Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13Continue reading Remembering … In Gratitude
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Remembering the men and women who sacrificed their lives, limbs, health, families, or sanity to preserve America’s freedom.
Thank you to all the men and women, past, present, and future who have served in the military and a special thank you to their families for their very real sacrifices.
We are honored by all that you sacrificed. You have personified the values and priorities of true Americans.
Thank YOU for YOUR service. Because of you, we live in freedom.
“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.”– James A. Garfield
May 30, 1868 Arlington National Cemetery
On Sundays, I cook biscuits for Keith. Yes, I’m a Celiac and can’t eat them, but Keith enjoys them, so I delight in making them.
As I was kneading the dough this morning, I thought about all the times God kneaded me. Folding the dough and massaging it, getting it into the right shape for biscuit rounds.
While Keith was in the Air Force and we were living all over the world, the Lord was kneading us, gently massaging us … preparing us for the next adventure. Sometimes, the pressure hurt, but He was right there to relieve the pressure when it became too much.
… lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Matthew 28:20
Then, there came the pain of cutting us away from the rest of the dough … a new assignment, unknown challenges, away from family and friends, dependent upon God. We were the clay in the hands of our Potter, the biscuit in the hands of our Master Chef.
Keith likes a crisp top to his biscuits, so I oil the tops of them. God took us in our travels with Him and anointed us with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit taught us, guided us, convicted us, and prayed on behalf of us when we did not know what to pray.
As we grew in the Lord, we experienced the heat of greater trials. When America bombed Libya in 1986, we were at Aviano AB in Italy, north of terrorist headquarters in Padua. Aviano AB school buses were threatened, Americans were harassed in Aviano, and armored personnel carriers were stationed at the base entrances with 50 millimeter guns pointed at those entering the base. The heat was high.
Some women took their children and flew back to the States. I thought about taking Kristin back to the States, but I stayed with Keith. Those who left did the right thing, and I did the right thing. God was with us, and we were with each other – family.
We’ve been in the oven many times, and God was always there for us. Biscuit Sundays can be counted on, and the outcome is always good because God is the Master Chef.
And Jesus said unto them, “I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger, and he that believes on Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35
Are you hungry, today? Jesus is the Bread of Life.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of this world. John 6:51
Are you thirsty today? Jesus gives living water.
… whoever drinks of the water that I give him will never thirst; but the water that I give him will become a well of water springing up to eternal life. John 4:14
Father, thank You for the gift of taste and all the taste delights that You have created. Thank You, Jesus, for explaining the principles of heaven in such earthy ways. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for bringing these principles to our memories as we walk through our days. Father You are our Great Maker, our Potter, our Master Chef. Knead us, anoint us with oil, and be there with us in the heat of the trial. You are our living bread and our living water. Thank You, Lord.
How is the Holy Spirit revealing spiritual truths in your everyday walk? Please share with everyone in the Comment Section.
Orders from the US Air Force
Keith stood in the doorway fidgeting. “Talked with a guy who was stationed at Clark AB. He told me what it’s like to live in the Philippines. Geckos live inside the house. Uh, there are flying cockroaches, and you have to watch out for cobras in your backyard.”
I threw myself on the bed and cried.
All alone on an island, no phone (before cell phones), no Internet (before the Internet), no family … all alone with geckos, flying cockroaches, and cobras! Over 8,000 miles from family. Just Keith, 18-month-old Kristin, and me.
Fear of the unknown and the little-known. We had a choice: Keith could go alone or take Kristin and me with him. There really was no choice. We had married for better or for worse. After six years of marriage, I thought I might get the “worse” out of the way early.
When we landed at Clark AB on Friday the 13th. We found geckos, flying cockroaches, cobras, and challenges, but we also found a land of beauty and opportunity.
Orders from God
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, … Genesis 12:1-4
Abram gathered his wife, servants, nephew, and possessions, and started walking.
Over 400 miles later, they ended up in Canaan, a land filled with people who worshipped Baal and Ashtoreth. Baal was believed to have authority over the rain, wind, and clouds, and Ashtoreth brought fertility to her worshippers. Cult prostitution was a part of their worship.
Alone in a strange land and evil practices. Alone with a promise.
“Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.” Genesis 12:7
Testing at Clark AB
The stories about the Philippines were accurate.
A captain picked us up to go to dinner the first night. I slipped into the back seat.
Yikes! A gecko on the hood scurried up the windowshield.
Jet-lagged and partied out, Keith unfolded Kristin’s rollaway bed. A giant cockroach shot from the bed. This was the biggest and strongest cockroach either of us had ever seen. Keith pulled off his size 11 shoe and pummeled the cockroach; it darted from corner to corner, Keith swung his shoe from side-to-side swatting the B-52 bomber. It landed on the wall. Keith hammered it, and it fell to the floor. It zoomed past his head. Five or six poundings later, Keith completed his mission.
That night, Kristin slept with me in my twin bed.
Cockroaches and geckos served as gentle, preparatory challenges.
Two kids from Oklahoma with a toddler on a sojourn.
Smiling faces emerging from Nipa huts.
Children playing with cockroaches.
Machine guns on every corner in our off-base housing subdivision.
Strip clubs and prostitution surrounding the base.
Sniper fire between our house and the base.
Typhoons threatening our sanity.
Off-base water unfit for drinking, cooking, and bathing.
Broken marriages distressing families.
Testing in Canaan
God’s commands, the promise of blessing, and obedience brought testing.
Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. Genesis 12:10
In Egypt, Abram’s marriage was tested. Sarai was beautiful, and Abram was afraid that the Egyptians would see her beauty and kill Abram, so he asked her to tell the Egyptians that she was his sister.
“When the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.” Genesis 12:15
Pharaoh blessed Abram with many riches because of Sarai, but God sent great plagues to the house of Pharaoh. Pharaoh learned that Sarai was Abram’s wife and that the plagues were a result of him taking Sarai into his household. He sent Sarai and Abram away with all their possessions.
Walking the Promised Marriage
This marriage that God had given us had its wanderings. God led the three us from the Philippines to the East Coast, West Coast, Italy, Mid-America, and again to the West Coast. Our extended family did not understand our lifestyle and what God was calling us to do. For that matter, I don’t think that we understood what God had in store for us.
Each place had its blessings and its trials, and with God’s leading, they brought us closer to each other and to God.
Walking the Promised Land
And he journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the LORD. Genesis 13:3-4
Abram and Lot, his nephew, were very rich in livestock, silver, and gold, and the land could not support all the livestock. Abram told Lot to choose the land that he would settle in, and Abram went the opposite direction.
Finally, Abram and Sarai were alone with God.
“The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, ‘Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, … Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.’ So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the LORD.” Genesis 13:14-18
God’s revelations to Abram and Sarai were gentle and sure. When Abram was 99-years-old, God changed his name to Abraham and revealed to him that he would be the father of many nations and that Sarai’s name would be changed to “Sarah,” for she would bear a child, Isaac, with whom God would establish an everlasting covenant, resulting in the nation of Israel and blessing many nations.
By faith, Abram and Sarai left their land, their family, their lifestyle, and trusted God to lead them into the Promised Land.
By faith, they walked the promise.
By faith, Abraham bought the cave and field at Machpelah where he buried Sarah.
By faith, Abraham and Sarah trusted God to bring descendants to Isaac.
By faith, Abraham and Sarah obeyed God and lived the promise
This week, take a moment to prayerfully share in the Comment Section your responses to these three questions:
- What are the promises God has given you?
- How is He leading you on the path to the promises?
- What are you learning about the nature of God as He leads you?
Father, thank You for the promises that You have given us in Your Word. Thank You for calling us to live differently and leading us in Your promises. Almighty God, stepping out of our comfort zone is difficult. We’re strangers walking this world, and sometimes, it’s hard to know if we’re really walking the path You have set before us. Take us by our right hands and help us to know that You are truly leading us towards the promises that You have for us. We love Your leading; we love You, Lord. Amen
Greater love has no man than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
2 Corinthians 3:17
We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us;
and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 1 John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16
Thank you, active duty military members, veterans,
and families for your service!
Jesus, thank You for these men and women who have laid aside their lives and their dreams for a season to preserve America’s freedom and to lift up the downtrodden. Thank You for the sacrifices of their families as they endured not knowing how their loved ones were. Thank You for the many sacrifices You made for us. Thank You.