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The khakied body of an eighteen year old lay crouched against the damp earth on the south side of the hill.  His blood-shot eyes showed signs of sleepless nights; still he gazed intently of the hilly slopes surrounding him.  His face was covered with smudges of two-inch whiskers and his hair was a mass of snarls.  He was caked with dried mud to the waist, a souvenir of a two-month tramp through the swampy forest.  His lips were cracked, his hands chapped and bleeding.

A faint drizzle began to sprinkle his helmet and jacket as he lay on his side.  A drop of perspiration raced down his brow and then created a white path along his dusty cheek.  He looked at his watch.  It was seven A.M. His mind wandered slowly towards home and his life as it was a year ago.  He’d probably just be rolling out of bed now….

“Good morning, Dad.  Still thinking of going fishing in all this snow?… Well, the best of everything and I sure hope the ice is good and thick… Hey, Mom, fix me an egg will you? I’ll be down in a minute.”

            The rain aroused him from his reverie.  What wouldn’t he give to trade this ice cold shower for a tub full of steaming hot water?  The hint of fog that preceded the rain forced itself down over the land making it practically impossible to see two feet in front of him.  He lit a match but it went out before he could…

“He pulled on his trousers and buttoned up his shirt.  Taking the steps two at a time he reached the kitchen just as the clock was striking half past. “Morning, Mom, thanks for the toast.  Hey, you forgot the milk.  I’ll get it.  Boy, do I have to hurry.  Suppose I’ll be late again.”

            He glanced at his watch.  It would be only a matter of seconds before the next attack.  A chill ran down his back as he grasped and fixed the cold bayonet.  He tried to rise on his elbow but slipped on the wet grass.  He rolled over on his side: yeah, there they all were, Joe, Tom, Gordy, Bob, Matt, and all the rest, clutching their guns, awaiting the signal.

He reached into his pocket for the bus chip as he saw the Franklin coming down the street.  He had missed his regular bus, so lost no time jumping in when the driver stopped.  The motor started.

            Whistles shrieked, lights flashed, dirt flew, and at the command, ‘Advance,’ the attack began.  He, like his comrades, lifted his rifle and emerged from cover into the open.  While running down the side of the slope he slipped and lost his balance.  After regaining his position, he had only taken a few steps when a bullet nicked his hand.  He stared at it.

“Ouch! That railing.  What a time to cut my hand, just before math class.”  When he got in school he stopped at the drinking fountain to dip his hand in the running water a few times and then tied his handkerchief around it.

            The slight wound stopped throbbing and in a moment the soldier was running cautiously forward again.  The battle raged all day and many never heard the lonely taps that sounded sleepily across the battlefield that night.

A soldier lay, mortally wounded, on an old, tattered, army blanket, looking up into the night skies.  A tremor of pain shooting through his body dimmed the blinking stars but his eyes remained fixed upon them.  Five years ago….

“Night, Mom.”

            “Goodnight, Phil.  Do you want the hall light out?

            “Why don’t you read me a story first?”

            “Okay, a short one then because it’s getting pretty late.”

 

            *          *          *          *          *          *         

The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want,

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

He leadeth me beside still waters.

He restoreth my soul:

He guideth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil: for thou art with me:

Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

Thou hast anointed my head with oil:

My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and loving-kindness shall follow me all the days of my life;

And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

The soldier closed his eyes, and his head fell to one side.

The Christian is placed in many different circumstances while on this earth. Some are characterized by hardships and trials, and others are full of joy and peace. How should the Christian respond? Throughout the Bible there are numerous times where God’s people sang in response to their various circumstances. Singing in response to God’s ordering […]

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The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

The 2021 Tennessee young people’s retreat was held August 9 to 13 by Providence, Hudsonville, Unity, and First (Holland) Protestant Reformed Churches. The retreat took place at Eagle Rock Retreat Center in the city of Tallassee. It was about an eleven-hour drive, give or take a bit due to stops for food and restrooms. Though […]

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