Honoring Our Heroes

Tuesday Morning, September 11, 2001 many of us saw the best and worst of humanity play out in real life down the street and on our television screens. America had been attacked! Real fathers, mothers, children, brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, friends, people… real people, ordinary people, were viciously attacked by a radical Islamic terrorists. We didn’t see it coming!

At first we wondered if it was planned? We had a hard time believing that someone would plan such a vicious attack on civilians. We watched the second plane hit, learned about the Pentegon attack, and heard of the other plane that was crashed into a field on American soil. Many of us sat glued to the television praying, not even knowing what to say, because we didn’t know what was happening.

While many stood still in fear, shock, or wonder, there was another group of men and women who quickly mobalized and went running into the fray. They were our first responders. They were just as surprised as the rest of us, but they had a duty that day. Many were off work, but they still geared up and ran into those buildings. Some who were in the building that day been trained as volunteers and instinctively started to lead people to safety. Many entered into the fray never to make it back home.

We gained a new appreciation for our first responders that day. It has become a day to remember and honor our heroes. We had always known that if we were in danger and we called, the fire truck would come, the ambulance would get there, the police would arrive. We always knew that there was a cost, but on that day we saw that cost paid over and over by incredible men and women who went to help.

In the years since, we have had time to reflect and notice that we have alway had heroes in our midst! They enter our lives at our scariest moments (when we face a health crisis, a fire, or are the victim of a crime) and walk us through them. They bring us peace when our world is anything but peaceful.

It always comes with a cost. Sometimes the cost is relatively low and its just an inconvenience. Sometimes the cost is emotional, knowing you did everything right, but still wondering and feeling like you lost or it’s the heart break of the broken situations they enter that seem so broken they will never heal. Sometimes the cost is high, too high, when our friends and heroes don’t come back.

As I was praying for some of our local first responders today and reflecting on 9/11, I came accross this verse:

He who follows righteousness and mercy Finds life, righteousness, and honor. – Proverbs 21:21

I am grateful for our first responders, especially those who I know in our own community. I count it a privildege to be a friend and pray for many by name. I know them to be men and women of character who enter into difficult situations and are genuine peacemakers. I have found them to be men and women of honor.

Typically at this time of year, our church sponsors a breakfast for the first responders in our community! I genuinely enjoy being able to celebrate and honor these men and women. This year, for the first time, we have had to alter our plans (Due to the virus) but I look forward to celebrating our local heroes in the days ahead, because I believe them to be men and women worthy of honor. I am grateful to God for thier service in our community and the thousands upon thousands like them around the nation and globe who step in to help when help is needed most.

Attitude of Gratitude: Appreciating what we have

It’s Thanksgiving (or at least Thanksgiving Eve) and for the past week I have been bombarded with e-mails touting Black Friday deals, Cyber Monday offers, and Christmas specials. I get it. It’s the same message every year I can remember since the 80’s.  “The economy is in the tank and we are getting ready for Christmas early this year in hopes that Christmas will save the economy.”  I’ve heard rumors that some stores are even opening up on Thanksgiving this year to get a jump on Black Friday.

Could it be true?  Would we miss Thanksgiving in order to get a jump on holiday spending?  Is our last great hope for the economy really Christmas?   What index do we use to measure our gratefulness as a nations, because I’m pretty sure that’s what’s really in the tank here.  We stand in line to buy the newest toys, the greatest gadgets, order the most impressive hand held computer devices only to complain about how terrible the economy is and how poor we are.

Here is the deal.  I don’t think we are poor.  I think we are rich and ungrateful. Share your holiday woes with a man who works for as little as $2 a day in a third world country and see how far you get.  We covet what we don’t have instead of being thankful for the many blessings in our lives.  So this year I propose we stop some of the silliness and take time to be thankful for the blessings God has bestowed on us. Don’t skip Thanksgiving.  Don’t miss this opportunity to be grateful.

Here is my list of 21 simple things I am thankful for feel free to share some of the things you are thankful for in the comments section!

1. The gospel that has so radically changed my life.  Jesus is worthy of all glory, honor and praise.

2. My precious wife who is so much more than I deserve.  Every day with her is a gift and a blessing.

3. My children who have enriched my life beyond comprehension.  Every moment holding, loving, teaching them is a precious gift from God.

4. The Bible. I have a copy of God’s word in English that I can read and understand.

5. My education. God has provided me with a great education every step of the way.

6. My job.  I get to tell people about Jesus and walk with them as they grow… full time!

7. My Church. I get to serve along side of some of the best people I know and help others along in the journey as I have been helped.

8. My Parents. I avoided so much pain and trouble in my life simply because I grew up in their home.

9. My siblings. I have the best brother and sisters in the world. The have been God’s gift to me in shaping my personality and are a huge blessing in my life beyond the years we spent together as children.

10. My In-Laws. I love them all, especially my mother-in-law. They have all been a huge blessing, help and encouragement in my life.

11. My friends.  Though time and distance have separated many of us. I still have several men I could pick up the phone and call with anything and they would be there to listen and pray for me.

12. My Pastors.  The two men who at different churches and different times have poured into my life and blessed me as I grew in maturity.

13. My mentor. Who lead me to Christ and still keeps up with me all these years later.

14. My home. I get a roof over my head, heat in the winter, air conditioning in the summer and a bed big enough to share with my wife. It’s more than I deserve.

15. My car. It gets me from point a to point b.

16. Over the counter medicine. I have access to simple drugs to treat common symptoms like diarrhea that kill people in other parts.

17. Ice.  A large part of the worlds population doesn’t have ready access to ice for their drinks (imagine… no iced tea).

18. Books. I have so much information at my fingertips.

19. The internet. I’m able to instantly connect with people on the other side of the world. It used to take days to communicate with people on the other side of the globe.

20. Indoor plumbing. I don’t have to leave the house to bathe or take care of business in a sanitary way.

21. The freedom of speech that makes this blog and millions more like it accessable

 

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season?