Thoughts on Memorial Day 2023

I don’t recall anything done especially for Memorial Day while growing up in California. I didn’t visit cemeteries, however, so they may have had flags on Veterans’ graves. And I have no doubt something was done at the National Cemeteries, and those in Normandy.

It’s nice, but also a bit sad, driving most smaller towns around here—north Georgia—on Memorial Day. Many streets have either crosses or Stars of David planted in the ground along the street. The name of a fallen soldier, sailor, marine, or airman, is attached to each cemetery-like marker and the war in which he died. So many men died early. Some may have been older, like General Paton. Or a commander in the 101st Airborne Division. I remember a seeing a picture of the General boarding a glider just before headed France on D-Day. He died in that glider before reaching the ground.

My family seemed to survive the wars. My father, an infantry officer, didn’t die when his unit, the famous 101st Airborne Division, was surrounded by Germans in the famous or infamous Battle of the Bulge at Bastogne. My father didn’t die in his glider when it “landed” in Belgium during Operation Market Place. He was wounded three times during WWII. My brother has his steel “pot” helmet, with a large hole in the side, where an artillery shell exploded sending shrapnel through it, knocking it off his head. He was left with only a headache, unharmed. He spent time in a hospital in England recovering from a couple bullet wounds, one to his leg, another to his arm. Then he went back to fight another day or two. I have a newspaper clipping of him and a horse he found after his unit took The Eagle’s Nest, which had been Hitler’s summer command post.

My father saw action during the Korean War, in the Kumsong and Kumwha Valley sectors, as well as the famous battles for Heartbreak Ridge and Punch Bowl.

But he returned home from both those excursions into hell, from the fog of battle. He didn’t talk a lot about his time overseas. His medals spoke of it, and the Screaming Eagle patch he wore on his right shoulder, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and the Airborne Wings on his chest. Purple Heart. Silver Star-twice. Too many others.

My grandfather survived both WWI and WWII. All my uncles survived WWII.

The Robinson clan had many who survived wars and battles going back to George Robinson, who fought in the Indian Wars of the 1600s.

The Robinson clan had many pastors, too.

Pastors, Preachers, Generals. Their names are in the Robinson Family Tree. For all I know, one of the forefathers from before the American line may have served with that fierce Scott who was portrayed in “Brave Heart.” Or been martyred by the Roman Catholic Church for preaching faith in Jesus Christ apart from the Roman Emperor.

I drive around and see the names on the crosses and I am sad for lives cut off. I am angry, too, for too many disgrace the nation, and those who’ve died to provide the very right of speech they use to condemn those who would stand up against the evils of these terrible times as we await the coming of our LORD. And we must await him with patience. Though we need not be silent. Pastor Franklin Graham recently said that it is out of love that we must point out the sin, the evil, people commit, for they are headed to hell.

Just a few days ago a woman, a basketball player who’d been imprisoned in Russia, stood proudly with her hand on her heart during the National Anthem. She said later she had a new perspective. Being in jail in a foreign country does tend to change the way we think of our country.

I see the crosses and remember a friend, John Speers, who was severely wounded in Viet Nam. He spent a long time in the hospital. His wife stood bravely by him. He survived the war, but it took a great toll on him. His first child, a boy Jan and John named Troy, was born a few years after Miki. They lived next to us in Paso Robles. He stayed in the Army, serving two more tours, getting out around 1978. They settled not far from Paso, in a small ranch town called Shandon. He built a house. Jan and John had another child, Heather. John worked on a ranch. He had trouble with his wounds. Metal pieces with scar tissue. Operations. Pain. He never took his shirt off. He told me once when the surgeons opened him up they simply cut him from bottom to neck on both sides, peeling open. They were a lovely couple and beautiful family. John died in 1986. I never learned from what he died. I surmise it had a lot to do with Viet Nam and the wounds. How many others survived enough to come home and later to die? How many names are missing from memorials to the fallen?

We celebrate Memorial Day with tributes to fallen men–and certainly there are women who lost their lives too. And I mourn those I never knew, who died, and I mourn those who lived short lives then died. And I mourn those who lived long, memory-inflicted lives before their final sleep of death.

I remember the Holocaust Survivors I met in Jerusalem. I saw the tattooed numbers on their arms. Some that I met lived in a small village on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The village had a wall around it and an entrance gate. Those inside were mentally ill. They’d survived physically the horrors of Hitler’s campaign, of the devil’s campaign, to destroy the Jewish People. Their minds, however, had not made it through those dark days. I wonder how many men, how many women, survived the battles our country thought necessary to wage, only to have their minds scared for their remaining days, whether short or long.

A story I was told about my father’s homecoming from the Korean War probably is a common one. I was too young to remember the event. And I was too young when Dad left to remember him when he came home. I didn’t know him. My father never told me anything about it. Perhaps my mother did. Or my step-grandmother, Francis. Probably Francis. She would have been there with my grandfather. How many men returned home to their families to find their infant son or daughter already able to walk and even talk, but not remembering him. These things too produce their own scars, to be worn like invisible medals around shriveled necks strangling the bearer.

All is vanity! said the preacher. I suppose he meant, like his father King David had written, that life is short, fleeting, like a vapor that is soon gone. And so this life we live however long it seems, is short compared to eternity. When at last our time here is done, we spend eternity with Jesus, if we know Him, if He acknowledges us. (twr 1215 words)


A Short Prayer List

Enable Us To

Rejoice always
Pray without ceasing
Give thanks in all circumstances
Not quench the Spirit
Not despise prophecies
Test everything
Hold fast to the good
Abstain from every form of evil

O GOD Of Peace
Sanctify Us Completely

May our whole spirit and soul
and body be kept blameless
at the coming of our Lord
Jesus Christ
He calls us and is faithful;
He will surely do it.

[Based on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24]

For Such A Time As This

No storm can prevail
against a person or a nation
whose King is Jesus!

Lone Cross atop a mountain in east central California, hope of a sunny day breaking through.

An ordinary woman, strategically placed before an extraordinary time in the history of a nation, finds her life’s purpose in a small, courageous act. A nation is saved from extinction.

Selected to compete in a beauty contest, Esther was pampered and prepared for some time. Esther won! Her prize was to marry a King. Life, indeed, was good! Until it wasn’t.

Esther’s story has it all. Good guys. Bad guys. Heroes and Villains.

One of my favorite lines in this story is when this sheltered queen is told to risk her life to save her people.

“Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13,14)

The celebration of the events in the Book of Esther begin at sundown March 6, 2023, The Feast of Purim.

Links to more about the Book of Esther and the Feast of Purim

Pastor Alistair Begg’s series on Esther
“God is never mentioned by name in the book of Esther—but that doesn’t mean He isn’t present! The unlikely selection of a young Jewish woman to become Persia’s queen and gain influence with a powerful king is one of many improbable turns in a story that now, over two thousand years later, is still memorialized by the Jewish people. And behind that story’s every movement, if we look closely, we can discern the invisible God faithfully at work.

“In this series, Alistair Begg walks us through Esther’s engrossing narrative, introducing us to its vibrant cast of characters and moving step by step through its surprising and dramatic twists and turns. Along the way, we’re challenged to trust in God’s guiding hand over the details of our everyday lives and to rest safely in His providence. For the unseen God, no circumstance is too insignificant to go unnoticed, and no situation is beyond His sovereign power.” (from Truth for Life)

Previously posted on JonahzSong


Purim at Sundown


Priestly Blessing
Priestly Blessing

יונינה- לא תנצחו אותי | Yonina- Lo Tenatzchu Oti

Yonina write on their YouTube channel:

“Terror strikes again here in Israel, with a shooting attack yesterday in the center of Tel Aviv. It’s hard to continue our day to day life when such tragedies happen, but that’s exactly what the terrorist want- for the Jewish nation to give up on living in our homeland. This song- “Lo Tenatzchu Oti” by Naomi Shemer, means- you will not defeat me. We’ve been singing it to ourselves lately, inspired by a post by Sivan Rahav Meir about this song. She writes that the way to defeat terror is a nation is just by continuing to live life, to create, to build. They won’t defeat us. Blessing us with a peaceful and quiet Shabbat, and praying for the health of those who were wounded. Shabbat Shalom.

[Song Translation] From my window I can see a street like an over flowing river and people go for their day job . And young children go to school with their backpack on their backs ; And in their hands they hold some myrtle branches blooming. Suddenly it becomes clear, And I say to myself: You won’t beat me I am not being defeated so fast.”

A Song for the Sabbath

A Psalm. A Song for the Sabbath. It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to Your Name, O Most High; to declare Your steadfast love in the morning, and Your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre.

Psalm 92:1-3 (ESV)

Giving thanks and praise “itself is appropriate, for there is much, under all circumstances, to be thankful for: life, health, food, raiment, air, water, friends, recollections, hopes – and, above all, the blessings of redemption, and the assurance that we may be happy forever. Many of these things may be found in the condition of all; but if all else fail, the hope of heaven – the assurance that the Redeemer died – the offer of salvation – cannot fail. That is ours, and cannot be taken away,” wrote Pastor Albert Barnes in his commentary to this Psalm.

When all else fails! Not if. May I remember that when all seems to collapse around me, there is Hope in YeshuaJesus. But most of all, may I remember to give thanks to our LORD and to praise His Name in the good times, when all seems right in my world.

Priestly Blessing
Priestly Blessing

The LORD Reigns

The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring.
Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty!
Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.

Psalm 93 (ESV)

I love how Pastor Albert Barnes comments: “The same commencement of a psalm occurs in Psa 97:1-12; Psa 99:1-9. The same idea is often found in the Scriptures. 1Ch 16:31; Psa 47:8; Isa 52:7; Rev 19:6. The thought seems abrupt here. It would appear as if the psalmist had been meditating on the dark things which occur in the world; the mysteries which abound; the things which seem irreconcilable with the idea that there is a just government over the world, and that suddenly the idea occurs, as a flash of lightning in a storm, that Yahweh reigns over all, and that all must be right. Amidst all these things God sits upon the throne; he orders all events; he sways his scepter over all; he orders all things according to his own will; he secures the accomplishment of his own purposes.”

Lone Cross atop a mountain in east central California, hope of a sunny day breaking through.
Lone Cross atop a mountain at Fort Irwin, California, hope of a sunny day breaking through. c Will Robinson. 1973.

LORD Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

Briggs Dingman: Evangelical Minister Overcame Prejudice

This Week in AG History — January 24, 1948 By Darrin J. RodgersOriginally published on AG-News, 27 January 2022 Briggs P. Dingman (1900-1968) was a renaissance man — he served as a minister, musician, author, linguist, and educator. He spent the first half of his ministry in Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches and as an […]

Briggs Dingman: How an Evangelical Minister Overcame Prejudice Against Pentecostals — Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center