It’s Memorial Day in America. I found a prayer that I’d like to share with you.
We thank You for bringing us together at this Memorial Day celebration to acknowledge the debt we owe to the men and women of the United States military who have guarded this country with their lives. We especially honor those who lost their lives while defending this nation. They fought on land, at sea, and in the air, always understanding that they may not come back from the mission and accepting that as part of the job. They were willing to risk death to protect this land we hold so dear and the American people along with it. We thank them for their sacrifice and promise we’ll carry on their legacy to ensure they did not die in vain.
Father, we pray that You strengthen and protect all our military personnel who are serving presently and in the future. Give them the courage to face whatever comes, protect them in battle, and help them prosper in times of peace. Watch over their families, Lord, as You watch over us all. We put our trust and faith in You and even though we don’t always understand Your ways, we accept that You have a plan for each and every one of us. Please help us fulfill our personal missions, whatever they may be. Amen.”
Thank you to all those who have sacrificed so much for the freedom of this country.
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Think about the message in Jesus’ words.
In the modern age how easy is it to only love people who love you.
Those who agree with you, who like the same things, look like you, talk like you, heck are you.
Think about how easy it is on social media to love the people who you want to love.
I know someone who doesn’t feel accepted right now so they go on Facebook and people digitally support them with love and they respond back with the same love.
I’m not saying that is wrong but is it real and true love?
Real and true love is when you see that person not just in their polished public selves but also in their dark times both past and present and chose to love them anyway. However while also not catering to and enabling the darkness.
Now there maybe a person that shows you no care, no love or even look at you as their enemy, love them anyway that is real and true love.
In reality only God can fully love like that.
We have to imitate His love to the best of our abilities and thank God that He loves in ways we can’t even fathom.
Now for those who are looking for someone who truly loves and cares about them what you need to look for is the people I previously mentioned, those who despite all of the bad things you have done chose to love you anyway and are there to help.
Last week was Mother’s Day and I had some extra thoughts that just didn’t fit the blog.
I talked about honoring Jesus and the Mothers out there but what about those who feel like they can’t or shouldn’t honor their mothers?
A great way to honor Jesus is by honoring your Mother like it is commanded, love her and look at her like a blessing from God.
I know this can be tough for those who have been hurt by parents but even if your relationship is strained show love to your Mother. Even if you feel harmed by your Mother or feel they don’t love you like they should, even if you consider your mother an enemy show them love anyway.
Remember God says to love your enemies so of course we have to love our mother no matter what.
That doesn’t mean we have to allow them to hurt us or that gives a mother a free pass for their behavior.
But you can still love your mother by trying to reconcile with them.
Some may have lost their mother or reconciling with their Mother may be impossible right now so instead give a gift to God today and honor Him by forgiving your Mother.
24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin,[a] was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Because of this story Thomas is always referred to as “Doubting Thomas”. It has also led to a lot of people in the church calling those with doubts a “Doubting Thomas”. In reality that is unfair.
My Pastor on Sunday argued that this story really is about Thomas coming to belief in Jesus as He is rather than the part when Thomas doubted.
The truth is it very easy for us as to smugly read about Thomas’ doubt and shake our heads at him. But we all came to faith at some point, prior to that we didn’t believe in God at all in most cases and if we are honest with ourselves we all have doubt at times.
And that is okay!
I am big fan of Mike Winger and his Bible Thinker YouTube channel. He actually affirmed his faith by researching the claims in Christianity, he had doubt and now is an excellent Bible teacher.
Lee Strobel famously wrote “The Case for Christ” to verify the truth of Christianity but he originally was trying to debunk Christianity.
My testimony of how I started to take my faith seriously involves a lot of doubt.
I read the Bible and a lot of times struggled, I was confused and also asked myself, “How could this be true?”
I continued to read scripture, listened to apologetics while also listening to skeptics and reading books from both theologians and critics like Richard Dawkins and Bart Ehrman.
I went back and forth with points and counter points.
Then I finally just prayed for wisdom. I saw things so much clearer thank God and was able to understand the Bible and the history of Christianity a lot better.
God revealed Himself and continues to revel Himself to me in countless ways.
My faith was made stronger from my doubt.
Now like Thomas I can truly say, “My Lord and my God.”
1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.
13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them. 44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.
11 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus[a] sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” 4 And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. 5 And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. 7 And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. 8 And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. 9 And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
John 12:12-19 English Standard Version
The Triumphal Entry
12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,
15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”
16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”
As Christians we can let go of doubt, fear, anxiety. We can let go of pain, anguish, hatred. We can let go of unforgiveness and unbelief.
But how about we let go of more?
Let go of anything that keeps you from the narrow path, the path to God, anything that leads to sin and even temptation.
Let go of your ideals, turn away from your political opinions, your nationalism and person feelings and go to God’s word to see His ideals.
Don’t ignore what God’s word says just because it makes you uncomfortable or goes against what you have been taught or thought.
Let go of your comfort and preset ideas.
Let go of anything that keeps you from a Christ centered life. Be a Christian first, your characteristics should be based on your Christianity, your Christianity shouldn’t be one of your characteristics.
Let go and follow God and His Word.
You will become a good father or mother, a good husband or wife, a good brother, sister, friend or neighbor. Not because you’re good but because God is good.
So let go of everything that’s holding you back from God and grip tight to the Lord.
You may be thinking how difficult that is and you’re right it is hard and we all fall short but remember when we do God still loves us.
Romans 8:35-39: “35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So do you receive anything when you let go of all these things?
You receive joy, forgiveness, peace, love and in truth you receive everything!
Because without God you have nothing with Him you have everything!