Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for living and dying for a greater cause. Thank you for the freedom you have won and upheld for me. Today I honor you.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 ESV
For me, and my family, Memorial Day is about remembering and honoring great sacrifice. It is a sacred day. For soldiers all over the world who have paid the ultimate price, we are more than grateful.
Today we also pay homage to all our brothers and sisters who have gone before us and who still lay their lives down for the great faith in Christ Jesus.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 ESV
Most of all, we reflect on the greatest sacrifice that won us the greatest freedom. We honor our Savior who’s love lead Him to a cross. May His sacrifice change us. May we learn what it means to love others more than ourselves. After all, the value of our lives is determine by the means in which we spend it, Lord help us to not waste our lives on selfish ambition but give it away out of love for our neighbors.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 ESV
Seasons change and we’re not always ready for it. But the fact that they change is inevitable. Daughters become little girls overnight. The journey from the hospital room to your little boy’s one year birthday party seems like a flash. People come and go in our lives. Loss happens in an instant. Relationships change and evolve. Pandemics can sweep the world. It’s best to not fight change but to expect it. The only constant in life is the One Who originated life. He is who we cling to in the hard seasons of change. He is who we cling to in the celebrations of life.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 ESV
Let Jesus be your constant in the ever changing seasons of life. Peace in Christ brothers and sisters.
“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” Romans 1:11-12 ESV
Being around other believers is irreplaceable. We need each other to get through tragedies, bear the weights of life, and move towards Jesus and a more consistent manner. And it’s good to stop and reflect on our own personal impact on others in the faith. I we someone who refreshes and encourages? Our effect on others is not a sub issue of faith, it’s paramount. Our faith is never meant to be kept to ourselves. As part of God’s family, we are a transport of spiritual nutrition to those around us. Jesus compared us to a well overflowing with living water. Never should we be guilty of draining life from one’s heart because we are connected to the author of life Himself. To be refreshing to others, we too must be refreshed in Jesus and through His people.
It’s easy to look to the things we see or the people we know to be our source of assurance. People are created to have hope. We cling to whatever we can in desperate moments. We seek all our lives to find the things that bring us comfort and confidence in our present circumstances. Be it a person, a place, a thing, a status, a relationship, or even an accomplishment, everyone hopes in something or someone.
There’s always needs arising for people to find hope. At any given moment in history there have been wars, famines, pandemics, economic turmoil, slavery, and the threat of evil ideologies and the effects they have on human life. They may not always look exactly the same but our world is always in need of hope.
God’s people are supposed to be known for finding their hope in one source alone-God. The Bible is full of stories where that did not happen. Look at any believers life and you will see moments when that did not happen. None of us are immune from the plagues of self-reliance and materialism. In my reading this morning I came across one such story. It’s in the book of Ezekiel where the prophet is rebuking the nation for trusting in Egypt rather than God for their security. In chapter 29, God promises to bring down Israel’s neighboring powerhouse so that they will no longer have them as a weak crutch to lean on.
“Egypt will no longer be a source of confidence for the people of Israel but will be a reminder of their sin in turning to her for help. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.’ ”” Ezekiel 29:16 NIV
God takes seriously His people’s tendency to misplace their trust and hope. Jesus rebuked those who trusted in anything other than God…like those who trust in money (Matthew 6:19-21), in religious heritage (Matthew 3:9), or in their religious ‘goodness’ (Mark 13:1-2). Confidence in anyone or anything other than God’s goodness and faithfulness is an issue of misplaced loyalties. Like the Israelites of old, we have to safeguard our hearts from wandering the path of false security.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalms 46:1 NIV