Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pledge of Allegiance

'The Pledge of Allegiance' - by Senator John McCain

As you may know, I spent five and one half years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. In the early years of our imprisonment, the NVA kept us in solitary confinement or two or three to a cell. In 1971 the NVA moved us from these conditions of isolation into large rooms with as many as 30 to 40 men to a room.

This was, as you can imagine, a wonderful change and was a direct result of the efforts of millions of Americans on behalf of a few hundred POWs 10,000 miles from home. One of the men who moved into my room was a young man named Mike Christian.

Mike came from a small town near Selma, Alabama.
He didn't wear a pair of shoes until he was 13 years old. At 17, he enlisted in the US Navy. He later earned a commission by going to Officer Training School, then he became a Naval Flight Officer and was shot down and captured in 1967. Mike had a keen and deep appreciation of the opportunities this country and our military provide for people who want to work and want to succeed.
As part of the change in treatment, the Vietnamese allowed some prisoners to receive packages from home. In some of these packages were handkerchiefs, scarves and other items of clothing.

Mike got himself a bamboo needle. Over a period of a couple of months, he created an American flag and sewed on the inside of his shirt

Every afternoon, before we had a bowl of soup, we would hang Mike's shirt on the wall of the cell and say the Pledge of Allegiance.

I know the Pledge of Allegiance may not seem the most important part of our day now, but I can assure you that in that stark cell it was indeed the most important and meaningful event.

One day the Vietnamese searched our cell, as they did periodically, and discovered Mike's shirt with the flag sewn inside, and removed it.

That evening they returned, opened the door of the cell, and for the benefit of all of us, beat Mike Christian severely for the next couple of hours. Then, they opened the door of the cell and threw him in. We cleaned him up as well as we could.

The cell in which we lived had a concrete slab in the middle on which we slept. A naked light bulb hung in each corner of the room.

As I said, we tried to clean up Mike as well as we could. After the excitement died down, I looked in the corner of the room, and sitting there beneath that dim light bulb with a piece of red cloth, another shirt and his bamboo needle, was my friend, Mike Christian.

He was sitting there with his eyes almost shut from the beating he had received, making another American flag. He was not making the flag because it made Mike Christian feel better. He was making that flag because he knew how important it was to us to be able to Pledge our allegiance to our flag and country.

So the next time you say the Pledge of Allegiance, you must never forget the sacrifice and courage that thousands of Americans have made to build our nation and promote freedom around the world.

You must remember our duty, our honor, and our country

'I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.'

Which Presidental nominee are you voting for?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Life and Death

John 11:24-26

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

Martha has just lost her brother to the grave. He has been dead for four days. His body is decaying. If you have ever scene the TV series Bones you know what lies in the tomb is not a pretty site for anyone to behold. Jesus says to roll away the stone and, out walks Lazarus, skin intact, rotting flesh smell and maggots washed away alive as can be. Miraculous! Wow! There is nothing GOD can not do!

But lets back up just a smidgen. Before the first (non zombie/mummy) rising of the really really dead there was a question asked and answered.

The hour has come for the miracle to occur. You have prayed...waited...prayed and waited some more. You're are crying out both in desperation, fear, yet holding on to that strand of hope that there is still time. Nothing is impossible for God! Then the sun goes out and pitch black consumes our sight. The hoped for, the prayed for, denied. Then God shows up and what do you say to him? Do you run to him lecturing him as Martha did.

John 11:21 "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died"

( I just have to state God's love for us is so big and so wide and so deep. He can handle our frustration outcries!)

Is your next statement another complaint or do you step back and realize he still came, gave his life to be at your side.

Martha's hope returns: John 11:22 "But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."

History's story continued : John 11:23-27

Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."

Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."

(Can you see her looking down as she says this. Her hope again spilling out falling to the ground from the creases in her eyes.)

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."

Do you believe this? Do you believe God loves you even when your prayers are not answered as you intended? Do you believe he is GOD!?! Do you believe as Martha even now God can do the impossible? Have you said "YES!?!, YES God I Believe!?!"

There is Life found in death.

My dad survived his second open heart surgery yesterday! Our hope was in the balance we sat for hours and hours; two hours of prep before the surgery and then 7 hours of actual on the table everyone holding their breath time. After receiving the good news from the surgeon when it was over I bawled and bawled. My brother laughed and held me saying " thank God it wasn't bad news if this is how you take the good news."

When all there is left in life is either to live or die people seek God and find him. My dad had joy this morning after waking up at 12am for the first time after surgery. My mom said he was laughing trying to buy ice from the nurses. He has been thanking God, non stop praising him and saying "I love you" to us kids too many times to count. We could all learn a thing or two from him if we opened our hearts and saw with our spiritual eyes. Look and see all that God has done, is doing and see his face as it is always right beside us. We have only to stop looking in the mirror at ourselves and look to the side of us and see him reaching down to grab our hand and lead the way.

Our life begins when we say "YES I believe" and start to really believe in our answer!

Lazarus was raised from the dead! My dad is alive and kissing us on the cheek. He is close to his God whom loves him finding Joy in the knowledge of God's many blessings in his life. How much more alive can one be?

God is at constant work resurrecting us. He is ever on patrol slashing the fear monsters that darken our world and consume us, washing the sin away that decays our souls and keeping the fire of love in our heart from being snuffed out!

Paul's statement has brought new meaning to my life:

Philippians 3:10-11

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

I not only want to know this power, but like Paul, I want to share it!

May the Lord stir in your heart conversations with him. May you choose to answer his question of "DO you Believe?" And may you not have to face death in the face in order to find the joy, the peace that he truly has to give.

Praise be to HIM!

Jesus be known!


Embracing HIM,

Tabbitha Ruth

Monday, September 1, 2008

Cast all your anxiety on Him for He cares for You!

To be inflicted with a pain unceasing is not anything anyone enjoys nor would ask for.
This is excerpts from a night not so many nights ago. I share not for pity or even attention. I share to encourage and to give praise to my Big Daddy J.C.

Nameless pain strikes me down. In bed I laid most of yesterday. "Today will be better" I claimed. And the day was better. It was even fun. But as I tired what oomf I had dissipated as I fell into bed at 7:30pm to stay. I read my Max Lucado Every day deserves a chance book. What I read struck home like lightning striking the onliest tree in a dessert. I read the story of the man named Jairus who fervently sought out Jesus as his last hope to cure his daughter of her illness. It spoke about how he must have been thinking " Will he care?, Will he be able? , Will he come? He finds Jesus amongst the crowds and Jesus starts to follow him to his home. The man must have been filled with hope. The feeling that everything will be alright must have been present. Then Jesus stops. Jairus keeps walking. But then he notices Jesus is back a ways away from him stopped fear grips his heart once more. Jesus, of course, we all know, is busy having just cured a lady whom touched him and her bleeding ceased after having been flowing from her for 14 years. Just at that moment fear of being too late, watching the commotion and Jesus's non motion toward his home, his worst nightmare comes alive. His servant finds him and says his daughter has passed on. She is no longer. His beloved is dead! But listen to this even though Jesus was not at his side to hear the servant words he knew them. At that moment Jesus looks into Jairus's eyes and says (mark 5:36) Don't be afraid; just believe." Jesus could have just said go home your daughter is alive and well. Jesus could have healed her with a thought. But Jesus at this moment had to show us that yes he cares, Yes he is able and yes he will come! He is after all always with us. He proves that time and time again. Jesus shows up now in control of the situation; doing the leading not the following. He walks in and sends the mourners out on their behinds. He shows up and touches a little girls hand and tells her to arise. A dead little girl lives again and a dad and mom are overwhelmed with joy.

Tears came silently as I spoke to God after reading this message. "I know Lord you are with me, Help me to know!"
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently on him,.....
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight proverb 3:5-7.
Matthew11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

"Lord I hear you but I still feel heavy, I feel so weak, so .....God where are you?"

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified; Do not be discouraged. The Lord your God will be with you where ever you go. Joshua 1:9

"Lord are you there? Lord do you care? Lord are you Coming?"
Merciless pain streaked through my every joint and I did not know what to do but let the silent tears fall and my silent pleas take up all the space left in my lungs. My husband came and held me and I finally found myself falling esleep.

Clench your fist as tight as you can. Then release it. Joy comes in the morning! One O'clock am I felt my body give way like all my muscles were drawn up tight and then relaxed all at once. The pain was Gone. My God had done it once again. He does care, He is able (duh) He is with me, He came! Today this day Was a great day! Today I give thanks to a God who loves me personally ( all of us in fact) I give thanks to Him who is able, willing, and present! I hope when you are desperate and then you have that glimmer of hope only to have it stripped away, that you are stead fast. Don't be afraid, just Believe! Because God is coming to save your day. He is with you right now in fact. So hold on tight and be ready for the Joy in your morning!

God bless You and have a marvelous Jesus packed day!

Psalm 90:14

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.