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Stop Blaming, Start Believing
by Bro. Bryan McKelvey

1101 North Union Road
Dayton, Ohio 45417

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This week we made a trip to see our newly-born grandson. His mother, father, and family reside in Neosho, MO, where we had once lived for many years. Between visits to the hospital, while watching my older grandchildren play in a park where I had watched their mother play when she was a small girl, on impulse I googled then read about Neosho on Wikipedia. Neosho is a MidAmerican town in southwest Missouri, a county seat of around 12,000, laid out typically of towns of its founding period; it has a town square with the courthouse at its center. Many times I have been down at the town square and have seen the courthouse, even been inside it, without realizing that it had been fought over in the Civil War. I had been vaguely aware of skirmishes fought at and around Neosho. I just didn't realize there had been so many engagements and that some had involved that courthouse. It was newly built at the beginning of the Civil War. During the war, it changed hands several times. Around 1863 it was shelled and destroyed. I never knew. I wonder how many residents now living in Neosho, how many who have been born and raised there, how many who have often seen and visited the courthouse know nothing of the battles that took place there. They were not battles big enough to merit inclusion in the usual histories of the Civil War. But, that doesn't mean they were any less devastating or life changing to Neosho's residents of the day. People see the courthouse but know nothing of its battles. This is true of humans as well as towns, fields, and courthouses. Others see a person and never realize the battles that have taken place in that person's life, soul, heart, and head. They see a person, whether a success or a mess, and don't realize the battles that have or are taking place. The Bible, the most perspicacious revealer of reality and human nature, lets us know that each person exists in a battlefield, has a battlefield within him, and is himself a battlefield. There are battles fought around him, in him, and for him. As a popular maxim of today says, "Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle." Yes, and, also, a battle is being fought over that one you meet. When we get this, we will be more empathetic, understanding, and grateful. This is true not only of people but places. Many will sit through a church service this Sunday and never realize that they have a church to attend, a service for worship, a word to help them, because some one fought battles to make it all possible. Neosho today is a bustling, growing city with economic promise. Even if it were not, but was rather a declining, dying town, that would not change the fact that battles have been fought over and for her. Take another look at those in your life and realize that, whether a mess or a success, a battle has been fought in and for them. I will not ever be able to look at the Neosho courthouse the same again. Neither, will you look at people in your life the same. The difference is Neosho's Civil War battles are over. People's are not. Thus, you may just be able to help them fight and win.

  Read more of Pastor Hurst's Pastors Desk Articles!