Since 1958, the West Point Association of Graduates has presented the SYLVANUS THAYER AWARD to an outstanding citizen of the United States whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify personal devotion to the ideals expressed in the West Point motto, “DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY.”
She was a wealthy woman of the best kind— thoughtful and generous. She noticed a man of God in need and she fed him. As he often frequented her town, she talked her husband into building a home addition so the man would have his own room furnished to meet his needs. Grateful for her kindness, the godly man asked her what he could do for her. She declined his offer. So he asked his helper what could be done for her. He noticed that her husband was old and she had no children. So he called her to his room and as she stood in the doorway told her she would have a son the following spring. She asked him not to lie to her, but sure enough she gave birth to a boy. Years later the woman’s son became ill and died. His mother immediately traveled to Mount Carmel where she found Elisha, fell on the ground and grabbed his feet.
I was privileged recently to attend a gathering in San Antonio, Texas, of World War II veterans from the 104thTimberwolf Division. These venerable survivors gather each year to reminisce of war memories, catch up in recent events and celebrate each other along with any accompanying children affectionately known as “pups.”
Recently I had the opportunity to go back for my 25th college reunion. On a beautiful Friday morning we met in the cadet chapel to honor in a memorial service our classmates who have passed away. Dave Mead, my old roommate, planned within the service the opportunity for people to come up to the microphone and share memories of those who had died. Mike Meese was one of many who walked up and paid tribute to our departed comrades. Mike shared a brief story about John Hennessey, a fellow Company D2 member.
God’s qualities are indescribable, incomprehensible and thereby awe-inspiring. If you are beset with problems stop for a period and begin to reflect on God. We are a curious people so wrapped in ourselves and easily prone to discouragement. What we desperately need is to get our eyes off our humanity and gaze where it is impossible to see—God’s “Godness.” Robert Russell shares in his book Releasing Resentment that Martin Luther once was depressed over a prolonged period. One day his wife came downstairs wearing all black. Martin Luther asked her, “Who died?”
She said, “God has.”
He answered, “God hasn't died.”
She replied, “Well, live like it and act like it.”
I often notice when I meet people for the first time they look at my chest. Now that sounds weird doesn’t it! What I mean is that when I am wearing a uniform I often feel like I am being sized up or evaluated for the cloth patches sewn on my shirt. Whether it is the military, Girl Scouts, AWANA, varsity jackets, etc., patches, medals ribbons and pins tell a story of what kind of training or accomplishments a person achieved.
Honor seems to be a lost concept in these decaying days. As she declines cynicism ascends to ravage our land. People watch their heroes fall to lust, haughtiness and hypocrisy to the point that scandal has become ho-hum. Of course, this makes sense for honor cannot be owned long by anything infected by sin. When people conclude it is hopeless to live a virtuous life they must find some means to justify their tainted tastes. Rather than fight an insatiable flesh some condone it as natural and reinvent virtue in defiled ways. "They devise crimes and say, “We have perfected a secret plan.” The inner man and the heart are mysterious" (Psalm 64:6). Whenever evil is called good understand that honor is despised as intolerant. Thus, the mother who decries the neighborhood pedophile is labeled by sexual deviants as hateful.
I rise up from my bed today with thoughts beyond attire,
To serve with every breath I take to please my Lord and Sire,
I know that obstacles may come, temptations from the liar,
But they cannot put out the Flame, my everlasting fire!
In our culture it is common for people to exchange business cards. Those tree-descended pieces tell others what we do, who we are and how we can be contacted. The information had better be good if we hope to prosper.
The eyes reveal the heart and what passion they contain. Ron sits in the open craft oblivious to all but the task ahead of him. He stares at the opaque surface so intensely one would swear he sees what others cannot. His hands thread the squirming brandling across the warm metallic hook like some splendid surgeon. With the expert toss of a quarterback he casts his line precisely to the spot he hoped and waits . . . and waits. If the worm won’t deliver, he daps or skitters with a fly he has meticulously crafted. He is unfazed by failure. His arsenal of tricks runs deep from years of careful learning. If patience is a virtue, Ron is the waiting virtuoso. Neither mosquitoes, rain, or hunger will keep him from his task. He is a fisherman. If you want to catch fish do as he does.
Young Eric made quite an impression. This child from Tigard Oregon gave a church full of people an earful of wisdom. During a time of thanksgiving, Eric bravely stood up and waited for the microphone. The youngster explained that although he was sad his family would be moving away, they would have a special opportunity to be missionaries to the people in the city where his dad now has a new job. As most of us know, leaving friends and the comfort of home to reside in another place is tough. But Eric had a heavenly perspective that didn’t come from reading comic books.
Hebrews 2:1-4--We must, therefore, pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away. For if the message spoken through angels was legally binding and every transgression and disobedience received a just punishment, how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was first spoken by the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him. At the same time, God also testified by signs and wonders, various miracles, and distributions of gifts from the Holy Spirit according to His will.
Craig is blind. I stare in utter amazement as he works the controls on his soundboard. How does he do it? How can this man be a recording engineer without the ability to read dials? Soon he ushers me into a recording chamber but trips momentarily on my guitar case placed inconveniently in his pathway. Sheepishly I realize that the biggest hazard to Craig is me!