"...and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever!"

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Memorable Memorial

Several years ago, I visited Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. I was amazed to see the thousands of crosses lining miles of rolling hills. Each cross tells the story of someone who gave their life in dedication to the United States. I don’t remember much about the tour guide’s speech because I couldn’t get past the images before me, but his conclusion will always stick on the surface of my memory. As he ended his speech, he said, “These crosses were placed here so all Americans can remember!”

God set a priority on memorials. At the close of Israel’s wilderness wandering, God told His leader Joshua to have the twelve men who were carrying the ark of the covenant, to take one stone a piece, representing the twelve tribes, and to cross over the Jordan and set up the stones on dry ground. God then told Joshua that when the children asked their fathers what those stones meant, the older were to tell the younger, “…These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” (Joshua 4:7)

In my mind’s eye, when I return to Arlington, I see miles of white crosses. These crosses should strike a chord in every American’s heart, but society continues to cheapen the meaning of Memorial Day. They do not realize what Memorial Day really means. It’s not a day to honor all who have died. Memorial Day honors all who have lost their lives in service to this country!

For the Christian, there’s an even more important Memorial Day. It too is symbolized by a cross. However, there aren’t thousands of crosses for the eye to see, but only three for the mind to remember. On the day of Calvary, three men were sentenced to death, but only the man in the middle was giving His life for an important cause!

May we always remember those who valiantly gave their lives for our country. Likewise, may we never grow weary in remembering our Lord!

Praise be to our Lord, Jesus Christ, for His memorable memorial!

Monday, May 17, 2010

“Will Your Name be Added?”

Washington D.C. is full of amazing architecture. Government buildings lined with marble stretch several city blocks. The colossal Washington Monument stands proudly over the city, honoring “The Father of our Country.” President Abraham Lincoln stares with sternness as he sits in his giant chair of justice, honoring the hero who strategically held our nation together during one of the worst periods of American history.

But one monument which dampens the eyes and plucks the heart of every American is the Vietnam Wall. It’s a simple design, yet profound in theology. The wall made of granite stretches 380 ft (longer than a football field). It holds the inscribed names of 58,195 valiant American soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty. But recently, one more name was added to the Vietnam Wall. Lt. Colonel William L. Taylor, a hero of the Vietnam War, passed away. His family, along with the United States Army, requested that his name be added. The family, the media, and a skilled craftsmen gathered at the memorial to witness the Colonel’s legacy be transferred to a memorable wall. After the inscription was complete, the media interviewed the family. The family replied, “It just looked like magic! I don’t know how the craftsmen did it, but now people can come and touch his name. And when they do, they can remember what it means to be a good man, a strong soldier, and a GREAT American! Only the best of the best deserve to be on this wall!”

The Bible tells us that our names will “added” at the end of our lives. The Vietnam Wall is a structure housed with honor, but our names will be added to something even more honorable. John writes “…our names will be written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21:27)

How will our names be “added?” Our names will be in the Lamb’s book because of our years of service to the King. Our names won’t appear there by magic! Tourists won’t touch our name and remember what it means to be a GREAT American! But on The Day of Judgment, Jesus will flip through the pages, God will read our name, and we will receive the highest honor when he says, “Well done, thy Good and faithful servant!”

Will your name be “added?” It doesn’t just happen! That book is reserved for the best of the best!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

“Diminishing the Debt?”

The last few weeks, commercials have cruised the air waves announcing that General Motors has paid back all of their loans. Ed Whitacre, CEO of GM, appeared on a commercial inviting everyone to come and see the NEW, “Debt-Free”, General Motors. Whitacre also made a public announcement at a press conference in Fairfax, Kansas on April 21st, 2010, announcing that GM had repaid the remaining $5.8 billion of $8.1 billion in government loans. He declared, “GM has repaid the U.S. Treasury and Export Development Canada loans in full, with interest, years ahead of schedule. GM’s ability to pay back the loans ahead of schedule is a sign that our plan is working.” However, other sources say that Whitacre’s calculations are somewhat miscalculated. GM still owes an additional $45.3 billion to the US government. GM Executives promise this debt will be paid back through stocks in the next year. Nevertheless, it’s obvious that GM has taken giant leaps to once again be GENERAL Motors instead of GOVERNMENT Motors!

Being in debt is never desirable! Nothing compares with knowing that you don’t owe anyone anything! Unfortunately, this mental state of utopia is rarely reached.

For Christians, we’ll never be out of debt! We can’t host “Debt-Free” Seminars when it comes to our faith! We owe EVERYTHING to Jesus. He paid a debt that we could never pay!

But this debt doesn’t keep us in the “red.” This debt doesn’t affect our beacon score. This debt gives us LIFE! “He paid a debt he did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay. And now I sing a brand new song…”

Monday, May 3, 2010

Returning the Favor?

Society says that the second Sunday in May we should honor our mothers. Therefore, we give cards, flower corsages, the occasional gift, and even a few husbands and children will cook lunch for the “chef” of the home. But can we honor our mothers appropriately just one day a year? With full confidence, I say NO!

When I flip back through the pages of my life, and when I take a stroll down memory lane, I can’t relive the journey without thinking of my mother. I picture her cooking my favorite meals, and the appetizing aroma that encompassed the kitchen. I can remember sitting in her lap as she wiped every tear. I still see her in the stands cheering at every game, with a diet coke in one hand, and a camera in the other. I still feel her tenderness in my defeats, and visualize her pride in my victories, as her gentle smile would beam from ear to ear. When I think of everything that has happened in the past 22 years, why do these memories and pictures immediately surface in my mind? She’s my Mom! I did not say that she was my Mom, but she IS my Mom, and she ALWAYS will be! Everyone holds a special place in their heart for their mother!

Mothers, what’s the pay off for all of your hard work? After the millions of loads of laundry, after the thousands of meals, after the monotony of cleaning the same house hundreds of times, and after the busyness of the day has calmed to a few hours of peace, what will be your reward? One day, when you find yourself in need of help, your “babies” will say, “Mom, it’s my turn! You were dedicated to taking care of me, and now I dedicate myself to taking care of you!”

How do I know this will happen? Raise your children to be like Jesus, and they will turn out right! You see, even in Jesus’ most painful moments on earth, before he took his final breath on the cross, he made preparations for his dear mother. He looked at the apostle John, the “disciple whom Jesus loved…”, and commanded him, “Here is your son, Here is your mother!” (John 19:27) Once Jesus was gone, he wanted John to care for his care giver!

As I strive to pattern my life after my Savior, I will make sure to embody his qualities in this special way! “Thank you Mom, for taking care of me! I will always take care of you. I will return the favor!”