Monday, May 25, 2015

MEMORIAL DAY - 2015

(This is the message I will give today at the Memorial Day observance here in our town. I speak those thoughts that the veterans that I know would wish to say)

MEMORIAL DAY - 2015

We cannot say “thank you” enough.

We come together on Memorial Day to say thank you to all the men and women of our armed forces who have given of their lives to protect and sustain that which we all believe to be important. They have given of themselves to gain and to preserve our freedoms.

For this we say, “thank you.”

Some of these have not only given of their lives, but they have given their very lives. In the struggles to win and preserve our freedoms, they were called upon to die in the conflict. I am not sure if it is correct to say that we owe to these a greater thanks than the rest, because all who put on a uniform of the United States must be willing to die, should that come to them. But certainly to those who actually were killed in conflict, and to their families, our thanks comes from the deepest parts of our beings. Our thanks comes from our very hearts.

Today we find ourselves again in conflict in the world. It is a conflict not of our choosing, in fact, it seems to me that we have been going out of our way to avoid being in conflict. However, an ever growing number of people in the world see the United States as the great enemy. They are set on harming us and even destroying us.

When you think about it, this change of image of the United States in the world is quite remarkable. The Statue of Liberty, given to the United States by the people of France in the year 1886, includes an inscription on its base that reflects the attitude that most of the world nations of that era of history had of America. The inscription, written by Emma Lazarus, reads:

     “Give me your tired, your poor,
     Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
     The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
     Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
     I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Today, instead of viewed as a sanctuary in a troubled world, our country has become hated by many people in those same nations. They hate us enough that they seek to destroy us.

The present conflict that we are in is different than any previous war or conflict that the United States has ever been involved with, for this conflict is actually of a religious nature. I know that many in our government are trying to avoid calling it that, and certainly, I think that we can say that for our part, it is not.

However, those who are hate us in the most vitriolic way are calling themselves the Islamic State, and they have demonstrated their hatred for Christian people in their own lands. Their ultimate goal is to impose their Shari law upon all conquered lands.

We may not see ourselves as fighting for religious reasons, but we had better realize that those who are fighting us are. This is an attack not only on our way of life, but upon our very faith.

But if the basis for this conflict is religious in nature, I would say that we are in great danger, for we in America have forgotten our spiritual roots. Our nation was founded on principles of dedication to the God of the Bible and to his teachings, but through the decades, those principles have eroded away from our society.

We have forgotten our spiritual lives and have given ourselves over to secularism. We have forgotten that there is a right and a wrong, and now see everything as fifty shades of gray. We have forgotten our love for God, and now seem to base every decision on our love for our self. We often seek only what makes us happy.

It is important to have a strong military in today’s world, but even more important than that is to have a strong faith in God.

Today we honor those who have given of their lives to protect America. Having a day to honor these soldiers is nice. Saying “thank you” is nice. But the America that they swore to protect is quickly disappearing.

All the days set aside in their honor, all of the parades and the flag waving, all of the thank yous, mean nothing if we do not uphold the America that these men and women have often fought and bled for, and have even died to preserve.

These men and women did not give of their lives to protect an America where government officials do not wear a flag lapel pin, and in other ways refuse to honor our flag, the symbol of our country, because they do not want to “offend” anyone or to show favoritism. Nor did our veterans give of their lives for a county where, when saying the pledge of allegiance, we leave out the phrase, “under God,” so we do not offend anyone.

No, these men and women fought for a nation that, with great reverence, honored the symbol of our nation. We did this not out of self-pride, but because we as a nation honored God. “One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

Our intention in America was never to impose our own form of Sharia law, but to give men and women the freedom to choose their own path.

And today, we in turn, honor those men and women who gave of their lives for this cause. We say “thank you,” but the greatest honor that we can give is to remember how God has blessed our nation, and in turn we honor our Lord and Savior.

Of course, this begins with each one of us. Honoring God does not come about by an act of congress. Honoring God as a nation comes about by each one of us honoring him individually in our own lives. It begins with you. It begins with me.

When we speak of those who gave their lives so that we can be free, we must also speak of Jesus Christ, who gave his own life not only so that we can be free in our political rights, but so that we can be free in our very lives. The Bible says, “If Jesus makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

The Bible also says, “Seek the Lord while he may be found.”

We today still have the freedom to seek the Lord without fear, but many of us think that it is unimportant. We think that to seek God interferes too much with our fishing and our play.

But if we do not heed this advice from the Bible to seek the Lord while he may be found, it is not inconceivable that that freedom will disappear. It is not at all inconceivable that there will come a day when we will want to seek for God in our land, but he will not be found.

Today we say thank you to the men and women of our military. Let us say thank you not only in word, but also in our lives. Let us return to the values of honoring our God upon which our nation was founded and which our veterans have struggled to protect.

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