There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens;
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Here in America, this weekend is Memorial weekend, a time to remember. I would like to encourage you to REMEMBER the following for this weekend. Please don't read this and quickly pass it off. I pray that this will reverberate with you throughout the weekend (and beyond).
(1) We need to remember those who have served our country (and their families) and sacrificed MUCH for our security - something we probably all take for granted. These young men and women usually give a huge portion of their young lives (sometimes even sacrificing to the death) to serve our country. This sacrifice was more than the 4 years (or more) that this person served. Their entire lives have been changed, their personalities formed, their emotions and memories have been molded, their ideas about God, family, love, hate, sacrifice, and respect will forever be changed. The truth of the matter is that we do not give our armed service members, current, former and especially war veterans, the respect they deserve. We live in America, the land of the free and home of the brave, and we take our freedoms for granted. May we never pass by an officer in uniform and forget to say, "Thank you".
(2) In regard to the veterans who serve our country, we also need to remember (or for the first time become aware), that about one-third of the adult homeless population are veterans. Now how do you think we are treating our veterans? We are all so busy with our cookouts, parties and betting on who'll win the big race....and we have thousands of war vets living on the streets. How on Earth is this respectful of the sacrifice these people made for our safety and security? I would encourage you to not only just think and pray for these dear people, but to do a little something to give back. You can start by not ignoring that person on the street corner asking for money. Remember that they are people, made in God's image just like you and me. I read a book called "Under the Overpass" where a couple of guys decided to live like the homeless for a few months and one of the biggest things they experienced was not being treated like a human. There is a huge lack of respect, care and relationship. We can all do a little something to change this, even if it is to smile and ask how their day is going.
(3) Remember, and share, the story of how God brought you out of Egypt. In Joshua 4, God Joshua is instructing Israel, as they cross the Jordan River on dry ground to remember this day, and to tell it to their children.
" And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.”"Remember how God saved you from your sins (self) and has brought you into His Light. Remember what you are like without Him. Remember that without His Spirit working in your life, that your flesh would entice you right back into that lifestyle (Proverbs 21:2, 1 Corinthians 2:6-16). Tell this to your children. Be transparent so they can learn about God's grace, forgiveness, love, and mercy. When you realize you are a sinner, dead in your trespasses, God saves you from eternal judgement. Christ paid the price and you have been saved by God's amazing grace (Romans 5). And He saves us each day by giving us the strength to fight the good fight, and also by granting forgiveness when (not if, but when) we fail. We can never surprise God by our shortcomings. He loves us despite them -- all because of Christ.
(4) Remember those who have had a godly influence in your life. God put them there for a reason. He strategically intersected your lives so they could draw you towards Him. What a gift that person was from the Lord!
I have recently been thinking of one particular person in my life who was DEFINITELY a gift from the Lord. Doris was her name and lovin' the Lord was her game. Wow, she was a spry woman and I miss her so. She is probably about 25 years old now - she started counting backwards when she hit 50. :) Unfortunately, we don't live very close so I have lost touch with her. She and her husband lived alone (their children were grown), but they drove a van. Why? So they always had room to take others to church who needed a ride. And you know that you could get a ride to any service or any church function, because they were always there. Choir - check. Pitch-in after church - check. Serving in Sunday School - check. Church meetings - check. I remember that if the church doors were open, they were there. She was my rock during my crazy teenage years, definitely a gift from the Lord. I know she has many trophies awaiting her in heaven.
Have you had someone touch your life this way? I would encourage you to not only remember them, but to also reach out and let them know that you are thankful for their godly legacy and influence in your life. What a blessing you can be for them!
Remember this above all else:
Give thanks to the LORD,
for He is good;
His love endures forever.