Memorial Day is a day that is set aside to remember, and honor, our brave soldiers who have given their lives to protect our land and keep us free. It began as a day to honor our Civil War dead, but after World War I, it was expanded to include our war dead from all the wars in which America was involved. Go to http://www.usmemorialday.org/ for more information.
According to http://www.historycentral.com/wars.html , our country has fought in 12 wars (not counting the Afghanistan War which brings the updated total to 13.) In every one of these cases, we have asked the young people of our nation to be willing to give their lives in the name of freedom (for us and others in foreign lands.) The sacrifices these young men and women have made can never be totally comprehended nor can they be repaid by us.
Just stop and think about a little of what these wonderful young people have given up for us. At the very least, they have given years of their life, time away from their families, to serve their country which they love. They have given us any chance of setting down “roots”, having to move from base to base once every 3 to 4 years. Many will be physically disabled the rest of their life, having the use of one or more of their limbs taken from them. Scores have been mentally disabled resulting in them being unable to handle day to day living. And thousands upon thousands have given the ultimate sacrifice, their life, so that we can continue to enjoy our lives living safely in a land of freedom.
We can never begin to understand what they went through, and are continuing to go through, all because they love their nation and the freedoms we take for granted everyday. We can never begin to repay them and their families for the sacrifices they have made for us. It seems as if saying “Thank You” just isn’t enough.
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Here, we find that our Lord recognized the tremendous sacrifice involved when a person is willing to give up their life for their friend. He describes it as an act of “great love.” Who better to be able to understand and define the very essence of self-sacrifice and love, but our Lord Himself?
Think about what Christ has done for His people. He willingly humbled Himself and came to the earth, God in human flesh, giving up the glories of heaven to live among us. Then, during His life on earth, He set the ultimate example of service, teaching, feeding, praying for and healing those who were in need. Next, He was willing to be falsely accused, mocked, physically beaten, mistreated and convicted for a set of crimes that He did not commit. Finally, submitting to a horrible death of slow suffocation while hanging on a cross, all so that His people could receive forgiveness and deliverance from their sin and its results. This is what the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ brought about for us.
And, now for the most amazing part of all this, He did this for us, not when we were friends with Him, but when we were His enemies… When we were opposed to Him, He still choose to love us and die for us on the cross. (Roms 5:10, Col 1:21)
Remember in the above verses Christ Himself said there was no greater love among man than to die for a friend? How much greater is a love that would make Jesus, God the Son, be willing to die for an enemy, one that wants nothing to do with Him and who rebels against Him at every turn? It is described as “the love of God” that cannot be fully understood by man. (Roms 8:39, Eph 3:19) This is the ultimate example of love for another.
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
On this Memorial Day weekend, let us remember the brave soldiers who have so unselfishly given of themselves for us. Let’s not only appreciate their actions but then take steps to help these veterans and their families whenever and wherever we can.
But also this weekend, let us remember the Lord Jesus Christ and all that He has done for us so that we might be saved from the eternal punishment for our sins. And then out of appreciation for His works, let us give ourselves for others, obeying the perfect law of Christ…
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
May we all have a blessed Memorial Day weekend.
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