Don’t Forget to Remember

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This is Memorial Day weekend. For many, that means heading to the beach, the mountains, or the lakes. It means an extra day off. Or maybe a barbecue, a family get-together or a sporting event.

Sadly, for others, it means partying and driving under the influence on the roads, resulting in increased arrests and inevitable (but avoidable) fatalities on the road. But let’s give this day a name that sounds a little less formal—and perhaps a bit more understandable. Memorial is based on the term “to remember.”

So let’s call today, “Memory Day.”

And what are we specifically to remember? We are to remember the courageous members of our armed forces—past and present—who have died in military service to their country. We’re speaking of grandparents, fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, and grandchildren who have taken the oath to defend their country and protect the Constitution.

That doesn’t mean you have to necessarily agree with every military engagement our country has undertaken in times past—or is engaged in at present. What it does mean is that you are to remember those who have committed themselves to protect you, or even made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Such sacrifices make possible the freedoms we so richly enjoy and hold dear.

One of the greatest privileges we have in our country is the freedom to openly proclaim the gospel message and, as a pastor and evangelist, I am especially thankful for that. In places like Communist China, you can’t do that. At least, not legally. That of course has not stopped the rapid growth of the underground church, or what we often refer to as “house churches.” But freedom is indeed a precious thing, don’t you think? Far too often, we take it for granted. And we take heroes for granted, too.

What is a hero?

When we think of hero different images may come to mind. We might refer to a skilled athlete who can expertly dunk a basketball as a hero. Or maybe we would give the title hero to a rock star who can hit that power chord on his guitar. There’s even a video game that’s very popular right now called “Guitar Hero.”

These athletes, musicians and others may be famous—or infamous. But are they really heroes? In my book, a real hero is someone who makes a sacrifice. Someone who thinks of others before themselves. A person who is even willing to die for another.

Let me close with the story of a real American hero this Memory Day. His name was Ross McGinnis. You’ve no doubt have read about him recently. On duty in Iraq on December 4, 2006, PFC McGinnis was perched in the gunner’s hatch of a Humvee when a grenade whizzed past him and into the truck carrying four of his fellow soldiers.

In a split second, McGinnis did the unthinkable. He shouted a warning to the others and threw himself onto the grenade taking its full impact. He was killed immediately, but he saved the lives of the other four soldiers, his “band of brothers.” Now that’s a hero.

Ross has been given the Silver Star, posthumously, and will also receive the Medal of Honor—both richly deserved. PFC McGinnis is the kind of person we should remember this day, and the thousands of other troops stationed in faraway places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. This very hour, some of them may be called upon to make terrible, self-sacrificing choices like the one PFC McGinnis made.

Go ahead, enjoy your barbeque and family. But don’t forget to remember. Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Two thousand years before PFC McGinnis made the choice to lay down his life, Jesus voluntarily surrendered to a Roman cross, and died for my sin and yours. He made that choice so that we could have the hope of heaven, and know the meaning of life.

And that’s something we ought to remember on Memory Day as well.

7 thoughts on “Don’t Forget to Remember”

  1. Phoebe says:

    1) Y’shua/Jesus said, “This is my body broken for you. Eat it and do it in remembrance of me until I come back again.” Like one of your devotional, Greg, Mary was always at His feet. When I do my daily communion with Him, I am humbled. This is the time; I am at the feet of the Cross. In general, all followers of Christ ought to remember Him daily as He showed in the upper room at the Passover; do as often — I and many followers have done just that, DAILY…

    2) I am not a veteran of war. It would be different to remember Him for those who experienced a brush with death in any war.

    3) I shared in a forum on internet regarding honoring soldiers who died for America and her freedom. It is sad that since the Vietnam War, respect and honor for our soldiers have been replaced. I long for that to return to the hearts and minds of Americans, especially the youth for they are to carry the torch to love this country enough to defend her and protect her.

    4) As Elohim/God’s beloved (American) children, we ought to pray for American soldiers not just on Memorial/Memory Day, for believers to remain strong in Him, for unbelievers to turn their hearts towards Him and find Shalom/peace of heart.

    5) I am so grateful, that because of what Y’shua/Jesus had done as our sacrificial Lamb of Elohim/God, we can through any wars, national or personal, find true peace – Shalom. Amyne.

  2. Jason says:

    Pastor Greg I was reading this Blog and was surprised when you mentioned SPC McGinnis. I was actually working with his unit when this happened almost two years ago. It was a tragic event but at the same time heroic. We knew then that one day after all the red tape in Washington he would receive the Medal of Honor (MOH). He was truly the embodiment of a modern day selfless service. He gave his life so others might live but over the weekend as many people thanked me for my service to the nation as well as my service in Iraq I wondered how many people were actually focused on Jesus who should have been the first MOH recipient. Thank you for your ministry I listened to you almost daily in Iraq and it help me focus on GOD in an environment that is over flowing with a false religion and terror. Pray for the christian leaders that are rising up in Iraq and pray that more and more in the middle east will see the light. Thank you again for the message and the ministry

    SFC Jason Reynolds
    US Army

  3. GENE says:

    I think Greg Laurie is a fine pastor. His services are free just like Billy Graham who now has his son Franklin doing most of the ministry due to Billy’s failing health.

    I became a Christian 6 year’s ago. I asked God to help me turn from my sins to God, actually. You are repenting when you realize you are a sinner and know you can’t forgive even 1 of your sins and you ask God to forgive you for your sins and pray to the Father and tell him you believe that Jesus Christ, God’s son, died on the cross for your sins and you believe that God the Father raised Jesus Christ from the dead after three day’s and you ask Jesus Christ into your heart as your Lord and your savior. Now Satan, the father of all liars, will try to make you doubt your salvation then turn to 1 john 5 verse 13 which says “these things have I written unto you that believe on the Son of God that ye may know that ye have eternal life (an a invitation) and that ye may believe on the Son of God. (Sorry Greg i enjoy the old King James version). But God help me and you as we carry God’s message of salvation to a unbelieving world who if they do not receive Jesus Christ as their lord and savior are sadly going to hell and after the judgment the lake of fire. God bless you Greg Laurie as God uses you and me to deliver the message of Jesus’ unconditional love so that they will get saved before they die.

    Your brother in Jesus Christ,
    Gene Sayer.

    i also served in the U.S. Army for over 20 year’s and am now 100% disabled but as a Christian i feel like i am not disabled at all.

  4. Debbie says:

    What a blessing to live in a country where men and women choose to lay down their lives, so we may have the freedom to worship God, who gave His only Son, so we would have the freedom from sin to worship Him! John 3:16&17

  5. V. Miranda says:

    Thank you Greg. So many of this younger generation endulge in thier own ambitions on this day never giving a single thought that they’ed be in school working if it wasn’t for our Veterans. Being a Veteran myself serving in the first Gulf war and still obligated to return to duty if a major war were to breaks out. God Bless.
    In Him,
    SSGT. Vincent Miranda
    U.S.Army Retired

  6. Jayne says:

    Having had an uncle in the Marines during the first World War, an uncle and a cousin in the Army in the second World War(the cousin being the only survivor of his platoon following an attack in North Africa)and now a son in the Tennessee National Guard who, as of 2009, will be going back to Iraq for a second tour, Memorial Day is EVEYDAY for me and my husband. We’re always aware of everyone currently serving(or who has served) in the military for our many freedoms that too many Americans just take for granted.

  7. Abbey says:

    Yes, remembering Jesus. Pray that God would save many souls this day – whether soldiers or civilians. He loves all and wants that none shall perish. So we pray.
    “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Jn 3:16

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