Sgt. Jacob Daniel DeShazer was a crew member in the legendary Doolittle Raiders, a team of 80 brave military servicemen who volunteered to bomb Tokyo in retaliation for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. DeShazer was among those captured by the Japanese Army after bailing out of his plane over Japanese-occupied China. He spent 40 months in captivity, 34 months of it in solitary confinement, and was the victim of cruel torture and starvation. In his own words, DeShazer said, “My hatred for the enemy nearly drove me crazy. . .
Have you ever wondered. . . . Where in the world did we get the idea that sin has no consequences?
Perhaps it’s difficult to get in the “mood” for Christmas this year. Perhaps deployment has distracted you from the “feeling” that usually comes with preparing for Christmas. That’s understandable. And perhaps we can help. Because there’s nothing better to help you focus on the real meaning of Christmas than worshipful singing and solid biblical preaching.
It seems to be some sort of personality test—people ask “are you the sort of person who sees a glass as half empty or half full?” That apparently is the gauge of whether you are pessimistic and cynical, or optimistic and hopeful. But this Thanksgiving gives us a chance (once again) to check and see what the Bible has to say about our attitude. We never find the words “half empty” or “half full”—but to be “overflowing.”
Our family has a tradition of gathering around the Thanksgiving table and beginning our time together by sharing one thing that we’re grateful for that year. And so it goes— around the table with everyone adding their deep thoughts or silly remembrances from the past 12 months. Through the years I remember such blessings being voiced as new babies, surviving moves, finding new jobs, getting over illnesses, new marriages, interesting vacations, finishing up educational goals, new cars, new pets, etc. Recently we were with a large group of military couples—all ranks and branches— where every couple in the room offered one thing for which they were grateful . . .
Each year we celebrate Thanksgiving in the tradition of the Plymouth colony’s harvest at the end of their first year in the New World, 1621. Did these early settlers have cause to thank an Almighty God for their condition? Consider the following facts: The Pilgrims did not come to America to seek religious freedom.
The speech known as “The Gettysburg Address” was the dedication ceremony message for the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, given by President Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863—154 years ago today . . . But have you ever wondered how this particular visit to the battlefield affected President Lincoln? Coming just 4 ½ months after the Union army’s decisive defeat of the Confederate forces at the Battle of Gettysburg, Lincoln was so moved by the view of acres of soldiers’ graves that he gave his heart and life to Jesus Christ right there.
“From Carleene—‘Another Saturday night alone at Fort Bragg, NC, exhausted from another day alone with toddlers, alone without a husband to talk to, the kids without their daddy . . .I had been ruminating for months about giving up. I could not stand the stony silences on the one hand, and the sharp retorts, the anger, the constant fighting when he was home. Is this what marriage was supposed to be?’
Last week I received prayers by email from two friends whose sons are in the desert—one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. Knowing that “Excellent or Praiseworthy” seeks to share spiritual encouragement during the war on terror, these special moms wanted to contribute what they are praying for their sons and their comrades-in-arms. The first email I received said this: “As the mom of a deployed soldier, I’m always looking for ways to pray for my son, something in addition to--‘Lord, keep him safe.’
We gather with military couples every Saturday night for dinner and Bible study. And at the end of our meeting time we take prayer requests—and then pray. But on this particular Saturday night, a certain prayer request brought some deep discussion. One of our young military men voiced discouragement over the atmosphere in his workplace on board ship. There was crudeness—to put it mildly. His desire was to be “light in a dark place”. But, in this current culture, what does that really mean for a Christian serving in today’s military?