, I had to withstand the “meeting” where they tried to up-sell me on everything from cabin air filters to wiper blades.

Forty five minutes later, they are all done. I pay the bill. I get my key. I walk out and get into my car. I start it. It runs for about ten seconds then dies.  I try in vain to get it started again but it will not run. The oil change guys come out and swarm around my car like a bees trying to get it running but to no avail. My car is dead and for at least an hour, my car is right in front of this shop with the hood up, advertising for them.

I had it towed to a shop I know and trust for help. After more than a day they give me a call. They’ve found the problem and we move forward with a plan of action. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end. It’s taken more than a month and the vehicle has been back into the shop three times.

As time went by, I found myself worrying. It was a slow, creeping anxiety. This incident had sort of up-ended my life, forcing both me and my wife to alter our schedules so that we could car-pool back & forth to work, I found myself becoming anxious.

Worry is a form of fear. It’s actually faith in the ability for circumstances to hurt you. Jesus said over and over to the people He ministered to “FEAR NOT!” Why? Because fear will undermine your ability to receive from God. We receive by our level of faith, not by God’s ability to give.

While getting this vehicle fixed wasn’t cheap, we had the money to cover it, but I had lost sight of the promises and allowed the problem to fill my windshield so to speak. It was all I was looking at. I know better than that.

Once I realized what I was doing, I arrested my thinking. I began to wonder why I tend to lean toward fear first? I asked the question – Can we grow to the point where our first thought is a faith thought? I believe we can!

Jesus said in John 8:32 “You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free”. The implication of that verse is that its the truth you KNOW that makes you free. Here is something I want you to think about.

In Christ.

One thing I would recommend for all Christians is that they go through the New Testament in their Bible with a highlighter and mark all of the occurrences of “In Him”, “In whom” and “In Christ”. The verses where these are used are speaking about who YOU are if you are Saved. You are In Christ.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that we (who have believed) have been made the righteousness of God in Him. What does that mean? Righteous means right standing with God. We are in right standing with God because God the Father sees us “In Him”. His right standing has been attributed to us.

The word “Circumstance” means the circle that one stands in. Our circumstance includes all the things that surround us. Our circumstance may be good, or it may be terrible, but consider this…If we have been given right standing with God in Him, that means that His circumstances become our circumstances. His circumstance is righteousness. He IS victorious over death, hell and the grave, which means that we are too – in Him.

Consider what Paul wrote in Romans 8:31 – 39.

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When we really look at God’s love for us and how complete a redemption He has provided, it becomes easy to believe that everything is going to be okay. Many don’t trust God because they don’t know that they CAN trust God. Once we get into His promises, it becomes clear that He is for us and He wants to help us.

In what way has God come through for you? Join the conversation by leaving a comment.

Practical steps to deal with Worry.

While studying Philippians 4, I looked up the dictionary definition of Worry.  I was truly surprised by parts of the definition.  Funk & Wagnall’s dictionary tells us that this word comes to us from Old English.

Have a look at Webster’s Online Dictionary definition below.

Transitive verb

  1. dialectal British:  Choke, strangle.
  2. a. :  To harass by tearing, biting, or snapping especially at the throat.
    b. :  To shake or pull at with the teeth (a terrier worrying a rat).
    c. :  To touch or disturb something repeatedly.
    d. :  To change the position of or adjust by repeated pushing or hauling.
  3. a. :  To assail with rough or aggressive attack or treatment : torment.
    b. :  To subject to persistent or nagging attention or effort.
  4.  To afflict with mental distress or agitation : make anxious.

Intransitive verb

  1. dialectal British:  Choke, strangle.
  2. To move, proceed, or progress by unceasing or difficult effort : struggle.
  3. To feel or experience concern or anxiety ; fret.  (Worrying about his health).

While most of us think of worry as “To feel or experience concern or anxiety ; fret”, it literally comes from a word that means “To Choke or strangle”.

Keep that picture in mind while watching this video.




Not quitting, just resetting.

Hi there.

I just want to take a minute to update you about where I’ve been the last several months; because it sort of looks like I’ve quit blogging.  I just want to say that I haven’t.  I actually never really intended to.  I just needed to reset.

I’ve been posting on since 2014.   During these few years, I’ve always brought my A game.  I’ve always made it a point to pray and seek God for what He wanted me to write.  The focus always being YOU. What does God want me to write for you.

Ephesians 2:10 in the Bible says “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (KJV).  This means that God has a plan and we each have a path that God has already laid out for us to walk.  While we can walk it out, we can also ignore it and never fulfill it.

Ephesians 2:10 means that when I write a blog post, put up a video, or post an audio file, I need to be aware that God has a will in this and He has things He wants YOU to know.  Things that will help you grow up spiritually even more than you are.  I seek those things He wants said.  My heart’s desire is to be an instrument that He uses to bless you and help you walk your walk.  I take what I write seriously.

Back in July of 2017, I decided to take a week or two off from blogging.  I wanted to relax and refocus on some of the mechanics of the website that I never seemed to have the time or focus to do.  What started as a couple of weeks grew into months because, while I was working on ideas for revamping, I sensed that what I really needed to do was pull aside and really seek the Lord.  I often say that there is nothing like knowing the will of God.  I really believe this, but I realized that some things had become foggy and unclear and I needed to KNOW what to do.  I needed clear direction.

Since taking this time off, the Lord put it on my heart to serve in the children’s ministry at my church. This has been fun, enlightening, and surprising.  I’m reminded that children have needs too, and they are also trying to figure things out.  It’s been very rewarding.

Here are some things to look for in the future.

First, I’m looking to update the site with a new look and some new menu options.  I’ve had this same theme since the beginning but there are more options and better themes now.  I”m looking forward to a new, fresh look.  I hope you are too.  Stay tuned.

Also, I’ve always liked podcasts.  I personally listen to several a week and I currently subscribe to about 18 weekly podcasts.  My lovely wife Ann and I have been discussing the possibility of me producing one for myself.  I once said to her that I sometimes find writing hard.  She pointed out that I speak much easier than I write so I’m giving this serious consideration.  Again, stay tuned.

Finally, I want to thank you for being a part of this with me.  I look forward to what I once heard Dr. T.L. Osborn call “Many happy exchanges” with you.  If you have ideas that you want to share, please do.  If you have comments you want to share or personal insights you want to add to any post I have, please feel free.  I love reading and interacting with you.

Also – One thing I am always trying to do is to get the message out to more people.  I always ask and want to ask again, that if it helps you, please share it.  I also want to ask you for your input.  How do you think we can get more traction, and get this message in front of more people who it might help?  I look forward to any ideas you send my way.

I love and appreciate you.






See it to be it.

Often when working on a big project, it’s helpful to “Flip the script”.  By flipping the script, I mean to begin with the end in mind.  You establish where you want to go, and then work backwards from there to determine the steps it will take to get you there.

Amerah Shabazz-Bridges, writing about the struggle of the women in her family, said that from generation to generation they “did better when they learned better”.  Ignorance isn’t a bad word, it just means that you don’t know.  When it comes to manhood, if we are ignorant of what a good man is, we probably won’t ever become one.

Keith Moore points out that God has designed us in a specific way so that we become what we behold (see Romans 12:1-2). If young men don’t see quality examples in front of them, they will not know what a quality man looks like, and can’t become it. If they don’t know it exists, they can’t even hunger for it. Seeing is always a prerequisite for changing. That’s why God used the stars and the sand as visual aids when communicating with Abram.

In your own life, this flows both ways.  You need to be all the example you can be, while at the same time, continually looking to the things that will strengthen your own vision.

If you can see it, you can be it.

Hey Tough Guy!

Do you consider yourself to be tough?  What does it mean to be a tough guy?  Tough guy has sort of become a byword now.  It’s a label assigned to men who ACT TOUGH.  I emphasize the word ACT because that’s usually all it is.

Being tough was something I think most boys learn about pretty early.  When I was in first grade, Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man was the quintessential tough guy.  He was our model of what was tough, never mind that he had $6,000,000 worth of government enhancements that helped him be tough.  I was also a fan of Nick Barkley.  I remember the opening sequence of Big Valley clearly announcing that Nick was the strongest!  We all wanted to be Nick.

An unwritten rule of being a tough guy that all us tough guy wanna be’s learned in the first grade was that tough guys don’t smile in pictures.  I actually notices this first while observing an Elvis Presley album cover.  Just a little smirk…that’s all you get.  Big grins are not tough.  Apparently tough guys don’t get to show it when they’re happy.

As I grew older, I began to notice that in nearly every case where I met someone with admirable toughness, it wasn’t a tough guy attitude.  These people didn’t talk about being tough, because they never really thought about it.  They didn’t brag about how strong they were or who they could beat up.  Their toughness just showed up and made itself known by how they acted. It was in the way they lived.  Usually, when they were put under a heavy load or a high stress situation, they would respond with amazing self control and inner strength.  What we see in men like this is real toughness.

Acting tough.

Acting tough means putting on a show.  In my own experience, all through my childhood and school years, there were always boys that acted tough around other boys.  They would constantly be applying a mild threat to everyone around them.  The unspoken threat was “I can and will beat you up if you mess with me”.  This was usually a lie and when these guys would be put to the test, often there wasn’t any supporting evidence that they were either strong, or a good fighter.  What it proved was that they were all talk.  Their “tough” was just tough talk.  They were “All hat and no cattle”.  But that leaves us with a question.  What does it really mean to be a tough guy?

Being tough.

In my own mind, being a real tough guy means to have personal discipline. The men I have been most impressed with in my life are the men who did the things that were right, even when they were hard.  In some cases – really hard!  I’ve seen men love people who wanted to take a swing at them.  I’ve watched as people I know were wronged, hurt and publicly embarrassed; but then they almost immediately forgave, walked in love toward the one who hurt them, and never brought it up again.

Proverbs 19:11 says “The discretion of a man defers his anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression”.  This to me represents what it means to really be tough.  The ability to pass over the offences that come at you every day, exercise forgiveness, and walk in love.  Even when you don’t necessarily like the person that offends you, you have the spiritual fortitude to obey God’s Word and do what’s right.

A tough guy understands that a good marriage is built sowing and showing love to his spouse.  I say this because loving your wife is not a feeling.  Does the Bible say that “For us that God so loved the world that He felt warm and fuzzy toward us?  Or that He shouted from Heaven “I Love You!”?  No! We see His Love because the Bible clearly states He Gave us His only begotten Son.  This leaves us a clear example.  We also see that we are to model ourselves after Jesus’ own example in Eph 5:25.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…   Love is expressed in giving – even when we don’t feel like it.

Love forgives – as many times as it takes.  True love in a marriage shows up in a thousand forgivenesses a day. Part of loving your spouse is the commitment to overlook and forgive.  It’s when a couple stop forgiving and begin to mark the offences, that serious contention starts.  Marriage is a type and a shadow of the believer’s relationship with the Lord Jesus.  Imagine how it would go if Jesus marked and held it against us every time we were offensive to Him. Thank God He doesn’t.  His forgiveness is everlasting.  There’s no one tougher than Him.  He did what was right even when it meant dying, and suffering the punishment for the sin of everyone.

He has become our example of what a tough guy really is.  Remember – “The discretion of a man defers his anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression”.


Four things that make America great.

To me, our political process has been exciting to observe as well as to participate in. I am deeply moved when I think about the men who established our country and set in order what I personally believe to be one of the finest governments to have ever existed on earth. While I think these men were some of the brightest, most intelligent people of the day, I also firmly believe that what was done 241 years ago to cause this country to be born was Divinely inspired.

sparkler flag

In the booklet “The Rebirth of America” published by the Arthur S. DeMoss foundation, the writers talk about the greatness of America’s land.

“Some say the land itself has made America great. One of our most moving patriotic hymns cites the beauty of America – a beauty that all who have traveled across the continent surely recognize. Katherine Lee Bates stood atop Pike’s Peak and scanned the sweep of the land, then wrote of the “Purple Mountain Majesties”, and the “amber waves of grain.” She concluded that God had shed His grace on this land – a vast unexplored wilderness that, in an astonishingly short period, grew into a great nation. It would be foolish to deny that the rich natural resources of the land itself have not helped to make America. The oil, the ore, the timber, the water, the soil, the climate, all have combined to nourish a civilization that would eventually spread from sea to shining sea. Other nations too, though, have been blessed with fine resources; yet some how these have not risen to such greatness.”

So what is it that has made America great? What is it that stands behind freedoms so great that they are the envy of the world? Why has America been blessed with such abundance when so much of the world goes to bed hungry each night? Here are a few things that I believe have made America great.

  • The Foundation of Our Law. Our founders firmly believed in the Creator and believed that He had endowed them with inalienable rights. They also believed that man was “fallen” and therefore could not be trusted to be his own law or judge. They therefore used the Divinely inspired Holy Scripture as the foundation for the law of the land. The law can not be simply what a judge or dictator says it is, It must comply with the Constitution which was based on God’s laws in scripture.  I think it’s important to point out that a country can’t have morality without religion and even though something is legal doesn’t mean that it’s moral. Our government is designed to give liberty, but with a moral fence.Calvin Coolidge – “The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country”.
  • The Generosity of the American People. America has been and continues to be very generous. Whether it has been to help rebuild countries that have been ravaged by war, or help with relief for countries that have been ravaged by natural disasters, the generous spirit of the American people can be seen. America is blessed because many Americans continue to sow good seeds, be generous, and help the less fortunate.
  • The American Dream. America has been called the “land of Opportunity” and rightly so. The dream that a person can excel and become something in this country has been the driving force behind the immigration to our country for as long as it’s been in existence. The Free Enterprise system has ensured that everyone has a fighting chance to be successful if they will only take the opportunities. The ingenuity of the American people over the last 200 years has given the world well build, low cost goods, provided good jobs to millions and has given Americans the income to buy the goods they produce.
  • The Hand of God. All of our blessings really point back to this. In his writing “The Bulletproof George Washington” David Barton wrote: “Washington’s part in the battle of the Monongahela is indisputably one of the most significant events of his early life–his life literally hung in the balance for over two hours. Fifteen years after the battle, the chieftain of the Indians Washington had fought sought him out and gave this account to Washington of what had happened during the battle:“I am chief and ruler over my tribes. My influence extends to the waters of the great lakes and to the far blue mountains. I have traveled a long and weary path that I might see the young warrior of the great battle. It was on the day when the white man’s blood mixed with the streams of our forest that I first beheld this chief [Washington]…I called to my young men and said…Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies. Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for you, knew not how to miss–’twas all in vain, a power mightier far than we, shielded you…I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven, and who can never die in battle.”We read accounts of the British destroying the Capital during the summer of 1814. It really looks like just 38 years after America declared independence from Britain, we’re going to lose our place and be put back in subjection to the Crown. The British captured and set on fire the public buildings in Washington. Then the storm blew in. Weather experts indicate that this storm probably spawned several tornadoes. One hit Washington, destroying buildings that the British soldiers were hiding in. Some accounts indicate that canons were lifted & hurled through the air. On his blog “Historical Digression” Patrick Browne writes:

As the storm began to subside, one of the British officers in command of the invasion emerged from his shelter and said to one of the inhabitants of Washington, “Great God, Madam, is this the kind of storm to which you are accustomed in this infernal country?!”

She responded, “No, sir, this is a special interposition of Providence to drive our enemies from the city.”

I don’t know about Providence. But there can be no doubt that the tornado that struck Washington that day did more to save the capital than the United States Army ever did. The fires were largely extinguished. And the British limped back to their ships.

As you celebrate this Independence day, take a moment to stop and thank God for your country. Thank Him for His continued hand of protection and His continual guidance as we move forward as a Nation. We are here by His will and by His help. God Bless America.

What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a price upon its goods, and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. – Thomas Payne, 1776.

The Rebirth of America – Published by The Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation
A Tornado Saves Washington during the War of 1812
Originally published in part July 2014.


My Post Father’s Day Post

Each year as Father’s day comes around, I want to take some time to write a post about it because fatherhood is such a big deal to me.  If I’m honest though, it’s one of the hardest posts to write.  If you’re a regular reader, you know that my Dad and Mom separated when I was 10 and divorced when I was 11.  From that time to this, I’ve only spent time with my Dad once, and that was over Christmas break in the 1980’s.  The last time I heard his voice was the day my youngest daughter was born.  It will be 23 years ago this year.

While my Dad is still among the living, we don’t have any fellowship together.  I am not distant because it’s my choice.  I’m distant because it seems to be what they (he and his wife) want.

Truthfully, I really do want him to be happy, and if my presence or interaction with him and his family makes it hard for him, then I’m okay with keeping my distance.  My consoling thought is that when we both get to heaven, we will have a curse-less eternity to get things sorted out between us.  Until that day, I’m just going to love and honor him as best I can from this distance.

That being said, I try to always remember to send cards on Father’s day, his birthday and Christmas.  I don’t always remember but I try.  The reason is simple.  I want to make sure that I am doing all I can to honor him.  I might no be able to do much, but I will do all I can do.

If you read my posts, you will find that my writing is not about fixing your relationship with your Dad because I can’t really write about that with any credibility.  Instead, I focus on how to grow up and be a good, quality man, in spite of not having a Dad around.

While I speak about this issue honestly and don’t try to flower it up, I also NEVER throw my Dad under the bus so to speak.  I am honest but not derogatory.  I don’t use hateful speech when talking about him and I always try to emphasize that I love and honor him.

My experiences as a son have had a huge influence on my being a father myself.  I recognize the importance of being there and demonstrating my love for my children.  Hollywood often portrays the Dad as being foolish, childish or selfish, but a real Dad is none of those things.  Don’t get me wrong – Dad’s are usually great at horsing around with their kids, but real fatherhood is about training up your child.  It’s about learning things that are real enough and important enough to pass on to your children.  The goal of every Dad should be to make fully developed and mature sons and daughters out the the little children that God gave him.



But I Want It Now!

Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 (BBE) “But let your first care be for his kingdom and his righteousness; and all these other things will be given to you in addition.”  In this passage Jesus was talking specifically about physical needs, house, food & clothing but we see a bigger picture emerging.  He said in verse 31 “Then don’t be full of care…”  Then in verse 32 “Your Heavenly Father knows what you need”.  God cares about you, He has made provision to meet EVERY need that you have and the one thing he doesn’t want you doing is being FULL OF CARE (worried).  Trust that Your Heavenly Father knows what you have need of.

But God….I know what I want and I want it now!

If it’s something specific that you are wanting, maybe a new job or career path, ask yourself; are you ready for it?  Can you take on this new thing without it destroying you?   Trust God to work on the stuff you can’t control.  He knows exactly what makes you happy and He wants you to be happy. Ask God to help you.  Ask Him go grow you up – to bring you quickly to the place where you’re ready, and then join you to your blessed future.

Stop thinking about what you might be missing. When I first sensed the call to go to Bible School, I was hungry for it.  Every day that I had to wait to get there was frustrating.  Little did I know, God had a timing in place.  When it was finally time to move, EVERYTHING was in place.  It was quite easy to make the move.

The truth is that, even though you might be frustrated that things aren’t moving fast enough, the only thing you’re missing is the pain and torment of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.  Trust God that you are not missing anything good.  It’s all just being deferred until later. Ask Him to deal with you bluntly, and then commit yourself to hear….and to DO what you know to do. Focus on you.

God’s desire is for you to be transformed into the person He’s called you to be.  He’s able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think according to the power that works in us, so I promise, His vision and dream for you is far bigger than the one you have for yourself.

Don’t be dead set on getting your way.  Don’t be married to YOUR plan.  Because God sees time from an eternal perspective, He can see what’s coming even when we can’t.  It’s important to understand that HIS plan for you is the best possible plan for you.  You may want something badly, but make the decision in your heart that you are willing to let your plan go.  If you really want God’s will in your life, you will need to get your own agenda out of the way.

Remember to keep God first.  There can only be one 1st place in your life.  Seek His kingdom first!  Then the other stuff will be added unto you.

Are you good at ignoring God?

If I really examine my heart, I would have to say that my greatest desire is to please God. Some might hear that and wonder whether I’m in my right mind or not. Many people don’t see pleasing God as something to be desired. It seems that a lot of people only want to get as close to God as they have to in order to get help and deliverance from some mess that they’ve gotten themselves into, but that’s it. Once they have received what they need, they are back to their old life. Back to doing it their way.

I can’t think that way anymore. Truthfully, there is NOTHING more important to me than hearing from God and knowing I’m in the middle of His will for me. I don’t want the edges of His will, I want to be right in the middle of it.

I was thinking a while back about when I was a boy. I would sit in church services and usually in each service, an altar call would be given. I would remember times of experiencing great heart conviction. My heart was being pulled to make a change. Through many church services I successfully resisted that conviction, but I felt it every time. What I didn’t realize at the time was that it was my Heavenly Father speaking to my heart through His Holy Spirit.  He was calling me to come closer. He was inviting me into a deeper relationship with Him. A choice I made once I realized that, even though I don’t completely understand it, He loves me and His ways are ALWAYS better than mine.

All these years later and I’m still a committed Christian. The thing I want to point out is this; that conviction that I resisted those many times, that sense that God was dealing with my heart, that is the same exact thing that I look for every day to hear from my Heavenly Father. That is the primary way He leads His people. While many people are looking to be led in spectacular ways, the main way God deals with us is through our conscience. It often shows up as that heartfelt conviction.

I would like to leave you with a thought this week. Every time we as believers over-ride our conscience, we are actually intentionally ignoring God. If you’re like me and desire to please Him – to know and do His will – the stupidest thing we can do is to practice and get good at ignoring Him.  Let’s make it a point this week to listen, recognize and obey even the slightest convictions of our heart.  Let’s practice and get good at obeying Him.

The WELCOME HOME replaced with tears.

I originally wrote this post last year.  As I thought about what to write, I realized that what I have to say, I’ve already said.  Of all the holidays we observe in the United States, Memorial Day, at least for me, commands a remarkable level of respect and reverence.  That’s why I want to share this post again this year.  -Art.

It’s Memorial Day! Three day weekend – Woo Hoo! For many of my friends, it’s time to hit the lake! I have a couple friends heading to Indiana this weekend – one is going to the Indy 500. It’s the kick-off of summer and a lot of food will be cooked outside this weekend.

In 1968, Congress passed the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act” which moved four U.S. Holidays, one of which was Memorial Day, to Mondays, thereby creating three day weekends for Federal employees. This law took affect in 1971. Before then, Memorial Day was traditionally observed on May 30th.

“When the will defies fear, when duty throws the gauntlet down to fate, when honor scorns to compromise with death – that is heroism.”  -Robert Green Ingersoll

Headstones, graves

Even as I write this, I struggle for the words to express my heart. While I enjoy the three day weekend and the cookouts as much as anyone, Memorial Day for me demands a solemn respect.  A recognition that I get to live in a truly great country and enjoy tremendous freedom, but that this blessed gift came, and continues to come at a price. A price paid with the blood of the fallen soldiers who won it for you and me.

Memorial Day was born out of grief and loss. Waterloo, NY is officially credited with being the birthplace of Memorial Day. On May 5th, 1866, mourning families set aside a day to place flags and decorations on the graves of their fallen fathers, sons & husbands. This day was originally called Decoration Day.

I can’t help but imagine the war widows and children trying to rebuild their lives after so many of the men in this country fell during the Civil war. The surviving families going to the grave sites of their loved one to honor their memory by decorating their grave. I can’t even imagine the heart pangs of the families, with tears running down their cheeks, laying flags, mementos and flowers on their loved one’s headstone. The families that were longing for their soldier to return. Longing to say “Welcome Home” with a hug and a kiss, only to have it replaced with a reunion of tears.

“These fallen heroes represent the character of a nation who has a long history of patriotism and honor – and a nation who has fought many battles to keep our country free from threats of terror.” – Michael N. Castle

There are some in this country that think the cost is too great. Some say that the United States should never go to war. They are not willing to pay the high price of freedom. I have never lost someone close to me because of war. I can’t speak with any authority about the pain and suffering a family goes through when they lose a daughter, son, husband, wife, father or mother in battle. I can say with certainty though, that through the sacrifice of these men and women, not only our country, but our world is better. They made a difference for us all.

When tyranny has risen over the years and around the world, the U.S. Soldiers, Sailors & Airmen have willingly put themselves in harm’s way for us time and time again. Their mission – to keep us safe and to advance the cause of freedom around the world. This is a noble cause and while the cost is indeed great, I am so thankful for our soldiers who stood up to go and to do, to spend and to be spent. For all who serve, the risk is great, and Memorial Day for all of us is a time to be grateful for those who paid the ultimate price. They did it for us.

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”  -Nathan Hale

In 2000, a resolution was passed that appointed 3 p.m. local time, on Memorial Day, for all U.S. Citizens “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps‘.” (link leads to video of The United States Navy Band performance of Taps).

Miona Michael was the first to wear a red poppy in honor of those who died in service to their country. A tradition that is now identified with the VFW.  Moina wrote the poem below in 1915, inspired by the poem In Flanders Fields

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

It seems fitting to end this post with the words of the Gettysburg Address.  272 words spoken by Abraham Lincoln at the battlefield near Gettysburg, PA in November of 1863. 272 words that, at least to me, sum up what Memorial Day really means. It chokes me up every time I read it.

“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate—we cannot 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 here 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.”

The lives laid down –

  • Revolutionary War – 4,435
  • War of 1812 – 15,000 est.
  • Civil War – 620,000
  • Mexican American War – 13,283
  • Spanish American War – 3,289
  • World War I – 323,018
  • World War II – 416,800
  • Korean War – 36,914
  • Vietnam Conflict – 58,220
  • Gulf war – 294
  • Iraqi freedom – 4,501
  • Afghanistan (OEF) – 2,381
***The above list does not represent all of the conflicts where American lives were lost.
OEF = Operation Enduring Freedom.