Monday, May 27, 2013

memorial day in the U.S.A.

I remember hearing my grandfather mention being in the U.S. Navy during World War II.  He wouldn’t share much, but you could tell he was proud of his service to our nation.  I had two other uncles that were in the military one who was a U.S. Air Force jet pilot.  He was my idol for lots of years (he also had a corvette). 

Being in the military was an honor, or at least I remember people holding those who have served in great esteem.  We should continue to do the same today.  Men and women through the years have fought for our freedom.  Many have lost their lives.  Many have returned home to share stories, but all for the same reason.

I listened to a preacher on Sunday talk about the reason America is a great country.  He quoted a leader from a country away from North America (and I didn’t catch all the quote or who said it).  It went like this, “our nation was founded because men came seeking for gold.  The reason America is great is because men came seeking God.”  The preacher went on to share how people often seek government to be the answer to our nation’s trouble and how people often seek gold, or wealth, to be the answer.  Yet the only answer is what the founders of our nation knew.  God is the only answer.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.

Through the last two decades I have watched young men return from the Middle East who have served our nation, fought against terrorism and defended our freedom.  Many of them returned with wounds.  Some of the wounds were on the outside of their bodies while many of the wounds were on the inside.  These are the people we must continue to honor.  They might not wear a uniform every day, but they wear on their heart the past history of being a solider of the United States.  We owe a debt to those who have served.  We ought to continue to fight for our freedom at all costs.

How about our freedom in Christ?  I am of the opinion that the church and the state ought to be connected.  Listen to my heart for a few sentences.  It is my understanding of the Bible that our belief in God is to permeate every area of our life that includes how we vote and deal with our leaders and government.  If you are a Christian and a politician, your faith ought to influence how you act and decide on matters.  God is to be part of every area of our lives.  That includes what we speak up for.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.  Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.

That is a powerful word.  I further believe that it is the job of the church, of God followers, to serve those who are hurting in our community.  It is not the job of our government, yet the church has allowed this for a very long time.  Keep listening.  I did not say that the government needs to relegate those service programs to the church all at once.  I believe it is the place of the church to start serving the people around them.  The people like that verse talked about, those who can’t speak for themselves … the unborn, the homeless, those who are hurting due to physical or mental illness and so many others.

We are free because of God’s gift of freedom, and we cannot take that freedom lightly.  In fact I believe that we must fight for our freedom.  We fight for it for our country as we are strong and stay attached to and follow God.  We fight for our spiritual freedom as well because we have an enemy and live in a world that is constantly seeking to get us to look away from God.

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

If you have served our nation in the military, thank you for giving your time and energy for my freedom, for our freedom.  If you have a loved one who served at any time, thank you for sharing that special person with us.

It is Memorial Day.  It is a time to remember and to thank God for all He has blessed us with.  I pray that we as Americans on this day and many days will thank God for this nation and do our part to that our nation rises us to bless God.

The same preacher I spoke of earlier shared a story about President Lincoln.  He was in the oval office when one of his advisers mentioned that he hoped God was on our side.  Mr. Lincoln responded, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right”.  May we join Abraham Lincoln in that truth as we celebrate Memorial Day.

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