Renew Strength

A Hope and A Future

Let Your Heart Take Courage

God Will Restore You

Hope on the Grace of Jesus Christ

Remembering God’s Activity In Your Life

A Time to Remember 

Sometimes no commentary is needed other than God’s Word. The word of God is sufficient to drive home a point. I find this to be the case as I read Psalm 103 which teaches us to remember.

“Bless the Lord, oh my soul and all that is withing me, bless His Holy name.”

Psalm 103:1

 

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is.”

Proverbs 23:7

 

1. Remember His Forgiveness – Psalm 103:2, 10

“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits”

Psalm 103:2


“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.”

Psalm 103:10

 

Never minimize the forgiveness of sin in your life.

 

2. Remember His Healing – Psalm 103:3b

“and heals all your diseases,”

Psalm 103:3b


“By His stripes we are healed”

Isaiah 53:5

 

Remember who is The Great Physician.

 

3. Remember His Redemption – Psalm103:4a

“who redeems your life from the pit”

Psalm 103:4a

 

Remember who is your Redeemer.

 

4. Remember His Steadfast Love – Psalm 103:4b – 5

“and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Psalm 103:4b -5

 

Remember who loves you unconditionally – Jesus Christ!

Why We Should Remember

 

Remembering to Remember

Remembering dates and events has always been easy for me. Maybe that’s why I’ve been fascinated by history all my life. This interest in people, places, events, and dates led me to earn an undergraduate degree in history.

When in seminary my church history teacher had me see the subject in a new light. On the white board in the classroom he wrote,

“History = HIS + Story.” 

He then said, “History is an accounting of God’s activity amongst humankind and the accounting of their obedience, disobedience, and even defiance toward Him.” That’s why it’s important we remember the past.

Did you the Bible also teaches us to remember?

Psalm 103 teaches us to remember.

“Bless the Lord, oh my soul and all that is within me, bless His Holy name.”

Psalm 103:1

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is.”

Proverbs 23:7

 

1. Remember His Forgiveness – Psalm 103:2, 10

“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits”

Psalm 103:2

“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.”

Psalm 103:10

Never minimize the forgiveness of sin in your life.

 

2. Remember His Healing – Psalm 103:3b

“and heals all your diseases,”

Psalm 103:3b

“By His stripes we are healed”

Isaiah 53:5

Remember who is The Great Physician.

 

3. Remember His Redemption – Psalm103:4a

“who redeems your life from the pit”

Psalm 103:4a

Remember who is your Redeemer.

 

4. Remember His Steadfast Love – Psalm 103:4b – 5

“and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Psalm 103:4b -5

Remember who loves you unconditionally. 

 

Conclusion: 

The Bible and history teach us of HIS love and HIS story.

Meet the Poets: Carl Sandburg – 1919 and 1951 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, 1940 Pulitzer Prize for History

“I make it clear why I write as I do and why other poets write as they do. After hundreds of experiments, I decided to go my own way in style and see what would happen.” – Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg (January 6, 1878 – July 22, 1967) was an American writer and editor, best known for his poetry. He received three Pulitzer Prizes: two for his poetry and another for his history, a biography of Abraham Lincoln.

Sandburg was almost unknown to the literary world when, in 1914, a group of his poems appeared in the nationally circulated Poetry magazine.

Two years later his book Chicago Poems was published, and the thirty-eight-year-old author found himself on the brink of a career that would bring him international acclaim.

Sandburg published another volume of poems, Cornhuskers, in 1918, and wrote a searching analysis of the 1919 Chicago race riots.

More poetry followed, along with Rootabaga Stories (1922), a book of fanciful children’s tales. That book prompted Sandburg’s publisher, Alfred Harcourt, to suggest a biography of Abraham Lincoln for children. Sandburg researched and wrote for three years, producing not a children’s book, but a two-volume biography for adults. His Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years, published in 1926, was Sandburg’s first financial success.

With the financial success, he moved to a new home on the Michigan dunes and devoted the next several years to completing four more volumes, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940.

Sandburg continued his prolific writing, publishing more poems, a novel, Remembrance Rock, a second volume of folk songs, and an autobiography, Always the Young Strangers.

In 1945 the Sandburg family moved with their herd of prize-winning goats and thousands of books to Flat Rock, North Carolina.

Sandburg’s Complete Poems won him a second Pulitzer Prize in 1951. Sandburg died at his North Carolina home July 22, 1967. His ashes were returned, as he had requested, to his Galesburg birthplace. In the small Carl Sandburg Park behind the house, his ashes were placed beneath Remembrance Rock, a red granite boulder. Ten years later the ashes of his wife were placed there.

Source:  Pulitzer Awards 1919, Pulitzer Awards 1940, and Pulitzer Awards 1951

For more on Carl Sandburg see: http://carl-sandburg.com/biography.htm

Buna, Texas and the Polka Dot House

Buna Polka Dot HouseIn southeast Texas at the southern end of Jasper county is a community called Buna. I lived in Jasper County from 1984 through 1993 and again in 1996. Buna was my home in 1992 and 1993. I had the blessing of serving a wonderful group of people as associate pastor of the First Baptist Church of Buna.

Two large questions filled my mind when I first talked with the church’s search committee about joining their staff. The first was how the community got its name. The second concerned a certain house in town.

Buna was named by the owners of the lumber mill. I was told the Beaumont Lumber Company mill in southern Jasper County was first called Carrolla. It was named for the Carroll family. They were prominent Beaumont lumbermen and industrialists. The site was renamed Buna, however, in honor of one of the family’s cousins, Buna Corley. So Buna was named after a cousin of the saw mill’s owner.

The second question concerned that certain house. At first glance the house was nothing special. It was painted white like many other houses. At second glance I realized it was different. There were spots on the house. Cleaning my glasses didn’t help. The spots were still there. As I got closer I realized the spots were actually polka dots. The polka dots were painted blue!

Several members of the associate pastor search committee taught me the history of the house as they knew it.

Some told me a couple bought the house after World War Two and couldn’t agree on the color to paint it. They said the wife wanted a white house, but the husband wanted it painted blue. He grudging gave in painting it white to please the wife. Then he painted blue polka dots to please himself. I believe it was the Odell family that purchased the house.

Not all on the search committee agreed with how the house got its polka dots. Others told me the Davis family owned the house and later sold it to the Odell family. Some thought it may have already had the polka dots before the Odells got the house. One said no matter how many times the Odells painted the house white the dots just kept bleeding through the white paint so they finally gave up and kept the polka dots.

Buna water towerApparently the house originally had red and blue polka dots, though I only remember the blue ones. They were a royal blue, just like the high school colors.

Through the years the house has been a residence, florist, gift shop, home of the Buna Chamber of Commerce, and a few even remembered it housing the sub-courthouse of Jasper County.

Any residents of Buna that know the real or rest of the story please feel free to leave a comment.

Does Buna, Texas still have the little white house with blue polka dots? I don’t know for sure. I haven’t been to Buna since just after Hurricane Rita. That certain house was still there then.


A reader shared this website with me that has more info on Buna’s Polka Dot House: http://bunapolkadothouse.wix.com/bunapolkadothouse. Also please read the below comments to get the rest of the story from local residents and kinfolks of Buna’s Polka Dot House original owners and polka dot painters.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories and Beyond Imagination. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffee house, he supports his writing, reading, and book reviewing habit working as an IT application support analyst. He is a former Captain in the US Army. His blog Kepler’s Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs. You can visit him at http://www.jimmiekepler.com.

A Life in a Year: The American Infantryman in Vietnam, 1965-1972 by James R. Ebert

Wisconsin high school teacher James R. Ebert does a masterful job as he combines interviews and printed primary sources in this remarkable telling of the infantryman’s experience during the Vietnam War. Ebert tells the story of the US Army and a few US Marine infantrymen during the Vietnam War. He takes their story from induction into the service through basic and advanced individual training, arrival in Vietnam, their first combat experiences, the first killed in action they experience, in some cases the soldier’s death, and the freedom birds that take them back to the world. Ebert points out while infantryman accounted for less than 10% of the American troops in Vietnam, the infantry suffered more than 80% of the losses.

Ebert uses an interesting technique starting every chapter with a letter by Leonard Dutcher to his parents. Dutcher just wanted to do his part for God and country and go home at the end of his 12-month tour (13 for Marines). In the last chapter, we find out that Dutcher was killed. It caught me off guard and really added to the impact of the book. Ebert takes many of the soldiers and Marines experiences word for word from the individual himself through interviews or letters. It is a collective look at similarities of the many infantry soldiers and Marines in the war. It is a very personal account from many points of view.

This is an important book in Vietnam War literature. This is what the grunts really went through. I was left with somewhat of feeling of guilt from reading the book. Why? I graduated high school in 1971. Some of my high classmates went to Vietnam and fought. Everett Maxwell was killed in action. I went to college and was ultimately commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry, went through airborne school and served three years active duty. My becoming an officer deferred my entry on active duty from 1971 to 1975. This is the reason for my reflective thoughts. Read by Jimmie A. Kepler in August 2004.