Friday, October 5, 2012

Photo of the day: Francis Southcott served in the U.S. Army as an Aviator with Alpha Company, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalier Division. He went on to fly search and rescue missions with the U.S. Coast Guard and eventually became a pilot for American Airline. He is photographed in Tây Ninh, Vietnam in October, 1969. Thank you for your service, Francis!


  by:  Sgt Joshua Helterbran


Part I
The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass,
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

"Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"

The soldier squared his shoulders and
said, "No, Lord, I guess I ain't,
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough,
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep,

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here,
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand,
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod,
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well,
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell." 

To all that serve. 

- Part II

I'm very saddened by America today, 

when they take credit for what others say.

I wrote a poem because of problems in my past, 
how was I to know that it was going to last.

It has been read by all and loved the same, 
but indeed at the end there is no name.

The name is simple for those who know, 
it's not Kilmer, Longfellow, Service, or Poe.

It's a soldier who has fought for his country so true,
He's proud of the ole Red, White and Blue.

You now know the poem the one and the same, 
The Final Inspection is the name.

I wrote it because of the trials so true, 
and of my buddies who died for country and you.

So take this poem, take it as you trod, 
because in Heaven I'll see my God.

He will look at me and say don't be sad, 
others read your poem and you made them glad.

Now step forward my son and look your best, 
and come inside with all the rest.

by:  Sgt Joshua Helterbran
This is the second part to the poem
Final Inspection



A HUGE Thanks to Joshua Helterbran's Mother for sending me the missing verse and for letting me know who wrote it.  Thanks also for having a wonderful son that is so talented.
Here's a small bio Joshua kindly permitted me to publish and a note from his Mom about the wonderful poem:

I entered military service September 18, 1996 I graduated from Basic Training in Ft. Benning, Ga. I then attended Jump School there, and went on to attend R.I.P (ranger indoctrination program). I was then stationed with Aco 3rd Platoon, Weapons Squad, 3rd Ranger Battalion. I then was stationed with the 1/508th ABCT, 173rd Brigade in Vincenza, Italy. I am currently stationed with HHC 224th Engineer Battalion. We were on deployment in Iraq, when I was injured. I am currently stationed at Ft. Sill, OK where I am receiving medical treatment. Thank you again for all you have done for us troops. God speed and God Bless

From Joshua's Mother:
The poem has a lot of meaning to many of people, as I have found it at many points on the Internet.
Dear Joshua,
Stay STRONG!  Hurry Home!!
GOD Bless you always,
Beti Ryan-Mercer

Photo of the Day

Photo of the Day: The guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin fires a Standard Missile 2 missile from the ship's forward and aft missile decks during a missile exercise in the Pacific Ocean, Sept. 20, 2012. The Mustin is one of seven guided missile destroyers assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 and is forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Devon Dow
Can a Christian Vote for a Non-Christian Candidate?
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.           
– 1 Timothy 2:1-2  

It is clear from the Apostle Paul’s writing that we are to pray for all leaders in government, including  those who may not be Christians. But can we vote for them?

Theologian Wayne Grudem writes in Politics According to the Bible
“Christians should support the candidates who best represent moral and political values consistent with biblical teaching, no matter what his or her religious background or convictions.”
There are many biblical examples of God bringing non-believers to work alongside His people to further His purpose:
 Genesis 41:37-57 - God used Pharaoh to establish Joseph in a position of authority in Egypt. 
 1 Kings 5:1-12 – Hiram, King of Tyre helped Solomon build the Temple. 
 Daniel 2:46-49 - Nebuchadnezzar placed Daniel and his Jewish friends in positions of high authority in Babylon. 
 Isaiah 45:16 – Cyrus, King of Persia, restored the Jewish exiles to Israel. 
This working together with non-believers is called co-belligerence. Christian apologist Francis Schaeffer writes, “A co-belligerent is a person with whom I do not agree on all sorts of vital issues, but who, for whatever reasons of their own, is on the same side in a fight for some specific issue of public justice.” 
There are many other examples of co-belligerence. William Wilberforce joined with non-believers to abolish the slave trade in England. Our country’s Christian Founding Fathers joined with their nonChristian counterparts, men like Jefferson and Franklin, to establish the foundations of a new nation. 
There will be times that God calls us to engage in co-belligerence for the furtherance of His Kingdom.  We may be required to vote for a non-Christian to help us accomplish God’s design for our time. 
Al Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary writes: “We must be honest and  acknowledge that there are non-Christians or non-evangelicals who share far more of our worldview and  policy concerns than some others who identify as Christians. The stewardship of our vote demands that  we support those candidates who most clearly and consistently share our worldview and combine these commitments with the competence to serve both faithfully and well.” 
Theologian Dr. John Frame writes in Doctrine of the Christine Life: “…in some cultures (like the ancient Roman, in which the New Testament was written) there is not much that Christians can do, other than pray, to influence political structures and policies. But when they can influence them, they should. In modern democracies, all citizens are ‘lesser magistrates’ by virtue of the ballot box. Christians have an obligation to vote according to God’s standards. And, as they are gifted and called, they should influence others to vote in the same way.” 
Christians need to vote responsibly. We have an obligation to be informed about issues and candidates, and then vote for those whose stances most closely align with biblical principles. As voters, we share the responsibility of government and thus share accountability to God for what takes place in our nation.
And yes, this may mean that at times we need to vote for a non-Christian