Tag Archives: Illinois

Loyalty Unhinged

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“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Written by Swagga4Christ Biblical Writer, Stephen A. Peterson © 2013

David O’Connor was a really good person and soldier.  A student at Father Scecina Memorial High School and later as a medic in the United States Army, he saw his work as service to his country for the greater good of humanity, and especially to the more than 200 men and women of his military unit.  David was fully committed to service at all costs and was willing to give his life in service to his country.  Evidence of David O’Connor’s commitment was observed on his desk.  He had, in a picture frame, a picture of the crucified Christ and to the right side these words:  “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

Christ’s words were not merely words to Sergeant David O’Connor.  They expressed his commitment to his duty as an Army leader.  A commitment he knew he might someday demand the ultimate—his life.  That day did, in fact, occur in Vietnam.

As every Christian knows, Jesus submitted himself to his words shortly after He stated them.  Unlike any person who ever lived, Jesus knew exactly what He was to experience.  It is impossible for anyone then or today to fully grasp the totality of His agony and suffering.  In recent years, biological and medical scientists have been able to reconstruct physiological information with regards to His roughly 20 hours of relentless torture without sleep, food, water or relief.

As God, Jesus could have spared Himself of the suffering, humiliation, torture.  He was without sin and did not deserve to be brought to trial.  His death was the greatest example of human injustice ever recorded in the annals of humankind.  To this day, even some Christians cannot understand Jesus’ sacrifice and death.  They ask “why”.  They believe there had to be another less painful, less humiliating way to deal with humankind’s sins.  Others have referred to His death as “altruistic suicide”, “hari-kari”, or the result of Him having humiliated the government and religious leaders of His day.  But crucifixion?  Crucifixion was reserved for the most dangerous evildoers, treasonous, murderers of the Roman state as documented by the writers of that era.

A love (agape) humankind cannot understand drove Christ to His death on the cross.  It is only through humility, faith, trust in Him, and acceptance of our human imperfections do we come to even recognize His sacrifice.  Any other approach or explanation defies reason and logic in the human mind.

 

Memorial Day 2013

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In honor of Memorial Day, please join me in solemn remembrance of the friends, family and neighbors that we have lost in defense of our freedoms and way of life, men and women who gave, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, ‘the last, full measure of devotion’ to our country.

With thousands of men and women still serving in harm’s way, our gratitude and appreciation only continues to grow. The members of our armed forces represent our nation’s highest ideals, personifying the sacrifice and patriotism central to the American experience. The United States would not be the great nation that it is today if it were not for the courage and valor of the proud individuals who have served in defense of our values.

On this Memorial Day, as we pay tribute to those serving and to the fallen, I hope you will consider the following quote and take some time to show your appreciation to the veterans in your life and our communities:

‘As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.’
– John F. Kennedy

Very truly yours,
Jack

Jack D. Franks
State Representative
63rd District

Easter Musings

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” John 11:25

4525749Below is Some Easter Musings from Military Outreach Greater Chicago

Easter is a wonderful time for Christians as we reflect on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  It’s the miracle of all miracles and the basis of our Christian faith!  When thinking about Easter, we also think about Jesus’ final hours and words to those of us here on Earth.  Looking at Jesus’ words to his disciples before His ascension and the rest of Scripture, one can see similarities regarding how Christians are called to live here on earth and what our soldiers around the world are called to do on a daily basis to protect our country.  It is interesting to see the overlap and perhaps, no one is better prepared to understand what it means to be a Christian than one of our military men or women.

  1. Longing for Home – Christians recognize that this world is not our home.  We will never feel at home here on this earth and experience a sense of longing for the day when we will join our Savior in heaven.  Our men and women serving in the Armed Forces experience a sense of homesickness every day they are away from family, friends, and the familiar surroundings they leave behind to serve our nation.  They are foreigners in a land that is not their own and one they are unfamiliar with.  They long for home.
  2. Ambassadors to Those Around Them – Our military men and women often serve as the first faces many non-Americans see and as such often are the first impression that a foreigner has of who an American is.  Likewise, Christians are called to be ambassadors of Christ, serving as a sort of first example to the people around them of who Christ is and what it means and looks like to be a Christian.
  3. Facing Difficulties and Trials – Jesus never promised us that the Christian life was going to be a picnic. It was going to be tough and filled with suffering.  Our troops go through unimaginable suffering from both visible and invisible wounds they might carry for the rest of their lives.  Both overseas and at home, our troops face unique challenges that require physical and mental fortitude.
  4. Fighting An Unseen Enemy – The Bible tells us that our struggle as Christians is not against other humans, but against spiritual forces and Satan.  Similarly, our military members are often fighting unseen enemies.  Sometimes these are people who seem friendly but are really suicide bombers.  At other times, it is the emotional and physical forces that our military personnel must wrestle with.  Our military personnel must always be ready for the unpredictable.
  5. Prepared to Fight – The Bible calls us to put on the full armor of God which will protect us against the enemy.  We are to be prepared for battle and ready to give an answer to anyone who has questions about our faith.  Likewise, our soldiers have to be constantly vigilant and prepared for battle.  They need to be properly armed and equipped to face those that seek to destroy them.

As we reflect on Easter and all that Christ accomplished for us, we should be mindful of our military members who face similar and far harder situations on a day to day basis than most of us deal with here in the United States.  Have a wonderful Easter and remember, Christ has Risen!!