Today is Memorial Day. Originally started as an event to honor Union soldiers who had died during the Civil War, the day was expanded after World War I to include all men and women who died in any war or military action. Memorial Day has grown to one of the more busy holidays of our year and much of its original intent has been lost. These brave men and women have given their lives for liberties that are being taken away and it some cases given up. I want you to remember that the freedom we enjoy was bought and paid for by someone who is no longer with us. They left their families, their dreams and their future to sacrifice so we could enjoy our families, pursue our dreams, and have a future.
Jesus left all behind him to come and sacrifice his life so that we can have a future with him. Without the shed blood of Jesus, we could have no remission or forgiveness of our sins. We live in the greatest nation in the world and it is because great people were willing to go and give their lives for us. Jesus recognized that dying in our sins would lead us to an eternity in hell. He was willing to shed his blood, give his life, and rise again so that we could be free if we accept the salvation he offers. It would seem that for the liberty we enjoy, there has always been a sacrifice made. I want to leave you with Logan’s General Order No. 11; issued on May 5, 1868. Enjoy your coffee.
Love you all,
1. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.
We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, “of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.” What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.
If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.
Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from hishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.
2. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.
3. Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.
By order of
JOHN A. LOGAN,
WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.
While taking some time off, I was able to reflect on family and friends. They are to be cherished. In some cases, you may wonder if your family is a friend but you love them because they are family. On the other hand family can also be some of the best friends you have. Friends on the other hand are people you have something in common with and, in some cases, are like family to you. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loveth at all times.” That friend is a person who shares the same values as you do and if we take that verse at its real meaning, then "all" means "all." No one is perfect but friends love during “all” times.
As a family, we do not often get the opportunity to spend an extended time together. While vacationing, we were able to spend some time relaxing, laughing, and enjoying the company of each other. The time we are together is time we should relish and savor since those times will not repeat in the same manner again. If someone were to stand back and look at the week, they would see a week where we had a house that was not ready when we got there and had issues (for example no TV and no internet) with it all week long…rain visited frequently and when it was not raining, the coldness set in. Everyone always envisions the perfect vacation and that rarely if ever happens but here we were together and the options were to let the problems rule us or rule the problems. We chose to seize each day and live it out to its fullness. That was a great time.
Abraham Lincoln said, "The better part of one's life consists of his friendships." Choosing friends is not to be taken lightly. A guideline for a true friend is found in 2 Corinthians 6:14: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” While I am not unfriendly to those who do not believe in Jesus as Savior, I cannot truly be friends with someone who does not share Godly values. They cannot offer Godly advice, our interests should conflict and the fellowship will be strained. Based on that, the friends I do have are actually my Godly family. Family and friends are to be enjoyed and protected. Seize the day and enjoy the relationships that God has given each and every one of us. In Proverbs 27:9, we read: “Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.” Be a friend to someone today. Enjoy your coffee.
Love you all,
I have been asked who I am going to vote for this Tuesday. My reply is “the person that most closely reflects Godly principles.” I do not promote any candidate but I do promote using the Bible as a guide. At times, it may seem that there is nobody to vote for but that does not relieve us of our responsibility to vote. In the U. S., we have the freedom to vote and in recent elections, about 2 of every 5 of self-professed Christians took that right for granted and did not vote. About 1 in 5 self-professed, eligible Christians are not even registered to vote. In Matthew 22:21 we read, “Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.” As Christians, we should fulfill our civic duties. God is most certainly in control, but that does not mean we should do nothing to further His will.
Every Christian should vote and vote for leaders who promote Christian principles and not rely on a party slate or voter guide. Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” That being said, candidates or platforms that violate the Bible’s commands for life, family, marriage, or faith should never be supported. In Hosea 8:4, we read that God is not always pleased by our choice of leaders: “They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.” As believers, we have to know that our vote matters and we should exercise that freedom at every opportunity. The evidence of sin’s grip on this world is everywhere. We ought to strive to choose leaders who will be themselves led by God (read 1 Samuel 12:13-15).
Christians should vote as led by God’s Word and the realities of the choices on the ballot. I went to hear Franklin Graham this past Thursday and I am going to paraphrase what he said…”Everyone should vote, you may have to hold your nose when you do but get out and vote.” The people running may not be your choice or the best choice but they are the candidates. Pick the best of them and vote. Enjoy your coffee.
Love you all,
Have you ever been anxious? Every once in a while I get that way…at least I think I am anxious. Not so much a fear; just an anticipation of what the future may hold. The fact that fear is common, however, does not mean it is from the Lord. There are certain situations that will trigger a frightened response. But God doesn’t want us to live with ongoing fear or anxiety. God even says in Luke 12:7 “Fear not,” yet we sometimes are frozen by fear or anxiety.
Today, I shared with some people at church that I was going to have oral surgery on Monday. Immediately I found there were basically three ways that news was taken.
I enjoy the simplicity and the straight forwardness of God’s word. If I have faith in God I can take all things to him through prayer; sharing with him the very thoughts of my heart. Making my requests known to him, knowing an almighty God hears and responds, and knowing that he is in control truly brings a peace that I cannot understand. I also know that God will keep me and never let me go. There was nothing I could do to be saved and nothing I can do to lose it. Anxiety or fear will make us take our eyes off of an Almighty God. He tells us not to fear so we will depend on him, to feel secure in him and trust him. I have no idea what tomorrow may hold but I am turning it over to him. He keeps me. Enjoy your coffee.
Love you all,
Gary W. Hall, Pastor of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church.