Posted in Family, fear, forgiveness, Grace, gratitude, life, loving others, prayer, Scripture, sovereignty of God, thankful, Trials, USA, wisdom

The Power of Remembering

Then if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

It was a beautiful Sunday morning in December 1941…of course, almost every day in Hawaii is a beautiful day.  The skies were blue, the breeze was gentle, and it was the one day when at least some of the sailors and soldiers could sleep in.  Then, at 7:55 am Hawaii time, a swarm of Japanese aircraft attacked without warning killing 2,403 military and civilians.  In a brief moment in time the United States was at war with Japan and was thrown into World War II. President Franklin Roosevelt famously called December 7th, “a day that will live in infamy.” The battle cry throughout the Pacific War was “Remember Pearl Harbor.”

Fast forward with me sixty years.  It was a beautiful Tuesday morning in September 2001.  The sky was a deep blue without a cloud in the sky and then it happened.  Without warning, at 8:06 am EDT, a hijacked airliner crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. A short time later, at 9:03 am EDT, the South Tower was also struck.  Unbelievably, a third airliner crashed into the Pentagon at 9:37 am EDT, with a final airliner, most likely destined for Washington D.C., crashed into a Pennsylvania field at 10:03 am.  In all, these attacks killed 2,977 innocent people…more than the attack on Pearl Harbor.  The cry after September 11th or 9/11, was, “We will never forget.”

Though it is hard to believe, 20 years have come and gone since that horrific morning in September.  Most can remember exactly what they were doing that day as the events unfolded on national television.  In a brief moment in time, our world was changed forever.  As we observe what is now called, Patriot Day, we must renew our vow to never forget those tragic minutes and the days, weeks, months and years that followed.

I well remember how for a brief moment in time our country stood united. While it didn’t last long, only a couple of days, it showed us, it taught us, the power and beauty of unity.  But then, as always, finger pointing and blame throwing, ruled the day and unity slipped through our fingers like loosely held sand. And if we are not careful, time will further rob us of the reverence owed to so many and the honor for those who gave their lives trying to save others.  And that too would be a tragedy.

On this twentieth observance of 9/11, I hope you will join millions of others and make  sure we never forget.  Take time to pause and reflect and remember.  I know these are difficult days and in so many ways we are frustrated and filled with doubt and fear.  But remember two things.  First and foremost, the God who created all of this is greater than any circumstance that we may face.  He knows our past and is willing to forgive.  And, He knows the future and is willing to walk with us.  Don’t lose hope and don’t lose faith.  He is able and willing.

Let me also encourage you not to lose hope in America.  With all her warts and flaws she is still the best country in the world. Having visited a couple of dozen countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia, I can tell you there is no place like America.  Rare is the country where a people are free to worship and live like we do. In the New Testament book called the Gospel of John, many people decided to no longer follow Jesus.  He looked at His followers and said, “Will you leave me too?”  One of them spoke up and said, “Where would we go?  You alone have the words of life.”   That is so true and before we throw America under the bus, be sure you know the answer to the question, “Where would you go.”  There is no place like home and no place like America.

So let’s not forget.  Let’s show the world we are a people that remember so we can honor.  Let’s show the world that while we are not perfect, we do believe in our God and our country.  God made a promise to His people and it is one that we can claim for ourselves.  He said, “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sins and heal their land.”  It was true for them and it is true for any people willing to put God first.  To sum it all up, it simply means…He’s got this.  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in Family, fear, forgiveness, Grace, gratitude, life, loving others, Military memories, prayer, priorities, Scripture, USA, wisdom

December 7th

If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” Mark 3:25

December 7th.  A day that will live in infinity.” Though it was before my time I know the story well. It was a beautiful morning in Pearl Harbor.  Those who weren’t painting the ships or swabbing the decks of the powerful U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet were home enjoying a round of golf or a tropical breakfast.  And then, at 7:55 in the morning local time, without warning or provocation, bombers, fighters, and  torpedo bombers of the Imperial Japanese Navy swept in.  They began to systematically destroy the American fleet and its supporting aircraft.  That morning thousands of sailors and civilians lost their lives and thousands more were wounded.  Over eleven hundred sailors died instantly when a single bomb hit the ammunition magazine on the battleship Arizona.

In a  hour and fifteen minutes the attack was over and the United States was drawn into a global war.  The nation had long been divided over what role the United States should take in the war that raged in Europe.  That was all settled when, after the attack, Japan declared war on America and Hitler as an ally of Japan did the same.  Like it or not, the United States was embroiled in a war that would last for almost four years and cost the lives of 407,316 Americans with another 671,278 wounded.  But by the grace of Almighty God, in the end, America and her Allies were victorious in defeating the tyranny  of the fascist governments.

Thirty-eight percent of those who served were volunteers and sixty-one percent were drafted.  The average enlisted person was paid $71.00 per month while the average officer was paid $203.  Drafted or volunteer, officer or enlisted, they were all willing to put their lives on the line for the cause of freedom and the cause of defeating countries bent on oppressing those weaker than they.  Many valuable lessons were learned during that time—lessons that we must not forget.

First, is the power of unity.  Before the Pearl Harbor attack the nation was clearly divided over the war.  After the attack, the nation pulled together on a unified front to protect and defend—first the United States, and second, the millions of innocent people being oppressed by Germany, Japan, and Italy.  It is tragic that it took a Pearl Harbor to bring the nation together, but if America had entered the war divided the outcome would have been much different.  Today, we need to understand that it is time to come together again.  We have allowed a virus named COVID-19, a contested national election, and blatant racism to divide our country. Jesus said that a house divided against itself cannot stand.  Neither can families.  Neither can churches.  We must come together or we will fall together.

Second, is the power of owning it.  As in any national tragedy, the event happens and almost immediately the finger pointing begins.  Pick the historical event and the pattern is sadly the name.  Political parties and even ordinary, everyday people will use a tragedy to promote their cause.  We have seen it on the national front.  We have seen it on the local front.  We have seen it in the churches.  It is not a time to point fingers, but rather a time to rise to help solve what is broken.  Seventy-nine years ago today, December 7, America rose to the challenge.  I wonder if we will have the wisdom to do the same today?

Last, is the power of wisdom.  There is not much debate that storm clouds were gathering in the days leading up to December 7th.  Some would say that there was blatant evidence that an attack was coming.  Sadly, those warning signs were largely ignored and the cost was horrendous.  Today, right now, there is something we need to remember.  There is one enemy and it is not our neighbor, not our brother or sister in church, and not even the person who belongs to another political party.  The enemy is Satan, who wants nothing more than to destroy us. Jesus said, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.”  It was true when He said it…it is true today.  The second part of that verse is filled with hope. Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.”

You see, God is for us.  He is very aware of Satan’s tricks and schemes and He wants us to be victorious over him.  That is what Christmas and Easter were all about.  God became flesh and lived among us and then ultimately and deliberately died on a Roman cross that all people, regardless of nationality, race or economic station, could be forgiven and have eternal life.  With the wisdom of God, we don’t have to have a “spiritual” Pearl Harbor. With God’s help we can come together.  With God’s help we can be victorious.

You see, it’s not about religion.  It is about a relationship with the God who made it all. And with the relationship comes hope, comes peace, comes forgiveness, comes unity.  If we are wise enough to believe what God says, and act on what He teaches, our best days won’t be in the rearview mirror but rather ahead.  So this Christmas season, let the Prince of Peace bring His peace into your world.  Rest in Him.  He’s got this.