There was a lad of long ago
Who yearned to try his luck at sea.
He packed his trunk expectantly
But heard his mother pleading, "No."
The lad was silent with distress
Yet did not sit around and pine.
He learned to run a survey line
And map the sea of wilderness.
With eyes as steady as the sun
He faced the test and did not run--
That lad whose name was Washington!
There was a man of long ago
Who thought a planter's life was best.
He tilled the land and little guessed
He soon would hear another "No!"
His country gave a call to war!
He left Mount Vernon's charm and cheer
And led the army year by year
Till peace had drowned the cannon's roar.
He heard the call and did not shun
The task ahead that must be done--
That man whose name was Washington!
There was a hero long ago
Who thought, "Now I can farm at last.
The war is won, the danger past."
Yet once again the word was "No."
"We need you, Sir, as President,"
The letters said that swelled his mail.
"Your country calls; you must not fail.
We need you, Sir!" And so he went.
He left no call, no task undone
But met each test and always won--
That man whose name was Washington!
I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people, whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect Union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.
-William Tyler Page, 1917 Nationwide contest winner
In the still air the music lies unheard;
In the rough marble beauty hides unseen;
To make the music and the beauty needs
The master's touch, the sculptor's chisel keen.
Great Master, touch us with Your skillful hands;
Let not the music that is in us die!
Great Sculptor, hew and polish us; nor let,
Hidden and lost, Your form within us lie!
-Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, Streams in the Desert
O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:1-24
A little ship was on the sea,
It was a pretty sight;
It sailed along so pleasantly,
And all was calm and bright.
The sun was sinking in the west;
The shore was near at hand,
And those on board with hearts at rest,
Thought soon to reach the land.
When lo! A storm began to rise;
The wind grew loud and strong;
It blew the clouds across the skies;
It blew the waves along.
And all but One were sore afraid
Of sinking in the deep;
His head was on a pillow laid,
And He was fast asleep.
"Master, we perish! Master, save!"
They cried; their Master heard:
He rose, rebuked the wind and wave,
And stilled them with a word.
He to the storm said, "Peace, be still!"
The raging billows cease;
The mighty winds obey His will,
And all are hushed in peace.
They greatly wondered-so may we,
And ask as well as they,
Who could this glorious Person be,
Whom winds and seas obey?
Oh well we know it was The Lord,
The Saviour and the Friend,
Whose care of those who trust His Word
Will never, never end.
There's a comforting thought at the close of the day,
When I'm weary and lonely and sad,
That sort of grips hold of my crusty old heart
And bids it be merry and glad.
It gets in my soul and it drives out the blues,
And finally thrills through and through.
It is just a sweet memory that chants the refrain:
"I'm glad I touch shoulders with you!"
Did you know you were brave, did you know you were strong?
Did you know there was one leaning hard?
Did you know that I waited and listened and prayed,
And was cheered by your simplest word?
Did you know that I longed for that smile on your face,
For the sound of your voice ringing true?
Did you know I grew stronger and better because
I had merely touched shoulders with your?
I am glad that I live, that I battle and strive
For the place that I know I must fill;
I am thankful for sorrows, I'll meet with a grin
What fortune may send, good or ill.
I may not have wealth, I may not be great,
But I know I shall always be true,
For I have in my life that courage you gave
When once I rubbed shoulders with you.
I know, as my life grows older,
And mine eyes have clearer sight,
That under each rank wrong somewhere
There lies the root of Right;
That each sorrow has its purpose,
By the sorrowing oft unguessed;
But as sure as the sun brings the morning,
Whatever is-is best.
I know that each sinful action,
As sure as the night brings shade,
Is somewhere, sometime punished,
Tho' the hour be long delayed.
I know that the soul is aided
Sometimes by the heart's unrest,
And to grow means often to suffer-
But whatever is-is best.
I know there are no errors,
In the great Eternal plan,
And all things work together
For the final good of man.
And I know when my soul speeds onward,
In its grand Eternal quest,
I shall say as I look back earthward,
Whatever is-is best.
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox
There is no chance, no destiny, no fate,
Can circumvent or hinder or control
The firm resolve of a determined soul.
Gifts count for nothing; will alone is great;
All things give way before it, soon or late.
What obstacle can stay the mighty force
Of the sea-seeking river in its course,
Or cause the ascending orb of day to wait?
Each wellborn soul must win what it deserves.
Let the fool prate of luck. The fortunate
Is he whose earnest purpose never swerves,
Whose slightest action or inaction serves
The one great aim. Why, even Death stands still,
And waits an hour sometimes for such a will.
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox
"Instead of bringing the me I want to be to you I’m bringing the me I am now. I still have unholy desires, I don’t want to want them, but there are times I do want them and pursue their satisfaction. I have weaknesses I feel lonely at times I want to be liked by others, The turmoil isn’t whether I am free or not but whether or not I am willing to walk in that freedom, the door to the prison was removed as soon as I accepted Christ as my savior, but I find myself staying in the open cage freedom is there but I stay in the familiar surroundings of my cage, I walk out and enjoy spurts of freedom but return to the cage. Sometimes the returning is produced when I start to lose myself (the me I’ve known for so long) when personality starts to change. If the flesh is dead then personality will change I can’t hang on to pieces of myself and enjoy the freedom that comes from full pursuit of God. I can’t fully pursue God if I’m standing stationary in my cage. Pretending to be free doesn’t make me free, professing to be free doesn’t make me free , it’s Jesus who makes me free, the bars of my prison is made up of the pieces of myself I’m not willing to let go of, the shackles are unlocked no longer holding onto me but I find myself holding onto them, the war between who I’m to be and who I was is fought on the battleground of who I am, discovery of the person I am in your freedom is daily, your freedom is so great it takes a lifetime to realize it, like a mansion with many rooms and each new day I can open a door to a room to discover the treasure inside everyday brings opportunity to discover who I am in your freedom. My past doesn’t tell me who I am, but it is your word. God I let go of who I’ve been and even who I am, and ask for you to help me to discover who I am in your freedom, change what you wish to change create what you wish to create and when things get tough when I’m struggling to let go give me the strength and remind me of this time with you."
I have learned from experience in many ways, but the best one I have learned from is my relationship with Jesus. I used to doubt God's love for me and if Jesus really was the Son of God. Over and over, I would ask my family members questions about Jesus, and I would always get the same answers.
My family would tell me that, "Yes, God does love you, and Jesus truly is the Son of God." Their answers would never waiver from that. To me, my situation seemed to be like a scab (that may be kind of gross) but the more I picked at it the worse it became. I wanted to believe, but just like Thomas, I had honest doubt.
The devil would torture me with thoughts like: God doesn't love you, Jesus is not the Son of God, and God is lying to you. These thoughts would be so bad that it would cause me to have bad dreams. God finally helped me to realize how much the devil wants to destroy me and how Satan doesn't want me to be a witness for God. Any way that he could defeat me and mess with my mind he would do it, because he knew that if he could cause me to have doubt then I couldn't be the light to others that God wants me to be.
Finally, I was able to believe with my heart and not my head. God wants me to talk to Him and ask Him for help in every situation I face. Even in the small things that I may seem to think aren't big enough to ask God about, He wants me to. It is His desire that I talk to Him.
I have recieved a book for my birthday this year that has helped me alot. The title of it is "Jesus Calling." Through reading it, I am learning to put my faith in God, and not my works. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells me to, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." When I don't understand, I will trust Jesus. In John 20:29, Jesus says, "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." John 10:10 says, "The thief cometh not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." Jesus did come so that I could have life and have it more abundantly. He wants me to live a victorious life, and to remember that greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.
God has helped me to learn from this, that my family's answers were always the same because God is always the same. He never changes. His love for me never changes. He really is the Son of God, and He loves me with an everlasting love. These experiences have helped me to realize that by prayer and Bible reading, as in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things, through Christ which strengtheneth me." Life is a journey that I am on and it is by the grace of God that I am now able to write this. I want to give God the praise, honor and glory because no one else loves me like He does.
-Colten Bass age 15, May 2014