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…”
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 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: “In Arlington Cemetery, members of the 3rd United States Army stand as sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This formal pageantry t…”
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.”
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…”
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: “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…”
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.