DayBreaks 3/01/16 – A Rescued Reputation

DayBreaks for 3/01/16: A Rescued Reputation

Lieut. Col. Norval E. Welch commanded the 16th Michigan on July 2nd 1863 during the afternoon struggle for Little Round Top, Battle of Gettysburg. Holding the right flank of Strong Vincent’s brigade line, Welch commanded only 150 men that day.

As the lead regiments of Confederate General Hood’s division–veteran Texans and Alabamians—attacked his position, Welch apparently lost his nerve and withdrew with the regimental flag and about 25 other men.  The rest of the regiment remained in the fight.  Strong Vincent, moving to bolster Welch’s flagging line, was mortally wounded.

Attempting to protect his reputation, Welch blamed others for his cowardice.  Returning to Michigan on “sick leave,” he took up some recruiting duties in Detroit.

Despite his tarnished reputation, Welch returned to command the 16th Michigan one year later.  At the Battle of Peebles Farm on September 30, 1864, even though his enlistment had just expired, Welch led his men over the Confederate ramparts, calling to them “On boys and over.”  First to mount the heavily defended redoubt, Welch was struck by a Confederate bullet in the head and died immediately–redeeming his reputation by his brave death.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, who had commanded the 20th Maine at Gettysburg and won the Medal of Honor for his efforts that day, commented after the war about Welch and others who had some bad moments in battle:

“Among these men were some doubly deserving—comrades whom we thought lost, bravely returning. . .  If sometime a shadow passes over such spirits, it needs neither confession nor apology. . . Welch, of the 16th Michigan, first on the ramparts at Peebles’ Farm, shouting, ‘On boys, and over!’ and receiving from on high the same order for his own daring spirit…” If Properly Led webpage….

Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t discard us for a single failure? Or for a bad reputation? Aren’t you glad that He forgives over and over, welcoming us back to His arms?

Courage is rare, but Jesus invites us to live lives of courage, to go “On men and women, and over!” when it comes to the battle with our mortal enemy. The question is whether or not the church (and we as individuals) will rise to that challenge or whether we will take the flag and run for shelter. Will be found in the midst of the charge? Will you go “On…and over”?

If you have failed in the past, don’t let that stop you today…or tomorrow!

TODAY’S PRAYER: Give us the courage of your Spirit that we might not shirk our duty and cower in shame! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2016, all rights reserved.


DayBreaks for 06/23/11 – Character

DayBreaks for 06/23/11 – Character

NOTE: Galen is on Sabbatical until 7/11.  Until he returns, DayBreaks will be publishing prior devotions (that is, if Galen has access to the Internet!)  Thanks for your understanding!

Character and Integrity

Character.  A simple three syllable word.  Easy to say, but hard to come by.  Character is so very important and so very hard to find these days.  I know some men and women who are characters (and let’s face it – most of them are Christians – after all, who should be more filled with the joy and exuberance of life than those who are saved?!?!).  Sadly, I know more characters than people with character.  Character is supposed to be one of the hallmarks of the Christian (Romans 5:3-4 – “3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.”)

Character and reputation are not the same.  Abraham Lincoln described it this way: “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow.  The shadows is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”  Character is the real.  It isn’t a shadow, but rather it has substance.  You can’t touch a shadow, but you can touch the tree.  Character is solidity that comes from knowing what is true, what is real and remaining loyal to the right in spite of whatever else may be going on.  A man or woman who possesses character is like “a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.”  (Psalm 1:3)

Integrity and character are closely linked.  You cannot be a person of character without possessing integrity.  I had heard part of a quote before from Chuck Swindoll’s about character that went something like this: “Character is what you are when no one is looking.”  Well, I found the exact words, and while that part of the quote was a great one, the exact quote is even better: “True integrity implies you do what is right when no one is looking or when everyone is compromising.

What do you do when no one is looking at you?  When no one sees or can see?  Does your integrity hold up?  As difficult as living that definition of integrity out in daily life is, it is the last part of the phrase that is perhaps even more challenging: doing what is right when everyone all around you is compromising.  You see, when you are alone, it is only you, Satan and Jesus doing warfare.  But when you are surrounded by those who are compromising, not only are you wrestling with Satan, but you are wrestling with peer pressure to compromise, too.

Character and integrity don’t care which way the wind is blowing.  They care about what is right.  The man or woman of character clings to right like a plant growing in the rocky crevasse – tenacious and unyielding.  Are you the real thing?  Sink your roots deep into God’s soil.  Resolve now to be a person of character from this day forward.

Copyright 2001 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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