Mentzer’s Moments: Fifty five years ago the words “under God” became …

Mentzer’s Moments: Fifty five years ago the words “under God” became …: “Fifty five years ago the words “under God” became part of the pledge of allegiance to the United States flag. Some wonder how these two w…”

Fifty five years ago the words “under God” became part of the pledge of allegiance to the United States flag.  Some wonder how these two words became part of the original pledge.  Some say the Knights of Columbus started using these words in their meetings as it slowly spread across the country.  However, according to the memories of President Dwight David Eisenhower, he was listening to a sermon by Reverend George McPherson Docherty quoting from the sermon of Abraham Lincoln.  This sermon occurred at the same church in which Lincoln had worshipped nearly one hundred years before.  The message spoke to the need for a nation to depend upon God and to realize the spiritual values of the nation were of a greater importance than the nuclear strength it possessed. 
Two years ago a Colonel Van Barfoot of Richmond, Virginia won a case against his homeowners association and a state law was created to prevent a HOA from barring anyone from displaying a flag.  Why does a Medal of Honor veteran and hero have to fight others to display his country’s flag? 
The American people have become like sheep as those in the minority seek to undermine and overturn things which have unified this country for over two centuries.  Flags have always led the way into battles and stood as symbols for others to follow. It is not the fabric nor the color but what the flag symbolizes.  Our country shed much blood and tears to come to the point we are at today.  We celebrate the flag and we say the pledge but do we ever mean it?  What does the Pledge of Allegience mean to you and to me? (Watch the Red Skelton “Pledge of Allegience” in the video bar)
Those of us who have served our country and remain, it is the representation of over one million Americans who died for our freedom.  It is the basis of a government of the people, by the people and for the people.  It is not a symbol of tyrants, but of trusted men and women who sought freedom regardless of country of origin.  The flag which drapes the coffins of dead military service personnel is a vivid and stark reminder this freedom is not free. 
June 14th is Flag Day. Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day – the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 – was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. It would be President Truman who would sign it into law in 1949.  (USFlag.org)  However, it originally started in the mind of a school teacher.  So in two weeks, what will you do to show the rest of the world your love, respect and admiration for Old Glory? 

Mentzer’s Moments: What Do We Owe the Honored Dead on Memorial Day?

Mentzer’s Moments: What Do We Owe the Honored Dead on Memorial Day?: “I have just returned from a parade and ceremony in the town cemetery as we remember those who have given their last full measure for this co…”

What Do We Owe the Honored Dead on Memorial Day?

I have just returned from a parade and ceremony in the town cemetery as we remember those who have given their last full measure for this country.  In over sixty five clashes, battles, wars, and conflict since the American Revolution, over 1.3 million Americans of the armed services have died and now lie resting in hallowed ground around this world.  Why?  What is it which has taken our brightest and best around the world to spill their blood so others may be free?  Perhaps the words so eloquently written of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness given by our Creator have mobilized men and women to share these ideals where they may be lacking. 

What then is the obligation of the living this day?  Again, words spoken on another battlefield, this time of American against American will remind us of our debt.  Abraham Lincoln ended his famous Gettysburg Address this way:
           
“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.”

Lincoln saw the division of this country a hindrance for the United States to spread these God given rights to others. 
           
“Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere.–September 11, 1858 Speech at Edwardsville, Illinois

Years later, another great president would contemplate words much like these.  President Kennedy wrote,
           
 “We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans — born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a  hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit  the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.”

Along with President Kennedy, over three hundred thousand honored dead reside in Arlington Cemetery.  Those and all of the rest of our honored dead only received for their service a plot of ground measuring six feet, by three feet, by six feet deep for a total of 108 cubic feet of ground.  We owe them, all of them; the courage, commitment, and character to see to it this nation will survive.  We owe them the duty to ensure the freedom for all those who seek it.  We owe it to them to abolish tyranny of any kind and to ensure we remind the world these rights are not American given rights but God given rights. 

Mentzer’s Moments: No Memorial Day Rests for Believers

Mentzer’s Moments: No Memorial Day Rests for Believers: “In Arlington Cemetery, members of the 3rd United States Army stand as sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This formal pageantry t…”

No Memorial Day Rests for Believers

In Arlington Cemetery, members of the 3rd United States Army stand as sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  This formal pageantry to honor America’s unknown fallen heroes is not a show which occurs but is referred to by the men of the Old Guard as a “charge of honor” to be carried out twenty-four hours a day regardless of the weather.  In becoming a member of this group of elite soldiers, they make a two year commitment to live in the barrack beneath the tomb, learn over months the precision of the walk, and must be able to recite seven pages of material verbatim before ever appearing on the marble walkway.  In addition, these members see such a high honor they commit never to drink alcohol nor swear in public for the rest of their lives which might reflect upon the Tomb. 

The Sentinels Creed states: “My dedication to this sacred duty is total and wholehearted. In the responsibility bestowed on me never will I falter. And with dignity and perseverance my standard will remain perfection. Through the years of diligence and praise and the discomfort of the elements, I will walk my tour in humble reverence to the best of my ability. It is he who commands the respect I protect. His bravery that made us so proud. Surrounded by well meaning crowds by day alone in the thoughtful peace of night, this soldier will in honored glory rest under my eternal vigilance.

As a child in church, I would sing, “Onward Christian Soldier” at least once in a year of church services and was  adopted by the Salvation Army for their processionals.  We are soldiers in a war against the enemy of God, Satan.  We however forget that while these soldiers of the Old Guard stand watch in silence, our battlefield is anything but quiet.  No active battlefield is quiet since the air is filled with the sounds of explosions and gun fire and the mournful sound of soldiers wounded and dying.  However, in the war against Satan sometimes Christians do more of the harming than the enemy. 

In war there is stress, conflict, emotional turmoil, and the like, and yet we plod on knowing the goal of victory is sought because it eventually brings peace.  Maybe we need to look at the Sentinels Creed of the Tomb.  First, the soldier has commited his whole self to the service which he renders.  If we surrender in the same way to Jesus, we will not have time to fight nor be offended by others because the object of eternal peace is to important to be sidetracked by petty differences.  Secondly, his goal is perfection.  Not for ego but because of the sacred charge of walking his post.  As Christians, our goal should be equally as high so we do not offend others and if we do, make sure we do the best to remove obstacles from our relationships with others. 

Lastly, “It is he who commands the respect I protect. His bravery that made us so proud. Surrounded by well meaning crowds by day alone in the thoughtful peace of night, this soldier will in honored glory rest under my eternal vigilance.”  Jesus alone commands the respect by his bravery and sacrifice.  Surrounded by the world or alone at night, I will be eternally vigilant to walk my post here until I am relieved by the “Commanding Officer.”

Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 2 Timothy 2:3-4

Mentzer’s Moments: How Big Is Your Memorial Pillar For God

Mentzer’s Moments: How Big Is Your Memorial Pillar For God: “In Joshua 4, God commands Joshua to have men to pick up twelve stones from the midst of the Jordan River and build them into a memorial of G…”

How Big Is Your Memorial Pillar For God

In Joshua 4, God commands Joshua to have men to pick up twelve stones from the midst of the Jordan River and build them into a memorial of God holding back the flow of the Jordan river.  These stones werefrom the middle of the river during flood stage which presented an obstacle for the nation in going into the Promised Land.  When the children would ask about them, they could look back and see what God had done.  In Luke 9, Jesus says no one is fit for service in the Kingdom of God to those who have started the work of plowing and looks back.  How do we reconcile the idea of “looking back” in the book of Joshua and in Luke?

When a farmer would take oxen and a plow he had the purpose to till the ground for planting this year’s crop which would feed his family and others.  I have seen oxen yoked together and they are massive animals.  They plod along under the guidance of the farmer.  The straps leading the oxen go back to the farmer, either in his hands or around his back.  In turning around to look back at the accomplished work, the farmer’s turning action could lead the oxen back over the work already completed and destroying the work by burying over the seeds already planted. 

In the Old Testament, God wants the children of Israel to be able to look back and see what he had done for them.  He had carried them out of hard times, bondage, and the threat of destruction at the hands of the Egyptian army.  He had heard their pleas for food and water and has satisfied their needs.  When they rebelled, he was there as a correcting parent.  Now he was giving them a land of milk and honey and they would not have to plant a tree or build a city.  The greatness of God seen by what he has done.

At times in our lives we need a memorial pillar made of the stones gathered during the roughest times of our lives as a memorial for ourselves and our children of the great things God has done for us.  We do not need to look back at our former life with regrets because of the righteous demands of the Christ-centered life.  We do not need to think back to the times as troubles or as hardships but pick up the stones of those events and build an altar to God. 

I can think of a few events: God carried me through divorce and through two near death medical situations.  He has brought me to college so one day I could go to seminary and into the pastorate.  He has saved me by two men at a car lot when I was twenty-six with no real aim in life.  He walked with me through the waters of baptism when I gave him my life and he was there during the baptisms of fire for his son’s namesake. 

I never try to think about what my life “could have been” but instead thank him for what it has become.  I went to college to study hotel management and now provide hospitality as part of the ministry of the gospel.  I learned how to manage and now I serve.  I learned how to add up figures to know how to run a business and now I figure it is all up to God.  My memorial pillar grows each day.  How about yours? 

Mentzer’s Moments: A Heavenly Dad’s Example of Fatherhood

Mentzer’s Moments: A Heavenly Dad’s Example of Fatherhood: “The You Tube video of Team Hoyt is a remarkable picture of the lengths God goes to be with us. In 2 Samuel 9, King David also shows the gre…”

A Heavenly Dad’s Example of Fatherhood

The You Tube video of Team Hoyt is a remarkable picture of the lengths God goes to be with us.  In 2 Samuel 9, King David also shows the greatness of God’s love for man as he reaches out to the grandson of Saul, Mephibosheth.  When David defeated Saul, the grandson was rushed out of danger and was dropped becoming lame in both feet.  It was customary to kill all members of the former royal family to prevent insurrection to the new king.  You can imagine the years of terror this young man had in hiding from King David.  However, years after become the undisputed ruler of Israel, he remembers his promise to his dear friend, Jonathan to care for each others family no matter what had happened between Saul and David.  David has this man brought to him and instead of having him executed, he restores his lands, gives him servants to care for the man, and states he will forever eat from the kings table.  Table fellowship is important and welcoming someone to the kings table who could do nothing because he was lame in both feet is a remarkable testament of grace.

In the spring of 1977, Rick told his father that he wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit run for a Lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. Far from being a long-distance runner, Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair and they finished all 5 miles, coming in next to last. That night, Rick told his father, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped. “This realization was just the beginning of what would become over 1,000 races completed, including marathons, duathlons and triathlons (6 of them being Ironman competitions). Also adding to their list of achievements, Dick and Rick biked and ran across the U.S. in 1992, completing a full 3,735 miles in 45 days.  In a triathlon, Dick will pull Rick in a boat with a bungee cord attached to a vest around his waist and to the front of the boat for the swimming stage. For the biking stage, Rick will ride a special two-seater bicycle, and then Dick will push Rick in his custom made running chair (for the running stage). Rick was once asked, if he could give his father one thing, what would it be? Rick responded, “The thing I’d most like is for my dad to sit in the chair and I would push him for once.”(TeamHoyt Web page)

Between David and Dick Hoyt, we can draw a picture of God as our heavenly Father.  The term Abba from Romans 8 is more like our term, Daddy.  It is an intimate word of love, affection, and respect.  With God as our ABBA, we see him coming like David to a person who being broken and lame by sin, forgiving the death sentence, and restoring what was once his.  We also will forever partake of the KING’S table.  We see in Dick Hoyt our God running the distance with us, carrying us because while we may be saved, we are still lame because of the effectiveness of sin in this world. 

With God, there is no distance he will not go to find us, care for us, and go with us.  What a Great ABBA.