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We will never forget

This is Memorial Day weekend and I wanted to share with you from a message I will be preaching on Sunday. Over the years I have preached many Memorial Day weekend sermons. The reason is that commemorating the day is important as citizens and critical as believers. Everyone dies a physical death but it is the life that follows which is the most important. Everyone has an eternal life and the question is one that each person must answer for themselves. Where do I want to spend eternity?

Memorial Day is uniquely an American holiday. tells us it is observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2021 will occur this coming Monday, May 31.

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season.

Read carefully the words of this poem “BIVOUAC OF THE DEAD"-

The muffled drum's sad roll has beat

The soldier's last tattoo;

No more on life's parade shall meet

That brave and fallen few.

On Fame's eternal camping-ground

Their silent tents are spread,

And Glory guards, with solemn round,

The bivouac of the dead.

Although stanzas from Theodore O’Hara’s lamenting poem, “Bivouac of the Dead,” are inscribed on iron tablets found throughout some of the oldest units of this country’s national cemeteries, there is little public recognition of this poet-soldier and his long-lived literary contribution to the memorialization of fallen troops.

O’Hara’s military service bridged the period from the Mexican War, whose action inspired the poem, to the Civil War, which led him to places where some of the first cemeteries were created.

“Bivouac of the Dead” has captivated the attention of a patriotic nation and continues to do so.

Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs (1816-92) recognized its solemn appeal and directed that lines from “Bivouac” grace the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery.

“We will never forget” gives us reflection to those who have gone before us to secure our freedom as a nation. However, the title “We will never forget” must also be important words as Christians in our daily lives and our actions toward others.

As sobering the words and stanza’s above, consider the words found in the Gospel of John in chapter 15 verse 13. We read these words-No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.  These are the words of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

In this part of the 15th chapter of John, Jesus is saying that there is a means to perfect love and joy.

John 15:9-17 (NKJV)

There are 3 things we can take from these verses

1) We are to remain in Jesus love as seen in verses 9-11

9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 

10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

Is there something this world needs today? Is there something you need today? Of course there is, and it is the love we experience in Jesus. There is only one constant in life and it is Him. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

2) We are to obey Jesus commands as noted in verses 12-14

12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 

13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 

14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

This is what gets us into so much trouble. Listen, loving people is hard because there are people who are just not easy to love. Aren’t you glad that Jesus didn’t say “For God so loved, Joe but not Jim that He sent His only begotten Son...”. You get the idea don’t you?

In the 12th verse we are commanded to love one another. It is not a suggestion or an option. It is a command and if you are a friend of Jesus in verse 14 He says “you do whatever I command you.” I hope you are sensing the theme of these verses.

3) We are to love one another seen in verses 15-17

15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 

16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 

17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

Here again is the command but it comes from a different point of view. You and I aren’t servants, we are friends. That is a major difference and presents a totally different requirement for us. Why? Because friends hear from their master and should desire to honor Him with their obedience.

On this Memorial Day weekend I trust you will take the time to do ponder these thoughts. Especially on Monday, the day set aside time to remember those who have given their lives for these United States. The gift of liberty and freedom was paid through their sacrifice.

True liberty and freedom are available to all through Jesus Christ. I hope you know it and have it. If you don’t, but would like to know more, use the comments at the bottom of the page. Let me know how to contact you and I will. Would love to tell you about Jesus and how you can ask Him into your life today.

We are living in very tenuous times. There is conflict and challenge at almost every turn. The only place there is not is with with the Lord. Proverbs 3:5-6 provide for us direction as to how we should seek the Lord in all things:

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,

and do not lean on your own understanding.

6 In all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make straight your paths.

In God’s Grace,

Elbert Nasworthy

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