November has two special days, to help us 'remember' what we may be prone to forget.
November 11th is Veterans' Day....and November 27th is Thanksgiving Day.
Actually, these 2 go together as one of the reasons for Thanksgiving (Thanks-living)...
is for the freedoms we enjoy due to the sacrifices of so many in the wars.
After WWI, November 11th was called Armistice Day, but is now called Veterans' Day.
I saw a bumper sticker which read: "Enjoying your freedoms? Thank a Veteran"
Here are some graphic statistics, underlining WHY we should be thankful.
World War I - 116, 708 combat related deaths
World War II - 407, 316
Korean War - 54, 246
VietNam War - 58, 655
Iraq War - approximately 4, 000
There are MANY wounded who are still living with the scars of the 'price of war'.
On this Veterans' Day (and EVERY day), we thank God for ALL of these people!
When Peter Marshall was Chaplain of the U.S. Senate, he prayed this prayer:
"God of our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand has made and preserved our Nation...
grant that our people may understand what it is that we celebrate today!
-May they remember how bitterly our freedom was won...
the down-payment that was made for it...
the installments that have been made since this Republic was born...
and the price that must yet be paid for our Liberty.
-May Freedom be seen, not as the right to do as we please....
but as the opportunity to please to do what is right.
-May it ever be understood that our Liberty is under God....
and can be found nowhere else!
-May our Faith be something not merely 'stamped upon our coins'...
but expressed in our lives!
-To the extent that America honors Thee, wilt Thou bless America...
and keep her as Thou hast kept her free and make her good...
as Thou hast made her rich."
Along with Thanksgiving for those in the Military who gave the ultimate sacrifice...
we give Thanks to Jesus Who gave the Supreme Sacrifice for all of us!
This Freedom did not come easy for the soldiers (nor did it for Jesus)...
but Freedom is never 'free'.
There is a price and they paid it all...and as the old hymn says:
"Jesus Paid It All...All To Him I Owe"
I got to thinking about how they died on the 'Altar of Freedom'...
and how we may need to 'Alter our Altars' and 'Sacrifice our Sacrifices'.
Let us look at some of the Scriptures on 'Sacrifice':
1) Psalms 54:6:
"I will freely sacrifice to Thee"
2) Psalms 107:22:
"Let them offer Thanksgiving sacrifices and tell of His deeds with rejoicing."
3) Psalms 51: 17-19 (David's Psalm of Repentance)
"The Sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken and contrite spirit.
God will not despise these for He is pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness."
4) Amos 4:4:
"Be willing to sacrifice daily."
In this day of new electronics and conveniences, this Scripture is very important!
5) Romans 12:1:
"Present your body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God..
which is your reasonable service".
Sometimes, we refer to the worship at church as a 'service'.
Some may ask, "Is the service over?"
The Holy Spirit reminds us that the worship may be over...
but the service is just beginning!
You say 'How'? Philippians 2:17 says:
"Sacrifices and Service come from our Faith".
Remember, the object of your Faith is:
The Holy Spirit...
and The Word of God.
On Holy Days in some places of the world, vendors are heard trying to sell their wares -- "Crosses, Cheap Crosses for Sale".
Jesus' Cross was REAL and was NOT cheap!
Jesus said to His Disciples:
"If anyone desires to come after Me...
let him deny himself...
take up his cross...
and follow Me."
Jesus was saying:
"If you follow me, you must be willing to endure pain, shame and persecution...
for my sake".
Are you following after Christ? Have you taken up your cross?
If so, how much has it cost you?
A good question was written in a poem:
"Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease
While others fought to win the prize, and sailed through bloody seas?"
Therefore, let us 'Alter our Altars' and let Christ's Cross and His Sacrifice....
be our example of how far we're willing to go.
1) It is a Sacrifice of Love -
"Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
2) It is a Sacrifice of Praise - (Hebrews 13:15)
I like this Acrostic for Praise:
3) It is a Sacrifice of Prayer - "Pray without ceasing" (I Thess. 5:17)
Satan will fight us hardest at the point of prayer!
4) It is a Sacrifice of Thanksgiving -
"I will offer to thee the sacrifice of Thanksgiving...
and will call upon the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows unto the Lord now, in the presence of all His people" (Ps.116:17-18)
With all these sacrifices, God is well pleased.
So often our sacrifice is of material things (which may be needed)...
but I Peter 2:5 asks us to offer up spiritual sacrifices.
Remember, sacrifices are not to secure salvation, but are a 'result of salvation'!
These two hymns plead with us to 'Surrender All on the Altar of the Lord'.
"Is Your All On The Altar?"
(by Elisha A. Hoffman)
"You have longed for sweet peace and for faith to increase
and have earnestly, fervently prayed;
But you cannot have rest nor be perfectly blest,
until all on the altar is laid.
Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?
Your heart does the Spirit control?
You can only be blest and have peace and sweet rest,
As you yield Him your body and soul.
Would you walk with the Lord, in the light of His Word,
and have peace and contentment alway?
You must do His sweet will, to be free from all ill....
On the altar your all you must lay.
O we never can know what the Lord will bestow,
of the blessings for which we have prayed,
'Till our body and soul, He doth fully control
and our all on the altar is laid.
Who can tell all the love He will send from above...
and how happy our hearts will be made,
Of the fellowship sweet we shall share at His feet,
when our all on the altar is laid."
"I Surrender All"
(Words: J.W. Van Deventer and Music: W.S. Weeden)
"All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
in His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender.
Humbly at His feet I bow.
Worldly pleasures all forsaken..
Take me Jesus, take me now.
All to Jesus I surrender.
Make me, Savior, wholly thine;
Fill me with Thy love and power.
Truly know that Thou art mine.
All to Jesus I surrender.
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power.
Let Thy blessing fall on me."
The older we get and the more 'challenges' we face in life, the more thankful we are for the impact that hymns have had on our lives!
Sometimes when the pain is difficult....and the nights are long and dark, God will bring to mind the words (and even the tunes) of so many precious old hymns!
We're convinced that hearing and learning those when we were young, is what is helping us 'endure' now!!!
One night during a revival, our eldest gr'son, Jeremiah Wiginton, was standing next to his Tutu (Hawaiian word for Gr'mother).
Jeremiah (who was not very old at the time) looked up at his Tutu and said,
"Wow! You know all of those songs without looking at the book!"
La Moyne said that it made her stop and realize that indeed, those songs had been 'engraved' on her heart as a child and therefore, had made an impact on what she believes.
So at this time of Thanksgiving, we want to 'shout out' THANKS to our Christian parents (in Heaven) who took us to church and set us on the right path!
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Great article, Travis. Our best wishes to you and La Moyne, dear friends.
Thank you once again Travis for this brilliantly written and oh SO encouraging article. My son Peter was born on Nov. 11, so it is a very special day to me. May we just join in Peter Marshall's prayer, that the God of our fathers grant that our people may understand what we celebrate today! Just like you quoted in John 15:13--Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. America's sons has laid down their lives time and time again so others can know the liberty that every person is entitiled to. The bible also says, "Blessed is the peace makers for they shall be called the sons of God. My heart cries out with yours, "Don't forget to remember" what this country is all about! I love both you and La Moyne, your friend sharon