I want to wish each of you a Happy 4th. The 4th of July is a favorite holiday filled with BBQ’s, games, swimming, picnicking, corn on the cob, apple pie and fireworks. But as you know, the 4th is more than that to each of us. The freedom we enjoy in America was bought with a price. The cost to those that came before us was filled with sacrifice, hope and struggle. It continues to cost those who labor daily in the military to ensure our freedom. Our struggle over the centuries has been to secure, defend and maintain freedom of religion, peace, prosperity and hope for us and our children. We desire to live in an unbiased, loving and accepting society. Is this possible? Actually, I believe it is NOT possible without Christ. He is the one who can make all things right and gives us the power to love and live in harmony with others.
Today’s thoughts of freedom bring me to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 and Galatians 5:1. Paul was teaching the Corinthians how to live together in harmony and purity. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own: you have been bought at price. Therefore honor God with your body.” Paul was reminding the Galatians what they had in Christ and that it should be their desire and ours to honor God in all we say and do. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves by burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Christ died for us so that we might be free from sin and its bondage and have the ability to live lives that honor Him. The cross was the ultimate sacrifice for us. Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” He bought us with a price, his life. He redeemed us from sin’s ultimate consequence-death. My freedom in Christ was bought with the price of His life on the cross.
I have FREEDOM in Christ- freedom from my sins, freedom to live for Him, freedom from eternal death and freedom to live with Him for eternity. Just as we are thankful for those who died to secure the freedom we have in America, we need to be thankful for the freedom we have in Christ alone. He is the one who secures it all and brings us to the place where we can enjoy freedom.
Today as you are thankful for America, think also of the greater freedom you have though Christ and say a prayer of Thanks to Jesus.
For this holiday- Memorial Day- the greeting, “Happy Memorial Day” just does not express the appropriate sentiment. Memorial Day is a day to remember the sacrifice of soldiers who have died in war. It began after the Civil war and was originally called ‘Decoration Day’. It was later extended to honor all fallen soldiers in any war. Jesus told us inJohn 15:13 “Greater love has no one than his, that he lay down his life for his friends.”Anyone who joins the military knows they might be called to go to war and fight. Believing in life, freedom and the independent pursuit of happiness is declared in our Constitution’s Bill of Rights and gives motivation and heart to their call to defend our nation. It is an honorable calling that is worthy of our acknowledgement and remembrance. Proverbs 10:7 “The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.” Who will you remember today that has answered the call and given their life for their friends? You and I need to consider ourselves their friends and it is our obligation to their sacrifice that we remember them. Scripture teaches that remembering will be and is a blessing to us. Remember both the living and the dead, as both made or are making sacrifices on our behalf.
Will you attend a parade, a breakfast, have a time of prayer, watch a war movie? Any of these things can be a cause to remember those that have fallen and give thanks for their sacrifice for you and for me. Have a blessed Memorial Day! I think that would be the proper greeting and I send it to you!
Prayer: Thank you Lord, for those brave men and women who have given their all- their lives- so that I can enjoy the freedoms our country provides. Help me to be honoring to their memory and sacrifice knowing they laid their lives down for me, someone they did not even know. Give me an attitude of thankfulness for those Veteran’s that are still living and help me to honor them. Lord, give our leaders wisdom and a sense of unity in working to preserve that for which so many have died. Amen.
P.S. This year we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the “D” day landing at Normandy where so many died, June 6, 1944. Today, remember their great sacrifice for freedom.
Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been bought with a price and belong to God. The concept that we belong to God gives me hope, assurance and confidence for living. Someone, the greatest someone in the Universe, God, cares about me and loves me. He loved me enough to sacrifice greatly on my behalf, by sending Jesus to redeem me. 1 Corinthians 6:19,20 ” Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” When we accept Jesus as our Savior, His Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us. Jesus died so that this transformation within us would be possible through faith in Him. Paul is saying we owe a debt of gratitude for the amazing grace God bestowed upon us. We need to treat our bodies- mind, soul and spirit with the upmost care as that saved body and spirit came at a high price. What makes this so amazing is that Jesus did it freely with no obligation on our part. We cannot earn it nor did we deserve it! Humility and obedience are the way to honor God with our bodies in return for His grace to us. He has a purpose and a plan for us that will bring peace, joy and hope to us and honor to Him.
Suggestion: take time today to focus on a way to honor God in your mind (in prayer or holding thoughts captive to Christ), in your speech (words you say to others) and in action (with your body as you look to helping others). Seek to glorify Him today!
Today is the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor – December 7, 1941. It began 77 years ago at 7:55 am. If you have visited the Memorial over the sunken Arizona where the sailors are still entombed, you are sobered by their sacrifice. War is a terrible thing yet through it men rise to honor and sacrifice for their fellow men. Over 2,400 were killed and 1,000 wounded that day. The most causalities occurred on the USS Arizona as it was hit 4 times by Japanese bombers. A piece of trivia- 37 confirmed pairs or trios of brothers were assigned to the Arizona and this battle cost 62 of these 77 men their lives and 23 sets of brothers died. I can’t imagine the grief those families suffered all in one day. President Franklin D. Roosevelt described it as “a date that will live in infamy.” Just like September 11, 2001 will live on in our minds so should December 7th.
Say a prayer of gratitude today for the sacrifices these men and those brave men and women who continue to sacrifice their lives, time, talents and family time for our freedom.