Saturday, May 26, 2018

Memorial Day


Memorial Day is dedicated to the remembrance of those military men and women who gave their lives in the defense of our nation’s decided best interests. From 1775 until today the United States of America has enjoyed less than 2 decades of war free peace. We have sent our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guard men and women within our US borders and to foreign fields to fight more than 65 wars and armed conflicts.

During the past 243 years, 1,350,000 of our military men and women have given their all for our nation. That’s more than 5,500 ultimate sacrifices each and every year, and an average of more than 100 each week since our nation first gathered a military from its citizen population to protect and defend us as Americans.

An American Hero, Senator John Glen, said: “If you can read, thank a teacher. If you can read English, thank a soldier.”

Regardless of our nationality, race, color, religion, culture or creed, we all owe our freedoms, our lives, our liberties and the opportunities to pursue happiness to those who proudly wore the uniform of the United States military and gave their lives to make a better world for us.

God bless America and God bless those fallen soldiers. Tomorrow at 3 pm I plan to pause along with our grateful nation and declare my personal thanks to God and the families in the memory of these fallen comrades.

And I will pray that God helps us to avoid war when possible, and to win against the enemies of peace when the fight becomes necessary.

We can easily identify Three Stages of War
1.  The Romance of War
a.   The Goals
b.   The Glories of Victory
2.  The Reality of War
a.   The Carnage
b.   The Costs
3.  The Remembrance of War
a.   The Sacrifices made
b.   The Hope it never happens again …

History is not written by those who gave their lives but rather by those who remember them.

Many times we see war only as a human endeavor, it is not. The original war is a heavenly war between God and satan. The righteous army of God led by Jesus, the Prince of Peace, has been locked in an immortal battle with the wicked demons of death and their evil master, the prince of darkness, for long ages before the accounts of man were first written in the book of Genesis. Jesus reveals this conflict throughout the pages of the New Testament. We can see the strugglers of the disciples of Christ as they are commissioned to engage the enemies of the cross, which was the secret weapon of God. On the night when Jesus was about to be betrayed, arrested, beaten and sentenced to death, He gathered His disciples and said:

Luke 22  NKJV
28  “But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials.
29  “And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me,
30  “that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
31  And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.
32  “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
33  But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”

Ahhh … The Romance of War … the thoughts of victories and reward …

34  Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”
35  And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?” So they said, “Nothing.”
36  Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.
37  “For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.”
38  So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”
39 ¶  Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him.
40  When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
41  And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed,
42  saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
43  Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.
44  And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
45  When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow.
46  Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”
47 ¶  And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him.
48  But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
49  When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”
50  And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.
51  But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.
52  Then Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs?
53  “When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
54 ¶  Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance.

All of the sudden … The Realties of War began to set in … fear and confusion … the costs and carnage … the romance is gone …

55  Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them.
56  And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.”
57  But he denied Him, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”
58  And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!”
59  Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.”
60  But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
61  And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”
62  So Peter went out and wept bitterly.
63 ¶  Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him.

·        Peter experienced The Romance of War when he imagined that he would gladly suffer prison or death for the cause of Christ.
·        Then, after being faced with the moment and what it cost, Peter experienced The Reality of War.
o   Peter experienced the fear that came after the heat of the battle – after he had reacted and drew his sword and cut off the ear of the servant of the High Priest.
o   What do you do after the heat of the moment? What did he do after his first battle?
o   Peter wanted to help but he also wanted to hide.
o   Every man has to face himself after the battle …
·        It takes time to recover from the heat of the last battle.
·        But, Peter did recover and went on to face so many other battles with courage and with confidence because he remembered …
·        Peter experienced The Remembrance of War … because …

Peter remembered how that Jesus willingly gave His life in sacrifice for him. Earlier on that same night Jesus told His disciples:

Luke 22:19  And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

Jesus wanted to and deserved to be remembered. Years later Jesus told the Apostle Paul:

1 Corinthians 11 NKJV
25  In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
26  For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

Life Application …
·        Remember the sacrifices made for you by men and women in this life.
·        As well, I encourage you to remember the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for your soul and your eternity.
o   No one else could have paid that price.  
·        Be thankful today, be thankful tomorrow and be thankful every day.
o   There is no greater love than this, that a man would lay down his life for a friend. (John 15:13)
·        How can you show your love, your devotion and your willingness to sacrifice for your family, friends and Jesus?

There is power in romance; power in reality; and power in remembrance …

May we never forget!