By the Dawn’s Early Light

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows 
Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
John 8:12 ESV

Beginning with memories of Christmas morns as a five-year-old, I have loved waking with the first ray of sunlight and rushing out to see what the day has in store. One of the most repeated phrases I can recall mom saying was, “Go back to bed Peter, it’s not even six o-clock!” I love sunrises, quiet morning walks and having breakfast while everyone else is still asleep. But what is true in the physical world doesn’t always translate into the spiritual one. In my Christian life, a comfortable resting place, where everything is familiar, sweet and nice, seems a wonderful spot to catch a few spiritual zzz’s. The problem with snoozing in our comfort zones; however, is that walking with Jesus is a matter of following in His footsteps, not sleep walking in our dreams. As this July 4th weekend kicks off, I am reminded that in 1814, our nation’s independence hung in the balance. During a furious battle on September 13th of that year, those in Fort McHenry could not sleep. The powerful guns of the British bombarded the fort all through the night, yet the defenders stood their ground. As Francis Scott Key watched the battle through the bars of his prison cell he prayed for those brave men and for the future of our nation. Then, “By the dawn’s early light.” he saw the American flag still waving and knew that God had answered his prayers. As that new morning began, he wrote a poem that was to become our national anthem. This morning the United States is arguably the most powerful nation on earth. No foreign cannons are firing on our harbor defenses, nor are soldiers lurking on ships, ready to storm ashore and seize control of our cities. But an enemy more powerful than the British empire of old, or the Russian army of today, is attacking every treasured tradition, innocent pastime or loving relationship. Satan is hard at work to cast His dark shadow over our communities, our churches and our homes. Though we are shocked daily by the ever-bolder assaults on spiritual lives, God is not surprised. He isn’t pulling out His hair as He sits helplessly on His throne. He isn’t thinking of throwing down the scepter of the universe and walking away from our battle. Instead, He is reminding us that He is still leading the way, and in Him, is a victory far greater than the one for Fort McHenry. Jesus Christ is the Light of the World that will never be put out and the Rock of Ages that cannot be shaken. “By the dawn’s early light.” He guarantees that if we put our faith in Him, He will give us an eternal victory and a true freedom that can never be taken away!

O say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight
O're the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there
O say, does that star spangled banner yet wave
O're the land of the free and the home of the brave?

I hope you like Natalie Grant's rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner which she performed at the 2022 National Championship game. It's one of my favorites!

Fighting For Our Family

Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14b ESV

I sometimes enjoy watching the HGTV shows like “Hometown” and “Love it or List It”. My favorite moment in the half hour shows is always the “Reveal”. That is when the happy couple is lead into their newly remodeled home and shown all the amazing improvements, while uplifting music plays in the background. One part we don’t notice is that most of the furniture we are seeing, is actually just staged and that if they want to keep it all, they will need to pay a bit more. While that technique is great in selling television shows or homes, it is not so great with families. In the old days, that is what we did when company came over and today it is more like posting pictures on Facebook of our family vacation or our smiling grandkids at the beach. But the real life, messy scenes that never make it to social media are our arguments, heartbreaks and tears that lurk behind every one of those staged images. But God is not shocked, offended or pushed to the brink of unfriending us when we are going through a family crisis. Instead, it is during those dark and terrible times that God chooses to teach us that He wants us to stand and fight for our family and that by His grace we can learn to love as He did.

We fight because a family is worth defending
We fight because we love them too much to quit
We fight because no one else will come to their aid
We fight because family is a precious gift from God
And God expects us to lay down our lives
As He did His
And then stand strong in His love
When everyone else has walked away

Knit Together

Before we saw our first sunrise
Or took one breath of air
Before our first cry
Or we opened our eyes
God knew that we were there

While He knit us together
He was choosing our name
While He fashioned our hands and feet

Then He wrote down our story
In His book of life
As our tiny heart started to beat!

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb. Psalm 139:13 ESV

Knit Together by Peter Caligiuri
Copyright 2022 all rights reserved

"We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way."
St. Francis of Assisi