Pastor, friend, Superintendent for Indiana Assembly of God, Rev Don Gifford, has been my pastor since 1992. We worked together for five years before I left to pastor in Lebanon and eventually CEO of Indiana Teen Challenge. We have stayed in touch since then. Pastor Don and his wife Dianne and I traveled to the Brownsville Revival that made a lasting effect in my spirit.
During these stressful days of Covid-19, I received a letter of encouragement from Pastor Don to the Indiana District Ministry family. Pastor Don permitted me to share with you.
“In my devotions this morning from Isaiah chapters 40-43 I noticed these promises:
“The grass withers, the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them…and the Word of our God stands forever.”
“He tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them to His heart.”
“He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.”
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
“Even youths grow tired and weary, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
“I said, You are my servant. I have chosen you and not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Sing unto the Lord a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them.”
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze, for I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
“Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you…do not be afraid, for I am with you.”
“I share these Scripture so we will continue to have hope.” Rev. Don Gifford
Allow these words from God set ablaze your lightnside for comfort and a light to the hurting world around you. Blessings
Philippians 1:9-109 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding (Discernment, insight). 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. NLT
Why the need for discernment, understanding, or insight? DECEPTION
Our world is full of lies, false truth, twisted truth. Where do we find truth anymore? Most TV reporting, social media, newspapers, and radio promote an agenda. We must be able to gain insight into truth from biblical understanding and Holy Spirit insight. This takes time in the word and in prayer. Deception will increase toward the last days. We must strengthen our understanding and Godly insight. In the last days, the antichrist will be a master deceiver. He will deceive the world and lead them away from Christ. He will deceive and cause most to receive a mark on their forehead or hand and doom them to hell.
Why are we so easily deceived?
Satan used to be the highest angel in heaven. Envy and self-seeking were found in him as he said Isaiah 14:14 “I will ascend above the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High” When Adam and Eve sinned, this same darkness filled all mankind. We are born with envy and self-seeking. You never have to train a baby to say “no”, or “I want”. We are by fallen nature self seeking and envious.
To grow in discernment, and live a pure and blameless life, you must be aware of the fallen nature we all fight in our own lives. These fallen natures are easy targets of deceptions. The more we become aware of our inner struggles, the greater we can discern how to live holy in a troubled world.
Our inner weaknesses.
James 3:13-15 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. NLV
Earthly – follow the trends of the world. A follower of crowds, “I’m with them”. A desire to be accepted by all. There is great pressure to follow the status quo. The attraction of being part of the current excitement.
Sensual (unspiritual)(by natural appetite) emotional, animalistic, instinct – live by feelings, allowing emotions to guide your path. “This is how I feel”, “I feel it’s right”- making decisions only by your emotion or feelings.
Demonic – witchcraft is on the rise. Be careful what you read and watch. Be careful of religions outside of God, Christ & the Holy Spirit. Songs, books, movies, social media are attracting many to seek demonic forces for guidance.
Four steps to increase discernment
Grow in the knowledge of God. Read the Bible every day. Read good books about the Bible. Take notes of sermons.
Repent of sins and attitudes, Psalms 51:10-11 “Create in me a new heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, take not Your Holy Spirit away from me.”
Patience in God’s Presence. Rest in His presence. Many things about God are taught, but some of the deepest understandings are “CAUGHT” in your spirit while in God’s presence.
Don’t let a battle discourage you. The strongest truths and revelations come from the wilderness.
Why do we need Godly knowledge and insight (discernment, understanding)? So we can recognize the fallen nature of our own life and the world around us. So we can live a holy life until the day we stand before Christ. Grow in discernment to brighten your lightnside.
Psalm 9:10 NIV Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Unspeakable name of God
The first was spelled without any vowels. The followers of GOD so honored GOD they gave him an unpronounceable name as YHWH. It is written Jehovah or Yahweh but in the early days, the name of GOD without vowels sounded like a sigh, a breath.
Special names of God describing His interaction with man.
Meditate on these names and allow the many names of God expand who He is in your life. These are just a few of the many:
Yahweh Nissi:“The Lord is my Banner.” Stresses that God is our rallying point and our means of victory; the one who fights for His people (Ex. 17:15).
Yahweh Shalom:“The Lord is Peace.” Points to the Lord as the means of our peace and rest (Judges 6:24).
Yahweh Sabbath:“The Lord of Hosts.” A military figure portraying the Lord as the commander of the armies of heaven (1 Samuel 17:45).
Yahweh Maccaddeshcem: “The Lord your Sanctifier.” Portrays the Lord as our means of sanctification or as the one who sets believers apart for His purposes (Exodus 31:13).
Yahweh Ro’i: “The Lord my Shepherd.” Portrays the Lord as the Shepherd who cares for His people as a shepherd cares for the sheep of his pasture (Psalms 23:1).
Yahweh Tsidkenu: “The Lord our Righteousness.” Portrays the Lord as the means of our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6).
Yahweh Shammah: “The Lord is there.” Portrays the Lord’s personal presence in the millennial kingdom (Ezekiel 48:35).
Yahweh Elohim Israel: “The Lord, the God of Israel.” Identifies Yahweh as the God of Israel in contrast to the false gods of the nations (Isaiah 17:6).
(3) Adonai: Like Elohim, this too is a plural of majesty. The singular form means “master, owner.” Stresses man’s relationship to God as his master, authority, and provider (Joshua. 5:14).
The names of the Lord will expand your knowledge of and confidence toward Him and place lightnside your heart.
What verse or word from God helped you during the pandemic?
Hello to all. Besides being the CEO of Indiana Adult & Teen Challenge, I am also a regional representative Teen Challenge corporations of six states. I report twice each year the status of our Teen Challenge centers to our national board. The Covid-19 Pandemic hit our centers hard. Church services canceled, Thrift Store shut down. Banquets and other fundraising efforts canceled. No one faced this kind of crisis before. Our corporate leaders had to trust God and lead their centers forward. God continued to bless our centers with health and financial blessings.
I asked each corporate leader what verse or word from God helped you during the pandemic. Below are some of these answers.
God delivered me from drug addiction. A pandemic is a small thing.Isaiah 43:1-3 But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you, says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you, for I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Isaiah 41:10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: Be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee: yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
The Lord gave me this scripture & confirmed it…Psalm 37:18-19 – “Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever. They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough.” He would continue to sustain us as He always has. The staff and students have witnessed the miraculous provision of the Lord! We are humbled and grateful.
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the goodof those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Deuteronomy 31:6 So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid, and donot panicbefore them. For the Lord, your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
John 14:27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
We are standing on the Truth that God is our source in all things.
Leading with Integrity – God’s Strength/Comfort (Not a spirit of fear)
James 1:2-8 New Living Translation (NLT) 2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
I thought you might be blessed to hear our Adult & Teen Challenge leaders share their faith in Christ as their Lightnside shines bright.
2 Kings 25:1 During the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon led his entire army against Jerusalem.They surrounded the city and built siege ramps against its walls.
The enemy is building siege ramps against our national freedom and the freedom from the cross. In the Old Testament, a nation would come against another kingdom and begin to build wooden ramps to break into the city to destroy it. This siege ramp would take time to build, and during the process, the city would see their enemy getting closer and closer to their goal—the breaking down of their protective walls. The city was under siege. Only an act of God could help them.
America is under siege!
The walls of freedom, as we have known it for years, are under attack. Lawless vandals, politicians, and elected leaders are building siege ramps against the protective laws and the police force that have kept America safe and free for many years. The news media and social media are all helping to build this siege to remove our national freedom created by the belief of and built on the Biblical foundation of ‘In God we Trust.’
We, as a nation, must seek God’s face and repent as a person and a nation for our sins. Only God can heal this land. We need a revival of God’s presence.
The church is under siege!
The church needs to once again preach repentance. Many churches preach a message that feels good. A message that does not offend.
There is fear from the pastor to speak repentance because of finances and rebellion. The message of the cross brings freedom to the soul but is a message that requires repentance. It is offensive to the unsaved. It requires us to deny ourselves and take up the cross of sacrifice and obedience to Christ.
The church is under siege to make us feel happy rather than holy. Proud rather than pure. To feels saved rather than being saved. The church is under siege by the message of comfort rather than conviction. Let us pray and seek God’s face for our church and our nation.
On this July 4th,
let us look to God, who is the author of all freedom. He makes nations and souls free by following righteous commandments and repentance at the cross. Take the time to listen and watch this song about freedom and let your lightnside reflect FREEDOM.
Currently, in our nation, there are two emotional events that fill the news and social media, protesting, and lawlessness. I want to share some thoughts from the scriptures concerning these actions.
Jesus was a protester!
The definition of a protest is a public expression of objection, disapproval, or dissent towards an idea or action. As Jesus began his public ministry, He began to teach truth by protesting against the teachings of the religious leaders. Jesus started His protesting in His home church as He stood and read a passage of scripture then confronted the lack of faith and obedience of the Jewish people. Luke 4:16-30
Jesus also publicly protested for deeper obedience beyond the teachings of the law. Matthew 5:21-26 (Killing and hatred connected), Matthew 5:27-28 (Adultery and lusting are connected). Jesus even calls His followers to be protesters in their public life. Matthew 5:13-16 Be salt and light to all that is around you. Don’t hide your testimony. Protest His goodness, Grace, and Mercy.
Along with the protestor that is rightfully voicing concerns about needed changes, there are lawless groups of evil people causing violence, destroying properties, looting, murder, and rage. These are not protesters; they are rebellious criminals.
The Bible talks about the spirit of lawlessness in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10. To summarize this passage, at the end of days, a demonic filled antichrist will come to power and will be utterly lawless to God. He will have the authority to cause great violence and deception to the world. Verse 7 states there is currently a power (God, Holy Spirit, Church Prayer, Christian’s Prayer) that is holding back the full power of this lawless spirit but it is at work today causing much anger and harm. We see it all around us.
Lawlessness and us
Each man and woman wrestles with lawlessness. We are born with it. You don’t have to teach a baby to say “no.” It’s already in our nature. As we come to Christ and repent, God places His Holy Spirit in us to give us the power to hold back and overcome that inner desire of lawlessness. You feel it when you are wronged by others like someone cutting you off in traffic or causes you trouble or pain. The desire to get even and return the pain is our lawlessness at work. Jesus tells us to forgive others, or we will not be forgiven (strong protesting words.) How often should I forgive my brother the disciple asks. Jesus says always. Also, love your enemies. Let God be the judge. All these truths push away the power of lawlessness of sin.
Protesting against lawlessness.
I want to share one last strong protesting word from Jesus that also contains the word lawlessness. These words of Christ should make everyone look inside and consider their relationship with Christ. Our relationship with Christ is based on faith but expressed by our obedience.
Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
How many people fill out churches and hear about Christ but do not obey Him? They sing praise songs and believe they are good enough for heaven but are not following Christ’s laws. In Christ’s eyes, they are lawless. We all sin and trip up. The keyword in this strong protesting message is the word “practice.” They practice lawlessness. It is not an accident or slip up. It is resistance to God’s words through lawlessness. Let us repent and ask Christ to cleanse our hearts. Ask God to fill you with His power to push back your lawlessness and follow Christ. Let your lightnside be a strong protest of God’s Grace and Christ’s cleansing blood.
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Our Father in Heaven – rule of authority.
There is an understanding that we are the children of God. He is our Father and authority. There is an order in our world because we are living in his established kingdom. There is safety and security when we identify God as our Father, and we stand under His protection and direction.
Without recognizing God the Father’s identity, we become self-focused and only see our desires and emotions. We become unstable and do not know how to be at peace. The more we acquire, the less we feel complete. Something is missing. We are designed to belong to a Heavenly Father. We are built to follow God.
Hallowed be Your Name
Hallowed means greatly revered and honored. The process of honoring God is to thank Him, Praise Him, Learn more about Him. Listen to Him speak to you through the Bible, sermons, song. Our God is a leader, healer, peace-maker, warrior, teacher, and even a God of discipline. God loves me, so He watches me, blesses, and disciplines me. I honor His name. I feel secure and loved because of His care. His rod and staff comfort me. He restores my soul.
Rejecting the name of God is to reject hope. You become a vessel of unrest and lawlessness. The Bible says “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” To deny this is to be foolish and wandering through life always seeking but never satisfied. Always longing but never connected.
Thy Kingdom come – Thy will be done
Oh Lord, how we need your kingdom and leadership in todays world. Through the lawless efforts of media, social media, Twitter, political agendas, we are becoming a nation of rowdy immature children who have never learned to be obedient children under a father’s love and authority.
You, Lord, established the universe and determined it’s rules and limitations. You set the oceans and mountains in place. You created all the plants and creatures and placed them into balance. You feed and care for the wild animals. You send hope and care for those who follow you. God, how we need your holiness, leadership, structure, discipline now.
Lord, please send your power to hold back the spirit of lawlessness in our land, our hearts, our families, and our different races. We have become lawless. We have become vessels for the demonic spirit of lawlessness to find homes and begin to fill our minds and mouths with hate, rebellion, and violence.
2 Chron. 7:14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Lord, I am asking for your forgiveness for my attitudes and actions of lawlessness. I ask You to clean my heart and mind. Please forgive our nation and heal our land. God said, “If My People…” He could also say, “If my children…”
Let this Father’s Day be a start to call upon our Heavenly Father to forgive. Let us seek His face. Let us hollow His name. Let us ask God to search our hearts, and we repent of what He finds. Allow your lightnside to seek God’s healing for our nation.
In preparation for a funeral, I am always mindful of the question people want the minister to assure them. Did they make it? Are they in heaven? To better understand this question, we must look closely at mankind in general and the Grace of God.
There is a secret side to all of us. No one is sinless. We are all born broken into a broken world, and for the entire length of our life, we will be battling the broken passions of our hearts. Paul said in Romans seven; there is a sinful seed battling us from our birth. It is the effect sin had on the whole world. Thanks be to God we have a Savior who understands this brokenness in us and sacrificed His sinless life for our sins so we might be set free from the bondage of sin and experience freedom because of the blood of Jesus.
Faith in Christ
Romans 1:16-17 “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ; it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…In it, the Righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. The just shall live by faith.”
It is not our perfectness that brings about our righteousness. It is our faith placed on Jesus Christ, who died for us. As we put our faith and obedience to Christ, God sets the Righteousness of God upon us. When God looks at a man or woman who has faith in Christ and a relationship in their hearts, God sees His righteousness over them.
It is not about being right or perfect; it’s about faith in Christ. Jesus said in John 14:6 ” I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The scriptures did not say you must be this percentage perfect for making heaven. No, you must have an active faith in Jesus Christ.
DO NOT JUDGE
We like to judge people. Especially when it makes us feel more righteous. In reality, every man and woman has secrets and battles. We are people following Christ who wrestle with sin. Everyone fails. But the Christian repents and places their faith in the Righteousness and Mercy of God. It will never be our goodness that makes us heaven worthy; it will be our faith in Christ.
The Good Servant had issues.
In the parable Jesus told in Mathew 25:14-29, there were three servants the master gave talents. One had five, another two, and another had one talent. The master left on a trip and, after a while, returned. The servant who had five doubled his talents, and so did the one with two. The one servant who had one talent hid his gift and just returned what he had originally received. God rebuked this servant as evil, and judgment was placed on him. The faithful servants pleased God. Listen carefully to what God said to the one who had the most increase for the master. (v23) You have been faithful over a few things…welcome into the joy of the Lord. I take this to mean the good servant had issues within his life. We are not told about them, but God saw the faith and the service to God, and He said “well done.” The evil servant buried what God gave him and was judged. As we look at people and try to judge them based on what we think, we can bring judgment on ourselves.
Let us rely on the Mercy of God, who rewards servants who are faithful over a few things. It is faith in Christ that brings the righteousness of God to us. Faith in Christ and repentance to Him are what make us heaven bound. In Christ alone.
From John the Baptist to the man on the cross next to Jesus, each man battles sin. But each of these men placed their faith in Christ. They were faithful over a few things. They are now in the joy of the Lord. Let’s not judge others to closely, but allow our lightnside to thank God for His grace and righteousness toward us and others who believe in Christ.
Right now, our country is in a state of violence and unrest. We have gone through a global pandemic, shut down one of the greatest economic engines in decades to millions unemployed. Evil violence on both sides of the law. Protests begin as they should, but violent people began looting and destroying property and businesses. Frustrations are building up and looking for areas of release all across our land. Social Media and the news media help spread the unrest. Opinion rather than facts is promoted to influence frustrations and rage.
It is all a supernatural problem. Everything we see and feel today is a supernatural problem, and the solution is not Trump or CNN. It is God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
The Lawless one
Read 1 Thess 2:1-10 The lawless One. The anti-Christ will rule the world. You think it’s bad now? You will want to be ready for the rapture of Christians. You will want to have Christ in your heart when you die.
Notice verse 7. The mystery (hidden truth – usually something you cannot know without God’s revelation.) The NIV calls it the secret power. Lawlessness was already at work even in Jesus’ time, Dark ages, Hitler, World wars, Nations killing their own people. It is at work today, in the USA. In social media, news, the hearts of men and women.
He who restrains…
He who now restrains (holds back the lawless one) – The Holy Spirit, the Church, You. Because of our fallen nature, there is a natural tendency to be lawless. If unchecked, this lawlessness will bring about great evil and destruction. After the rapture – very dreadful events will take place. Matthew 24 says if the days were not shortened, no one would survive. Only God has the power to restrain the lawless one, the lawless power. If you have Christ in your heart, then you also have God’s power to stop the lawless force in you, your family, and this nation.
If my people…
Solution – 2 Chronicles 7:14ifmypeople, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways (lawless ways), then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
HOPE – When people pray, repent for themselves and our nation, the restrainer restrains. This has happened throughout history. Revivals come when God’s power is poured out against the lawlessness and righteousness overcomes.
Join me in praying for our own heart, our nation, our leaders, our different races of people. Pray and repent personally and for God’s power to come down and heal our land. Let your lightnside burn bright with hope in a dark time.
A decade and a half before Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971, Billy Graham was in Boston to deliver a memorial address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The year was 1955, and he had just finished visiting many U.S. military installations in Europe. Below is an excerpt of his timeless message, which still rings true this Memorial Day as we remember with gratitude the sacrifices of so many for our nation.
In all the American idiom, there is no more endearing word than “buddy.” It is warm, with intonations of friendship, brotherhood and common purpose. We are assembled today to pay tribute to those, our “buddies,” who poured out their full measure of devotion upon the altar of freedom.
Thousands of you gathered here could tell dramatic stories of heroism which you yourself have seen acted out by your buddies on the grim stage of war’s theater. They have left this realm of time and space, they have out-stripped us in life’s races, but the sacred memory of their selflessness and the freedom they died to obtain will live forever.
Three weeks ago, I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with President (Dwight D.) Eisenhower at Gettysburg. He took me on a personally conducted tour of the Battlefield of Gettysburg, explaining the strategy used by both the Confederate and Union forces. Both of my grandfathers fought at Gettysburg. This famous battlefield, and hundreds of others like it, have become hallowed soil, where thousands of Americans have died either to preserve freedom, prevent aggression or keep intact the union of American states.
“It was worth it if it will keep America free!”
Some months ago when President Eisenhower was touring the Battlefield at Valley Forge and was being shown from one historic spot to another, he made this statement at the conclusion of the tour: “This is where they got it for us.”
What did he mean? He meant that those men, and thousands of others in all the wars that America has fought, purchased by their blood the freedoms that we enjoy today in “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” That terse statement from the lips of our president has rung in my ears for many months. …
These battlefields of the world today are hallowed and holy to every American, and we pause to give them our highest honors, humbly realizing the sacred trust that these, our war dead, have handed to us.
I stood by the bedside of a boy in Korea whose spine had been torn away by a shell blast the night before, but by some miracle he was still living. He was unable to change his position; and if he lived, the doctor informed me, the rest of his days would be spent lying on his stomach. The army medics had patched him up the best they could. I gripped his cold, perspiring hand and said words of comfort to him. He made a statement I will never forget. He said: “It was worth it if it will keep America free!”
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
That’s what you call “getting it for us”! As we think of the selflessness and heroism of such fellows, we are reminded of the words of Jesus Christ who said: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
The freedoms we enjoy, the freedoms we take so much for granted, the freedoms we so often trifle with were bought not by the gold of our millionaires, nor altogether the genius of our scientists, nor the sacrifices of the people at home, but primarily by the blood, sweat and agony of those whose names on this day we honor—those who died that we might live!
They found, as have brave men of all ages, that there are principles well worth dying for. Their noble, unselfish sacrifice is a silent, eloquent rebuke to the self-centeredness of this generation. Let those who want “peace at any price” remember this day that thousands have died for honor and freedom and that what we have today has come at the price of shed blood. …
As I stood in the hospital quarter of the Danish ship “Jutlandia” in Korean waters by an American boy scarcely 20 years of age and watched helplessly as this young life ebbed away, I thought: What right have thousands of pleasure-seeking Americans to go on living when this lad in the early flower of youth has to die? And in that moment, the fact dawned on me that if he had to die for America, some of us must live for America. Sometimes it is far more difficult to live than it is to die. They have handed us a torch, and we have a responsibility to see that they have not died in vain.
Even though the sacrifices of our war dead have been great, yet the greatest sacrifice of all time was made by a man on a cross who died not only physically but spiritually that men might live. We have neglected Him too long! We have rejected His plan for peace, and as a result, we have fought, bled and died for centuries! I challenge the world at this hour to accept His program of heart regeneration that can transform the society in which we live, and we can know the meaning of genuine peace in our time. …
Yes the bells of liberty ring in America today because these men we honor today got through for us. The sacred memory of their sacrifice will always live in our hearts, and we have a sacred and holy trust—and we cannot fail them!
“It is finished.” He got through for us!
My mind goes back 2,000 years to another battle which was fought on a hill called Calvary. It was a battle of one young man against all the forces of evil. It seemed like a futile, hopeless struggle as Jesus Christ took on Satan’s task force single-handed. The jeers of the rabble, the spittle of the soldiers and the sneering of the people were incidental compared to the inner struggle which was taking place in His soul. But I watch Him, in fancy, as one hand is stretched out toward God and the other toward rebellious man, and He makes the connection and says: “It is finished.” He got through for us!
If we are to be strong spiritually, it will be through Him. Thousands today are finding a fresh, new meaning of life through Him. They are learning to say with confidence, “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthened me.” We can best keep faith with those who have gone before by keeping faith with ourselves, with our highest ideals and with God.