Happy Easter! The History Channel’s The Bible Miniseries

“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:25-26).

The love of God is a beautiful, beautiful thing. On this Easter season the world has gloriously been reminded of the sacrifice and selflessness of the Lord Jesus through the hit miniseries The Bible, on the History Channel. I’ve seen the whole series and it inspired me to no end. Here are my personal links to watch and download the episode (that’s also my video edit posted above). I’m posting the links only because I want as many people as possible to be able to view the truth and beauty expressed in the incredible story of Christ. We were lost in our trespasses and sins, destined for the Judge’s justice for the selfishness and pride in our hearts, but Christ in His great mercy, paid our penalty and died in our place. Through His righteousness we are saved, through His love we are forgiven. The wrath of God was placed on our Mediator, the Son of God. May we always praise Him. For through Him and to Him and for Him are all things forever. Amen.

Ascention by Harry Anderson

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What Love Is via HTTYD

To me, the most beautiful virtues are humility and selflessness. In watching my favorite movie, How to Train Your Dragon, I realize that it is the characters’ incredible self-denial that keeps me coming back to them time and time again. In the music videos I create and in the stories I make of them, it is these virtues I want to express, because it is this character that forms the foundation of all other beauties: kindness, understanding, and love.

I invite you to read of the excellency of what true love is, via Paul, and to see how that is done, via How to Train Your Dragon:

I Corinthians 13:1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

“How to Train Your Dragon” Music Video Extravaganza!

OK, so it’s not that much…

But I did get three made, in about a week or two, which is more than I’ve ever done. I discovered making music videos is so rewarding — stories and the emotions of music combined. I can relive How to Train Your Dragon time and time again.

The first one here is to “Wherever You Will Go” by The Calling. It chronicles primarily from Hiccup’s point of view the intensity of friendship between Toothless and Hiccup.

And here is a serious one about the depth of love between them. I love how you can hear each one tell the other, “I have loved you for a thousand years.” Enjoy the Dragonesque reinterpretation of this Twilight saga song, “A Thousand Years,” by Christina Perri

Be sure to check out my YouTube page, which will have more HTTYD music tributes.

To all our nation’s heroes…

So many lives have been risked for the benefit of our freedom – precious benefits like the freedom of worship and speech. So many young lives throughout history have decided that safety and comfort of oneself were not more important than the safety and comfort of their fellow Americans. Selflessness is the rule among this band of brothers. May we honor today their duty, commitment, and service.

Below is something I put together for this day. May we never forget the many veterans of all our nation’s wars, from those who merely aided generals to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to “The United States of America” for an amount of “up to and including my life.” –unknown

Have a happy and most solemn Veterans Day.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Another chapter in this little series of war stories inspired by my Bible reading and Band of Brothers. This one features Doc Roe from the episode Bastogne.

No disrespect is intended by use of real people in this story. Do not steal this writing, please, but feel free to distribute it with credit or a link. Thank you!

Two are better than one …. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. –Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

“What you doing here, Donovan?”

I chuckled. “Three’s company, especially when one of them is Toye.” I slid into Doc Roe’s foxhole. He eyed me with those eyes that always seemed to have some thought behind them. I think I’d just caught him in the middle of a short night’s sleep.

“Sorry.” I said, huddling into myself.

“For what?” Roe brought his arms closer around himself and peered over the edge of the foxhole.

“Waking you up?” I suggested.

He looked back at me. “It’s nothing, Donovan.”

“You can go back to sleep,” I said, getting myself relatively comfortable. “I just came to get ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ out of my head.”

“What?”

“Toye was singing.”

“Oh.”

Roe was certainly a man of few words. We sat there for about ten minutes listening to the snow fall. Though I think the sound of our teeth chattering was more compelling this time. I thought maybe Doc had gone to sleep. I couldn’t see his eyes under the rim of his helmet. His body rose and fell gently with his even breath, his medical bag slung over his shoulder, resting on the white earth below. In his left pocket, a ripped blue handkerchief peeked out. I bit my lip. I’d just come from Bastogne, ferrying supplies – at least, what was left of them after the bombing. Someone had found nurse Reneé’s body in the rubble. Doc Salerny and I carried her to – well, there was no fancy way of saying it. We stacked her atop of a slowly growing pile of corpses.

I’d seen Winters when the colonel was giving the general’s Christmas speech. I could put two-and-two together. I could read people, and I read a bitter sadness in Roe. I think Reneé was just the clincher. I stared at Roe’s small, quiet figure and wished I were a psychologist, or at least a minister. Then I’d know how to go about bringing up the topic. Sure, it was hard going, but he didn’t have to go through it alone. He had a lot of friends here. Sure, maybe the next day those friends won’t be there anymore, but better to have shared your pain, get it off your chest, than never to have shared at all. I sighed, seeing how useless it was to lecture myself on all that.

Roe stirred. So he was asleep.

I looked out at the line of pines in the distance, so he wouldn’t know I was thinking about him.

“Hey, Donovan, you still here.” There was genuine surprise in that.

“Sure, where’d you think I’d go?”

He didn’t answer and we were silent once more. Two or three minutes passed. “Eugene?” I said.

“Yeah?” He peered at me.

“You wanna talk?”

There was a quiet rush of machine gun fire far, far away. Roe turned to look, then huddled himself more.

“I heard about Reneé.”

His head turned up slightly and towards me, his eyes suddenly cold.

“I’m really sorry. You know, you don’t have to keep it inside, Eugene.” I scooted closer to him.

“What’s with you, anyway?” he snapped, jabbing his helmet higher on his head. “Butting in on other folks’ problems? Find a Kraut to rat on.” He pressed his hand against the wall of the foxhole and got on his feet.

“Eugene–” I started after him. He was already creating a path of footprints parallel to the front line.

“Eugene!” I whispered loudly.

He turned around. “Won’t you leave me alone?”

“I just want to help.”

“And how can you do that, huh? Can you end this war? Can you?” He turned, walking on.

“Of course I can’t,” I called, following him. “Eugene. Doc!” I caught up with him. “That’s not the point now.”

“Yeah, what is? You seem to know everything.”

“Don’t bottle yourself up. Talk to us. Don’t be alone.”

“Well, that’s kind of hard when you’re tending to the last breath of the guy next to you.”

We stared at each other, silent. He turned and stomped away into the whiteness. The sound of fire increased suddenly and someone shouted for me to get into a foxhole.

I hesitated, still thinking of Roe and hating to see him like that. I ran forward.

“Donovan!” someone behind me shouted, bewildered.

A mortar crashed into the tree behind me, sending splinters in my wake. I didn’t know what I was doing. Somehow I felt I needed to stay with Roe. To prove he wasn’t alone, was that it? I dodged a blurring whiz then jumped right to avoid getting hit by our own men.

I crashed past Guanere’s foxhole. “What the–”

“Sorry!” I screamed back. I was going in the wrong direction for my foxhole. What was I doing? Ahead of me, a mortar boomed. Then I heard a scream and a loud curse. I recognized it right away. “Eugene!” I shouted, dashed forward, and crashed into his body that lay strewn on the debris-stricken snow.

“Doc–” I gasped. His leg was hit. Blood was stained across the fresh white powder. Jabs of wide wooden splinters jutted out from his leg. I grabbed the fabric of his pants and ripped them.

“Get them out,” Roe panted through clenched teeth. I took hold of one and pulled. He gasped and squeezed his fists into the snow. A mortar shook the trees above, sending more branches around us. A bullet whizzed past my head, snapping into the tree behind me.

“Get down, Donovan,” Roe hissed. I continued madly at the splinters.

Another bullet sped by.

“Down!” Roe shouted, grabbing me and pushing me into the blood-stained snow. I could feel his body quiver rigidly. His hands maneuvered to his medical bag, while on my stomach, I worked at his wounds. He threw me a packet of sulfa and I ripped it open, powdering it on his leg.

“Bandage,” I called.

He grimaced. “I hate this.”

“Hate what? I need the bandage.”

He threw over the white pad. “Hate using this stuff for myself – me, the medic. Some–” He gasped as I wound the bandage around. “Some doctor.”

“You’re just like the rest of us, Roe. Don’t you feel bad about that.” I patted the bandage secure. He grunted sharply.

“Morphine?” I asked. He shook his head stiffly, biting his lip. “Save it.”

“We got to get you to an aid station.”

“We don’t got one, remember?” He peered at me exhaustedly. A spray of gunfire zipped over our heads. We ducked.

Roe turned over on his stomach and looked out over our line, each man firing at the amorphous enemy afar. “I’m supposed to be helping those guys,” he shouted and turned to look at me. “How’d you get to me so fast anyway?”

I shrugged, unable to suppress a smile. “Didn’t want you to be alone!” I shouted above the din.

Roe sighed and laughed with a sort of freedom that had been so lost to him. A mortar crashed somewhere ahead and bullets twanged over us, a little closer this time.

I crawled closer to him. “We got to get out of here.”

Roe turned over to face me. “We can’t do anything til this calms down. Just lie low and keep still…”

I peered back, tempted to shout for a jeep.

“Donovan,” Roe jabbed me lightly, “you know you’re really something else.”

I looked back at him. “Then you see my point?” I asked, the gunfire subsiding around us.

“Yeah … I see your point. Doesn’t mean I’m going forward with it any, though.”

I crawled up close to him. “Hey, all I’m saying is to let it out sometimes. War ain’t something you go at alone.”

“Yeah, okay, I got it. Stick with me, then, won’t you?”

I patted his bandaged leg lightly. “That’s what we’re here for – all of us.”

An engine sound approached us suddenly. “Got an injured man?” the guy driving the jeep shouted. “Hop in!”

“How’d you know we needed you?” I called, helping Roe to the vehicle. The firefight had slowed now.

“Someone gave us a call,” the man said. “ ‘One man down,’ and we’re on our way!” He helped Roe onto a flat board, then with my help hoisted him up on the hood. The driver patted the steering wheel and hit the gas. “That’s what we’re here for,” he grinned.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend ~ Proverbs 27:6

The following is a story I wrote on September 30, 2011, inspired by my watching of Band of Brothers and my morning reading of Proverbs 27:6a, which reads, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” This work is copyright 2011 by inhonoredglory. No disrespect intended by use of real individuals. No copyright infringement intended through use of the HBO miniseries. Distribute with permission.

“And I won’t abandon you.”

“Yeah, why’s that?”

“Because I follow Christ, and He never abandons His friends.”

I brushed away the dust from my rifle one more time. However we got on that topic, I didn’t know. I started off to the right, towards the rest of Easy Company. Lewis moved back towards the brushy path and followed me.

“So that’s what it means, then? You tail me?” I called over my shoulder.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Ron. It’s a life principle.”

“Hey, just trying to lighten up this war.” I swung the gun over my left shoulder, shaking my head. I swear, Lewis was worse than Lieutenant Winters. All that idealism. Really. I wished I were sucking a cigarette right now.

We continued on to the gathering of men. Everyone was trying to find their company. I saw a man from D wander around. Another was looking for Lieutenant Meehan. In fact, everyone was looking for Meehan.

Lewis tagged along and kind of meandered to the building where the NCOs were grouped. I figured he was eavesdropping.

“You just can’t wait, can you?” I jabbed, mentally puffing him a cloud of tobacco.

“For what?” His camouflage-smeared, wide-eyed face glared up at me.

“For the action to start. I hear you didn’t do Normandy.” I smirked. My veteran’s ego was getting a boost. I’d heard Lewis conked out after the jump last night, maybe hit his head on a tree or something, missed most of the action til finding the rest of us this morning. But from the general look of pity on his face, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s just hid out all night. I really didn’t know how he got through the rigors of Camp Toccoa.

“I just want to do my duty, is all,” he responded. Yeah, that was the typical answer from someone like him. Duty, faith, honor, church. I really needed a smoke.

The NCOs broke up, then, and called out a few names. Easy Company wandered into the farmhouse where Winters and the other major noncoms were having a powwow. Winters got us collected. “The 88s we’ve been hearing,” he said, “have been spotted in a field down the road a ways. Major Strayer wants to take ‘em out.”

So that’s how I found myself in a two-man squad with Lewis sneaking up to the gun placement. Winters had sent us to machine-gun their right side and draw fire in that direction. We shoved off. I saw Lewis jangle out his dog tags and kiss the little metal cross that hung on the same chain.

“I don’t believe in God,” I whispered, just to get his goat, which was admittedly a pretty dumb thing to do at this point in time.

He glared at me and snapped the tags back into his clothes. A twang of ricochetted bullets hit the air. The 88s went into action. Winters and Compton started shouting and moving men along the line. The gunfire had begun.

Blasts were falling all around us, kicking up the dirt and grass. Something got me in the thigh. I shouted a few choice curses and pounded myself into position behind a bushy outcropping. The wound was really almost nothing, but it sure made setting up the machine gun a royal pain. Lewis scrambled the ammunition into place. I manned the sights.

“Are you ready?” I shouted.

“Go, go!”

Bang! I let ‘em have it. I could see our other guys working up the 88’s sides. I aimed and sent my ammo flying.

“You okay?” Lewis shouted above the zing of shells.

“Yeah I’m okay!” I blasted back. I couldn’t feel the pain right now. Didn’t want to.

Our guys jumped the Germans on the 88. It was ours. “Move it, move it!” I shouted, and we scampered down the line around the trees towards the gun we’d just taken. Lewis helped me forward, almost dragging me. We bunched up into Toye and Wynn at the gun. The 88 was half surrounded by fortifications, the space under the gun strewn with dead Krauts.

“Hold this one,” Winters shouted, looking at Lewis and me, and threw us a German stick grenade. He jumped down the trench with a bunch of other guys towards the next gun. I set up the M2 on the edge of the fortification around the 88; Lewis jammed the grenade down the 88 and snapped the hook. “Fire in the hole!” he shouted and dived. I jumped down over him. A rocking boom and black dust. Suddenly I saw a figure on the other side of the smoke, opposite the wall. Overcoat, helmet – a Kraut. I scrambled for my pistol. Cock. Fire. It didn’t go. “Damn!” I hissed. Lewis jumped up from under me and shoved me aside, slamming me further behind the wide bottom of the 88. He leaned over to a dead German’s body and grabbed his Luger. Two shots banged out. Lewis’s body quivered and fell. His hands still up, he cocked the Luger. Bang! The German collapsed on Lewis. I scrambled. “Lewis!” I threw the Kraut off him. Three shots stained his abdomen. “You’re gonna be okay.” I scrambled for my aid kit.

“No, I’m not,” he said quietly. I could barely hear him in the gunfire afar off. Winters was taking the next gun.

“Man the M2,” he squeezed out through clenched teeth. I fumbled with the kit. “Go,” he hissed and brought his hand up to his neck and swung his tags over his head. He jabbed the tags toward me.

“You’re not dead yet, Lewis.” I shook him.

His eyes fell closed.

“Lewis!” I shouted.

A shot twanged above my head. I grabbed the M2 and sent a wave of fire at the third 88, cursing all the way. A minute later, I saw our guys rush into the third. Winters waved his hand over between numbers two and three. Compton gave a thumbs up from inside the last 88.

:: ::

Everyone was cheering by the time I got back to HQ.

“That was amazing!” Faulkner from F Company shouted.

“Yeah.”

“Someone’s going to be up for a medal.”

“Uh-huh.”

Someone offered me a jug of cognac he’d snatched from town. I took it gratefully. Winters came around to thank us, then moved off towards the makeshift hospital ward. I didn’t feel like talking to Doc – or seeing him about my wound, so I went and found some corner alone. I took out Lewis’s dog tags and fingered the crossed metal dangling from the chain. Of course I didn’t like him, didn’t like his idealisms, didn’t like the noble way he always talked. But what was it in the end? It wasn’t pragmatics that was making him sing harps and tenor right now while I sat here drinking stale cognac.

I sighed and tapped the cross on my palm. Lewis was telling me something just a little while ago. It was something he’d read from that dinky Bible he’d gotten from his mother. Faithful are the wounds of a friend. Something in Proverbs, I think. Wasn’t everything?

I downed the last of the cognac and retreated to the farmhouse where Lewis, me, and a bunch of our company had set up camp. I plopped down and realized I was just left of Lewis’s things. Winters had told us to drop everything except ammunition when we went out. And there was his little Bible, resting so nicely, so obviously. Maybe too obviously? I jangled the cross in my hands.

“Sorry I gabbed about not believing in God,” I told his lifeless supplies. I could have made a big deal about his selflessness, but right now I figured that’s the last thing he’d wanted. I picked up his mother’s Bible. “Maybe I could make it up to you anyway.” The pages opened to something in John.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

My Commanding Officer

Something I wrote on March 7, 2011, to commemorate an event on July 30, 2010. I wrote a piece of dialogue in a story that oddly made me think of my relationship with God.

Thank You, Lord, that I can feel this way, even for a time!

My Commanding Officer

Part 1:

It was those words I put in his mouth,
That phrase I had him say
That made me see my God again
In a different, whole new way.

“No disrespect, sir.”
I mean no harm.
I only want what’s right.
Lord, I’m beneath Your guiding hand
As I wander in this night.

I cannot feel Your heart in mine,
I’ve no passion for the war,
My heart runs far to other things,
O Lord, just let me love You more.

But then You make me write these words,
And now You’ve made me see,
That my Commanding Officer
Is someone close to me.

Love is not a substance red,
Not just a feeling within,
It’s respect for Who You are, O God,
The way You’ve always been.

It’s giving You that place of Yours,
Above me, before me,
That makes me love You more.

I’m young, O Lord, but now I see
That passion’s not my goal.
I’ve been drafted for a duty plain,
Not elation in my soul.

O Lord, I simply must obey
The orders that You give,
And with my papers from Your hand
I can gladly live.

For it is with a duty done
That I can love You more,
It’s giving You the deep respect
That makes my heart feel sure.

You give the orders, call the plan.
I only need obey.
To rush with love, I’ll simply be
A light amid this gray.

Part 2:

O Lord, You are approachable.
Through Your Son, You’ve made this plain.
He understand the tears I cry,
For in Him was my pain.

Lord, You’re not the stuffy officer
That snubs his nose at men.
No, You’re the great Immanuel
That calls us each His friend.

You walk among us in our hearts,
You tell us, “Follow Me.”
But You have seen the battle plans,
How tough the front lines be.

The enemy is close at hand,
But You, O Lord, are here,
And with us like Your other men,
Your helping hand is near.

Part 3:

The war still here is going strong.
O give me strength to fight!
Lord, I am just a private now,
And often I feel slight.

I find it hard to march in line,
I’m so afraid to fight,
But, Lord, You are my high command
With you, the skies are bright.

I’ll simply place my trust in You,
Salute the northern sky,
Let duty bring my love for You,
And for You I will die.