Memorial Day

While many will use this holiday today as an opportunity to spend time with family on outdoor sports and picnics, I pray we, and they, will not forget the purpose of the day. It is Memorial Day, the day we celebrate our freedom that came with the highest cost possible, the life of the one who fought for it. There are hundreds of thousands of graves and crosses, spread out over the world, of men and women who died fighting for freedom. What we do today is possible because of the courage of those who came before us. There will be parades in honor of those fallen during wars, and rightly so because they deserve honor, but I want to use this opportunity to remind us all of the One who deserves the most honor because of the freedom that He willingly gave us. While most men who fight in battle, go into battle knowing that they may die, but very few go into battle to explicitly give their lives for the benefit of others. We all serve knowing what the cost could be, but we fight to win, not to lose. But there is One who came to this earth to die for you and me. He came knowing that by dying, He would save all those who call on Him, who honor Him, not just on one day of the year, but every day of the year. But this One who came to fight the greatest battle of all time is not through, and will fight again for us, because His fight is against evil. We will fight with Him on that day, and I, for one, am proud to be a willing participant in this Army, the Army of the Lord. Jesus said,”I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and doesn’t own the sheep, leaves them and runs away when he sees a wolf coming. The wolf snatches and scatters them. This happens because he is a hired man and doesn’t care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me, as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep.” “My sheep hear My voice. I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish – ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” John 10: 11-15, 27-30 It is right that we set aside a day to honor those who have paid the ultimate price. I will honor them today, and remember the names etched in my heart: Harley Cowen, Mike Havranek, George Landy, and others known for a moment but the names have escaped me. I will honor their memory. And I will honor the One who saved my life, and my soul from death – Jesus. He is my Good Shepherd, my Commander, and I know His voice, and He knows mine. I know that He has prepared a place for me, and all who call on His name and believe in Him. He would say, “Greater love has no man, than to lay down his life for a friend. I would like to think that I have the courage to do that, but have been called instead to raise the flag of remembrance to all who fought wars, and who still fight today, and will pay the price on this day for the freedom we have. Let’s not forget them. Let’s not forget about Jesus, the One who taught us to lay down our lives for a friend. I thank Him today for the people in my life that I know are true friends all because of the One who taught me to care like He cares, and to give like He gives, and to love like He loves. May your Memorial Day be special today. Please take a moment to remember, then listen and you will hear the voice of the Shepherd, still comforting us in our time of need. Pastor Andy

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