It Is Well

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“So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name…”

Do you know that every song tells a story? After watching the movie, I Can Only Imagine, I realized this even more. Knowing the story behind a song adds value to it, with each verse painting a picture, and capturing an emotion so that we could see what it’s like to live it with them. I don’t believe that a beautiful song can exist outside the heart, for it is the heart that beauty comes from.

Before I heard the story behind I Can Only Imagine, I heard the story behind a little hymn called, It Is Well With My Soul. Would you like to hear its story?

Horatio G. Spafford went through a parent’s worst nightmare twice. He was a lawyer and businessman from Chicago, happily married with five children. All was well until 1871 when his young son died of pneumonia and the great Chicago fire destroyed most of his business. They picked up the pieces, and life went on.

Until 1873, his wife and four daughters were crossing the Atlantic to Europe when a large storm blew up, taking the lives of all his children. A sailor spotted his wife adrift and a message was wired to Mr. Spafford. He took the next ship out to join his wife.

As they crossed the very spot where his children drowned on their voyage out, Mr. Spafford looked upon the now still waves and wrote, It Is Well With My Soul, which goes like this:

When peace like a river attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll,

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

Chorus:

It is well with my soul,

It is well, it is well with my soul

Throughout their struggles, the Spafford’s prayed and believed in the Goodness of God. Even when they didn’t understand why such tragedies happened, they knew that God had everything in His hands. It was a peace that surpasses understanding.

Here is the Bethel version of It Is Well. As you listen, imagine what it must have been like for Mr. Stafford, as he stood on the deck of the ship and looked out upon the waves. At that moment I’m sure he felt the weight of loss and unimaginable pain. And yet, a song played in his heart and he wrote it down. A song filled with hope and redemption and trust.

I don’t know if you have ever lost a child. I don’t know if you are going through a storm right now that seems impossible to make it out of in one piece. I don’t know your pain, your brokenness, your hurt. All I know is that there is a Father who does know all that. He doesn’t cause the pain, the sin, the hurt. No, He bleeds when you do, He knows what it’s like to suffer hardship, to go through storms, and to lose a child. Jesus. Who brought hope, who brought purpose, so that our pain would not be in vain. So that satan wouldn’t have the last say, so that those we love would never truly leave us. It is this hope that sustains us, through it all….it is well.

Super Nova: Part 2

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Doctor Hannah Laurson gazed out the viewport, tears gathered in her eyes as she took in the destructive sight before her. She had come so close to discovering the planet tucked away behind the dying star on the outer edge of the Andromeda galaxy when it’s star suddenly went supernova. In a blinding white light, the star and the planet were gone and so was Hannah’s hopes, If we had only made it here sooner She thought desperately. Then again, what could we have done to save an entire world? With a sigh, she wiped her eyes and turned toward the silent crew, the greatest scientists, physicists, and astronomists on earth. Every one of them had longed to see the young planet and meet its inhabitants, to simply shake hands with someone from another world.

Captian Thomas broke the somber silence and approached her, hands clasped behind his back, an image of formality and control amidst so much heartbreak. His dream was to lead the first spaceship to Andromeda, aliens or not, he would go down in history for such an achievement. And yet, standing on the very edge of the great and glorious galaxy he didn’t smile, nor did his eyes shine with pride. “I’m sorry Hannah, everyone, I failed to make it in time.” The somber faces all turned in surprise. “You couldn’t help it, captain.” One man called, “we all knew the star was dying,” another voice added. Hannah merely smiled, it was a smile of thanks, that despite everything, the captain and crew had tried, wholeheartedly.

Everyone began talking and heading back to their stations, it was a long voyage back and preparations had to be made. Hannah squeezed the captain’s hand as he departed, he gave her his best smile. On earth, he had never seemed at home, from the time they had met she knew that he was an explorer, a traveler that would never stop moving. Once earth had been fully explored, it was only logical that such a man would reach for the stars. Little did she know, he admired her. She was much like a compass, set and determined to reach just one of those many stars, and reach it she had, even if it was a moment too late.

A sudden flash of red light brought everyone’s eyes back to the viewport. Before them, an angry chaotic display of power surged across the blackness of space. “Is that from the star?” A young scientist asked. Hannah shook her head in wonder, “no, it isn’t possible!” Captain Thomas seated himself in his command chair and began asking for readings, meanwhile, the fiery-like cloud continued growing and bursting. “Sir, I’m picking up something, there must be a mistake!” Everyone turned toward the voice, a wisened physicist looked up, wide-eyed, from his console, “What do you mean?” Captain Thomas asked. There was a moment’s pause as the Physicist re-examined his data, he stood up shakily and removed his glasses. “Sir, I’m reading one life sign in that cloud.” A few people gasped, while others laughed in disbelief, the captain remained serious. “Can we modify the scanners?” An astronomist scoffed, “you can’t be serious, what could possibly survive that?” The captain nodded, “yes that’s right, what? I want answers now!” Hannah’s fingers danced across her console in excitement, Someone survived! I don’t know how but here it is! 

Hannah clicked the audio button and shushed the crew, a sound like rhythmic drum beats met their ears. “It’s…a heartbeat.” The captain’s voice was barely audible and his eyebrows knitted together in both astonishment and concentration. He rose with a start and much like a military man he ordered everyone to ready a probe. They had already used two of them on their way to Andromeda, having sent one down upon an uninhabited planet to collect samples, and another into a black hole to gather readings until it was completely crushed. “Will the probe be able to navigate in that mess?” He asked, Hannah nodded and replied, “I designed the probe myself, it can withstand it.” She knew that it would locate the “alien”, and attempt to return it back to the ship. As long as it isn’t too big…or hostile. She added apprehensively.

With a hiss the probe was launched, everyone watched unflinchingly, as it soared straight into the fiery cloud and in a matter of minutes, everyone applauded as it came zooming out, pulling behind it a small, spherical black pod. And that wasn’t all it pulled, as the fiery cloud seemed to follow, shooting out explosions of white light, the ship shook under the pressure. “No! it will damage the ship!” The young scientist exclaimed, “just a moment longer, it can withstand this!” Hannah called above the shaking and creaking.

The probe and its pod reentered through the portal under the ship safely enough, the moment it’s doors closed the captain called, “Alright, let’s get out of here!” The ship began to move forward slowly, and yet the cloud followed, rocking the ship and causing emergency lights to flash. “How are we holding up?” The captain called over his shoulder to his engineer, “we can hold out for another five minutes before the ship starts overheating, it wasn’t made to survive inside an exploding star you know.” The captain nodded, “tell that to the star.” He replied in frustration. Hannah suddenly had an idea, “Sir, may I go below and see to our new guest, maybe he or she can help us.” A particularly strong explosion just outside the viewport caused the ship to lurch backward, “I don’t have a better idea at the moment Doctor, make haste!” Hannah took off as fast as she could toward the lower compartments.

After slipping and sliding she finally came to the compartment doors. She typed in the access code and waited while the inner room pressurized and filled with oxygen. A green light blinked on and the doors hissed open. Before her stood the rather beat up probe, and the sleek pod, smaller than she thought it would be. It came only to her knees and was only long enough for a small child to fit in. She felt around for a button to open the door and gasped when her hands found it. In fear, she paused, what if it’s hostile? Oh no, what if it doesn’t breathe oxygen?!” Her compassion for life won over her fear, she pulled the panel back and couldn’t believe her eyes. A crying baby looked up at her, with tears streaming down its face, and arms moving about wildly. The little girl appeared human, except for its brilliantly golden hair and fiery eyes. She lifted the baby out of the pod and began rocking her, “You poor sweetie, I’ve got you, everything is going to be alright.” Hannah whispered, slowly but surely the baby stopped crying and to Hannah’s surprise, so did the sounds of explosions and the creaking of the ship under stress.

Hannah walked back through a completely still ship, carrying the sleeping girl in her arms. Captian Thomas stood when she entered, everyone’s voices stopped as they took in the sight of the baby. The tense stress they had endured seemed to melt away as Hannah approached each crewman, the captain merely smiled and watched until she finally walked up to him, “what do you think of our newest crewman, captain?” she asked jovially. He took the child in his arms and Hannah felt that this was natural for him too, he chuckled softly and replied, “I think our newest friend needs a name,” Everyone nodded in agreement, he looked at Hannah, “you’re the one who saved her, what shall we call her?” Hannah remembered those fiery eyes, saw the beautiful colors of a supernova reflecting upon her golden hair, “let’s call her, Nova.” The captain gently handed her back to Hannah and replied, “welcome aboard, Nova.”

 

(Part 3: Coming Soon)

 

Super Nova: Part 1

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Author Note: This is a story about a superhero named Nova. Told from the very beginning, before hope, before life, and before redemption. Let’s hear her story.

It was a sweltering evening on Andromis, everyone hurried about with protective glasses and reflective coverings. A scientist sighed at his work station, he leaned back away from the computer console and rubbed his eyes. Yet the images from the screen could not be rubbed away. He felt a great wave of loss and fear, There isn’t enough time, he thought desperately.

Andromis was once a beautiful planet, tropical and full of life. Little had their ancestors known that their sun, Kritanta, was nearing the end of its life. It was only within the past century that the Andromisians were advanced enough to begin formulating a plan to save their planet.

Every child was taught science and brought up to become scientists. The need was too great, as the hourglass of time poured out with each passing year. The sun grew hotter and larger, the air became harder to breathe. Plants shriveled up and rain hardly ever fell upon the cracked soil.

It was with great sorrow that world leader Arkamin, stated that there was no way to stop the death of Kritanta, and that their energies would now be directed towards saving their people. Today, three years later, the planet had advanced enough to create space pods, large enough for an infant or child. They were prototypes, if they could send a small creature into space and it somehow survived, they would begin placing children in the pods.

It was their only hope, after all. Andromis believed that life existed elsewhere, they believed this out of necessity, nothing was left for their children here.

However, no one was ready to send their children away, not when they believed they still had time. And so, scientist Barak, had gone to work just as he always did, ready to study and perfect the prototypes believing as everyone else that the star had a few more years of life left in it. Until this morning.

Barak had witnessed an unsettling change in the sun, large solar flares had shot out away from it in angry bursts, it appeared to be expanding, and Barak knew that the final stage before explosion would be contraction. He figured that Andromis had only hours left now, the thought of his young daughter came to his mind. The pods will have to be ready tonight. He shot out of his chair and ran from the lab, he had to tell Control what he had discovered, even if it was too much to bear.

He grabbed the handle of the Control room, this was the very heart of the world’s science division, they called all the shots and had access to the world’s resources. Barak paused as he heard laughter and casual conversation behind the door. It was break time, the last one they would ever get. With great effort, he pushed the door open and sadly approached the team. “I’ve made a discovery, I’m afraid that it is the worst news I could ever bring you,” Barak said, his voice shook with emotion. Everyone stopped, smiles fell off faces and they turned to Barak in confusion. “What kind of discovery, Mr. Barak?” He told them his findings and using the Control room’s central computer he pulled up the file of pictures the telescope had recently captured.

There was a moments pause, the lead Scientist Sentek threw an arm around Barak’s hunched shoulders and chuckled, “Now Mr. Barak, we have seen the sun this active before, it always calms down again, surely this is one of its tantrums, but to say that it is dying today? Why that is quite an absurd assumption!” The other scientists nodded in agreement. Barak pulled away from his grasp in shock, “No, you don’t understand, this is different! I’ve studied these readings every day for 15 years, never has the sun made quite the demonstration that you see now, It is actually expanding, look!” Everyone reluctantly looked at the screen again, and yet Barak could see that they weren’t really looking. They are in denial! The fools will kill us all! Barak thought in anger, he clenched his fists.

He attempted a few more times to get their attention and was met with more head shakes and laughter. “Mr. Barak, go home won’t you? I believe you have worked too hard and are in need of respite.” He locked eyes with them all, hoping to burn the truth into them with his gaze, they merely smiled sympathetically. “Fine, you’ve made your minds up, I see.” He turned on his heel and stormed from the room, slamming the door behind him. I don’t have much time, I can try to tell the world and risk being locked up, or I can save my daughter, I must ready a pod for her. In that moment he hated being a scientist, calculations and numbers never left room for emotion. He knew that the percentage was low that the world would hear his voice, after all, it wasn’t the first time someone had claimed the sun was dying soon. Most people were in denial, he had only hoped that they could be reached.

The only one who would believe him without a doubt was his wife, Amara. How she ever fell in love with him he will never know, she was stunningly beautiful, with gold colored hair that reflected the sun’s brilliance. She had deep blue eyes that reminded people of Andromis’s past. When there were springs of clear refreshing water around every bend and the sound of waves crashing on a not so distant shore. Barak felt he was only average compared to her. He had dusty brown hair, dark eyes and black-rimmed glasses that slid down his straight nose. There was a time he had been quite physically fit, a time when he had hope that the world could be saved and that he could do it. I’m not a hero. Barak placed his hand on the cold pod before him, I am a coward. 

It was nearing sundown, the only time Andromis ever got a break from the heat. Amara looked at the horizon in confusion, the sun wasn’t setting as fast as normal. A baby’s cry drew her attention away from the kitchen window, “hold on sweetie, mommy’s coming!” She grabbed a fresh bottle and filled it with milk, shaking it slightly she left the kitchen and proceeded toward her little girl’s cry. A nursery painted to look like green forests and blue skies greeted her. She took in the sight of her baby, almost one-year-old, with golden hair and brown eyes like her father. She smiled and reached her little hands up to her. A front door opened, “Amara, where are you?” Barak’s voice called. She quickly picked up her baby and exited the room.

She greeted her husband with a warm smile, but it quickly fell when she saw the look on his face. “What did you see?” She asked knowingly. He slid to his knees before her and hid his face in his hands, “our time is up Amara, I’m sorry.” He looked up at her and tears welled in his eyes. Their baby started crying again, and Amara held her close fighting back her own tears. She too fell to her knees and together they embraced their little girl and wept. After a few minutes Barak broke away, holding his daughter in his arms, he patted her back gently and hummed a lullaby. Her crying stopped and she rested her head on his shoulder. “My little girl, I’m so sorry I couldn’t make a better world for you.” Amara wiped her eyes, “when?” was all she could manage to say.

Barak stood and helped his wife to her feet, “tonight, it will just be us Amara, I tried to tell Control and they wouldn’t hear me.” Her face grew more hopeless, “What do you mean? Why haven’t you tried telling anyone else?” Barak shook his head in frustration, “They are blinded, if we tell them and they don’t hear us, what do you think will happen? I could get banned from the lab and our only means to save our child!” Amara stood in silence and Barak was surprised at her quiet reply, “Is our daughter’s life worth more than the lives of an entire world?” Barak looked into his baby’s innocent face peering up  at him, “Amara, she is my world.” Nothing else was said, Amara only nodded and after one last pause to look at her own world before her, she left the room.

It wasn’t hard. Packing a small bag to put in the pod, and closing the nursery door, driving through the night toward the lab. Outwardly they appeared set and determined, this isn’t hard, they told themselves. And yet, inside they screamed and cried with each step they took.

The lab was dark, Barak swiped his badge and motioned for Amara and the baby to enter behind him. The only sound that could be heard was their footfalls down the hall toward the pod room. Barak had secretly set it up, one pod out of millions stood ready to be deployed into space. He had checked and double checked it and had readied his station. “It’s all set Amara, all we have to do is place her inside and we can control her ascent from here.” Amara nodded and began crying. “Yes, alright.” A computer screen turned on in the far corner and began beeping, a red warning sign flashed across it.

Barak’s mouth opened in shock, “no, no, NO!” He called running to the console and grabbing the sides with his hands. “What Barak, what is it?” Amara dashed to his side in terror. “Put her in the pod now, hurry we are out of time!” They ran back to the pod and gently placed their sleeping baby in its compartment. Barak looked at her one last time, he didn’t cry but smiled and said, “I love you forever and always, remember that.” He went to close the hatch but Amara stopped him, she reached into the compartment and smoothed back her daughter’s hair and kissed her forehead, “goodbye, my heart, my life…my world.”

Barak closed the compartment and turned away before emotion could consume him. Amara followed and they each manned a station. The pod was lifted gently by mechanical arms and placed in a torpedo-like capsule. It rose up the shoot and out of the basement of the lab, it’s speed increasing with each floor. In seconds it shot out of the building completely and into the night sky that was quickly turning gaseous. Solar flares could be seen like fiery spider legs jutting out across the darkness. Their light grew brighter and stronger, fire began raining from the heavens as the pod’s capsule turned to rocket, with blue jets shooting it ever higher.

Barak and Amara watched it’s ascent, making slight adjustments and finally applauding when it broke the atmosphere into space itself. They turned their faces away from the screens filling with static and instead looked into each other’s eyes. Their hands reached out and intertwined and they smiled.

…and Andromis, was no more.

(Part 2: coming soon)

 

Valued

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Who has the right to decide someone’s value?

I believe the answer to that question is their “creator” or “maker.”

This very thought got me thinking about the problems in our society today. Do you know that right now the number of abortions this year is well over 22,000,000 and climbing every minute?

At the same time an unborn infant screams, there are birthday celebrations and baby showers with parents beaming with pride and love. How can both exist in one world? In one country? What is the true value of a child?

No one really knows. But we do know that they are worth more than we can imagine, that we are worth so much that God would send His Son to die for us. That Jesus would storm the gates of Hell for us, that the Holy Spirit would be with us always, remaining our companion even when we grieve Him.

God made us all by hand, each one of us is a masterpiece reflecting His heart. And yet, we destroy so many of His works of art. We can block it out, cover our ears and close our eyes. God cannot. He hears and sees everything we do under the sun, and He hears each cry, each plea for life. And yet He still loves us.

The problem is that our society is trying to erase God, and become “gods” themselves. If you’re a god, you can then be considered the “creator” of the life that is growing in your womb. And if you are the creator then it is your right to destroy your creation. It’s yours, after all, you decide the value of what you create.

The truth would be harder to swallow. That when we take a life it isn’t our right to take it. That the baby growing inside you isn’t being crafted by your hands but by the hands of Almighty God. Just because I am a woman and can be used as God’s vessel to bring life into the world, doesn’t mean that I can choose to end that life. We surrender to God’s will, not He to ours. I hold no power apart from Him, He created me with the ability to bear children, therefore He created in essence, the very idea of children.

And so the world values what it wishes, discards what it wishes, blind by its inability to understand that nothing is original to us. Everything we have “made” was first perceived by God, and would not be possible for us if it wasn’t for what God has already created, such as our hands, our eyes, and our minds.

The importance of value is that it is important. God may not have told us the exact value of a rose or a sparrow, but He has made it very clear that we are valued above all these. That we are the center of His heart, and that everything else He created for us. That we might reign with Him, as His sons and daughters.

Abortion isn’t the only way we devalue life. We do this through race, religion, wealth, beauty, gender, talent, and sexuality. It isn’t a new thing to look down upon a person, in fact, it is birthed from selfish pride. A sin that everyone has faced, even if they didn’t let it reside in their hearts so deeply.

That is why the idea of “surrender” seems distasteful. And yet in Christianity, surrender takes on a different meaning than what society has defined it as. To society, surrender means to give up, to wave a white flag and be captured unwillingly by a stronger enemy. It is seen as a sign of weakness, in war movies, the main character would rather die fighting than ever surrender. In Christianity, it is a sign of trust, love, reverence, and worship. It is likened to what Jesus did when he became a servant, kneeling at the feet of his disciples and washing them. It was a display of honor.

I’m not trying to shame those who have sinned, but in order for true repentance to take place, sin must first be recognized. A conviction of the heart must take place. Jesus died for every sin, no matter how awful the sin may be. There is grace, forgiveness, and love. No one is immune to sin, and the agenda of this world is to influence good hearts, to deceive blameless minds into doing the unthinkable.

I am merely pained, as I type this. I find myself just as guilty at turning away from the souls crying out for a savior. How can I laugh, watch TV, go about my day-to-day in a country that is murdering millions of innocent babies? We watch documentaries about the Holocaust and are sickened by what we see. We ask, how could the Germans let this happen in their own backyards? And look at us! We let the destruction of entire generations happen. I’m tired of only hearing, “all lives matter,” without the explanation of why. It’s sad but it’s true that people need to be reminded of why.

If God mattered to us then automatically all lives would matter to us. God transforms hearts and minds to reflect His. We can’t look in a mirror and expect to change, we have always needed to look to God. The truth is people were made to worship, and if we don’t worship God we will worship something else, in this case, ourselves. People uphold humanity as if it is a growing, changing thing. Like we can outgrow our need for a God or morality. When the reality is that, although we may develop in some ways, we still remain humans, fallible, imperfect, and bound to make the same mistakes we have made countless times before.

And so, when you go back out into the world remember this. The boss that may have ticked you off, the lady who pulled out in front of you at an intersection, the kid throwing a tantrum in the grocery store, the baby with a dirty diaper….are all priceless. Their value is set, by God Himself. Your value is set, no one can take away your value, your worth. You were paid for in full by Jesus Christ.

All lives matter, all lives are valuable, all lives were created by God.

 

 

 

 

The Wind in my Sails

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A young, tan-skinned boy of seven hopped into the fishing boat while his father pushed it from the bank. He climbed in after his son and watched with a smile as the boy hurried to and fro getting it seaworthy.

The boy stopped and surveyed his work with a frown, the boat appeared ready to sail and yet it was as still as the waves. His father motioned for him to sit beside him, “come sit, and get a different perspective.” The boy trudged over and plopped down on the pile of netting. Together they went over all possibilities but one, “I don’t understand father, everything is right, why isn’t it sailing?” His father reached over into the water with his hand, he stirred it up creating waves in the stillness. “look at the water my son, and look at the trees on the shore, what are they missing?”

The boy looked from the waveless sea to the still trees and his face lit up with understanding. “The wind!” His father laughed and patted his son on the back in praise. “That’s right, a fisherman’s greatest friend is the wind.” He stood suddenly and took the oars, with each row the boat gradually moved out away from the shore, but the work was tedious. “A fisherman can row, but the effort is great and the fish may scatter from the noise he makes.” He called over his shoulder, sweat forming on his brow. “The wind will guide you effortlessly if you allow it to.”

A memory came to the boy’s mind, of a mighty wind upon a stormy sea. How he had clung to the boat in fear as rain fell and lightning struck. He plucked up the courage and said, “but father the wind isn’t our friend during a storm, it nearly pulls the boat apart.” His father ceased rowing and turned to his son, “Even amidst a storm, the wind is your friend son, it is the waves that betray you.” The boy shook his head in confusion, “I don’t understand father.” The boat was still again, but their minds were alight with thought and excitement. “Son, when a passionate man is met with opposition, do we blame the man?” His father glanced at the sky in thought, “the wind is passionate, it wasn’t made to be quiet and still, but to make its presence known.”

The boy suddenly understood, “father, you aren’t talking about the wind are you?” His father laughed and smiled proudly at him, “no Son, I am not.” He hugged his father around the neck, “would the Holy Spirit lead me into a storm?” The father tickled him and pulled him onto his lap, “where the Holy Spirit goes, storms will follow…however, He will always lead you safely through them.”

Satisfied with his father’s answer, the boy readied the nets and together they cast them over the right side of the boat. For hours they fished and filled their nets, soon the sun dipped below the horizon and the wind finally took hold of the sails with a gust. The father and his son cleaned the fish as the boat sailed back to shore. Suddenly the son asked, “father, what is Jesus like?” He smiled so broadly that the son couldn’t help but smile too, he pointed to the brightest star that was now visible in the sky above, “he is like that star, always burning and constant, a light in the darkness that can’t be extinguished.” The star reflected back in his son’s eyes, “did he teach you to fish?” His father chuckled, “you could say that,” he paused and added, “he taught me to be a fisher of men.”

On the shore, a fire was lit and the voices of people could be heard, laughing and singing, the father jumped from the boat and pulled it onto the shore, securing it to a rock. “Peter! how did it go?” called James who ran to them and threw Peter’s son upon his shoulders. “Look for yourself, the Lord is good.” Other disciples approached and retrieved the fish still squirming in their nets. “And what did you learn?” asked James placing the giggling boy back upon the sand, Peter and the disciples paused to hear the boy’s reply, “I learned that the Holy Spirit is the wind in my sails, and Jesus is the star that guides me home.” Peter beamed proudly while his friends clapped, “we will make you a fisher of men yet, my boy.” called James laughing.

The night was perfect, everyone fellowshipped together, telling stories and singing songs to Jesus, all the while a gentle wind blew, pulling at the sails and stirring up the once still waves, the Holy Spirit was present amidst the laughter and joy, and inside the heart of a boy, who despite having much to learn about sailing and fishing, had learned the greatest lesson that day.

The 4th: 2018

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“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” –George Orwell

What was it like, hearing the scratching of 56 congressmen dipping their quills and signing their names? What were they thinking, what were they dreaming? Would they still stand proudly if they saw America today?

I often think of these questions when I watch the fireworks burst in the sky. I see the children clapping and spinning with their sparklers, watch as parents spread out blankets and food, ready to celebrate the holiday. Our flag colors can be seen everywhere and on everyone, even reflected in the light of firework bursts on their faces. I watch and I wonder if I’m seeing a display of true patriotism or mere celebration of “just another holiday.” If asked, could all these people here today answer correctly as to the reason behind this gathering? Could the children?

It is the children that I fear for the most, will they grow to forget our past, our history, and wish instead to rewrite it, to overlook the ugly and downplay the sacrifices that were made to secure our freedom? Will there come a time when fewer and fewer people celebrate at all? There are many people here today, but maybe, there was just a bit more the year after 9/11. Patriotism always re-awakens when a country is attacked and tried. People, if only for a moment, remember that everything we have can be taken from us, that our freedom must be maintained and protected.

Sadly though, they have forgotten that it is God who has blessed us because we followed after him, as John F. Kennedy once said, “The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.”  He is supreme, and His hand of blessing can be withdrawn at any time.

Will we continue to place our trust in God? Will we teach our children the truth of salvation and freedom? Both won through great sacrifice. As I watch each firework burst and rain down red, white, and blue, I can only hope and pray, that my nation will remain under God’s grace and protection. That we would remain a people who turn their faces to heaven. That we would never become so proud that we would refuse to fall to our knees in worship.

Our country isn’t Democratic vs. Republican, White vs. Black, Straight vs. LGBT,  or Men vs. Women. We are simply Americans, and we should be of one heart and mind on this day and all others. I stand for truth, I stand for our history, I stand for God, and I stand for America. Happy 4th of July to you all and God bless.

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“If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.” 

~ Ronald Reagan