Friday, June 6, 2014

Memories of D-Day and Other Events

Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day. My brother-in-law texted me and asked what my dad, a B17 navigator, was doing on D-Day. I couldn't remember what he was doing on that specific day. I knew he flew bombing missions before and after June 6, 1944, and I knew he was shot down and became a POW after D-Day, but I needed to consult his memoir of his military service here in order to find out the answer to the question. Here is his first-hand account:
During the month of May I was finishing up my first tour of duty. I only flew twice in May, once to Berlin and my final mission of my first tour was to the marshalling yards in Luxembourg. I never will forget that day. As we got back over the field and landed, it just seemed like, “Well, it’s all over. It’s a load off of my mind.”
Then I began to think about my future and, of course, I was anxious to get back to the States, in one sense; but then I began to think: “Well, what do I do now? I don’t want to go to training command.” That’s what happened to a lot of the guys that went back from combat. I know of many of them that were killed in training command, because it was a known fact that the maintenance of the planes there was secondary, not nearly as good as the maintenance we had in combat.
So I was offered an alternative, and after about three days of pondering the issue, I decided to volunteer for a second tour. And what this entailed was that I would be given first class passage home on the Mauritania and I would have a thirty day leave at home; two weeks in Atlantic City at the Redistribution Center, and then a return to England on the Mauritania. So I took this because it entailed then the idea that I would wind up as Squadron Navigator, a promotion to Captain, and with the idea that down the road there, I might even wind up as Group Navigator.
I realize that I was young and foolish and I didn’t take a long look, but at that time it seemed like a wise choice. I was home on D-Day and although I had been bombing much up until then, I missed that experience that many of the guys had on D-Day. At that time the Allied air power was so much stronger than the Luftwaffe, that the main force on D-Day was on the ground and not from the air. I think our bombing had made D-Day possible, and in a wide sense, I regretted not being able to participate in the action on that day.
For other accounts of my dad's experiences in World War 2, click herehere, herehere, and here. My father-in-law, James Bramblet, who was married two days before D-Day, gives his memories of the war here.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Study in the Gospel of Mark

It is my privilege to teach an adult Sunday school class at Grace Bible Church in Colorado Springs. Our pastor, and therefore our church, emphasizes the preaching and teaching of the Word of God above everything else. This is a situation I greatly apreciate, since my Sunday school teaching has always been studying through a book of the Bible, verse by verse. No other activity of the church is as important as the study of the Scriptures.
This past Sunday, we began a study in the Gospel of Mark. Never does anyone get as much out of a study than the teacher does. Each time I study to teach a book of the Bible, the old, unchanging Word of God is new and fresh in the things I see and learn. While there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9), the Scriptures are inexhaustible, and there is always room for more complete understanding. I am looking forward to the continued study as we work our way through Mark.
It has long been taught that the four Gospels each have a different emphasis. There is nothing new about that. It is amazing that the four Gospels put together give us a tremendous, complete picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Matthew, He is presented as the Messiah, the King of Israel. In Mark, He is presented as the suffering servant of the Lord. In Luke, He is presented as the perfect man. In John, he is presented as the Son of God – or even more specifically, as God the Son. It is interesting to note that all four Gospels, regardless of emphasis, present all four of these characteristics of our Savior.
The Gospel of Mark, which presents Him as the suffering servant of the Lord, actually starts out by stating the other three characteristics. The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1, NKJV). Notice:  The beginning of the gospel of Jesus (His human name), Christ (His title:  The Messiah, The King), the Son of God (his Deity – He is the Creator-God of the Universe). None of the four Gospels leaves out any of these important characteristics of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are three important “beginnings” in Scripture, as follows:
(1)   Many have made an effort to put together a chronological Bible. I believe that in such a Bible, the very first verse should be John 1:1, which tells us of the first of these three “beginnings.” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This is eternity past. Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the Eternal God, the self-existent one, who has no beginning and no end.
(2)   Genesis 1:1 says, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. This is the beginning of time, and indicates the first part of Day One of creation week. As difficult as it is to grasp, time is a created thing. It would be impossible to mark and measure our lives without it. God is in no way constrained by time, because He dwells in eternity.
(3)   Finally, Mark 1:1 says, The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This tells us of the beginning of the events that led to the gospel message – beginning with His coming out of eternity into time and space, and culminating in His death, burial, and resurrection. The message that began with His earthly ministry finished with his great work that brings salvation. I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved … that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (I Corinthians 15:1-4).
If you live in or near Colorado Springs, I invite you to join with us in Bible-centered worship and study. Sunday morning services are at 8:00, 9:00, and 10:45. There are two Sunday school hours during the 9:00 and 10:45 services. There are four adult classes during the 9:00 hour:  First Peter, Hebrews, “The Cost of Discipleship,” and the Gospel of Luke. There are three adult classes during the 10:45 hour:  Revelation, Romans, and my new study in the Gospel of Mark. I encourage you to attend both a worship service and a Sunday school class. Our evening service is at 6:00.