Standing With The Brave

 

 

Standing with the Brave

I stood at the grave of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr, who received the Medal of Honor on June 6, 1944 at the Battle of Normandy. Brigadier General Roosevelt was the highest ranking officer to storm the beach at Normandy on the first wave and the oldest man to make the landing. Despite his battle with arthritis, and having to walk with a cane, he wrote letter after letter insisting that he be allowed to lead his men in the assault of that June morning. With grave hesitation General Eisenhower finally agreed to allow him to go ashore. Roosevelt saved the day for his men and the others at UtahBeach, showing courage and leadership he used his cane not only to walk with but to point the men in the direction of safety. He kept his men moving and encouraged them to realize that if they stayed in their place they would die; their only hope was to move forward and find the shelter of cover as they defeated the enemy. Roosevelt was a major force in the success of the landing on his beach and thus was selected to receive his Nations highest honor, the Medal of Honor. He led his men successful throughout the day and until July 12, 1944 when he died of a heart attack. Two days after his death he would have received the orders promoting him to Major General. Roosevelt could have lived a life of leisure; he had served his country well in the First World War where his brother Quiten was killed. They moved Quiten’s body to be next to him in the AmericanCemetery at Normandy. His family was wealthy and famous, his deceased father a former president of the country and his cousin the current president there were plenty of jobs besides the assault of Normandy open to him, but he felt drawn to this mission and duty bound to his country. When asked, after the war, what he thought was the greatest moment of D Day; General Omar Bradley said it was the leadership and bravery of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. I stood at his grave saluted this brave warrior and knelt to thank God for him and others like him who made it possible for me to have this day. As I walked from that sacred ground last Thursday I was flooded with the emotions of a six year old boy who had heard the news of the war and was greatly afraid of what might happen; I thanked God that I could visit their graves and give my thanksgiving in person. My moment in time no longer stands still, it moves on now as time always does.

Published in: on May 31, 2013 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

A Word from Ben

 To our founding fathers in the dawn of the birth of our nation: A statement that we as all Americans need to hear once more.

From Ben Franklin.

“In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain , when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. – Our prayers, Sir, were heard, & they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor.  I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?

To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: “-

From me –

Let each of us on our knees before God thank Him for the answer He gave to our founding fathers and humbly be seek him to hear our prayer of confession and our desire for forgiveness and our call for His help in our moving forward as a great nation. Not for our greatness but that in our strength others might be strengthen, and through our power others might enjoy the fruit of freedom and faith in God.

Ivan

Published in: on May 30, 2013 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Paralyze by Fear

Paralyze by Fear

The one who understands a matter finds success, and the one who trusts in the Lord will be happy.  Proverbs 16:20

I watched as he looked at the clay in his hands and then adjusted the speed of the wheel. In a moment he ‘threw’ the clay onto the wheel and understanding the material and knowing its reaction he worked it into a beautiful vase. It was thrilling to watch.

Now here is the other side.  I have read the how to books, watched it on television, and observed the skill in person many times, however I have never trusted myself enough to even give it a try.  Carole once signed me up for a course but I did not attend.  Why?  I was afraid that I could not do it.  What a monster fear is.  It robs us of our faith.  Removes opportunities and leaves us at the close with a list of dreams never visited. I never gave myself a chance, never picked up the clay and never ventured to even make a mistake.  How terrible. What an indictment for a man who preaches the word to have such fear that it would paralyze him from even giving it a try. Looking back I wonder who I was afraid of; I think it must have been I. Have you had that paralyzing fear that does not even allow you to try? You can’t be afraid of God for He made you and knows you and cheers for you. If not God then who else really matters?

God must truly rejoice when His children both understand His desires for them and trust Him to see them through the task.

Ivan

Published in: on May 29, 2013 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

John Pinder

On his forth and final trip from his ‘Higgins Boat’ wreaked more than 100 yards from the Normandy shore, John Pinder did as he had done each time; Despite being wounded he pulled the helpless and wounded to shore, while bringing with him all the parts of the radio that was vital to his company of men. While dying from his wounds he assembled the radio and in doing so many others lived another day, another week, a full lifetime.

John Pinder’s parents were presented the ‘Medal of Honor’ for the bravery of their son from a grateful nation. Like so many he gave his all that we might have all that we enjoy today.

Published in: on May 28, 2013 at 1:10 am  Leave a Comment  

Honor to the Fallen


Honor to the Fallen

Carole and I stood along with many others outside the Old Post Chapel on Fort Myer Army Base next to Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia and watched as the band of the U.S. Army Old Guard, 3rd Infantry Division played softly and eight of the Old Guard, honor guard moved with reverence to the Cason which would carry the body of Lt. Colonel Rex Smith to his resting place in Arlington National Cemetery. The six great black horses pulled the Cason followed by the band and the company of men of the 3rd infantry Division the two miles to the eternal resting place of his remains.

This journey started on October 8, 1936 when Rex Smith, age 14, talked his sister into posing as his mother and signing the papers stating that he was 18 so that he could enter the United States Army. In his first years as an enlisted man his Commanding officer tried to get Rex to attend OfficersCandidateSchool believing that he would make a good Army Officer.  Rex knew if he did this his real age would be discovered and he would be sent home. He was at Wheeler Field in Schofield Barracks on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. He received the Soldiers Medal during that battle for retrieving the fallen bodies of two citizens by going down a 600 foot rope and bringing them back one at a time. By 1943 his age was no longer an issue so he attended OfficersCandidateSchool and was commissioned a Second Lineament. On June 6, 1944 he was with the First Engineer Amphibious Special Brigade as they made the 7:00 A.M., first wave, landing at Utah Beach, NormandyFrance. He retired as a Lt. Colonel in July of 1962 at the age of 40 after having served 26 years in the army. He had a second career as an Inspector in the District Attorney’s Office, San Mateo County, California and retired again in 1978,

At his grave we listed as the Chaplain read the word of God and prayed, then the thundering sound of the 21 guns and the somber playing of ‘The Last Call” taps and watched as the flag he served for 26 years was folded and given to his son. Later at the Officer’s Club at FortMyer we looked at pictures, shared moments with friend from his years in the army and in retirement. In the week in which our Nation celebrates its birth we watched with reverence as honor was paid to one of its soldiers and his remains were placed with the more than 300.000 others who are so honored at Arlington.  God Bless America and God bless the Men and Women who have paid the greatest price for our freedom.

Ivan

 

 

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Army color guard

 

Published in: on May 24, 2013 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Bring the Cloak

While winter in Troas is usually brief it can from time to time become very cold and this was the winter of the North wind and it sweep across the sea and into the homes not prepared for its long stay and bitterness. Carpus had been very ill. The chill of the winter wind and his ageing health had gotten him down and the fever had invaded his body until his life seemed to be slipping away. The tent maker offered his cloak, it was all wool, twice woven, by the hands of Lydia and colored with her beautiful dyes. It was by far his nicest garment but Carpus needed its warmth and the tent maker had to leave. So the cloak remained.

The tent maker had received a letter many month later from Carpus thanking him for his sacrifice, telling of his own healing under its warmth and that of his mother and two of his children in that same fierce winter.

Time had now passed and the long nights in the damp and cold dungeon of Rome chilled every bone in his body. His hands crippled with arthritis and now chilled by the dampness and cold added to his misery. This would be his last letter; time was slipping away so the old tent maker asked his young friend Timothy to be sure and come to see him and to come before winter. Then he asked the faithful Timothy to bring him the cloak, the one he had left with Carpus, the cloak made by the hands of the believer Lydia, colored with her dye and stained with her tears and his blood. ‘Do your best’, he said ‘to get here before winter, bring the scriptures, the parchments and my cloak.’

Published in: on May 22, 2013 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Oklahoma

As I write this most of America is going to bed with prayers on their lips for the people of Moore and Oklahoma City, Ok.  The latest numbers seem to be saying that more than 51 people are dead with a number of children included in that total. I listened as a first responder recalled pulling the ruble off of a teacher who had three children under her protecting them from the falling school. Such response, unselfish, without regard for their own safety was, I am sure, repeated many times throughout the building where once they taught those children and now they provide protection, even at the expense of their own harm. The pictures of streets where once homes lined the side walks, dogs and children played in the yards, and parents planted colorful flowers to embrace their homes now lie before us as matches broken and spilled out in small piles of what were once the memory makers of thousands of lives. Last night heaven received a million petitions each wishing to know why, desiring to call back the time and make it noon on Monday once more. But time does not turn backward and ‘Why’ has never been answered.

Today the sun will shine and the ‘Why” fades as the acts of unselfish people become evident and thousands from across our land respond to the communities with help, gifts, prayers, and tears. We in America are still strong, we still respond to those who hurt, and our hearts are still touched by the tears of others. Try as you may the goodness inside of our people still rises to the top, our Christian values still show, and our brotherhood is still more together than it is broken. Ivan

Published in: on May 21, 2013 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

I Am New

 

Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life – even though invisible to spectators – is with Christ in God. He is your life.Colossians 3:3

Jesus did not become a man to make us better men; He became a man to show us that we could, in Him, become new.

A member of our church did a solo recently about ‘Not Going There Anymore’. It was not only beautifully done but it had a great message. It said because of Calvary he did not go to the same old places, run with the same old people, and have the same old value. What a powerful truth for all of us. While we do not always practice it our faith really should change us, we should be different.  If the world cannot see the difference in us a Christians what is going to attract them to our Lord? When I completed ‘Boot Camp’ in the navy I was different. Shouldn’t our faith and the transforming power of God make us different from what we once were?  We are now forgiven, we are going to live forever, and we belong to the King.

Ivan

Published in: on May 20, 2013 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Beautiful Feet

Jim I was thinking about you today…

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace.  Romans 10:15

They are about as ugly as any I have seen. Black, broken, twisted with 80 years of walking through the jungles of Central American and the stone paths of Mexico. I have seen him witness in the jungle, on the beach, in slums, and beside the road. My friend Jim has spent his lifetime in the service of the King and now I watch as his confused mind worries about not having enough clothes on to go out, yet he is perfectly dressed, but the shadows of his mind refuses to let him leave the nursing home and sinks him deep in tears because life at the moment is too confused for him to handle. It fills my own eyes with tears and shreds my own heart. Carole and I came to assist him yet all of her tender care and my encouraging words seem to fall into some great void through which nothing can pass. But his feet are sure beautiful in the sight of the Lord. Broken and bruised, scared and worn out, but done so for the Heart of God.

Ivan

(Written in the summer of 2010, Jim died in 2011)

Published in: on May 16, 2013 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Driving In The Rain

 

We had spent too much time being negative, talking about how bad things are and how they are only getting worst. Everyone had an ax to grind and not one had a blessing to share. It was an hour of despair and fretting and sitting on our pity pots talking about how bad we have it and that it is only going to get worst.

As I drove through the rain my heart was shattered for I was thinking about all that we had discussed and how there are so very many problems facing our world today, problems that my children and grandchildren are going to be left with because of the greed of our generation. I wanted to weep, it seemed like the weight of the world was forcing me under and there was no way up. The storm outside was raging inside my heart and soul.

I did weep, I prayed and through the rain soaked windshield of my car God seemed to speak to me and to show me that just as I could drive only where I was and only where I could see that I could not change all the things that had been mentioned. I could only focus on what was in front of me. God helped me to understand that I am responsible for being the best that I can be, doing His will as I understand it, and not for the whole world. I saw through that wet windshield the blessings that were all around me. My health is reasonable for a man my age, my family belongs to the Lord and my car was warm and working. Not bad for just a moment of remembering. I challenge you to turn off the news and turn on the remembrance of all the blessings you have. Like myself, I challenge you to seek to be God’s best. If we will do that then our world has a chance. Jesus is able and He is ready to repair, to redo, and to redeem all who will come to Him. Remember what Jesus said in Revelations 21:5. “Behold I make all things new.”  Thanks God.

Published in: on May 15, 2013 at 12:05 am  Comments (2)