It will go down in history as perhaps mankind’s most bizarre year. Never has the entire globe in unison shut down because of a virus. Restrictions in travel, work, recreation, size of gatherings etc., have ruined businesses, increased the number of suicides and deaths for those with other ailments who cannot be hospitalized, amped fear to unprecedented levels, and created a huge divide in opinion over what should or should not be done. Meanwhile political unrest, rolling waves of violence, storms and disasters add to the cacophony of 2020.
Leviticus 26:13--I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, so that you would no longer be their slaves. I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to live in freedom.
Psalm 108:3-5—I will praise You, LORD, among the people; I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your faithful love is higher than the heavens, and Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. God, be exalted above the heavens, and let Your glory be over the whole earth.
There is a Kenyan proverb that states “A satisfied man does not know another one is hungry.” Imagine spending seventy years of life under the oppressive hand of communism. The shackles of tyranny were so severe that today in the nation of Georgia the majority of those who hold leadership positions are under the age of forty. Those who are over forty were so impacted by Soviet rule that the ability to think freely or take decisive actions is just too difficult.
A recent study “A Tale of Two Fathers,” found that “married fathers are far more involved today in rearing children compared to their counterparts 40 years ago. However, the percentage of fathers living apart from the kids has more than doubled in the last half-century.” Recent statistics show almost 50% of men less than 45 years old admit to having children out of wedlock. President Barack Obama stated, “Father’s Day reminds us parents that we have no more solemn obligation than to care for our children. But far too many young people in America grow up without their dads, and our families and communities are challenged as a result.”
Like most Christians, we went to church this Easter Sunday. The pastor gave a message from John 20. His sermon was thoughtful and true to the Word but I left feeling something profound was missing.
I Timothy 4:4-6—For everything created by God is good, and nothing should be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, since it is sanctified by the word of God and by prayer. If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished by the words of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.
Isaiah 42:13—The LORD advances like a warrior; He stirs up His zeal like a soldier. He shouts, He roars aloud, He prevails over His enemies.
For those who believe the military is an evil profession or who decry the wearing of a uniform and the responsibility that comes with it, please consider these thoughts.
National holidays can provide a natural period for introspection. As we approach yet another celebration of our nation's independence, I think this year of the word insecurity. In the 1770’s when our forefathers fought for the freedom we celebrate today, they lived in a time of great tumult. Consider this: they faced an opponent far superior in wealth and military might; they knew starvation, harsh weather and disease; they lacked basic supplies in armament, clothing and supplies; and they did not always know who was truly for or against them. But in the midst of uncertainty, doubt and despair the trumpet call for liberty persisted. Men and women strove mightily to worship, speak, live and work upon the foundation of freedom. For that self-determination, insecure lives bled nobly; though pained, pilgrims refused to give up; trepidation clung to truth and the right to dispel tyranny.
Anticipation runs high. New Year's Eve at the symbolic center of New York City has become more than just a celebration - it's a global tradition. The world holds its breath...and cheers as the clocks strike twelve. As the famous New Year's Eve Ball descends from the flagpole atop One Times Square, 750,000 people in Times Square, millions nationwide and over a billion watching throughout the world are united in bidding a collective farewell to the departing year, and expressing our joy and hope for the year ahead.
The Thanksgiving holiday is supposed to be about remembering how blessed we are by our Almighty Father in heaven. If gratitude is the point, food is the reminder. In truth, a hearty feast is a wonderful custom for celebrating our blessings. Not a Thanksgiving goes by for me that I don’t think back to traveling to Newburgh, NY with my roommate and best friend, Dave Mead. We would totally stuff ourselves at his grandmother’s house—eating was a competitive sport for two young cadets.
Veteran’s Day is an American holiday that commemorates those brave men and women who have served and defended their nation in the Armed Forces. Currently there are 25 million vets in the United States. According to the most recent census taken in 2000, the United States’ population was 281,421,906. This means that only about 8.8% of our population experienced the patriotic dictums of duty, honor and country through the sacrificial and often thankless task of defending liberty.
Labor Day is a holiday celebrated in America the first Monday in September. It is unclear who first conceived of this day but for over 100 years it has served as a tribute and dedication to the social and economic achievements of American workers. Regardless of what country we live in, work is an important facet of our everyday lives.
December 25 began as a time of pagan celebration. The pagans knew that at this point in their calendar the shortest day and longest night had passed, that little by little the sun would rise higher and remain longer in the sky, bringing with it the promise of spring. The Emperor Aurelian (A.D. 270-275) capitalized upon the heathen worship of the sun and, in the year A.D. 274, officially declared December 25 as the birthday of the Unconquered Sun (dies natalis solis invicti).
Perhaps it's an age thing. Perhaps I'm in what seems like a mellow moment in life. Whatever, I feel a need to go deeper in analyzing what it really means to be thankful. One thought continues to cascade through my mind and pour over my heart. Thankfulness is not based on what I have but on who I am.
I only saw him cry once and that was by accident. I came into the room to say “goodnight” and there beside the bed he and mom were shedding tears knowing his trip to Japan might cause him to miss the birth of my younger brother. Like many of his generation he is not comfortable sharing emotion yet his volume knob for caring still turns. He has always been my hero—imperfect yet dynamic. His love for God flows unabated. He stands faithful and noble today like the snow-covered Mt. Hood.
Psalm 33:12,22--Happy is the nation whose God is Yahweh—the people He has chosen to be His own possession! . . . May Your faithful love rest on us, Yahweh, for we put our hope in You.
Proverbs 14:34--Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.