Memorial Day to Remember

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Memorial Day to Remember

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Each year in late May, the United States of America observes Memorial Day. It was instituted in 1868 to honor the Civil War dead, but now it commemorates all war dead. Nations often honor their patriots, especially those who gave their lives for their countries. Is the act of dying for one's country the greatest sacrifice a human can make? And is a national memorial day commemorating the war dead the greatest memorial day humans will experience? There are many notable war heroes in U.S. history. One such hero was Marine Sergeant Jimmie Howard. In his book Vietnam Kent DeLong describes an experience that occurred on June 16, 1966. Sergeant Howard helped save his decimated platoon by engaging in good old fashioned horse laughing. Howard's patrol was given a mission to establish a position on Hill 488, a barren, rocky elevation overlooking the Hiep Duc Valley some 20 mile northwest of Chu Lai. During that long frightening night, the North Vietnamese besieged the gallant marines relentlessly. Enemy soldiers advanced on them like an army of ants. It looked as if they would all surely die. Staring death in the face, Sergeant Howard continued shouting encouragement to his Marine platoon. Suddenly, in the darkest of night, there was a lull in the battle. The North Vietnamese began chanting in singsong English: "Marine, you will die. It's all over for you. You will die, Marine." Unexpectedly, Sergeant Howard instructed his men to give the enemy the old horse laugh. With no hope of reinforcements until morning, badly wounded and hopelessly outnumbered, they laughed at their attackers, laughed at their danger, and laughed at their death. They laughed as loud as they could for several minutes. Then there was complete silence from both sides. Later, captured enemy soldiers admitted that they had been unnerved by the laughter. "How could these Marines laugh at us? What did they know that we didn't?" Incredibly, 12 wounded Marines survived out of the original 18. All 18 Marines received purple hearts, 13 received Silver Stars, four were awarded the Navy Cross, and in addition, Sergeant Jimmie Howard received the Medal of Honor. His platoon became the most decorated Marines in the 200 years of U.S. military history. These men offered a great sacrifice for their country. Though such human sacrifice is great, the sacrifices of God's saints, Christ's disciples, are much greater than those made by national heroes. Christ's true disciples honor God based on His requirements, not their desires. They learn early in their spirit-led lives that they must be living sacrifices for Him (Romans 12:1 Romans 12:1I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
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). This daily process of denying the natural lusts of the flesh, whether in peace or in war, is true sacrifice. Christians replace self-centered thoughts and actions with God's thoughts and commands. This is never an easy task. By choice, some of God's disciples have suffered martyrdom. They looked for a better resurrection: "And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better (Greek: "greater; nobler) resurrection" (Hebrews 11:35 Hebrews 11:35Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
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). Even common logic recognizes that Christian martyrdom is the ultimate sacrifice. God remembers those who sacrifice their lives, their thoughts, words, and deeds for Him. God has perfect memory. He takes no chances to forget those who sacrifice their lives for Him: "Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on (esteem) His name. 'They shall be Mine,' says the Lord of hosts, 'on the day that I make them My jewels (special treasure). And I will spare them (from tribulation) as a man spares his own son who serves him" (Malachi 3:16-17 Malachi 3:16-17 [16] Then they that feared the LORD spoke often one to another: and the LORD listened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought on his name. [17] And they shall be mine, said the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him.
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). God's book of remembrance is the same as the Book of Life, found in Revelation 20:12 Revelation 20:12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
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. It commemorates those who sacrificed their desires for God's ways (Malachi 3:16 Malachi 3:16Then they that feared the LORD spoke often one to another: and the LORD listened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought on his name.
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) with the gift of everlasting life (Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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). All nations acknowledge the sacrifice human beings make for their country. But for those who know the true God, there is a Memorial Day that supersedes all national ones. Better than that of heroic Sergeant Howard, God reassures His disciples that He will not forget their sacrifices. He will remember them at Jesus Christ 's glorious return to this earth. That special day will be a much greater Memorial Day to remember, one in which you can take part! Are you taking the right steps to ensure you will be acknowledged on that greater Memorial Day? Is the act of dying for one's country the greatest sacrifice a human can make? God remembers those who sacrifice their lives, their thoughts, words, and deeds for Him, in a big way.