Instead of a daily video devotional today we have a special blog post prepared by one of our Elders. Steve Rech has written some thoughts as we observe Memorial Day today. Take the time to read it and be blessed!
Dear AABC family,
First, let me start today by expressing my appreciation for the way you care for one another in prayer. As an elder I witness this one-another ministry in the way you ask for updates for each other's needs out of deep concern and heartfelt desire to seek God’s best care in each other’s lives. We might physically be apart but I know your hearts are together in prayer for one another during these challenging circumstances.
Considering that today is indeed Memorial Day (I am certain we have all lost track of the date or day of the week a few times lately) you will notice that today’s daily devotional will be just a written post focused on the topic of today’s holiday. The other elders and I so appreciate the hard work that Pastor Ken and Pastor Justin have been putting into the teaching we receive through the week in the very beneficial video devotionals they have been faithfully producing on a regular basis.
This post includes a link to a very meaningful Steven Curtis Chapman song called “We Remember.” I would encourage you to take a few moments today to remember as you hear him sing. On Memorial Day we certainly remember all our loved ones who have lived and loved in generations before our days and within our generation. On Memorial Day especially, we express appreciation to the Lord for these dear ones who especially desired to see our hearts walking with Jesus. It was truly their desire to see us live in freedom from sin and they taught us that only Jesus can provide this true freedom. Their life was an example and their encouragement was priceless. Take time to remember those who served our Lord so faithfully in the work of shepherding our hearts.
Originally known as Decoration Day, this federal holiday officially began in 1971 though it originated in the years following the Civil War. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades, all of which plans have been much reconsidered this year under social distancing concerns. The activities by which we observe Decoration Day, in whatever form they may take this year, give us pause to remember the many freedoms we have as Americans, freedoms that came at a deep cost. As a church family around the time of Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day one of our traditional remembrance opportunities would be to honor the men and women who have served our nation in the armed forces when we ask them to stand for a moment during a regular Sunday morning service. Even though this will not be possible for this holiday this year please know how much your church family appreciates your service. We appreciate the sacrifices you made to protect our country and to defend the freedoms we enjoy to worship the Lord and to speak freely of what is right and true. One particular phrase always comes to my mind this time of year - “All gave some, Some gave all.” Thank you!
As I reflect on my time in the Army Reserve I think of all the many things I learned about being prepared to serve, being ready to go. Maybe it is better said that I learned how to “hurry up...and wait.” I am so thankful that Jesus was prepared to come when the Father said “it’s time” (Galatians 4:4-5 - But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman , born under the las to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons). In His great love for us God sent His Son into the battle that would redeem us from sin - Jesus gave all. Thinking of Americans who left their homeland and their families and gave all for our political freedoms I cannot help seeing the illustration or word picture this can be of what Jesus did for us. Having left the glory of heaven behind and coming to earth Jesus gave all for our spiritual freedom from sin and death. I intend in no way to minimize the work of our Savior or elevate the work of a service member, but I have been considering how my freedom from sin came at a very dear price. We know from Romans 6:23 that the cost of sin is death and the work of Christ brought the opportunity for the free gift of God, eternal life, and ultimate freedom from sin. We see that Isaiah 53:5 records that Jesus would come to be wounded for our transgressions - “he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” A familiar phrase is repeated in 1 Peter - “by his wounds you have been healed.” Just as battles for political freedom have enemies like human trafficking, genocide, and social ills of all sorts we remember that in the spiritual battle Jesus faced an enemy - our ultimate enemy of spiritual death, and therefore eternal separation from our heavenly Father. What an encouragement it is for us to recall the number of scriptures that point us to His full and complete victory over this spiritual enemy. What an encouragement it is for us to recall all the scriptures that remind us he lives! Where o’death is thy sting? Swallowed up in victory! Freedom is eternal life!
Our spiritual freedom, paid for in battle by our Savior, certainly has future eternal implications. But what about the daily implications of this freedom in Christ? We can now live daily as one who is no longer trapped by addictions, emotional entanglements, unhealthy mindsets, or obligations to live according to worldly wisdom. We can live without fear that our days will be cut short by illness or accident. We can live without guilt and condemnation when we have those thoughts of being a failure at life. The battle is already won by the ultimate soldier who came from heaven, went to battle in our place, won the victory over our enemy, and brought us peace and freedom. This is a daily joy to carry with us through all circumstances.
Is this concept of spiritual freedom something new for you to consider? Are you weary of facing your daily battles, day after day? If you need someone to guide you through how you can have true freedom from sin please contact me or “Contact Us” through the church website. We would love to show you more of how God’s word affirms the spiritual battle for true freedom has already been won through Jesus.
“We remember, we are thankful, we are grateful, the gift you gave, the price you paid, it’s not in vain, and it will never be forgotten, ‘cause we remember.”
Happy Memorial Day!