A Veterans Day Prayer

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Our Great God, it is appropriate that we should pause at the beginning of this Veterans Day service to invite Your presence among us. We ask your blessings on all who gather here today and we are thankful for all who are participating in this service of honor and remembrance.  We are also thankful for the American Legion and other Veteran Organizations in our country that are comprised of men and women who served and now continue to serve by serving others who have served.

Today God we give You thanks for our nation’s veterans. We honor them for their faithful service in defending and preserving our freedom. We are grateful to those who served during times of peace, standing ready, bravely awaiting their call to duty.  We are grateful to those who served during times of unrest, enduring conflict and bearing the physical and spiritual wounds of war.  We ask that you bless them, heal their wounds and give them peace.  We thank you God for all our veterans, those of generations past and present.  May we never forget what our country has asked of them and what they have given in return.

We pray also for the leaders of our nation. May they seek to find solutions to the difficult task of creating a peaceful world, while inviting young men and women to serve their countries in a safe and a politically supportive arena.

Instill in the hearts and minds of our young people the knowledge that love of country is more than a catch-phrase of our culture. May they be given the wisdom to value the sacrifices made by their forefathers and the strength to emulate their mission of universal peace.

On all of us gathered here, we ask your favor, Lord. May we enjoy the peace that passes all understanding and is only found in You. Through your Son Jesus we pray – Amen

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Six of My Favorite Prayers from the Bible

“Prayer is not a privilege for the pious, not the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child.”  ~ Max Lucado

Almost every book in the Bible has some type of prayer, plea or request, and page after page shows us why we are in need of our Savior.  There are times that we may feel a loss of what to pray and the good news is that there are times when we don’t need to know what to say because for the believer, God promises that His Holy Spirit will intercede for us during those times (see Romans 8:26).  However, it can be a good practice to see what men and women of God prayed for in the pages of Scripture.

Although there are over 600 prayers recorded in the Bible, here are just six of my favorite to show you how filled to the brim the Bible is with ways to call upon our Great God.

Jonah’s Prayer for Salvation – Jonah 2:2-9

He said: “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight;
yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit.“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good.  I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”

The Prayer of Jabez 1 Chronicles 4:10

10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

David’s Prayer for Deliverance – Psalm 3

A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom.

Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.”But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.

 Hannah’s Prayer of Praise – 1 Samuel 2:1-10

Then Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.“There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. “Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the Lord is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed.“The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength.Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry are hungry no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away.“The Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up.The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. “For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s; on them he has set the world.He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness. “It is not by strength that one prevails; 10 those who oppose the Lord will be broken. The Most High will thunder from heaven; the Lord will judge the ends of the earth. “He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

The Believers Prayer During Times of Persecution – Acts 4:24-31

24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: “‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed one. 27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

The Lord’s Prayer – Matthew 6:9-13

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

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Committed To Tell

There are several accounts of Jesus healing someone who was paralyzed.  The most well-known is the time when Jesus was in a house and it was so crowded that the friends of a paralyzed man could not get their friend in to see Jesus – so, they make a hole in the roof and lower their paralyzed friend down to Jesus (read about it in Mark 2 and Luke 5).  In Matthew 9, Jesus had just got out of a boat when some men meet him on the shore carrying their paralyzed friend on a mat and Jesus says to him, “Get up, take you mat and go home” (Matthew 9:6b) and the man did just that.

The point that is often over looked in these stories of healing is that it was not necessarily the faith of the paralyzed men that led to their healing; it was the faith of the friends who brought their friend to Jesus for healing.   The Bible says it was when Jesus saw their faith that he healed not only their physical issues but also offered them forgiveness of their sins, meeting their spiritual needs as well (Matthew 9:2).

If you consider yourself a Christ-follower, a disciple of Jesus, a baptized believer, who has been saved and redeemed by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ; then you are called to be committed to sharing this wonderful gospel news with others.  It is sinful for us to remain stagnant in our evangelism, enjoying our salvation in Christ and the fellowship of His Church, but neglecting the call to share it with others.  We are called to be committed to tell.

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Stay Spicy

SpicyI love good spices.  Spices bring out flavor in food and the spicier, the better to me.  I love things that are full of flavor and I really love hot spices.  The hottest spice in the world believed to be the Red Savina Habanero Pepper developed by GNS Spices out of Walnut, California.  A single grain will produce detectable heat in 1,272 pounds of bland sauce.

Is your good influence detectable in our world?  In the Bible, Jesus spoke of influence in the Sermon on the Mount: “You are the salt of the earth…” (Matthew 5:13).  The Bible says that we are to be God’s “spice” to influence our world for good.  The main way we influence others is by our words and by our actions.  People are affected by what they hear you say and they are even more affected by what they see you do.  I want to be a good spice and do what God requires of me.  Here is what the Scriptures says, “…the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

Stay spicy.

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Memorial Day Speech 29MAY2017

(Acknowledgement of introduction, distinguished guests, officers, Legion Members and Auxiliary, and others who are present)

 

Good morning and welcome.  I am grateful when I consider all the places you could be right now, with all that you have planned to do, and the fact that you could still be sleeping this morning, that you have chosen to be here at this place on this last Monday of May.

 

Today is Memorial Day, and I am deeply honored and feel greatly privileged to be here with you commemorating the sacrifices of those military men and women who have laid down their lives in service to this great nation.  Someone once said, “It is the duty of we who remain to make sure those who have fallen are remembered.”

 

They were devoted to this country, to secure our freedom.  They went off to war leaving home and loved ones behind.  They knew they might fall but they fought with strength and courage.  They served with honor and integrity.  Brave men and women gave their lives for the good of others.  They knew freedom is not free.  They died for you and they died for me.  Today we honor their sacrifice.

 

We live in a time when people are more focused on selfies than on sacrifice, but today you and I stand here in a place where the dead are laid to rest, to remember and to honor the ultimate sacrifice that was paid over there so we can live in freedom here.

 

General George S. Patton said, “It is wrong to only mourn the death of men like these.  Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”  Today, I thank God that such men and women did live and that there are still such men and women living, who even at this hour volunteer to confront our adversaries abroad so we do not have to face them here at home.

 

I would like to take a moment and acknowledge any of you among us who have lost loved ones in the line of duty to this country.  It doesn’t matter how much time has passed – no words of condolence can even begin to adequately console a survivor’s grief.  Those of you who have loved ones serving in any of our Armed Services today, I want you to know that our nation is grateful for their willingness to serve and I pray God would keep them safe and when their time in uniform is over, He would see them safely back home.

 

God safely brought me back home.  During my nearly 10 years of service in the Army, I spent 3 of those years forward deployed overseas.  I have never considered myself a hero, but I have been blessed to know and stand alongside some heroes.  On days like today, I find myself reflecting on those individuals who so bravely and instinctually risked life and limb in the face of grave danger.  And who did not come back home as I did.

 

The highest and most prestigious personal military decoration is the Medal of Honor.  It is only awarded to those military men and women who have distinguished themselves in extreme acts of bravery and valor in the combat theater.  From our own Civil War and to today’s Global War on Terrorism, there have been 3,515 Medals of Honor given to our Nation’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guardsmen.

 

More than 600 have been given posthumously.  They were given to loved ones in memory of and in recognition of their selfless sacrifice of their own life to save the lives of their comrades-in-arms.

 

I think it is fitting today, that we would recall and remember a few of them:

 

Individuals like Marine Corps Captain James Graham. Graham led a fierce assault on an enemy position in Vietnam in June of 1967 saving his platoon from annihilation, and though wounded himself, chose to stay beside a mortally wounded man while fellow Marines pulled back behind friendly lines. In his last radio transmission, Captain Graham reported he was under assault by a force of 25 enemy soldiers. He died protecting his fellow Marines.

 

Individuals like Army Sergeant Donn Porter who, facing intense mortar and artillery fire in Korea in September 1952, fixed his bayonet and engaged in close combat after his outpost was attacked by two hostile platoons. Though Sergeant Porter was killed by an artillery burst, his actions thwarted a surprise attack on the main line of resistance and forced the enemy to break engagement.

 

And individuals like Coast Guard signalman first class Douglas Munro who, during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942, volunteered to evacuate a detachment of Marines facing annihilation by enemy forces. Munro maneuvered himself to shield the Marines as they loaded onto boats, exposing himself to enemy fire and sustaining fatal wounds. Munro is the only member of the Coast Guard to have received the Medal of Honor.

 

These individuals and so many like them live on as some of the most courageous heroes in our history.  It is our responsibility to be sure they are never forgotten, and that their actions stay alive in our memories.

 

However, for most of us who served, we remember those, who even though they may not have received the nation’s highest honor, they nonetheless gave their lives while in uniform and many more were taken from us after as a result of injuries or illness contracted in service.

 

People like, Army Specialist Katrina Bell-Johnson, a mother of three, who was killed in February 2005 in a vehicle accident in Iraq.

 

The first American service member killed in combat this year was Army Staff  Sgt. Mark R De Alencar, a 37-year-old Green Beret from Maryland, who came under fire in Afghanistan on April 8th.

 

Navy veteran Jack Crawford, who was serving aboard the USS Yorktown when it was sunk during the Battle of Midway in 1942, once remarked:

 

There aren’t many things you can take out of this world…but one thing you can take with you wherever you go, is the consciousness of a duty faithfully performed.”

 

Such is the way of all of who have served, where so often that ‘duty’ has required them to put their lives on the line.

 

All the men and women who have given their lives in service to this nation are – undeniably – HEROES.  When their country called, they answered.  Many volunteered and some were volun-told, but no matter how they found their way into the ranks of the military, each took it upon him or herself to serve faithfully and to their fullest.

 

This is especially commendable in a nation where so few among our citizens have donned the uniform and accepted the inherent risks.  And this alone makes them heroes worthy of remembering.

 

This is what this last Monday in May is all about – remembering!

 

As you leave here today, I hope you enjoy this unofficial start to summer, enjoy the cookouts, enjoy time with family and friends, but I would ask that you keep the fallen in your minds and keep their families in your hearts and prayers – for it is their immense collective sacrifices that have helped keep our country safe and free.

 

You see, freedom and safety are like oxygen, when we have it we don’t think about it.  However, when we don’t have it, it’s all we can think of.  The patriots remembered today across this country have provided that freedom and safety.

 

So, as we submit to the will of Him who made us, we pray together the words of Scripture: Lord, now let thy servants go in peace, Thy Word has been fulfilled.”

 

Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

 

May we who remain, never forget those who have fallen.

 

Thank you, may God bless you and keep you, may God bless American and may God bless our fallen Heroes.

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Mothers Love Mother’s Day

I have never met a mother who did not love Mother’s Day. My mother loved being honored on Mother’s Day. My wife loves to be honored on Mother’s Day and I have loved honoring them both on Mother’s Day. From the jewelry store flyers, to the 1-800-FLOWERS ads, and Shari’s Berries commercials, we are reminded that mothers love being honored on Mother’s Day.

I like the cartoon that shows a mother standing in a family room that’s a total mess. She’s got a crying baby in her arms and another child is scribbling on the wall with a crayon. The dog is chasing the cat and knocking appliances off the counter. The dishes are undone stacked high in the sink.

Her husband, with a briefcase in hand has just walked in the front door and his eyes are bugging out at the chaotic scene. The exasperated mother barks, “You always ask me what I do all day long. Well, today I didn’t do it – and here it is!”

Mothers love Mother’s Day because it provides an opportunity for us as children and as husbands to say “thank you” for the tedious, little-notice tasks she does every day. This morning, we are going to honor our mothers here among our family of God at Ham Lane Church. If you have not already made plans to honor your mother and/or the mother of your children, then you need to get with it quick! Because mothers love to be honored and they deserve it!

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’” (Proverbs 31:28-29 NIV)

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NOW

In my sermon today, I am taking the church through some of the “now” scriptures in the Bible.  The little word “now” is a very interesting word. The word means, “at the present moment of time; or without any further delay.” The Holy Spirit moved the writers and translators of the Bible to use that little word quite often. In fact, the word “now” is used over a thousand times in the Bible. In my lesson, we only cover a few of those Scriptures.  Below are a few for you to consider – these are what we as believers have NOW in Christ according to the Bible:

A Salvation that is nearer (Romans 13:11). Justification (Romans 5:9). Reconciliation (Romans 5:11; Colossians 1:22). No condemnation (Romans 6:22; 8:1). Light (Ephesians 5:8). Life (1 Thessalonians 3:8). The right to be called children of God (1 John 3:1-2). Mercy (1 Peter 2:10).

There are many many more.  Why not take some time NOW and read God’s Word to see what He would have you do NOW.

Do it now

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