In January 2006, I was privileged and honored to be invited by Dr Zryan, the Minister of Health in Kurdistan, Iraq, to lead the first mental health team (3 of us went, all Christians) into post-Sadam Iraq to train Iraqi healthcare personnel on various issues. Incredible experience! Unfortunately, I saw and heard first hand the suffering and persecution people endured religiously, especially Christians, who wanted to gather, pray, or worship God. Other basics, like heat, electricity, trust, safety, respect, being valued, and getting health care were also scarce. I really appreciated the basics we have here in the US. Today, Memorial Day, is when we remember all those who served so we could enjoy living in the greatest country ever….enjoy freedom in so many areas of life…in Iraq they have minimal vocational choice as the system puts them on a path in elementary or middle school. Most importantly, we have the freedom to choose who our God is. In 1776, this was rare, and why our forefathers left their homes in Europe and why they sacrificed all they had and fought to the death to preserve….Free will to decide for life(eternal life), liberty(freedom from the bondage of sin and death), and the pursuit of happiness(real personal relationship with God).
Take time today to remember the greatest sacrifice for our most important freedom…the greatest soldier, 2000 years ago, paid the ultimate price…leaving His home in heaven, going to a far away land, becoming embedded in the foreign culture, and fighting for not Himself, but for us….Jesus died spiritually freeing us from the bondage of sin and the sentence of death we were destined for without His ultimate sacrifice..
From the Battle Hymn of the Republic:
“With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free;”
Please take time to specially remember and thank God for being your ultimate warrior.
Also, please pray for those are serving and their families….but please continue to pray for those who have served as they struggle with higher levels of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol and substance abuse, and family and marital problems worsened by the strain of their service for our comforts.
Enjoy your Holyday.
Dear Father God,
Thank you so much for loving me before I even knew You…. even though I spurn You and go my own way, You relentlessly pursue me and still love me. I confess I take much of Your grace and blessings for granted…. especially your love and forgiveness. Help me be more aware of how I hurt you when I stray… keep in my mind everyday, not just today and Easter and Christmas, how you suffered and died for me…a king would die for putsy me…still unbelievable.
Please be with those in the military, who are sacrificing for others’ freedom….make Your peace and comfort known to them and bring other Christians into their life to be Your tangible hands of love, compassion, and encouragement. Also be with those who have served and point them to Your Son, the Light to show them the way to Your arms of comfort.
I pray this prayer in Jesus’ ultimate and precious name – AMEN.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
1 Peter 2:16
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free.
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.