You Are Not Alone - Remembering the Dead, Caring for the Living – Purity 744
Purity 744 05/30/2022 Purity 744 Podcast
Today’s photo of a solitary figure standing next to a lighthouse on the shores of Lake Ontario at dusk comes to us from a friend who took an unexpected turn after a late day hike at Beechwood State Park yesterday and found themselves visiting nearby Sodus Point where they captured this scene.
Well, It’s Monday again, but unlike most Mondays, today most of us will not be heading into work this morning because today is Memorial Day, where our country will honor those who not only served in the armed forces for our country but who paid the ultimate sacrifice by dying while serving.
To make clear the purpose of this holiday, it should be stated that in a sense it is not a holiday for the living, it is for the dead.
As much as we respect and admire those who are actively serving, like my step-daughter Rachel in the Marine Corp, or those who have served previously and who are still alive, like my Father, Matt, my brother, Michael, and my brother in law, Steven, or who have gone now on to eternity, like both of my wife’s grandfathers, Memorial day is “a day to honor those who were killed in or as a result of participating in battle.”
That’s pretty specific so I am sharing the link to article on History.com on the blog today (https://www.history.com/news/memorial-day-veterans-day-differences-quotes) that makes that distinction and shares some historical facts of why we have the day off today.
So even though we may enjoy the day off by having a barbecue or doing other fun activities, and we should because I believe the Lord gave us life to enjoy it and live it “more abundantly”, the reason for the today’s holiday is a solemn one.
We are to remember that people have died in the service of our country and that our freedom in America has wasn’t a free gift. Our freedom in America was obtained and is maintained because there were those who were willing to fight and die for it.
So although we could and should thank those who are actively serving or who once served and are now veterans, or want to fondly remember those who once served, but survived, and since have died, that is not what today’s holiday is for.
If they understand the meaning of the holiday, active service personnel and veterans are not expecting your thanks today, although I am sure they would appreciate them.
No today’s holiday’s specific purpose is to remember the horrors of war and the lives that were lost in them. We are to remember the dead, to try imagine the cold hard reality of what it must have been like to die in a war, and to deeply appreciate the lives that were sacrificed for our nation and the lives we enjoy in freedom because of them today.
While this day casts our imaginations back to previous wars and conflicts where American lives were lost, it also comes with the hope that such horrors of the past are not repeated but paradoxically the holiday is celebrated with the certainty that as long as there is evil in the world the sacrifices of lives in the support of freedom will continue.
So today, my family and I will take some time to honor the lives that have been given but will do so as part of an organization that seeks to support the men and women who could possibly be remembered next Memorial Day.
My Father In Law, Cliff Seguin, is retired but dedicates his time serving as the Chairman of Operation Adopt a Soldier (https://www.operationadoptasoldier.org/) which is a non-profit organization that he founded in 2003 that provides support to U.S. Soldiers stationed worldwide by sending care packages through the generous assistance of volunteers from the Saratoga, Albany, Queensbury, and Clifton Park, NY areas.
I am proud to be marching in the Glen Falls Memorial Day Parade todayto remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice as part of an organization that supports U.S. service men and women who are actively serving our country.
While remembering the dead by placing flags on fallen service member's graves at Saratoga National Cemetery yesterday, Operation Adopt a Soldier also serves the living.
Operation Adopt a Soldier sends care packages to men and women who are actively serving and also work with returning members and their families during deployments and after the service members return.
The very real problem of feelings of isolation while serving and the difficulty in adapting to life after military service is reflected by the fact that military suicide rates are at an all time high. (https://www.uso.org/stories/2664-military-suicide-rates-are-at-an-all-time-high-heres-how-were-trying-to-help) I am sharing links on the blog today for the USO that documents how they are trying to help and from veteran’s crisis line that veteran’s in crisis can use to get support. (https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help-now/military-crisis-line/) because even though today’s holiday is meant to remember the dead, we should always be obedient to Christ’s call to love our neighbors as our selves and care for the living.
I shared today’s lighthouse photo because I want everyone to know, whether you are serving, have served, or have never served, that our lives are precious and that there is a God that loves and cares for each and every one of us and that no matter what situations you may be going through or how you may feel this Memorial Day, you are never alone and no matter where your travels take you, you always have a home in God’s kingdom.
While we could be distant from friends and family at various times in our lives, God is always with us and available to give us strength, guidance, and love. For anyone serving in the military or who is dealing with their own personal battles in life, God word tells us in:
6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."
In this passage of scripture, Moses who couldn’t go with them, was encouraging the nation of Israel, that the God who led them through 40 years in the wilderness would continue to be with them as they entered the promise land. Even though the prospect of going into unknown territory without knowing if they would live was scary, the Lord spoke through Moses to tell the Israelites, and us, to not be afraid and to always trust God’s presence in His people’s lives.
Our God is faithful and ever present and when we accept the new life that He has available through faith in Jesus Christ, we become his people and we can realize just how faithful and present He is.
So if you haven’t already, make the ultimate sacrifice with your life by placing your faith in Jesus Christ and making the daily decision to trust in and follow the Lord for the rest of your days.
Our lives are precious, and God doesn’t want us to lose them. Through faith in Christ, He made a way to live with Him forever.
16:24-25 (NKJV) Christ said:
24 … "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
We find life eternal in Christ alone. So on this day that is dedicated to those who have died in battle, let’s honor their memory but let’s learn the lesson of the brevity of this life and make sure that we are fighting for the new life and ultimate freedom that is found in Christ alone by showing the love of God by serving the living and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ while we are here on earth.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Psalm 58:11 (NLT2)
11 Then at last everyone will say, “There truly is a reward for those who live for God; surely there is a God who judges justly here on earth.”
Today’s Bible verse reminds us that God is a just judge and those who live for Him are rewarded.
As awesome as that Bible verse is, I would remind everyone who seeks the wisdom of the word of God to always check the context of scripture before you draw conclusions from it or share it with others.
Those so inclined could see the mention of “reward” in this verse and decide to boldly “stand on the word” “to name and claim” their “reward” and try to force the Lord’s hand to bless them or to “speak into being” the object or circumstances of their desire.
To avoid the “prosperity gospel/ word of faith” heresy, I just like to remind people that God is in charge and that while He may choose to bless our prayers with fulfillment, we, while made in God’s image, are not “little gods” and we do not “speak things into existence” and that we should not take Bible verses and try to twist them to do our bidding.
Today’s verse is a perfect example of the importance of knowing the context of scripture. Psalm 58 is a short psalm that speaks of man’s wickedness and the psalmist’s desire for the Lord to avenge them by severely punishing their enemies!
The preceding verses give us an idea of the theme:
9 God will sweep them away, both young and old, faster than a pot heats over burning thorns.
10 The godly will rejoice when they see injustice avenged. They will wash their feet in the blood of the wicked.
Whoa?!? Rejoice as both the young and old are swept away! Let’s wash our feet in the blood of the wicked!
Yikes! So be careful in cherry picking verses that speak of rewards. We have to know what the word says and use it appropriately, and not think too highly of our selves to think we can have the Lord do our bidding by saying the “right words”.
But today’s verse and psalm 58, does give us hope, that evil will be punished and the righteous, those who are made righteous because of their faith in Jesus Christ, the only way we can be righteous, will be rewarded. This can happen circumstantial through God’s providence as he influences world history to move men to stop wicked men and governments on the earth, but it is also promised when Christ returns to rule and reign.
When love comes to town, there will be hell to pay. For when the God who judges justly sends Christ back to earth, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess the Jesus Christ is Lord.
For the wicked, those who reject Jesus, they will confess that He is Lord in defeat and bitterness as they will be separated from God for all eternity in a place that is described as outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
But those who have put their faith in Him, they will declare Jesus Christ as Lord triumphantly and rejoice. When that day comes, the saints will echo the sentiments of today’s verse in the NKJV that says:
Psalm 58:11 (NKJV)
11 … "Surely there is a reward for the righteous; Surely He is God who judges in the earth."
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.
Alive to Christ and Dead to America
Judson’s conversion was not immediate. But now it was sure. God was on his trail, like the apostle Paul on the Damascus road, and there was no escape. There were months of struggle. He entered Andover Seminary in October 1808 and in December made solemn dedication of himself to God. On June 28, 1809, Judson presented himself to the Congregationalists for missionary service in the East.
He met Ann that same day and fell in love. After knowing Ann Hasseltine for one month he declared his intention to become a suitor. He knew that the life he was about to embrace would not only be dangerous and dirty, but also distant. He never expected to return to America. He did only once, thirty-three years later, then never again. Ann went with him and died in Burma. Here is the letter Judson wrote to her father asking for her partnership in missions:
I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this, for the sake of him who left his heavenly home, and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion, and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with the crown of righteousness, brightened with the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Savior from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?
Her father let her decide. She said yes.
God does not call us to ease, but to faithful joy. He is closing in on some of you, smiling and with tears in his eyes, knowing how much of himself he is going to show you—and how much it will cost. As I write, I pray that you will not turn away.
Pity for People and a Passion for Christ Are One
If you have pity for perishing people and a passion for the reputation of Christ, you must care about world missions. One of the burdens of this book is to show what life looks like when you believe that you dare not choose between the motives to love people and glorify Christ. They are not separate motives. Acting on one includes acting on the other. Thus, if your aim is to love people, you will lay down your life to make them eternally glad in God. And if your aim is to glorify Christ, who is God incarnate, you will also lay down your life to make people eternally happy in God.
The reason for this is that any good-hearted goal, without the desire to give people eternal joy in God, is condemnation with a kind face. Love always wants what is best for the needy, and what’s best is enjoying God fully and forever. Similarly, any effort to honor Christ that does not aim to make him the all-satisfying Treasure of God’s treasonous subjects is complicity in the revolt. God is only praised where he is prized. We pay our tribute to him when he is a Treasure to us. You cannot love man or honor God without doing both. This single passion—to see that Christ be glorified as perishing people become eternally satisfied in him—drives the great global enterprise we call world missions.
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