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Remembering the sacrifice

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POSTED: June 8, 2008 5:00 a.m.

It is Memorial Day weekend. What does that mean to you? The unfortunate thing is that for many it simply means a long weekend where they can slip off to the beach, the lake, the mountains, or somewhere else for a bit of rest and relaxation. And there is nothing inherently wrong with that.

But the meaning of Memorial Day is far more than that. Throughout the history of our nation, men and women have given their lives so that we might have the freedoms that we enjoy so very much. Without the ultimate sacrifice of many, there would be no long weekends for any.

Because we live in an area that is highly populated with military personnel, we may have a better grasp on that. But even then it is sometimes difficult to fully grasp the gravity of the situation. Other people have put their lives on the line so that I can be free! If that does not make me grateful, if I fail to understand that reality, then shame on me.

That is the story of the gospel, too. It is not merely those in the armed forces who have given their lives for others. The Bible teaches that Jesus willingly gave His life as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. He knew of the awful effects of sin in this world. And though He was sinless, He accepted the sins of the whole world upon His own shoulders. He carried them to the hill of Calvary, and there He died for you and me. He died so that we might be free.

This weekend I hope that you will take the time to celebrate the freedoms we have in this land. If possible, thank one of those persons responsible for those continuing freedoms. But in addition to that, consider the sacrifice that Jesus made for you. In a letter he wrote to some Christian friends, the apostle John wrote these words. "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." That includes you.

But in order for that sacrifice to be effective, you must willingly accept it. Have you done that? Have you confessed your sins to Jesus, and asked Him to forgive them? He stands ready to do that today. May God grant you the grace to respond to Him today.

 

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