By Bunni Pounds, Guest Writer and TEF Consultant
Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)
What was the joy?
By Bunni Pounds, Guest Writer and TEF Consultant
Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)
What was the joy?
By Kevin and Marnie Freeman
Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)
A new movie arriving in theaters July 21, will attempt to tell the story of some rather extraordinary events that took place in May 1940. Tragedy of the most extreme type was about to befall the British, with more than 300,000 soldiers trapped in France and surrounded by a German army more than twice their strength. Short of a miracle, these brave souls, comprising the bulk of the British army, were to be captured, killed, or starved. Yet, as any amateur historian knows, the vast majority was safely transported back to England in what is now known as “the Miracle of Dunkirk.”
Hopefully the movie from acclaimed director Christopher Nolan will tell more than the facts of the matter. The true story is that not one, but multiple miracles took place after King George VI called his nation to set aside May 26th as a National Day of Prayer. The King worshiped God at Westminster Abbey. The rest of the British Empire joined him in churches around the world crying out to the true Almighty. This heartfelt prayer certainly had an effect.
We know from the scriptures that when two or more gather in the name of the Lord, God shows up (Matthew 18:20). We also know that the effectual, fervent (heartfelt) prayer of the righteous has great power (James 5:16). These scriptures proved true at Dunkirk. As Winston Churchill observed, “335,000 men had been carried out of the jaws of death and shame to their native land.” How that happened was indeed a miracle.
Reverend David E. Gardner wrote a trilogy on Dunkirk entitled The Trumpet Sounds for Britain. He went to be with the Lord in 2002 but MovieGuide saw fit to excerpt his work for a recent article titled History in the Movies: The Miracle of Dunkirk (https://www.movieguide.org/news-articles/history-in-the-movies.html).
Rev. Gardner explained the miracles that saved the men (quoting the Movieguide excerpts):
“The first miracle
The first was that for some reason – which has never yet been fully explained – Hitler overruled his generals and halted the advance of his armored columns at the very point when they could have proceeded to the British army’s annihilation. They were now only 10 miles away! Later, Mr. Churchill asserted in his memoirs that this was because Hitler undoubtedly believed “that his air superiority would be sufficient to prevent a large-scale evacuation by sea.” That is very significant in terms of the second miracle.
The second miracle
A storm of unprecedented fury broke over Flanders on Tuesday, 28 May, (1940), grounding the German Luftwaffe squadrons and enabling the British army formations, now eight to twelve miles from Dunkirk, to move up on foot to the coast in the darkness of the storm and the violence of the rain, with scarcely any interruption from aircraft, which were unable to operate in such turbulent conditions. The Fuehrer had obviously not taken the weather into his reckoning, nor the One who controls the weather! And, the third miracle?
The third miracle
Despite the storm in Flanders, a great calm—such as has rarely been experienced—settled over the English Channel during the days which followed, and its waters became as still as a mill pond.
It was this quite extraordinary calm which enabled a vast armada of little ships, big ships, warships, privately owned motor-cruisers from British rivers and estuaries – in fact, almost anything that would float – to ply back and forth in a desperate bid to rescue as many of our men as possible.
The Little Ships
There were so many ships involved in the evacuation that this is the way in which Douglas Bader, the legless Spitfire fighter ace, who sped over with his squadrons from the fighter base at Martlesham, near Ipswich, to help cover the operation, described the scene in Fight for the Sky: “The sea from Dunkirk to Dover during these days of the evacuation looked like any coastal road in England on a bank holiday. It was solid with shipping. One felt one could walk across without getting one’s feet wet, or that’s what it looked like from the air. There were naval escort vessels, sailing dinghies, rowing boats, paddle-steamers, indeed every floating device known in this country. They were all taking British soldiers from Dunkirk back home. You could identify Dunkirk from the Thames estuary by the huge pall of black smoke rising straight up into a windless sky from the oil tanks which were ablaze just inside the harbor.”
Yet still, to a very large extent, the German air squadrons were unable to intervene. Certainly not in force, nor in the way Hitler had anticipated, for so many of these squadrons still remained grounded. So much so, that General Haider, Chief of the German General Staff, three days after the High Command had so proudly boasted that the British Army was about to be annihilated, was obliged to record in his diary on 30 May that “Bad weather has grounded the Luftwaffe, and now we must stand by and watch countless thousands of the enemy getting away to England right under our noses.”
A strange immunity
Even though some squadrons did get through, it seems that yet another miracle happened. Many of the troops on the beaches were favored with a strange immunity. When about 400 men were being machine-gunned and bombed, systematically, by about sixty enemy aircraft, one man who flung himself down with the rest reported that, after the strafing was over, he was amazed to find that there was not a single casualty.
Another man, a chaplain, was likewise machine-gunned and bombed as he lay on the beach. After what seemed an eternity, he realized he had not been hit, and rose to his feet to find that the sand all around where he had been lying was pitted with bullet holes, and that his figure was outlined on the ground.”
There was and should be no doubt that miracles took place. In fact, it was so obvious that the British, with such deep gratitude, held a day of National Thanksgiving on June 9 with praying and the singing of Psalm 124:
1 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say:
2 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us:
3 Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:
4 Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:
5 Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.
6 Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.
7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
King James Version (KJV)
So What Lessons Can We Learn from Dunkirk Today?
There are at least three valuable and timeless lessons to take from the Dunkirk Miracle.
First, we must recognize that miracles can still happen today. Sometimes it seems easy to relegate God’s hand of Providence to Biblical Times. And then the temptation is to relegate Biblical accounts as simply stories told as if they were Greek mythology or ancient fairy tales. There is no discounting what happened in 1940, however. That history is so well documented that it must be accepted. And that history is absolute in explaining the miracles that took place.
Oftentimes, people will question Biblical accounts because they don’t experience modern miracles. Dunkirk gives us reason to not only acknowledge the miraculous in modern times but heartens our understanding of Biblical accounts.
Think about it. We have a nation in an impossible situation. A hostile army of superior strength intent on their destruction surrounded their people. That nation cries out to God and is miraculously delivered through the sea. Sound familiar?
Kevin was recently in Egypt and had the opportunity to learn about the mummified remains of Pharaoh Ramses II. This is the Pharaoh commonly associated with Moses and the Exodus. When the researchers unwrapped him for display at the Egyptian Museum late in the 20th Century, his arms were differently positioned from any other mummy. In fact, the museum officially states that his arms were positioned as if he were holding the reigns to a chariot with his right hand and attempting to hold back an onslaught of water with his left. In addition, x-rays suggest that he died from drowning with sea salt found inside the mummy. Other research suggests that he died around the age of 90. All of this is consistent with the Biblical account of Exodus. (http://thecairopost.youm7.com/news/142273/culture/ramses-ii-pharaoh-of-exodus-researcher-says).
God’s deliverance is a continual theme in the Bible. Sometimes, this was personal deliverance for individuals or families, as in the case of the three Hebrew children (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). Other times, it was a miracle to save a nation (such as David vs. Goliath). But the point is that the history of Dunkirk demonstrates that these are more than stories. And, the miracles did not end when the Bible was finished.
The second lesson from Dunkirk has to do with the importance of giving thanks for God’s deliverance.
It is essential to note that the deliverance of Dunkirk did not end the war. In fact, the British were still heavily outmanned and outgunned. The war was going to be taken to their homeland with the Battle of Britain that would start in the next month and last for another year. And, the completion of the war itself was five years away and the prospects remained dire. Britain was about to be tested as never before and they knew it. And yet, they paused on a Sunday in June to drop to their knees in Thanksgiving, prayer, and praise.
For us, we should be careful to give God the glory and demonstrate our own thanksgiving for any deliverance, whether large or small. We must do this even if we don’t know or see the final outcome. It is too easy to ignore the miracles we experience daily because we continue to fear the larger challenge. A good example from Exodus is how the children of Israel took manna for granted because they remained in the wilderness.
A New Testament example that shows a lack of gratitude can be seen with the ten lepers who were healed. Only one returned to give thanks. Jesus rightly questioned (Luke 17: 17), “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?”
The third lesson from Dunkirk is a reminder that we ought to be crying out for deliverance. What are you going through today where you could use a touch from God? Do you need God’s miraculous help with your family, your health, or your finances? If God was able to rescue 335,000 Brits from an impossible circumstance, He is clearly able to deliver you. And, for those of us concerned about the declining culture, the economy, or national security threats, it is imperative that we purposely cry out to God now.
There are so many threats we face as Christians in America. There is the effort to stamp out religious liberty, wherein you are not allowed to demonstrate your faith in the marketplace. There is the threat of terrorism and radical jihadists who want to force Shariah law on our nation. There is human trafficking and child exploitation that hides in the shadows but threatens our children. There are potentially systemic threats to our power grid. And, of course, there are international threats from rogue nations and their leaders. The list of threats is long. Given that, shouldn’t we be crying out to God Almighty both individually and corporately?
Sometimes it seems as if God waits for His people to cry out before delivering them. So why aren’t we crying out? Oh that President Trump, accompanied by leaders in Congress, would call for a day of national prayer and fasting to ask for God’s hand of protection. Oh that each state or city’s leaders would do the same. Oh that we would be unwavering in joining together in prayer groups and Bible studies everywhere, to perpetually and persistently petition God for deliverance for our ourselves, our families, our cities, our states, and our country!
For us, the challenge of Dunkirk is to believe in God, to recognize our utter dependence on his sovereign divine hand, to cry out to him ceaselessly, and to understand that the God of the Bible is alive today and He continues to reign in the affairs of men.
Are you facing a personal Dunkirk where things seem impossible and there is no way out? Odds are, you have just emerged from a serious challenge or are about to enter one. Take comfort! The God behind the miracle of Dunkirk is alive and well, ready to help you in your time of greatest need.
Marnie and Kevin Freeman are full on believers in Jesus Christ. They believe their highest calling to be serving God, their families, their friends and clients, their church, and their communities at the local, state, and federal levels. Kevin, an investment manager and CFA, is an expert on financial terrorism, a NY Times bestselling author (http://secretweapon.org/) of Secret Weapon: How Economic Terrorism Brought Down the Stock Market and Why It Can Happen Again and Game Plan: How to Protect Yourself from the Coming Cyber-Economic Attack, and host of the new television show Economic War Room with Kevin Freeman (http://economicwarroom.com/).
Marnie is a full time mom, award-winning artist (http://marniefreeman.com/), teacher, volunteer, and sits on the Texas Eagle Forum Advisory board and the Tarrant County Eagle Forum Board.
By Heather Stoner, Grassroots America We the People
Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)
When my dear friend Trayce asked me to write a devotional for Texas Eagle Forum, she said “just write what God has been showing you lately”. I thought “Ha, WHICH thing?!” Have you ever had a time in your life where you feel that EVERY time you turn around, God is taking the opportunity to show you an area in your life that you need to work on? I now know how my precious daughter must have felt in those few (and thankfully they were few) seasons of life when she seemed to hear my voice OFTEN correcting something she was doing. I am in one of those seasons with God.
Recently, I received a stack of old quilts that had been worked by my grandmother who passed away years ago. Some of the quilts are lovely with just two colors. Red and white or lavender and white. But my favorite one is the patchwork, multi colored one. If I look closely at the tattered fabric, I recognize a little gingham from a childhood dress she made me, a bit of red striped fabric from my Raggedy Ann doll, and a little calico from the summer she taught me to sew doll clothes.
Today, I feel like that quilt. God has taken the “pieces” of my life and pieced them together to form who I am. And although there are days that I feel like I am tattered and worn. When I see only colors that are not as crisp and sharp as they were long ago. I remember that God has placed each experience, trial, joy and sorrow in my life to bring me to who I am today in him. Often, I wish he would take a seam ripper and cut out a few squares that I don’t want in my story and replace them with a pretty, new version. But he knows the pattern of the quilt. Some days I wish I was like one of the ones with only two colors. A life more settled, safe, and sane. But he saw fit to make mine full of textures, patterns and color.
Because I made a major move across the county three years ago I feel like a quilt that was pulled out of a chest. It had taken years to gather all the pieces, have a full life and tell a story with a completed pattern. But when found by a new owner it is only seen for what it is today. They do not know the story, the history or the purpose that the quilt was created for. BUT the creator knew. Just like my grandmother knew every scrap of fabric and where it came from and that she had created THAT specific quilt with love, for warmth to her granddaughter. God knows every single one of my pieces. He knows the purpose that I was created for and that there is STILL use and purpose, although a bit tattered and frayed around the edges, left until the day I am called home.
A treasured quilt also leaves a legacy. Years ago, God gave me a verse when I was going through the most difficult, darkest days of my life.
She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25
Many days I may feel too small and weak against the forces I am up against. He will give me strength. I want to honor God even in the most difficult of circumstances. He will give dignity and when I get stressed at the world around me. He will give me laughter without fear of the future. Will your legacy be one of strength, dignity and some laughter along the way?
So, sure there are pieces that we wish we could go back and re-cut. But be excited about the wonderful pattern and design that God is making out of your life. And know that just like every quilt, he has a purpose and will use you to his honor and glory. Look for how you can use the very fabric of your life to bring purpose to what you do. I look at courageous people around me standing up for what they believe. Many are using scraps of their story to form their testimonies. What do you have to offer? What is the pattern of your life that God is STILL weaving together and still using with HIS purpose in mind. Unique because just as there will never be an exact same hand worked quilt, neither will our stories and legacy be exactly the same.
By Dr. Thomas Schlueter, Prince of Peace House of Prayer Pastor & Texas Apostolic Prayer Network Coordinator
This is part of our new series – Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)
The American Revolution was beginning in 1775. The British, the most powerful military in the world, was occupying Boston and problems in the colonies were rising. George Washington and the Continental Army were besieging British held Boston at the time. The British troops were trapped in the city and the only way to receive food and supplies was by sea. Washington wanted to harass and capture as many ships bringing supplies to the troops in Boston as possible, so he formed a small squadron of ships, outfitted at his own expense, for the task. Each schooner was to have a special flag flown from its mast. All boats were to have “An Appeal to Heaven” flags upon them. This flag, also known as “Washington’s cruiser flag.” was a white flag with an evergreen tree in the middle and the words “An Appeal to Heaven” stitched across.
On November 29, 1775, the USS Lee captured the British brigantine Nancy. Captain John Manley was given command of a schooner named the USS Lee, after General Charles Lee. The brigantine Nancy was a massive 250-ton British ship bringing supplies to Boston. Unknown to Captain Manley and the crew of the USS Lee, the ship was carrying tons of ammunition and weapons. The prize was so great that it was said our country would have taken well over a year to produce. Not only was this the greatest capture of the entire Revolution, it also inspired all the founding fathers and the birth of our countries United States Navy as we know it today. The original schooners bearing the“Appeal to Heaven” flags continued capturing British ships and performing special services for the remainder of the war as our new Navy was being formed. In addition to the schooners, the flag was also flown on floating batteries, river banks, in towns, battlefields like Bunker Hill, and even places of most importance like our nation’s capital in Philadelphia.
The Pine Tree, also known as the “Tree of Peace” has been sacred by the Iroquois Indians for over a thousand years in America. At a very troubling time in their history, a peacemaker united six great tribes from the Great Lake areas and established unity. This great treaty was symbolized by burying their weapons under a pine tree and this tree was to be guarded by a bald eagle at its peak clutching six arrows.
The truth is, our founding fathers and early settlers were very much influenced by the Iroquois Indians. Just around the time of the signing of The Declaration, The Iroquois attended a Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia. This meeting was one of the many were the Indians would inspire our founders to unite with them in their ways of living, laws, and style of government. It was just after this that the “Tree of Peace” became known as our new “Liberty Tree” and it would show itself on flags of all kinds, especially those in the fight for our freedom.
The phrase “An Appeal to Heaven” comes from John Locke from England. Locke was one of the great philosophers of his time. He, like other English Philosophers, was also influenced by the Iroquois in America. “An Appeal to Heaven” comes from his studies on “Natural Laws”, a system of right or justice common to all humankind and derived from nature rather than from the rules of society and the only judge is that of our Creator. Thomas Jefferson penned it well in our Declaration of Independence:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
As Texans and Americans, let us boldly make our Appeal To Heaven in this hour.
By Becky Leach (Wife of Rep. Jeff Leach & Guest Writer)
This is part of our new series – Texas Eagle Forum Devotionals (#TEFDevo)
What if blessing doesn’t come in the form of gross sales, Facebook likes and career promotions? What if instead, it comes in the shape of heart lessons, contentment and peace? What if the way we’ve been taught to measure blessing is actually the world’s view of success? What if “blessing” is NOT measured by worldly standards but by the very presence of God in our lives?
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is in the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:7
Blessed is the man who trusts. Not blessed is the man who has everything. Not blessed is the man who wins elections, has a million twitter followers, has the biggest house or the most friends. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.
Scripture tells us that God’s plan for us is, indeed, prosperous, good and blessed – but somewhere along the way we have turned it into a story of worldly success over simply being God’s vessel.
When I was in Africa several years ago, the term ‘blessing’ impacted me greatly after precious women, who had nothing, would exclaim over and over that they were so very blessed.They had great contentment, joy and the overflowing presence of the Holy Spirit. They worshiped Jesus with every step they took. They saw their very breath as a blessing from God.
They didn’t question quantity of quality because all they had was quality – and they viewed themselves as so very rich.
I fear that I’ve gotten this wrong for so long, y’all. I fear that I’ve valued success over blessing – I fear that I’ve put them in the same bucket when they were never intended to be.
In scripture, the way of blessing was the way of the wilderness, but the Israelites questioned and argued and complained the entire way. Moses, however, trusted God to deliver time and time again and was blessed.
The way of blessing was the fiery furnace. Their faith was extreme – and only grew after God saved them. Their trust in the Lord was contagious.
The way of blessing was through the death of Ruth’s husband. She persevered, experienced God’s faithfulness and then became a woman in the line of David. Her trust in the Lord deepened.
I have to stop thinking of blessing in terms of the way the world thinks of it. I must start looking at blessing through the eyes of an eternal God. But still, it is hard to come to the conclusion that blessing does not equal success nor does success equal blessing.
Let’s look at the prayer of Jabez, a popular prayer of blessing that has become a great model of how we can pray over our lives. He asks the Lord: “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me.” (1 Chronicles 4:10, emphasis mine).
Isn’t it interesting that he asked for blessing AND that God would grow his reach, protect him and that God would be with him? Could that be because blessing is within and all the other parts of the equation is simply part of God’s divine ordination?
Of course God desires success for our businesses, our families and our volunteer positions. Of course blessing can come in the form of growth.
But it is when we value the success OVER the heart lessons, contentment and peace that we can get into trouble.
For me it boils down to this : I am a writer so I deal in terms of page views, likes, shares and readership. I am a shop owner so I also deal in terms of sales, revenue and measured growth. I am an artist and deal yet more in technique growth, finding my voice and education. These are all good things.
But they are not the best thing.
They are not the thing that we should be after as believers! The thing we should be after is Christ, because the thing He is after is our heart.
Maybe you are in a place of discouragement today. Maybe you feel down about your numbers or not getting that big promotion. Maybe you simply feel small – and you see women all around you who are “enlarging their territory” and it seems as though God’s hand is on them but not big enough to cover you as well.
Friend, I have been there. Heck – I find myself there most days. But the encouragement is that our God loves us and blesses us from the inside out. He is teaching us, shaping us, molding us to be more like HIM to be used by HIM so that we might speak about HIM.
It’s not about us, but it is all about Him. It always will be.
I am more convinced than ever that God’s blessing is not, in fact, measured by how successful I am, but measured more by how much I trust God – and the result of that is peace, joy and contentment – all of which money (and success) could never buy!
So we have two choices today. We can leave this time here together encouraged that God’s hand of blessing isn’t necessarily measured by numbers and let that carry us through our successes and failures OR we can start our day still questioning whether or not God loves us because our measured growth isn’t going up fast enough.
Which will you choose? I pray you will choose encouragement and trust alongside me today! It is never the easy choice – but it is always the best choice!
It is an honor to share here today! May y’all feel blessed today!
The battle of a patriot never ceases. However, the reward is reaped for generations. Therefore, do not lose your zeal for freedom or the passion for our cornerstone values. Rather, draw from the hope and knowledge that our legislature was strategically selected but it is the Lord that will safeguard our liberties.
Today, we call upon you to pray for our legislature as we approach these final days.
2 Chronicles 15:7 But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is a reward for your work.
Pray that they will have strength to keep fighting and clarity of mind as they continue to discern how to best protect our families and faith.
Do not be discouraged by the media or outside voices. Our fight is for a Higher power that says it is always a season of prayer and to always commit our works to Him.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Victory cannot be won without warriors to lift up our battles.
For the last 16 weeks, we have been featuring inspirational articles from extraordinary women from all around the state. Their contributions to the Texas Eagle Forum Blog chronicles their journey into the world of grassroots activism and reflect the heartbeat of Texas women everywhere. Each post stands alone and yet is uniquely unified. They are all ready and waiting just for you!
Bunni Pounds – Your Revolutionary Leader is Here 1/24/2017
Audrea Taylor – How Are You Not For Women 2/1/2017
Bethany Jarrell – Not All Millennials Are Created Equal 2/15/2017
Tammy Morgan – Are They Missing Something? 2/22/2017
Debby Efurd – Why the Women’s March Didn’t Speak for Me 3/1/2017
Teresa Beckmeyer – Family, Politics and Power of a Newsletter 3/8/2017
Glyn Wright McKay – Seeking Value, Finding Purpose 3/15/2017
Kara Green – Duty is Ours, Results are God’s 3/22/2017
Marnie Freeman – So How Did I Get Involved in Politics? 3/29/2017
Bunni Pounds – Politics is Not Inherently Evil 4/5/2017
Jennie Krause – Politics- My Ministry, Not My Identity 4/12/2017
Cindi Castilla – Books, Reading, and Political Activism 4/19/2017
Emily Horne – Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly 4/26/2017
Marilyn Statler – If the Lord Nudges… 5/3/2017
Karen Starnes – The Road Ahead 5/10/2017
If you appreciate the information, influence, and inspiration that Texas Eagle Forum provides during session and year-round, consider making a contribution towards our monthly expenses. Just visit our donate page here.
Written by Karen Starnes – (Guest Writer)
Life. As so many have stated before me, “Without Life, there can be no Liberty.” This sacred and precious gift pointed me to get involved in politics. I can’t pinpoint when I first heard about abortion, but it probably had to do with learning of Roe v. Wade. Like any child, I instinctively knew it was wrong. Through the years I heard stories of young girls faced with seemingly no other option, and sympathized with them. I heard things like, “There is nothing we can do because it’s the law of the land.”, and “It’s a blob of tissue, and won’t feel anything anyways,” influencing my developing mind to accept that it might be ok in certain circumstances.
Growing up, my family watched the news together and my parents talked openly to my sister and me about current events, morality, and the Lord. They believed that prayer changes things and they modeled trust and faith in God no matter how unfortunate things might have looked for our country or in tough times at home. A sign always hung in our entryway quoting the scripture from Joshua 24:15, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” We praised Jesus in the good times and bad at the Watson Home. I’m so grateful for my upbringing in church and a loving family. It’s something I have never taken for granted, and I remember nostalgically being proud of America during a time when it seemed everyone loved our president, Ronald Reagan
During my government class in High School I remember thoroughly enjoying a project assigned to research presidential candidates for the upcoming election and choose who you would vote for and why. I enjoyed watching the debates, reading newspaper articles, and was fascinated by the process. It was incredibly disappointing to me to miss turning 18 in time to vote when Election Day arrived. I had met the love of my life, Joel Starnes by this time as well. He was raised a Rush Baby and had a solid Christian World View galvanized by attending Summit Ministries Summer Camp. Sometimes he challenged me to consider some things that my public school education had influenced me to believe about our government that were at odds with my Christian Faith and the historical facts of our founding.
Politics wasn’t a big part of my life except for the subsequent presidential elections for the next few cycles. I did run for student government and served on the First Year Council, then was a Sergeant at Arms my Sophomore year at UMHB, but didn’t continue on in subsequent years due to being so busy with nursing school and planning a wedding. I voted as soon as I was old enough and felt proud and grateful to be free to participate in the process.
My wake-up call that America was changing came September 11, 2001. I had just climbed into bed after a long night shift working as an RN on the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit when Joel called and grimly told me to turn on the T.V. I watched in disbelief and cried and prayed. Later that afternoon I startled awake to loud BOOMS shaking our tiny house; I thought surely it was the end and prepared myself. I soon realized it was the brave soldiers at Fort Hood running training exercises across Lake Belton. It was a sobering time that grew us up. Joel and I considered joining the military and prayed for direction. We both wanted to help our country in some way. My friend who was an AA flight attendant called me to tell me she and her dad, a pilot were safe, but stuck as all air traffic had been suspended.
Fast forward a few years. We had moved back home to the HEB area and had our first born son. Everyone knows how much that first baby changes you! He came into this world at 36 weeks and was delivered emergently. I had unknowingly developed HELLP Syndrome which I had learned in nursing school years earlier was one of the most dangerous complications of pregnancy where infant and maternal mortality rates were alarmingly high. The acronym stands for Hemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes and Low Platelets. Because my platelets were so low, I could not get a spinal or epidural due to risk of bleeding. I remember thinking, “but they are about to slice into me….” I don’t remember feeling fear, but prayed and asked God to protect us. I wanted so badly to stick around and be Mommy to my son, and I didn’t want Joel to be a widower at age 29. We both made it through the C-section with risky general anesthesia, and despite a few challenges both miraculously were discharged home after only 6 days. Some sweet friends even surprised us with a Limo ride home from the hospital. Knowing we had experienced a miracle a newfound greater appreciation for life developed and a deeper sense of its fragility. One thing we also carry with us is the fact that many who experience this complication are much earlier in their pregnancy. It happens as early as 20 weeks. In all my research about the topic, I have never heard of a doctor recommending an “abortion procedure” to rescue the life of the mother. The treatment is to simply deliver the baby as fast as possible and work to save both the newborn, usually preemie baby and its mommy. A standard abortion procedure would not only kill the baby, but be a riskier procedure for the woman. I am keenly aware of the argument made by Pro-abortion politicians that we must keep abortion on demand legal in order to save the life of a mother experiencing complications, but I have yet to find a complication that would be remedied with abortion vs. swift delivery.
I learned more about the abortion procedure and the history of it first in nursing school and then through my brother-in-law’s work with Priests for Life, Life Dynamics, and the documentary Maafa 21 he was involved in making. The truth about the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, the eugenics movement in America and the diabolical ties to racial hatred and targeting was the stuff of horror movies causing my convictions about Life without exception to deepen. I believe some of my traits are God ingrained in like a sense of truth and justice and a desire to act when called. Micah 6:8 is a go to verse for me and reads, “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” I also love His word where it says, “ For the word of the Lord is right, and all His work is done in truth. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” Psalm 33:4-5. The entire passage of Psalm 33 is wonderful! Another passage that influenced me in my walk with Jesus is Psalm 139. Verses 13-18 say, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand-when I awake, I am still with you.” Not only do the scriptures affirm how precious the unborn are to the Lord, they were words of deep comfort during a time when I struggled with my identity in Christ, and felt insecure and insignificant. Still, if those old dark feelings creep in, the Holy Spirit brings these life affirming words to my mind and I speak them out loud because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of the Lord.
After Clive was born I remember contacting my Congressman and President Bush urging and pleading with them not to bailout the banks. I was sorely disappointed in the decision to ignore the majority of the people. Joel and I were both engaged in listening to conservative talk radio and lively discussions regarding the massive growths in government while the people became more burdened and ignored. I took Clive in the baby stroller down to the lawn of the City Courthouse in Hurst, TX to join the first Tea Party Rally armed with tea bags and letters for our Congressmen and the president. We were tired of over taxation with little to no representation for hard working average Americans. Thanks to social media I had seen a lifetime friend’s mother posting about politics and the rally.
We tried for two years to conceive again and were overjoyed when we found out at only two weeks along. We were a little nervous, but I had been thoroughly checked out by my doctor and an hematologist and declared healthy, with little chance of developing HELLP Syndrome again. So when the bleeding started at 9-10 weeks we were heartbroken and pleaded with the Lord to save our baby. I won’t go into detail, but it was a painful time both physically and spiritually. Jesus walked with us through it, but I admit it was hard to understand why this sweet life ended. I cramped and contracted and delivered a tiny dead baby at home by myself. I have thought many times that is probably a similar experience to those going through an early trimester abortion. There are feelings of shame and regret and feeling like you did something wrong to cause this even when you didn’t. I was crushed and struggled for a long time. It was in a season of feeling broken that I clung to my Heavenly Father like never before. He carried us and growth happened and even breakthrough in our marriage. We can testify to His compassion and as Psalm 34:18 states, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” He is “The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” II Corinthians 1:3.
About a year later we conceived again and had a sweet baby boy Isaiah. His name means “Yahweh is salvation”. My pregnancy with him and his delivery deepened my desire to grow closer to God and increased my love for Him. There are so many lessons I learned about God’s love and mercy for me through caring for my babies. A mama’s heart is beating for her kids and wants nothing but the best of everything for them. You love them so much it hurts and would give anything to keep them safe and free of suffering. You want to teach them everything because you don’t want them to make the same mistakes you did. I felt so many times when speaking life to my babies my Heavenly Father would speak things to my heart things like, “See honey, that’s how I feel about you.”
I became aware of the Pro Life legislation Texas legislatures and Pro Life activists were trying to pass in Austin in 2013 through Facebook first I think, and heard about a call to come to the Capitol in support and prayer. I had already called my congressman, but felt like I could do more this time. A sweet friend felt the same so we got our hubbies to watch our kids and hopped on the road down to Austin. I had been to the Capitol a couple of times to visit and learn TX history, but had never gone in this capacity before. There were thousands in blue in support of women and babies all over the capitol grounds as well as thousand in orange there to protest. We waited in an incredibly long ling to sign in as support for HB2. Then we attended a rally on the south steps. Protesters tried to drown out the truth, but truth was heard. I’ll never forget the presence of the Lord being so strong and feeling so peaceful despite angry protesters all around us. I could almost see the spiritual warfare going on in the heavenlies….It was tangible. When the rally officially ended we were still singing praise and worship songs while protesters descended upon us screaming and yelling hateful things. I wasn’t afraid even when a lady got in my face and started screaming at me. We peacefully moved to the side and let them protest. My friend and I joined up with a group of ladies from church and Texas Eagle Forum and were led in prayer by Trayce Bradford. I was so inspired by these ladies and knew I want to stay involved in some way. The bill miraculously passed. It was a step towards victory in protecting life.
I’m only scratching the surface of how the Holy Spirit has been drawing me to be involved in government change. My prayer is to be a light, a servant of Christ and an instrument of peace and justice. Many times my involvement is not what I think would make a huge difference, but I feel compelled to obey and act when He calls. I know that all of us doing a little can make a huge difference! I’m a busy homeschool mom of two precious boys and now a sweet baby girl. He’s brought me on a journey of finding my identity in Him alone and to a place where I can lay down fear of man to seek Him and boldly walk out who He has uniquely created me to be. It’s such a pleasure to serve Jesus and although never perfectly, I’m learning to count it all joy when we face trials of many kinds. My God is faithful. He redeems and restores; He shines light in dark places and comforts those who mourn. He is a life giver, and wants us living life abundantly. Thank you for reading my story and I pray you are encouraged in some way through what I have shared.
Written by Marilyn Statler – Texas Eagle Forum Newsletter Editor
Have you ever felt the Lord nudging you?
He had been gently nudging me for a few days. Every time I walked by the phone (no cell phones in 1983), I felt the Lord whisper, “Call them.” I kept hesitating. Did I really want to get involved? Did I have the time? After all, we had just moved to Plano, and I finally had all three kids in school. Now I was free for several hours during the week to pursue my own interests.
Little did I realize that when I finally made that call, my life would be changed forever.
Two things happened that day: I became a volunteer at my local crisis pregnancy center encouraging clients to choose LIFE for their unborn babies… and I met Cathie Adams. She, too, was passionate about the LIFE issue, and we became friends.
Fast forward to a year or two later: the CPC closed due to lack of funds. Cathie was invited to attend an Education Seminar, and I tagged along. The event was sponsored by a group called Texas Eagle Education Forum (TEEF) and was held at a local Dallas hotel. Co-sponsors were Texas Eagle Forum and Dallas Eagle Forum and the keynote speaker was a lady I had never heard of named Phyllis Schlafly. Her book, “Child Abuse in the Classroom,” was featured at the seminar.
The information of what was happening in public education blew me away, as did the articulate and spellbinding speech by Mrs. Schlafly! I learned that concerned parents and citizens had testified at a U.S. Department of Education hearing that public school curriculum was infused with “violent, disturbing books and films; materials emphasizing parental conflict, death, drugs, mental illness and despair; role playing, involving death, pregnancy, abortion, divorce, hate and suicide; explicit pornographic instruction in sex education, and hopelessness resulting from preoccupation with ‘inevitable’ nuclear war.” That was in 1985, folks!
As a result of that seminar, both Cathie and I joined Dallas Eagle Forum, attended monthly meetings and became involved. Having taught in the public schools for several years, education became my focus. I began reviewing high school English Literature and Health textbooks up for adoption in Texas and wrote reports which were submitted to the State Board of Education for textbook hearings. Some of what I saw in those books matched what the seminar had discussed.
Eagle Forum taught me to speak up in my local school when I saw something that concerned me. I volunteered in the library of my daughter’s elementary school, and one book was so popular that I decided it must be a good read. I was appalled when I realized it was a manual on how to commit suicide (at that time Plano was having a rash of teen suicides). I asked the school librarian if she was aware of the content of the book, and she said the American Library Association had given the book a rating of “worthy” so, despite my concern, the book would remain on the shelf. But if I was unhappy, I could talk to the principal. After meeting with the principal and eventually the district’s head librarian, the book was moved to the Adult and Parental Approval shelf. That suicide manual for 4th-6th graders was tame compared to what kids are reading today.
While my focus was on education, Cathie stepped up to become president of Dallas Eagle Forum. When her “volunteer” position became a full-time job, she asked me to help with the DEF newsletter and various administrative tasks. Thus began 30 years of involvement with Dallas Eagle Forum and later Texas Eagle Forum.
Through the years, I have seen women and men of all ages soar as Eagles and make a real difference in their communities and state.
They contact their legislators to support conservative issues and hold them accountable when they fail to do the right thing. (Eagles know their facts and present them succinctly and calmly, never in an angry or disrespectful way. The word “gracious” comes to mind.)
They travel to Austin during the legislative sessions to testify on issues of concern.
They write letters-to-the editor to their local newspapers.
They hold events informing the public on the perils of not only public education, but the plan to destroy U.S sovereignty, and the mischief of United Nations’ conferences and treaties.
They take criticism and ridicule for reporting on a new disease affecting homosexual men, called AIDS. Years later, as the homosexual agenda becomes mainstream, they fight for privacy for women in public restrooms, dressings rooms, and locker rooms.
They picket Planned Parenthood when learning that organization is coming to their city and endure not-so-friendly gestures from passers-by with a smile and friendly wave.
They attend annual Eagle Councils led by Phyllis Schlafly in St. Louis and Washington, D.C. and glean reams of information to take back to their circles of influence.
They man phone banks and walk their precincts handing out flyers for the candidates of their choice They are delegates to state conventions and even run for office. Most importantly, they pray together.
When asked why they become involved in politics, Eagles reply, “Because we love God, family, and country. And we want to be able to tell our children and grandchildren that we did everything we could to ensure a brighter future for them and for our beloved nation.”
Is the Lord nudging you? You, too, can become an Eagle and soar with the thousands of members who have shown you the way. Join us as we continue to fight for conservative Judeo-Christian values and keep Texas Strong!
“They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”
By Emily Horne (Guest Writer – From Texas Right for Life)
Like many others, I often find myself in the craziness of everyday life without having looked up in a while. Without having taken the time to thank God for where he has placed me, and the work he has given me. I work full-time in the Pro-Life movement lobbying for Pro-Life policy, and in many ways, landed here unexpectedly. But if I am honest when I look back, I can see the building blocks had been laid my entire life while I was making other plans, and I thank God now that he knew what he was doing. Trayce asked me to write about what led me to where I am now, so this is my best attempt to explain God’s path for my life thus far and to thank him for all the times he has persistently directed me back to that path.
I always assumed I would spend my life as my mother did, raising a lot of kids. I’m one of nine children, and no, we were not Catholic or Mormon as we were frequently asked – my Dad loved to embarrass us in front of strangers by saying we were “passionate Protestants.” I loved being a part of a big family and still do, I’m forever thankful my mother chose to pour her life into raising us. Faithfully living out her calling to give us a Christ-centered foundation.
Perhaps it was having three older brothers and having to fight to be heard, but I found my voice early and had a strong sense of justice as a child. I would like to think I used it to stick up for my younger siblings, but I think my Dad would say I used my argumentative skills to my own benefit most of the time. I knew what was right, and even if you disagreed with me, you would have to listen to me loudly argue my case before I let any matter rest. There are lingering accusations that I was the most stubborn child of the nine, but it is hard to prove these things. My favorite bible story (my Dad read this to me at my request countless times before I finally started reading it myself) was Esther. I was in awe of her courage to do what was right at the risk of her life, crusading for the lives of her people.
When I was 15, I vividly remember the Scott Peterson case that dominated the news. He was suspected, then convicted of murdering his wife Laci who was 8 months pregnant at the time. What made this case so unique, as many of you remember, is that Laci and her son Connor’s bodies were found separately, leading Scott to be tried and convicted of two murders. This later led to the passage of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act which punished anyone injuring or murdering an unborn child, also known as the Laci and Connor Peterson Act. This was the first time since Roe v. Wade that unborn children had ever formally been recognized as persons worthy of protection. At 15, many of the deeper levels were lost on me, but my sense of justice had been awakened. I thought I knew my life plan. I wanted to go to law school to become a prosecutor, to achieve justice by fighting for vulnerable people like Laci and Connor, and bring due punishment to murderers like Scott. I thought I knew the specific plan for my life. Thank God that was settled.
My high school graduation verse was Psalm 96:10, Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns; The world also is firmly established, It shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples righteously.” (NKJV) No Jeremiah 29:11 for me, I didn’t need to be assured of God’s plan, I already knew what it was! Psalm 96:10 told me that God was in this justice thing with me, that I was firmly established with God bringing justice to the world. I had a plan.
Perhaps it’s wise now to contrast this verse with a more widely known verse about justice, Micah 6:8 – He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness [or mercy], and to walk humbly with your God? (NASB)
Justice is a concept invented by Christ. He was establishing justice for the most vulnerable (orphans and widows) in the very first written law, in Exodus. Why then, does he couple justice with mercy and humility when he instructs us on what he requires of us? Could it be that our human sense of justice without mercy and humility is an incomplete and poor reflection of his idea of justice? I shudder to think of where we would be if we justly paid the price for our sins. But for his mercy and humility, justice would be a dark concept. And yet, our earthly understanding of justice can often lead us to shed mercy and humility when executing earthly justice, or what we understand it to be. Our sense of justice can leave us blind to other perspectives, blind to the possibility that we don’t have all the answers, because crusading for justice means we are on the right side, pay no mind to the naysayers! At least this was my high school self – I had little patience for other perspectives, and knew that I was right most of the time. Mercy and humility were not the most apparent traits in my life at the time.
I’m thankful God began the long process of changing and softening my heart before I landed in the Pro-Life movement. Because you do need that sense of right and wrong, the conviction that can carry you through fierce battles, but this is not all you need. Ask anyone in the Pro-Life movement what the most important character component is that you’ll need and they will say compassion, or that sense of mercy for the women most deeply affected by abortion and unplanned pregnancies. You’ll need the humility to shut up and realize your words and sense of justice do not matter to a scared young woman in crisis. She needs kindness and a listening ear before she can hear anything you might have to say.
Throughout college, God began to open my heart towards children and motherhood, leading me to question if I wanted to put myself in debt and three more years of school before starting my career path. I had the vague idea that I didn’t want to be paying off law school if I was going to be raising kids just a couple of short years later. There were some clear moments of direction that led me to slowly move away from my plans of law school, but those moments did not clearly lay out my direction following graduation. By the time I graduated Texas A&M with a business degree, I was fairly certain I wanted to work for a non-profit. Again, not because I had a clear vision, but because I knew I wanted to be working for a cause, something bigger than myself. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a category on the job search engine. So, I worked a year for my Dad’s small business, unsure of what would follow.
Less than a year later, Texas Right to Life, an organization my parents had supported for many years, announced they were looking for an additional person to join their lobby team working to pass Pro-Life laws. Thankfully my Dad realized this was the cause I had been seeking, the place for my passion. And thankfully Texas Right to Life was willing to give me a chance, someone that knew nothing about Texas politics and even less about public policy.
Now in my fourth legislative session, I’ve come to love studying and influencing policy, and fighting for the unborn. Living without that law school debt doesn’t hurt either! I’ve been blessed to be part of the team lobbying for the Sonogram law, the defunding of Planned Parenthood in Texas, and the 2013 Pro-Life omnibus bill HB 2. I recently began to wonder why it was God had changed my course from law school, thinking I would be parenting young children, since God has still not called me to marriage and motherhood. God gently pointed out that had he not changed my course, I would have been in law school or paying off law school during all those great gains made for Life in Texas – the 2011 Sonogram law, and all that followed.
God has continuously shown me his plan for me despite my stubborn attempts to chart out my own path. I’ve grown more and more thankful for that, knowing that I am not owed even the roadmap he has shown me thus far. I do my best to approach my life with unclenched fists and an open heart to his path, knowing now that even if my heart isn’t open, he will eventually place me where he wants me despite my best efforts. Thank God for his mercy in caring for us despite our self-destructive efforts! So that’s how I got to where I am now, and I face my path forward with joyous anticipation.