Tag Archive | D-Day

The Cost of Service

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BedfordNestled in the heart of Virginia, there is a small town named Bedford. Unassuming in its quaintness, with a population of less than 7,000, Bedford is quintessential “small town America”. But if you dig a little deeper, Bedford has a unique and hallowed distinction in the life of America.

img_2738.jpgThis small town lost more men, per capita, in the Normandy landings on D-Day than any other municipality in America. In 1944, this small town had a population of around 3,200. On June 6, 1944, Bedford lost twenty of her sons in the event known as Operation Overlord, the allied incursion that was the beginning of the end of the Nazi stranglehold on Europe.

Earlier this week marked the 73rd anniversary of D-Day. With a force of over 150,000, the victory that day was significant. But at what cost?

IMG_2803With over 10,000 casualties including over 4,400 soldiers killed, the Allies paid a steep price for the victory at Normandy. In the wake of victory, within days, communities all over America were mourning the loss of their sons, fathers, husbands, and brothers who died on those beaches; men who put their lives on the line for the sake of freedom, not just for our nation, but for freedom loving people throughout the world.

Every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17), but comes at a cost to someone. Freedom and liberty come at the cost of diligence and, when necessary, brave men and women fighting and giving their lives for the sake of freedom. Wealth and prosperity come at the cost of years of hard work and keeping one’s nose to the grindstone. Staying healthy comes at the cost of diligently eating right, exercising, and taking care of your body. For the Christian, salvation is free, but came at the cost of the precious blood and life of Jesus. Service and sacrifice are the price of the things that are most important to us, and anything worth having is going to cost something to someone.

IMG_2823So with the examples set before us, for what are we willing to sacrifice? What principles and beliefs are we willing to get up off the couch for, leave our comfort zone, and dedicate our lives to the service of? At what point do we decide that we are not here for ourselves and our needs, but are to serve others and their needs? For the patriot; duty, service, and honor are the prices of strength and freedom. For the believer in Christ, Paul put it this way…

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. ~ Colossians 3:1-4

IMG_2838Regardless of the circumstance — whether standing for the truth of God’s Word, for the rights of the poor and disadvantaged, against the forces of dishonesty and corruption in our world (like fake news, lawless counter-culture activism, and Godless ideologues that parade themselves as social justice warriors) — the time has come for decent people of good will to get off the fence, off the sidelines, and get involved in making a difference through serving others, and letting their voices be heard.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for
good men to do nothing.”

This famous quote by Irish statesman Edmund Burke is a great reminder for a society seemingly at the tipping point of anarchy. But Burke said something else just as pertinent to where we are today…

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing
because he could do only a little.”

Truth.

We all have different gifts, abilities, and resources. But it takes all of us working together with whatever gifts we are given to make a difference, in this world and in the next.

Think about it.

Pastor Ron

Boldness to Stand


Through The Looking Glass2

Throughout Scripture, we read of many instances when the children of Israel turn their backs on God. Over and over, the people of God choose unrighteousness, idolatry, and ungodliness over following the commands that God laid forth in the Law of Moses. Time and time again, Israel forsook the plans and will of God and turned instead to that which grieved the Lord.

As 21st century Christians, it is easy for us to look at Israel’s pattern and think, “What is wrong with these people? After all that God has done for them, and they STILL don’t get it!” Things would be going good for the people of God, then someone would come along and lead them astray. The judgment of God would come in the form of famine, plague, pestilence, or hostile nations, and Israel would cry out to God for deliverance. Once God had mercy on them and delivered them, it was often not too long before they were back to the same (or another form of) foolishness. This just makes no sense to us, right?

Right?

D-DayThis past weekend, we recognized the 70th anniversary of D-Day… the day the Allies landed on the beaches of Normandy and began the quest for freeing Europe from the grip of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi regime. Throughout our history, we see during those times of trial and testing the firm reliance our leadership had upon God. Prior to the D-Day invasion, General Dwight Eisenhower addressed his troops. He closed the address by saying…

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

Winston Churchill once said:

The flame of Christian ethics is still our highest guide. To guard and cherish it is our first interest, both spiritually and materially. The fulfillment of Spiritual duty in our daily life is vital to our survival. Only by bringing it into perfect application can we hope to solve for ourselves the problems of this world and not of this world alone.

We can look at recent history, and see a nation relying upon the power of prayer and belief in God:

  • We held prayer vigils during times of tragedy, such as the shootings at Columbine or Sandy Hook.
  • We flocked to churches when Operation Desert Storm began, and in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.
  • We saw communities come together and draw near to God during disasters like the tornadoes that devastated parts of the south a few years ago.

9-11 TSo what happened? Once the smoke cleared and the dust settled, where did the reliance upon God go? Why does the public boldness to speak the name of Jesus suddenly disappear once the crisis is over? Maybe it’s time for this nation to understand that we could probably avoid some of the things we are trying to pray ourselves through by making the decision to follow the commands of God in the first place. Instead of waiting for a crisis to seek the face of God, how about we operate in the freedom we claim to have — that was paid for by people who believed in it enough to fight and die in it’s defense.

As we approach the birthday of our nation, let’s renew our commitment to keep this “One nation under God”.
Let’s operate in courage to stand for that which others laid down their lives.
Let’s take to heart the promise of II Chronicles 7:14…

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

 

Saving the One

Arlington2 In the Academy Award winning movie, Saving Private Ryan, 8 soldiers set out across the French countryside in the days following D-Day. Their mission is to find one soldier, Private Ryan, deliver his discharge order, and get him back to safety and home. By the end of the mission, only two of the team members survived. Six of the men that originally set out to save Private Ryan sacrificed their lives so he would be saved.

Helmet2Jesus talked about the Good Shepherd, who left his ninety-nine sheep to find the one that was lost.

Some may say, “That’s crazy… to sacrifice many just to save one.”

It sounds crazy… unless you are that one.

We were all that one.

The Bible says that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

The theme song from our TV program, Ron Phillips from Abba’s House, has the following lyrics:

Wherever you’ve been
Or what you’ve been through
The Father is waiting for you

If any one of us as individuals had been the only one needing to be saved, Jesus still would have gone through the torture, the pain, the anguish, and the death… just to save the one.

Just to save you.

He thought you were worth it… and He still does.

Where Are You Supposed To Be?

Through the Looking GlassThroughout history, success or failure is often determined by someone or something being where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there. From sports to warfare to our personal lives, being where you are supposed to be can make a “destiny difference”.

On June 6, 1944, the success of Operation Overlord (what we commonly refer to as D-Day) can be largely attributed to the fact that personnel and equipment were where they were supposed to be, when they were supposed to be there. Conversely, the failure of Operation Market Garden just three months later can be blamed, in large part, on the inability to get men and supplies where they needed to be in order to support troop movements and actions. Although Operation Market Garden was actually a larger operation, it failed to meet it’s objective and expedite the end World War II.

In sports, the difference between a team winning and losing a game has often come down to a player not being in his proper place when he was needed. Super Bowls have been won and lost for this very reason.

Even in the Bible, a seemingly insignificant decision made a difference we can follow across generations.

Look at King David.

2 Samuel 11:1 says…

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war,
David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army.
They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.
But David remained in Jerusalem.

“At a time when kings go off to war”. This would imply that David, as king and leader of the army, should have been with his army, Instead, he decided to hang back, and relax in the confines of his palace in Jerusalem. While there was not necessarily anything inherently wrong with being where he was (in his palace), by not being in his proper place, it allowed him to fall into temptation, and subsequently sin with Bathsheba. Not being where he was supposed to be opened the door for sin, and changed the destinies of Uriah the Hittite, Bathsheba, David himself, and an entire nation.

Maybe there is nothing inherently wrong with where you are… it’s just not where you are supposed to be. For me, as a burned-out Southern Baptist preacher in 1989, a perfectly acceptable place for me to be would have been at home with my family. However, where I was supposed to be was in Glorietta, New Mexico. Being there, and my subsequent encounter with the Holy Spirit as a result, changed my future, my ministry, and my life.

So where are you supposed to be? Get to that place of destiny, and the future God has in store for you could be something more amazing than you could have ever imagined.

This week…

Our annual conference, The Big Event, begins this week. We have an amazing lineup of speakers, and it could be that the place you are supposed to be is with us at Abba’s House. This could be the kairos moment you have been waiting for, but you won’t know if you are not there. If you would like more information, or to register for this free event, click here. I hope to see you there.

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