Showing items filed under “Ralph Sawyer”
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Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. Ephesians 6:5-8 (ESV)

 

...were kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, with arms locked together, as the color guard presented the flag of the United States of America, center court, before one of the first, if not the first, exhibition basketball game played last year by the University of Arkansas girls’ basketball team versus Oral Roberts University.

It made me sick...I had driven with my wife, Sherri, all the way from Wentzville, roughly six hours, spent hard earned money for gas, food and tickets, to watch and cheer for the girls basketball team of my beloved Razorbacks, because during the season the games just are not possible for me to attend; they usually play on Wednesdays or Sundays.  And it had been something we had enjoyed doing with our family when the kids were all at home.  The tickets were less expensive and out of our five children we did have four girls.

It made my stomach turn and I turned to Sherri and said, “Let’s go...I’m not staying to cheer for someone who has disrespected the flag...Sherri was right on the same page, and we left our seats, center court, probably twenty rows up, and left the arena and headed out.

I know that not everything in our country is perfect; that we have many obstacles to address and overcome, but I have always had a place in my heart for our country, where any person who works hard, and has perseverance and passion can reach the dreams they have for their life.  We have seen many evidences of that occurring in our nation, we have had people of different backgrounds and experiences achieve their goals, whether it be the White House, the entertainment world, the sports world, the business world, the list could go on and on.  It has been demonstrated that the principles which are represented by the flag have indeed made it possible for many from humble beginnings to work hard and achieve their dreams. And at the same time to change the wrongs committed within our society whenever we have strayed from the ideals and principles set forth in the Scripture regarding our behavior and our attitudes.

While there are many who must work harder and have more drive than others to reach their goals, it can be done...we have seen it.  In what other part of the world can so many people play a sport and make millions of dollars which they are free to spend as they please, for the betterment of society or on themselves?  As a person who worked several jobs while attending Bible college, I can relate to hard work and difficult circumstances.  But I’ve been fortunate enough and free enough to follow the leading of the Lord in my life because I have been blessed enough to live in the United States of America.

I believe we should strive for the principles that are represented by the flag of the United States of America, “One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”  And I am grateful to live in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.”

For I realize that many who have gone before me have given their lives that I might have the freedom and blessings I enjoy.  Yes, that includes the freedom to protest.  Some people who live in our country do not hold the same view that I have regarding our nation.  They are able to voice protest, and should, when they believe that something is wrong, but even that protest must be done in an appropriate manner.

For while it is true that we have freedom of speech in our nation...we do not have freedom of speech everywhere...there are some places where it’s just not appropriate to speak freely.

For me...disrespecting the flag...anytime, anywhere, by protest, whether intended or not...is not appropriate. Others may feel differently...they may do so.  Many stayed at the Razorback basketball game and watched the contest...we did not...we wrote to the University and shared our thoughts...and before long there were no “kneeling” players from the University basketball teams on the basketball courts.  They chose other ways to voice their protest and to do something tangible that would result in change that they believed was necessary.  I say, good job!  Change the world and make it a better place...you live in a country... where you can do that...and thank you for not disrespecting the flag of the very nation that protects and encourages you to live in freedom and pursue making those changes.

What is happening in the NFL is a work place issue...not a freedom of speech issue.  All across this nation employers may restrict what an employee says...whether it be ESPN, who recently suspended one of their employees for asking their followers on twitter to boycott the advertisers of the Dallas Cowboys because the owner said if any of his players knelt during the national anthem they would not play... or if it is your workplace...where some things are appropriate to say...while others or not.

I can’t really imagine any owner of a Burger King allowing his employee, when I come in for a burger...to give me a ten minute protest of how terrible it is to work at Burger King before I get my burger. As a consumer I wouldn’t return...I’d go to some other burger joint.  I can’t imagine you could keep your job...it’s just not appropriate... but protesting on your own time...having the freedom to say whatever you want in an appropriate manner...that works...though if your boss hears you...you may have to pay the consequences.

I left the Razorback game...I went to watch some basketball...many are leaving the NFL...it has fallen from the most popular sport in America to below the NBA.  The employees of the NFL, the players...they do play for an employer... the owners...they are undermining the profitability of their own business...and I would imagine it’s only a matter of time where the employers and the league will institute a rule that will forbid a player to kneel during the national anthem and disrespect the flag which represents our country...because it’s hurting their “bottom line.”  I could be wrong...but if they continue on as they are...they will continue to lose revenue.

If you are a Christian on an NFL football team...and your owner says it’s Okay for you to protest...you may protest...but you will have to recognize that many will protest your protest and not buy tickets or merchandise or watch your product...there are many other activities to involve oneself in these day.  Myself, I will not watch a game where the flag and our nation are disrespected...it will actually be a good time for me to grab a “nap”.

If you are a Christian on an NFL football team and your employer passes a rule that says you may not kneel, you must submit to their authority “as to the Lord.”  You “obey” unless it violates your conscience or a biblical principle...like being asked to do something criminal, immoral, idolatrous, or blasphemous. Then you must find another job and another employer.  But while employed by them you must not rebel...but obey. The word for “obey” in Ephesians 6:5 means to do it even when you don’t feel like it...it indicates uninterrupted obedience.

I will continue to work on making our nation better, by sharing Christ with people, so that He may bring us together. He is our only hope, and only He can change the way we act and the way we live.  I will continue to seek to correct those things in our nation that are wrong...in the most effective and appropriate manner.  I will recognize that our nation has many “issues” that need to be addressed.

 I will love my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ first, understanding that it is possible that there would come a time where I must choose Him over the nation.   But right now, just as I love my family, although not everything is what I would like it to be, I will respect our flag and our nation and thank God for the blessings I have received for being able to live here and raise my family, and I will continue to respect the underlying principles that our nation was founded upon and honor the men and women who have given their lives to provide the freedoms I enjoy.

I will stand when the national anthem is played; I will place my hand over my heart, and if things happen as usual, I will shed a tear when I think of all those that have given their lives, for all of us.  May God Bless America.

Posted by Ralph Sawyer with 1 Comments
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WAS a good way to take your mind off of school and all of the mounting stresses that every college student experiences to some degree or another while living away from home!  While living in Tahlequah, Oklahoma I had floated the river several times with friends from the dorm and I was surprised how peaceful and comforting it was...that was until one day, after a rainfall of several days had occurred, I ventured out on the river with a couple of guys and the river was up...and it was moving fast...and I couldn’t seem to row fast enough to keep control of my canoe and take a safe path through the turbulent waters.  I finally made it to my final location and realized the “peaceful ride” was anything but peaceful.

In fact, I didn’t really want to “float” anymore.  But my experienced canoer friend was quick to get me back out on the river as soon as possible and help me to learn how to handle raging rapids.  He demonstrated the secret of being able to “take a break” in the middle of raging waters.  He showed me that there were quiet eddies behind some of the big rocks in the rapids and it was behind those big rocks that you could take a little rest as you travelled through some very challenging white waters.  There you could plot your path and have the confidence you needed to complete your journey.

He showed me how, I tried it, it worked, and the big rock actually became my very best friend on more than one occasion.  It’s good to know where to go when the current on the river begins to quicken to the point of being overwhelming.

 With the constant drumbeat of the daily news and the never ceasing challenges of daily living you may find that the current on your river has picked up the pace quite a bit lately.  Or perhaps your world has been turned upside down by turbulent waters you just didn’t see coming.  You find yourself in overwhelming rapids and the stress and unknown turns of the rapids have been a little bit more than your used to handling and it’s beginning to take a toll on you.  You need to find a quiet and safe place to renew, refresh, and prepare for the rest of the journey.  It’s no mistake that one of the pictures recorded in the Scriptures describes our God as the “rock of our salvation” .  You can find the rest you need and make preparation for the journey of life with confidence and peace as you find your rest and direction behind the “Big Rock”.

 For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. 2  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.  6  He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.                                Psalm 62:1-2, 6 (ESV)

The Rock that the writer of this passage, King David,  finds in the rapids of his life...is not a therapist or anyone on earth...the only place where a turbulent heart can find peace and direction is in a personal relationship with an unshakeable God.  All of the stuff beyond our control can easily be handled by Him.

You can find peace and refreshment to carry on with the journey and successfully and meaningfully navigate through life.  And like the friend who shared with me how to navigate the turbulent waters, you can give help and comfort to others as you share with them where you have found your peace and safety.

According to the Scripture, peace is a Person.  You will find that peace when you find Jesus and rest in His shelter of personal love, unlimited power, and guidance available for the journey we face.

 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 (ESV)

If you’re not experiencing peace in the raging rapids, it might be the case that you’ve let the strong current pull you away from your rock of refuge.  The pull and the pressure may have caused you to neglect your time near the Rock.  Or, it could be you’ve never taken shelter in Him at all.

Stubbornly we try to navigate through this life on our own.  How’s that working for you?  Pretty stressful.  Takes away your energy doesn’t it?  Not an easy ride...and it eventually ends up with cascading over the unforeseen waterfall into even greater trouble.

No need for that.  It’s time to rest behind Jesus the Rock.  You can trust in Him because He died for you.  You can find the peace you need and discover the direction you need to navigate through this life with success and peace. 

The Rock brings you peace and preparation on the River for sure.  And Jesus, our Rock brings us the peace and preparation we need for daily living.

When the river rises and the current becomes overwhelming find your rest behind the Big Rock, the Lord Jesus.  Let the struggle end and ask for His help and you will enjoy the peace that “surpasses understanding”.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)

Receive the peace you need...today...from Him.

Posted by Ralph Sawyer with 0 Comments

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