In the early 1990's while pastoring First Baptist Church of Quanah, Texas,
I wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper, entitled "To Whom It May Concern".
This is one of the articles that I wrote:
I was too young for WWII, but I remember anxiously watching for the mailman,
hoping for letters from my older brother Bryce who was with Patton's 3rd Army
in Europe and the Battle of the Bulge.
I remember when our school received news of the death of our first casualty in the Philippines. I played ball with Lester West, so his death really hit me hard...
(and brought the war closer to home!)
Sometime later, our neighbor Donald Reid was killed in Europe..
and it began to look like the war would never end.
President Franklin Roosevelt's wife, Eleanor, carried a prayer in her purse during WWII and it is appropriate for today.
"Dear Lord, lest I continue my complacent way...
help me to remember that somewhere out there, a man (or woman) died for me today."
One of my Seminary Professors, Dr. T.B. Maston, said during the Viet Nam War:
"The biggest price the world pays for war is what it does to moral and spiritual values. Love, truth, beauty are the creative elements in life and war destroys them all."
A preacher in England during WWII, Leslie Weatherhead, sums up the matter as follows:
"Apart from the waste involved, war rouses all the worst passions contained in human personality. Modern wars seem to settle so little. The victors are also the victims!
No nation really wins!"
The historian Arnold Toynbee said:
"There is a chronic tendency of war...to begat more war."
It seems to me that the only possible good that war seemingly can accomplish
(at least in this contemporary period) is to save a nation from enslavement
by some foreign and aggressive power.
Our nation and our President have chosen to help the middle East defend against the naked aggression of Iraq.
It seems that our involvement in this present war is the lesser of two evils.
Sadam Hussain (like Hitler) has (had) to be stopped somewhere..
and WWII taught us that 'the sooner, the better'.
But please keep your eyes on God's Ideal: "Peace on earth, good will to all".
Not everyone in America (and elsewhere) will agree with the U.S. stand.
The Will of God MUST be the Source of Supreme Authority for every Christian....
and needs to be for every person.
Acts 5:29: "We must obey God rather than men".
The right of individual conscience should be defended.
While the right of the majority to rule (or make policy decisions) is basic in the Democratic way of life, yet the right of the Minority (or the individual who disagrees)
is just as fundamental.
But those who disagree with war must be willing to face the judgment of the law.
Therefore, we should respect those with differing opinions.
We must all HATE war....and love PEACE.
We must remember that God wants to make PEACE through Christ...
and has chosen us to take the Gospel of Christ to all the world.
So I ask again, "Are we worth dying for?"
"Yes, if we love freedom and make 'the Way, the Truth and the Life' known to others...
and help all to see 'You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free."
In wanting Peace, do you know the Prince of Peace?
In desiring Freedom for all people, are you free indeed? (John 8:36)
Freedom is not 'free' - it has cost millions of lives!
Please don't make it 'cheap' by shirking your responsibilities as a good citizen.
I saw a bumper sticker "If you love your freedom, thank a Vet".
Also, thank God and live (or die) for Him.
As President Bush said in the State of the Union address:
"Freedom has its' blessings, but also its' burdens."
***************This ends that newspaper article*********
My country, ítis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrimsí pride,
From every mountainside,
Let freedom ring!
My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.
Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees,
Sweet freedomís song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.
Our fathersí God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedomís holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King.
Having pastored over 53 years in several different churches, we are in touch with the families of several young people who are serving our country right now.
Our hearts and our prayers go out daily for these precious families!
One friend, Chaplain Scott Riedel is now serving in Iraq.
We thought that we would include his family's website where you can not only see pictures of their precious family, but also read of Scott's need of books to give to his troops.
In case you might not be able to view their website, we would like to include this plea from Scott's wife, Susan, who is in Olympia, Washington with their their 2 young sons.
Just in case you were not able to check out our blog recently, Scott got his office this week! He is very excited about it, and is busy setting things up and getting connected.
He has already been using it for a lot of counseling sessions.
He has expressed a pressing need for any books on Marriage, communication, trust, relationships, the 5 Love Languages and things along that line.
I have raided our bookshelves, but I do not have enough to fill his need of books.
The good news is that soldiers have a lot of time to read and are doing a lot of seeking.
If you are like me, your bookshelves have some great books that are not being read and gathering dust.
If you are willing to part with them, Scott could sure use them.
If you use a flat rate box provided by the post office, you can make it as heavy as you would like, and it costs under 9 dollars to send to him.
Please don't send the ancient books, but relevant ones that you think will be read...
and minister to the troops.
If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you and God bless!
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Thank you for another great article Travis. No freedom is NOT cheap, it has cost alot of our sons precious lives. But the word says blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God. (Matt.5:9) It also says greater love has NO ONE than this than to lay down one's life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. (John 15:13:-14)America has been a peacemaker and has laid down alot of her sons lives so others could know freedom as we have known it. We are truly blessed. In His love your friend, Sharon