Friday, May 27, 2011

Tribute to a Soldier who Died for His Country

Gerald’s Story – A Tribute to Valor

This soldier really did lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:13
Greater love hath no man than this,that a man lay down his life for his friends.

June 6, 1944... So long ago, on a beach so far from the heartland of America, the course of history was changed. The liberation of Europe began, and the life of T/Sgt Gerald Henderson ended.

This is the report of his death given when the Distinguished Service Cross was awarded to his family after the war ended.

“For extraordinary heroism against the enemy on June 6, 1944, in Normandy France, on D-day, Technical Sergeant Henderson, while exposed to intense enemy artillery, mortar, machine-gun, and small arms fire, heroically supervised the unloading of men and vehicles from his landing craft. Observing that a vehicle from an adjoining landing craft had stalled, he voluntarily drove a truck along the fire swept beech, plunged into the water, and fastened a cable to the vehicle. After towing it safely to shore, he personally carried two wounded occupants to safety and rendered first aid. He returned to the beach and amid bursting shells and devastating small arms fire, courageously continuing his rescue work. While carrying a wounded soldier across the beach to a position of safety a shell landed near this valiant soldier fatally wounding him. His heroic achievements in the initial landing resulted in the saving of many lives and much vital equipment. The self sacrificing devotion to duty, personal bravery and valorous leadership displayed by Technical Sergeant Henderson exemplified the highest tradition of the armed forces. (Auth GO 92, HQ, 21st US Army, 18th infantry, antitank company)”


I wonder about the men he carried to the safety of the cliffs. I wonder if they knew Gerald in the first place or if they were just strangers in need of help. I wonder if they survived the war. Did they have children already who would have lost their father that day. Were they married? Did their mothers learn that their sons were saved, but Gerald's mother lost her son that day?

And mostly I wonder what these men did with the rest of their lives? Since Gerald's life was cut short so their lives could run a natural course, did they feel any obligation to live their lives in a way that would make Gerald think his sacrifice was worth it that day?

Today, other soldiers are fighting all over the globe. It isn't called a world war this time, but it surely appears to be one. And I know bravery and self sacrifice are not limited to any one generation. There are soldiers today who may wish things were different, but never the less, they will do their duty to the highest measure necessary.

But bravery and self sacrifice are not limited to the battlefield. That is just the obvious place people look for such heroism. In truth, bravery worthy of the highest honor is present all around us, in all levels of society, economics, and cultural variances. The character that allows such bravery to defy extreme adversity is built daily in the lives of men and women and children who just get up and do what is required of them every day. Most days it isn't that hard. Some days it is very hard. And on that occasional day when doing one's duty seems impossible, the individual who has already set the habit of "just getting the job done" will just get the job done that day as well.

I have heard the question, "Have you thanked a vet today?" asked many times over the years. I suppose the question is supposed to make us think of the price paid for our freedom and the American way of life. But how would you thank the veterans who did not return? A proper tribute is in the way each of us lives our lives. There are three things everyone who lives with the blessing of freedom should do.

First, fully acknowledge that complete freedom is only possible through Jesus Christ. But he uses all sorts of people to allow us the freedom we enjoy in every day life

Second, only accept the boundaries in our lives that are imposed by God and national law that doesn't contradict God's law. This means DO love God, keep the commandments, treat others the way you want to be treated, be moderate, and be modest. It also means DO NOT allow your self to be ruled by political correctness, social acceptability, or peer pressure. These things will only add unnecessary complications to your life and hinder you from doing whatever God actually has for you to do.

Third, lay down your life. Surrender to God. True surrender means agreeing to do what God asks of you before you actually know what it is. Then it means doing what you know to do every day. The husband and father who provides for his family often has to set aside many personal wants and ambitions to do what is best for his family. The mother who cares for her children 24 hours a day has to lay down things she wants to do in order to do what needs to be done. Children
 who obeys his or her parents will set aside their own desire in order to be obedient. Just do your duty - in full measure. What ever your race is for the day - just do it as well and cheerfully as possible.

In full surrender to God, and consistent completion of duty - you will come to realize that your fulfillment could not be greater, and your joy will only grow greater. You will be taking full advantage of the freedom provided by God, and all those He used to provide your freedom. You will effectively have "thanked a vet" by the way you live your life.

I wrote this song - I have no tune to go with it.  It works well to the old hymn 'We Gather Together'.  If you have time and patience to write music - I would love to hear it.

Gerald's Song

Our freedom was bought by soldiers of honor,
who sleep in the valley of the shadow of death.

Now weeping endures for the night but God promised,
joy comes in the morning with a trump and a shout.

I'll see you tomorrow when the trumpet shall sound,
 the death song from sorrow to victory resounds.

Grave clothes all changed for white robes and crowns,
 I'll see you and know you when the trumpet shall sound.

Your face in the picture, your laugh in my mind,
all fade and grow dimmer one day at a time.

The words on the tombstone may weather away,
but your name is on the Father's hand awaiting that day.

I'll see you tomorrow when the trumpet shall sound,
 the death song from sorrow to victory resounds.
Grave clothes all changed for white robes and crowns,
 I'll see you and know you when the trumpet shall sound.

Our redemption was bought by God's son the Savior,
crucified, buried, but rose up the third day.

Ascended to heaven to be with the Father,
but coming back to receive us with a trump and a shout.

I'll see you tomorrow when the trumpet shall sound,
the death song from sorrow to victory resounds.
Grave clothes all changed for white robes and crowns,
I'll see you and know you when the trumpet shall sound.

I wrote these lyrics - but I need someone to write music to go with the lyrics.


Barbara Henderson

If you want to read more about Gerald (Pappy) Henderson, Franklyn Johnson wrote a book called 'One More Hill'.  Pappy Henderson is Gerald.  The book was just republished with photographs, and according to Frank, it is now required reading at West Point.  I correspond with Frank several times a year. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Are you a Zealot for Christ or a Zealot for the World?

Zealots of the World versus Zealots of the Gospel

by Barbara Henderson

It is a pleasant thing when someone has a calling, a profession, or hobby that they enjoy or believe in enough to pursue it with zeal. People who pursue something with zeal may fall into the following areas:
Naturalist – a person interested in biology or zoology.

Environmentalists – advocates or works toward protecting from pollution .

Climatologists – deals with climate and how it works.

Animalists - animal behavior specialist or one believing man lacks a spiritual nature.

Evolutionists – biological evolution instead of creation.

Humanists – emphasize human advancement above human reconciliation with God.

Earth religions – new age umbrella term used to cover religions that worship and seek guidance from the earth, nature, fertility gods and goddesses.

Human rights champions – believing all men are created equal and should be allowed equal rights.

Materialists – more concerned with material things than spiritual or cultural things.

However, there are those who follow their calling, profession, or hobby to the extreme become Zealots. Some examples of zealots in the modern day are:

Naturalist Zealot – a person whose interest in biology /zoology has led them to adoration/worship of the things they study, and gives them cause to ridicule and persecute those who do not also worship as they do.

Environmentalist Zealot – one whose zeal in protecting the environment has led to rabid and irrational over protectionism.

Climatologists Zealot – one who sees the climate as the key to saving the planet, and sees his/her self as the savior of the world through efforts to limit the impact and number of human beings.

Evolutionist Zealot – one who sees evolution itself as a form of god.

Humanists Zealot – one who sees man as being able to advance through social manipulation until man becomes god.

Earth Religion Zealot – varies greatly, but earth centered in thinking and actions – opposes any restriction to doing what seems right to them at the moment.

Animal rights Zealot – go beyond animal welfare to animal rights – working toward giving animals legal standing.

Materialist Zealot – goes to any means, even illegal, to amass goods. Luke 12:16-21 tells a sad story of a Material Zealot. Material Zealots probably don’t want you to have anything. Their goal is to get it ‘all’.

Some commonalities of these Zealots are:

They have a presupposed unproveable ideology which may be changed to better suit the social and political climate of the day.

They spout their theories as though they were absolute facts and unalterable truth.

They intend to convert everyone to their viewpoint – even by oppression and/or force.

Political and social tyranny are their weapons of the day.

They are aided and abetted by all aspects of the news and entertainment media.

And, worldly Zealots of any sort will accept and promote any celebrity as an ‘expert’ who happens to think like they do. That is why we have the simple minded Hollywood crowd testifying before congress as experts. I guess they ‘feel’ like they are experts, so that makes them experts.

The common denominator among all these ideologies is salvation by works. Each one puts mankind at the center of an undetermined future. If mankind steps up to the plate and sacrifices and works toward saving the environment, the earth, the climate, and nature then the earth will be saved. Or, if mankind just realizes its potential and begins to think like a god, then the earth will benefit and human beings will take a quantum leap forward in evolution. Men and women will be like gods. Regardless of the specific goal, each religion under the guidance of its zealous adherents, requires sacrificial work on the part of the novice adherent in order to make the desired outcome possible.

Many of these zealots fit into more than one category, as they all overlap at some point into a mass of collective humanity.

All these zealots are servants of the collective. The foundations of all these works based religions and their followers all have their foundation on shifting sand. Whatever whim seems useful or good at the moment is a tenant of their faith. The path to ‘salvation’ today is obsolete and useless tomorrow. The only things that consistently stay the same are:

• Mankind must save himself

• Jesus Christ is NOT the way

• The God of the Bible is ineffective, unhelpful, and should not be considered when making government rules or social standards.

Because of the ‘reasonableness’ of their vision for the future of the planet and mankind, they ‘feel’ justified in implementing their vision for the future through whatever means necessary. Manipulation, deception, lies, and outright force against the ‘unconvinced’ are all justified in their thoughts. Those not influenced down the ‘right path’ by the social and political tyranny inflicted on dissenters are labeled as ignorant and singled out for ridicule and marginalization.

One thing that is often very noticeable about Zealots of the world is that they demand behavior modification from the human collective (you, me, and everybody but them), but they don’t actually live by the standard which they preach. Look at any Climate Zealot, or Environmental Zealot. The more prominent they are, the more outspoken they are, the less they follow their own preaching. Al Gore for instance, has made a fortune promoting climate change. He wants us to all conserve everything while he only uses more and more. He justifies himself by the ‘carbon footprint offsets’ that he sells. His increasingly lavish lifestyle gives no hint of his care for the climate. He has no intention of lifting a finger to save the earth. He just grows rich while scaring children. He is a Climate/Materialist Zealot. And – who was that moron who suggested we save the planet by ‘using only one sheet of toilet paper’? She should have been laughed off the planet for that remark – and if she only uses one sheet of toilet paper – well – I hope she washes her hands well and changes her underwear often. Of course, excessive hand washing and laundry will use more water and put a strain on the environment that way. She probably needs to rethink that. The truth is of course that she isn’t planning to do anything she suggests you do.

Zealots are not all bad. In fact, Zealots can be divided into two groups.

• Those who believe they are right in converting others to their view point through deception, coercion, aggression, force, and ultimately the choice between life and death.

• And, those who believe that in order to be a true follower of anything, the individual must have free choice. No one can be forced or scared into believing anything in the depths of his or her heart.

All Zealots are religious in their thinking and in their actions. ‘Religion’ is defined as ‘something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: (example – to make a religion of fighting prejudice. ) Worldly Zealots place their particular ‘religion’ above anything else in importance. They proselytize for their religion. They condemn those who don’t jump on their band wagons.

For all the fanfare and hype, people are ultimately left with the same two options that were given to Adam and Eve in the beginning. The individual must chose to either believe God or believe His adversary the devil. There are no other real choices.

I mentioned that to the first type of Zealot, deception is an acceptable tool to be used to his or her advantage. One very evil thing wicked Zealots do is to take the only two real options given to mankind, and make it appear that there are many options available. If one is not happy with the environmentalist movement, then pick the humanist ideology and get on board their agenda train. If one does not like the socialist movement, or the animal rights movement, then get on board the climatologist or naturalist train. It doesn’t matter. The seeker is able to try many ideologies until they find a cause which stirs their souls. It appears that the seeker has many options from which to choose. This gives the father of lies many different soap boxes from which to broadcast various options. Every itching ear is a potential new zealot for the same old lie. It is the goal of all zealots to make zealots of all who join their ideology group.

The real unalterable truth is that the seeker still has the same two options. The seeker must either believe God, or believe the serpent.

The second type of zealot, a zealot for the Truth, is prohibited from coercion, deception, force, or any other type of persuasion except simply telling the truth. That is the truth according to the Holy Bible. If a Christian steps into any form of conversion outside the bounds of truth and love, then they have strayed from the teachings of Christ. And, it is unnecessary to use any of the worldly tactics to convert others to Christ. The power of Christ is in His gospel. It only requires that the truth be told repeatedly.

An example of a worldly sales tactic is that when someone wants to sell a product, the exact same product is presented in many different ways. The goal is to come up with something that interests one group of buyers, and something else that appeals to a different age bracket or demographic . That is a worldly tactic, and not worthy of those who present the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

A Zealot for the Gospel must act according to the example of Jesus and the instructions given to us in the Bible. There is no hint of Jesus or anyone in the Bible doing anything to make the Gospel more appealing to the unsaved. No one in the Bible becomes ‘like the world’ in order to get a more receptive audience or a bigger audience.

If you desire to be a Zealot for the Gospel:

Do the things Jesus says to do.

Don’t ask other people to live by Biblical standards unless you live by them yourselves.

Be kind, tender hearted, and forgiving.

Love one another as Christ loves you.

Remember, everything boils down to the same two choices.
Chose to follow God, or chose to reject Him.

A natural course that follows your decision is that you are made again in the image of the God/god you serve.

If you are a Christian, the more zealously you serve Christ, the more you conform to His image.

If you are a zealot of the world, the more your image conforms to the things of this world.

I would like to add one more thing.  If you are a Christian - but not zealous for the things of the Lord, then you are a lukewarm Christian.  Remember what Jesus had to say about lukewarm Christians  in  Revelation 3:16.  He said, 'So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.'