The Gift of Remembering

Yesterday was designed to be a day of remembering.

For centuries, people have taken time to remember and honor those who have lost their lives in service to their country. 431 B.C. was one of the first known “Memorial Days”, as Pericles, the general of Athens gave a public speech honoring those who died for the cause in the Peloponnesian War.

Memorial Day in the US was celebrated each year on May 30 beginning after the American Civil War in 1868, thanks to the influence of General John A. Logan. In 1971, the official date was changed from May 30 to the last Monday in May, to make it more convenient to celebrate on a three-day weekend.

At the end of this post, I share a link to an article you history buffs might find to be quite informative.

But the heart of this post today is to go beyond historical facts, and to ask a few questions about the whole act of remembering great acts of sacrifice made by humans in the military, and even more so, by Jesus on the cross.

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What if there were Spiritual Graduations?

It’s graduation time. Preschool graduations, middle school, high school and college graduations. I think I’ve seen more square tasseled caps and gowns on Facebook this week than I can remember in years past.

It makes me a bit nostalgic as I think of my graduations.

I don’t remember having a preschool graduation. Did we even do preschool back then? We must have been smarter than 3-5 year-olds are today and not needed it. 🙂

I do remember my first week of kindergarten though. A boy kissed me in front of all the other kids, and it was the most humiliating experience of my five-year-old life up until that point.

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The Love of a Mom

This Mother’s Day was a special one for me. In Mother’s Days past, not being a mom (but really wishing I was) has made for some tough times for me.

There was the getting out the boxing gloves to fight off the envy while scrolling through loads of mom-with-kids photos on Facebook.

Then there was the “Suck it up and be grateful!” drill sergeant voice I would hear in my head, crashing my pity party and reminding me that at least I have the gift of having a wonderful mom – something many others have never had, or had and wish she was still with them.

But this year was different. There was peace.

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My Grandma Made Me Think

This past Saturday, my mom’s side of the family celebrated the life of the woman I’ve always known as “Grandma Toe”, who passed away at the age of 98 the week before.

There are a handful of thoughts and questions that always come to mind when I’m at a funeral that always make me think, “Wow, I should really think of this every day, and not just at funerals.”

In honor of Grandma, who is probably holding a dog in one hand and a cat in the other while gazing at the beauty of our Savior right at this moment, I’d like to share these six thoughts.

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What’s your #1 treasure?

In light of the National Day of Prayer coming this Thursday (May 4th), I wanted to dive more into what Jesus says about prayer, so I turned to Matthew chapter 6, where we find “The Lord’s Prayer”.

I invite you to watch the video, and ask yourself the following questions:

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Ever get THIS song stuck in your head?

I got this old song stuck in my head this week. I think it was old when I first heard it in 1984.

“I’m so happy and here’s the reason why;

Jesus took my burden all away.

Now, I’m singing as the days go by;

Jesus took my burden all away.

Once my heart was heavy with a load of sin;

Jesus took the load and gave me peace within (my heart and)

Now I’m singing as the days go by;

Jesus took my burdens all away.”

Author: S. W. Gavitt

It made me dig into God’s Word so that my head and heart would be stuck with God’s truth way more than it would be stuck with the melody to the song or to the feelings I had been experiencing.

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What do you love the most about ___?

What do you love the most about God?

What do you love the most about the people in your life?

What do you love the most about your daily circumstances?

Currently, I have the joy of taking a theology class every Wednesday night for 7 weeks at my church. This past Wednesday, after teaching about the attributes and character of God, our pastor asked us to discuss in our groups which attribute we loved the most about God.

Little did he know how much that question would stick with me.

Little did I know how much it would beg to be asked about everyone and everything.

What would happen if we all began to ask the “what do I love most” question about God, the people in our life, and our daily circumstances?

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Why do you do the good things you do?

Last week, I confessed that I had no (correct) idea about what the word “prodigal” meant. That confession was easier than this week’s. 😉

This week, when I first asked myself, “Why do I do the good things I do,” my initial response was, “to get closer to Jesus and to bring others closer to Him as well.”

Maybe my years as a kids pastor had me programmed to quickly raise my hand and give that correct church answer in hopes of winning some candy.

I didn’t get the candy.

Nor did I get the peace in my heart that I had answered the question 100% honestly.

Had I been answering the question, “Why SHOULD a Jesus girl do good things?” I would’ve been absolutely correct. But as I shared in this week’s video, that wasn’t the question.

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Who’s the real Prodigal?

This week on Facebook, I saw a video of a fun elementary school teacher giving his class a spelling “pop quiz”. The kids didn’t know it ahead of time, but it was a brilliant April Fools’ Day joke in which the teacher made up words and threw in 3 or 4 “silent letters” at the end of many of the words. It was a great joke.

I almost felt like the internet was playing a joke on me when I looked up the word “prodigal” that I heard for the the first time as a kid in church. I was sure that it meant “lost” or “wayward”, because the prodigal son in the Bible was always the lost and wayward son.

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Just HOW does Jesus love us?

John 15:9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. (NLT)

In the last two weeks, we’ve been camping out in John chapter 15 (the REMAIN or ABIDE chapter), and we’ve seen how Jesus instructs us to:

Remain in Him,

Remain in His Word,

and today….(drumroll, please,)

Remain in His Love.

Truly, I thought talking about His love was going to be the easiest and most cheery. That was until I got stuck on the one phrase in verse 9:

“…even as the Father has loved me.”

That’s how Jesus says He will love us.

When I asked the question, “Just HOW did God love Jesus?”, sorry for being a Dory Downer, but my mind immediately went to all the suffering He allowed His Son to endure.

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