Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

This past couple of weeks Vicki and I have gone to graduations and receptions for graduates. It has kept us busy, but so glad to see our granddaughters moving forward in their lives.

The days ahead will be filled with exciting moments. Caitlyn and Scout have things they are doing in preparation for the coming days. As you read this Caitlyn is headed to Haiti for a mission trip. She is so excited about the opportunity of being used by God at this time.

Scout has her days filled up with getting ready to play basketball at SWOSU in the fall. She will be continuing her conditioning and preparing for her studies in the School of Pharmacy. She is excited about what God is doing in her life.

I just finished up preparing for what I will share at the Veteran’s Memorial Day service on Monday evening. I have been honored to be able to share something at this time for several years. It is such an honor to sit beside our local Veteran’s as they remember those with whom they served that gave their lives for our country.

Each year, we are asked to remember someone who we knew that was a veteran who served our country. One of them that comes to my mind each time was my uncle, Jesse Smith, my mother’s oldest brother. No, he didn’t die on the battle field, but he served during WWII and proudly stood in honor of our nation.

He was my hero as I grew up! I remember spending time with him during the summer months on the farm in Caddo County, Oklahoma. He took me into Binger for breakfast and even introduced me to Johnny Bench! He was totally awesome.

He raised peanuts and cotton on the family farm. He would take me to the fields and let me hoe weeds alongside others who were working that day. He taught me things that I have never forgotten.

The one thing that I remember the most about Uncle Jesse is his great love for his parents. Since he never married, he took care of them until the day they died. He made sure they had everything they needed and even took them to church on Sunday. He was a man of principles until the very end.

One thing he always shared with me was his love for this country. He didn’t say much, but when he did, he intended for you to listen. His time in the Army was important to him and consequently to his little nephew and family. Uncle Jesse gave of his early years to serve this nation. When he died, it was tough on me because he had been such an example to me.

I am so thankful and honored to be able to stand with the Veteran’s here on Memorial Day. They are men and women who gave of their lives to serve in our Armed Forces. It reminds me of my Uncle Jesse as well as many other veterans that I have been blessed to know through the years.

In Philippians 1, Paul was addressing those who had been faithful in their service to the Lord and walking with him through all that he had endured. In Phil. 1:3-5, he wrote -- 3 “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, 5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.”

Those that Paul addressed were ‘veterans’ in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and supporting him in all he did. I have known many ‘veterans’ of the Gospel that have stood strong. Some of them were Veterans of Foreign Wars while others never served in the military. Yet they stood strong for the Lord in service to Him.

For each of them I can say – “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.” As you go through the coming days, take a moment to say thanks to a veteran and pause to remember those who served but never came home. Also remember those ‘veterans’ of the great spiritual war that is taking place in this world today.

JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, there IS something about that name!!

Christ only, always,

Bro. Paul