Monday, May 25, 2009

Dear Madam,
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of the state of Massachussetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice on the altar of freedom. Yours very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln

Written during the Civil War.

In honor of all those who have served our country in the military and especially to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we may enjoy the benefits of freedom.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Billy Joel and Womanhood

My wife and I went to a Billy Joel/Elton John concert the other night. Or was it Elton John/Billy Joel? The music was truly a blast from the past (did I really say that?) and other than all the slobbering drunk people, it was an enjoyable time. BJ sings a song that I find intriguing and I have included the words below. You probably know the song:

She can kill with a smile, she can wound with her eyes,
She can ruin your faith with her casual lies,
And she only reveals what she wants you to see.
She hides like a child but she's always a woman to me.
She can lead you to love, she can take you or leave you,
She can ask for the truth but she'll never believe you,
And she'll take what you give her as long as it's free,
Yeah, she steals like a thief but she's always a woman to me.

The song goes on with lines like, "...she'll promise you more than the garden of Eden then she'll carelessly cut you and laugh while you're bleeding."

Contrast these words with the ones below:

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confindence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

I think you get the picture. Billy Joel's idea of a woman and God's idea of a woman are vastly different. I think I'll go with God's idea. Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Judgements and Pepperdine

So, I was sitting in church services with a killer sore throat and I could hardly speak two words without coughing uncontrollably. So I decided to just sit during the worship and not even try to sing. I decided to watch people as they participated. Most were singing along, but I spotted one person who wasn't. How dare they? How arrogant they were! Why, not even singing. This is the Lord's service and this person wasn't singing??? C'mon! Then I realized...neither was I. Maybe this person was looking at me and saying the same things I was about him/her. Then a verse popped into my head. "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measure to you." Oh, let's be careful with our thoughts and judgements. Let's err on the side of grace instead on the side of judgement. We certainly don't want to Lord to be completely just with us, do we?

Pepperdine was as good as ever. The evening sessions were conducted by Monte Cox, Rich Little (no, not THAT Rich Little. Rich is the preacher at Naperville, IL), Curt Sparks, and Mike Cope. Not too shabby a line up. I also heard Rick Atchley and Rubel Shelley speak. Randy Harris, Jeff Walling, and many more were on the program. People ask me all the time if I learned anything when I go to lectures. Of course, I do. But this one seemed to affirm me more than anything. The things I have been talking about are the things they talked about. It made me think that perhaps I was listening to God's call in what He wanted me to be thinking. Holy Spirit, thank you for prompting me!
I also got to see Brian and Karen Koonce and three of their four kids. A good time was had by all. The singing, the fellowship, the feeding...and, oh yeah, Malibu...what a campus. It was so good to get home, though. Til next year. Have a great day.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Please pray for the Rines

Last Thursday night, my wife and I took our daughter out to eat to celebrate her 26th birthday. We had a nice meal and then the two of them duped me into going to one of the lovely malls we have here in Omaha. I thought that would be fine since they would only be gone a "few minutes." "We just want to check on one thing." I went to the sporting goods store and then the Apple Computer store and then to the Fossil watch store. That took about 5 minutes. I happened to catch them walking as I headed back to the car. "I"m just going to wait on you at the car," I said. My daughter gave me one of those smiles thinking that I was going back to the car to take a nap.
I sat there (and didn't sleep) and sat there and sat there and sat there. Finally, after quite a while (nearly an hour) they showed up. I let them know my displeasure and told them they should have at least let me know they were going to spend the time shopping while leaving me with nothing to do in the car.
At about the same time on that Thursday night, Micah Rine Pate was murdered. My friend Dennis and Terri Rine lost their child who was almost exactly the same age as my daughter. She was shot and her body dumped along the banks of the Loosahatchie River. She didn't deserve that. She was a sweet girl who loved God.
My daughter, Meredith, once bit Micah in first grade. You see, Micah took her chair and so she responded. Micah's birthday was at the end of April and Meredith's at the first of May. Each year we communicated to find out when there was a party so we didn't interfere with the other. Dennis was in my men's prayer group. My parents knew his parents. My parents knew his grandaparents. My parents knew Terri's parents.
It was my wife who pointed out to me that when I was complaining about my daughter shopping, the Rine's daughter was losing her life. And while I still have my daughter, they don't. O, Lord, please forgive me. Forgive my foolish ways. Help me to appreciate my family more even when they are doing things I don't enjoy. And help me to never....never take them for granted. Please comfort Dennis, Terri, and Casey. Help them to know that you hold them in the palm of your hand. Help them to know that this world is not our home. Father, bless them. Help them to know that you know and understand what it's like to lose a child. In Jesus name. Amen.