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Posts Tagged ‘Kindness’

Last week, in Part One, I wrote about seeds of rage. Seeds we see harvested on the nightly news and in the headlines. But these aren’t the only kind of seeds growing and being harvested in America.

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A friend read the following article in the Wall Street Journal and passed it on to me and now, I’m passing this on to you. ‘Cause you certainly won’t hear this on the evening news. But could you imagine what would happen if every town U.S.A. adopted the attitude and actions of the citizens of North Platte, Nebraska.

While the story in and of itself is wonderful and amazing, be sure to catch the information this wasn’t the first generation of North Platte citizens who planted seeds of a town united…when called on this isolated town in Nebraska again repeated what they had been taught for several generations.

Thank you, Wall Street Journal, and  Author, Bob Greene, for carrying this very important story on July 22, 2018. To see photos of this story go to Wall Street Journal and type in North Platte, Nebraska.

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We were overwhelmed,” said Lt. Col. Nick Jaskolski. “I don’t really have words to describe how surprised and moved we all were. I had never even heard of the town before.”

Col. Jaskolski, a veteran of the Iraq war, is commander of the 142nd Field Artillery Brigade of the Arkansas Army National Guard. For three weeks earlier this summer, the 142nd had been conducting an emergency deployment readiness exercise in Wyoming, training and sleeping outdoors, subsisting on field rations. Now it was time for the 700 soldiers to return to their base.

A charter bus company had been hired for the 18-hour drive back to Arkansas. The Army had budgeted for a stop to get snacks. The bus company determined that the soldiers would reach North Platte, in western Nebraska, around the time they would likely be hungry. The company placed a call to the visitors’ bureau: Was there anywhere in town that could handle a succession of 21 buses, and get 700 soldiers in and out for a quick snack?

North Platte said yes. North Platte has always said yes.

The community welcomed more than 700 service men and women, North Platte, Nebraska.

During World War II, North Platte was a geographically isolated town of 12,000. Soldiers, sailors and aviators on their way to fight the war rode troop trains across the nation, bound for Europe via the East Coast or the Pacific via the West Coast. The Union Pacific Railroad trains that transported the soldiers always made 10-minute stops in North Platte to take on water.

The townspeople made those 10 minutes count. Starting in December 1941, they met every train: up to 23 a day, beginning at 5 a.m. and ending after midnight. Those volunteers greeted between 3,000 and 5,000 soldiers a day. They presented them with sandwiches and gifts, played music for them, danced with them, baked birthday cakes for them. Every day of the year, every day of the war, they were there at the depot. They never missed a train, never missed a soldier. They fed six million soldiers by the end of the war. Not 1 cent of government money was asked for or spent, save for a $5 bill sent by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The soldiers never forgot the kindness. Most of them, and most of the townspeople who greeted them, are dead. And now, in 2018, those 21 busloads from the 142nd Field Artillery were on their way, expecting to stop at some fast-food joint.

“We couldn’t believe what we saw when we pulled up,” Col. Jaskolski said. As each bus arrived over a two-day period, the soldiers stepped out to be greeted by lines of cheering people holding signs of thanks. They weren’t at a fast-food restaurant: They were at North Platte’s events center, which had been opened and decorated especially for them.

“People just started calling our office when they heard the soldiers were on their way,” said Lisa Burke, the director of the visitors’ bureau. “Hundreds of people, who wanted to help.”

The soldiers entered the events center to the aroma of steaks grilling and the sound of recorded music: current songs by Luke Bryan, Justin Timberlake, Florida Georgia Line; World War II songs by Glenn Miller, the Andrews Sisters, Jimmy Dorsey. They were served steak sandwiches, ham sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, deviled eggs, salads and fruit; local church groups baked pies, brownies and cookies.

Mayor Dwight Livingston stood at the door for two days and shook every soldier’s hand. Mr. Livingston served in the Air Force in Vietnam and came home to no words of thanks. Now, he said, as he shook the hands and welcomed the soldiers, “I don’t know whether those moments were more important for them, or for me. I knew I had to be there.”

“It was one soldier’s 21st birthday,” Lisa Burke said. “When I gave him his cake, he told me it was the first birthday cake he’d ever had in his life.” Not wanting to pry, she didn’t ask him how that could possibly be. “I was able to hold my emotions together,” she said. “Until later.”

When it became time to settle up—the Army, after all, had that money budgeted for snacks—the 142nd Field Artillery was told: Nope. You’re not spending a penny here. This is on us.

This is on North Platte.”

Mr. Greene’s books include “Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen.”

 

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These seeds are called KINDNESS, GRATITUDE, CARING, RESPONSIBILITY, OBEDIENCE, AND LOVE!

Fence and bales

The parents and grandparents during World War II planted seeds these next generations in North Platte would harvest, and their children and their children’s children will continue to harvest these seeds as long as they are careful to plow and reseed as God instructs.

The people of North Platte didn’t ask these young men and women if they were liberal or conservatives—Republican or Democrat—they were Americans—American soldiers who were giving their lives so we can be free. The people from this generous city chose to stand in the gap for these young heroes, knowing united we succeed, divided we fail.

We might want to ask all news media why they didn’t cover this story? I guess without   violence or name calling it’s not an attention getter…well, this story certainly got my attention and changed Part Two of this series.

Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35 NKJ).

He also said, “As you go preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:7-8 NKJ).

But God’s Word said, “They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7 NKJ)

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of whirlwinds, I think it is time to plow the prairie’s, fields, cities, and towns of America planting Gospel seeds in each and every metropolis, city, town, and county in this nation before America follows Venezuela down the path to suicide.

Part Three…next week!

 

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Come by and visit with Rene and myself on the Diamond Mine of Fiction and leave a comment to win a copy of either Roped or Twisted.

I believe in showing the good, the bad, and the ugly as well as the consequences those choices bring.
diamondsinfiction.blogspot.com

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“Look at those people, honey!” I pointed out the kitchen window. “Are they silly, stupid, or just not paying attention?”

My husband peered out the kitchen window. “Can’t they see the road’s closed?”

Missing the Warnings

“Obviously not. And here comes the school bus too. Gracious, you can see that barricade and those large orange signs from the top of the hill, but they keep coming and are forced to turn around. I vote for stupid.” I ran to slip on a pair of jeans and a shirt and grab my camera. “This would make a great blog; don’t you think?”

Missing the Warnings 2

Hubs grinned. “Don’t make any enemies. Folks might not like you taking their picture and calling ’em stupid.

We live in a small subdivision off a country road with only two ways in and out. The Texas Road Department has been working on our stretch of road since way before Christmas. They’ve been diligent to put up signs for detours and closures—big signs—that can be seen from far away.

I glanced up again and the school bus ripped right by the road closure sign and then had to back up a long block to turn around. Sigh. Not one person paid any attention to the warning signs.

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But don’t we all do the same thing as we zip through life? Somehow thinking we’re immune to the consequences of not following warnings.

God spent a great deal of time recording His warnings and the consequences of bolting through the barricade. Yet we don’t even take the time to educate ourselves on the words the Spirit of God breathed to the prophets, to Christ Jesus, to His disciples, and to us. He warned us over and over again, and what do we do? Race down that closed off road, believing we are going to be the only one who makes it through the barrier unscathed.

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He warned Ancient Israel, and this warning still screams at Americans, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls” (Luke 11:17 NAS). And what have we done? Elect and re-elect a president who is sprinting toward the finish line with the label of the most divisive president in U.S. history.

“For I hate divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel” (Malachi 2:16 NAS). Yet the divorce stats within the church are basically the same as couples outside the church.

The Book of Proverbs tells us, “Do not associate with a man given to anger or go with a hot tempered man” (Proverbs 22:24 NAS). And what would we call the front runner on the Republican side in the upcoming election?

Romans tells us, “Do not forsake the gathering of yourselves together with other believers” (Hebrews 10:25 NAS). But many say, I work all week, I’m tired. I’ll just watch church on HDTV—Hmm.

“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness” (II Corinthians 6:14 NAS).  Another warning gone by the wayside—the believer is always going to change the unbelieving date…until they fall in love. Then what are they to do? God is not a cosmic kill-joy. These warnings are to keep His children from plunging off the cliff.

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The Word warns, “Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 NAS). I don’t see any exclusions for rush hour on the freeway, do you? And listening to the local news confirms we live in a very angry society.

“Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8 NAS). I’m old enough to remember Sunday Blue Laws, and I can say with certainty, we never missed a meal or went to church naked because the stores weren’t open on Sunday. Sunday afternoons were family days.

What warning barrier have you catapulted over? Which warning signals have you ignored? We have all sinned as individuals and as a nation. “There is none righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10 NAS). Remember, God stands ready to forgive our sins, but the consequences of disregarding God’s warnings remain.

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His Holy name. For the Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting. And His truth endures to all generations” (Psalm 100:4-5 NAS).

Praying

 

 

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I glanced at my watch, fifteen minutes to spare. Super. I whipped off I30 and pulled into the local McDonalds to quiet the gnawing of my stomach on my backbone. The line was long, but I had a margin of fifteen minutes. No problem—

When the cars finally moved enough for me to place my order I was committed. “I’d like a ham and egg McMuffin with no cheese, please.” She repeated the order and I confirmed, “That’s right. No cheese.” I pulled forward and waited. And waited.

The car in front of me must have been ordering food for a multitude. No joke, ten minutes passed. And I waited some more. When the car pulled away, the McDonald’s lady handed me my sack and a giant coke.

“No cheese, right?”

She smiled and nodded.

My fifteen-minute margin had been gobbled as I pulled back onto the freeway. I unwrapped my McMuffin, anticipating the deliciousness, but noticing the wrappings seemed thinner than usual—there was no egg!

Just a slice of ham and warm muffin slathered in melted, yellow, gooey stuff. So ooey-gooey I couldn’t separate the ingredients from each other.
Now any other time, I would have looped around the restaurant, gone back through the drive-through, and demanded they fix the problem. But I was already headed west on I30, and running late. I took a bite or too, but the greasy processed yuck impersonating cheese coated the roof of my mouth. I stuffed the remains of a breakfast-gone-bad back in the bag and pouted. Gonna be a long time ‘til lunch.

No Cheese photo

With every spin of the tires I grumbled about the kitchen staff’s inability to fill a simple order. What’s so hard about leaving off a piece-a-cheese?

And God let me grumble for a mile or so—until He pointed to the comparison between the cheesy sins I served Him each day. with my lack of regard or remorse for not giving Him what He asks.

“But these are incompetent people,” I argued. “… not paying attention or caring what they’re doing.” Silence filled the car and the space in my mind.

“…not paying attention or caring…” circulated in my mind while I recalled my harsh words to my husband the evening before when he hadn’t done something I thought should be done. And the Lord punched the play button on the tape of my incompetent and rebellious moments where He specifically asked me to discard distasteful habits in my life. Habits I had drug home and allowed them to take up residence—worse yet, habits—no let’s call them what they are—sins I paid no attention to as they grew new roots, attaching and renewing themselves to my heart and mind like weeds.

No Cheese photo 1

I won’t even bother to record my list. I’m sure you have your own.

Sins, like melty cheese on my deformed McMuffin, that stick to hearts and minds. Sins we all are either too lazy, too unobservant, or too ignorant or rebellious to scrape off and throw in the trash. But we need to identify and own up to our sins, seek God’s forgiveness and healing, through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Paul tells us in Colossians 3:8-11 we are to put aside:

“anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created Him—a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.”

But Paul doesn’t leave us standing naked and exposed. In Chapter 3:12 of Colossians he tells us what to put on.

“So as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

It’s impossible for me to be thankful when I’m gripping. And as if to test what I learned last Saturday, when I pulled through another McDonalds yesterday, one where they never mix up my order, guess what? Yep, I got everything, including cheese. So what was I supposed to do—suck it up and eat it anyway? Oh no. We are to instruct, rebuke, and teach—in a kind manner. I looped around the building and asked them to give me the order I requested—a McMuffin with no cheese.

No Cheese photo 2

And likewise, God requires you and I to take another loop around His Word, so He can instruct, rebuke, and teach us to put to death the unrighteous, cheesy sins that separate us from fellowship with Him and each other.

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:16-17 NAS).

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