Tag Archives: patriotism

We Need Another Patrick Henry!

Patrick Henry said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For this very reason peoples of other faith have been afforded asylum, prosperity, & freedom of worship here.”

Henry & our Founders believed in absolute morality, teaching that “the eternal difference between right & wrong does not fluctuate.”  Needless to say, much of Washington, D.C. is the antithesis of Patrick Henry!

No, we do not have Patrick Henry’s leading us today, in part because Christians have been careless.  Even though we may say “God Bless America!” with our lips, our lives are too often a rejection of God & His principles.  For too long we have elected men & women who have ousted Bible-reading & prayer  from our schools, who place a low value on human wife, and a growing disrespect for the law.

We have put in office those who adhere to the “right” to abort unborn babies—at the rate of one every 30 seconds, 24-7!  We have elected men & women who uphold lifestyles rejected by God’s Word & repulsive to Americans as a whole—that is until we began parading them on television and in movies as “normal” until they have become acceptable, even to some in the clergy-world.  It is still sin in God’s sight.

It’s easy to become discouraged by the moral trajectory of our nation today.  Marriage and gender have been redefined; gender has become a “choice” for those who can’t get enough attention.  Euthanasia is gaining momentum.  Genetic manipulation of human embryos has become a reality.  Jihadist terrorism dominates our news.  American politics is in shambles.

However, one great certainty today is this—God is still on His throne, folks!  Another certainty—God wants to use you to make a difference in the world.  The Old Testament writer gives us great hope when he penned 2 Chr 7:14.  While some may debate whether or not its application was for Israel alone, those who know God personally understand that the principle is applicable to America today:

(2 Chron 7:14 KJV) If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, & pray, & seek my face, & turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, & will forgive their sin, & will heal their land. 

Let me ask—what part of that verse is NOT applicable to us today?  Are you NOT one of His people, or do you NOT call yourself a Christian?  What Christian should NOT humble him or herself before God, especially given the condition of America today?  Who amongst us should NOT be seeking God’s face?  When God’s Spirit reveals to us our wickedness, who of us should NOT turn in repentance from that attitude or behavior?

With that said, which of us would audaciously proclaim God to be a liar—that He would NOT hear the prayer of a penitent, that He would NOT forgive our sin, or that He would NOT heal our land?!

In addition to our repentance & petitions, we must also pray that God will send again leaders like Patrick Henry, who will hold fearlessly to God’s hand while leading this nation.

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you join me in praying for our nation like never before.  Since God’s Spirit will not always strive with man, it behooves us to seek Him today while He may be found.

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There Is Hope

For more years than I can remember, I’ve spoken somewhere on weekends surrounding America’s patriotic holidays.  Sunday, 03 July 2016 will be no exception, but will be one of those rare occasions when I will speak at the church that Debbie and I call “home”—North Auburn Hills Baptist Church.

Approaching America’s 240th birthday, reflecting on the current election cycle, and considering the condition of our country, I must confess grave concern for the country that has been my home base for 66 years and counting.  So as not to discourage you, let me quickly disclaim that I believe there is hope!

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah opens one of the Bible’s most horrific chapters with a ray of hope this way—Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save; neither is His ear heavy, that it cannot hear.  However, he then proceeds to describe the dark days in which America … er, Israel, was living.

Skipping from the opening verse, we find a summary description of America today—a parallel—that should arrest the attention of thinking citizens, sober our thoughts, and lead us to petition the God of Isaiah 59:1, as described in Isaiah 7:14!  Consider just four common characteristics between Israel of some 700 years before Christ and America today—highlighted in four critical words.

Justice

(Isa 59:14a HCSB)  Justice is turned back …  In the vernacular, we would say that justice has been turned on its head, upside down, everything is backwards.  America’s victims of crime watch a never-ending stream of criminals going free, restitution never paid.  Be strong and of good courage, my friend, for God the Righteous judge rules over all the earth.  Remember verse one—He hears and He can save!

Righteousness

(Isa 59:14b HCSB) … righteousness stands far off …  In a practical sense, righteousness is simply “morally good.”  A deep study is not necessary, when a casual glance at television, a movie screen, or newspaper reveals daily that America increasingly is anything but morally good, choosing rather to trust in vanity. Take hope my friend!  There’s still hope in verse one—only one call away!

Truth

(Isa 59:14c HCSB) … truth has stumbled in the street … (“fallen” in the KJV).  The meaning is the same—truth doesn’t matter in our culture today!  History is being rewritten.  Truth is being hidden, while falsehood is being paraded as though it was the truth, in order to accomplish someone’s agenda.

The truth is, God’s agenda will be accomplished in the end.  By the closing chapter of this world’s history, all liars (those who refused to live truthfully) will find the burning truth forever in the horrific abode of the father of lies, yet eternally separated from the truth, the way, and the life!  That is not something in which one should glory, but rather with broken heart, fear and trembling, choose to be a living sacrifice, that others might hear the truth while there is time!

However, if you are reading these words, be encouraged!  As long as we have breath, we have hope—and it still stands back in verse one!

Honesty

(Isa 59:14d HCSB) … and honesty (or equity) cannot enter …  At the end of the day, honesty is a proper dealing with the three aforementioned qualities—truth, righteousness, and justice.  You see, it is possible for one to know truth, but be dishonest and unjust, thus missing the boat on righteousness as well. That’s why in our courts of law, a witness swears an oath—hand on the Bible—to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  The purpose is to bring about justice, making something that was wrong right again.

That’s also why sinful man needs the hope back in verse one, a hope ultimately found in God alone.  All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, but He is near and willing to give to us His own righteousness.  Justice for our sin was served some 2000 years ago, when Jesus Christ willingly made an in-full payment for us.  His death was not about His own sin, but rather your sin and mine—which brings us back to the hope in verse one!

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you join me in asking God to draw America back to Him, that we as a nation might become a country of justice, righteousness, truth, and honesty once again?  Or perhaps you feel like God is far, far away.  Not so, my friend—He is only one prayer away!  Call on Him today while He is near!

Finally, in spite of all the woes of our world and country, my fellow Americans, let’s celebrate the freedom that we enjoy and for which much of the world longs!  Happy 240th Birthday, America!

(2 Chron 7:14 HCSB)  (If) my people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. 

Celebrating Freedom with a Hero

Celebrating Freedom with a Hero

Forgotten? Never!

I drove out to Great Lakes National Cemetery today …

Normally, my wife Debbie and I do that on Memorial Day, but for some reason I couldn’t settle my thoughts while trying to write my Memorial Day blog, so I dropped the work on which I was unable to concentrate anyway, and made the drive—alone.  I thought perhaps that a blue sky, green grass, and solitude at grave marker 5-595 might help.

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Oh, that helped alright—helped break open a floodgate of memories, thoughts, and tears!  Then it hit me—that is really the whole meaning of Memorial Day each year!  Sadly, the true meaning is often lost in a sea of activities rather than being discovered—not to mention, appreciated from hearts overflowing with gratitude—by those who take the time to remember!

The mode of transportation today was my red 1965 Olds Cutlass.  Frankly, I thought Justin would appreciate that.  As I parked along the curb on the Avenue of Flags, with Justin’s grave off to my right, I shut the car off and just sat there—looking and thinking.

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Ahead of me some 400 yards were lines of automobiles, staged where all vehicles gather for funeral processions.  I reflected on how those families felt in those moments, remembering all-too-well the day I stepped from a black limousine with my family and made my way to my seat in a temporary pavilion.

The memory of numbly starring at a flag-draped casket a few feet in front of me seemed to me like instant replay as I contemplated the cars ahead of me today. I understand a bit of what they must be feeling as the drivers pull away, following the lead car.

DALE BEN AT GLNC 2006

Then I instinctively grabbed my cell phone from the seat, and after allowing a couple of vehicles to pass, I stepped from the car, and slowly made my way to 5-595.  While walking, I noticed how many markers have been added to section 5 since Justin’s marker was set.  In this one national cemetery alone an average of 11 fresh graves are dug and filled with someone’s loved ones every business day.

If you run those numbers, they add nearly 3000 veterans each year to this one location.  That totals some 30,000 new additions to Great Lakes National Cemetery since taps shattered my thoughts on 09 October 2006.

It’s no wild guess on my part—I know those families … no, that’s too abstract … those spouses and their children, those parents and grandparents, whose loved ones have been laid to rest in whatever cemetery, can’t forget on Memorial Day or any other day of the year!

Is it asking too much of a rather self-absorbed society to pause for a few minutes once each year—on Memorial Day—and remember and respect those who paid the ultimate price for our collective freedom?  I don’t think so—neither did the countless thousands of families dating back nearly to the Civil War—and neither does the 1% of America who shoulders the responsibility of defending our nation, so that the other 99% can enjoy the freedom which they provide.

BTW, do you pray?  If so, there is no better time than now, and no better day than Memorial Day, to spend at least a few minutes in prayer.  Every American, at the minimum, should express gratitude for those men and women who saw a cause bigger than themselves and that cause was you, me, and their posterity.  We owe a debt that we can never fully pay.

Everyone who lives under that beautiful red, white, and blue flag with its stars and stripes should also petition the Almighty—you know, the God in whom our Founding Fathers believed and Washington DC seems to have forgotten—that He would spare America and preserve the freedom purchased for us by those whose bodies rest in the dust from which each was created.

Then add to you prayer an appeal for strength for the families who have an empty seat at their tables—whether it has collected the dust of decades or is fresh with pain, as those friends and families in the processional earlier today.  At my grandson Jayden’s baseball game recently, his sister Caitlin ran up behind Debbie and me, with the exuberance of a ten-year-old who was excited to see Grandma Debbie and Papa Pete.

A moment later she gone, leaving me with a recurring and inescapable thought—there goes a little girl who will never know her daddy.  You see, she was only two days old when Justin deployed.  Think about it!  Freedom’s price tag is far greater than you can imagine.

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With that said, any people who mindlessly puts boating and barbecuing, picnics and parades, above remembrance of those who paid the price for freedom disgraces the country I love and those who died defending it.  However, even in America’s forgetfulness, comes the haunting biblical prediction of the characteristics of those living in “the last days”—unthankful!

May that never be truthfully said of you and me.  Let’s give ourselves this Memorial Day 2016 to gratitude and to expressing it appropriately … by reflecting and remembering.

Justin Dale Peterson 2006

Justin Dale Peterson 2006

Veterans Day Thoughts

Normally on Veterans Day I reminisce and blog, often using the occasion to highlight family members who are veterans. I am extremely, and justifiably proud of my oldest son USMC Capt Justin Peterson, a Marine whose life was cut short in the sands of Iraq, my youngest son USMC Sgt Joshua Peterson, who was also deployed in Iraq at the time his brother was killed, and my oldest son-in-law USN Lt Brandon Geddes, who is still active and stationed in Norfolk.

However, today I want to highlight a rather quiet, unassuming veteran who calls San Diego home.  Two years ago, while in Chula Vista presenting the patriotic program A SALUTE TO AMERICA!, I was privileged to meet and spend almost an hour with Joe Hutchins at the real estate office owned by Joe and his wife Pat.

Celebrating Freedom with a Hero

Celebrating Freedom with a Hero

Joe spent most of his first career in the United States Navy as a SEAL.  We sat on a sofa in the reception area of Hutchins Realty on Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach, as Joe, a retired Air Force friend of Joe’s, and I talked.  I turned to this quiet tower of strength and said, “Joe, you know what’s different about your generation and today’s generation?”  Not sure where I was going with that question, he simply said, “Go on.”

“You have deeply buried stories of years of special ops—stories which have never been uttered, and probably never will be.  Today, guys go on a couple of missions and then write a book about it!”  Joe smiled, his USAF brother-in-arms chuckled, and I was satisfied that Joe’s smile was speaking volumes.

While I’ve seen many of Hollywood’s action movies and read several books each year written from the arena of combat experience, somehow—even unintentionally—they tend to glamourize the blood, sweat, tears, agony, and pain.  Conversely, many civilians seem to make every combat veteran a “victim” who suffers from PTSD.

Off all the possibilities that Veterans Day can bring to America, perhaps the one that should capture the imagination is this—let’s allow this annual day of remembrance remind us of the price that is being paid by approximately 1% of our nation’s citizens—men and women who are heroes merely because they stepped forward and serve or have served the other 99%.

BTW, do you pray?  If so, why not spend some quiet time alone sometime during this Veterans Day, contemplating our veterans, especially the ones you know personally, and pray for them, thanking God for these men and women of courage, honor, and commitment, and asking God to minister His goodness to them as they provide our nation safety and freedom?

And Justin, Joshua, and Brandon—thank you for your service to our nation, and for making your father very proud of you!

1385421_10151889694186558_1258647658_n JOSHUA PETERSON 2014 994817_10151705932916558_412695339_n

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Independence Day 2013

For decades I have used certain days for reflection, goal-setting, and adjusting my attitudes and actions as necessary in order to achieve written objectives prescribed each year for me, my family, and ministry.  The fourth of July is one of the holidays on which I reflect concerning our country and my relationship as a believer-citizen.

Don’t let that hyphenated term throw you.  When I use believer-citizen, I am referencing legal American citizens who are Christ followers.  Definition of terms has never been more important in America, since we have morphed into a nation that is very different at the core than the one birthed 237 years ago.  To anyone knowledgeable of authentic (as opposed to revised-to-accommodate-modern-political-correctness-and-liberal-adgendas) American history, the contrast in character of national leaders then and now is nothing short of alarming.

The header which opened America’s Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, is only the beginning of the contrasts.  The unanimous of “The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America” (emphasis mine) has become instead partisan gridlock amongst national leaders, with each of two primary parties blaming the other.  However, a lack of character on the part of those occupying seats of leadership has led to nothing short of dishonesty amongst the ruling elite and distrust by the citizenry who put them into office.

Further, the opening sentence of the Declaration highlights a second significant contrast in the line, “ … to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them … “  Finding it necessary to dissolve the political bands that once tied them to Great Britain, our founders focused on the principles of God’s Word as a compass to guide them and a light to direct them into the future of the greatest experiment of national freedom ever known.

However, the Word that was once a lamp lighting our pathway to righteous national life and freedom is either banned or scoffed at by political elitists whose lack of godly character breeds corruption in almost everything they touch.  When United States congressional delegates operate outside the bounds of honesty and integrity, we hear them bullying their peers with statements such as “You have to pass it (referring to ObamaCare) in order to find out what’s in it.”  That insanity is only superseded by the insanity of an electorate that would return either Nancy Pelosi or Barrack Hussein Obama to office for an additional term.

Almost every line in our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights is being violated today.  However, there is still hope—if every believer-citizen will use this 237th Independence Day to reflect, reason, and resolve.  Our hope is in neither the Democratic nor the Republican parties.  More than a little leaven has leavened both lumps.

So, as we reflect on how far America has drifted from our founding moorings, we can better understand the negative repercussions that blare at us from every newscast.  Reason tells us that our abandonment of honesty and integrity has led to unprecedented corruption, but an about face—a return to the principles that once made us great—is our best hope.

However, to recognize our errors and to reason our way to a viable solution, will also require a third step—resolve to become once again people of honesty and integrity.  Where does that begin?  I would suggest 2 Chronicles 7:14.

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you join me in the life application of that verse?  That will require praying from a broken and contrite heart.  “If my people … called by my name … humble themselves … and pray … and seek my face … and turn from their wicked ways … “  Each of those are steps of honesty, integrity, and repentance, and are our responsibilities as believer-citizens.

Then God’s part kicks into play!  “ … then I will hear from heaven … and will forgive their sin … and will heal their land.

I love America!  That does not make me blind to our problems.  The solution to our problems is not government, but rather God.  The same God on which our founders relied for guidance to greatness.

Dale on Coronado (CA)

Dale on Coronado (CA)

After listening to the State of the Union speech last night, I am more concerned than ever for my country.  There are numerous ways in which America is in serious trouble, but for this essay, I will limit my concern to primarily one item—gun control–which doesn’t seem very spiritual, I know.

The Second Amendment of America’s Bill of Rights is the controlling factor for the citizens of the United States of America regarding this general issue.  As an English minor in college, I understand words and phrases fairly well, including the phrase, “ … shall not be infringed.”  Our Founding Fathers understood the need for the citizenry to be protected from central and state governments running amok.

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Over the last forty years or so, I have tracked—first out of curiosity, but now out of concern—the federal government’s infringement on the Second Amendment.  Beginning with the first-ever gun restrictions imposed by the federal government (an unconstitutional action on the part of those who are sworn to uphold that constitution, I might add) with the 1927 Mailing of Firearms Act, a dangerous and growing trend began.

In 1934, the Pied Piper of the Democratic Party, Franklin D. Roosevelt, signed into law (an unconstitutional infringement) the National Firearms Act, soon followed in 1938 with another infringement—the Federal Firearms Act.  After a thirty-year reprieve, Thomas J. Dodd sponsored The Gun Control Act of 1968 which was soon signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson, who boasted “Today we begin to disarm the criminal and the careless and the insane.”

Twenty years later, The Firearm Owners’ Protection Act, sponsored by Representative William Hughes, and The Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act, sponsored by Representative Mario Biaggi, further expanded the infringement.

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, sponsored by Chuck Shumer came next, followed a year later by The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, originally sponsored by your colleague Senator Diane Feinstein.  And now, not only do I hear my president championing yet additional infringements but see the Senators who represent Michiganders applauding that infringement.

Let me draw attention to a few facts.  First, it is interesting to note that each of these infringements has been perpetrated by either a Democratic Representative or Senator.  Second fact—each of these “laws” in some way infringes upon the Second Amendment.  Third, for all the “good intentions” of protecting law enforcement and citizens, and reducing crime, these laws have been nothing but ineffective, and statistics bear this out.

However, if Congressional “leaders” don’t read the bills on which they are voting, they probably don’t bother to read the FBI statistics or Constitution either!  Finally, the dishonesty of our federal executive and legislative branches of government—borne out by Congress’s dismal approval ratings—has  reached an all-time high, meaning the character level has reached an all-time low!

If I am appalled that men and women who are sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States are failing to do so, I am equally appalled that citizens anywhere continue to return those same individuals to office—with one caveat.  I also understand that voters who are government dependent will almost always vote for those “leaders” (and I use the term loosely) who will keep their “benefits” coming in order to ensure their own re-election.

Contrary to what President Obama repeatedly stated last night with his “They deserve a vote” statements, no citizen of these United States deserves a vote that is in violation of our Constitution.  America’s elected officials at all levels desperately need to refresh their commitment to the Constitution, forget the deal-making and political correctness, go against the mainstream of liberalism, and take seriously the hard-working, honest, tax-paying citizens of Michigan for a change.  Please—urge your own representatives and senators to stand against any further infringement on our Bill of Rights, in particular (for purposes of this writing), our Second Amendment.

BTW, do you pray?  Perhaps now would be an excellent time to pray for those in authority at all levels of government.  If not now, how bad will America have to get before we do pray?

 

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving this year has been replete with the traditional (at least a traditional meal of turkey, dressing, corn, potatoes, and rolls) and with the new.  Thanksgiving 2012 is consisting of a visit in the home of my oldest daughter Charity Geddes on the base of the Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia, which brings a special meaning to this important event.

Debbie and I didn’t want Charity and our granddaughter Brynn to be alone, so we drove to Norfolk from Detroit, hoping to be a blessing, but as so often happens in life, the greater blessing seems to come back to us.

Earlier this afternoon as I sat on the front porch facing the sun and the courtyard, listening to children playing, military wives chatting as they monitored their children, my thoughts turned to what is represented by the scene I was witnessing—things for which I’m thankful today … and every day.

Family—I’m thankful for my family.  We’re a scattered bunch these days—literally from sea to shining sea.  Charity, her husband Brandon who is currently deployed in the Middle East aboard the USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN69), an aircraft carrier, and their daughter Brynn can see the Atlantic from their quarters.

Second son Jordan lives in Seattle, where he is clerking for one of the judges on the Ninth Circuit Court, so there’s the geographical extreme amongst the family.  Four hours from here in Holly Springs (NC) my youngest son Joshua and his wife Amber make their home.  “Daddy’s girl” Joy, my youngest, and her family live northwest of Detroit in Fenton (MI), (almost 30 minutes west of Clarkston, where I am based), while step-daughter Dawn lives in Dallas.

Literally, we hail from the north, south, east, and west!  As different and scattered as each of us may be, we’re family—and we’re thankful for many things, but especially for each other.

Military family—I’m thankful for the military families of our nation.  For the first time (to my recollection), we’re spending Thanksgiving on base.  The normal hustle and bustle of base life is missing today, but the laughter of children playing together continues for those families who remain.  I enjoyed overhearing the young lads playing—and it was easy to grasp that these were typical military kids, giving commands to each other (boys) … and the girls were … well … typical little girls!

Several of their dads, like my son-in-law Brandon, are deployed, leaving behind wives and children to make a go of life without Dad temporarily—a reality that escapes many civilians—but such is military life.  Everyone adjusts … again and again … since one of the few constants in this life is change.  For example, we were greeted by Charity with the news that The Ike will be coming home somewhat unexpectedly in December, rather than March, only to redeploy in February for another rotation.

As Debbie and I were soaking up the sunshine and listening to the children playing, my mind drifted back to some of the inequities in America today.  For example, Brandon, while deployed, has to pay for his “ward room” or mess fee as an officer!  Debbie commented, “It’s strange isn’t it—while he has to pay for his own food while serving his country, millions of people too lazy to work are being paid 4-5 times that amount every month for doing nothing?”  (But don’t get me started on that subject, since I believe that ‘if a man won’t work, neither let him eat!’)

America—I’m thankful for my country!  Although I’ve been privileged to work in many foreign countries through the years and though being American makes us no better than no one else in the entire world, there’s just no place like home.  I’m thankful for America!

Having just endured another (and most vicious) presidential election and campaign season with its negativity, we must not allow our faults to overshadow the greatness of America.  Inseparable from America’s greatness are the values that brought about such freedom and prosperity.  I know of few places where those values are best demonstrated than throughout America’s military family.

America’s values—I’m thankful for our foundational values!  From before the beginning of America, the driving force and hunger was religious freedom.  Although theologies varied, all religious freedom tended to inspire and produce an evolution toward equality, self-governance, and the rule of law, which was rooted in Nature’s Law.  While America today is trending toward forgetfulness of these biblical principles, I’m thankful for a vocational privilege to calling a people back to those values and to the God who gave them to humanity.

BTW, do you pray?  If so, why not take this opportunity to make a list of important things for which to be thankful—not in a generic, politically correct manner, but specifically to the God who has made all these things possible.  Further, make a passionate appeal for God to draw the hearts of Americans back to Himself, whether in salvation or in service.

The Apostle Paul used the phrase “neither were thankful” to describe people living in the last days.  Pray, too, that we will truly maintain an attitude of gratitude, especially on this day—Thanksgiving 2012.

To Tell the Truth

Having grown up on a dairy farm in East Tennessee, I recall our first television—black and white, three channels that came in “clear(ly),” along with a few others that could barely be seen or heard because of “snow” and static.  Life was grand simply because we had a television!

Last night Debbie and I returned home from Indianapolis and put away our travel gear, then settled in the family room.  There I twisted a small knob and the fireplace roared to life, grabbed the remote control, and pushed one button.  Several pieces of electronic equipment came to life, including the television hanging on the wall.

Watching the Cowboys and Falcons game, I was struck by the thoughts of how things have changed since childhood.  When it comes to the technological changes, I’m thankful for most, although I don’t know what most of those buttons even do or how to use all of them!

However, not all changes since my childhood have been good.  For example,  serious philosophical changes have taken place as well.  Most parents (in those days it was a father and mother) were in charge in our homes, and when children got confused, thinking they were the ones in charge, a paddle or switch or belt served as a reminder (and it wasn’t child abuse).

When those same children went to school, the teachers (whom parents seemed to know and respect) took the leadership role.  Some of us as students would think periodically that maybe we could be in charge, but a paddle in every classroom (or in the principal’s office, for sure—but that one was often a larger version of the classroom’s)—reminded us of who was truly in charge! (Standing in the corner was for sissies!)

Parenthetically, there seemed to be a strange link between parents and the school.  By the time I returned home, mom knew when I had been “disciplined”!  The problem was this—I received another spanking from mom upon arrival home, and again from dad when he came home from work.  (You would have thought I would have learned more quickly!)  <sigh>

But I digress … back to the old black and white television … There was an NBC show called “Truth or Consequences,” with another, originally a CBS production by Mark Goodman and Bill Todman, called “To Tell the Truth,” hosted by Bud Collyer.  Remember the days when our parents, teachers, and pastors taught us to always tell the truth?

Why?—because truth creates trust.  Like the old commercial for antifreeze, “If you can’t trust Prestone, who can you trust?!”  (I guess there must be another school with different kinds of teachers for politicians these days!  And surely they aren’t all members of Jeremiah Wright’s version of “truth!”)

This leads me, in a roundabout way, to my point.  After months of political advertisements ad nauseam, many Americans are left wondering if there is any truth-telling at all in American politics.  There is not one truth of Democrats and another truth for Republicans!  There is only truth.  When anyone takes a truth and spins it for their own purposes, it is no longer truth but a falsehood—a lie.  And when Americans have difficulty sorting through all the lies (someone said that a half-truth is a whole lie), the result is invariably distrust, which explains the horrible ratings for congress.

However, our nation must not succumb to the feelings of “What’s the use?” or to indifference or ambivalence.  The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!  Every citizen—especially every believer-citizen—should constantly search out the truth.  We must stand with those who are honest, who have proven themselves to be men and women of good character.

Yesterday, my friend Pastor Rick Cochran stressed to his congregation—both before and after I had presented SALUTE! (a one-hour patriotic show of live music, visualizations, and narration)—“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”  That was yesterday.

Today, contemplating the current conditions of our country—educationally, ethically, financially, morally, politically, and spiritually—surely each of us yearns for improvements.  Improvement must begin in people.  America needs a revival of old-fashioned patriotism, parenting, and principle-centered thinking.

We must determine individually in our hearts to be people of good character, godly convictions, and great courage.  With that kind of revival, America could turn around beginning with tomorrow’s elections.  Without that kind of repentance and commitment, America will continue travelling a trail destructive to both individuals and nations.

Truth or consequences?  Well, to tell the truth, both truth and falsehood have consequences.  However, the long-term results of truth are always favorable, whereas the falsehood always leads to difficulty and disaster.

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you join me in asking God to work mightily in the hearts of Americans during this election process?  Truly, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Celebrating Freedom

Of all the patriotic holidays on the American calendar, July 4th is perhaps my favorite—and 2012 will certainly guarantee that to be true for at least three reason.

First, for the first time in six years, I’m back on the road presenting A SALUTE TO AMERICA!, a 55-minute non-stop patriotic message in music and narration—all with visuals.  Since its 2012 debut in Adrian (MI) on May 6, it’s been to Springfield (MA), Enfield (CT), Thornton (CO), and last weekend in San Diego (CA).

Second, I’m spending a few days with my wife Debbie getting some much needed R & R, while celebrating this memorable holiday in San Diego, which is one of my favorite spots in America, and with friends Jim and Pat Baize.  Because of numerous military installations making southern California their home, this entire region became special years ago, and to spend the 4th of July 2012 here makes it exceedingly special.

In fact, Debbie and I spent a half day touring the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier that served America nobly from World War II through Desert Storm.  Everywhere each of us set foot, our thoughts were turning to another carrier—the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, which deployed on June 20, 2012—and on which our son-in-law LT Brandon Geddes serves.

Third, and perhaps the highlight of my time here this trip, was meeting one very special veteran and enjoying 45 minutes interacting.  Joe Hutchins is retired Navy, which is noteworthy in and of itself, since Joe is 83 years of age, but there’s more to Joe’s story than that.  You see, this retired Senior Chief served in three wars while in the United States Navy—World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam.

Celebrating Freedom with a Hero

During WWII, Joe was one of the Navy’s elite, serving as a tadpole.  Most Americans have little if any clue what that strange title might even mean.  Not even the troops who were tadpoles liked the title, so by the Korean War, the nomenclature had been revised, and these elite forces were then referred to as frogmen.  By Vietnam, they were being referred to by yet another title—one that is still respected globally to this day—SEALs.

Perhaps to many passersby, Joe Hutchins would just be another old man on the street, since he is a rather quiet, soft-spoken man.  However, to me, Joe is a hero for whom I have the utmost respect.  But as I endeavored to teach my five children, “You never know who you’re meeting when you meet an ‘old person,” therefore, respect them all!

So as we celebrate this wonderful America holiday, let’s reflect on the high price that has been paid for the freedom that we enjoy in this nation that has been blessed by the hand of Almighty God for more than the 236 official years.  Let us also reflect on what we who enjoy such freedom are doing to further guarantee that it is available for our posterity.

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you also pause at some point during your own celebration of freedom to thank the One by whose hand our nation has been blest?  The Good Book says, Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.”

Dale on Coronado (CA)

 

MEMORIAL DAY 2012

Last weekend my ministry journey had taken me to the Springfield (MO) area of the USA, while this weekend we’re in Springfield (MA)—with a focus on Memorial Day.  Long before two of my sons became Marines and my son-in-law became a dentist in the Navy, Memorial Day had become a special American “holiday” for our family. 

Using the word holiday to describe this sacred time and use of that term may have led our nation away from the true meaning and purpose of Memorial Day.  Although I am all for parades and picnics, and have nothing whatsoever against using this weekend to mark the unofficial beginning of summer, we must not allow the true meaning to be obscured or upstaged by the other activities. 

One of the first men that I met upon my arrival at the Cedar Bluff Baptist Church in Fair Grove (MO) last Sunday was a World War II veteran.  One of the first things I said to this wonderful gentleman was, “Thank you for your service to our country, sir!”  His response was so typical of the men of that generation.  With no hesitation, he retorted, “It’s was what I wanted to do.  The day I turned 19, I went and signed up!” 

Sitting and chatting with that elderly World War II veteran, I was once again reminded of the importance of protecting the purpose of Memorial Day.  While its companion holiday (Veterans Day), celebrated in November each year, is for the living who have served or are serving our country, this weekend is a solemn reminder of the high price of freedom. 

Americans enjoy a level of freedom that few people in our world enjoy.  Yet, I fear, we take it for granted; but therein is the purpose of Memorial Day—remembering and honoring those who have paid the ultimate price to purchase the freedoms we enjoy. 

It is common knowledge that America is in trouble on many fronts.  We must not allow ourselves the luxury of sailing carelessly through the perilous waters in which we find ourselves.  Memorial Day offers us a prime opportunity to reflect on the past, analyze our present peril, and commit ourselves to helping to correct our national course, securing these freedoms for our posterity. 

America needs an old-fashion revival of living out the principles on which we were founded.  While the Constitution of the United States seems to have little meaning in Washington, DC anymore, grassroots America is awakening to the importance of that aged document and the wisdom that erupts from it. 

Further, our nation needs an old-fashioned revival of parenting as well.  Anyone walking through their local shopping district in America today can see and hear that often three-year-olds are in charge of their thirty-year-old parents, rather than the other way around.  We are not living in a time when we as parents can subcontract the high responsibility of educating, mentoring, and training our children and grandchildren—academically or spiritually.

As we successfully assume and execute these principles (and in the context of parenting especially), I believe we will also see a new level of national pride—an old-fashioned revival of patriotism!  Let’s allow the tears to flow on this Memorial Day 2012 as we reflect on those who have given their lives to secure our freedoms.  When we have done so, we can experience a much higher level of celebration on the Fourth of July, and great appreciation for those who serve in our Armed Forces on Veterans Day!

BTW, do you pray?  If so, join me this weekend in praying for …

  • Those families who have an empty seat at their table, because their loved one gave all
  • God to touch our hearts, stir in us, and change us into people of greater gratitude
  • For our nation to return to the principles that once made us great
  • That God will use my Stateside ministry SALUTE! to inspire believer-citizens into great action for Christ and for country!