Tag Archive | Afghanistan

Why I Stand

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With all of the controversy surrounding the NFL, the National Anthem, and Old Glory, I just wanted to share a few thoughts why I, personally, choose to stand.

I stand…

… because our flag, Old Glory, is the symbol of the United States of America, the land I love and the nation of which I am proud to be a citizen. To do otherwise, for me, would be to not only disrespect our nation, but to dishonor God by showing a lack of appreciation for His good and perfect gifts that He has afforded me because I am an American.

I stand… when The Star Spangled Banner, our national anthem, plays because that is a show of respect for the flag that it so eloquently describes, and a show of unity with my fellow citizens. Even when we may disagree about sports, politics, religion, etc., when the words “O say can you see…” are heard, we become silent and unified in our mutual respect for the flag, the anthem, and all that it symbolizes.

I stand… because of fifty-six men from all walks of life who, in putting their signatures on a parchment known as The Declaration of Independence, knew they were putting their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor on the line in the name of freedom. These men were as flawed and imperfect as the rest of us, but found the courage to stand for an ideal greater than themselves.

I stand… because I want to be an example to future generations that we are more than a collection of individuals, each going their own direction.

Flag FoldedI stand… because from the streets of Lexington and Concord to the mountains of Afghanistan and the deserts of Iraq, for over 240 years, brave men and women have given their last full measure of devotion to secure the freedom the rest of us enjoy on a daily basis. I stand, saluting an unfurled flag because of all of the wives, mothers, fathers, husbands, and family members who have been handed a folded one.

I stand… because standing is a universal sign of honor and respect.

I stand… because I believe that our battle is not against flesh and blood, and that we can accomplish more through the power of prayer than through hollow protests.

I stand… because we are better when we operate in unity, as “one nation under God, indivisible…” As a Christian, I believe the truth expressed by the psalmist who said,

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity! ~ Psalm 133:1

I stand… because our flag and national anthem symbolize what is right with our country, not what is wrong with it.

I stand… because there are other countries where people are poor and oppressed beyond measure, and are looking to America to be an example — The shining city on a hill.

I stand… because I am the recipient of a grace that has been granted to me in the form of a life in a free country called America.

I stand… not because we are perfect and have it all together, but as a sign that I am willing to take my place — standing beside you — working together to make America a better place.

I stand… to show that I am up on my feet and ready to go; to be a part of the solution, not a symptom of the problem.

I stand… because I am grateful.

Flag 3O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

                                                      ~ Katharine Lee Bates

#HonorMemorialDay

For about 240 years, Americans have shed their blood for the cause of freedom.

From places like Lexington and Concord to Gettysburg to Appomattox Station, the blood of patriots has been shed on American soil, fighting for a young nation’s heart and soul.

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When the United States had established itself as a world power, our brave men and women were once again called upon, and shed their blood fighting against dictators and tyrants with
names like Mussolini, Hirohito, and Hitler.

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While American citizens enjoyed the safety and security of life at home in places like Wichita, Dallas, Boston, and Tacoma, American soldiers gave their lives in previously unheard of places with names like Chochiwon, Ia Drang, Haditha, and Kamdesh.

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On Memorial Day, we honor the sacrifice of these brave American heroes who saw the cause of freedom as something worth defending, worth their sacrifice. We remember those who gave the last ounce of devotion to the ideals and principles enshrined in documents
like The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.

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Today… we remember.

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…It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God,
shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people,
by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
~ Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863
from The Gettysburg Address

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In Search of… The Blessing

bat-creekAs believers in Jesus, and joint-heirs with Him, we have the rights of sons and daughters of the King. The same blessings that applied to the nation of Israel in Scripture apply to us as believers as well…

I was almost a year old when David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel. Almost a year to the day later, the UN voted by majority vote to admit Israel as a member. Here are some interesting facts about Israel that you may not know:

  • For all of the terrorist attacks we hear about, Israel has one of the highest life-expectancy rates in the world. At #4, it is far ahead of our own United States (a distant #33).
  • The only three U.S. states geographically smaller than Israel are Rhode Island, Delaware, and Connecticut. However, in 2012, Israel had the 43rd largest economy in the world (based on gross domestic product).
  • Israel has the highest standard of living of any country in the Middle East, and has the third highest in all of Asia.

So how can this be? Consider the words of Mark Twain. In 1898, Mr. Twain was living in Austria, where he witnessed vicious anti-Semitic attacks, and subsequently penned an article entitled “Stirring Times In Austria” (Harper’s Magazine, March 1898). One of the responses he received was from an American Jewish lawyer who asked, “Will you kindly tell me why, in your judgment, the Jews have thus ever been, and are even now, in these days of supposed intelligence, the butt of baseless, vicious animosities?” Twain’s response was in the form of an essay titled “Concerning the Jews”. He stated:

“If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of; but he is heard of, and has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallest of his bulk. His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also way out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers.
He has made a marvelous fight in the world, in all the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.
The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”

Right now in our world, the Middle East is as unsettled as it has been in decades. Between uncertainty in Egypt and Libya, violence and revolution in Syria, protracted war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and incessant saber-rattling in Iran, the survival of Israel seems to be nothing short of a miracle.

“So, what does this have to do with me?” you may ask.

The mystery of Israel’s survival is not just that they have survived, but that their survival is a living picture that, in Christ, you will live and not die. Your life is meaningful and full of purpose. God made you, chose you, and loved you from the foundation of the world, and no amount of persecution, tribulation, or trial will snatch you from His hand. In Christ, you are a child of the King— princes and princesses, royal priests, and heirs to all that God has to give you.

Enough

FlagAmerica is at war… a war without national boundaries. I wrote several years ago (and was severely criticized) that America has a bloody enemy.

Does anyone honestly doubt that now?

While I could go on and on about attacks on our nation and it’s citizens, at home and around the world, here are a few of note…

In October, 1983, the attack on the Marine barracks in Beruit, Lebanon claimed 299 lives.

In October, 2000, the USS Cole was attacked while sitting at anchor at the Port of Aden in Yemen. Seventeen American sailors were killed.

On September 11, 2001, we watched helplessly as our fellow citizens were murdered in the Twin Towers and at the Pentagon, attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives (almost all civilian). For most of us, the images of our fellow citizens jumping from the upper floors of the World Trade Center are indelibly etched into our minds.

Four Americans (including Ambassador Chris Stevens) were murdered in Benghazi in 2012 when the U.S. Consulate was attacked.

Since 2001, thousands of our brave servicemen and women have died on battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And now… Boston.

While we do not yet know who is responsible for yesterday’s attack, we do know who the father of terror is. It is high-time for the terrorists of the world to be held accountable. It is time to end political correctness. It is time to serve notice on these brokers of violence and fear, as well as countries that send or harbor them, and let them know that we have had enough.

No more monetary aid for countries that foster ill-will and hatred toward America.

No more weapons for countries and administrations that are known purveyors of intolerance, injustice, and violence toward the United States, Israel, or any of our allies.

No more rewarding countries with aid who persecute their own people simply because they follow Jesus.

And no more oil dependence. Let’s end our dependence on Middle Eastern oil and open the unlimited resources of America. We need to build the pipelines and refineries right here at home, and cut off the finances of tyrannical and jihadist regimes.

It is time to know who our friends are and who our enemies are. It is time to silence these tyrants hiding behind their abused populace, empty rhetoric, and misguided religion.

For now, let us pray for our fellow Americans in Boston.

And let us join together with one voice and declare…Enough is Enough