Saturday, July 09, 2016

Well done, good and faithful servant

I just received word that the Anderson's beloved friend Lucy has passed away. Their hearts are broken at their loss. Please pray that God would provide the healing for their hearts and peace for their spirits at this very, very tough time.

It's the only flaw dogs have really, they live too few years. The following is the post I wrote when Lucy came home with them almost 6 years ago. 
"A dog is the only thing on this earth that loves you more than he loves himself." Josh Billings

Things are about to change at the Anderson's house.

Lucy the dog is coming to her forever home.

To look at the Andersons you wouldn't think they lacked a thing - they are a great family. Awesome dad and mom and great son -my friend Ian. They even have a cat.

But they've lacked something without really knowing it. They've lacked the love of dog.

From the earliest recorded history, people and dogs have been together. Of all the species that inhabit this earth, none has bonded with humans like the dog. Countless stories have been written about dogs that found their way home over hundreds of miles, that remained faithful to owners who had passed away, who gave everything they had as long as they could. Dogs have given their lives to save us, have rescued us from all manners of harm, and warned us of dangers we could never have seen. They've lowered our blood pressure and given us someone to talk to.

But their greatest work is in giving us a living example of how to love unconditionally.

The love of dog.

Sometime Sunday afternoon, Lucy the dog will come home.

And that home will never be the same.

Monday, July 04, 2016

First Things First

Today is July the 4th. Here at the Wilson home, we've finished the cookout and are getting ready for tonight's fireworks. One has to precede the other and well, we might as well eat. While we're waiting I started thinking about how amazing it is to be a part of it all- the great experiment that is America.

What made America different? Why, among all the nations that have come and gone, is she looked to as a model - a lighthouse to the world - that "City on a Hill"?

You can look over the incredible beauty of our land. You can see the works of the hands and the warmth of the hearts of our people. You can measure our strength and the valor of those who serve her. But first things first.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...

As the men who "pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor" wrote their explanation to the world in the form of a "Declaration of Independence", setting out on a course that would lead to America - before they unpacked their grievances with Britain, they found within them something pure and God-given.

Before one single battle was fought, before any laws were passed, before the first coin was struck, before a flag was flown, America wanted to be known as the nation who recognized that some things surpassed preferences, local culture, or national identity. "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."

First things first.

So how can we incorporate that in our busy and hectic lives? How can we make sure we are living purposeful lives? That we are putting our energies into what matters, and holding as convictions those things that place us into the center of God's will?

19 "Don't store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. 20Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. 21Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be. Matthew 6 (NLT)

"Wherever your treasure is..."

A friend of mine in California has five kids - all boys under 15. They play every sport known to man and some that they just make up. He lives in a nice neighborhood where people take great pride in the appearance of their homes and their yards. The wear and tear on his yard doesn't help him keep up. One night after agonizing over what to do about it, he went back inside and walked past the bedrooms of his sons as they slept. Looking at them for a minute, he left and went into his garage and went straight from there out to the lawn.

The next morning, his neighbors who passed by noticed the new sign.

"We're raising sons now. Grass later."

First things first. Make God the center of your life. Look to Him and through His Word at your life, your values, your desires. Set your priorities based on nothing other than your love and devotion to Him. If you love Him, you'll hold His truths to be "self-evident" and your life as the "evidence" of His love.

Grace! And May God Bless America.


Sunday, July 03, 2016

Maybe this time... thoughts about Pickett's charge

Growing up a generation ago in Middle Georgia meant that I was presented with a worldview far different than that kids receive today. 

It was the South, before the advent of air conditioning, when the echoes of the civil war still were heard. Every child in school was taught a particular version of history, long on the heroic actions of people like Robert E. Lee and short on a real examination of why the war was fought.

I devoured the biographies, poured over the battles, and tried to imagine being there. Everything I wanted to know about what the war was like occurred during the first three days in July 1963 - at Gettysburg. I've fought that battle so many times - in turn by turn board games, computer simulations - and watched every movie ever made. 

And every time I did it I wondered, what was it like to walk out of the trees with General Pickett and walk directly into the hell of the center of the Union lines. To risk it all for a cause bigger than myself. To decide with that first step, to lay down my life if that's what it took.

I was not alone. 

From the pen of William Faulkner...

For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two o'clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it's all in the balance, it hasn't happened yet, it hasn't even begun yet, it not only hasn't begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and Armistead and Wilcox look grave yet it's going to begin, we all know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn't need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think ...This time. 
Maybe this time with all this much to lose than all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the golden dome of Washington itself to crown with desperate and unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast made two years ago. — William Faulkner Intruder in the Dust
But that victory was not to be. 
Thank God.
Though the men who fought for the South fought skillfully, bled and died sacrificially, and though most of them would have told you that they fought for Georgia, or Virginia or their home state, the fact that the leaders of the Confederacy decided to incorporate the continuation of slavery in their constitution meant they were on the wrong side of history. They had a valid point about state's rights. Had they acknowledged the wrong that slavery was, and then fought their battles, things could have been different. 
The boy I was didn't see that. 
All he could see was an open field, unfurled colors, and George Pickett raising his sword. The chance to have your belief measured against the real possibility of death. To offer your all for a cause.
Ironic I suppose that years later I surrendered to a cause far greater. And I step out of the woods and advance against the culture every day as a follower of Jesus. To give it all.