As I was watching television this weekend, a commercial came on that showed pictures of the wives and children of police officers and soldiers who had sacrificed for our country. I got to thinking that perhaps if there were more commercials such as this one, that showed these folks as real people, then maybe others would stop rallying against them. (Well, it was a good thought…)
Unfortunately, not all of the people that wear these uniforms are good people, but neither are all the doctors, the engineers, or even those in the clergy. When did the men and women that serve to protect and uphold our country suddenly become the bad guys? They are people, just like us. People that have families, just like us. People that believe in what our country stands for enough to put their lives on the line.
I titled this story, “A Tribute to Michael,” because just like those service men and women featured in that commercial, Michael is a normal young person. What sets him a part though is that he continues to believe in the values that this country was established on.
As we watched Michael grow up, it wasn’t uncommon to hear stories of how Michael had stood up for the underdog or reached out to someone who needed a friend. I guess we really weren’t surprised when we learned of Michael’s desire to serve his country. What has shocked us though, is how intolerant many of his generation have become.
Nowadays, the enemy is becoming more difficult to recognize. He has embedded himself within our educational institutions and is creating misplaced devotion. He spews his lies from the mouths of popular public figures and politicians and he infiltrates his agendas in the minds of young and old alike through music and television.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”
This can be difficult. It often means feeling alone even though we are surrounded by a crowd of our peers. Young, old, or in-between it does not matter. When you choose to take a stand for righteousness, you may find that you are the only one standing on your side of the line.
The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. He will try to convince you that you are alone, but the truth is that God stands with us. God promises us in His word that:
He will never leave us! Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
He is with us! Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
He will strengthen us, help us & uphold us! Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Nothing can separate us from Him! Romans 8:38-39 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
For all the Michael’s in this world: Be encouraged. Don’t give up! I leave you with Ephesians 6 – “When you have done all else to stand, stand firm.”
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, divine utterance may be given me, so that I will boldly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it fearlessly, as I should.