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Remembering Memorial Day

John 15:13 – “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

It’s the one day a year that we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and pray for the ones left behind. We have Armed Forces Day on the third Saturday of May and Veterans Day November 11. These holidays celebrate the living – those who are serving and those who survived. But today, we remember and appreciate the ultimate sacrifice performed by many. 

I had the privilege this spring of visiting Arlington National Cemetery. It was a sobering experience. Six hundred twenty-five acres of sacrifice. Some died in battle and some did not. But all sacrificed in one way or another. I also witnessed the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier. What a beautifully haunting ceremony. These soldiers are so meticulous in all that they do because of their respect to someone they don’t know and never met. That’s what Memorial Day is all about – respect and appreciation for those we never knew and never met who laid down their life for you and me. 

My heart has been torn in two multiple times this last week with posts on Facebook. I saw one the other day of a young woman sleeping on the floor by her husband’s casket with a Marine standing guard just so she could sleep next to him one last time. I have seen a mom laying on a blanket of memories by a white grave marker holding her tiny baby. And the list could go on and on. It breaks my heart. These loved ones who have nothing but a picture and their memories to pass down to their children who will never feel the love of their fallen parent. 

But I am grateful. I am so thankful for the men and women who have given their lives for my freedom. We maintain the freedom of speech because of them. We maintain the freedom of religion because of them. We maintain the right to bear arms because of them. If we fail to remember and appreciate their sacrifice, what are we teaching the next generation? How are we honoring the fallen if all we focus on is barbecues and parties?

So this Memorial Day, I implore you to take a moment out of your day off and party and whatever else might fill your time and say “thank you.” We should be grateful and thankful to God for providing our country with soldiers who were willing and ready to to make the ultimate sacrifice. And we should say “thank you” to the ones left behind. For they make a daily sacrifice as well – facing the future without the ones that they love. They too need our prayers. 

Lest thou forget

Deuteronomy 4:9 – “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons”

If you are wondering where I have been and why I haven’t been posting, my family and I went to Washington DC for spring break. We had a great time, good laughs and really tired feet! I’m sure we walked an average of 8-10 miles per day. Lots to see and do in that great city. 

But our main focus, as is most who visit DC, was history. We went to several museums, monuments and buildings. We saw plaques proclaiming everything from George Washington’s gavel to lay the cornerstone for the Capitol to a box car used to carry people to concentration camps. It was all very moving. 

It called to rememberance great highs in our nations history and deep valleys in our world’s history. We were reminded of triumphs and challenges. We saw beautiful specticals of natural and great works of human hands. 

Just like so many of the others who walked beside us, we took our children to educate them. We want them to know and understand who we are as a nation, where we came from and why it is so important to preserve what our forefathers achieved. 

So many outside forces are working against our great nation. People want to tear down and destroy freedom and the pursuit of happiness. They think that the pursuit should be more of a handout. Some want to surpress freedom to keep from offending others. 

The founders of our country wanted nothing more than to live their lives apart from someone else’s control. They believed that only One should have control – God. They believed He founded and blessed this nation. I believe that as well. I believe that we must remember our past and honor our future by preserving and adhering to the principles set forth all those years ago. 

History is not just something to skim over and get through in school. It is the basis for everything that we do each and every day. And not only is our nation’s history important, but so is our spiritual history. His story is important. The founders of our country knew it and we would do well to take it to heart as well. 

501

This is post 501! Can you believe it? It was first posted September 12, 2012. So many things have changed since then. My kids are 3 years older; I’m in another state and so many other things that I won’t bog you down with sharing.

But it is “Throwback Thursday ” so I thought I would throw it back to the beginning. Since I started writing this blog, I have transitioned to using KJV. So, just keep that in mind when you read this.

I hope you have a great day and remember to always appreciate and learn from the past.

This is my first post. Please check out my “About” before continuing.

Have you ever been to Disney World? It is a guarantee that you will see someone dressed up as princess. We went a couple of years ago and my daughter, Rachel, wanted to go to a boutique that would transform her into a beautiful princess. Rachel is all about the bling, so glitter and fancy clothes were nothing new. But my, oh my, what those people can do with glitter! Her hair was pulled up and hosed down with so much hairspray that even when we took out the 900 bobby pins, it did not move! It still amazes me when I think of her sitting in that chair during her personal beautification process.

Speaking of personal beautification, when was the last time you took a long hard look at your spiritual self in the mirror of God’s Word? Yes, we see ourselves daily in our mirror in the bathroom. We primp and clean until our skin sparkles. But when was the last time you sat down with the Word of God and examined yourself through His eyes? That can be a dangerous thing. But dear princess, it is vitally important to sparkle from the inside out as well.

James 1:22-25 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.”

Okay, for all the newbies, insert woman for man.

The “perfect law that gives freedom” is Jesus. He is the one that shows us where to go and how to be. Don’t just open your Bible on Sunday. Get out the manual during the week. What if you only looked in the mirror once a week? Do you think that would fly? NO WAY! What if every time you looked in the mirror you looked in your Bible? What would change in your life?

Murky water

Proverbs 27:19 – “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.”

Yep, it’s been a while. We have moved into a new house, had family come to visit, traveled a bit and worked. I have been busy chasing myself around my life.

But today, I wanted to look at this verse.

What is the reflection of your heart?

We were just at the beach this week. The water was murky and difficult to see in. I don’t like being in the water when I can’t see my feet, especially in the ocean. In fact, I high tailed it out of the water as soon as I saw Mr. Jellyfish floating by. But he had to be right next to me to see it.

Do your life waters ever get murky? Do you find yourself be bopping along and then boom! Jellyfish! You get so caught up in what is going on right in front of your face that you forget to see where your feet are at. And before you know it, you are off the path. You have forgotten about Jesus. You have neglected your time with Him. You feel miserable. Oh, you try to blame in on lack of sleep or too much unhealthy food, but deep down you know it is because somewhere along the line, you left your BFF behind.

Well, princess, this is where your reflection gets unclear. You have left the One who gives you your beauty. You start looking like the world. No princess needs that. And when the water gets murky, you can’t even see yourself anymore. You are too far away.

But good news! He is ready to take you back. You just need to confess where you went wrong and move forward. Make that commitment to go back to the clear water. Make that choice to let the beauty of your heart shine through. He will clean it all up for you if you just let Him. A bad attitude and a yucky heart are no place to reside. Let Him clean you up and set your feet on solid ground beside clear flowing streams.

Homesick

2Timothy 4:8 – “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

Have you ever been homesick? Have you ever longed for someplace else? I know there were times when I lived up north that I longed for somewhere warm in the winter. I also remember those firsts few days of being at college and having no one there that I knew. I remember feeling lonely and isolated. I remember when my husband used to travel overseas for work and would leave me at home with the kids and 10 inches of snow on the ground. I longed for him to return to give me a moment of reprieve.

But do you long for Jesus’ return? I mean really long for it. O, we might anticipate it. We might feel excited about it. But do we long to be with Him? Really, it is a tough question. And one that I find myself having a hard time consistently doing. I ebb and flow. So sad, but true. I get caught up with what needs to be done and when and how and where that I forget, oh, yeah, Jesus. His return. Right…..

Why is it that I have such a hard time keeping Him at the forefront of my thoughts? That wily fox, the Devil, plays a very mean game. He knows what I need to get off track. He knows that if he can keep me busy enough that I won’t think about what I need to be doing to prepare for Jesus’ return. He knows that he can get me busy enough to neglect longing for Him.

So does that mean that I should sit around pining like a lovesick teenager? Nope. I think longing for Jesus means that you think about Him more that just at your Bible study. (You do study your Bible, right?). I think it means the desire to see Him coming in the eastern sky. Do you ever look eagerly at the sky? I think it is seeing the truth of His word in everyday activities.

So how can you be homesick for somewhere you have never been?

Studying and reading God’s word. In my opinion that should make anyone homesick. These words from an old hymn are running through my head: This world is not my home. I’m just a passin’ through. My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door. And I can’t feel at home in the world any more.

This is what reading about heaven makes me feel like. The thought of all my loved ones waiting for me. And for my Savior waiting for me. Man, what a day that will be. Longing. Longing to go home.

Today princess, are you longing to go home? Do you long for Jesus? If not, give it to Him. Let Jesus put that desire in your heart. And run with it. Bask in it. Enjoy it. Everyone needs something to look forward to.

Seeing the Nile

Isaiah 49:17,16a – “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands”

It is test time in many schools. Time to see what the students have learned. Well, I’m sure there are some students who have not studied as they should and are trying to come up with creative ways to take the answers to the test into the room with them. Remember when you needed to remember something and you wrote it on your hand? If I had a nickel for every time I have done that very thing, especially for phone numbers, well, I could probably pay off my house!

Any way, we forget. We forget for many different reasons. Sometimes it is age induced – my mom says she is “seeing the Nile” (senile). Sometimes it is medically induced – some medications will make you forget and some illnesses will cause temporary memory loss. Sometimes we just aren’t paying attention when the information is given to us – hence the problem with multitasking mommas!

Whatever the reason, you are not alone. Not only do individuals have this problem, but whole nations do as well. How often did the children of Israel forget? Check out the Old Testament. It is full of instances of this happening. And to bring it closer to home, we, as the United States of America, have forgotten what and why we came here in the first place. Sometimes I think that is the devil trying to destroy us with that memory loss.

The engraving of names was established a long time ago. When the children of Israel were in the wilderness and God had given them the instructions for the Tabernacle, He also included a dress code for the High Priest. He was to have an ephod as one of his pieces of clothing. On this ephod was to be stones on the shoulder that had the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. An ephod is like a sleeveless vest. Fancy duds. Theses stones were to be a reminder of the importance of his position. He carried the responsibility of the twelve tribes on his shoulders.

Everything in the Old Testament was meant to point us to Christ. And this did just that. He carried the weight of the sin of man throughout all time on His shoulders. He took that sin to the cross and crucified it. It is a beautiful picture to remember that our names were written on His nail scarred hands. Not so that he wouldn’t forget but rather because He loves us that much.

Our hands are such an integral part of who we are. We have our wedding rings on our hands. Our hands serve others. Our hands hold our children. Our hands share the Word in blogs. Our hands open the Word. Our hands fold in prayer.

Today princess, I want you to remember that Jesus will never forget you. He has your name written on His hand. And though you may forget and fall, Jesus will always be there to pick you up. He never forgets His own.