ARLINGTON, Va. — Sixty-four years ago on Feb. 23, 1 945, U.S. Marines stormed the sands of Iwo Jima and raised the American flag atop Mount Suribachi.
In honor of the 64th anniversary of that historic event, dozens of spectators and Marines, including nine individuals who fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima, gathered at the Marine Corps War Memorial today for a flag-raising ceremony.
One of the Iwo Jima veterans present at the event acted as a forward observer during the battle, calling for and guiding indirect artillery fire from the island.
“The [flag-raising] brings back so many memories,” said former Pfc. James Wheeler, a Falls Church, Va., native. “It gave me goose bumps all over to see that flag go up again.”
Wheeler also said Feb. 23 should be an important date everyone should remember because a lot of Marines sacrificed their lives for that victory.
Before the ceremony’s conclusion, the Iwo Jima veterans placed a wreath at the base of the memorial to pay homage to those who were killed during the battle.
The Marine Corps War Memorial was sculpted by Felix de Weldon, using the iconic flag-raising photograph shot by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal. The memorial was officially dedicated Nov. 10, 1954, on the Corps’ birthday by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
“This war memorial is a reflection of all Marine sacrifices. Not just the Marines who fought at Iwo Jima, but Marines who fought years before that, years after that and today,” said Michael Kessler, national executive director for the Young Marines National Headquarters and a retired Marine colonel.
Daily Reflection and Prayer
by Mark D. Roberts
Laity Lodge Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence
Sorrow for Those Who Do Not Know Christ
READ Romans 9:1-5
My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ! —if that would save them. [Romans 9:2-3]
The transition from Romans 8 to Romans 9 is a sharp and surprising one. Paul has just affirmed the incredible good news of God’s love for us, a love that will never be taken away from us. But then he changes gears dramatically, admitting “My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief.” Why? Because so many of his Jewish brothers and sisters have not recognized what God has done in Jesus Christ. God’s own “adopted children” (v. 4), those who had received his manifold gifts as his chosen people, did not see in Jesus the fulfillment of God’s plan for them. And this fills Paul’s heart with grief because he cares so deeply for his fellow Jews.
As we make our way through Romans 9-11, we’ll reflect further on the playing out of God’s faithfulness to the Jews. For now I want to focus on Paul’s grief for those who don’t know Christ. This anguish comes, in part, from Paul’s compassion for the Jewish people. It also stems from his experience of God’s love in Christ, that which is, for Paul, the most wonderful thing in all creation. Thus Paul aches because he wants those he loves so much to know the inestimable love of God in Christ.
Many of us know this sort of sorrow. It comes when dear friends or family members don’t know the love of God in Christ. Because we love them so much, we want them to experience the wondrous love of God. I have spent many times as a pastor with parents weeping over their children who aren’t Christians, or with husbands aching because their wives don’t know Christ. Paul’s example suggests that this kind of sorrow is not to be neglected. Rather, it moves us to be faithful in praying that those we love will come to know the Lord. It also encourages us to be a channel of God’s love to others, so that they might be drawn to Christ through us.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Are there people in your life for whom you have sorrow because they are far from the Lord? What do you do with this sorrow?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, when we experience the joy of knowing you, we want others to feel that same joy. When we delight in the assurance of our salvation, we want those we love to have this same confidence. Thus when our loved ones do not recognize you, our hearts are heavy. Like Paul, we are filled with sorrow, wanting so very much for those we love to know your all-surpassing love for themselves.
I expect, Lord, that our sorrow is like your own sorrow in some small way. You created us to be in relationship with you, to know your love and live our lives in service to you. But we have wandered far away from your love. And so many have never returned, like the Prodigal Son, to your forgiving embrace. So as we feel sorrow for those who don’t know you, we are sharing a bit of your heart.
May this sorrow not leave us until those we love come to know you. Instead, may it motivate us to prayer and to living in a way that your love is evident in us. O Lord, may those in our lives who don’t know you see your grace in us. May they be drawn to you. Reach out to them, dear Lord, even today. Amen.
Shocked Obama Considering Bringing 9/11 Mastermind to the U.S.
I’m Lorraine Arias-Beliveau, and my wonderful brother, Adam Arias, was taken from us in the horrendous attack on the World Trade Center by murderous Islamic terrorists.
On the morning of September 11th, I was driving to the dentist’s office in New York City when I saw the shadow of a plane pass over very quickly. It was flying dangerously low and was extremely loud. It wasn’t but a few minutes later that I heard through the radio that the first World Trade Center tower had been hit.
Later, sitting in the dentist’s chair, I heard over the radio about the second tower being hit. I had that terrible feeling because my brother worked in that building! The phone lines were down, I could not call anyone, so I drove to my parent’s house a few blocks away to tell them not to go out.
I heard later that Adam had been seen running all over his office urging and pleading his co-workers to get out of the building and get as far away as possible. Our other brother, Lt. Col Don Arias who worked for the Air Force, had called Adam, VP of Operations for Euro Brokers on the 84th floor, and told him “get out, it is a hijacking!”
There were reports that he even forced some people out to safety, and many people today credit Adam with saving their lives. Reports say he was last seen outside the towers helping the firefighters leading people to safety. Adam stayed to the very last minute, trying to get as many people out as he could, but he did not make it away from the towers before they collapsed. We were notified on the 8th day that Adam’s remains had been found.
Our family has been waiting for seven years to get justice for our little brother Adam. When our family was invited down to Gitmo late last year to attend the trial of the alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, we thought justice would come soon. What we saw was heartbreaking; it was like a circus! There he was, this monster who engineered the murder of my brother, and he was so smug, laughing at us, boasting about his terrible actions.
We were then startled earlier this year to learn that President Obama had called all the trials to halt, and issued an order to close Guantanamo Bay. Honestly I cannot think of a worse way to honor Adam and bring justice to his killers. They do not deserve to leave Gitmo; they do not deserve a trial in our federal court system. And, they sure don’t deserve the constitutional rights that will enable them to escape prosecution.
Too many Americans are unaware of the important role Guantanamo Bay plays in not only holding these murderous terrorists, but also providing a source of new intelligence to help our military men and women win the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That is why Move America Forward has prepared a TV advertisement to awaken people to the issues involved with bringing these terrorists into the United States. But, we need your financial support if we are going to get the TV spot on the air.
Please Make a Contribution here, so Move America Forward can run this AD on TV.
Thomas Jefferson could be called a prophet.
When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe .
The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government
No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.
Very Interesting Quote
In light of the present financial crisis, it’s interesting to read what Thomas Jefferson said in 1802 :
‘I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.
“The essential principles of our Government… form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty and safety.” –1st Inaugural Address, 1801.
Hat tip to a dear lady in Arizona.
Daily Reflection and Prayer
by Mark D. Roberts
Laity Lodge Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence
God Is on Your Side
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? [Romans 8:31]
It’s hard to imagine better news than this: God is for us! This means God is on your side. God is there to help you when you need it. God is cheering you on. God is in your corner. God has your back. Now that’s great news, don’t you think?
The rhetoric of Romans 8:31 doesn’t mean that we literally have no enemies. At times, people will oppose us. More profoundly, in this life, we are in a spiritual battle with sin and the powers of darkness. So, yes, there are forces that are against us. But, when we consider the fact that God is on our side, the power of our enemies shrinks in comparison. We have no need to fear because the very Creator of the universe is backing us up. Thanks be to God!
Of course, the fact that God is for us does not mean that he blesses everything we choose to do. God is not some blind force that we yield for our purposes. Rather, the Almighty seeks our very best. When we get off the right path, the God who is for us doesn’t send us on our merry way. Rather, he leads us back to the right way.
When I try to understand God being for me, I think of how I feel about and am committed to my own children. I want the best for them. I cheer them on. When they go astray, I yearn to get them back on the straight and narrow. When they suffer, my heart breaks. I would give anything for my children to flourish in this life.
So it is with God, my Heavenly Father, only so much more. God is for me—and you—in the most exquisite way. This great news gives us confidence to live boldly for him each day.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Do you think of God as being on your side? Or do you think of God as being against you? How might the truth that God is for you transform your life?
PRAYER: O Lord, I’ve read Romans 8:31 a hundred times. Maybe five hundred. Yet whenever I stop and think about what it says, I am blown away. Not only are you “for” humanity in general, but y ou are also “for” me. You are on my side. My side! What a wonder! It’s amazing enough that you even think about me, that I matter to you. But the fact that you are for me in a profound way is truly astounding.
When I face opposition, may I have confidence in the fact that you are on my side. May I turn to you for wisdom, for direction, for encouragement, for safety. Help me, Lord, not to be afraid, but to trust in you each and every day.
Gracious God, even as you are for me, I pray that I might be for you. May I live my life for your purposes and glory. May I seek to honor you in all that I do, at work and at play, at home and at church, in my private life and public life. In the name of Jesus, who proves that you are for me, Amen.
Love Enough To Let Go
In the message “Their Field of Pigs” we considered the parable of the prodigal son and were encouraged to remember that God will use every tool available (even pigs) to draw His children Home. Our highest desire for our children must be to see them secure in the arms of God. Notice that in this parable there’s no mention of the father between the time the son left and when he returned home. The father appears to have watched his son leave and then simply waited for his return.
The father must have known of his son’s condition while away; “this son of mine was dead and is alive again” (Luke 15:24). There must have been many reports of the son’s activities which were openly discussed with the rest of the family: “The older brother became angry…’this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home'” (Luke 15:28,30). And yet, while the son was away, the father never once stepped in to “rescue” him.
Was the father lazy and uncaring? Was this simply the product of a macho culture that didn’t show much emotion? Or rather, was this a father who truly knew how God’s grace could work a difficult situation toward a wonderful good?
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
We often reference this passage during times of personal trial. These verses encourage us to understand the purpose of our difficult times and to trust God so fully that we actually rejoice because we know He is using our trials to make us complete.
Many of us understand and at least try to apply these verses in our own life. But it’s an additional step of faith (a very big step) to trust and apply these verses in the life of others – especially those we dearly love. If we are to rejoice in our own trials because of the good being worked within us, there is also a sense in which we should rejoice in the trials of others.
As painful as it must have been, the father allowed God to complete His work – even though it meant his son would actually long to eat with the pigs! And yes, this father loved his son.
When someone we love goes astray, let’s continue to lift them up in prayer – always let them know they are loved and continually speak a gentle message of truth. Let’s NEVER give up hope, but let’s allow God to finish the glorious work He’s begun. Let’s trust Him above ALL else and love enough to let go.
Daily Reflection and Prayer
by Mark D. Roberts
Laity Lodge Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence
God Works All Things Together for Good
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. [Romans 8:28]
—I grew up hearing Romans 8:28 in the King James Version, which proclaimed: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” This translation, though possible in Greek, made “all things” the subject of “work together for good,” as if the world was somehow endowed with the ability to make sure that good prevailed over evil.
The New Living Translation, along with many contemporary biblical translations, chooses another possible rendering of the Greek, making God the specific actor of the sentence. Rather than having all things work out for good, in this version “God causes everything to work together for good.” Surely this captures the fundamental message of Romans 8:28, no matter how you translate the original Greek.
In this fallen world, good and evil are mixed together like flowers and weeds in a wild garden. We all experience both blessing and suffering. Sometimes it’s hard to make sense of the bad that happens in our lives, especially when it is laced with injustice. But God, in his providence, is able to weave all things in life together into a tapestry. When we finally look upon the finished product of our life, we’ll see the beautiful picture God has been weaving.
In the meanwhile, when bad things happen in our lives, we hold on to the promise that God will use them for good, not just his good, but our good, if we love him and are part of his sovereign purpose. Thus we can endure the hard times, confident that God is using them for the best. Our task is to be faithful to God, letting the difficulties of life be part of God’s work in and through us. Thus, as Howard Butt Jr., has said, we will learn to be “good stewards of pain.”
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you experienced hard things in life, things that you later understood to be part of God’s good work in your life? What helps you to trust God when things in your life aren’t going as you had hoped?
PRAYER: Gracious God, how glad I am that you cause everything to work together for good in my life. As I look back upon hard times—and they were really hard—I can see how you were at work through them. You are not the author of evil, Lord. You never do what’s wrong. Yet you can use even wrongdoing in your sovereign plan. How marvelous!
When I experience hard times, help me, Lord, to have confidence in you. Help me to wait faithfully, trusting that you are working all things together for good. Amen.
Hat tip to the High Calling website http://www.TheHighCalling.org
Alert to all my readers because knowledge is power.
This bug is what one would call a very sophisticated, smart virus. Read on.
From Infopackets Newsletter:
by Bill Lindner
Filed Under: Security
A new strain of malware that can spread rapidly from machine to machine
using a variety of infection techniques, including the poisoning of web
servers which then go on to contaminate visitors, has reportedly been
identified by Security Researchers. (Source: theregister.co.uk) The
malware, dubbed VIRUX by security researchers at Trend Micro, is spreading
around the globe, but seems to be …… Click to read the rest of the article (and our most recent articles)
Do you suffer from *paraskavedekatriaphobia?*
Yes, that’s really a word! It is “the fear of Friday 13th” — a fateful date which has come round once again!
So there you have it, your Word of the Day!!!
During a snow storm 3 days ago, 2 young men ages 27 and 28, were killed on the interstate, in a pileup of about 60 vehicles. This got personal for me when I realized, my very best and dearest friend of 30 some years was the aunt of the 27 year old, and I had watched his father grow up (my friend oldest younger brother!) and him as well. He had grown up and married a wonderful young woman who happened to be the niece of a wonderful friend I had known since high school. So, the tragedy has reached out and touched my heart in may ways and I am not in much of a mood to post anything. Life kind of goes in these cycles where one must cling to the lessons in life, figure out what is truly of value and take time to reach within to rest the restless soul and allow it to heal. Needless to say, I have had way too much going on and will take a break for a few days.
May God comfort Dusty’s family and loved ones with the memory of how terrific he really was, may his children always have the wonderful memory of him and his boundless love for them, and may his memory help give them all the strength for get through this time and move on till the time comes for them all to be together again in the kingdom. May the smiling, blue-eyed boy turned wonderful father, husband and man, find his way to heaven and God’s comfort and may he never be forgotton.