Monday, May 28

MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE

MEMORIAL TRIBUTE
Because of those who fulfilled their call ... America's freedoms are enjoyed by us ALL!

"There is a debt of gratitude we owe to every individual who built up or protected our land, our borders, or our national interests. Without all those folks who contributed of themselves what God entrusted to their care, this Nation of America would not be 'the home of the brave and the land of the free!'"  
Keith and Brenda


With the military experience I (Brenda) have, and with our family's undying love for God and Country, I can't help but give a great big shout-out to my colleagues and fellow service members in uniform, both past and present!  I also, with Keith, salute those military families who serve now or formerly, who committed to years of duty to this great Nation of ours, praise God, especially following loved ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Some of the most highly decorated warriors did not survive the wars they fought to win. We praise God for them and honor them for their courage, valor, and sacrifice beyond the call of duty! Known to have helped save countless lives, those who gave their own life in fulfilling their roles as warriors for our American safety, freedom, and constitutional rights, we honor them for pressing Toward the Mark of integrity first, service before self, and excellence always, even to their making the ultimate sacrifice to resist the enemy's initiatives and to rescue comrades and allies in the enemy's sights. These warriors were born with courage, unwilling to compromise their commitment to support and defend our Constitutional values and principles, never allowing themselves to be seen as vulnerable to the opposition's cruel tactics. Our heroes who died to save others, even hundreds or thousands of fellow Americans, did so knowing the harm that could come to them, even risking being captured, interrogated, and tortured! Many suffered well beyond the time in the war, taking life-altering wounds and pain home with them, even til their death. I have friends and colleagues from my military service career, and also some law enforcement career friends, who still live with great pain... still from those times when they put their lives in danger, doing their job because they were fighting for our freedom! For these heroes, the cost they still continue to pay from some terrible times to look back on, I am certain we can pay toward our indebtedness to them by paying our respects on Memorial Day. We are so grateful to our fallen warriors for what they did for others, for us, for their sacrifice to help defend the freedom of our future generations. So, this Veterans Day Weekend, on behalf of our American warriors and their families... Relax, Smile, and Enjoy God's Goodness!

We would like to also say, if you know any family members of military troops or veterans, then you are fortunate to know some of our most-amazing unsung heroes!  To all who stood faithfully alongside loved ones, who wear a uniform to protect and defend our country, we want to say "THANK YOU!"  And not only do we pay you special tribute this week that is set aside for Memorial Day celebrations, but we honor you, in our hearts, every week of the year!

For many more messages of faith and vision, similar to this one that you're about to read, request your copy of "Keep the FAITH Keep Your VISION" by visiting the TowardTheMarkInc WEBSITE today.


        We dedicate this message to all who have played a part in the building of this great Nation!  Just think, if not for the contributions of the American workers and developers - scientists; doctors; engineers; business, church and community leaders; manufacturers of innovative products and lasting products that are proven timeless; and all who helped build our society - imagine where we'd be, or n-o-t be.  Every individual who gave of their skills, talents, gifts and abilities to make our Nation great, as we know it, we stand in honor of them.  We take time to offer special recognition of those who gave of themselves, and made the ultimate sacrifice.  In the words of the patriotic song many sing on behalf of our uniformed service members, "All gave some; and some gave all."  Nothing of freedom comes free.


We think there's a key word to describe the power of people, when we're bringing our gratitude to the credit of the mentors and leaders who raised us, and taught us, so we could come to fulfill our part in building our beloved America -- that word is IMPACT.  We heard once from a wise mentor that, if you watch a person, you can, in due time, tell a whole lot about to whom they accredit the skills and abilities they've developed.  So, as we talk about Memorial Day, remembering folks who had a great impact on our life, who helped shape the way we perform in our relationships, work, and community, we must take time to reflect on the one(s) who imparted into our lives those disciplines we have come to follow.

In your years of school and work, who can you recall that had the greatest impact on you?  Maybe the one who had the greatest impact on you was your dad or another parent, or a wonderful teacher, supervisor, pastor or other faith leader, sports coach, or ... the list could go on and on.  For you, who do you credit for what you have learned that has helped make you who you have come to be, today?  Who was it that showed you what it looks like to work hard?  Who showed you what integrity is?  Who taught you how to be committed to doing, and completing, what you are uniquely called to do in your life?

Was there a definite individual who took time and interest in pulling out your natural skills and talents, when you didn't recognize them on your own?  Was there a significant person who helped you understand what to expect of yourself and others, and how to be accountable to God and others?  If so, it's more than likely that, your identifying these people defines them as great examples of mentors, those who paved the way for you to do and to be what you were created by God to do and be.  Without those specially-present men and women being there to speak into our lives, or coming to adopt us as the son or daughter they never had, there would be no need to honor folks, or a need for a Memorial Day set aside to remember them.

The fact is, whether those who we honor include God or another person in our lives, none of us can fulfill God's call on our lives without the help of those around us.  That being said, to those who played a tremendous role in making our way in life, we remember and honor them.  We owe them a debt of gratitude.  Absolutely everyone desires to have that one person, or more than one, who believes in them.  Who would you pay tribute to for paving the way for your understanding of who you are, compared to who you have the potential to be?  Who was it that encouraged out of you the things God made you to do or to be, in your life?  Who was it that looked in your life and saw the wealth of what God deposited there, when you were convinced that you have no worth at all?

Just think about the list of people who helped us along the way.  If we do anything great, it is, at least in part, because of wonderful people in our lives.  Today we have a great opportunity to praise God for them, and to remember them.

When we use the word "remember," does it mean we just "think about," or is there more to it than that?  To answer that question, let's read the Scripture where Jesus is hanging on the cross, completely innocent and perfect in His own life, being crucified for all of our sins, for all of mankind.  There were two criminals also being crucified on a cross of their own on either side of Jesus.  The one to His left recognized his wrong-doing and Jesus's wrongly suffering for doing nothing wrong.  The one to the right of Jesus was really an angry person!  He just tested everybody and was a very bitter person, sadly, to his life's bitter end.  That malefactor told Jesus to save Himself, and the author of the Bible passage below describes that man as "talking with Jesus in numbness."  Luke 23:39-43 reads like this, "And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save Thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise."

The pain of crucifixion is so tormenting! It is because the people designed it that way. When the person was nailed to the cross and the cross was stood upright, hanging there with the force of gravity at work, their body would pull apart from the downward pressure and the weight of the body. Their bones would pop out of joint. The rib cage would come in on the lungs, constricting the lungs.  Now, you've got this excruciating pain, with these spikes running through your hands and feet, your body being pulled apart and ripped into pieces, and, on top of that, you can barely breathe, lesser yet being able to get air enough to even speak!  Now, wait a minute!  Why would someone, suffering this kind of tormenting pain, spend his last dying breath to ask Jesus to "think about" him when he comes into His Kingdom?  He wasn't!  

The malefactor, with his last dying, painful, all-but-impossible-to-get breath, cried out to Jesus, "Lord, I am broken in pieces!  My life has been torn apart!  Please, when you come into Your Kingdom, would You PUT ME BACK TOGETHER?!"   

We all have areas in our lives where we have been broken.  And, just like the malefactor on the cross asked Jesus to please "remember" him, the great news is, if we ask Jesus to please "remember" us and make us whole, He will do it for us as well!

See, when God fashioned the human heart, only He knew just how intricately complex it is.  Having that in mind, God gave Jesus a special anointing j-u-s-t for healing broken hearts.  Luke 4:16-20 reads like this, "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him."

Contrary to popular belief, "time" does not heal broken hearts; only Jesus can do that!  A broken heart cannot be healed over time.  Time never has and never will heal broken hearts.  Jesus Christ, and Him alone, has a special anointing God gave Him just for healing the broken-hearted and making them whole.  This is what we call "redemption."

Let me share with you something that the Holy Spirit whispered to me one Saturday afternoon, concerning redemption.  There I was, mowing my lawn, on a beautiful sunny day, when I was finishing up and looked up the street and saw that, in the park, a group of people had gotten together to hold a flea market.  I cleaned my self up a bit and headed to check out what that flea market down the road had to offer.  I love flea markets and I could hardly wait to get there.  Just as I walked into the entrance of the park flea market, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, very plainly, "Keith, Jesus l-o-v-e-s flea markets!  And, the fact that you love flea markets too, means that Christ's Nature is in you."  You see, flea markets are filled with a bunch of items that were once worth good money but, now, because of ordinary life, and often from abuse, they are broken and now sitting on the side of the road to be sold for a nickel on the dollar, if that much.  Then, as Jesus, "Life's Consummate Flea-Marketer", comes strolling through the aisles of the flea market, He sees what is broken, buys it back, and heals it, making it better than new.

Just like the items lay on the tables at flea markets, are you broken and had pieces torn off and lost?  Does it feel like you've left parts of yourself on the side of the road of life?  Are you scarred?  Do you feel as if people have robbed you of the best parts of "you"?  Do you feel that you have wasted your life doing something that God never intended for you to do?  Have you had people use you in a way like folks would use a priceless end table as a stepping stool?  Have you had people in your workplace, family, or church misuse you and your valuable gifts for things that God did not create for you to do and be?
Just as the malefactor on the cross who, himself, was broken and torn apart, cry out and ask Jesus to "re-member him", do you need Jesus to "re-member you"?  Did you happen to see yourself in the mirror of the last paragraph?  If so, I would like to quote for you the chorus in a song that I've written, "I'll Fix Your Broken Heart." It goes like this...

"I'll fix your broken heart; heal your broken mind.
Gonna give you a brand new start, gonna make up wasted time.
A Love like you've never known comin' down from The Father's Throne,
He'll give you eyes to see; He'll set you feet on stone."

We want you to know that we attest to the fact that Jesus Christ is the Great Redeemer.  And, just like He has done for the two of us, and for the partners of this ministry, He will do it for you!  He can make you whole.  All you have to do is ASK.  And He will make you whole as well.

He's making us whole, and we're here to testify to the fact that Jesus Christ is the healer, nothing like the old Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme.  In Humpty Dumpty, he fell off the wall and the story says that it took all the kings horses and all the kings men to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.  Okay, so it took all the king's horses and all the king's men to put Humpty Dumpty back together; to re-remember him.  Right?  It was because he was dis-membered!  With all due respect to the king's men, and as cute as this rhyme might be, the truth is, and I repeat, God has given Christ Jesus, and Him alone, the anointing just for healing broken hearts. Being "dis-membered", we just need to call out on Jesus, and He will put us back together.  He w-i-l-l make us whole.  He is the only Person in all of the universe that can bring us to the place of wholeness, so that we can walk in the fullness of the joy that the Scripture talks about.  Call on the Holy Spirit today.  Ask Him to illuminate The Scriptures to you, so they will be able to bring that fullness in your life, that will help those bad habits, that will bring that kind of healing to bring change to you, so that you can walk in the newness of life that we're promised in Christ Jesus.  It's beautiful and we all need to be put back together!

The Holy Spirit is the only Person that knows you better than anybody else on the planet.  To put you back together, or to re-remember you, it takes only God's voice in the Holy Spirit.  Jesus had to first sacrifice, and go through the death, burial, and resurrection, for us to be "redeemed" and, then have the Holy Spirit.  He and put back together as I pieces that were broken apart when you meet the Holy Spirit you feel Celebrated to the point that the area in your life that is been haunting you that is been hurting you and all comes in the wholeness when you're with the Holy Spirit all your broken pieces come back together again the Holy Spirit has the ability to remember us to put us back together so given the Scripture in the word allow him to terminate the Scripture to you can't the word in you study the Scriptures and watch it come to life and as you do this will come joy will come and you will then be able to REJOICE.


All of us who are God's Children need to remember that satan is seeking to find those who will likely fall prey to his deception and destruction, because of their lack of knowledge of God's Word, because they are unaware that there is no authority that satan has over our lives, unless it is given him by our being opened to allow it in.  We must be ready for battle at all times.  We may not win every battle, but in the end we win the war!



Just as we, as God's Children, suffer through times of brokenness and confusion, often regretting decisions we've made and actions that have put us into situations of compromise with our relationship with our Heavenly Father, so, too, has the leaders of our great Nation made poor choices along the way.  So often, we have allowed political correctness to drive a wedge between us, as Americans.  We can't let that happen!  Now, like no other time in our history, we are splintered, broken, and torn as a Nation.  No matter what it is that comes from the enemy to divide us, we cannot stand by and allow satan and his minions to work through the ungodly among us, to destroy this great Nation that our ancestors have suffered, sacrificed, and died to provide for us!  It is time, now more than ever, for us as Americans, to cry out to Jesus Christ asking Him to please "RE-MEMBER US"!


THANK YOU for connecting with us this Memorial Day week!  Also, we always appreciate when you download copies of this blog to share with others, and to keep handy for your own reading and encouragement, time and time again!



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Your friends & servants in Christ,



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#Luke23:39-43


To Show GOD BIG in a World that Sees Him small… sums up the reason Keith stepped out in faith to focus on reaching the lost and strengthening believers everywhere, through Toward The Mark, Inc.  Keith and Brenda's prayer is that you will be encouraged and edified by the Secrets from God's Word that Keith recounts in our written and recorded products.  The complete collection of original podcasts, music, blogs, books, CDs, and other resources of Toward The Mark, Inc. are made possible by the prayer and financial contributions of the TTM Support Family.  We'd like to welcome you onboard TODAY!

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