Two ladies – two legacies

 

 

Dr. John Ed Mathison

By John Ed Mathison

When you die, how will you be remembered?  How long will you be remembered?  What are the things for which you will be remembered?   We refer to it as a legacy.

    Two ladies died 26 days apart.  They were at different ends of the age spectrum – 80 and 18.  They lived at different sections of our Nation – Springfield, Ohio and Brantley, Alabama.  They will be remembered for vastly different things.   They each left a legacy.

Kathleen Dehmlow was 80 years old and died on May 31, 2018 in Springfield, Ohio.  Her obituary was brief.  It said, “She abandoned her children, Gina and Jay, who were then raised by her parents.  She will now face judgment.  She will not be missed by Gina and Jay, and they understand that this world is a better place without her.”

   What a terrible legacy to leave.  80 years old – that’s how she will be remembered.

   A beautiful young lady died Monday, June 25, 2018 in Brantley, Alabama.  Alex Wilcox was 18 years old.  She was the face of Brantley softball.  She led Brantley to four state championships over the last five years. Following her senior year she received a scholarship to play at Mississippi State.

   The doctors discovered a reoccurrence of ovarian cancer in Alex.   She only played 15 games at Mississippi State.  She made a tremendous impact on people in Brantley and in Mississippi.  The Mississippi State softball team wore special jerseys this year to honor her influence – even though it was over a brief time.  Brantley’s softball team wore a sticker on their helmets and a fake tattoo on their wrists to honor her.

   I met her coach, Cindy Hawthorne, five years ago at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes family coach’s conference.  I’ve spoken at that conference every year since then.  Cindy and other coaches from Brantley are always there.  Cindy gives a strong witness about Alex’s faith and inspiration.

   Coach Hawthorne said, “We know where she is, and I just thank God for that assurance.  I’m going to be with her again one day.  No doubt about where she is spending eternity.”  Coach Hawthorne went on to say, “Her legacy will live on until the end of time.”  Her principal, Kris Odom said, “She left a legacy that will be here forever.”  “Until the end of time” and “forever” defines the length of Alex’s legacy.

   Her team won another state championship a few weeks ago at Lagoon Park here in Montgomery.  Alex was able to attend the final game.  The team requested that Alex come out and help receive the trophy.  AHSAA Associate Director Tony Stallworth agreed.  Alex didn’t really want the recognition, but all of her friends, coaches and family insisted.  She carried the trophy out to the pitcher’s mound.  In Brantley there is a street called Championship Drive that leads from Main Street to the softball complex.  Alex’s picture and the state championship banners represent her legacy.

   Alex was only 18.  Unlike Kathleen Dehmlow, she didn’t have any children to abandon.  But in a Christian sense she did have children in the faith because she had led a lot of young people to Jesus Christ.  Her legacy will live on in their lives, and they will never be abandoned because they will all live together for eternity!

   Two ladies – two legacies – what will your legacy be?

Wake up America!

 

 

Dr. John Ed Mathison

By John Ed Mathison

Last year I traveled to Chennai, India – 33 hours from Montgomery.  I arrived on Saturday night.  My purpose for going was to preach and teach.  I would preach on Sunday morning at The New Life Church (which averages over 45,000 each Sunday), and then teach 1,500 pastors for three days.

   I had a ten and half hour time change.  I knew that waking up on Sunday morning could be a challenge, but it would be extremely important. I needed a wakeup call.   I set my alarm.  It went off, I heard it, I got up, and I was at church on time.

    A wake up call is important.  Paul writes, “Knowing the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep.” (Romans 13:11)  He warned them – he gave a clear call to WAKE UP.  I believe that God’s call to America this July 2018 is to know the time –  and to WAKE UP.

1.      WAKE UP to our HERITAGE.  The Western world was discovered by Columbus who sailed where no one had sailed before.  He made it clear that he was directed, not by maps or mathematics, but by the guiding hand of God. 

   The current TIME Magazine Special Edition cover shows the pictures of our Founding Fathers – Washington, Jefferson and Franklin.  It also lists Adams, and Madison.  I finished a book last year titled, Where is America Headed?  Read pages 4-9 to see how these five men stated clearly the dominant role that God, the Bible and religion played in the establishment of this nation.  You can obtain it for $5 from our ministry office.  Our phone number and mailing address can be found on the website: www.johnedmathison.org .

2.      WAKE UP to our HEROES.  We enjoy our freedoms today because of a lot of heroes.  You can go out to any military cemetery and see endless rows of white crosses.  Each of them represents someone who gave his/her life that we might enjoy our freedoms.  Please don’t ever take that lightly.

Many of our kids are fans of heroes like Superman and Spiderman.  Real heroes are not those who display courage without weakness – but rather a hero is one who displays courage despite his/her weaknesses.  Heroes are people who stand at times of courage, controversy, challenge and justice. 

   Col. Bill Lawley was given the Congressional Medal of Honor because of his heroism in saving the lives of many aboard his B17 aircraft in 1944.  He was buried with military honors.  Bill Lawley told his friends, “I don’t consider myself as having won the Medal of Honor.  It’s not a competition.  I was just doing my duty.”

   WAKE UP to the thousands of people who are “just doing my duty”.  We are the recipients of that duty.

3.      WAKE UP to our HOPE.  It’s easy to be lulled to sleep in today’s culture by thinking our hope for the future is in military might or money or political correctness or superior intelligence or education – the list goes on and on.   But we must wake up to know that our ultimate hope is in God and God alone. 

   David writes, “Unless the Lord guards a city, guarding it with soldiers will do no good.” (Psalm 127:1)  “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…the best equipped army cannot save a king – for great strength is not enough to save anyone…A war horse is a poor risk for winning victories – it is strong but it cannot save…We depend upon the Lord alone to save us.  Only he can help us.  He protects us like a shield.”  (Psalm 33:12-21)

   Jeremiah writes, “Lord, You alone are our hope.” (17:17)  “There is hope for your future says the Lord.” (31:17)

   What time is it?  Time to WAKE UP!

What did you say?

 

 

Dr. John Ed Mathison

By John Ed Mathison

The soccer World Cup is described as the planet’s biggest sporting festival.  This year it is being played in Russia.  Because the Russian team lost some games late in the regular season, the Russian people were very critical and said ugly things about their team.

   Guess what?  A politician launched a bill that would make it a criminal offense to criticize the country’s national soccer team.  That’s right.  Vitaly Milonov is behind a bill that will set fines of $160 on anyone found guilty of “verbally tormenting” the team.  His reason is that such criticism lowers national moral.  He says, “Our players are ours regardless of how good they are.”  He told the Pravda Newspaper, “Here, some idiots make fun of them and spoil their pregame moods.  Therefore when our team loses, we should blame those who insulted our players.”

   Soccer is the biggest sport in the world.  Each soccer game is important, but not as important as the game of life.  Words in the game of life influence whether people win or lose.  I believe we’re living at a critical point in history, where as an American, each of us needs to examine carefully how we use our words.  In the game of life, are our words helping lead people to victory or defeat? 

   Remember reciting sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me?  That is not the truth.  Words have the power to hurt or to heal.  Words have the power to build up or tear down.  Words have the power to guide or to leave astray.  Words can encourage or discourage.  Words can bring joy or sorrow, laughter or tears.  Words can hurt us, and words can hurt others.

   The French are taking a step forward.  They recently passed a new French law under which men can be fined up to $880 if they whistle at or make offensive comments to a woman on the street. 

   With the wide use of social media, things are written that should never be written.  I believe that we are at a point in our history now where we must guard our words and be encouraging.  If we offer a critical word, it must be constructive criticism.  Years ago, Benjamin Franklin said, “If all printers were determined not to print anything until they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.”  Ben Franklin’s words may be more important today than when he said them.

   The wise man Solomon said, “Some people like to make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise soothe and heal.” (Proverbs 12:18)  “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words cause conflicts.”  (Proverbs 15:1)  “Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight.”  (Proverbs 18:17)  “Those who love to talk will suffer the consequences.  Many have died because the wrong thing was said.”  (Proverbs 18:21)

   You have immense power with your words.  Please choose them carefully.  Representative, Diana McCarthy offered the following prayer in the Arizona House of Representatives, “Lord, make all our words gracious and tender today for tomorrow we may have to eat them.”

   Let’s revive civility!!!  Offer words of praise and encouragement.  It doesn’t do any harm to smile and say, “Good morning” even if it is raining.  Pay a compliment.  Say something good about America, sports teams, the company you work for, politicians at all levels of government, your family, your church, etc.

   Russia and France are taking biblical concepts and turning them into new rules.  I propose for America an old rule – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)

What did you say?