Psalm 85:15--But You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth
They said they would do it, the task well defined
But then they turned left, then right, then behind.
They scorned those in power subverting their will
When sudden calamity finished their thrills.
So don’t hitch your wagon with those who rebel
Unless you would like your pain to excel.
Proverbs 24:21,22—My son, fear the LORD, as well as the king, and don’t associate with rebels, for destruction from them will come suddenly; who knows what distress these two can bring?
Sadao Munemori was born in Los Angeles, California. As a young man he joined the Japanese-American 442ndRegimental Combat Team which included the 100thInfantry Battalion, the most heavily decorated unit in World War II. Sadao, while fighting on a hillside near Seravezza, Italy, was faced with a wounded squad leader and an entire team pinned down by machine gun fire. Private First Class Munemori decided to engage in a one-man frontal attack. Using grenades he wiped out two machine gun nests but in the process became completely exposed to enemy fire.
Jesus in the final hours before getting arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane asked eight of the disciples to sit while he prayed. Then He took Peter, James and John with him further into the garden. Disclosing His anguish to His three closest friends, He asked them to stay awake with Him. Then He went a little further and fell face down on the ground to pray. When He returned to the three he found them sleeping. He confronted Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake one hour?” (vs. 37)
The 3rd United States Infantry Regiment has three active battalions, and is identified by its nickname, “The Old Guard.” The regiment is a major unit of the Military District of Washington (MDW) and is the oldest active duty regiment in the U.S. Army. Originally called the First American Regiment in 1784, its mission is “to conduct memorial affairs to honor fallen comrades and ceremonies and special events to represent the U.S. Army.”
Revelation 3:2—Be alert and strengthen what remains, which is about to die, for I have not found your works complete before My God.
3 John 5-8—Dear friend, you are showing faithfulness by whatever you do for the brothers, especially when they are strangers. They have testified to your love in front of the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God, since they set out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from pagans. Therefore, we ought to support such men so that we can be coworkers with the truth.
Karl and Joe* accompanied me on a missions trip. We had a great time together sharing Jesus with people who had never heard of Him. We laughed at ourselves as we struggled to speak the language of our hosts. We enjoyed the adventure of braving rush hour on motorcycles and eating strange but delicious foods. We bonded as a team as we shared in hardships and victories in the journey of serving God.
Decades later, Karl is still serving the Lord and making a difference in the lives of people. Joe got wrapped around the pursuit of making money and climbing the corporate ladder. His liked to be seen in church on Sunday while the rest of the week he saw to his career and pursuing the good life.
There is an insightful television program called Undercover Boss. Each episode, the owner or CEO of a company is disguised and then works for several days with different employees with differing responsibilities. Often the boss is inept at the tasks the employee is to teach him which puts pressure on him to do better. As he works with each selected person he also finds out what life is like in their shoes. Some are struggling financially or dealing with challenges that make life difficult.
I apologize in advance for this illustration but I am not trying to be crude in making a crucial point. Each night I walk our two dogs, Hero the Labrador retriever and Saber the Sheltie. When the three of us walk, Saber has a habit that is extremely annoying. If he comes across what I suspect is dung from another animal (I’m guessing raccoon), before I can stop him, he literally does an in-the-air rollover dive into the mess and slides his chest and back all over it! Now I’m mad because I have to clean him (a difficult task with his thick and long hair) and he stinks. Furthermore, can you imagine what people would think of me as an owner if they came upon Saber in such a disgusting condition?
The nation of Israel pretty much did everything possible to anger and alienate God. They exceeded the sins of the evil nations He commanded them to destroy. Repeatedly they quit following Him. They broke His heart and deserved annihilation which really makes His statement below more than amazing.
Luke 16:10-12—Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much. So if you have not been faithful with the unrighteous money, who will trust you with what is genuine? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to someone else, who will give you what is your own?
Kathy’s birthday was last Sunday. I’m sure she resigned herself to a lonely day, after all, her husband was in Minnesota and none of her children live close. Cissy, Charlie, Brian, Chad, Roger, Sharil and Paula bought a cake, wrote her a poem, gave her a plaque and took time to come to her apartment and spring a wonderful surprise. She cried so hard they cried!
John and Denise had to leave their home and find a place to store their stuff until they could get into another rental. Charlie and Cis, Will, John, Kevin and Kendy sacrificed their time to help make the move happen.
The certainty of knowing is a medicine of incalculable worth. I breathe knowing unseen air is present in this room. I know (brake inspections help), my Subaru will slow down when I push my foot against the pedal. If I miss eating several meals I am aware that I will easily get cold outside. After 23 years of marriage I have a good sense of what my wife will or will not do. What I know shapes my behavior, reflects my beliefs and gives me a confidence that ignorance could not manufacture.
They are mentioned in one paragraph in the Bible and then (with the possible exception of Acts 15:22) never again. They walked near Jesus from the time He was baptized by John to His ascension to heaven but we know next to nothing about them. What kind of personality and gifting did each man have? How frequently did they gain access to the Master?
The angel, Gabriel, clearly told Zechariah that his wife Elizabeth would have a child and they were to call him “John” (Luke 1:13). Nine months later, elderly Elizabeth miraculously conceived this special baby and the neighbors and relatives gathered to celebrate his circumcision and to give him his name. According to well-established custom they assumed he would take the name of his priestly father.
Most American Christians are familiar with the term “rapture.” The belief that Christians will avoid living through the tribulation is largely attributed to 1 Thessalonians 4:17—“Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord.” The fictional series Left Behindglamorizes this view and reinforces the notion that the church will escape the tribulation.