Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Price of Life


John 12:24  “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”

(I just returned from Fort Bragg NC where I attended the 2015 All American Week in memory and honor of the soldiers lost in war …)

The price of life is death. Either we pay the price for someone else to live or someone else pays the price for us and others to live.

This is true both in our earthly life and in the life to come. Jesus, the Son of God, paid the ultimate price for our eternity when He gave His life to save you and me. God respected the death of Jesus and honored Him. Jesus laid down His life in love. The scriptures tell us:

John 15:13 “Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

Simply put – We lay our lives down for those whom we love more than we love ourselves.

We'll come back and further develop this thought in a moment but first let’s focus our attention on the Holiday we will observe tomorrow.

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend, and tomorrow is Memorial Day - the time we set aside in our great nation, the United States of America:
   * this one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all;
   * this land of the free, home of the brave;
   * this nation that was built on the ideal embraced and taken from a poem by Emma Lazarus written in 1883 which welcomed more than 12 million immigrants to Ellis Island from 1892 to 1954:

“… Give me your tired, your poor. Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
   * the nation is a golden door …
   * this nation who defends the weak, feeds the hungry, gives to the poor and protects the rights of each individual regardless of race, color, gender, national origin or religious affiliation;
   * this nation of The People, by The People, and for The People, who has always given its very best and brightest sons and daughters in defense of these ideals … the United States of America …

We should yield solemn respect to those who gave their time, talent and treasure, pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to serve our country in times of war and peace, and remember those who sacrificed their lives in that noble cause. These men and women made the difference.

We owe our nation, our homes and our cars, our jobs and our hobbies, our past, our families and our future to those brave Americans who unselfishly gave their lives for us.

There are so many heroes in our past who served in one way or another to make America great. Men and women alike … those who sailed with and supported Columbus; families on the Mayflower; the colonists who braved the elements of a new harsh world; those early pioneers and settlers of the west; men and women of science and medicine; those who laid the railways to connect the Atlantic with the Pacific; people like Lewis and Clarke, Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers and the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr.; … so many educators and philanthropists; inventors and astronauts; homemakers and shipbuilders; slaves and freemen; factory workers and farmers … America is the land of the free and the home of the brave, a land filled with heroes to whom we owe our good lives.

Every day of the year could be a special day commemorating a different segment of our society for their unselfish and sacrificial contribution in making America great and leaving such a legacy behind.

However, one class of citizen stands out on the front lines of our nation when we think of the heroes of our past, it’s the American Soldier. Memorial Day is about those who died while defending us in war.

To give you an idea of the numbers of our brave men and women from the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, who have lost their lives while serving in defense of our freedoms, allow me to briefly show you these figures: (Source:

American Revolutionary War                        1775-1783          25,000
Northwest Indian War                         1785-1795          1,056
Quasi-War                                         1798-1800          514
War of 1812                                       1812-1815          20,000
1st Seminole War                                1817-1818          36
Black Hawk War                                 1832                 305
2nd Seminole War                                        1835-1842          1,535
Mexican-American War                                1846-1848          13,283
3rd Seminole War                                        1855-1858          26
Civil War                                            1861-1865          625,000
Indian Wars                                       1865-1898          919
Great Sioux War                                 1875-1877          314
Spanish-American War                                1898                 2,446
Philippine-American War                      1898-1913          4,196
Boxer Rebellion                                   1900-1901          131
Mexican Revolution                             1914-1919          35
Haiti Occupation                                 1915-1934          148
World War I                                       1917-1918          116,516
North Russia Campaign                       1918-1920          424
American Expedition Force Siberia        1918-1920          328
Nicaragua Occupation                         1927-1933          48
World War II                                      1941-1945          405,399
Korean War                                        1950-1953          36,516
Vietnam War                                      1955-1975          58,209
El Salvador Civil War                           1980-1992          37
Beirut                                                1982-1984          266
Grenada                                            1983                 19
Panama                                             1989                 40
Persian Gulf War                                1990-1991          258
Operation Provide Comfort                   1991-1996          19
Somalia Intervention                           1992-1995          43
Bosnia                                               1995-2004          12
NATO Air Campaign Yugoslavia            1999                 20
Afghanistan                                       2001-2014          2,356
Iraq                                                  2003-2012          4,489
Total US Military War Deaths above      1775-2014          1,319,943

(Note: The above source lists only 35 of the 65 wars and armed conflicts the US has waged or participated in since 1775. For information on other conflicts and total American War Deaths ((1.35 million )) -  visit: )

In honor of those who gave their lives in sacrifice for our freedom we have set aside a national day of remembrance, we call it Memorial Day and we celebrate that day tomorrow. Everyone is encouraged to take a moment at 3 p.m. tomorrow and remember those brave souls who chose their course and served the cause, giving their lives in defense of our Nation’s decided best interest. We owe a debt to them and to their families forever.

In fact let’s take a moment together right now and thank God as we prayerfully honor these remembered lives and the sacrifice they made.

The price of life is death … someone else died so you could live. Someone else gave their life so you could enjoy yours. Someone else paid the price for all the things we now enjoy. However …

Of all the wars that have ever waged, the battles lost and the victories won, no war has ever been greater than the war that rages on the inside of a person to live or to die. There are fierce battles ongoing in the hearts and minds of men and women every day, even you, right now!

The battle ‘of the heart’ is a battle ‘for the heart’ and the battle ‘of the mind’ is a battle ‘for the mind’ – one battle is a battle for our eternal soul: who will own it; to whom will it belong eternally? The other battle is for control of our lives while we live out our temporal time on planet earth. This second battle is a battle fought by opposing forces to determine:
·        What we will believe
·        What we will say
·        What we will do

The battle for the heart is won when a person:
1.   Recognizes they need a Savior;
2.   Repents of their sins before Almighty God;
3.   Receives Jesus into their heart as Lord and Savior …

The battle for the mind is a daily battle we face in this life while awaiting heaven’s final call. The battle of the mind is daily won as we:
1.   Prove or disprove each thought by the Word of God;
2.   Train our lips to speak the Truth in Love;
3.   Deny ourselves, take up our daily cross and follow Jesus …

If you have never been Born Again, today is your day to win that battle.
-      Recognize; Repent; & Receive Jesus as Lord and Savior today …

If you have already been born again then you are a child of Almighty God. The greatest fight you now face is how to win those daily battles of the mind. Let me arm you with a winning strategy for those constant conflicts.

Remember what we discovered earlier? - Simply put – We lay our lives down for those whom we love more than we love ourselves.

You see, our greatest victories always come in love and in death – specifically: Death to self and selfish ideals - Love for God and others.

During the past 240 years 1.35 million men and women in uniform have made the ultimate sacrifice because they loved others more than they loved themselves. Listen again to the words of Jesus …

John 15
12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Today, in respect of Memorial Day, I challenge you to reconsider who and what you love and for what are you willing to sacrifice. Have you laid your life down on the altar of love for God and for others above yourself?