Speak Life Day 3 of 4 Devotional 

This devotional made me look up the author, Brady Boyd. He is the senior Pastor at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. As a child, I lived in Colorado for six years – so I have a bit of a connection without knowing it when I picked this devotional. My husband and I flew there twice for vacation and to visit relatives. Now I want to go back and go meet him! He has not only authored this book, Speak Life (devotional contains excerpts), but several others. He is used by God in a mighty way! But he knows his shortcomings….so today, this starts with a humble experience. My prayer is if he figured out how to control his gunslinger tongue, there is hope for me based upon this one little testimony:

Connection

When I was stepping down from the platform that Sunday morning, and that man laid into me before so much as saying hello, my first inclination was to power up over him, telling him he had no right to speak to me that way. My second was to patronize him, refreshing his understanding of the counseling services our church offers people—like him—with anger issues.

What I rarely feel like being in the face of someone’s rage is a person of peace, a person connected to God and therefore hitched to nonaggression and steadiness and joy. And yet that’s exactly what God drew out of me that day when I turned to him instead of giving in to my own inclinations.

Then I remember the thief turned toward Jesus with humility and placed his life in the Savior’s hands. “[And] Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise’” (Luke 23:43).

Over and over again we have to do this if we plan to walk humbly with God.

Over and over again we need to tell God, “I’m the sheep, and you’re the shepherd. I’m listening for your input. I’ll do what you say.”

When you and I choose to stay intimately connected to Christ—determined to hear from him, ready to serve his purposes whenever he calls—we get handed opportunities to convey truth to the people God loves. Yes, there are times when God shows up directly and communicates firsthand to his followers—in various places in the Bible his words came in a whisper, in a shout, in a burning bush, in a storm—but more often than not, God looks to ordinary people (and even an occasional donkey, as in Numbers 22:28) to deliver extraordinary truth. 

He looks to you and to me, even as he overlooks our inadequacies, and says, “You be the one to speak on my behalf. You go say what I’m asking you to say.”

This is the whole enchilada right here. What I’m about to tell you will change your life. When you press into the presence of your heavenly Father, you’ll speak with pertinence, passion, and power. What you say will matter. What you say will stick. And what you say will call upon others to live well.

When we walk through our days with a “Speak, Lord” on our lips, leaning in to hear the whispers of heaven, longing to fulfill the wishes of God, God looks at us and says, “You’ll never go hungry from this moment forward. You’ll always be satisfied in me.”

Scripture references: 
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭5:6-8 ESV‬‬

“but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,” 1 Peter‬ ‭1:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

OH, here is the secret:  “….When we walk through our days with a “Speak, Lord” on our lips, leaning in to hear the whispers of heaven, longing to fulfill the wishes of God….”

Previous Devotion

Next up, Speak Life – Remedial Training

Advertisements

Speak Life – Day 2 of 4 Devotional

I hope and pray others will benefit from this devotional as well. As we learned in the last post, found here, this devotional contains excerpts from a book by Brady Boyd. I don’t really know anything about Mr. Boyd, but I sure can relate to him where he claims he is a self proclaimed “gunslinger of painful words.” I can relate….

If you know me, you probably would not think of me in those terms, but ask my husband, Bill! He’s seen me at my worst and he has been the recipient of some of my gunslinging painful words. Fortunately, today (August 19, 2017), we are celebrating our 28th re-marriage anniversary! You see, after 13 years of marriage, I divorced Bill. You can learn more here if you aren’t familiar with our story. Suffice it to say, we have now been married, on and off, for 42 years. We both changed a lot and our second marriage is now WAY better than we could have ever imaged marriage. So there is hope for me after a decade or so of us practicing the BEST Principle for our marriage. Now to practice a few steps from this devotional

Please be patientBut still, God isn’t finished with me yet….I am still in need of better control of my emotions/words/thoughts/deeds and actions! My mother in law has a picture with this quote on it – she kept it on her dresser for as long as I remember. While she had a few quirky things about her, she was about as perfect of a person (or at least mother in law) as I know. So I never got it, but in recent years, it is starting to ring true for me!

Let’s get back to the devotional:

The Four Conversations: Part 2

Conversation 2: Between You and Yourself
Come on, admit it. You talk to yourself too. The real question here is whether that self-talk is false or true.
Once you’ve checked in with God, it’s wise to run some quick diagnostics on yourself. Is your self-talk helpful or harmful as you approach this exchange with someone else? Are you believing the best about God, about yourself, and about the person you’re talking with? Or are you falling prey to lies?
This second conversation—the one that happens in your heart and head—is crucial. If your self-talk is laced with disparagement and denigration, then you’re better off heading back to conversation number one and giving God an opportunity to recast that inner dialogue.
Conversation 3: Between You and the Enemy
Third, it’s absolutely critical to acknowledge that you have a very real enemy, and he is very interested in how you use your words. He loves it when you use them to hurt people rather than heal them, to promote yourself instead of God.
After checking in with God and getting your self-talk truthfully reset, you’ll do well to get into the habit of assessing the Enemy’s level of access in a given situation. Are you about to communicate from a place of anger, hunger, exhaustion, exasperation, desperation, resignation, or fear? These postures are ripe for Satan’s picking, so you might be better off keeping your mouth closed—at least until you’ve chilled out, settled down, eaten a snack, taken a nap, and moved in your attitude to a place of peace.
Conversation 4: Between You and Me
The fourth and final conversation is the one between you and me. Even after researching this book and practicing its tenets for more than two decades, I still find it astounding how kind, timely, and wise the words I speak to others can be when I’m faithful to steward the other three conversations well. Of course, that’s probably because those words aren’t completely my own but carry the weight of a higher influence—the One through whom all true healing and wisdom really come.
I want to speak words that gladden the heart of God. If you do too, then I invite you to read on.

Scripture references:
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:6 ESV
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 ESV
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven….” Luke 6:37 ESV

WOW, LOVE this: “I want to speak words that gladden the heart of God.” I don’t know about you, but this is speaking clearly to me….now to put it into practice!

Next up, Day 3 of 4

Speak Life – Devotional

Speak Life

By Brady Boyd, restoring healthy communication in how you think talk and pray.

I just love it when I am down in the dumps, our Lord reaches down to me and pulls me up with something amazing! And this morning it started with the daily scripture on my YouVersion Bible app:

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9

Then the app asked me if I’d like to see devotional plans related to this scripture – and then I saw it, “Speak Life.” Oh, yes, one of my favorite (I have about 1,000) worship songs. But this one is really special as I try, oh how I try, to speak life to all my loved ones, friends and family. But I fail time and time again.

Right now, it’s over my soon to be 4 year old grandson. I love this precious little boy, Colin, more than I ever thought I could love a baby – even my own baby. We have been there for every important moment in his life  – for the most part. We have a special bond, his Pee-Paw and me. But he has a typical little boy streak in him that can rile us both up.

We’re preparing for Colin’s 4th birthday party. He is so excited about it and we’ve told him all of his relatives will be there – so he will rattle them off, including me (his Mee-Maw) and his Pee-Paw. To make a long story short, this precious little guy can really rattle your cage and he did a few days ago. I asked him to get into his car seat while I put his almost 2 year old brother in his. By the time I got to the other side of the car, Colin was ripping open the console that has lots of keys, change and nicknacks that don’t belong near children. (Shame on us grandparents). Needless to say, I didn’t speak life into him and he un-invited me to his birthday party! OUCH

Before I start a plan, I read about it: “Written by a self-proclaimed ‘gunslinger’ of painful words, learn to speak words not of recklessness but of restoration to God, yourself and to those you love. Taken from Brady Boyd’s new book, “Speak Life.”  I never heard of him, but the plan was also in conjunction with Dave C. Cook. Him I know so that was all I needed….but somehow I had hoped it was related to TobyMac’s song, Speak Life. As far as I can tell, it wasn’t.

I plan to post the daily devotional over the next four days as I pray I can overcome my gunslinging painful outbursts. Here is Day 1 of 4 from the devotional, “Speak Life”

The Four Conversations
God is eager to equip every one of us to use our words to bring not selfishness or haphazardness but rather encouragement and strength to life. This is a radical shift from how most people communicate. As it relates to the words we say to one another, we think the “thing” can be summed up in terms of extroversion or timing or winsomeness or quickness of wit, but there is so much more going on in our verbal exchanges.
Every time I open my mouth to speak to you, I’m revealing how I’ve been doing in three other “conversations”: what I’m saying to myself (self-talk), how well I’m refuting the lies of the Enemy, and how closely—if at all—I’m walking with God.
To the extent these three conversations—between me and God, between me and myself, and between me and Satan—are being managed poorly, I face a correspondingly higher risk of saying something idiotic and/or hurtful to the people I love. But to the extent these conversations are managed in the manner God intends, I will speak words that are relevant, authentic, life giving, and wise, and I will rarely—if ever—stick my foot in my mouth. I will be someone who blesses, not curses, with the words I speak in the fourth conversation: the one between you and me.
So how do we leverage the opportunity for good that exists each time we open our mouths to speak? One simple conversation will get that ball rolling, and it’s the most important of the four: the one between you and God.
Conversation 1: Between You and God
Getting good at communicating well begins, interestingly enough, with prayer.
Prayer?
Yes. Right. Prayer.
It’s important to steal away in the quiet of a given day to communicate with your heavenly Father, but equally important is the practice of speaking to him and hearing from him while in conversation with others. As words are flowing from your mouth, seek input in real time:
How can I serve your purposes in this person’s life, God?
What words are fitting for this situation?
What are you after here, Lord?
Where are you working here?
How can I be of help?
When you and I seek God’s wisdom—when we lean in to hear his voice and pursue divine insights before we open our mouths—we stand a 100 percent better chance of doing good instead of harm. Any conversation you have with another human being ought first to be a conversation between you and God: What are you saying to me, Lord? What are you up to in my life? Why are you having me communicate with this person? And what do you want me to say?
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Ephesians 4:29 ESV
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Philippians 4:6 ESV
“pray without ceasing,”
1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV

Click here for the link to the book which can be purchased wherever fine books are sold!

Next up, Day 2 of 4

 

 

My Biggest Problem

Sunday August 6, 2017This was the title of our sermon Sunday, 8/6/2017, at Spotswood Baptist Church (link goes to the sermon). It really spoke to me so I knew I had to write a blog post about it. Maybe it will speak to someone else as well!

Before the sermon started, I looked up the scripture reference, Galatians 2:20:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

I love this verse! But it doesn’t give me a clue as to how this relates to my biggest problem. We love our Pastor, Dr. Drew Landry. He is an outstanding teacher. He usually says the sermon is for himself, but this time, he said it’s for all of us! WOW! How does he know ALL of us? We are a bit big, as in a mega church if you go by the fact we have three sermons on Sundays and a huge campus with lots of outreach.

Then he hits us, “What is your biggest problem?”  Many of us wrote down an answer.  I wrote down. “Me.” I am my biggest problem. I just get in the way of God’s work and I think sometimes I really aggravate my husband. Even our oldest grandson has spells where he says, “Don’t talk to me MeeMaw!”  That’s my grandma name. I can tell he’s mad at me for some reason. OUCH! See, I must be my own problem because otherwise, how could I upset these two precious guys????  Continue reading

What do you do when your world is ROCKED?

TheTumbleLees

Bill on top of Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury, NC. This was a milestone moment for him as he is petrified of heights, but yet he loves to hike! He was here in September 2014.

It’s been six months since Bill was given the shocking news he had heart disease and could suffer a massive heart attack anytime! That was what the radiologist told him on December 15, 2016. We will never forget that day – and now we join the club of understanding what it is like when your world is ROCKED with a health diagnosis that wasn’t expected.

We would like to be encouragers to others who also might get a horrific diagnosis, whether heart, cancer or some other life threatening diagnosis. Both of our fathers and my step dad succumbed to cancer – so we have intimately walked the cancer journey and that was really our fear – never heart disease. While on our current journey to better health, and to reverse his heart disease (YES, that is possible), we have stumbled across the fact that our new low sodium Hearth Healthy Diet (whole foods, very few processed foods, lean meat, lots of fresh vegetables, and fruit is now our dessert – and we’ve eliminated man-made sugar) is also a GREAT cancer preventative diet – as well as is what is recommended for cancer patients by the American Cancer Association.

We now understand that it feels like – it is shocking! In fact, he doesn’t remember the two days after he got the news. He was actually numb. The most important lesson we learned is that your doctor is not paid to be your friend, he or she is paid to prescribe you medicine to heal you or slow down the disease or to perform the surgery needed to remove whatever disease that can be surgically removed and/or subscribe other treatments, such as radiation.

Upon being diagnosed, you are then given more information than you can absorb, how will the disease affect your life and what your next steps are. For us, we were blessed that Bill’s brother and wife are both RNs and have dealt with heart disease personally. They became our mentors. And then the new cardiologist the Radiology center found for us was about the best doctor we’ve ever met. No matter what we were told, the most important lesson we learned is that if you are diagnosed, you are your own best advocate, researcher and finder of facts. I will say, most men aren’t very good at this from my experience in our families.

I couldn’t fathom how Bill would handle this. But he took ownership of it! He began to research what it meant, what he needed to do and how he had to take full responsibility for his journey to good health.  Fortunately, his NEW cardiologist stays up on the latest information and set the tone for Bill. He suggested what Bill “should do” (radically change his diet and exercise for a cardio workout) and told him to do his research! The burden was then on Bill – he had to drastically change his diet.

The next lesson we learned is that “food is medicine.” From Dr. Axe’s website: 

Hippocrates was to thank for the famous quote, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” — which we translated to “food is medicine” and use as our motto. Still to this day medical doctors and historians consider Hippocrates to be the founder of medicine as a “rational science.” Considered to be one of the most influential figures in the history of medicine and healing, Hippocrates was ahead of his time when, around the year 400 B.C, he advised people to prevent and treat diseases first and foremost by eating a nutrient-dense diet. Why is a calorie not just a calorie when it comes to your health, and how come it matters so much which types of foods you get your calories from? Foods provide us with energy (calories), but they do much more than that. The foods you include in your diet also play a critical role in controlling inflammation levels, balancing blood sugar, regulating cardiovascular health (including blood pressure and cholesterol levels), helping the digestive organs to process and eliminate waste, and much, much more.

Ugh, this sounds boring, doesn’t it? Not if your life depends on it! Neither Bill nor I were very good in biology. Although we both were good students, but much of what we had to learn was above our “pay grade!” But Bill’s life depended on it – and in time, I realized so did mine!

We had heard about controlling inflammation levels – but that didn’t really hit home until the diagnosis. Bill did feel hypoglycemic from time to time, so balancing blood sugar was a new thing he had to learn about as he learned in addition to heart disease, he was also insulin resistant. And of course, now cardiovascular health is his #1 priority. So let’s look at one other “boring” topic – that is lifesaving! Quoting from the same source:

Perhaps more than anything else in our lives, the foods we regularly eat help determine whether or not we will become ill, or remain healthy into older age. Whether vegetables, fruit, meat, oils or grains, foods contain influential substances including antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, fiber and much more.

Phytonutrients???? What’s that? Let’s click over to another section of Dr. Axe’s website:

Phytonutrients are nutrients found in plants that develop to protect the plant from damaging environments. Plants are exposed to excess ultraviolet radiation, predator pests, toxins and pollution, resulting in the generation of dangerous free radicals within their cells. These free radicals can then bind and damage proteins, cell membranes and DNA of the plant.

Fortunately, phytonutrients simultaneously develop to shield the plant from such damage as well as provide their color, flavor and smell. Why is this important to us? Since we are exposed to radiation and various environmental elements just like plants, we need phytonutrients to protect us.

How do we get phytonutrients? We get them by eating the plants! Each plant contains tens of thousands of different phytonutrients that can act as antioxidants, hence it’s key to eat high-antioxidant foods in order to fight free radical damage.

And guess who else wants to weigh in on our diets?

The American Cancer Society defines phytonutrients or phytochemicals as:

plant compounds like carotenoids, lycopene, resveratrol and phytosterols that are thought to have health-protecting qualities. They are found in plants such as fruits and vegetables, or things made from plants, like tofu or tea. Phytochemicals are best taken in by eating the foods that contain them rather than taking the supplements or pills.

So this is now the foundation for our new way of life. The next thing we learned was how bad two food additives are to ALL of our diets! Granted, with the population explosion, feeding the world is getting more and more difficult. So what to do? Food additives to stretch the food supply. Thus our focus is on eating whole foods and minimizing processed foods. We’ve learned that SOY can play havoc with our hormones (this is another whole blog, but for more, read here) and it is in SO MANY processed foods. Thus, we are eliminating as many as we can. If we must buy something processed, we check the ingredients. The other food additive is SUGAR we now avoid. Even artificial sweeteners as your body doesn’t really know the difference, it processes both the same. Our new sweets are our fruits – natural sugar from fruits and vegetables (yep) are good for you and are part of the “whole” foods mentioned earlier.

Sugar – is it bad or good for you? This is probably the most important thing anyone who wants better health, anyone who has been diagnosed with heart disease or cancer, needs to understand the facts around “added” sugar. We received this information a few months ago from another source. But Dr. Axe sure spells it out nicely, with links to additional information and footnotes:

Most people blame dietary fat for heart disease. And while certain industrial, inflammatory fats like trans fats do cause heart attacks, sugar is the real culprit. In fact, in 2016, researchers unearthed a huge sugar industry scandal, proving that the sugar lobby sponsored phony Harvard research in the 1960s. Turns out the sugar lobby paid Harvard researchers to take the heat off of sugar’s health effects, instead turning the focus on naturally occurring fats’ supposed role in heart disease. (1)

This faulty “research” concluded there was “no doubt” that the only dietary intervention required to prevent coronary heart disease was to eat less cholesterol and to eat polyunsaturated fat instead of saturated fat. (2)

We now know this is not true. In 2014, researchers were able to scientifically show that ingesting too much added sugar could significantly increase your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. In fact, people getting 17 to 21 percent of calories from added sugar face a 38 percent higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those who got just 8 percent of their calories from sugar. The relative risk was more than double for those who consumed 21 percent or more of their calories from added sugar. (3)

So how are we doing after six months?  Fantastic! We have both adapted to our new way of eating, which has become second nature to us. We are committed to it and are looking forward to Bill’s next check up in August. Bill was pushing his way out of a size 36 waist and I was pushing myself out of size 12 clothes. To be realistic, we never feel we are on a diet or that we are trying to lose weight – it just happened. We finally had to buy some clothes as ours were literally falling off. Bill has lost 50 pounds (now size 32-33) and I’ve lost 25 (now size 6). As I wrote in my last post about my heart disease, I was an expert at losing – and gaining weight. I can say, this is different – it has not been a “diet” it is now a lifestyle.

Is any of this new information for you? What has been your experience? Are we late in getting on this band wagon, or are we on to something?

We want to encourage others to “think outside the box” to not just accept the diagnosis. Ask what more can you do to help your “condition.”  Ask about nutrition. We are convinced there is a correlation between disease and diet….

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. Genesis 1:29 ESV

Memorial Day – May 29, 2017

TheTumbleLees

From left, Bill, his brother David and wife, Linda, and yours truly.

We were so happy and blessed to be able to attend the third annual Memorial Day event at the Civil War cemetery in Vernon, Illinois. We remember fondly the event from 2015, written about here in case you missed it. We didn’t think that day could be topped but this years event was equally wonderful. This post will be mainly photos of the wonderful displays.

Continue reading

Memorial Day (2015 & 2017)

IMG_5662

On Monday, May 25, 2015, at the re-dedication and the 100th anniversary of the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) Civil War statute at the entrance of the Civil War cemetery in Vernon, Illinois.

We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. … Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”  -Gen Logan, 1858

This quote was taken from someone I respect and follow, click here for her blogger’s post – which I just read. I’m a bit behind. We’re probably like many Americans. Memorial Day is a day off from work, a day to picnic and be with family and shop a few sales. My dad was a real patriot, but I don’t remember him making a big deal about the holiday – other than we had a family cook out for most of my adult life.

Finally, in 2015, we were able to really understand and participate in a wonderful Memorial Day “celebration.” Which is really strange, to celebrate those who gave their lives so we could live in the land of the free? My blogger friend  also addresses this issue.

Fortunately, we were invited to attend this event by my husband’s brother, David Lees and his wife, Linda. David works with Dr. Mark Murfin. Dr. Murfin recruited David to become a Civil War re-enactor years ago. Dr. Murfin then discovered this cause, the re-dedication and the 100th anniversary of the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) Civil War statute at the entrance of the Civil War cemetery in Vernon, Illinois. I’m sure he is familiar with the above quote, because that is what drove him to start a wonderful tradition….and it continues. We missed last year (2016), but were so happy to be able to attend this year (2017).

IMG_5628

May 25, 2015 David and Linda

IMG_5609

Dr. Mark Murfin (a general surgeon) opens up the program in 2015.

IMG_5671

We were treated to a wonderful picnic – the meat was provided and we all brought covered dishes to round out the meal. I decided to include this picture instead of all the food and other festivities. My brother-in-law with his colleague, Dr. Mark Murfin, founder of this wonderful new tradition. These two re-enactors have traveled to many events. Now they have one close to their hometowns!

The Vernon G.A.R. Park was established on October 28, 1893 after Elbridge Robinson and his wife, Martha, donated and deeded one acre of ground to the Trustees of James L. Jones, Post #632 Grand Army of the Republic. Regarding the land transfer, Robinson declared:

… the said trustees, on consideration of being deemed said above described plat of ground, agree to hold and care for the same as a Memorial Park and place and keep a flag pole at the center from which the national colors are to be housed on all state and national public days so long as said post remains in existence. When said post ceases to exist, the said plat of ground… to go to the village of Vernon so long as said village uses the same as a Memorial Park, hoisting the national flag on all state and national public holidays, and cared for the grounds and trees as the trustees of the said post did….

At the first Memorial Day event, Monday, May 25, 2015, a speech was given by Pastor David Rogers, First Baptist Church, Vernon, Illinois at the re-dedication and the 100th anniversary of the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) Civil War statute at the entrance of the Civil War cemetery in Vernon, Illinois. This is not an exact duplication of the speech as this was written after the fact and from his notes:

I come to you today to try and give a perspective from the Bible, why memorials are important according to God’s Word. There are many memorials mentioned in scripture.

In the ark of the covenant were to be kept a sample of manna; Aaron’s rod that budded; and, a stone copy of the 10 commandments.

These three things were important because they represented something the Israelites wanted their children to know, something from each of these important events. So the upcoming generations to come would see:

1) The bread God gave Israel to eat in the desert when they were brought out of Egypt: they wanted to have something in there to remind them about God’s wondrous care for them;

2) God told Moses to get a rod from each of the 12 tribes, to write each leader’s name on them – and Aaron’s name to be written for the tribe of Levi. And God miraculously made one of those rods bud, it produced almonds. That was Aaron’s rod. It was to tell the people God was in charge, that He was going to pick the leaders, they were not to pick them. The story continues in Numbers 17:8-10 – the next day Moses entered the Tent of the Testimony and saw that Aaron’s staff, which represented the house of Levi, not only sprouted, but it had budded, blossomed and produced almonds. Then Moses brought out all the staffs from the Lord’s presence to the Israelites. They looked at them, and each man took his own staff. The Lord said to Moses, “Put back Aaron’s staff in front of the Testimony to be kept as a sign of the rebellious. This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so they will not die.”

3) And finally, the third item kept in the Ark of the Covenant, the tablets of the 10 commandments written by the hand of God, a memorial to God’s concern for our need of laws right and wrong, civility, and morality. I’m wondering how many remember this is where we find the morality that God has designed for mankind.

Why was the container of manna placed in the most Holy Ark of the covenant? As a memorial to God’s care for His people’s physical well-being.

Why was Aaron’s rod that produced almonds placed in the most Holy Ark of the Covenant? As a reminder of God’s judgment upon the rebellious.

And why were the 10 commandments placed in the most Holy Ark of the Covenant? As a reminder of God’s laws.

All three were placed there for future generations to see, to not repeat similar rebellions, and to respect God’s power and resolve.

But there were other memorials in Scripture:

In Joshua 4, we see what happened after the whole nation had finished the miraculous crossing of the Jordan River. Twelve men were chosen from among the people, one from each tribe, to take 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan from where the priests stood and they carried them over to the place where they stayed that next night.

This was to serve as a sign, a memorial. In the future, when your children ask you what do the stones mean? From Joshua 4:7, “tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel for ever.”

Two more biblical memorials as we prepare to close: First, the cross. The tree upon which Jesus died, it hangs around necks, it dangles from ear lobes, on necklaces, and bracelets. It can be seen as far away in Effingham, Illinois or high on the Hill in Bald-Knob, Missouri.

When you look at the cross, do you see the absence of the Savior, risen, alive, sitting at the right-hand of the throne of God? Or are you reminded of Him nailed there, bleeding, suffering, dying for you?

George Bernard wrote a hymn in 1913 and published it in 1915, the same year the GAR memorial was erected (the “memorial” we were re-dedicating on this date) – and some other songs that were more popular that year:

“A little bit of heaven (Sure they call it Ireland)”
“Carry me back to old Virginny”
“It’s a long way to Tipperary”

The hymn George Bernard published in 1915 has stood the test of time,The Old Rugged Cross.

And the last biblical memorial I will mention today is the communion table in most churches. Do you remember what it says? “This do in remembrance of me.” Jesus’ words to his disciples, admonishing them to take part in the communion, the Lord’s supper Service regularly until He returns.

We have many memorials in life: monuments, historical markers, and even wedding rings.

By far and away the most important memorial we have is the cross of Jesus Christ. On this memorial day I urge you to remember these three memorials in the Ark of the covenant:

The Jar of Manna: God’s care for you physically.
Aaron’s rod that budded: God’s care for you mentally.
The 10 commandments: God’s care for you socially.

Today, remember especially the cross: God’s care for you spiritually–eternally. You will die one day and there will be a memorial stone placed where your body lies.

But what you do today with the cross will determine where your spirit resides.


To safely shoot these pieces of artillery, it takes six men to safely fire: the powder monkey, who is in charge of carrying the gun powder and ammunition to the cannon; a gunner who aims the cannon; load crewmen, who packs the ammo and the powder into the barrel; and a man of higher rank who instructs these artillery personnel when and where to shoot the gun.

The day was absolutely wonderful and as we said then and will continue to say, it was the best Memorial Day we’ve ever attended as honor was truly paid to those who gave their lives for the freedom of this country. Let that soak in a bit….

Here is a link to all the pictures from this event. Next write up will be from this year, 2017’s event. It was just as amazing and honoring to our fallen warriors from WWII….