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Summary: Will you be one remembered as a part time soldier...one who worked for the Lord only when it was convenient? Many take the summer off to serve their own desires and leave the work of the Lord to a remaining few. Is that how you will be remembered?

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THE TWO WISDOMS (Memorial Day)

JAMES 3:13 4:10

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance...remembering those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. But for most, it's nothing more than the official start of the summer season, when the picnics and all the outdoor activities begin.

For others it has a deeper meaning, remembering someone close who lost their life because of their commitment to preserving the freedoms we so often take for granted. Those left behind carry a sense of loss and grief as well as pride in the courage and faithfulness their loved ones showed as they served our country.

But I'm of the opinion that those who have actually been there...those who have served in the armed forces...those who put themselves in harm's way, have a deeper sense of appreciation and a greater understanding of what this day really means.

For example, Nancy is quite obviously pregnant. And she's at the point now where misery is a way of life. Back pain, foot pain, walking up the steps wears her out. She can't sleep well. And I've been doing as much as I can to help her. I know it's difficult for her...and it's not been a picnic for me...but I certainly don't have as great an appreciation for childbirth as she does.

That's kind of the way it is with war. Most of our nation stood behind our men and women in the Gulf War...the sense of patriotism and support and pride was tremendous. Thanks to CNN and other networks, most Americans had a better view of the war than those actually involved.

But they weren't able to feel the tension when the sirens went off announcing another scud missile was approaching. They didn't know the fear of wondering if they were being gassed by chemicals or being poisoned by the smoke and fumes of the oil fires. They didn't feel the heat and the cold of the desert...or face the snakes, scorpions and sand fleas that tried to share their sleeping quarters.

They didn't have to unload the wounded...or see young men with missing limbs...or smell burned flesh...or carry the body bags to the refrigerated cars. Those are some of the memories I have of my tour in the Gulf..those are some of my thoughts on Memorial Day.

Actually my feelings are mixed. I'm proud to be an American...I'm proud to have served my country during two wars. But I also learned to hate during the Gulf War. In just a few short months I saw enough misery and death and destruction to set inside me a fire that burns and likely never will go out...in fact I hope it never goes out.

But it's not directed at Saddam or the Iraqi's or anyone else like that. They were just pawns in a game...Satan's game. And that's where my hatred lies. Satan is the one who caused all the horror and heartache. And I hated him so much while I was in the desert that I dedicated my life to fighting him in whatever way I could. That's why I'm here today.

But the Gulf War is long over and nobody wants to hear my war stories. I've learned that the only people who like war stories in the first place are those who have their own war stories to share...or those who have been touched very deeply by war. And that's why my job as a preacher of the gospel is so difficult.


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