Memorial Day

A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim
Walt Whitman, 1819 - 1892
A sight in camp in the daybreak gray and dim,
As from my tent I emerge so early sleepless,
As slow I walk in the cool fresh air the path near by the hospital tent,
Three forms I see on stretchers lying, brought out there untended lying,
Over each the blanket spread, ample brownish woolen blanket,
Gray and heavy blanket, folding, covering all.

Curious I halt and silent stand,
Then with light fingers I from the face of the nearest the first just lift the blanket;
Who are you elderly man so gaunt and grim, with well-gray’d hair, and flesh all sunken about the eyes?
Who are you my dear comrade?

Then to the second I step—and who are you my child and darling?
Who are you sweet boy with cheeks yet blooming?

Then to the third—a face nor child nor old, very calm, as of beautiful yellow-white ivory;
Young man I think I know you—I think this face is the face of the Christ himself,
Dead and divine and brother of all, and here again he lies.


Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night
Walt Whitman, 1819 - 1892
Vigil strange I kept on the field one night;
When you my son and my comrade dropt at my side that day,
One look I but gave which your dear eyes return’d with a look I shall never forget,
One touch of your hand to mine O boy, reach’d up as you lay on the ground,
Then onward I sped in the battle, the even-contested battle,
Till late in the night reliev’d to the place at last again I made my way,
Found you in death so cold dear comrade, found your body son of responding kisses, (never again on earth responding,)
Bared your face in the starlight, curious the scene, cool blew the moderate night-wind,
Long there and then in vigil I stood, dimly around me the battle-field spreading,
Vigil wondrous and vigil sweet there in the fragrant silent night,
But not a tear fell, not even a long-drawn sigh, long, long I gazed,
Then on the earth partially reclining sat by your side leaning my chin in my hands,
Passing sweet hours, immortal and mystic hours with you dearest comrade—not a tear, not a word,
Vigil of silence, love and death, vigil for you my son and my soldier,
As onward silently stars aloft, eastward new ones upward stole,
Vigil final for you brave boy, (I could not save you, swift was your death,
I faithfully loved you and cared for you living, I think we shall surely meet again,)
Till at latest lingering of the night, indeed just as the dawn appear’d,
My comrade I wrapt in his blanket, envelop’d well his form,
Folded the blanket well, tucking it carefully over head and carefully under feet,
And there and then and bathed by the rising sun, my son in his grave, in his rude-dug grave I deposited,
Ending my vigil strange with that, vigil of night and battle-field dim,
Vigil for boy of responding kisses, (never again on earth responding,)
Vigil for comrade swiftly slain, vigil I never forget, how as day brighten’d,
I rose from the chill ground and folded my soldier well in his blanket,
And buried him where he fell

 

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Dangers of Overprotective Parenting

Lance and Dante talk about why being an overprotective parent has negative consequences on our children and their development. Studies show that over coddling our children can have emotional, behavioral, and even cognitive repercussions.

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Put away childish ways

1 Corinthians 13:11English Standard Version (ESV)11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

In the next few posts we will unpack what it means to move from boyhood to manhood (moving from Milk to Meat).

If this verse makes you ponder, convicts you, or challenges you to take your life, your walk with God to the next level, then pray!  Ask God to reveal things in you that need to move from boyhood to manhood.

Blessings,

D

The Top 5 Secrets to Life

Philippians 4:11-14New International Version (NIV) 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.

1 Timothy 6:6-12New International Version (NIV) 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Final Charge to Timothy 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Here is my list of the top 10 Secrets to life:

  1. Whose is it anyways?  Matthew 22:21New International Version (NIV) 21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.  Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”  If you are rational at all, then ask yourself who made the heavens and the earth and who created who?  God and only God.  All things are vanity if we do not put this into perspective.  Therefore, if you acknowledge the Authority in your life as God then you submit to His Word (The Bible) and then you know that everything belongs to Him.  So now what am I supposed to do if I accept and subject myself to this authority?
  2. What side of the Ledger am I on? - If we were to draw a line down a piece of paper and on the left side write down all the things that will be burned away at Judgement (the things we did out of selfism and pride and lust and for no other authority than our self or the god of this world (small "g") and on the right side the things that truly were done for God, meaning that when the intentions are burned away these were pure and done out of the Glory of His name and for His Kingdom.  Please note that I am not referring to a "works-based faith" here, rather, I am talking about our call as disciples about what we are supposed to be doing once we receive this gift of Salvation.  Refer to what I am discussing here as our call to stewardship of the three "T's" in our life:  Time, Talent and Treasure.  What we do with these and how we live with this is our call to discipleship.
  3. Have I learned the Secret to life in my lifetime?  Whether I am well fed or hungry, rich or poor, no matter my station in life am I content with what God has given me.  This is not to say that I do not want to achieve more, grow more, learn more.  Rather, it is saying that I am being faithful with what God has given me so far and that wherever He takes me in this world, whatever He gives me and how he desires me to live - It is all for His Kingdom, His Glory and His Honor that I do what I do today.  Dear Lord, help me to die to myself each day, hour, minute and second of each day and find your will and ways in all that I do.
  4. What's holding me back?  This may be a tough question to ask ourselves each day, but let's be honest and ask, "Are you seeking God's will each and everyday in your life?  Your lips and words may say so, but then your actions and deeds tell a different story.  If we are honest with this and want to find contentment, that is, the Secret to Life, then honestly ask yourself if you are in His word (the Bible) every day.  Is the Bible the authority in your life?  Are you submitting and obeying to His Word daily?  If you truly are seeking biblical contentment than less is more.  Less of me and more of God each day in my life is more not less.  The World says less God and more self, but God's word says die to the old self and put on the new self (Read Colossians 3).
  5. What Fruit is my life bearing? Galatians 5:13-24New International Version (NIV) Life by the Spirit 13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Let's be honest and on the back of the ledger that we have drawn from above put a line down the middle of the paper and on the left side write the Fruit of the Sinful Nature (Read Galatians 5) and on the Right Side write down the Fruit of the Spirit listed above.  Check what fruit in your life by placing honestly each on both sides of the paper.  Give up and repent of the sinful nature and thank the Lord for the Fruit of the Spirit.  Ask for Him to reveal the sinful nature stuff that needs to be put do death and to lead you into His fruit and to help guide your into His Path.

2 Corinthians 13:5-7 New International Version (NIV) 5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed.

What's holding you back?  What does biblical contentment (the Secret to Life) look like in your life?

Blessings,

D

Lessons for my son from the Musical: Hamilton

About two months ago, my wife and I and her best friend took my son to Chicago and I met them for the Musical Hamilton.   Contrary to the controversial politics and inappropriate treatment of the Vice President (VP Mike Pence) who also came to visit this production, I enjoyed the story of Alexander Hamilton and the talented cast that performed it.  Speaking of which, to all actors and entertainers, when I pay for a venue of which is a tendered contract between your boss and me, the consumer, I am paying you for the right to be entertained.  I am not asking for nor am I paying for your political view nor am I asking for your opinion on political matters. If that were the case, then you would be running for elected office and if I believed in you, as a candidate, then I would use my God-given right to vote for you in hopes that you would be elected to represent WE THE PEOPLE.

Sorry, as I digress.

Anyway, back to the musical Hamilton.  I thoroughly enjoyed the performance and story line along the way.  It was fun to discuss with my son during intermission and afterwards about how accurate and what was missing from the story of Alexander Hamilton.  There was a part of his life that gave an excellent teaching moment between my son and I and the choices that we make so early in life could actually cost us everything that we want later.  It was great to be able to talk about values that we share on Legacydads.  

There is so much more that I could share in regards to that conversation between my son and I, but I suppose that I will wait for another post or perhaps a podcast with Lance.

Near to the end of the performance and loss of their son, Phillip Hamilton, they sing a song called, It's Quite Uptown:

It's Quiet Uptown [ANGELICA] There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down

[ANGELICA/ENSEMBLE] The Hamiltons move uptown And learn to live with the unimaginable

[HAMILTON] I spend hours in the garden I walk alone to the store And it’s quiet uptown I never liked the quiet before I take the children to church on SundayA sign of the cross at the doorAnd I prayThat never used to happen before

[ANGELICA AND WOMEN] If you see him in the street, walking by Himself, talking to himself, have pity

[HAMILTON] Philip, you would like it uptown It’s quiet uptown

[ANGELICA AND WOMEN] He is working through the unimaginable

[ALL MEN (EXCEPT HAMILTON)] His hair has gone grey. He passes every day They say he walks the length of the city

[HAMILTON] You knock me out, I fall apart

[COMPANY (EXCEPT HAMILTON AND ELIZA)] Can you imagine?

[HAMILTON] Look at where we are Look at where we started I know I don’t deserve you, Eliza But hear me out. That would be enough

If I could spare his life If I could trade his life for mine He’d be standing here right now And you would smile, and that would be enough I don’t pretend to know The challenges we’re facing I know there’s no replacing what we’ve lost And you need time But I’m not afraid I know who I married Just let me stay here by your side That would be enough

[COMPANY (EXCEPT HAMILTON AND ELIZA)] If you see him in the street, walking by her Side, talking by her side, have pity

[HAMILTON] Eliza, do you like it uptown? It’s quiet uptown

[COMPANY (EXCEPT HAMILTON AND ELIZA)] He is trying to do the unimaginable See them walking in the park, long after dark Taking in the sights of the city

[HAMILTON] Look around, look around, Eliza

[COMPANY (EXCEPT HAMILTON AND ELIZA)] They are trying to do the unimaginable

[ANGELICA] There are moments that the words don’t reachThere is a grace too powerful to name We push away what we can never understand We push away the unimaginable They are standing in the garden Alexander by Eliza’s side She takes his hand

[ELIZA] It’s quiet uptown

[COMPANY (EXCEPT HAMILTON AND ELIZA)] Forgiveness. Can you imagine?Forgiveness. Can you imagine? If you see him in the street, walking by her Side, talking by her side, have pity They are going through the unimaginable

Certainly there are both sides of the argument toward this man and his journey, but no one can deny his past and where he started and the key role he had in the framework of this great Country.  Looking at this song there are three parts that I want to focus on about "knowing their fruit" (from Galatians 5):

  • "I take the children to church on Sunday, A sign of the cross at the door, And I pray, That never used to happen before" - I love this song and cannot get it out of my head as you can ask my wife and kids how much I play this song over the past two months.  Alexander Hamilton certainly did a lot of things wrong, of which one thing likely cost him the presidency.  He would have been a contender if not a victor if he didn't have a stain.  I think if we are honest and look back at our lives, we would not always be proud or we would definitely have told our younger self to avoid or go different directions.
  • "There are moments that the words don’t reach, There is a grace too powerful to name" - if you are a critical thinker, like myself, then put on your biblical lenses in this statement and think about where this Amazing Grace comes from.  Think about a transforming power that can take something dead and make it alive again.  Think about a God who gave His only Son to save you and I - that is a God that I want to know and serve and love.
  • "Forgiveness. Can you imagine? Forgiveness. Can you imagine?" - After an inappropriate affair that cost his political career and almost cost his marriage, the loss of a son and his wife almost leaving him (or it would seem) Eliza, Hamilton's wife, forgives him.  This part of the song is so powerful and it clasps at your heart because when you hear it, it is amazing in that he and his wife buried their son who was killed in a dual and besides that alone, all the infractions of his past cost him so much more.  But along the way (of this song) you could see how even a "dead marriage" can come alive in through the power of the Holy Spirit by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

All things are possible with God.

So the question that I have for you in this matter, is where are you right now?  Does your past define you?  Is the past so overwhelming that you cannot look toward your future?  Who is Jesus Christ in your life?  Do you know him as Savior? If not, why not?  Read Romans 10.  Read the Gospel of Mark and come to know this Lord like we do.  If you do know him, but are unable to let go of the past, then I have to ask you - is God enough?  Is the death and resurrection of Jesus enough?  Do you need more than his crucifixion and resurrection?

Let go, let God.  Repent!  Turn toward God and draw near to him and he will draw near to you!!!

Blessings,

Dante

Stuck in the middle

Revelation 3 To the Church in Laodicea 14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Dear Men of Faith,

As  you read this Scripture and think about God's call in your life, let me ask you these questions:

  • If you are married, and your relationship with Jesus directly correlated with the healthiness of your marriage, how would your marriage look?
  • If you are dating, and your relationship with Jesus directly correlated with the healthiness of your significant other, how would your relationship be?
  • If you were to take an hones look at your life and examine it would you be hot (on fire for God), cold (completely backslidden and/or not saved) or would you be lukewarm (vomit in God's mouth)?
  • How do I get unstuck?

Scripture on being Lukewarm or Stuck in the middle:

  • 1 John 2:15-16 ESV Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.
  • Matthew 12:30 ESV Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
  • Matthew 5:13 ESV “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
  • James 3:10-12 ESV From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
  • 2 Timothy 4:3 ESV  For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
  • 1 John 3:10 ESV By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
  • 1 Peter 3:15 ESV But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
  • 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 ESV Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
  • Matthew 16:26 ESV For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
  • Matthew 12:33-37 ESV “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
  • 2 Timothy 3:4 ESV Treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
  • Revelation 3:16 ESV So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
  • 2 Corinthians 6:14 ESV Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
  • 1 Timothy 4:1 ESV Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,

Seasons change and life impacts us all in so many different ways.  Christmas time, for instance, can bring some joy (thinking of family and loved ones and times together) and for others can cause pain and hurt (loss of loved ones or broken relationships).   It could be depression, it could be bitterness, it could be health or it just could be that I am more satisfied (or likely unsatisfied) about the state of being that you/I are currently am in versus taking the steps necessary to draw near to God and see what His will in my life.

That last statement actually gets to the core of where I am trying to go with this:  Are you going to get off the throne of your life, or your lukewarmness and place God where He needs to be in each of our lives - on the throne room of our hearts!

Is God the God of our entire life or just the parts that we want to "let go of?"

Blessings,

Dante