Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Rejoice! Oh, Weary People

This season always brings with it a message. Songs that remind our hearts to hope. A story that puts us in awe of what has been, and what is yet to be—a story still unfolding.
We remember the lowly birth of the highest King. We remember the night when choirs of angels sounded in the sky, but only shepherds witnessed the song. We remember a Babe whose cries revealed to the world what everlasting love sounds like.
The birth of this One urges a weary world, and weary hearts, to rejoice.
Here we are two thousand years after that miraculous night in Bethlehem ...
And a weary world and some throbbing hearts that feel a little (or a lot) removed from that Silent Night that unfolded millennia ago, groan for a King.
These days, we stare at the news, watching smoke rise, hearing death tolls calculated, looking in despair as another law is passed that defies our God, listening to national leaders thrust out their arguments, witnessing refugees fleeing for safety— but here and now, we must remember that Babe.
This month, I'm going to sit around the Christmas tree with my family, pierced by the grieving absence of the one's we love who are not with us...and yet, I must remember that Babe.
When the world is shaken, when our hearts are breaking, the truth is—our hope is—we need to draw near to the manger again.
For that Baby is the Hope of the nations, the hope of every weary heart. He's the God who is faithful to fulfill every promise, the One who will return to us, the righteous Judge who will bring justice to the earth, the Bridegroom who will marry His church, the King who will rule the nations, the Lord before whom every knee will one day bow.
That Baby is the Resurrection and the Life. He lived, He died, and He lived again. And if He has been raised, all who die in Christ will be raised also.
That Baby is the living declaration of the Father's love, who came to bring orphans into a holy and eternal family, and to bind up our pained brokenness.
This Christmas, we remember our God who took on infant flesh, the Man who embraced the cross, the Savior who broke open the grave.
We set our hearts on the One, the only One, who can bring hope to a failing world and to a fainting heart.The One who revealed to us what Everlasting Love sounds like ...
It sounds like a helpless, holy infant, crying in a manger.
It sounds like a voice, beckoning undignified fishermen (and others, like us) to be His best friends.
It sounds like a tear, dropping to the ground, grieving with a friend over the death of her brother. And it sounds like a loud cry, calling the dead man out of his tomb.
It sounds like a groan, a prayer, a final breath.
It sounds like an earthquake, breaking open the grave.
It sounds like a promise to come back again.
And a day will come when it will sound like a loud shout, like a trumpet, ringing through all of heaven and earth, announcing our King's coming.
He was, and He is, and He is to come.
And so we say, with longing hearts—Come, thou long expected Jesus. Weary hearts and a weary world are desperate for Your return

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Why Are You Marching, Son - John Wayne


Psalm 18:31 For who is God save the Lord? or who is a rock save our God?32 It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.33 He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places.34 He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.35 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.36 Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.

I praise God that I live in a nation that is protected by soldiers, both men and women, who wake up every morning with just one goal in mind: to fight for freedom. Because of what they do the United States of America remains free. Soldiers spend many days, weeks, months and even years away from their loved ones to meet this goal.  The love that they have is unfailing, and it is displayed by their bravery and dedication.

I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Happy 240th Birthday, U.S. Marine Corps

1Samuel 14:52 There was hard fighting against the Philistines all the days of Saul. And when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he attached him to himself.
I attach myself and stand with our Military. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Meet Me In The Stairwell

Remembering those lives lost and their loved ones in our prayers.

Where were you, God? And the Lord says...


You say you will never forget where you were when you heard the news On September 11, 2001.

Neither will I.

I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room with a man who called his wife to say 'Good-Bye.' I held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the peace to say, 'Honey, I am not going to make it, but it is OK..I am ready to go.' I was with his wife when he called as she fed breakfast to their children. I held her up as she tried to understand his words and as she realized he wasn't coming home that night.

I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a woman cried out to Me for help. 'I have been knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!' I said. 'Of course I will show you the way home - only believe in Me now.'

I was at the base of the building with the Priest ministering to the injured and devastated souls.
I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He heard my voice and answered.

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat, with every prayer. I was with the crew as they were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the believers there, comforting and assuring them that their faith has saved them. I was in Texas, Virginia, California, Michigan, Afghanistan.

I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news.

Did you sense Me?

I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew every name - though not all know Me. Some met Me for the first time on the 86th floor.

Some sought Me with their last breath.

Some couldn't hear Me calling to them through the smoke and flames; 'Come to Me... this way... take my hand.' Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me.

But, I was there.

I did not place you in the Tower that day. You may not know why, but I do.. However, if you were there in that explosive moment in time, would you have reached for Me?

Sept. 11, 2001, was not the end of the journey for you . But someday your journey will end. And I will be there for you as well. Seek Me now while I may be found. Then, at any moment, you know you are 'ready to go.' I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.


Saturday, July 4, 2015

The 56 Men Of The Declaration Of Independence

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? Their story. . .
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.
Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.
Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.

Eleven were merchants.

Nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated.

But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if  they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the
British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton , Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis   had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday andsilently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.
Remember: freedom is never free! It's time we get the word out that patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July means more than beer, picnics, and baseball games. True "reflection" is a part of this country's greatness. Please be a participant.

Independence Day

1 Peter 2:13-17 

Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

That the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, ...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

7 Pillars Of Wisdom

Proverbs 9:1  Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars. 
This passage speaks volumes. The number seven indicates completeness and perfection.
What are the 7 pillars of wisdom? Here's my list:

1. Submission to the Creator of Heaven and Earth:
Psalm 111:10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
Psalm 14:1 "The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."

2. Faith in God's ability to make things work out for good:
Romans 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Hebrews 11:6  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

3. Having the knowledge and discernment between good and evil:.
Genesis 3:22  And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."
Psalm 119:125  I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.

4. A commitment to righteousness:
Genesis 6:9  This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.
Proverbs 10:23  A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct, but a man of understanding delights in wisdom.

5. A commitment to diligence:
Hebrews 6:11  We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.
Hebrews 6:12  We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

6. Proper use of patience and love:
Proverbs 19:11  A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
1 John 4:20  If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
1 John 4:21  And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

7. Recognizing the importance of discipline, justice:
Proverbs 3:11  My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, Prov 3:12  because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
Leviticus 19:15  "'Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor [and your children] fairly.

~Larry Wilson~

Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy Memorial Day!

The muffled drum’s sad roll has beat the soldier’s last tattoo; 
No more on life’s parade shall meet that brave and fallen few. 
On Fame’s eternal camping ground, their silent tents are spread; 
But glory guards with solemn dignity the bivouac of the dead.” 
~Theodore O’Hara, 1847~

Can anything be more ironic than the lives of our nation’s military? They love America, so they spend long years in foreign lands far from her shores. They revere freedom, yet they sacrifice their own so that others may be free. They defend their own right to live as individuals, yet yield their individuality in that cause. Perhaps, most paradoxically of all, they value life, yet so bravely they ready themselves to die in the service of their country.

Lord God, Remember those who have fought so bravely. Keep their families and loved ones in You're loving care. Bring Your people the peace in our hearts and minds we so desire as we await Your destined return. Give those of us still living the eyes to see our horizon and the tongues to speak Your truth. Thank You for Your unconditional love, Father. Amen

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Servant's Heart

James 1:9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
There are marches through the centuries, the martyrs of the cross,
  all those who chose to follow Christ regardless of the cost.
And though their journey led them through the shadowlands of death,
  the song of their commitment they rehearsed with every breath.
Uncertain days now echo back, that strong and urgent strain,
  to count the cost, take up the cross and join in the refrain.

I will serve the Lord, I will serve the Lord my God.
And if God should chose, that my life I lose,
Though my foe may slay me, I will serve the Lord.

For should our journey lead us through the shadowlands of death,
  may this be our heart’s resolve as long as we have breath.
The honor and the privilege ours, with wounds we suffer by His side
  and to the glory of the Lord, those sacred scars we wear with pride.

I will serve the Lord, I will serve the Lord my God.
And if God should chose, that my life I lose,
Though my foe may slay me, I will serve the Lord.

Help me to never forget, Lord,  that life apart from You has no meaning . . . without You life is like a leaf chasing after the wind.  Only God can satisfy the heart's desire.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Were You There?

Mark 15:39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God".
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh were you there when they crucified my Lord?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?

Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

Well, were you there when the stone was rolled away?
Were you there when the stone was rolled away?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Were you there when the stone was rolled away?

How To Be Saved (link)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Present Crisis

"Truth forever on the scaffold, lies forever on the throne" — JamesRussell Lowell
James Russell Lowell
December, 1845.

When a deed is done for Freedom, 

through the broad earth's aching breast
Runs a thrill of joy prophetic, 
trembling on from east to west,
And the slave, where'er he cowers, 
feels the soul within him climb
To the awful verge of manhood, 
as the energy sublime
Of a century bursts full-blossomed 
on the thorny stem of Time.

Through the walls of hut and palace 

shoots the instantaneous throe,
When the travail of the Ages 

wrings earth's systems to and fro;
At the birth of each new Era, 

with a recognizing start,
Nation wildly looks at nation, 

standing with mute lips apart,
And glad Truth's yet mightier man-child leaps 

beneath the Future's heart. 

So the Evil's triumph sendeth, 
with a terror and a chill,
Under continent to continent, 

the sense of coming ill,
And the slave, where'er he cowers, 

feels his sympathies with God
In hot tear-drops ebbing earthward, 

to be drunk up by the sod,
Till a corpse crawls round unburied, 

delving in the nobler clod. 

For mankind are one in spirit, 
and an instinct bears along,
Round the earth's electric circle, 

the swift flush of right or wrong;
Whether conscious or unconscious, 

yet Humanity's vast frame
Through its ocean-sundered fibres 

feels the gush of joy or shame;—
In the gain or loss of one race 

all the rest have equal claim. 

Once to every man and nation 
comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, 

for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah, 

offering each the bloom or blight,
Parts the goats upon the left hand, 

and the sheep upon the right,
And the choice goes by forever 

'twixt that darkness and that light. 

Hast thou chosen, O my people, 
on whose party thou shalt stand,
Ere the Doom from its worn sandals 

shakes the dust against our land?
Though the cause of Evil prosper, 

yet 'tis Truth alone is strong,
And, albeit she wander outcast now, 

I see around her throng
Troops of beautiful, tall angels, 

to enshield her from all wrong. 

Backward look across the ages 
and the beacon-moments see,
That, like peaks of some sunk continent, 

jut through Oblivion's sea;
Not an ear in court or market 

for the low foreboding cry
Of those Crises, God's stern winnowers, 

from whose feet earth's chaff must fly;
Never shows the choice momentous 

till the judgment hath passed by. 

Careless seems the great Avenger; 
history's pages but record
One death-grapple in the darkness 

'twixt old systems and the Word; Truth forever on the scaffold,
Wrong forever on the throne,—
Yet that scaffold sways the Future, and, 

behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow, 

keeping watch above his own. 

We see dimly in the Present 
what is small and what is great,
Slow of faith, how weak an arm 

may turn the iron helm of fate,
But the soul is still oracular; 

amid the market's din,
List the ominous stern whisper 

from the Delphic cave within,—
"They enslave their children's children 

who make compromise with sin." 

Slavery, the earthborn Cyclops, 
fellest of the giant brood,
Sons of brutish Force and Darkness, 

who have drenched the earth with blood,
Famished in his self-made desert, 

blinded by our purer day,
Gropes in yet unblasted regions 

for his miserable prey;—
Shall we guide his gory fingers 

where our helpless children play? 

Then to side with Truth is noble 
when we share her wretched crust,
Ere her cause bring fame and profit, 

and 'tis prosperous to be just;
Then it is the brave man chooses, 

while the coward stands aside,
Doubting in his abject spirit, 

till his Lord is crucified,
And the multitude make virtue 

of the faith they had denied. 

Count me o'er earth's chosen heroes,
—they were souls that stood alone,
While the men they agonized 

for hurled the contumelious stone,
Stood serene, and down the future 

saw the golden beam incline
To the side of perfect justice, 

mastered by their faith divine,
By one man's plain truth to manhood 

and to God's supreme design.
By the light of burning heretics 

Christ's bleeding feet I track,
Toiling up new Calvaries 

ever with the cross that turns not back,
And these mounts of anguish number 

how each generation learned
One new word of that grand Credo 

which in prophet-hearts hath burned
Since the first man stood God-conquered 

with his face to heaven upturned. 

For Humanity sweeps onward: 
where to-day the martyr stands,
On the morrow crouches Judas 

with the silver in his hands;
Far in front the cross stands ready 

and the crackling fagots burn,
While the hooting mob of yesterday 

in silent awe return
To glean up the scattered ashes 

into History's golden urn. 

'Tis as easy to be heroes 
as to sit the idle slaves
Of a legendary virtue 

carved upon our fathers' graves,
Worshippers of light ancestral 

make the present light a crime;—
Was the Mayflower launched by cowards, 

steered by men behind their time?
Turn those tracks toward Past or Future, 

that make Plymouth rock sublime? 

They were men of present valor, 
stalwart old iconoclasts,
Unconvinced by axe or gibbet 

that all virtue was the Past's;
But we make their truth our falsehood, 

thinking that hath made us free,
Hoarding it in mouldy parchments, 

while our tender spirits flee
The rude grasp of that great Impulse 

which drove them across the sea.
They have rights who dare maintain them; 

we are traitors to our sires,
Smothering in their holy ashes 

Freedom's new-lit altar-fires;
Shall we make their creed our jailer? 

Shall we, in our haste to slay,
From the tombs of the old prophets 

steal the funeral lamps away
To light up the martyr-fagots 

round the prophets of to-day? 

New occasions teach new duties; 
Time makes ancient good uncouth;
They must upward still, and onward, 

who would keep abreast of Truth;
Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! 

we ourselves must Pilgrims be,
Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly 

through the desperate winter sea,
Nor attempt the Future's portal 

with the Past's blood-rusted key.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Day of Purim

Jews throughout the world are celebrating Purim today. It is the story of Queen Esther who broke protocol and saved the Jewish people in Persia from a plot to annihilate them.

Purim is a festive Jewish holiday that celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from their enemies in the biblical Book of Esther. Purim is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the Hebrew month of Adar, which usually falls sometime in February or March. Purim is such a popular holiday that the ancient rabbis declared that it alone would continue to be celebrated after the Messiah comes. All other holidays will not be celebrated in the messianic days.

Purim is so-called because the villain of the story, Haman, cast the "pur" (the lot) against the Jews yet failed to destroy them. Reading Purim Story is a central part of the Purim celebration.

Facing an existential threat from modern day Persia (Iran), Israel's leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, addressed the U.S.Congress yesterday amid much consternation about protocol.
So long as God gives me breath, I promise to fight the ancient evil of anti-Semitism and to stand with Israel, the apple of God's eye.
The KJV Book of Esther

Monday, March 2, 2015

Six Boys and Thirteen Hands

Each year I am hired to go to Washington , DC, with the eighth grade class from Clinton, WI where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I greatly enjoy visiting our nation's capitol, and each year I take some special memories back with me. This fall's trip was especially memorable.

On the last night of our trip, we stopped at the Iwo Jima memorial. This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most famous photographs in history -- that of the six brave soldiers raising the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the island of Iwo Jima, Japan, during WW II

Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, 'Where are you guys from?'

I told him that we were from Wisconsin . 'Hey, I'm a cheese head, too! Come gather around, Cheese heads, and I will tell you a story.'

(It was James Bradley who just happened to be in Washington , DC , to speak at the memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good night to his dad, who had passed away. He was just about to leave when he saw the buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington , DC , but it is quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night.)

When all had gathered around, he reverently began to speak. (Here are his words that night.)

'My name is James Bradley and I'm from Antigo, Wisconsin My dad is on that statue, and I wrote a book called 'Flags of Our Fathers' . It is the story of the six boys you see behind me.

'Six boys raised the flag. The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team.. They were off to play another type of game. A game called 'War.' But it didn't turn out to be a game. Harlon, at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands. I don't say that to gross you out, I say that because there are people who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years old - and it was so hard that the ones who did make it home never even would talk to their families about it.

(He pointed to the statue) 'You see this next guy? That's Rene Gagnon from New HampshireIf you took Rene's helmet off at the moment this photo was taken and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph.. .a photograph of his girlfriend Rene put that in there for protection because he was scared. He was 18 years old. It was just boys who won thebattle of Iwo Jima . Boys. Not old men.

'The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank. Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the 'old man' because he was so old. He was already 24. When Mike would motivate his boys in training camp, he didn't say, 'Let' s go kill some Japanese' or 'Let' s die for our country' He knew he was talking to little boys.. Instead he would say, 'You do what I say, and I'll get you home to your mothers.'

'The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona . Ira Hayes was one of them who lived to walk off Iwo Jima . He went into the White House with my dad. President Truman told him, 'You' re a hero'.  He told reporters, 'How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me and only 27 of us walked off alive?'

So you take your class at school, 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only 27 of your classmates walk off alive. That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes carried the pain home with him and eventually died dead drunk, face down, drowned in a very shallow puddle, at the age of 32 (ten years after this picture was taken).

'The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop, Kentucky . A fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. His best friend, who is now 70, told me, 'Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn't get down. Then we fed them Epsom salts. Those cows crapped all night.' Yes, he was a fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of 19. When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother's farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning. Those neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.

'The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John Bradley, from Antigo, Wisconsin , where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews. When Walter Cronkite' s producers or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say 'No, I'm sorry, sir, my dad's not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is no phone there, sir. No, we don't know when he is coming back.' My dad never fished or even went to Canada.  Usually, he was sitting there right at the table eating his Campbell 's soup. But we had to tell the press that he was out fishing. He didn't want to talk to the press.

'You see, like Ira Hayes, my dad didn't see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, 'cause they are in a photo and on a monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a combat caregiver. On Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died. And when boys died on Iwo Jima , they writhed and screamed, without any medication or help with the pain.

'When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, 'I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back. Did NOT come back.'

'So that's the story about six nice young boys.. Three died on Iwo Jima , and three came back as national heroes. Overall, 7,000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time.'

Suddenly, the monument wasn't just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero for the reasons most people would believe, but a hero nonetheless.

One thing I learned while on tour with my 8th grade students in DC that is not mentioned here is . . that if you look at the statue very closely and count the number of 'hands&# 39; raising the flag, there are 13. When the man who made the statue was asked why there were 13, he simply said the 13th hand was the hand of God.

Great story - worth your time - worth every American' s time.
Please pass it on.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Soldier In The Army Of God

I am a soldier in the Army of God.
The Lord Jesus Christ is my Commanding Officer.
The Holy Bible is my code of conduct.
Faith, prayer and the Word are my weapons of warfare.

I have been taught by the Holy Spirit,
Trained by experience,
Tried by adversity
And tested by fire.

I am a volunteer in this Army,
And I am enlisted for eternity.
I will not get out,
Sell out,
Be talked out,
Or pushed out.

I am faithful,
And dependable.

If my God needs me,
I am there.

I am not a baby,
I do not need to be pampered,
Primed up,
Pumped up,
Picked up,
Or pepped up.
I am a soldier.

I am not a wimp.
I am in place,
Saluting my King,
Obeying His orders,
Praising His name,
And building His kingdom!

No one has to send me flowers,
Gifts, food, cards, or candy.
I do not need to be cuddled,
Cared for, or catered to.
I am committed.

I cannot have ny feelings hurt,
Bad enough to turn me around.
I cannot be discouraged enough,
To turn me aside.
I cannot lose enough,
To cause me to quit.

When Jesus called me into His Army,
I had nothing.
If I end up with nothing,
I will still come out ahead.
I will win!

My God has and will continue
To supply all my needs.
I am more than a conqueror.
I will always triumph.
I can do all things through Christ.

Devils cannot defeat me.
People cannot disillusion me.
Weather cannot weary me.
Sickness cannot stop me.
Money cannot buy me.
Governments cannot silence me.
And hell cannot handle me.
I am a soldier.

Even death cannot destroy me.
For when my Commander
Calls me from this battlefield,
He will promote me to Captain
And then allow me to rule with Him.
I am a soldier in the Army,
And I am claiming victory.

I will not give up.
I will not turn around.
I am a soldier,
Marching Heaven bound.