When the people of America were giving birth to a new nation, under God, it suffered all that could ever be experienced in the birthing process. It was never easy or without pain, suffering, sacrifice and death.
On the last Monday and day of this month thousands will visit the places where our dead are buried. There will be gatherings at military cemeteries across the nation as well as in Arlington Cemetery in our nation’s capital.
In cemeteries there will be music, speeches, parades, flags, the sound of guns, playing of taps, prayer and the recounting of the meaning of this special day. Christians, the believers in Jesus Christ, have hope of the Day of Resurrection when all the dead in Christ will rise with their new spiritual and eternal bodies.
One example of the stark contrast between life as we have known it and what it will be like following the resurrection is summed up in the words of a great servant of mankind who was physically blind. Here are the defining words of Helen Keller (read her story if you are not acquainted with it) who said, “Death . . . is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.”
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones gave this last message to his family as he lay ill: “Don’t pray for healing; don’t try to hold me back from the glory.” This internationally known preacher and author was ready to live in the glory world, to be in the presence of God and wanted nothing to delay his going.
Memorial Day or as it was earlier called, Decoration Day, has been set aside on the last Monday of May as a yearly national holiday for the country to pay homage and respect to those who have died in military service to our country. On the order of General John Alexander Logan, Memorial Day was first observed on May 30, 1868, for the express purpose of decorating the graves of those who died during the civil War. Confederate Memorial Day has been observed in some southern states on a different date.
Waterloo, New York, was declared to be the official birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon B. Johnson in May, 1966. The day then moved from its military origin to become the privilege of all Americans as a special day for honoring and remembering those who have died.
Once more, this Memorial Day, I look forward to remembering my family and friends who are deceased. It will be a time to remember and reflect upon the lives of those who made life a more blessed experience for us who live and remain. Memory is that superb recollection ability that Francis Fauvel-Gourand identified as “What God gives us so that we might have roses in December.”
I have staked my hope of heaven through faith in Jesus Christ in His own words spoken to Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11.25).
I do not know of any words ever spoken that offer that kind of eternal hope and salvation. Jesus backed up all He taught and demonstrated its validity by His own resurrection and life. I concur with Martha’s words as she answered the question of Jesus, “Do you believe this?” And she replied, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God” (John 11:26-27). It gives me joyous hope and unquestioned certainty of eternal life.Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist, and convention and conference speaker on every continent. He is the writer of more than 2,000 newspaper and magazine columns, articles and contributions to books. He is also a widely known motivational speaker and pulpit guest who utilizes enjoyment of life and just plain fun and laughter while speaking to high school, university and professional sports teams as well as to business and professional groups of all kinds. His keen understanding of human problems makes him a favorite speaker for youth, parent, and senior adult meetings. He is accompanied by Kitty, his wife, favorite singer, editor and publisher.
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