“Giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(Ephesians 5:20 HCSB)
The wayside pulpit said, “Those who are thankful for little; enjoy much.” It is a simple reminder of the great blessings bestowed upon each of us, blessings which we so easy take for granted. These blessings, which have required great sacrifice are so many, it is hard to fathom. Yet, so often we go through life with so little thanks.
We wallow in our despair over the small things; overlook the huge things which have been accomplished on our behalf. We disregard the opportunities which are at our disposal; complain about the things which we long for but cannot seem to lay hold of. All the while we have so much to be thankful for; but do not stop to thank the ones who have paid the price for the things we have.
Today, take a moment with me and examine two sacrifices we are to continually give thanks for in our lives, which we are give such little thanks for and enjoy so much.
Sacrifice for Liberty
The German morale was at an all time low and the allies lost heart. In September the Turkish armies in Palestine and Arabia suffered crushing blows, and Bulgaria surrendered unconditionally. Mutiny broke out among the crews of German ships on November 3 while in port at the German naval base, Army units did the same thing and riots took place in German cities. On the same day, Austria signed an armistice with the Italians.
Convinced the war at last was lost, the ruler of Germany fled to the Netherlands, leaving his country of the hands of revolutionists, who signed an armistice with the Allies on November 11. The year of was 1918.
On November 11, 1918 the Armistice was signed in a railroad car on a siding in a forest. It was at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. The Germans signed grimly, for the terms were severe. They were to evacuate France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Alsace-Lorraine, without delay. They agreed to surrender to the allies an enormous amount of war materials, including most of Germany’s navel vessels, and to return prisoners, money, and all valuables taken from occupied countries. Also, they were to renounce treaties with Russia and Romania. In addiation, the Allies reserved the right to occupy all German territory west and a strip of territory about 18 miles wide east of the Rhine.
President Wilson used this as an opportunity to speak of “world peace,” to end to the causes of modern war, and gain liberation of peoples long held in bondage by Russia, Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Turkey. His hope was to give people the right of “self-determination,” deciding for themselves the country in which they wished to live. Furthermore, his work would lead to the ultimate “general association of nations” to give “mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.”
One history book concluded with these words: “President Wilson and millions of Americans had entered the conflict with the burning conviction that they were waging a crusade to make the world safe for democracy. In the winter of 1918-1919, they believed that this goal was at last in sight.”
This is what we celebrated this past Thursday. Originally called Armistice Day; the day always being the eleventh day of the eleventh month, but now called Veterans Day. We stopped for a moment and said thanks to those who served us in the War called World War I. But we also said thanks to the men and woman of other conflicts as well. All who are Veterans of war and conflict; who have served our country by putting on the uniform of the military and declared their allegiance and affirmed their willingness to lay down their life for another.
Who are you? You who have protected our country and our rights? You would stand and now stand in the gap for freedom and liberty? What branch of service you served in matters to me!
Thank you! Thank you for serving; thank you for risking your life! Thank you for being willing to lay down your life for your fellow citizens. May we always thank you with grateful hearts. You are my hero’s!
Jason Dunham exhibited in life and in death what it means to fight for freedom. Dunham, a corporal from upstate New York, was leading a squad of Marines in Iraq when they were ambushed by insurgents. During the hand-to-hand combat, Dunham leapt to place his helmet over a live grenade. Dunham’s bravery saved his friends — and cost him his life.
In November of 2006 at the dedication of the Marine Corps Museum at Quantico — a beautiful structure rising out of the Virginia countryside in the shape suggestive of the famous image of the Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima, President Bush introduced Dunham’s parents, who received their son’s posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military award.
The question is asked “Why did he do it?” Simply stated, why would a young man, with so much to live for and so much to give, do such an act? The answer is simple, as simple as the question: “To save the men serving under him.”
Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 KJV)
Sacrifice for Life
One day, in the city of Jerusalem, a parade of sorts formed. There were shouts and cries heard as the guest of honor was pushed up toward a hill on the outskirts of the city. The streets were lined with spectators, some cursing while others stood silently at the horror before them.
They all saw the same thing, an object of ridicule and shame, but they all did not agree on the same thing, that day. One group was shutting up one they said was a fool, a liar, and a trouble maker. Others thought this was the way to regain peace. Yet, another agreed to this parade and its ultimate end, and did so out of jealousy and contempt.
Some recalled the wonderful works this man called a king had performed in their presence; others were recalling times when he was brash and embarrassed them. Some were terrified, others were pleased. Some were recalling personal times with him that were pleasant, others recalled times which were confusing.
But Jesus Christ, the one from Nazareth who was born of a virgin and was sinless, was doing what He was doing to fulfill the law of the prophets and knew the ultimate end would lead to peace for all who accepted Him.
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:11-15 KJV)
Let us give thanks for the life of Jesus, given for us, so we might have life!