Memorial Day: Remembering The Fallen

Memorial Day: Remembering The Fallen

Picnics. Fireworks. A paid day off of work. These are a few of the things most people think of when Memorial Day rolls around. To some, it is a day to gather together with friends and family to kick off the summer activities.

There are still those, however, who remember the reason behind this solemn day. It is a day of wreaths and flags placed on headstones and crosses, and of memories. It is the day set aside to remember those men and women in uniform who gave their lives, not only in the defense of our country, but in the defense of freedom itself. Memorial Day is not dedicated to any single war or generation, but to all those who served this nation and have left her in the safe hands of those who came afterwards. The patriot knows the price of freedom is always paid in blood.

While there is nothing wrong with taking the opportunity today to show your gratitude to those who have worn, or still wear, the uniform of the American military, there are those who deserve your gratitude. Today is the day we say “thank you” to those left behind, to the mothers and fathers, wives, husbands, and children, brothers and sisters. As much as freedom is bought with blood, it is also paid for with tears.

This Memorial Day, we want to honor the lives of those who have worn the uniform and been called to go over the top one final time. We also want to take the opportunity to offer our heart-felt thanks to those who were (and still are) left to carry on despite the loss. May God bless.

Walnut With A Bitter Rind And Sweet Kernel

Walnut With A Bitter Rind And Sweet Kernel

“The cross is like a walnut whose outer rind is bitter, but the inner kernel is pleasant and invigorating. So the cross does not offer any charm of outward appearance, but to the cross-bearer its true character is revealed, and he finds in it the choicest sweets of spiritual peace.”–Sadhu Sundar Singh

Denying Ungodliness And Worldly Lust

Denying Ungodliness And Worldly Lust

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.”–Titus 2:11-12

When was the last time you found yourself at the start of a new diet? Initially, for however a brief a moment, we see our future selves and feel a rush of excitement. We see ourselves thinner, healthier, more energetic, and happier. Then, we begin to see what we are allowed to eat. Most of the food looks good, although there are a few questionable dishes. Still, we convince ourselves it won’t be a problem. Finally, it begins to dawn on us all the things we will soon be denying ourselves. Suddenly, that happier future self we envisioned doesn’t seem so happy. What kind of future is a future where we are denied dessert?

When people become Christians, they do so so that, ultimately, they can go to Heaven when they die. Too often, in their zeal, the first thing they want to do is go out and lead the entire world to Christ. Without the proper preparation, however, they are like lambs and can easily be lead astray. 2nd Timothy 2:15 offers new converts the best advice. “Study to show yourselves approved unto God, a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Becoming a Christian is like starting a new job; you need training to face certain situations. One of the first things we need to learn (much like the new dieter) is self-control.

Jesus himself tells us this in Matthew 16:24. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’” Every day we are faced with temptations and must make a choice; do we follow God, or go our own way? Unless we are denying ourselves we often find ourselves going our own way. (Even older Christians face such temptations.)

When we learn self-control, we can focus on the goal we have set for ourselves. When the dieter learns self-control, it is easier to remember that happier, healthier future they were striving for. Philippians 3:13-14 reminds us of our goal as Christians. “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ.”

Self-control, self-discipline, denying ourselves, whatever you call it, let me just remind you, it is not always easy. In fact, it can be a real struggle. I know from personal experience that there will be times you will lose your self-control. What you do at that moment is what really matters. Call out to God for forgiveness; He is faithful and just to forgive. Let me leave you with this. It is easier to have self-control when we give God full control.

Take Up Your Cross By Charles William Everest

Take Up Your Cross By Charles William Everest

“Take up your cross,” the Savior said,
“If you would my disciple be;
Forsake the past, and come this day,
And humbly follow after me.”

Take up your cross; let not its weight
Pervade your soul with vain alarm;
His strength shall bear your spirit up,
Sustain your heart, and nerve your arm.

Take up your cross, nor heed the shame,
Nor let your foolish heart rebel;
For you the Lord endured the cross
To save your soul from death and hell.

Take up your cross, then, in Christ’s strength,
And every danger calmly brave;
‘Twill guide you to a heavenly home,
And lead to victory o’er the grave.

Take up your cross and follow Christ,
Nor think till death to lay it down;
For only those who bear the cross
May hope to wear a golden crown.

Onward Christian Soldiers By Sabine Baring-Gould

Onward Christian Soldiers By Sabine Baring-Gould

Onward, Christian soldiers,
Marching as to war,
With the Cross of Jesus
Going on before.
Christ the royal Master
Leads against the foe;
Forward into battle,
See, his banners go!
Onward, Christian soldiers,
Marching as to war,
With the Cross of Jesus
Going on before.

At the sign of triumph
Satan’s legions flee;
On then, Christian soldiers,
On to victory.
Hell’s foundations quiver
At the shout of praise;
Brothers, lift your voices,
Loud your anthems raise.
Like a mighty army
Moves the Church of God;
Brothers, we are treading
Where the Saints have trod;
We are not divided,
All one body we,
One in hope and doctrine
One in charity:
Crowns and thorns may perish,
Kingdoms rise and wane,
But the Church of Jesus
Constant will remain;
Gates of hell can never
‘Gainst that Church prevail;
We have Christ’s own promise,
And that cannot fail.
Onward, then, ye people,
Join our happy throng,
Blend with ours your voices
In the triumph song;
Glory, laud and honour
Unto Christ the King;
This through countless ages
Men and Angels sing.
Onward, Christian soldiers,
Marching as to war,
With the Cross of Jesus
Going on before.

 

Victim On The Altar Of The Cross

Victim On The Altar Of The Cross

“The Father willed that his blessed and glorious Son, whom he gave to us and who was born for us, should through his own blood offer himself as a sacrificial victim on the altar of the cross. This was to be done not for himself through whom all things were made, but for our sins.”– Francis of Assisi

Francis was born around 1182 AD in Assisi, Italy. His mother had him baptized as Giovanni during his father’s absence, but, upon his return, His father had his name changed. He was now known as Francesco di Pietro di Bernardone. Rather than following his father into the family business, Francis felt God calling him into the ministry. Renouncing a life of wealth and family, he embraced a life of poverty.

His teachings and his lifestyle began to draw followers to him. On April 16, 1210, the Franciscan Order was founded. It was made up of street preachers who had no possessions. They began spreading the gospel first in Umbria and then went throughout the rest of Italy. In 1212, he organized the Poor Clares, an order for women.

Francis died where he was born, in Assisi. He finally went to be with his Lord on October 3, 1226.

Merits And Goodness Of Christ

Merits And Goodness Of Christ

“My mind is so full of the real merits and goodness of Christ, that I want not a piece of senseless stick to put me in mind of him.”–Francis Gamba

The arrest of Francis Gamba occurred in1554. Taken to Como, he was sentenced to be burnt at the stake by the Senate of Milan. In an attempt to bring him comfort, Franciscan monks came to visit Francis and hear his last confession. They also brought a sliver of the cross. Upon seeing the piece of wood, Francis Gamba spoke his opinion (see above.) As a result, his executioners bored a hole through his tongue, then tied him to the stake. He died of strangulation before being burnt.

 

The Proto-Martyr By Emma Jane Worboise

The Proto-Martyr By Emma Jane Worboise

** And when he had said this, he fell asleep."— Acts vii., 6o. 

High in serene, undazzling light, 
Around the rainbow-circled throne. 
And robed in garments pure and white,
Chanting One saving Name alone, 
They stand — a mighty multitude — a throng, 
Redeemed from every kindred, clime, and tongue. 

Say ! — who are these in raiment bright, 
Upon their brows such holy calm, 
With eyes that bum like stars of night, — 
Hands bearing the victorious palm? 
Whence come they — these immortal, saintly forms? 
Have they e'er known the blast of earthly storms? 

Once, here on earth, they bow'd the head; 
Once, here they strove with sin, and wept; 
Their bitter, rain-like tears were shed, 
And then in Jesus Christ they slept. 
Faithful and true they yielded up their breath, 
Their noble souls were steadfast unto death ! 

And foremost in the white-robed throng, 
See the first Christian martyr stand, 
And while he joins the eternal song 
Of that seraphic glorious band, 
Yet sparkles in his bright undaunted eye 
The enraptured gaze wherewith he soared on high. 

And still the martyr's countenance 
Its meek and patient aspect bears; 
Still see we his forgiving glance, 
And still his brow the radiance wears 
It wore in dying hours long years ago, 
When murderers closed his earnest course below. 

How poor this life must then have seem'd, 
When the obstructing veil was riven, 
And lovelier far than he e'er dreamed 
He saw the golden courts of heaven; — 
Jesus the crucified, with eye of love, 
Calling His servant to his home above! 

He kneeled down once more to pray, — 
" Lord Jesus, now my soul receive;" 
Resounding ages seem to hear, 
" O Lord, my enemies forgive!" 
'Tis past — his foes deride, disciples weep — 
But he in Christ's own arms has fall'n asleep. 

Who sleep in Jesus, He will bring, 
With the Archangel's mighty voice, 
With shout that thro' all heaven shall ring, 
While saints and martyr'd ones rejoice; 
They crowned the first, who seal'd their faith in blood, 
Counting as loss all earthly pomp and good. 

Perchance we may not wear that crown. 
We may not wave the martyr's palm; — 
But we, who to Christ's Cross have flown, 
Shall pass away in joy and calm: — 
The angel-anthems sounding near and deep, 
His arms around ! — so shall we fall asleep.