Thanksgiving: Thanks to a Special Person

When I posted  this call to  lift our law  enforcement officers  up in prayer, I had no idea that another tragedy would so quickly happen.  I was saddened by the death of  Police  Officer  Garrett Swasey, of the  Colorado  Springs  Police  Department, Colorado who died in the line of duty yesterday.  Please pray for his family, his fellow officers, and the those who were held hostage.

SwaseyToday is Thanksgiving, so I want to say thanks to a special person:  “Hey LEO, I’m thankful for you.”

I realize you might be asking:  “LEO? LEO who?”

Well, it’s not my Uncle Leo.  That fun loving, nephew-teasing, do-whatever-I-can-do-to-help-you fireman, left this world for a better place in 1990. While I am thankful for Uncle Leo, I want to go public, and say, “I’m thankful for a group of people called LEO.”

The character of our Law Enforcement Officers is under attack. This assault is Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc.  It’s poor logic that makes the mistake of claiming that one thing caused another just because it happened first.

Just because a rooster crows and then the sun rises, doesn’t mean that the sun rises because a rooster crows.  Too many people are making the same logical assumption.  Because one white LEO shoots a black person, does not mean that all white Law Enforcement Officers will shoot all black people.

Are there some bad apples in their ranks?  Most definitely, but the rogue are few in number.  Many of these men and women are college educated individuals who are punched, kicked, spat on, and cussed out as a part of their daily routine.  They go to work dressed in bullet proof vests, because they are willing to risk their lives to protect yours.

Are you aware that during the past 10 years, a total of 1,466 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty?  This is an average of one death every 60 hours or 146 per year. In 2014, there were 117 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.  During this same time period, there have been 58,930 assaults against law enforcement officers each year, resulting in 15,404 injuries.

Yes, I’m thankful for LEO:

  • I’m thankful for the more than 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States.
  • I’m thankful for each one of the 20,538 individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice to serve and to protect, and whose names are engraved on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
  • I’m thankful that while I’m at home in the warmth of my house and feasting on a plate of food, that LEO is at work. Whether it is in Chicago, NYC, Wichita, or El Dorado, I’m thankful for you.

If you’re thankful for LEO, “I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people, even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.  Such prayer for all is good and welcomed before God our Savior.”                                                                                                                                       ~2 Timothy 2:1-3

Thanksgiving: Caring, Daring, and Sharing

Goers and Doers

Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, my wife and I have been busy preparing for the occasion.    I am an eager goer because I know my going provides my wife with the ingredients she needs to be the skillful “doer” in the kitchen.  She prepares the list and I go for turkey, ham, yams, apples, or whatever she needs to make one of her delicious meals.

I also think about goers and doers in the context of our Forefathers and their many sacrifices.  Daniel Webster commended the sacrifices of these faith-filled and hardy Pilgrims when he said: Our fathers were brought here by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light, and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political, or literary.

Webster’s words are the “secret sauce” that Kirk Cameron wished for when he began a project that focused on the Forefathers Monument. The sacrifices of these hardy souls is memorialized in this monument that stands an imposing 86 feet high and weighs 180 tons.

Lady Faith is at the center of the monument, and she is seen with her right hand lifted towards heaven as her left hand holds the Bible of the Pilgrims, the Geneva Bible.  

Standing 36 feet tall, Lady faith reminds us of the perseverance of our Forefathers.  Their faith was the source of their strength as they struggled to realize the liberties and freedoms they envisioned; it sustained them and guided them through times of heartaches and trials.

Daniel Webster also reminded people of the need to, develop the resources of our land, call forth our powers, build up its institutions, promote all its great interests, and see whether we also, in our day and generation, may not perform something worthy to be remembered.

When Webster spoke of his day and his generation, I think he was comparing it to what the Forefathers had done.  Webster knew that if he and his generation were going to doing something worthy to be remembered, their lives had to be more than a selfish existence.

Isn’t this the message of Thanksgiving:  Sacrifice, remembering, and giving thanks?  The Pilgrims were not content to just live; they wanted religious freedom for both themselves and future generations. They cared for others and dared for others, so they could also share with others.

…For this I give thanks.

Versions and Perversions

images (4)After listening to some of the comments from the presidential hopefuls in the recent Iowa Straw Poll, I think a name change is in order.  Because the brief speeches revealed some weaknesses, it might be more accurate to call it the Flaw Poll.

Sometimes political speeches disintegrate into a form of mindless banter, and the candidate’s version of the facts is a perversion of what is true.  Winston Churchill said: “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”

Truth is not created. It is discovered.  Whenever you find someone trying to fabricate the truth, you have discovered a lie.

The difference between the truth and a lie is as simple as the letters “d” and “i.”  When you add them to version, you get a di-version from the truth.  You allow your emotions, wants and desires to turn you aside from the correct course or you yield to the biased opinion and false argument of another you are misdirected.

This was the problem that Paul was addressing when he wrote to the Christians at Galatia (1:6-9):

I can’t believe your fickleness—how easily you have turned traitor to him who called you by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message! It is not a minor variation, you know; it is completely other, an alien message, a no-message, a lie about God. Those who are provoking this agitation among you are turning the Message of Christ on its head. Let me be blunt: If one of us—even if an angel from heaven!—were to preach something other than what we preached originally, let him be cursed. I said it once; I’ll say it again: If anyone, regardless of reputation or credentials, preaches something other than what you received originally, let him be cursed.  ~The Message

There is a close connection to the degeneration of society and the proliferation of lies.  This is one reason Paul warned the Galatians: Any diversion from the principles of God is a perversion of the truth.

Before you yield to the new and ideal, you might want to compare it to the tried and true: “We are not meant to remain as children at the mercy of every chance wind of teaching and the jockeying of men who are expert in the craft presentation of lies. But we are meant to hold firmly to the truth in love, and to grow up in every way into Christ (Ephesians 4:14 Phillips).”

Are You Good At Doing Good?

be-good-logoCan I let you in on a little secret?  There’s a standing invitation from Lady Temptation to come over and abide on her side.

Because it’s so easy to follow the path that leads to an evil and vile life style. Paul issued a warning to Christians in Romans 12:21:

  • Don’t allow yourself to be overpowered with evil. Take the offensive—overpower evil by good! ~Phillips
  • Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good. ~The Message
  • Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. ~English Standard Version

Evil can be so subtle that it’s hard to recognize and offer a rebuttal.  This is why it’s necessary to take the “offensive.”  If you allow yourself to be overpowered with evil it will have power over every area of your life.

Paul said “doing good” is the key to gaining the upper hand in this conflict, and he described his game plan in a letter to the Thessalonians:

“Live together in peace, and our instruction to this end is to reprimand the unruly, encourage the timid, help the weak and be very patient with all men. Be sure that no one repays a bad turn by a bad turn; good should be your objective always, among yourselves and in the world at large. Be happy in your faith at all times. Never stop praying. Be thankful, whatever the circumstances may be. If you follow this advice you will be working out the will of God expressed to you in Jesus Christ . . . by all means use your judgment, and hold on to whatever is really good, and Steer clear of evil in any form.”

I’m not going to lie to you—“doing good” is tough work.  The following list from Kent M. Keith (The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council) makes it clear:

  • People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered—Love them anyway.
  • If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives—Do good anyway.
  • The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow—Do good anyway.
  • People really need help but may attack you if you do help them—Help people anyway.
  • Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth—Give the world the best you have anyway.”

Remember, “Never let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.”