Tag Archives: principles

UNDERSTANDING

The news media overflows with yesterday’s “protests” by many NFL players, comments from team owners, and even NBA players picking up the offenses of others—a process apparently begun by Colin Kaepernick last season when he knelt during the national anthem. [He reminds me somewhat of me (a Baptist preacher) in a Catholic church—no real clue about when to stand, when to sit, when to kneel, or what to say!]

Given the current bruhaha amongst us, it seems to me that if anyone on the playing field of American life should understand what is happening, it should be professional athletes. Here’s why—(and I’ll limit my scope to the NFL)—the principles would apply across the boards.

Almost everyone understands there are two sides to every contest—offense and defense. If Mr. Kaepernick (and all the subsequent players who have joined his expressions of concern for a cause)— (I’ll expand this momentarily)—of all people, he should have expected to see pushback. No one should be surprised that whenever one side goes on the offensive, the defense responds, pushes back, and stops advancement.

However, if Kaepernick was the one man setting the example for the offense, then yesterday Mr. Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger, set a perfect example for the defense! While the Pittsburgh Steelers coach, Mr. Mike Tomlin, sought neutral political ground on which to stand, his decision shows a lack of understanding.

If Mr. Tomlin truly understands solidarity and team unity, then he should understand that solidarity and unity as a nation is more important than that of a team of grown men fighting over a piece of pigskin filled with air. However, what escapes an apparently growing number of sports figures, commentators, and everyday citizens, has escaped increasingly many political leaders in our nation’s capital as well—sacrificing our national health for some warped political prowess.

So, in my thinking, I see two examples before me, representing two sides: Colin Kaepernick and Alejandro Villanueva—the one side offensive, the other defensive. One demonstrates a lack of respect for my country (by disrespecting my flag), about as offensive as it gets, while the other exhibits respect and good character, even if it means standing alone.

However, when Mr. Villanueva walked to the head of the tunnel, stood at attention with his hand over his heart, I said to myself, “There’s a great representative of the defense.” It takes character—backbone—to put our highest premium on principles. Principles transcend pigmentation, and it’s high-time that Americans sorted these issues based on principles. While the NFL is filled with tremendous talent, without principles and good character, it becomes a disgrace and dangerous for the health of our nation.

BTW, do you pray? If so, wouldn’t today be a wonderful time to pray for the health of our country? Our national health has little to do with politics or pigmentation, but everything to do with principles—well established for us in the Word of God and in the Constitution of the United States.

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A Day of Infamy

The day began much as any other weekday—get the family out the door to school, finish dressing for the day, and stop at the office. This day would also include a drive to Taylor (MI) for a meeting with pastors from across Michigan. Typically, the truck radio was tuned to Detroit’s WWJ all-news radio. Although that Tuesday, September 11, 2001, may have begun routinely, it was about to change.

I muttered about the rush hour traffic along I-96, unaware of the events transpiring in the skies over New York. Governmental agencies were scrambling, trying to locate American Airlines Flight 11 on radar—to no avail—until it crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. At 8:48a, the first live pictures broke in New York City on WNYW-TV. In horror, New Yorkers watched a live feed as more than 100 people, trapped by fire and smoke in the upper floors, jumped to their deaths. But this is only the beginning of horrors.

In the span of less than two hours—before anyone could really grasp what was taking place—thousands of lives had been lost. Let me ask you—Where were you when the world stopped turning on the morning of September 11, 2001?

As we watched in stunned horror, we could not help but recall (Psalm 9:17 KJV) The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” Could there be a man or woman alive who witnessed these horrific scenes who was not wondering, “What is happening to America?”

Surely, such a series of tragedies should serve as a clarion wake-up call for Americans to soberly contemplate—“God, what do you want us to see, to understand, to learn from these attacks?” Although man may have meant it for evil, is there some good that God can bring from this?

Just before midnight & just before retiring 16 years ago tomorrow night, President George W. Bush penned into his journal these words: “The Pearl Harbor of the 21st Century took place today … “

Indeed, as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated in his speech to Congress, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked … “

Today—11 September 2017, we are commemorating a day of infamy. Let us never shy away from the searing memories of that September day, lest we forget the price that was paid by innocent people who were ruthlessly slaughtered as they were just doing their jobs.

Let us never forget the price paid by the heroes who risked and gave their lives in an honorable attempt to save as many lives as they possibly could before they themselves paid the ultimate price. Neither should we forget those brave men and women who risked their lives in service to their fellow man, and who will live with the haunting memories and physical handicaps for the remainder of their natural lives.
BTW, do you pray? If so, wouldn’t right now be an appropriate time to thank God for those Americans—both living and deceased—who performed beyond their natural abilities during this crisis which has changed and challenged America?

Today, we are also considering a nation in decline. Sadly, the warning signs are everywhere; the caution flag is out. However, the child of God should not be shocked as we review the events of the last sixteen years, especially in light of 2 Timothy 3 as a prophetic template.

This know also that in the last days, perilous times shall come … For men shall be lovers of their own selves … Covetous … Boasters … Proud … Blasphemers … Disobedient to parents … Unthankful … Unholy …

Without natural affection … Trucebreakers … False accusers … Incontinent (or lacking sexual control) … Fierce (meaning aggressive and violent) … Despisers of those that are good

Traitors … Heady (impulsive and rash in behavior) … High-minded … Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God … Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof …

These also resist the truth … Men of corrupt minds … Reprobate concerning the faith … But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived …

Those of us who know the Word of God and the God of the Word must understand two critical things. First, these are the last days and the human picture will not be a pretty one, but rather a scene that declines from bad-to-worse.

Secondly, as believers, we’re called upon to remain faithful, fervent, fearless, and fruitful. Faithful does not mean a fatalistic outlook on life; neither does it mean that we resign ourselves to thinking that our lives cannot or will not make a positive difference on the world in which we live.

Faithfulness does mean that we fearlessly set our sights toward the future, believing that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us for His cause. Faithfulness does mean that we throw ourselves into the battle for eternal souls throughout our world, since God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Again, I ask, do you pray? If so, today is an excellent time to renew our commitment to God, presenting our bodies as living sacrifices in His service, that by all means available to us, we might save some. Why not pray that kind of commitment prayer to God, wherever you are today?

Finally, on this sixteenth anniversary of 9—11, I am not only commemorating a day of infamy, and considering a nation in decline, but I am also calling a people to action. At 7:24 pm, September 11, 2001, members of Congress joined together on the steps of the United States Capitol and sang, “God Bless America!”

While I firmly believe in that great song—made famous by vocalist Kate Smith—Congress should have been leading this nation in prayers of repentance, giving God a viable reason to bless America. They did not do so, and based on the track record of the last 16 years, they apparently had no intention of doing so.

However, my question is this—even if Congress will no longer truly embrace the principles and precepts that our founding fathers held dear, will you? Will the people who claim to know God choose to live like we know Him?

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

While we may sing of God’s blessings on America, “obedience is better than sacrifice!” … how much pressure from without and from within will it take to bring America to our knees in repentance? We need leaders whose character runs deeper than the latest photo op.

Has sixteen years laden with disasters not captured our attention? If the vicious attacks of 9-11 didn’t turn our nation to God, what will it take? How many Hurricane Katrina’s, Harvey’s, and Irma’s will be enough wake-up call for us? Are we even listening?

God will not force us to obey and follow Him, whether as individuals or as nations. However, throughout history the bitter consequences of disobedience traditionally do one of two things—either lead us to repentance or further harden our hearts in further resistance.

A wise young leader of a nation once stated, (Joshua 24:15 GWT) But if you don’t want to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve … (but) … my family and I will still serve the LORD.”

My appeal to you is simple: Make a fresh commitment to God today to become a man or woman if influence for Christ. With Elijah of old, I say to you, (1 Kings 18:21 KJV) How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.

It is insufficient for modern believers to drift along ambivalently or complacently in these closing moments of time, considering that the eternal destiny of millions of people is at stake. We must be sober and vigilant and, as I stated earlier, fearless, fervent, faithful, and fruitful.

BTW, do you really pray? If so, then now would be the best time. Here’s my prayer today:

Heavenly Father, I come to you this morning with sober heart, mind, and spirit—sober because of my own sin, because of the sins of our nation, and because I recognize that your spirit will not always strive with us, and because you have given us ample opportunity to repent.

I come into your presence at this very moment realizing that as a nation, we have forgotten you as our God, realizing that you would much prefer that we repent voluntarily of our sin than for us to be judged by your righteousness for it.

As best as we know how, we humble ourselves before you now, praying, seeking your face, and determining to turn from our wickedness. We also come, throwing ourselves upon your mercy—that you will hear our prayer from heaven, that you will forgive our sin, and that you will heal our land.

We pray for those who lead us at every level of government—that your spirit might move mightily upon their minds, that your hand would turn the king’s heart where you desire—that your people might have rest and enjoy peaceable lives, even in a world filled with turmoil, wars, and rumors of wars.

We especially pray for the families of our nation who have an empty seat at their mealtimes because a loved one paid the ultimate price, honorably serving the people of this great nation.

Further, I pray that this date of infamy will lead many to newfound faith in Christ and believers to a renewed commitment to standing firm in their faith, as well as becoming proactive as citizens at the ballot box—voting the principles and precepts that they profess to believe. And, God, we want to live in such a way that our lives give you reason to bless this nation once again, and our prayer will always be God bless America!

In the name of the One who saves to the uttermost, Jesus Christ, Amen.

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?”

A DAY OF INFAMY

The day began much as any other weekday—get the family out the door to school, finish dressing for the day, and stop at the office.  This day would also include a drive to Taylor for a meeting with pastors from across Michigan.  Typically, my truck radio was tuned to Detroit’s WWJ-AM 950 all-news radio.  Although that Tuesday, September 11, 2001, may have begun routinely, it was about to change.

Even as I muttered about the rush hour traffic along I-96, unaware of the events transpiring in the skies over New York, governmental agencies were scrambling, trying to locate American Airlines Flight 11 on radar—to no avail—until it crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  At 8:48a, the first live pictures broke in New York City on WNYW-TV.  In horror, New Yorkers watched a live feed as more than 100 people, trapped by fire and smoke in the upper floors, jumped to their deaths.  But this is only the beginning of horrors. 

Before these details can be understood, American Airlines Flight 77 is hijacked at approximately 8:50a.  At 8:51a a flight controller at New York Center notices a problem on United Flight 175 from Boston to LA.  Attempts to establish contact are futile.

At 08:52 F-15s are scrambling from Otis Air National Guard Base.  By 08:56, the transponder for Flight 77 is turned off and primary radar contact is lost.  The aircraft travels undetected for 36 minutes due east toward Washington, D.C. 

At 08:58, United Airlines Flight 175 takes a heading toward New York City, where at 09:02 the plane and its passengers crash into the south face of the South Tower of the World Trade Center at a speed of 590 MPH. 

While early news coverage by at least three major networks is focusing on the first plane crash, millions of Americans see the impact of the second plane live.  Parts of the plane leave the building from two sides, falling to the ground up to six blocks away.

By 09:08, the FAA has banned all takeoffs nationwide.  At 09:26 the FAA bans all civilian aircraft regardless of destination—a national groundstop is in effect. 

But at 09:28, hijackers storm the cockpit of United Airlines Flight 93, commandeering the flight.  Meanwhile, at 09:37 American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the western side of the Pentagon.  All 64 crew and passengers onboard are killed, as are 125 Pentagon personnel. 

At 09:42, Ben Stiley of the FAA grounds all air traffic over the United States and diverts incoming international traffic to alternate destinations.  US airspace is shut down.  All aircraft in flight are ordered to land at the nearest airport as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, a few civilian heroes on Flight 93 begin a passenger revolt at 09:57, less than two minutes before the South Tower of the World Trade Center begins to collapse—56 minutes and 2 seconds after the impact of United Flight 175. 

At 10:03, United Airlines Flight 93 is crashed into the rural terrain of Somerset County, Pennsylvania. 

Back in Washington, D.C., the west side of the Pentagon collapses, followed by the collapse of the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 10:28.  This collapse is also viewed on live television. 

In the span of less than two hours—before anyone could really grasp what was taking place—thousands of lives had been lost.  As country singer Alan Jackson asked in song, “Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?  

As some of us watched in stunned horror, we could not help but recall (Psalm 9:17 KJV) The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”  Could there be a man or woman alive who witnessed these horrific scenes who was not wondering, “What is happening to America?”

Surely, such a series of tragedies should serve as a clarion wake-up call for Americans to soberly contemplate—“God, what do you want us to see, to understand, to learn from these attacks?”  Although man may have meant it for evil, is there some good that God can bring from this? 

            By the time President George W. Bush retired just before midnight ten years ago, he had penned into his journal these words:  “The Pearl Harbor of the 21st Century took place today … “

Indeed, as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated in his speech to Congress, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked … “

            And today, September 11, 2011, we are commemorating a day of infamy.  Let us never shy away from the searing memories of that September day, lest we forget the price that was paid …

… by innocent people who were ruthlessly slaughtered as they were just doing their jobs  

… by the heroes who risked and gave their lives in an honorable attempt to save as many lives as they possibly could before they themselves paid the ultimate price

… by those brave men and women who risked their lives in service to their fellow-man, and who will live with the haunting memories and physical handicaps for the remainder of their natural lives

… by the thousands of nameless men and women around the globe who, in the first few hours of multiple tragedies were scrambling to make intelligent and fast decisions to avert further disaster

BTW, do you pray?  If so, join me in a prayer of thanksgiving for those Americans—both living and deceased—who performed beyond their natural abilities during this crisis which has changed and challenged America.   

Today, we should also consider that, sadly, our nation is in decline.  The warning signs are everywhere.  The caution flags are waving.  The child of God should not be shocked as we review events of the last decade, while using 2 Timothy 3 as a prophetic template for understanding. 

Those who know God and His Word must understand two critical things: 

First, these are the last days and the human picture will not be a pretty one, but rather a scene that declines from bad-to-worse.  Second, as believers, we are called upon to remain faithful, fervent, fearless, and fruitful.

Faithful does not mean a fatalistic outlook on life, and neither does it mean that we resign ourselves to thinking that our lives cannot or will not make a positive difference on the world in which we live.  Faithfulness means that we fearlessly set our sights toward the future, believing that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us for His cause.  It mean that we throw ourselves into the battle for eternal souls throughout our world, since God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Therefore, we should determine on this occasion, that we will renew our commitment to God, presenting our bodies as living sacrifices in His service, that by all means available to us, we might save some. 

BTW, do you pray?  If so, why not pray–right now– that kind of commitment prayer to God?   

            Finally, on this tenth anniversary of 9—11, we are not only commemorating a day of infamy, and considering a nation in decline, but we should also be calling our nation to repentance. 

At 7:24p, September 11, 2001, members of Congress joined together on the steps of the United States Capitol and sang, “God Bless America!”  While I firmly believe in that great song—made famous by vocalist Kate Smith– Congress should have been leading this nation in prayers of repentance, thereby giving God a viable reason to bless America.  They did not do so, and based on the track record of the last decade, they apparently have no intention of doing so. 

My question is this—even if Congress will not truly embrace the biblical principles and precepts that our founding fathers held dear, will you?  Will the people who claim to know God choose to live like we know Him?

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

While we may sing of God’s blessings on America, “obedience is better than sacrifice!”  How much pressure will it take to bring America to our knees in repentance?  We need leaders whose character runs deeper than the latest photo-op.  

Has a decade laden with disasters not captured our attention?  If the vicious attacks of 9-11 didn’t turn our nation to God, what will?  Hurricane Katrina wasn’t enough wake-up call?  When Irene came knocking recently, were we listening?  Do current crime statistics and news reports of violence not arrest our attention?  Will prolonged unemployment rates not help us to consider our ways?

God will not force us to make decisions to obey and follow Him, whether as individuals or as nations—but often throughout history, the bitter consequences of disobedience traditionally do one of two things:  lead us to repentance or to further harden our hearts in defiant resistance. 

A wise young leader of a nation once stated, (Joshua 24:15 GWT) But if you don’t want to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve … (but) … my family and I will still serve the LORD.” 

            My appeal to you is simple:  Make a fresh commitment to God today to become a man or woman if influence for Christ.  With Elijah of old, I say to you, (1 Kings 18:21 KJV) How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.   

It is insufficient for modern believers to drift along ambivalently or complacently in these closing moments of time, considering that the eternal destiny of millions of people is at stake.  We must be sober and vigilant, fearless, fervent, faithful, and fruitful.

 Let us pray and serve to that end.

Happy 235th Birthday, America!

Of all the holidays associated with our country, the Fourth of July is my favorite, but this year I “come to the party” with mixed feelings.  While I love my country, celebrate the freedoms we enjoy, and recognize that throughout the world millions of people yearn to enjoy these same freedoms, my heart is grieved by the imminent danger our nation is facing. 

The peril to which I refer is not necessarily some grave danger from without, (although there is clear and present danger without), but rather the growing, not-so-subtle dangers from within our own ranks, especially inside the Beltway in our nation’s capital, though not limited to that by any means.

My concern is the void of common sense.  As I listen to and read the news coming from Washington, state capitals, and the courtrooms across the country, I wonder if there is any common sense left anymore.  Across America is the same basic concern—Washington/government has gone astray.

My concern is the lack of fiscal responsibility.  If it isn’t bad enough that our national debt is climbing rapidly past $14,462,000,000, (that’s $129.500 per taxpayer and $46,400 per citizen), the very people who have made the decisions for this federal spending rampage continue making irresponsible financial decisions.  To add insult to injury, they blame each other.  FACT:  The 535 men and women who have been making these decisions, collectively, are irresponsible in their spending of taxpayer dollars—and yet they want to raise the limit on the credit card (national debt ceiling)!

Here’s an announcement for governments throughout the land—stop living on credit and make the hard choices necessary to live within your means.  My two-year-old  granddaughter doesn’t have $46,400 to pay the bill! Oh, by the way—that’s just common sense, but that’s seems to be in short supply and a fresh supply of that can’t be printed by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing!

My concern is the growing moral depravity.  America’s violation of morality takes on many forms these days, with violations from the White House to the outhouse.  The commentary is truly sad when our (former) president, who can’t define “is,” set an example for the young people and children of America on what not to be.  Tradition has it that George Washington couldn’t tell a lie.  Apparently modern politicians can’t tell the truth!  Only well-read and thinking Americans can tell the difference.

With New York’s senate joining five other states to declare same-sex marriage to be “legal,” Andrew Cuomo seemed to fall all over himself to find a pen to sign it into law before midnight.  Mayor Bloomberg, really misspoke when he stated, “The Republicans who stood up today for those principles I think will long be remembered for their courage, foresight and wisdom.”  Mayor, I have news for you—those Republicans were cowards for not standing for proper moral principles, they exhibited anything but foresight, and there was not a shred of wisdom in going against nature and nature’s God.

My concern is the ignorance of history.  To suggest an ignorance of history alone is a bit misleading.  Let’s bring to the table for discussion the fact that American history is being revised to the point that, if and when the subject is given attention in the national educational system, it barely resembles the sequence of events that actually transpired.  Sometimes what is being omitted is more important than what is presented—especially when the omission includes the very principles that permeated the values of our founding fathers. 

My concern is the dereliction of duty.  Witnessing the flood of illegal immigrants streaming across our borders—specifically, our southern borders—the federal government, charged with the responsibility to secure those borders, not only fails to do so, but attacks and threatens the states most affected by the failures of the feds!  We’re not talking “Oops, we forgot to lock the door” here, folks.  We’re talking about a real, known problem that is sucking the resources out of hard-working Americans’ pockets to care for illegals.  It isn’t that America doesn’t care—we do care—we have cared, for 235 years, but there is a right way and a wrong way to become a legal part of the American family. 

Finally, my concern is the rejection of God.  Since before our beginning—read the Mayflower Compact)—God has been a part of this nation.  Our forefathers sought God’s guidance and wisdom in making decisions.  God was acknowledged, credited for blessing this nation, and His name as well as His Word were a part of almost everything that was built or written.    

This is where knowing American history and the Holy Scriptures accurately will destroy the rationale that is being thrust upon us by a liberal politico, media corps, and the likes of the ACLU.  The entire world knows that America is in trouble economically, morally, politically, and socially.  However, too few Americans have explored why this is the case.  It may have little to do with political parties, but it has much to do with the violations of biblical principles—principles once embraced by this great nation.

BTW, do you pray?  If so, perhaps after reading the following passage and reflecting on it, you will pray for America—to humble ourselves, to pray, to seek God’s face, to repent, and to once again enjoy the forgiveness and favor of The Almighty.

(2 Timothy 3:1-5 KJV/NLT) This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  (NLT) For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.  They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.  They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.  They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! 

Truly, let us pray!

She Gave Us More Than Life

Three times over a ten-year period, she brought new life to this world—May 1950, again in November 1954, and yet again in January 1961.  Her three children were born healthy and whole—well, except for that spiritual part, that is. 

 Yes, Hazel Peterson gave life to the three of us (Dennis, Gina King, and me); but she gave us more than life, that we might live.  She also gave us an marvelous model by which we could live.

She gave us more than life—she included good partnering for our father—an example we could follow

Both mother and daddy (that’s what we called them when we were small) set as great an example of what husbands and wives ought to be as any couple I’ve ever witnessed.  In retrospect, I couldn’t have asked for better parents, because they laid a proper foundation by being great partners for each other.

Dad was a quiet unassuming man, who worked long, hard days—especially during the years when he and my paternal grandfather owned and operated the largest dairy farm in eastern Tennessee, combined with his construction business as a brick mason.  In my mind’s eye I can still see him coming home from work and kissing my mom—or see him standing behind her as she looked across the farm from the large window over the kitchen sink, one arm on either side of her, his hands pressed against the counter. 

Mother's High School Graduation

Although I can still hear them discussing family matters, Mother did most of the organizing.  They were so homogenous in their relationship that they seldom discussed anything for very long—at least not in front of us as children.  Whatever one presented as an option made so much sense to the other, they just agreed!  I never remember hearing them argue—not even once. 

They loved each other, and it wasn’t until I was in college that I discovered that not all husbands and wives enjoyed the kind of partnership that mother and daddy did.  Other people knew it, too, and have told me so through the years, especially when I conducted their funerals.

In fact, a year or so after mother had died (as the result of a head-on collision caused by a drunk driver), Dad was visiting my family.  The day he was heading back to the family home on Fort Sumpter Road outside of Knoxville, as he opened the car door, he turned and asked, “Dale, do you think I loved your mother too much?”  He was hurting, missing his mate, and I had no clue what he was felling.  I replied, “Dad, unless you loved her more than you do God, how could you love her too much?”

She gave us more than life—she included good parenting for us as children—an example we could follow

Dad wasn’t the only hard worker in the family—mother was right there, too.  While I never knew which parent was the first one up in the morning as a rule, I know they were both already up and dressed for the day when they awaken the children.  We also awakened to the aroma of breakfast cooking six days a week—most of it cooked or fried in bacon grease.  Only on Sunday mornings did we eat boxed breakfast cereals, and that was because Dad didn’t want mother to have to cook on Sunday.  In fact, it was quite common for Dad to do the cooking for lunch and dinner.

We also awaken to a list of to-do’s that are still my habit to this day.  As soon as our feet hit the floor, we made the beds we’d just slept in.  Pajamas were folded and placed under our pillows.  We dressed, washed our faces, and combed our hair before going to the breakfast table. 

Ralph, Hazel, & Dale, circa 1954

There was always order in the Peterson’s household—not just with things, but also in our relationships. If we were told by a parent to do something, we were expected to do it.  Mother never counted to three—unless it was three whacks across our backsides when we did not do what we were told.  That expectation later morphed into the tag line that I used with my own children, “Quickly, cheerfully, I will obey.”  It’s apparent to me when I see young parents today—giving a “time out” to their three-year-olds—they must not have had parents like mine!

She gave us more than life—she included good principles for our lives—an example we could follow 

Some of these principles have already bled through in previous paragraphs—things like cleanliness.  Generally speaking, my wife does not have to follow a trail of crumbs or dirty clothes through our condo, cleaning up after a thoughtless husband.  In fact, she chuckles sometimes with my banal obsessions for orderliness, but somehow I think on the inside she is grateful that my mother (whom she has never met) instilled cleanliness in me!

Mother also instilled good study habits in her children.  In fact, I may very well be the weak link in that chain, since both my younger siblings have greater formal education than I do.  But all three of us are students of life—not merely of textbooks in classrooms, though these certainly have their place.  While Dad was a B/C-level student in school, mother excelled with straight-As, and she wanted her children to be good students, both inside and outside of a classroom. 

We were also provided an excellent moral compass in our home.  Life’s daily routines and travels afforded us many family discussions of right and wrong, as well as the reasons behind each.  As I look around the country in which I live today, I can’t help but think that although we have more possessions, we have fewer godly principles at play today.  Sadly, our country is adrift morally in every way.

Dale, Dennis, & Gina, circa 1963

One last principle that mother instilled her children was respect.  Respect (or a lack thereof) can be seen in so many ways, from the manner with which one family member treats another to the way in which total strangers interact.  Not only did mother (and Dad) instill a sense of proper respect in their children, their very lives commanded the respect of all who knew them.  Again, I’ve heard this time and again through the years. 

Finally, she gave us more than life—she included good prospects for the future—an example to follow  

Dennis, Gina, and I come from “good stock,” as people used to say.  We know it, we are thankful for it, and we want the same to be said of each of us and our families.  Mother and Daddy laid the foundation.  They weren’t perfect, although they were closer to it than I will ever be.  It was through their lives and my upbringing that I had hope for the future in a family of my own.

Yet, the good prospects for the future are larger than this life.  It includes the life to come.  You see, mother lived her life in such a manner that her children would come to faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior.  She lived daily the Christ life—we could understand Him better by looking at, listening to, and sensing it in her!

So, on this Mother’s Day 2011, although Dennis, Gina, and Dale will wear white flowers on our lapels, our mother is very much alive, no doubt standing at a heavenly kitchen window above the sink, daddy’s arms around her, both of them looking this way, waiting and watching for the kids to come home—each of us, for the last time.

There’s one family circle that will not be broken!  Meanwhile, her children will rise up and call her blessed, with gratitude for a godly mother who gave us so much more than life!

Dale, Gina, & Dennis

AMERICAN TROOPS & WASHINGTON

Five years ago today, my oldest son USMC Captain Justin D Peterson, deployed to Iraq, where six months later he was killed while returning from a mission.  This time of year will always be special in my mind, and I traditionally use “milestone moments” for introspection.  Justin’s deployment with a small border transition team is one of those times, in part because it is surrounded with other important family events.

 For example, Justin’s only daughter, Caitlin, was born on 6 April 2006, only hours before his deployment, which had already been pushed back allowing him to be present for her birth.  How could I ever forget that day, since Justin and Patty had been gracious enough to let me stay with them in the birthing suite at Huron Valley Hospital until I had to race to catch my flight to Great Britain?  Forty minutes after saying goodbye to Justin, who had left Patty long enough to walk my wife Debbie and me to the car, he called to say, “Well, Dad, Caitlin’s here!”

Patty and Caitlin Peterson

However, today as I reflect, I am not only recalling tender moments like the one that I have just described, but also realizing the quagmire in which America has sunk, especially relative to those brave men and women in uniform who hazard their lives to keep us safe, and to the families whose fathers or mothers make additional sacrifices in our stead.

As I write today, the “highest leaders” in our land are embroiled in a budgetary stalemate inside the Beltway, and in what has become their standard modus operandi, they play their political games on the backs of and at the expense of the very people they are charged constitutionally with leading. 

Not only does the “establishment” (which includes both Democrats and Republicans) continually operate in such a manner that our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will be laden with an unsustainable debt, they also are quite cautious to take steps to protect their own interests, salaries, and eternal benefits!  It’s time that every elected official at every level of government, especially Washington, D.C., throws himself or herself into a new caution—a caution to truly protect the populous whom they are to represent—even if it means throwing themselves on their own swords, as it were.

The latest political ploy—a government shutdown—appears to have little meaning to Washington.  Oh, I know—they trot themselves in front of cameras at every opportunity and talk—spewing a rhetoric that has worn terribly thin with the grassroots who pay not only their absorbent salary and benefit packages while they (in particular the Obama administration) are now threatening the meager paychecks of our troops and their families. 

Let me be clear—this gets personal, especially when I watch my five-year-old granddaughter blowing out her birthday candles, and I fight back the tears, realizing that this little girl will never know her daddy, other than the pictures and stories that others tell her.  Her mother and brothers are now being threatened with a cash flow shutdown by the very president that swore to uphold the constitution with a genuine concern for the people of this nation—including little girls whose daddies go off to fight for freedom!  

Maybe it would be a great idea for America to stop paying the people that we have elected to represent us in the House, Senate, and the White House until they establish a sustainable budget for each fiscal year.  And when they vote on bills for which they do not appropriate adequate funds, reduce their take-home pay by that same amount—in other words; let the fiscal irresponsibility be borne by the fiscally irresponsible people who fail at doing their jobs. 

Oh, and while we’re at it, why not scrap the special health care and retirement programs they all enjoy at this time and run them through the VA hospitals and Social Security?

Yes, as I reflect today, I’m very proud of my son Justin and his contribution to America.  However, I am ashamed of those men and women in Washington who, under a guise of caring about this great nation, are continually making choices and casting votes that are undermining this country and violating the very principles that lead to God’s blessings and the prosperity of our nation. 

And, just in case I have been too vague, that means that I am ashamed of much of what Barack Hussein Obama has done and is doing as my president.  The same is true for my Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow. 

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you join me in praying that somehow, by His miraculous working, God would so speak to the hearts and minds of those we have elected, that once again common sense, honesty, and truth would begin to prevail inside the Beltway, in state capitols, and in local municipalities? 

(Ezekiel 22:30 KJV) And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. 

How desperately we should pray that, as God continually looks for such men and women today, He will find such a person—in Washington, in Michigan, and in my house!

Semper fi, troops!

Heroes

(If you’re a family member, friend, or regular reader, you knew this blog was coming, so just  stop now, get your box of tissues, and then continue reading!)

If you could spend time with airmen, sailors, soldiers, and Marines who are recipients of one or more Purple Hearts, one common denominator amongst them would be this—none would admit to being a “hero.”  No matter how valiant they may have been in their own actions, each one would reserve the title of hero for those men and women who paid the ultimate price for the freedom that American citizens enjoy.

Today, my oldest son Justin would have celebrated his 36th birthday, had his life not been cut short by a freak accident in Al Anbar Province (Iraq) four years ago tomorrow.  At least from our human perspective, it would appear that way, because we now can see only through “a glass darkly” (1 Cor 13:12).  However, I anticipate seeing all things clearly one day.  In that moment when my Commander-in-Chief (and I’m not talking Obama—not even close!) points to His perfect purpose and plan for the painful events of this life, even the death of our loved ones will make sense to us—then.

My best guess is this—until then, some things are just going to hurt a bit, and 30 September and 01 October are on my list, to be sure.  Thankfully, our whole family has made adequate preparation for a grand family reunion, so we don’t sorrow unduly, as though we had no hope!  But I digress …

With only 60 years under my belt to-date, I’ve lived long enough to out-live my parents by several years, at least by using the calendar for our measurement.  I don’t know if it’s even possible to “out-live” many of my relatives if we use godly character as the standard.  I try, but sometimes feel like I still fall short of being the man I ought to be or the man that my own father was—and he is one of my heroes.

Interestingly, my son Justin has also become a hero to me.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve forgotten most of the antics he pulled growing up, but forgetting some things is a good thing; after all, our Heavenly Father has forgotten the antics, blunders, and sins that we have pulled!  “Forgiven, I repeat, I’m forgiven!” as the 70s song said—and that means forgotten—and that’s a good thing.

But as I remember Justin interacting with his boys (during the little time they had together), I saw something in him that made me very proud of him.  I cherish the pictures I carry in my mind of him wrestling with Jared or simply walking hand-in-hand with Jayden.  Maybe it’s because I didn’t do enough of that as his dad during the early years. 

Last Saturday, before leaving town to preach, I watched Jayden playing soccer in a YMCA league.  After the game as Debbie and I said our goodbyes, I hugged Jayden and whispered to him how proud his dad would be of him for playing soccer so well (because soccer was always Justin’s game).  Jayden instantly commented, “Papa Pete, I think he saw the whole game!”  Great perspective for a fatherless six-year-old, I’d say.

Then because Debbie and I were leaving right from Jayden’s game, I hugged Caitlin, who was born only a few days before her dad deployed to Iraq, and apologized for not being able to attend her game later that afternoon, but the ever- cheery four-year-old replied, “That’s okay, Papa Pete!  I understand!”  It’s tough to explain to a little granddaughter how proud her daddy would be of her—and not “lose it!”  And I cherish the few photos that I have of the two of them together—my hero and my granddaughter!

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you pray that via His infinite grace and perfect plan, God would do for the fatherless what they need?  Would you pray for Patty as she rears the children without the mate that made them possible?  Would you also pray for “the siblings” whose lives were made rich because of their brother Justin, and who try so hard to remember him by the laughter but have those moments when they must cry?–and for a mother whose birthday celebrations will always be tempered by the memory of her son’s funeral on the same day?  Finally, would you pray that through it all, each of the Petersons would always find ways to turn our tragedy into triumph … to turn our buffeting into someone else’s blessing.  We don’t want to waste the pain.

In 1971, my friend Gordon Jensen wrote the following song that has blessed my life immeasurably and inspired the book Leave a Well in the Valley which I recently authored.  It describes how I intend to process life’s tough times.

To the valley you’ve been through those around you must go too

Down the rocky path you’ve traveled they will go

If to those learning of your trial you lend the secret of your smile

You will help them more than you will ever know

Blessed is the man who has learned to understand

To become a hand for God to those in need

Yes, then all the tears he’s shed with God’s help become instead

A precious balm that will heal the hearts that bleed

 

So leave a well in the valley—your dark and lonesome valley

Others have to cross this valley too

What a blessing when they find the well of joy you’ve left behind

So leave a well in the valley you go through

 

You see, there can be more heroes than those who die on distant fields of battle.  Each of us can become a hero to someone else by living in such a manner so as to leave a lasting positive impact upon the people within the circle of our own influence.  And since we have no promise of tomorrow, we must leave the legacy in the time we have—today.

And whenever you see a member of America’s military, take a moment to thank them for their service and your freedom!

One chapter in Dale’s recently released book Leave a Well in the Valley addresses the subject “When a Child Is Killed,” and could become a source of encouragement and strength to other parents who have experienced the death of a child.  Leave a Well in the Valley may be purchased at www.dalepeterson.org

Misconceptions

Strange, isn’t it—how we can so easily develop misconceptions about almost anything, especially people, and especially in the ministerial world?

 For years I’ve heard how “impossible” (or at least very difficult) it is to reach the young people of Great Britain or Europe with the Gospel.  However, as I sit here in my usual “office” at Frankie and Benny’s at the Birmingham (England) airport, awaiting a flight to France, and reflecting on last week’s youth camp at Cefn Lea Park in Newtown, Powys (Wales), I’m not sure that I how accurate the assessment of others has been. 

Let me explain. 

Four years ago roughly, Dan Brown of LIFT Student Ministries, along with one of his board members Ben Robinson, accompanied me on a whirlwind exploratory excursion to Great Britain.  Dan has operated a growing number of “LIFT Camps” in the eastern half of American for several years—and quite successfully.  In fact, if memory serves me correctly, I spoke for one of Dan’s camps, even before he called them “LIFT!” in Monticello, Kentucky.  (How could I ever forget that camp, because they had more frogs hopping around the property than were in the plagues of Egypt!  Of maybe it’s my guilt for encouraging several of the campers to collect dozens of frogs and put them in his father Harold’s room that I remember.)

 Somehow, I felt that if I could get Dan here to see what I was seeing in the potential of reaching young people for Christ—and it worked!  Few men (or women) that I know share the level of burden or passion for young people that my friend Dan Brown has.  I see it and sense it increasingly.

Our first year camp was actually quite small—but the results of young people coming to faith in Christ as their Savior were quite large!  I also remember thinking that it was the toughest youth camp that I’d ever been involved with, simply because of the behavior of my of the young people who attended.  Several of them came to us from social services, and were known to be “problem teenagers.”  But we loved them, and I think they sensed that, and responded accordingly.

The second year of LIFT-UK the numbers climbed in every way.  An impact for Christ was growing—and the impact was affecting young people from not only Europe, but also on the American college-aged staff of LIFT … and on me!  Many of the first-year campers returned and the spiritual growth in them was self-evident.  Once again by week’s end, many campers had made significant commitments to God for salvation, holy living, and Christian service.

This year the groundswell continued with even greater evidence.  First, we jointly operated LIFT-UK 2010 with the BBF-GB youth camp, a collection of ministry partner churches scattered around Great Britain, but representative campers also came from other European countries.  In the analysis of the executive director of Cefn Lea Park, this was the largest gathering of a group of Christian teenagers in the history of the conference centre!

At times the crowd noise was almost deafening, especially when you have nearly 300 campers and staff all assembled in the dining room, everyone talking, laughing, dishes clattering, etc.!  And to listen and watch this crowd in action during the praise and worship time was almost beyond description—especially if one is expecting the misconception to be the reality!

And the behavioral difference over a three year period is also notable.  While are a couple of layers of workers between me and the campers these days, I do believe that this was the most well-behaved crowd to-date.  The difference that Christ makes in the spiritual lives is readily seen from one year to the next.  The pastors and other Christian workers were all abuzz with excitement with the spiritual advancements!

While I can’t say that the volume of decisions made by young people coming to faith in Christ, surprised me, I must admit that it just doesn’t fit the misconception.  What did arrest my attention was that on opening night, rather than somewhat typically closing night, most of the young people who accepted Christ as their personal Savior during did so that first night!  By the closing assembly on Friday morning, 42 teenagers had come to faith!

But that isn’t all—great as that is!

At the conclusion of his Thursday evening message, my friend Ed Trinkle, speaker for the week who did a masterful job of connecting with the audience, plainly asked all from the audience who were ready to say to God, “I’ve been allowing you to speak to my heart and I’m now ready to ‘lay it all down’ and serve you full time for the rest of my life,” to stand to their feet, then come and gather in front of the stage for special instructions, prayer, and then counsel.

I was in tears as I stood at the top level of the auditorium and counted 76 teenagers standing in front of that stage in response to Ed’s clear instructions!  When it was all sorted, and the individual counseling was concluded, 40 young people had truly committed themselves to ministry and service for Christ!

That kind of scene, with that kind of result, just doesn’t fit the misconception that so many in kingdom work have.  Each of us who have been a part of this new phenomenon believes that we are on the leading edge of a new wave of the working of God amongst the young people and churches of Great Britain!  And we’re witnessing it firsthand!

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you join several of us praying for the 42 teenagers who are new believers as they return to their homes and friends?  We understand the spiritual battle that will surely take place in their hearts and minds.  Several of them will certainly struggle in the months to come as they decide daily whether to follow the old life or the new.

Would you also pray for the 40 young people who committed their lives to service for the King of Kings?  They too will be waging war to live out that which they committed on that closing night of LIFT-UK 2010.

Finally, would you pray that the Lord would continue to use me in leaving a lasting impact on an entire movement of God to reach young people in Europe?  There aren’t a lot of 60-year-olds who still pursue a vision aggressively in youth ministry—but I’m asking that you pray for one—me!

And to those individuals, pastors, and churches who invested financially and prayerfully through our ministry, you can know that your investment has yielded history-making and eternal results!  Thank you!

Cheers!

Don’t Forget to Remember

On Monday, 31 May 2010, many American’s will celebrate a national holiday, forgetting the true meaning or purpose of the day itself.  However, throughout this great nation, thousands upon thousands of families will remember—in fact, it’s impossible for us to forget, because buried in a cemetery somewhere is a casket that holds the remains of a loved one who paid the supreme sacrifice that we might be free. 

"On behalf of ... a grateful nation," my daughter-in-law Patty

However, this day of remembrance must never be limited to a few moments of emotional energies spent merely missing  our friends and loved ones whose lives were cut short during their military service for our country.  We surely must contemplate a bigger picture and the grander scheme of the future looming before us.

For example, we must remember the principles and precepts that lead to the birth of this great nation.  As I write this, I’m seated in my hotel room in Enfield (CT).  In just a few hours, I will address an eternity-bound audience, reminding them, not only of America’s Fallen, but of the price that has been paid from the inception of America—as early as the 1620s.  The founders and the fallen so strongly believed in equality, self-governance, and the rule of law, that they were willing to pledge the lives, fortunes, and sacred honor—risking it all, sacrificing everything for freedom.  In so doing, they kept their honor.

America is a nation at-risk because we’re sluggish in remembering the critical ingredients that have made America great.  Few Americans will reflect any more than I on the people who have fallen—those for whom we have set aside this special day.  But we must remind ourselves that this American holiday is not only about remembering the personalities, but also the principles.

Here in Enfield (CT), two local high schools have scheduled graduation ceremonies in a local church facility that best accommodates  these events—parking, seating, staging, restrooms, etc.  However, the ACLU has filed suit, seeking an injunction, preventing the use of a church facility, with their usual insanity, crying “Separation of church and state!”  Somewhere along their educational track, they must have overlooked a few lessons from history class.

The first public school in America—the Boston Latin School—located only a few hours from Enfield (CT) in Boston (MA), was founded by Reverend John Cotton on April 23, 1635.  Five of the fifty-six signers of the American Constitution attended this school.  Can you imagine?  But the ACLU wasn’t around in those days to protest, threaten, intimidate, and file frivolously insane lawsuits, trying to protect young America’s students from religious symbols and the New England Primer and the Hornbook. 

But the insanity of this distorted thinking by a relative handful in America can only be exceeded by the insanity of good American citizens continually tolerating it!

Perhaps the great need of America today is not another “bailout” from Washington, D.C. but a revival of old-fashioned patriotism—a patriotic fervor built on critical personal ingredients, such as …

Great character.  The good character of leaders past will not suffice for today.  They have all run their leg of the relay race of life.  The baton has been placed into our hands, and we must boldly rise to the occasion, becoming internally what the Good Book instructs us to be, enabling us to do what people of good, godly character should do.

Great conviction.  It is high time that people who profess to know God determine to live like we actually know Him.  Like David of old, facing the giant Goliath against all odds, we must ask ourselves, “Is there not a cause?”  William Bradford thought so, but today’s history revisionists choke on his Mayflower Compact of 1620.  Barbara Fritchie thought there was a cause when she withstood Stonewall Jackson with those famous words, “Shoot if you must this old gray head, but spare your country’s flag,” she said!

Where are the men and women of modern America who are willing to stand, and having done all, stand?  Conviction is the bottom line of all my thinking.  It is what I have concluded as vitally important—important enough for which to live and die. 

Great courage.  Without character, we become dishonest and self-centered—which unfortunately and increasingly describes our country, including many of our “leaders.”  Without conviction, we lose our bearings—our moral compass.  Again, regrettably, this describes our nation—adrift morally.  And without courage, we fail to act on that which we profess to be and to believe.

In two short decades, America has gone from a nation with a president who could courageously say, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!” to one who apologizes for America to every rouge nation wherever he travels!  That makes those of us with good character, conviction, and courage rather nauseous!

As we approach this Memorial Day 2010, let’s concentrate on and honor our forefathers and the fighting men and women of this nation for their courage, their vision, and their sacrifices.  Let’s remember how precious our rights and freedoms!  Veterans, we honor your service, your courage, and your countless sacrifices at sea, in the air, and on distant fields of battle.  May God continue to bless the great nation, as we give Him reason for doing so.

BTW, do you pray?  America is in desperate need of the prayers of men, women, boys and girls who are on speaking terms with God to plead for the future of the nation we love.  May each of us be found faithful at our post in prayer!