Come And Take It – A New Beginning

The Pioneers of Texas and ‘GTT’
State of Texas

Texans are a proud bunch. And I do mean proud. They are not arrogant. They are merely outwardly sympathetic to any and all persons whom come from some other less fortunate state.

However, what many “native” Texans (sometimes limited to those whom have a lineage linked to Stephen F. Austin’s “Old Three Hundred”, but may include others also permitted by the Mexican government to settle the land of Coahuila y Tejas during the early 1800’s) may not realize is that we “imports” likely have just as much in common with the early pioneers of the old republic.

Those early American imports to Texas were not only seeking out a large tract of land or new place to live…in many cases, they had troubles in their lives that had become far too out of control or too overwhelming for them to handle on their own. They were searching, hoping,…they were praying for a new beginning when they made the decision to go to Texas.

As a matter of fact, it became a common occurrence for friends, family members, business associates, and sometimes even creditors to go and knock on the door of an empty house and find nothing but three letters written on the door: GTT.

Gone To Texas

Gone To Texas. That was the way in which the overwhelmed and distraught would announce to the world that they had left their troubles behind and went out to claim their new beginning.

How many of us–at least one time in our lives–have found ourselves in a state where we felt overwhelmed, distraught, or hopeless?

How refreshing would it be…how good and proper would it be for us to show the world exactly where we went to claim our new beginning, our new hope, our renewed joy?

I am putting forth today, my friends, that it is more than good–it is essential–for us to visibly stake our claim. We are living in a day and age where we need to boldly show our detractors as well as our admirers exactly where we have chosen to dwell.

Gone To Jesus

We have gone to the Rock.

We have gone to the Word.

We have gone to live out the rest of our lives within the boundaries of joy, of peace, and of love.

GTJ. We have Gone To Jesus.

A Reborn Battle Cry

Next, I would like to take the plight which those early Texans had with their Mexican government and juxtapose it against what Washington, D.C. is dispensing out to citizens today.

And so it came to pass, that in order to draw in settlers to the land of Tejas the Mexican government had put forth some provisions. Among others, were the provisions that Catholicism would be the religion of the state and that there would be a moratorium on any new taxes.

No new taxes for any period of time was certainly compelling as it would provide an opportunity for the new pioneers of the land to establish for themselves a solid fiscal foundation. Something which the majority of them were in desperate need of.

In regards to Catholicism, it was more than implied to the early settlers of protestant heritage that the enforcement of the mandate was more a formality of paperwork as opposed to any ideal that would ever be enforced.

Had the Mexican government stayed true to the ideals of their own constitution, then Texas may to this day have still been a part of our southern neighbor. Instead, new taxes and a forced change on how people were permitted to worship became the politics of the day.

The government did not adhere to its founding document.

Well, these new citizens of Tejas having barely been a generation removed from the memory of the American Revolution were not about to allow any of their religious rights or hard earned money be taken away without a certain amount of grumbling.

The Mexican government and especially the president, Antonio Lopez De Santa Anna, caught wind of some of this discontent and decided to take action against these lowly citizens.

So, in the town of Gonzales was a cannon which the Mexican government had given the people in order to help protect them from Indian invaders. President Santa Anna, knowing that it would not be wise to leave such a weapon in the hands of a people that might decide to turn on him gave orders to go and take that cannon away from the town of Gonzales. And that brings us to this scene:

The Battle Begins
Battle of Gonzales

A small group of lowly insignificant citizens decided to take a stand. They decided to not allow their cannon or their rights be stripped away. They decided to not be told how it was they could worship. They decided to take a stand and say “You want it, then Come and Take It.”

Come and Take It Flag

And thus began the Texas Revolution.

This is the legacy to which we all have a claim.

And now, let us bring our focus to today and to what else you have a claim.

Consider the following:

Franklin Graham

“And make no mistake, hostility toward Christians in the United States is on the rise and will grow unless we stand up for our freedoms of religion and conscience.” ~Franklin Graham, Charisma News, May 13, 2016

 

 

International Christian Concern
2016 Hall of Shame Report

“In short, Christians in the US are facing constant attacks in the media, where they are portrayed as bigoted, racist, sexist, and closeminded…More importantly, Christians and all religious people are being marginalized through the law.” ~International Christian Concern, 2016 Hall of Shame: New and Noteworthy Countries [United States]

 

 

First Liberty
2016 UNDENIABLE

“Hostility to religious expression in America continues to grow at an alarming rate…Quantitatively and qualitatively, the hostility is undeniable. And it is dangerous.” ~First Liberty Institute, 2016 Undeniable

Now some would revise our history in order to put forth the argument that the United States of America was not founded on Christianity.

 

 

Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams would disagree.

“Driven from every other corner of the earth, freedom of thought and the right of private judgment in matters of conscience direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum.” —Samuel Adams, August 1, 1776

I would put forth that this nation was founded by those that had to worship in secret and in barns and basements until the day that they might break away from their oppression in order to seek freedom–specifically religious freedom–in a new land.

Some would have us believe that the American founding fathers were non-believers themselves and that the United States Constitution is not a document founded on Christian Principles.

 

Common Sense Pamphlet

Thomas Paine had a bit more common sense.

“Securing freedom and property to all men, and above all things, the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience…But where, says some, is the King of America? I’ll tell you. Friend, he reigns above…” ~Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

Some would site polls like those from the Pew Foundation that found those identifying as non-religious in the US rose by seven percent, to 23 percent of the total US adult population within just seven years (2007 to 2014).

And I would say how sad it is that we are allowing ourselves to be forced back into our barns and into our basements as we are told that we can no longer worship out in the public square for fear it might offend the loud and obtrusive minority.

Some would say that we cannot possibly take on the entirety of the Liberal elite, the Hollywood Left, and the colossal United States Government.

To that I say,…

 

1 Samuel 17:26

“…Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” ~David, 1 Samuel 17:26

A New Banner – A New Challenge
A New Banner

We are living in a time of opportunity, my friends. A time when we are either going to plant our flag high atop a hill and defend it, or we are going to allow the light from the shining city upon the hill to be extinguished forever.

So I ask you, do we have men of courage and women of courage today?

Do you have the courage to love in the face of hate?

Do you have the courage to put on the full armor of God on a daily basis and give to your family the spiritual covering they so desperately need in the anti-Christian climate of today?

Do you have the courage to say ‘yes’ to the Lord’s calling for you?

Do you have the courage to stand on that wall and defend that shining city upon the hill?

When you say yes, will you continue to display courage when the devil attacks you with all he has?

An Invitation

Now, for those that are unsure of themselves…unsure of whether they want to be–or deserve to be–part of the rank and file…please know this:

You deserve that personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and that gift is free and available now–yours for the taking.

Just Come And Take It

Come and take the gift of forgiveness. Come and take the joyful life you so desperately want. Come and take up the shield – that warrior’s spirit- that is going to allow you to become that shining example to others. Come and take the Word and the everlasting life provided by the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

COME AND TAKE IT

Habakkuk 2:1 (GW) God’s Word

“I will stand at my guard post. I will station myself on the wall…” ~Habakkuk 2:1

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The Waterfall

The Waterfall

The Waterfall

I stand looking at a waterfall.
It is not exceptionally high,
or loud, or pretty,
and is not known by any name.
It is certainly not Niagara Falls,
but I stand here just the same.

From the base of the waterfall I stare,
chilled by the water’s spray.
I try to watch a single drop as it falls,
and before it floats away.
If I could follow just one drop from beginning to end,
then maybe my being here would prove time well spent.

I begin to float to the top of the ledge,
and feel myself shrinking in size.
I understand why I am doing this,
and am not taken by surprise.
I fly to the source of the falls,
and dive in head first with a cry.

I grab onto a single drop of water,
and begin to enjoy the ride.
I know the fall approaches as my heart beats louder,
and my smile grows wide.
This time, this one time, I will follow from beginning to end,
and I will consider this waterfall worth something quite special then.

The fall draws nearer,
my heart beats faster,
my smile grows wider.
Nearer.
Faster.
Wider.
Nearer, faster, wider more.

I am standing at the base again,
and the ride is over and done.
I did not follow that drop,
and the drop is already gone.

On the far bank is a baby girl
in her mother’s embrace.
She lets go with an excited giggle
as the mist kisses her face.
Together they watch a leaf helicopter
downwards towards the water.
The leaf lands in the stream and sails off
as the tiny girl hugs her mother.

The time here proved to be special
on this ordinary day.
I truly enjoyed this waterfall,
so now I can walk away.

~ Cotton Steel

How Can I Be Rooting For the Clemson Tigers?

How Can I Root for Clemson?
Clemson University

A great many of my friends have come up to me the last few days offering a pat on the back and their (sometime) sincere condolences. The interaction almost invariably proceeds something like this:

Them: “Man, it’s too bad what happened to your Buckeyes in the playoffs.”

Me: “Oh, I am fine. I have been pulling for the Clemson Tigers all season long.”

Them: “Yeah, right. Sure you have. But you’ve got ‘Bama in the championship, right?”

Me: “Nope. I will be rooting for Clemson next Monday night as well.”

Them: “What? How can you be rooting for the Clemson Tigers?”

The Rematch

One week from tonight, the undefeated Crimson Tide of Alabama will be going for their gazillionth college football national championship against Clemson University.

The Tigers of Clemson come into the contest with a blemish on their season record. Coach Swinney’s Tigers lost this past November to a team that does not rank in the top-twenty nor was that team capable of winning one of those other bowl games.

And, oh yeah, Alabama beat Clemson last year for the 2016 title.

So, how can I be rooting for the Clemson Tigers?

‘Bama v. Clemson OR ‘How’ v. ‘Why’

According to his bio on the Clemson Tiger website, Coach Swinney has coached football at two universities.

Coach Dabo Swinney began his college coaching career in 1993 at Alabama which just so happens to be where he gained his playing experience and college degree. He then made his way to Clemson University where he has remained for the past 13 football seasons rising up to the rank of head coach for the past six of those seasons.

Two universities in twenty-six plus seasons of college coaching. My friends, that harkens back to a mostly bygone era of college coaching when integrity was the rule and not the vast exception.

I, myself, was guilty of too often looking for greener pastures as opposed to focusing on the moment and the blessing I had in being able to coach football and shape the lives of young men.

Coach Swinney has a laser sharp focus on both those things.

Consider the Following

Clemson University Football, according to a December TIME Magazine article, is #2 nationally in the annual academic rankings.

Empirically, Coach Dabo Swinney is one of the best in the country at providing the academic environment which allows for the shaping of scholars.

And if you review the clip below, then I think you would agree that there is no better example of a major college football coach leading his student-athletes into manhood.

(Background: The YouTube clip is a 4min. snippet of Coach Swinney’s response to a question regarding Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem.)

Here is a person of Christian values. Here is a coach who is man enough to profess and share those values. And not only that, he is willing to speak the name of Jesus while representing his public university employer. There are not many universities that would back such actions from their football coach; and for that reason (among others), there are even fewer coaches today whom are willing to openly speak what they truly believe.

That is courage. That is leading from the front. That is a man you want mentoring your son.

 So, how is it that I can be rooting for the Clemson Tigers you ask.

Easy. My ‘Why’ is big enough.


 

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