Transgression speaks to the wicked
deep in his heart;
there is no fear of God
before his eyes.
2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes
that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
3 The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit;
he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
4 He plots trouble while on his bed;
he sets himself in a way that is not good;
he does not reject evil.
5 Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast you save, O Lord.
7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.
10 Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your righteousness to the upright of heart!
11 Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 There the evildoers lie fallen;
they are thrust down, unable to rise.
26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
My family spent last June all over the Smithsonian and Arlington National Cemetery. We watched the changing of the guard about six or seven times. We found our great-grandmother's brother. Edward is pessimistic and says when we are gone, in a hundred years, we are largely forgotten. Yet if you listen to people, the stories of ages past have memories that hold dear today.
I can tell you about my dearly beloved uncle Artelles. My great-great uncle Artelles was named for his father Milton.
Milton was in the Confederate Army. At age 13. A bugle boy. Not the best job. Nope. Bugle boys tend to be shot for leading men. And what do you think was going on at home in Camden, Arkansas? Well, Jim Tom Elliott was busy running a railroad and a law practice. In a small town on the rise.
A fight was coming to town. The battle was the last significant fight the Confederate States won in the South. The Battle of Poison Spring took place on April 18, 1864, during the Arkansas phase of the Red River Campaign. And James Thomas Elliott's oldest son wanted to GO. Small towns. Big noises. Young men. And Milton was not going to take no for an answer. Another reason to get the boy out of town he was making a lot of noise - Southern sympathy - The Union General Frederick Salomon occupied the home in 1864 during a stay in Camden. The family lived upstairs. Best not to anger the Union army.
Jim Tom Elliott's son survived.
He'd tousle my hair and say son take a good look around this is your hometown
This is your hometown
This is your hometown
In '65 tension was running high
There was a lot of fights between the black and white
There was nothing you could do
Two armies on a Saturday night in the back seat there was a gun
Words were passed in a shotgun blast
Troubled times had come to my hometown
Now Main Street's whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there ain't nobody wants to come down here no more
They're closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back to your hometown
During Reconstruction, the U.S. Representative James M. Hinds in 1868 was assassinated by George A. Clark, a member of the Ku Klux Klan and the Secretary of the Democratic Committee of Monroe County, who was drunk at the time.
James Thomas Elliott chose to run for the empty seat in a turbulent historical time. He was elected as a Republican to the Fortieth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of James Hinds, and served from January 13, 1869, to March 3, 1869.
James Thomas Elliott was a Unionist Republican. He, oddly, was not reelected. Jim Tom became a Circuit Judge of the Sixth Judicial District of Arkansas from October 2, 1865, serving until September 15, 1866. He established and edited the South Arkansas Journal in 1867. In this time period, the family lost 2 daughters, Belle and Emmaline Elliott to yellow fever on the same day. Later they would loose the younger son, who had been photographed by Mathew Brady during the housing of federal troops. Three of their four children died.
Milton became a ... pharmacist. And his wife wrote a book with the rest of Camden Ladies Historical Society called "A Garden of Memories" about the Civil War and the losses experienced.
Milton and his son Artelles did not seem to connect completely. Artelles professed interest in the Military and was sent to The Virginia Military Institute. There was ... some family discussion... about a loss of commission over a cigarette smoked during chapel. And yet, Col. Artelles Elliott was made a Colonel during WWI and had a very interesting college roommate named General George Patton. August of 1943, found Artelles serving as an aid to his college roommate. Artelles had nothing to comment on that.
Battle gets to people. Winston Churchill quoted this during the war - “It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.” Still, given what I know about Uncle Artelles, I do not think he would have voted for the slaps.
Some of us remember him as Artelles. Some of us refer to him as "Uncle Artie". I know that for my grandmother - she delighted when Artelles would visit. Activities stopped. My great-grandmother Munner would glow. Uncle Artelles brought one of the first German Shepherds to the family in World War II and at the time the breed was called "A Police Dog" - the dog was a huge hit and they named him - Cop. Artelles had stories of the Philippines, Europe. My great-grandmother had their mother living with them and she felt her family was complete when Artelles lived at home. And really he just visited.
To my father, Uncle Artelles was something like Captain America. And my great-grandfather would glow to greet his brother-in-law.
While we were on our trip to Washington D.C., my niece was most concerned with the concept of "every word proclaimed to the housetops" and I had to hug her and shrug.
God is Ancient of Days. Jesus is the visible image of God. Jesus said every word of God is worth living by.
But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.
That universe will hold a lot of our words, all our days, to discuss when we all get to go to Heaven for a discussion with our Father God.
As you get older, you get the "rest of the story" - Uncle Artelles had some very unremarkable and rather ordinary sad things happen to him in life. And in the middle of the funny story, someone throws in the part you hadn't known before, and you ache. Feeling sad for the man who had brought such joy to his family. And not all the parts of the story would he want put in public. After you walk for two solid hours to get to his grave and locate it - you realize something new about Uncle Artelles.
He was part of something very fine. Artelles put his life on the line for decades for something he believed in. Not the right or the left. Right and wrong. And that cross on his grave - that symbol of a soul being covered by the Promises of God - his end arriving in a veteran's hospital - no.
God covers the grave of Colonel Milton Artelles Elliott. Shelters him from harm of stories Artelles only owes God. Reminds us that this Man Stood for Something Mighty Fine. Kept going when days were terrible. Lived out long days, living peace. And when Artelles meets His Maker, Jesus is going to remember Artelles gave his life for serving others.
A Tree has fruit. Let me tell you what fruit I see from Artelles life.
1 John 4:7-21
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:11
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
1 Peter 4:8-9
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
We left Arlington that day about six hours after we arrived. You realize what people have done for a Nation that cries Freedom. We were very proud of Uncle Artelles. The length of his service. The seriousness of what he had witnessed. The personal toll that took on him. And you realize a life that was held in such seriousness for duty - Artelles requires a merciful God. And we felt His pervasive peace.
I say this a lot and it's why I know Jesus is God. Jesus broke fish for thousands. He got his Hands in there. Jesus got dirt, probably, under his fingernails for a sinner. Jesus reached into the Sea of Galilee to pull out the self-righteous and that Sea never really sees a warmer day that 88'. That's some chilly water. Jesus gave new wine of the Holy Spirit. His first sign was wine at a Wedding. For His mom.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves †