Statues, Conflict & WWJD

Statues, Conflict & WWJD

“Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”  1 John 2:6

As Americans weigh in on the latest race relations battle, I can only imagine how satisfied Satan is, knowing that he has once again fanned the flames of division, racism and hatred in our nation. It seems that these skirmishes continue to flare up, no matter how many years we move away from the scourge of slavery that marked our nation’s past. 

So as iron and stone artifacts are receiving increased focus by newspapers, cable news, and social media, what seems to be lacking, at least for those who claim to be followers of Jesus, is WWJD — as in What Would Jesus Do?

There was a time when this slogan was routinely seen on bumper stickers, wrist bands, and t-shirts. And many continue to pose the question, WWJD, to test their actions and words. But the problem with using WWJD is that too often a person’s subjective evaluation can yield multiple answers, if Scriptures are not abundantly clear.

So I’ve been searching the Bible for answers to how Christ’s followers should respond to the calls for removing statues, flags and monuments. Rather than pragmatic or even patriotic approaches, I’m more interested in what Jesus would actually do were He here physically today. But as I considered the likelihood of a subjective response to this latest American problem, I became more intrigued with WDJS — as in What Did Jesus Say?  

If you grew up never knowing your father, but he left you a book with explicit instructions on what he valued and believed, such a document would be of great value as you encountered life’s struggles. 

You and I never had the privilege that the original twelve disciples had, to not only hear the words of Jesus but to also see Him live those words out day after day. So when Jesus told them, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” and the disciples then witnessed Jesus loving and forgiving those who tortured and crucified Him, they could see that what Jesus said directly impacted what He did. 

So whether it’s Jesus or you and me, our actions are driven by our thoughts and our thoughts spill out in our words. 

If you and I profess to be followers of Jesus, and we routinely ask WWJD, then what Jesus said, and He directed others to say for Him throughout the Bible, should be of supreme importance to us as we deliberate over how to respond to statues and racism, and those who are drawing lines in the sand. 

So let’s look at what the Bible has to say about how a follower of Jesus should respond to this latest racial skirmish. 

Dealing with Anger & Conflict

“God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.”  Matthew 5:9

“But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.”  Galatians 5:15

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”  Ephesians 4:31-32

“Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.”  2 Timothy 2:23-24

“If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.” 1 John 3:14-15

Looking to the Good of Others

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  Matthew 5:44

“Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.”  1 Corinthians 10:24

“Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.”  Galatians 6:10

“See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.”  1 Thessalonians 5:15

“We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.  Romans 15:1-2

Showing Grace, Forgiveness, Love & Unity

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  Matthew 6:14-15

“Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart.”  Matthew 12:25

“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”  Ephesians 4:2-3

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”  Colossians 3:13

“So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.”  Romans 14:13

“May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.”  Romans 15: 5-7

The Lawsuit Analogy

“When one of you has a dispute with another believer, how dare you file a lawsuit and ask a secular court to decide the matter instead of taking it to other believers! Don’t you realize that someday we believers will judge the world? And since you are going to judge the world, can’t you decide even these little things among yourselves? Don’t you realize that we will judge angels? So you should surely be able to resolve ordinary disputes in this life. If you have legal disputes about such matters, why go to outside judges who are not respected by the church? I am saying this to shame you. Isn’t there anyone in all the church who is wise enough to decide these issues? But instead, one believer sues another—right in front of unbelievers! Even to have such lawsuits with one another is a defeat for you. Why not just accept the injustice and leave it at that? Why not let yourselves be cheated? Instead, you yourselves are the ones who do wrong and cheat even your fellow believers.”  1 Corinthians 6:1-8

Final Thoughts

This last weekend our nation was reminded of the priority of life, unity and cooperation as Hurricane Harvey bore down on Texas, wreaking death and unimaginable destruction for millions of our fellow Americans.  Interestingly, my blog post last week entitled “Racial Strife: Finding the Antidote to the Enemy Within” dealt directly with such catastrophic events that can bring our nation together and what the two step solution is for this division we are facing. 

While most of us have not been directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey, our hearts, minds and prayers are with those who are struggling to survive.  So as I was communicating with some friends in Texas and viewing the scenes of catastrophic destruction, the following thought suddenly struck me:  Statues No Longer Matter

When an event like a hurricane, a terrorist attack or something similar occurs, our attention is immediately brought to bear on what is ultimately important. Likewise, if we are a follower of Christ, we should understand on an even greater scale that we have opportunities to make an eternal difference in the lives around us when we chose to live as Jesus did.  

As you and I consider the controversies playing out over statues and monuments, may we remember the words of Jesus and the scriptures, focus our attention on eternity, and then adjust our behavior to align with God’s principles. 

If you think others might benefit from this post, please consider forwarding it to them, including your pastor.  And feel free to share your thoughts with me.

 

Racial Strife: Finding the Antidote to the Enemy Within

Racial Strife: Finding the Antidote to the Enemy Within

If you’ve ever watched the movie Independence Day, or one of the many other films that have been made over the years about aliens attacking the world, you know there’s one consistent theme with all of them: There is a common enemy that seeks to annihilate mankind, and this common threat brings together people of every race, background, and even religion to fight the enemy. The myriad of differences of the people no longer matter. Rather, the people become united as one because without such unity they will surely die. 

 

Abraham Lincoln once said:

“American will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

The President who led our nation to battle the evil of racism, which resulted in the deaths of 620,000 Americans, had a front row view of the hatred that nearly destroyed our nation. And he ultimately lost his life because of that hate.  

Since the founding of our great nation, the scourge of racism has pulsated through our communities. If we are honest with ourselves though, racism flows in all directions. It is not limited to a particular race or skin color. 

But racism is not the root of the problem, any more than the spaceships of the aliens were the underlying threat to mankind. Rather, the aliens within the spaceships were driving the threat to annihilate mankind. 

Likewise, racism is merely the vehicle that carries the real threat: Hate.  We hate others because of their skin color, or their socio-economic status, or their geographic location in our nation, or the wealth they possess, or the education they were provided, or the President they voted for, or a host of other reasons. 

Pure and simple, Americans Hate. And the latest stage where we have seen that hate playing out is in the streets of Charlottesville as KKK and other white racist groups battled with BLM and other black racist groups. Sadly, if we’re honest with ourselves, hate is often present in our own hearts and lives. As we view the bloody scenes of men and women clashing in the streets, what wells up in our hearts?  Is it anger or sorrow?  Is it the desire for retribution or forgiveness?  Is it rationalization or condemnation?

Jesus said that we should be willing to forgive our brothers up to seventy times seven, symbolizing an unending flow of forgiveness. Yet, are we willing to do so?

Consider that unforgiveness is a sin that directly severs our relationship with God, as Jesus affirmed:

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  Matthew 6:14-15

Later, when asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied:

“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39

The antidote to the poison of hate is a two step process: forgiveness and love. This process requires a daily commitment on our part to insure that the enemy of mankind, hate, does not well back up in our hearts. Unless we commit ourselves to the discipline of forgiveness and love, the future of the union for which so many bled and died is at stake. But more importantly, the eternal destiny of our own souls hangs in the balance. 

Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this post, would you mind forwarding it to a few friends?  Thank you.

Husbands, Love Your Wives

Husbands, Love Your Wives

Guys, do you remember those courting days, when you and your wife-to-be couldn’t get enough time together?  Remember when saying “I love you” to your sweetheart was as normal a part of your life as waking up each morning?  Remember when she could do no wrong and everything about her was new, wonderful, and invigorating?  Remember the laughter, the fun, and even the silliness of those days when a note, a call, or a text absolutely made your day?

And do you remember that special day, when you stood before a crowd of friends and family, and made this pledge: 

“I take you to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part…”

Well, if you’ve been married any amount of time since those days, it’s possible, if not likely, that the routine, burdens and grind of life has served to distort and distract all those initial thoughts, feelings and beliefs.  You may have even forgotten the words you enthusiastically recited as you began your new life together. 

Lori and I have been married for nearly 37 years and, while we have had our share of disagreements, and things have not always been rosy, I thank God that our love and commitment remains strong and unwavering.  Yet, over the years, I’ve had a number of close friends confide in me that their marriages were struggling and that the “D” word was even coming up in conversations with their spouse. Many guys I’ve known have expressed their discontent, anger, frustration and second thoughts about the lady who they felt 180-degrees differently about just a few years earlier. 

So what changed? How is it that something that was so hot became so cold; something that was meant “till death do us part” could now so readily be concluded?

There are a myriad of reasons and explanations for each one of these marital challenges.  But one thing that might be missing in most, is the choice to love. And that choice to love is illustrated beautifully in these verses in Ephesians 5:25-29:

“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.”

Note that inherent in Christ’s love of the church is a choice that He made: to give up His life and to care for His church.  No one could doubt Christ’s commitment to love.  But as great as that commitment was and is, what is even more astounding is the object of Christ’s love, the church.  Consider that the church is full of broken, sinful men and women, who routinely fail their Savior and turn their backs on Him. Yet, Christ’s love remains constant and immoveable, in spite of our frail and ugly selves.  

Now, using the illustration of Christ’s love for the church, we husbands are commanded to “love our wives.”  Period.  That command has no qualifier, other than we are to love her as our own bodies.  Furthermore, because of the illustration of Christ giving up His life for the church, we can also conclude that a husband should exhibit an unwavering commitment to sacrifice on behalf of his wife, even unto death if it were required.  But since it’s unlikely most of us will be called to actually die for our wife, perhaps we should just strive to love her when she might act unloveable, which might be possible.  (Of course, what’s more likely is that we husbands might be even more unloveable than her.)

Now this may be an odd sort of article coming from a guy who loves to write about politics, government, culture and philosophy.  But if you believe, as I do, that as the family goes, so goes the nation, then there is no more important topic than marriage and the family.  

My heart often grieves for the state in which we find our nation, cities and culture.  Sadly though, I believe that we are reaping the severe consequences of what we have sown via our rejection of God and His founding values upon which our nation was built.  And certainly there is no more important value than marriage.  

So if you are a guy who is struggling in your marriage, and if you seemed to have lost the love and commitment that you once had for your wife, I encourage you to reconsider, recommit and begin to evaluate the kind of love that Christ showed for you. If you will do this, and then find someone you respect to walk alongside you as you seek to restore your marriage to what it was always meant to be, then there is hope.  And where there is hope, there is potential that, with God’s help, and your willingness to follow His leading, your marriage can be healed.  

So keep keeping on. Do right until the stars fall. Love your wife. And look to the ultimate example of love.  Christ chose to love you, even while you were unloveable.

The Blessings of Family, Friends & Future

The Blessings of Family, Friends & Future

With Christmas just over and New Year around the corner, it’s a week when so many of us enjoy time reminiscing with family and friends, while planning for the year ahead.  Christmas, the day that begins the week, is all about family when you consider the reason for the day.

Two thousand years ago, a divinely chosen couple in Bethlehem became a family when the Creator Himself chose to enter this world as an innocent child.  The purpose of that child, Jesus, was to regather His spiritual family that had been lost because of the choice of the very first family thousands of years earlier in the Garden of Eden.

So I thank Jesus for the family He has given me.  From my wife and two sons and daughter-in-law, to my father, mother, brother, sister and all of their extended families, I am truly blessed.  But there is another family that dwarfs my physical family in size.  It is my spiritual one, that extends from Tennessee to the four corners of this world, from the present to the past and into the future.  This spiritual family is one that includes so many brothers and sisters that it will take an eternity to get to know them all.  And so this, yet unmet family, is also someone I am deeply grateful for.

But along our journey during our “three score and ten” years on earth, we all have the opportunity to make so many friends along the way.  Some we enjoy for years.  Others for a few moments.  But the blessings and words of truth we experience through these friends can deeply impact our lives in a way that often changes its trajectory.  And for this I am deeply grateful.  

But with a New Year just moments away, we must consider the future.  2017 is full of the unknown and will undoubtedly include many joys but heartaches as well.  Our future is largely like a lump of clay, without form but able to be shaped into whatever object we desire.  Will the object it becomes be one resulting from little thought and simply coincidence?  Or will 2017 be a year in which its outcome is one of deliberate planning, choices and consideration of God’s purposes for our lives and His plans?  

I trust your New Year is one that is thoughtful, deliberate and includes the blessings of God in all that you do as you seek to honor Him.  

The Wildly Profitable Gift Shop on the Titanic – Part 2: Our Response

The Wildly Profitable Gift Shop on the Titanic – Part 2: Our Response

Wildly Profitable Gift Shop on Titanic - Part 2

Last week I shared a fictional story about an entrepreneur on the Titanic and how, despite the overwhelming success this businesswoman was having, when the mega-ship struck the iceberg, her wildly profitable business meant very little as the ship succumbed to its watery fate.  Sadly, hundreds of lives were lost as the ship’s captain failed to heed the many warning signs that were provided to him.

Similarly, our nation is barreling down on its own iceberg and like the Titanic’s crew, those we have entrusted to guide the American ship are negligently steering us towards a direct hit.  Just as the passengers on board the Titanic, all too many Americans are either oblivious, careless, or are in disbelief about the coming disaster.  

In my post last week, I highlighted just a few warning signs that point to an upcoming catastrophe:   

$150 trillion in debt

a collapsing political system

extreme societal polarization and division

rampant corruption in Washington and our state houses

greed has infected our populace

unrest and violence is growing

ethics and morals have all but disintegrated

religion has little influence in our society

terrorism is rising

For those of us who see the catastrophic iceberg front and center, is there a way to avoid its destruction?  And if not, what should we be doing to prepare our lifeboat for that coming reality?

As a follower of Christ, I seek to approach life through the prism of the spiritual.  I cannot separate what is going on in America and our world from God.  So it’s through that paradigm that I seek solutions.  But I realize that everyone does not share that same view.  So my thoughts that follow will be broken into two categories:   General & Spiritual.  

While this is not an exhaustive list of suggestions, it is provided in the hopes that it will spur you and I to take action to prepare for the potential that our “captains” will not or cannot take the corrective measures that are necessary.

General Preparation

I believe our Federal Government is gone.  It has grown so large, so corrupt, and so far beyond the scope of its duties as outlined in the Constitution, that it is lost, but for a miracle from God Himself.  The potential that the Courts, Congress, the President and the multitude of behemoth federal agencies can be reformed is irreconcilable with reality.  So we must turn our attention closer to home, to our state and local governments, our families, neighbors, friends and local alliances and groups.  At the end of the day, this is where we will find the relationships that will sustain us and our communities and will be what we will look to, as the federal beast either dies in one calamitous event, or it simply become unable to meet the strain and stress of the mounting obligations it has created for itself.

State & Local:  Our local officials are still accessible, unlike our Federal “representatives.”  We can drive to the state capitol and sit down with them.  We can interact with them when they are in our communities.  We can attend a local county commission or city council meeting.  We can rally our networks to support initiatives that are good or oppose legislation that is harmful.  And because we can still do this, we can still have a voice in our government.  If you have not engaged in this manner, I strongly encourage you to do so.  We’ve all heard the age-old adage: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”  For too long, good men have done little in Washington and so we have lost our country at the federal level.  But we can still affect our local reality.  So be one of the good guys, step forward, engage, and make a difference, while you still can.

Hamilton County SheriffMeet your Sheriff:  If there is one position in your local elected government that is likely the most important of all, it is your County Sheriff.  Many have argued that the power of the sheriff within the boundaries of his jurisdiction is greater than that of the President of the United States.  That may come as a surprise to many, and some will certainly dispute it, but there is no doubt that your sheriff has immense power, for good or bad.  So it is crucial that you get to know him, influence him, and support him when he upholds the Constitution and Liberty, which he has sworn to protect.  Likewise, you should correct him when he veers off course.  The federal government is already tilting to the side of tyranny and as it continues in that direction, the role each county sheriff will play in protecting the unalienable rights and liberties of his constituents will be crucial.  But the time to prepare for that day is not later, but now.

Local Groups:  Engage in local groups and organizations that share your values.  Become an active participant.  Whether it’s a local liberty group, political group, religious organization, farm group, prepper group, or some other civic organization, it’s critical that you establish networks with those you trust and value.  The time to develop relationships is before the stuff hits the fan.  Afterwards it will be too late.

Educate & Inform:  With the power of the internet, the world is at your fingertips.  The ability to get unfiltered information from sources other than the biased Main Stream Media (MSM) has never been better.  But your education is up to you.  Turn off the tube and set aside some time each week to become informed on topics of interest to you.  And then begin to share that information with others in a collaborative manner.  

Prepping:  While some view the concept of prepping as a tin-hat mentality, truthfully, we all prep to one degree or another.  If you doubt me, just wait until the next time a snow storm is forecasted in my home state of TN, or a hurricane or some other severe weather is predicted in your state.  Notice how quickly the food shelves are left bare at the local grocery store.  But there are smart and foolish ways to prep.  I would strongly encourage you to go to my friends at Patriot Post to access their Disaster Preparedness Page for an extensive list of guides and resources.  Not prepping for some kind of emergency is, in my view, foolish given the threatening clouds that we can all see all around us.

Survival eBook:  My good friend, Dr. Omar Hamada, a former Special Forces US Army Flight Surgeon and Diving Medical Officer, has written an eBook entitled “The Ultimate Survival Pack.”  In his eBook Dr. Hamada highlights 60 essential tools you must have in a crisis.  You can download the book here:  Free eBook 

Personal Health:  It’s really sad but our personal health seems to mirror our nation’s health.  We have a nation that is sick financially, politically, morally, and spiritually and I don’t believe it’s any coincidence that the same applies to many of our citizens.  But you can defy the norm.  There are multiple opportunities and programs you can work with to improve your health, including a company I am affiliated with, Hope 80/20.  If things go south in our nation, those who are healthy will be in a much better position to weather the uncertainties we could be facing.

Spiritual Preparation

Because I believe that all of life’s significant struggles can ultimately be traced back to a spiritual cause, I believe we must actually start with the underlying spiritual flaws we see in ourselves, our communities and our nation.  So again, while this is not an exhaustive list, it is one that I believe includes some of the critical issues we must address as Christians in our nation.  

Local Church:  Become actively engaged in your local church.  Seek out those within your church who, like you, believe that there is serious trouble ahead for our nation in general, and Christians specifically.  As religious liberty is under attack at an ever increasing rate, it is critical that followers of Christ not be surprised.  Rather, we should fully expect this since Jesus foretold that these times would come.  Meet with your pastor to engage him in dialogue about your thoughts and concerns.  Determine whether he shares your concerns and if so, encourage him to devote some future messages to the “last days” and what that means for members of the church.

Read this bookImplosion: Can America Recover from Its Economic & Spiritual Challenges in Time? by Joel Rosenberg.  Joel, a NY Times Best Selling author, has written a masterpiece about the threats our nation faces, the potential repercussions that we may face if we do hit the “iceberg” and what Christians should be doing in the event the worst happens.

Prayer:  Pray for our nation, our elected officials and our fellow citizens.  If you are a believer, then you understand the power of prayer.  Our nation faced similar threats at least two other times in our nation’s history, in the 1700’s and again in the 1800’s, but God was merciful in answering the earnest prayers of believers and He sent the First and Second Great Awakenings.  These two movements resulted in millions of Americans turning to God and there is no doubt that these spiritual awakenings “saved” our nation.  It could happen again, but it will not without prayer.  So begin praying not only individually but join with other believers in small groups and earnestly seek God.  Whether a third awakening occurs or not, we know that the Effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Develop Plans:  Enlist others, who share a similar biblical worldview, to join with you in developing plans for mutual caring and collaboration should the worst occur.  The plans should not only include our families and friends, but should also take into account the potential that many of your neighbors might be caught without their own lifeboat, physically and spiritually.  There is never a better time to share the love of God than in a person’s time of crisis. 

God’s Word:  Spend more and more time in God’s Word.  We know that the Bible has the answers for life. There are dozens of examples in scripture of believers who faced insurmountable odds, and life threatening circumstances.  Yet, with God’s strength they stood and persevered.  While such biblical scenarios are incomprehensible to us, as we enjoy the relative peace and security we have come to expect, the world can turn upside down in an instant.  Studying God’s Word will not prevent catastrophic events, but it can prepare us if those events occur.

DeltaAs I close, it’s possible that you might be thinking I’ve gone over the edge and lost my mind.  Who in their right mind would believe that America, the most powerful nation in the world, could ever lose such status?  Yet, just this week, we saw Delta Airlines, one of the world’s largest carriers, be brought to its knees, as a simple power failure in Atlanta grounded hundreds of flights for multiple days. While lives were not lost, the completely unexpected occurred and the lives of millions were significantly impacted.  Now, let your mind wander, for just a moment, to the vast number of other potential destructive scenarios that could occur, and one can realistically see how that iceberg could in fact be staring us down.

So I close this 2 part series in the same way I opened it, and I trust you will begin to take the necessary precautions that you deem appropriate.  If I can help in any way, whether individually or in your group or organization, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  

A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”  Proverbs 27:12 NLT  

 

Mark

No Greater Love

No Greater Love

No Greater Love

On this Memorial Day, our collective thoughts as Americans turn to those men and women throughout the history of our nation who gave their all so that we might continue to enjoy the “blessings of liberty.” Whether those unselfish patriots laid down their lives in 1776 as a result of “the shot heard ’round the world” or perhaps more recently as our fellow citizens gave their lives half way around the world, or even here in Chattanooga last July, there is no greater act of love, sacrifice or commitment than the one they demonstrated. 

Clearly on this Memorial Day, there is no more fitting act of honor or tribute than for each of us to take some quiet time to reflect on their lives, their heroism and their legacy. 

As I’ve reflected about these gone but not forgotten patriots, their acts of sacrifice should cause us to feel a sense of great responsibility and accountability.  Should we not then respond in some deliberate manner to acknowledge the worth of their lives and the value they placed on our country?   

One life is of immeasurable worth.  Exponentially though, over a million lives, sacrificed for our nation over these 240 years, demand our attention and our action.  We must go beyond an annual recognition that honors our fallen heroes and make our own “sacrifices.”

While most of us will never be called to lay down our lives for our nation, surely we can lay down a TV remote, or a golf club and at least give back a few hours a month to the nation in which we have been so blessed to live.  There are hundreds of ways that you and I can rise up to defend and protect our nation’s future on a daily basis but we must be intentional about doing so.  As you do so though, I encourage you to share your commitment and your plans with a friend or family member and then together, step up and give back to this wonderful nation.

Finally, this day of reflection reminds me of another Truth expressed 2,000 years ago by a man whose life exemplifies love, sacrifice and commitment.  This God-man we know as Jesus, left the blessings and comforts of heaven and declared this Truth:  

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

But Jesus did not just speak this Truth.  He too sacrificed His life for you and me, so that we could also enjoy the blessings of liberty by embracing Him and His message. 

On this special day, as we remember and honor our fallen service men and women, let’s also honor the One to whom we ultimately owe the blessings of liberty: Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Mark