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God promised peace to those whom His favor rests. Let me close with the words from a hymn that Annie Johnson Flint wrote: "What God Hath Promised"
God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.
God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain rocky and steep,
Never a river turbid and deep.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
Along with these promises, God has given us peace with Himself through Jesus Christ, peace with others through His instructions, and peace of mind through confidence in Him. When we have no peace, we have no joy. But when we know peace, we know joy.
‘Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, humbly implore his protection and favor…” (1st Proclamation of a national day of Thanksgiving, Oct. 3, 1789).
Remarks by President Bush
At Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Day Commemoration
Arlington National Cemetery
May 31, 2004
This morning I had the honor of placing a wreath before the Tomb of the Unknowns. This custom is observed every Memorial Day on behalf of the American people as a mark of gratitude and respect.
And when this ceremony is concluded, and all of us have gone on our way, the Honor Guard will keep watch over the Tomb. Every hour of every day, on the coldest nights, in the hardest rain, there is a sentinel of the 3rd U.S. Infantry standing guard. The soldiers entrusted with that duty count it a privilege. And, today, as we reflect on the men and women who have died in the defense of America, all of us count it a privilege to be citizens of the country they served.
In the military tradition, no one is left behind on the field of battle. And our nation is determined to account for all of the missing. The same spirit can be seen in the respect we show to each life laid down for this nation. We receive them in sorrow, and we take them to an honored place to rest. At this and other cemeteries across our country, and in cemeteries abroad where heroes fell, America acknowledges a debt that is beyond our power to repay.
This weekend, we dedicated the World War II Memorial, which will stand forever as a tribute to the generation that fought that war and the more than 400,000 Americans who fell. Some here today can turn their minds back across 60 years and see the face of a buddy who never made it home. You are veterans who have not forgotten your comrades. And America will always honor the achievements and the character of your brave generation.
Through our history, America has gone to war reluctantly, because we have known the costs of war. And the war on terror we’re fighting today has brought great costs of its own. Since the hour this nation was attacked, we have seen the character of the men and women who wear our country’s uniform. In places like Kabul and Kandahar, in Mosul and Baghdad, we have seen their decency and their brave spirit. Because of their fierce courage, America is safer, two terror regimes are gone forever, and more than 50 million souls now live in freedom.
Those who have fought these battles and served this cause can be proud of all they have achieved. And these veterans of battle will carry with them for all their days the memory of the ones who did not live to be called veterans. They will remember young soldiers like Captain Joshua Byers, a West Point man born in South Carolina who died in Iraq. When this son of missionaries was given command of a 120-man combat unit, he wrote this to his parents: "I will give the men everything I have to give. I love them already, just because they’re mine. I
pray, with all my heart, that I will be able to take every single one of them home safe when we finish our mission here."
Sergeant Major Michael Stack, who was laid to rest at Arlington, wore the uniform for 28 years and is remembered as a soldier’s soldier. The sergeant major must have been quite a guy. When he was a young platoon sergeant, the recruits gave him a nickname: No Slack Billy Jack Stack. By all accounts, he was the kind of man you want in charge of a tough situation. And by the account of his mother, he finished his goodbyes with these words:
"Mom, I’m going because I believe in what I am doing. And if I don’t come back, we will meet in a better place."
Those who risked their lives on our behalf are often very clear about what matters most in their own lives, and they tell it to those they love. Master Sergeant Kelly Hornbeck, of the Special Forces, was killed in action last January, south of Samarra. To his parents back in Fort Worth, Texas, he wrote this: "I am not afraid, and neither should either of you be -- For I trust in my God and my training, two powerful forces that cannot be fully measured."
After Private First Class Jesse Givens, of Springfield, Missouri was lost last May, his family received a letter he had written to them in the event of his death. He wrote this to his son, Dakota: "You’ve taught me that life isn’t so serious, and sometimes you just have to play. You have a big, beautiful heart. Through your life, you need to keep it open and follow it. I will always be there in our park when you dream, so we can play." To his wife, Melissa, Private Givens wrote, "Do me a favor after you tuck the children in -- give them hugs and kisses from me. Go outside and look at the stars and count them. Don’t forget to smile." This is the quality of the people in our uniform.
And this is the loss to our nation. Markers on these hills record the names of more than 280,000 men and women. Each was once or still is the most important person in someone’s life. With each loss in war, the world changed forever for the family and friends left behind. Each loss left others to go on, counting the years of separation, and living in the hope of reunion.
Although the burden of grief can become easier to bear, always there is the memory of another time, and the feeling of sadness over an unfinished life. Yet, the completeness of a life is not measured in length only. It is measured in the deeds and commitments that give a life its purpose. And the commitment of these lives was clear to all: They defended our nation, they liberated the oppressed, they served the cause of peace. And all Americans who have known the loss and sadness of war, whether recently or long ago, can know this: The person they love and missed is honored and remembered by the United States of America.
May God bless our country.
In 1789, our nation’s first President, George Washington, issued the following proclamation:
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor, and
Whereas both houses of Congress have by their joint committee requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God,
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the peo...
These days, however, even scientists are questioning the validity of the theory of evolution.
In his book, Beside Still Waters: Searching for Meaning in an Age of Doubt, Award-winning journalist Gregg Easterbrook, writes:
If the Big Bang had been slightly less violent, the expansion of the universe would have been less rapid, and would … have collapsed back on itself. If the explosion had been slightly more violent, the universe might have dispersed into a soup too thin to aggregate into stars. The odds against us were - this is just the right word - astronomical. The ratio of matter and energy to the volume of space at the Big Bang must have been within about one quadrillionth of 1 percent of ideal. Life is so improbable it must somehow be favored by something. By some First Cause, "to which," said Aquinas, "everyone gives the name of God."
In 1989, Professor H. S. Lipson, a distinguished member of the Institute of Physics, published an article in the professional journal “PHYSICS BULLETIN.” He studied the mathematical probability that Darwinian evolution has occurred. As with many scientists who are beginning to argue against evolution in favor of “Intelligent Design,” Lipson has concluded that many facets of nature simply could not have evolved. He says this:
"We must … admit that the only acceptable alternative [to evolution] is creation. I know that this is anathema to physicists, as indeed it is to me, but we must not reject a theory that we do not like if the experimental evidence supports it."
Those scientists who are willing to look at the evidence with open minds are coming to the conclusion that the evolutionary theory that life just happened to evolve as a result of a series of lucky coincidences requires far too much faith!
At the very least, something or someone “got the ball rolling”
Brian La Croix
Preacher Charles Swindoll recalled his last spanking when he turned thirteen years old. Chuck said, “Having just broken into the sophisticated ranks of the teen world, I thought I was something on a stick. My father wasn’t nearly as impressed as I was with my great importance and new-found independence.
“I was lying on my bed. He was outside the window on a muggy October afternoon in Houston, TX, weeding the garden. He said, ‘Charles, come out and help me weed the garden.’ I said something like, ‘NO, IT’S MY BIRTHDAY, REMEMBER?’
“My tone was sassy and my deliberate lack of respect was eloquent. I knew better than to disobey my dad, but after all, I was the ripe old age of thirteen. Dad set a new 100-meter record that autumn afternoon. He was in the house in a flash and all over me like white on rice, spanking me all the way out to the garden. As I recall, I weeded until the moonlight was shining on the pansies.
“That same night he took me out to a surprise dinner. He gave me what I deserved earlier. LATER HE GAVE ME WHAT I DID NOT DESERVE. The birthday dinner was a matter of grace. He showered his favor on this rebellious young man. And I enjoyed grace.”
For more from Chuck, visit http://www.insight.org
The Prodigal Son in the Key of F
Feeling footloose and frisky, a feather-brained fellow forced his father
to fork over his farthings. Fast he flew to foreign fields and
frittered his family’s fortune, feasting fabulously with floozies and
faithless friends. Flooded with flattery he financed a full-fledged
fling of "funny foam" and fast food.
Fleeced by his fellows in folly, facing famine, and feeling faintly
fuzzy, he found himself a feed-flinger in a filthy foreign farmyard.
Feeling frail and fairly famished, he fain would have filled his frame
with foraged food from the fodder fragments.
"Fooey," he figured, "my father’s flunkies fare far fancier," the
frazzled fugitive fumed feverishly, facing the facts. Finally,
frustrated from failure and filled with foreboding (but following his
feelings) he fled from the filthy foreign farmyard.
Faraway, the father focused on the fretful familiar form in the field
and flew to him and fondly flung his forearms around the fatigued
fugitive. Falling at his father’s feet, the fugitive floundered
forlornly, "Father, I have flunked and fruitlessly forfeited family
Finally, the faithful Father, forbidding and forestalling further
flinching, frantically flagged the flunkies to fetch forth the finest
fatling and fix a feast.
Faithfully, the father’s first-born was in a fertile field fixing fences
while father and fugitive were feeling festive. The foreman felt
fantastic as he flashed the fortunate news of a familiar family face
that had forsaken fatal foolishness. Forty-four feet from the farmhouse
the first-born found a farmhand fixing a fatling.
Frowning and finding fault, he found father and fumed, "Floozies and
foam from frittered family funds and you fix a feast following the
fugitive’s folderol"? The first-born’s fury flashed, but fussing was
futile. The frugal first-born felt it was fitting to feel "favored" for
his faithfulness and fidelity to family, father, and farm. In foolhardy
fashion, he faulted the father for failing to furnish a fatling and
feast for his friends. His folly was not in feeling fit for feast and
fatling for friends; rather his flaw was in his feeling about the
fairness of the
festival for the found fugitive.
His fundamental fallacy was a fixation on favoritism, not forgiveness.
Any focus on feeling "favored" will fester and friction will force the
frayed facade to fall. Frankly, the father felt the frigid first-born’s
frugality of forgiveness was formidable and frightful. But the father’s
former faithful fortitude and fearless forbearance to forgive both
The farsighted father figured, "Such fidelity is fine, but what forbids
fervent festivity for the fugitive that is found? Unfurl the flags and
finery, let fun and frolic freely flow. Former failure is forgotten,
folly is forsaken. Forgiveness forms the foundation for future
Four facets of the father’s fathomless fondness for faltering fugitives
2) Forever faithful friendship
3) Fadeless love, and
4) A facility for forgetting flaws
by Timothy E. Fulop
Timothy E. Fulop is Assistant Dean of Faculty, Columbia Theological Seminary
THE REAL ISSUE
"Even a superficial study of church history reveals that the Spirit of God blows with hurricane force only through those prophets and lovers who have surrendered to the folly of the cross. If there is little power and shallow wisdom in our preaching, teaching, worship, and ministry, I believe it is because the Crucified Christ has been ignored in favor of a lot of ’burning theolo...
A. Todd Coget
[God’s Favor toward Us, Citation: Max Lucado, A Gentle Thunder (Word, 1995)]
There are many reasons God saves you: to bring glory to himself, to appease his justice, to demonstrate his sovereignty.
But one of the sweetest reasons God saved you is because he is fond of you.
He likes having you around.
He thinks you are the best thing to come down the pike in quite a while….
If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.
If he had a wallet, your photo would be in it.
He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning.
Whenever you want to talk, he’ll listen.
He can live anywhere in the universe, and he chose your heart.
And the Christmas gift he sent you in Bethlehem?
Face it, friend. He’s crazy about you!
Jackie Hudson wrote a book entitled: Doubt: A Road to Growth. She writes: “Early in my career, I had a boss who held to numerous spoken and unspoken rules. One was that I needed to have my lights out by 11:00 p.m. so I wouldn’t be tired on the job the next day. His house was not far from mine, and if he noticed my lights on after 11, I heard about it the next day. I remember my first compliment from him—a full year after I’d been on the job. I’d been given a project and I worked night and day to make it perfect and thus win his approval. The day of the event, he wanted all the other employees to arrive an hour early to help with preparations. Even though I explained that it wouldn’t be necessary, he insisted. After all the employees stood around for an hour with nothing to do, the program began. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the event—the project was flawless. Afterward, my boss walked up to me, looked down at the floor, and out of his mouth came those long awaited words, ‘Well done, Ms. Hudson.’ My year in that environment brought on a remarkable response—rebellion. I was hardly growing in grace. Grace is fertile soil. Grace focuses on what God is and what He has done and takes the focus off ourselves and yet it is so easy to think that we need to do something to earn God’s favor as though grace is too good to be true.” Most Christians live their lives like they’re going to be graded by God once a year. What we don’t realize is that all of God’s wrath was poured out on His Son. The reason He brought Him back from the grave is because He was satisfied with His Son. And if He’s satisfied with His Son’s death for sin, and I find myself, by faith, through grace in the Son, He’s satisfied with me!