Summary: A look at what to remember this Memorial Day

“Memorial Day 2020”

Acts 4:12-20

12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”

18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Acts 4:12-20

Today is a day of remembrance. Memorial Day began as an occasion to honor and celebrate Union Soldiers who died serving their country during the Civil War. It was my privilege to walk the cemeteries of Gettysburg. I got to see the spot where Abraham Lincoln gave that wonderful but brief talk shortly after that horrific battle where thousands of American men and boys were savagely killed.

Memorial Day was inspired by the way people honored their dead in the southern States and after the end of World War I, Memorial Day was extended to include all American men and women who died serving their country in any military action or war.

On Memorial Day people often read a poem honoring fallen veterans or look up their family history and honor those in their family who have served our country. Many people go to the cemeteries and put American flags on veteran’s graves, that’s why it was known as Decoration Day for a while. One week after the Pearl Harbor attack President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Those who long enjoy such privileges that we enjoy forget in time that others have died to win them.” Freedom is never really free; it’s almost always bought with the blood of patriots.

The biggest battle we, as Americans, are facing today is the battle for the very soul of our nation. We see it all around us every day. The erosion of our society has been a slow process, but we’ve seen it accelerate rapidly in the just the past few years. And I think the position we’re in today is because of what we tolerated yesterday. And, the position we’ll be in tomorrow will be because of what we tolerate today. For two hundred years the government made no law in respect to religion. But then in my lifetime the government subtly injected itself into religion – granting us something we already had- tax exempt status. From there the Bible and prayer were removed from schools and the ten commandments removed from our courthouses. Today thousands of churches are waiting to open until the government tells them it’s okay. We have forgotten our freedoms that our forefathers won with their blood.

There was a reason God had his people put up so many stones of remembrance and created so many celebrations and festivals. It was so they would remember the sacrifices and the instruction from God. The disciples resisted the government when it put itself over God. They asked, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!”

I wonder what it would take for churches today to obey God rather than government. Many have put government over God; government over the church

A good way to honor our fallen heroes is to just celebrate life by living well. Remember the movie saving Private Ryan? There is a poignant moment in the movie where Ryan, an old man now, weeps and whispers that he hopes he’s lived up to the Captain’s wish and lived a life worthy of all that the men who came to save him die for him. He then tearfully asks his wife to tell him that he's led a good life and that he's a good man.

I think the best way we can honor the men who gave their all for our freedom is to live lives worthy of their sacrifice. Let me share a couple of thoughts on how you can do that.

First, live the life that an American ought to live – as a follower of Christ. We need to know, if we don’t already, that we are a ‘Christian’ nation. If you know that – you need to remember it. We are not merely a religious nation as I once thought, or a godless nation that many are trying to say we are. We are unequivocally and unapologetically a CHRISTIAN nation. Let me remind you how we know that. Let’s look at what our forefathers said and did that verifies that we are a Christian nation.

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