A Memorial of Love

Love Is the Cross-powerpointI have always wanted to go to Washington, DC and see the many memorials honoring different people or events throughout the history of the United States. Personally, I would like to see the Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and the WWII Memorials. These memorials and museums offer a glimpse back in time. They may not be able to take you back to the events, but they can help give you a better understanding of history.

In all of creation there is no greater memorial of God’s love than the cross. Whenever we are struggling we can always look to the cross and be reminded of God’s unconditional love for all those who are His children. The cross is our hope, confidence, and peace that we have passed from death unto life. At the cross all our sins have been judged and now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.

At the cross we see God’s love as His wrath for our sin is poured out upon Jesus. Why? Because Jesus not only died for us, but he also died because of us! He took upon Himself the punishment for our sin. Now, when we believe in His finished work upon the cross and commit our lives to Him, we will have forgiveness of sin and eternal life in heaven.

Regardless of the struggles, pains, or uncertainties we face in this life we need simply look to the cross to be reminded of God’s surpassing love. The cross moves our perspective from the temporal to the eternal, from the earthly to the heavenly, from the painful to the peaceful!

As we move into this Memorial Day weekend, let’s be sure to remember LOVE IS THE CROSS!

Memorial Day: Remembering Their Sacrifice

Today in honor of those who have and continue to give of themselves to help ensure the freedom of others, I want to say Thanks! Thanks to all who have fought for freedom in our place. Thanks to all who have left home, family, jobs, and safety to put themselves in harm’s way that they might be the protectors and liberators of those suffering under the hand of wicked oppression. THANKS!

On June 6, 1984, “standing on the very spot on the northern coast of France where Allied soldiers had stormed ashore to liberate Europe from the yoke of Nazi tyranny, President Ronald Reagan spoke these words to an audience of D-Day veterans and world leaders.” In honor of all those who have sacrificed so much, I want to post a portion of President Reagan’s speech from that day.

We’re here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For 4 long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. Here in Normandy the rescue began. Here the Allies stood and fought against tyranny in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.

We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but 40 years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of the 6th of June, 1944, 225 Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs. Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. The Allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.

The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers — the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machineguns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After 2 days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms.

Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.

These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.

Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender’s poem. You are men who in your “lives fought for life . . . and left the vivid air signed with your honor.”

Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love.

The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge — and pray God we have not lost it — that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.

You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One’s country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.

The Americans who fought here that morning knew word of the invasion was spreading through the darkness back home. They fought — or felt in their hearts, though they couldn’t know in fact, that in Georgia they were filling the churches at 4 a.m., in Kansas they were kneeling on their porches and praying, and in Philadelphia they were ringing the Liberty Bell.

Something else helped the men of D-day: their rockhard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause. And so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer he told them: Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we’re about to do. Also that night, General Matthew Ridgway on his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: “I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.”

These are the things that impelled them; these are the things that shaped the unity of the Allies.

We are bound today by what bound us 40 years ago, the same loyalties, traditions, and beliefs. We’re bound by reality. The strength of America’s allies is vital to the United States, and the American security guarantee is essential to the continued freedom of Europe’s democracies. We were with you then; we are with you now. Your hopes are our hopes, and your destiny is our destiny.

Here, in this place where the West held together, let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Let our actions say to them the words for which Matthew Ridgway listened: “I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.”

Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their value [valor], and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.

Thank you very much, and God bless you all.

Source: Historyplace.com

Honoring Our Cloud of Witnesses

I am thankful for the faithful Christians who have gone before me. Had it not been for their sacrifice I may never have heard the glorious message of Jesus Christ. Their lives are a witness to us today. Their witness made a difference in history, a difference delivered to us in the twenty-first century through the great sacrifice of their suffering. They did not consider their suffering “…worthy to be compared with the  glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8.18). Their suffering was and is to the glory and honor of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I pray that those who come behind us will find us just as faithful.

Hebrews 11.1-40 is a great reminder of their selfless sacrifice for their Soveriegn King.

11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of  things not seen. 2 For by it the  men of old gained approval.

3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared  by the word of God, so that what is seen  was not made out of things which are visible. 4 By faith  Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he  obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his  gifts, and through faith, though  he is dead, he still speaks. 5 By faith  Enoch was taken up so that he would not  see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who  comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. 7 By faith  Noah, being  warned by God about  things not yet seen, in reverence  prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of  the righteousness which is according to faith.

8 By faith  Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to  receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as an alien in  the land of promise, as in a foreign land,  dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob,  fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for  the city which has  foundations,  whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith even  Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him  faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore there was born even of one man, and  him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.

13 All these died in faith,  without receiving the promises, but  having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and  having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out,  they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a  heavenly one. Therefore  God is notashamed to be  called their God; for  He has prepared a city for them.

17 By faith  Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had  received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18 it was he to whom it was said, “ In Isaac your descendants shall be called.” 19 He considered that  God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a  type. 20 By faith  Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come. 21 By faith  Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and  worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. 22 By faith  Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.

23 By faith  Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the  king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses,  when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to  endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the  reward. 27 By faith he  left Egypt, not  fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as  seeing Him who is unseen. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that  he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. 29 By faith they  passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, weredrowned.

30 By faith  the walls of Jericho fell down  after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith  Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spiesin peace.

32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of  Gideon,  Barak,  Samson,  Jephthah, of  David and  Samuel and the prophets, 33 who by faith  conquered kingdoms,  performed acts of righteousness,  obtained promises,  shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire,  escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong,  became mighty in war,  put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also  chains and imprisonment. 37 They were  stoned, they were  sawn in two, they were tempted, they were  put to death with the sword; they went about  in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted,  ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy),  wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holesin the ground.

39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith,  did not receive what was promised, 40 because God hadprovided  something better for us, so that  apart from us they would not be made perfect.

All Scripture quoted from the New American Standard Bible