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IN HONOR of LEE CARLOS BROWN

I'm sharing this in honor of Lee Carlos Brown. My Dad was a man that was friendly and easy to talk to. His faithful dedication to his family was very apparent, especially in the latter half of his life. In the first half of his life, he was not as faithful due to military service. He was deployed several times, which compelled his faithfulness to be redirected to faithfulness to our great nation. This reality can confuse children but is more understandable to adults.


My Dad was a good man but made mistakes. He was not perfect. The reason I don’t drink alcohol and never took any kind of drugs was because of one incident. Mom and Dad went out with another couple to “have a good time.” When they returned, I could see that Dad was drunk. He was unsteady on his feet, his speech was uncharacteristically slurred, and he appeared to be flirting with the other man’s wife. It disgusted me, quite frankly. Since that incident, I determined that I would never allow myself to be even a little tipsy, much less drunk or drugged up. 1 Thessalonians 5:8 “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” Many other passages tell us to be sober or clear-minded. That episode has kept me sober and clear-minded ever since. Even in Dad’s folly, he taught me to be faithful to my convictions.


PEOPLE WEREN’T ALWAYS FAITHFUL


People described in scripture weren’t always faithful. Hebrews 11 is often known as the “Hall of Faith.”  Here, the author of Hebrews provides a list of people who were faithful in God's sight. One by one, the list of the faithful is announced: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, and Joshua, among others.


However, when we read their entire story in the Old Testament, we struggle to see these people as faithful people.  Why? Well, some of these people weren’t always faithful.  Instead, they were downright ungodly, undeserving, and unfaithful.  One by one, we could note how they were characterized by their flaws, weaknesses, and sins.


Noah got drunk. Abraham lied concerning his wife, Sarah, not once but twice. Jacob spent much of his life deceiving those he loved. Moses took credit for providing water in the wilderness from a rock, but it was God who provided the water. Moses’ deception, whether intentional or not, prevented him from entering the Promised Land. King David committed adultery, murdered Uriah by proxy, and then married his widow.


One by one, you can find character flaws, shortcomings, self-centeredness, and, in some instances clear contempt for God.  It leaves one to wonder how we can characterize these people as “faithful.”

 

WE ARE NOT ALWAYS FAITHFUL


So, how do we reconcile Hebrews 11 in our own lives?  People usually fall into two categories.  The first are those who cannot see their own faults.  Like the person who thinks their good works will get them into heaven.  They assume that their choices and actions aren’t that bad.  Certainly, they’re not as bad as other people. King David’s reaction to Nathan’s story in 2 Samuel 12:1-7 exemplifies how your perception of your personal worth does not equate to righteousness. Righteousness comes from obeying God.


The second category of people exaggerates every wrong deed in their lives. These individuals describe themselves as the worst people in the world. 1 Timothy 1:16 shares that it’s not about our self-depreciation but about grace through faith in Christ alone for our salvation. It’s all about the grace that God works in us.


In my opinion, my father was one of those who thought a little too highly of himself for the first part of his life. It’s a family trait. But as the years went on, he became one of the kindest, most generous, humble, loving men you could ever want to meet. He was a faithful, dedicated husband, friend, father, and grandfather of 11, great-grandfather of 9, and great-great-grandfather of 2.


THE HALL OF FAITH: THESE MEN ACTED WITH FAITHFULNESS


The author of Hebrews has no desire to gloss over people’s shortcomings and sins.  He does not deny or ignore them.  What the author is doing is highlighting moments of faith.  He’s drawing our attention to when these people got it right.


Abraham left his family and home to venture to a land he had never seen before but had been promised. He pitched his tents on property he never owned while believing his descendants would eventually possess the land.  He clung to God’s promise of children in his future even though he was in his seventies when God called him.


Moses abandoned his association with Pharaoh’s royal household to associate with the slaves.  Moses had wealth, prosperity, pleasures, and an easy life, yet chose guaranteed abuse, disgrace, and rejection. 


The nation of Israel struggled in its relationship with God, but it was faithful when it entered Canaan to claim its inheritance—the promised land.


All these choices were motivated by faith.  When God looked at these men, he shared those moments when they acted with faith.

 

DAD WAS FAITHFUL


What my Dad did in his life is not nearly as significant as why he did it.  Dad operated out of dedication to his family and God. Moments of his long life were characterized by faith.  Let me share some of these moments with you:


Dad & Mom

  • By faith. . . Dad served this great nation in the Navy in World War II. He fought in the Pacific against the Japanese. He is a Purple Heart recipient for being wounded in combat. After two years of faithful service, they sent him home – honorably discharged.

  • By faith, Dad married Mom in 1951 and started their journey with my sister Barbara and eventually me, Sandra, Daniel, Donald, and Melone a few years later. They have been married for 72 years.

  • By faith. . . Dad joined the Air Force and became an electrician working on planes and equipment that had to work every time, or people might die. He worked his way up the enlisted ranks to Senior Master Sergeant. He served in the US, Japan, Korea, Philippines, and Taiwan during the Korean War.

  • By faith. . . Dad retired from the military and relocated us to Florida. While there, he ensured his children attended church to learn as much as possible about the Christian faith and the need for salvation.

  • By faith, Dad started a new career as a civilian electrician. One of the companies he worked for developed laser technology. He and his colleagues made the first laser rangefinder for the US military’s main battle tanks. This innovation massively improved the accuracy of the main gun on our tanks. These laser rangefinders eventually found civilian uses, too.

  • By faith. . . Dad volunteered as a baseball umpire. He loved baseball and rules (in a good way); I love rules myself because they stem the tide of chaos. His love of baseball compelled him to umpire and get Dan and me involved. I never really liked the game, but it taught me valuable lessons.

  • By faith. . . Dad taught electronics technology at Mid Florida Tech, an adult vocational school that taught tradesmen and subsequently launched careers. Dad was a highly sought-after electrician and teacher. His students loved him.

  • By faith. . . Dad moved to North Carolina to be closer to his family. Barbara was the first to relocate to the Mountains of North Carolina, then Dan, then me, then Mom and Dad moved to the foothills, and then Sandy relocated. Now, most of the immediate family members are congregated in the same general area.

  • By faith. . . Dad showed dedication and love for his parents and siblings. He was the last of his siblings to pass. His siblings were Ida, Marvin, Jack, Joan, and Bob. Their father, David Franklin Brown, served in the Marine Corps, serving in Haiti during the US occupation of Haiti. This action by our government worked to stabilize the decades-long instability of Haiti. After his Marine Corps service, David and his wife, Frances, became farmers and raised their Children with Christian morals and values.

  • By faith . . . Dad boldly completed his time here on earth. Dad’s last few statements to me presented a desperate desire to ensure his beloved wife was cared for. He was planning for her continuing care down to the last moment. At one point, he said, “I sure do love your mother!” I will also never forget the pride in his voice as he introduced Sandy and me to his nurse. He truly loved his family and was proud of us. It’s so very heartwarming.

What more can I say?  He was a saved and born-again Christian man who is in heaven right now. He has a body without pain, without limitation, and is eternal. I would be devastated if I thought anything else. Heaven is real! Hell is Real! Please make sure you make it to heaven.


It’s simple: you believe that Jesus was miraculously born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died a horrible death on the cross, and on the third day rose again.


John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”


Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”


Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”


Romans 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”


Jesus is alive and well and sitting at the right hand of God. If you know and believe this to the depths of your soul, you say a simple prayer. You ask God to forgive you for your sins and receive God’s free gift of salvation. Then, from that moment on, you pledge to try and do things God’s way instead of your way.


God’s grace saves us through our faith in Christ alone. Be a person of faith so that by faith, you might turn out to be a person of faith and be welcomed into heaven, like my Dad, Lee Carlos Brown.

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