November 25, 2010

Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart - VIDEO

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families.

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation (1789)

It is quite a blessing to read Washington's numerous acknowledegements to God throughout his proclamation too.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to"recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

G. Washington (his actual signature)

November 20, 2010

The Reward of Faithfulness

Recently, I had a challenging opportunity to compose a sermon for a class assignment and the requirement was to choose a chapter of the Bible and preach an exposition of the chapter within a 10-minute time limit. 

The passage I chose was Matthew 25 and it is 46 verses long.

This was quite a challenge since I have previously worked in passages that were 7-10 verses long.  Choosing this passage was more of a greater challenge to myself because I wanted to test my ability to summarize the chapter in an expository manner.

John MacArthur provides a great 2-minute overview of what it means to preach in an expository manner.  Just click here to listen to his explanation.

My expository skills are getting better with each new opportunity I receive and I am applying what I have learned and read from the various books regarding expository preaching too.

Chapter 25 of Matthew's Gospel contains three parables:
  • The Parable of the Wise & Foolish Virgins
  • The Parable of the Talents
  • The Son of Man Will Judge the Nations
I admit that preaching an exposition of a chapter from the bible leaves out a lot of meat that can be fed to people and probably wouldn't choose to preach chapters on a regular basis in the future.  I hope that at least what you will see in this video will at least whet your appetite just a little bit, to study the chapter a little further for personal edification.

I received a passing grade for this assignment and had to prepare for a second preaching experience the following week, which I may put up here on my blog before Thanksgiving.

So, for now, here is a 10-minute expository overview of Matthew 25 and The Reward of Faithfulness.

November 14, 2010

Sunday Morning Psalm: God is Full of Compassion

But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. Psalm 86:15. 

“But thou, O Lord.” What a contrast! We get away from the hectorings and blusterings of proud but puny men to the glory and goodness of the Lord. We turn from the boisterous foam of chafing waves to the sea of glass mingled with fire, calm and serene. “Art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” A truly glorious doxology, in which there is not one redundant word. As we have before observed, it is mainly transcribed from Exodus 34:6.

Here is compassion for the weak and sorrowing, grace for the undeserving, longsuffering for the provoking, mercy for the guilty, and truth for the tried. God's love assumes many forms, and is lovely in them all. Into whatsoever state we may be cast, there is a peculiar hue in the light of love which will harmonize with our condition; love is one and yet sevenfold, its white ray contains the chromatic scale. Are we sorrowful? We find the Lord full of compassion. Are we contending with temptation? His grace comes to our aid. Do we err? He is patient with us. Have we sinned? He is plenteous in mercy. Are we resting on his promise? He will fulfil it with abundant truth. 

Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David


Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computer software]. 

November 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Marines

On November 10th 1775, the Continental Congress established a corps of Marines, which was led by the first Commandant of the Marine Corps, Captain Samuel Nicholas.

Ever since the day I earned the title of Marine, November 10th has always been a very special day to celebrate. 

My father and grandfather both served their country as Marines and it was a great privilige for me to see both of them present when I graduated from Parris Island, on 14 February 1992.  Yes, on Valentine's Day.

The Marine Corps has changed a bit since I got out in 1995, mostly in tactical training, equipment and technology and it is definitely way better than when I was in ('91-'95).

One thing hasn't changed much though and that is the way the Marine Corps makes Marines.  It is still the hardest 12 weeks of life changing training every recruit experiences and never forgets.

Every Marine never forgets their Senior Drill Instructor and maybe even recalls the name of their receiving DI too.

My platoon drill instructors were SDI SSgt Hayes, DI Sgt Shannon, DI SSgt London and my receiving DI, Drill Instructor Sgt Edwards.

For many that were on the Island, Parris Island that is, we may all remember the Chaplain, Chaplain Dennis Rocheford, an enlisted Marine who served in Vietnam who later got out, earned his degree and later a masters in divinity, returned to serve as a United States Navy Chaplain.  Attending his services on Sunday during bootcamp was very refreshing.

I even remember the DI I met at the recruiting office in Mount Vernon, New York, just 3 months prior to leaving for boot camp, DI Sgt Aviles.  The honor roll call could not leave out SSgt Pitre who recruited me to join too.

Marine Corps League Birthday Brunch, November 2009
This birthday post could not go without expressing my gratitude to my wife, Kristi who is now part of those Marine Corps celebrations too.  She married one crazy Marine that's for sure. LOL

I've been fortunate to have seen the world a little bit, met some great guys both on and off active duty, still keep in touch now with many through Facebook where the bond is still the same and it's a bond that just cannot be explained and only Marines really understand.  Semper fi.

In 2008, I had the great privilige to be reunited with two guys from my bootcamp platoon 1017.  Shawn Jeffords (L) and Peter Bragino (C).  We had a great time reminiscing about our days when we were terrorized by our DIs and equally spoke of the great admiration and respect we have for them, because they made us to be like them and they lived up to making us what they said they would do on the first day of training.

These are my recruits. I will train them to the best of my ability. I will develop them into smartly disciplined, physically fit, basically trained Marines, thoroughly indoctrinated in love of Corps and country. I will demand of them, and demonstrate by my own example, the highest standards of personal conduct, morality, and professional skill.

And they did.

So today, Marines around the world celebrate the birth of our beloved Marine Corps, in every clime and place, in the snow of far-off Northern lands and in sunny tropic scenes, I wish all Marines a Happy 235th Birthday of our beloved Marine Corps.

Semper fi!

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