Are You Standing for the NFL?

American Flag proudly flying above the U.S.S. Constellation in Baltimore, Maryland’s Inner Harbor.

I’d like to have a word with Americans today.  And when I say Americans, I not only mean citizens of this great Country, I mean citizens who are loyal to the Country and its Government.  Because you are the only true citizens.  Because that is what it means to owe allegiance.  It means to be loyal to the Government.  If you are not loyal to the Government, you are not a true citizen of the county.  You may be an anarchist or a revolutionist, but certainly not a citizen.  Because a citizen is loyal to their Government.

Here in the United States of America, we have many methods of demonstrating our loyalty to our Country, our Government, and our Ideals.  However there are three undeniable expressions of loyalty that every American has agreed upon for decades, that expresses our loyalty and our Allegiance to our country and our government.  And those three expressions are (1) To serve in the United States Military (the Armed Forces of the United States of America – the United States Navy, the United States Army, the United States Air Force, the United States Marine Corps, and the United States Coast Guard).  If you serve in the defense of our country, and you serve honorably and loyally, you are proven to be a loyal citizen of this great country.  As a matter-of-fact, we have had a program in our past where we have extended citizenship to foreign nationals who have served honorably in our Military.  My wife has Filipino family members who are U.S. citizen today because they served in the United States Military.  (2) To salute and revere our flag.  Acknowledging our flag has been considered for decades to be a sign of patriotism towards our country.  And to salute our flag has always been considered to render a military salute for military members in United States Military uniform and to place ones right hand over the heart for citizens not in United States Military uniform.  And by standing, if one is capable of doing so, while rendering said salute, while facing the flag.  And (3) by reverencing our National Anthem in like kind.  These three methods of showing patriotism for our country has never been debated seriously in our history.

The acts of some of our professional sports players, most notably those in the National Football League (NFL), to not follow these practices (Jaguars, Ravens kneel at UK game) is, by definition, a disrespect to the American flag, the American National Anthem, and our country.  It can be perceived as nothing less.

The citizens of the United States of America have many divides over the course of our history.  However, other than the United States Civil War (where the South actually succeeded, set up their own government, and had their own flag), we have never not respected our country through our differences.

I have had lots of differences with my country during my lifetime.  Abortion for example.  I believe abortion cheapens life and kills innocent, defenseless, human babies.  And yet I’ve never knelt before the United States flag.  The assault on my Christian values.  Which I believe has led to many of the problems we experience today.  And yet I’ve never disrespected our National anthem.  And the protests against our great Military, during the Viet Nam War, and the wars that have followed.  And yet I have never not honored my country.  I love my country, as is evidenced by my actions and what I do.

I married a Philippine citizen (who is now a Naturalized American Citizen).  And we have traveled to the Philippines many times over the years to visit family and friends.  On some of those trips we have attended festivals where the Philippine National anthem was played.  I have stood respectfully, but I have never placed my hand over my heart or recited the pledge to their flag.  To do so would be to disrespect my country.

When American Football players stand on foreign soil (the United Kingdom) and kneel when the United States National Anthem is played, it is not only disrespectful to our country, it is tantamount to renouncing their citizenship.  And when they stand and place their hands over their hearts for the United Kingdom’s National anthem, it is not only disrespectful to our country, it is tantamount to pledging their allegiance to a foreign country and government.

The same is true for our members of Congress or any other citizen who does not honor our flag, our anthem, or our Government.

We must find ways to work together to overcome our challenges, but disrespecting our country is not one of them.  That is quitting the team.  We must support the team and work with it to make it a better team in the end.  And thankfully, here in this country we have the freedom to do just that.

Consider this, what if one of those NFL teams had some differences amongst the players on their team?  And what if some of those players chose to protest those difference by wearing the jerseys of a rival team?  How far do you think that would go?  What if they were to bring out the flag or team colors of a rival team and place them over their own team colors?  How long would it be before their teammates, coaches, staff, and owners sat down and had a word with them?

We may have differences, and we may have problems, but we are still Americans and we should still honor our country.  And quite frankly, if you cannot, then I invite you to leave and let those who do honor our country to hold up the flag.  Let me know how far you get in any other country on Earth disrespecting their flag, anthem, or government.  I’d suggest you try North Korea first.

Do You Stand with the NFL Today?  I hope not.  I hope you boycott the NFL until they learn to stand at attention with the rest of us, for the United States Flag.  If you want to kneel, try the altar at your local Church.

First Things First

Matthew 6:33 (NASB)
33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The scriptures tell us to seek His Kingdom first. So, what is this “kingdom” we should seek? I believe kingdoms are about kings and their domain. That being so, seeking His Kingdom is seeking Him as King and we being His domain…giving Him His rightful place of rule and reign in us, over us and around us. And, the word “seek” is most accurately rendered “seek and keep on seeking continuously”.

Verse 33 is in the “imperative mood”, meaning it is a command, an imperative…not an elective or just an option.

The word “first” necessarily implies several things about seeking His Kingdom:

Priority – It is first in importance
Purpose – Implies the first and most important reason why we exist
Profession – Implies my first and primary task, work, objective
Passion – Implies my first and primary motive in all we do

So what is the outcome of this endeavor?

Matthew 6:25-32
25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The outcome is amazing! If we make HIM our greatest priority, purpose, passion, possession and profession, THEN HE will make us His priority and add everything else we need to be sustained and flourish.

Jesus was once asked what the foremost commandment was.  His reply, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart soul, mind and strength”.  I feel this is a great complimentary  verse to the focal passage of this brief note.  I think this says it all very simply.  What we love and cherish the most in this life will always determine our priorities, guide us in our purpose, work, choices and be the  foundation for our value systems.

May it be that we seek Him and His rule and reign over us…seek to love Him with everything in us, and out of that, every other concern, need and desire will be abundantly met out of His unlimited, loving supply.

Give Him Praise!

Mitch

 

The Bible!

Through the years, there are those who have impacted my life greatly. One of those is Richard C. Halverson, former Chaplain of the United States Senate. His writings speak powerfully to many issues. I share today this devotional taken from his bi-weekly devotional letters, May 20, 1996, published by Concern Ministries, Inc.  I might add, I have attempted to get permission to use this devotional and have been unable to find a contact to do so.  If you can help, please let me know.

“Through the centuries, the Bible has meant more to humanity than any other book.

On his deathbed, Sir Walter Scott, the great English Author, requested that his son bring him ‘the book’. ‘Which book?’ asked his son. “There is only one book” Scott replied, “The Bible”.

The late Yale professor, William Lyon Phelps, said if he had to choose between the Bible and a university education, he would choose a knowledge of the Bible.

Concerning the Bible, Patrick Henry said, ‘There is a book worth all other books.’

     Horace Greely commented, ‘The principles of the bible are the groundwork of human freedom.’ And Rufus Choat said, ‘No lawyer can afford to be ignorant of the Bible.’

‘Hold fast to the Bible,’ urged Ulysses S. Grant, ‘for it is the anchor of our liberties.’ Then he added, ‘To the influence of this book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization – and to this we must look as our guide in the future.’

In the words of Woodrow Wilson, ‘When you have read the Bible, you will know it is the Word of God because you will have found it to be the key to your own heart, your own happiness, and your duty.’

What an amazing phenomenon – the Bible!

It is virtually a library in itself – written by over forty different writers, from different cultures, over thousands of years, in various languages, addressing many subjects, and yet a unified whole.

To contemplate the Bible’s influence in exalting people and nations to consider its supernatural composition – not to mention the fulfillment of its numerous prophesies – is only to arrive at the conclusion which the Bible claims for itself, that:

    ‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for…instruction in righteousness: That the man or woman of God may be perfect…unto all good works.’ (2 Timothy 3:16)”

May this great book become endeared to you, and increasingly so, as it has these.

Be Blessed,

Mitch

HE Satisfies!

Psalm 145:15-16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
15 The eyes of all look to You,
And You give them their food in due time.
16 You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Psalm 38:9 (NASB)
9 Lord, all my desire is before You;
And my sighing is not hidden from You.

Psalm 103:5 (NASB)
5  …Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

All of God’s creation is administrated and sustained by HIM. Nothing is lost, expires, occurs or fails apart from HIS loving, sovereign knowledge, oversight and permission.

Especially for mankind, the apex of HIS creation, all desires, needs, deficiencies and concerns, no matter how small, are seen by HIM (El Roi). HE not only sees all but HE is The Provider (Jehovah Jireh)for all, The Shepherd (Jehovah Rohi) and God Almighty (El Shaddai, the All Sufficient One). So, not only does HE see and know our needs, HE is uniquely qualified to meet and satisfy those needs, has promised to do so, and that without diminishing HIS supply at all!

There are many others who feebly make this claim. They are all counterfeits! They may “convincingly” make their argument. We may take their bait. But, as all things false, though they may satisfy for a brief time, they soon give way to a greater hunger than before, and we realize we were fooled.

Only God himself knows how many times I’ve been deceived, gone after “another” source, and soon find myself disappointed, more desperately in need, plus facing consequences of my error.  HE clearly declares HIMSELF The SOURCE for all. Why would we go elsewhere? “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation”, provider, keeper?

For every legitimate (God-given) need, drive or desire, there is a legitimate supply. HIS Word to us is: 2 Corinthians 9:8-9 (NASB)

8 …God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all-sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;
9 as it is written,
“He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor,
His righteousness endures forever.”

Hear all these inclusives: all grace, always, all-sufficiency, abundance, every good deed! God is not limited! My problem has been my propensity to run to another rather than to HIM. There lies the limitation if any, the guy I see in my mirror.

May it ever be, from this day on, that I always run to HIM early, always honor HIM by relentlessly trusting His Word and HIS endless supply.  Oh that I would forever make HIM my first choice and never again my last chance. May I always remember that “HE blesses us, that all the ends of the earth may fear (revere and trust) HIM”, alone. (Psalm 67)

These are true words, for HE has declared them.  This is my prayer for you who reads.  Run to HIM…make HIM first, and get ready for HIS promised abundance.

HIS blessings on you and yours,

Mitch