This morning we gather, once again, to give thanks for all that God has provided us. We thank Him for all that we have and all we are yet to be given. We thank Him for our family; our friends; our livelihood and all our possessions.
Today, along with our thanks to God, we give our gratitude to all of those that have served to protect our rights to worship the word of God and live as the Gospel of Christ has instructed us to live.
This great nation of ours, despite what some may tell you, was built on God’s word and the lessons of Jesus Christ during His ministry here on Earth.
The United States of America had five main Biblical principles that were used in the creation of the Declaration of Independence. These helped form our Biblical foundation:
- God created all people equal – Genesis 1 and 2
- God gave every person certain rights that are essential to God’s purpose for them – Genesis 1 and 2
- God instituted government to secure and protect these rights – Genesis 9 and Romans 13
- God established moral laws in His word. “We the people” holds the government accountable to God’s moral laws – Exodus 20, Acts 4:18-20 and Romans 2:12-16
- Government must rule at the consent of the people – Deuteronomy 1:16-17
This is self-explanatory. You cannot run this country or the whole world without God and the Bible.
Patrick Henry (“Give me Liberty or give me Death”): “If we cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on God’s word, the Gospel of Jesus.”
What Patrick Henry was clearly stating is this nation was founded by Christians not on just any religion but on God’s word, the Gospel of Jesus.
The Birth of Our Soldiers
On September 29, 1789, the final day of its first session, the United States Congress passed “An act to recognize and adapt to the Constitution of the United States, the establishment of the troops raised under the resolves of the United States in Congress assembled.” The act legalized the existing U.S. Army, a small force inherited from the Continental Congress that had been created under the Articles of Confederation.
This was an act in which our military forces were officially created to protect our nation. These forces were to protect, not only the people, but the rights of our country with one such right being our right to worship our God freely. This was, the birth of the American Soldier.
The nation’s first military draft began in 1940, when President Roosevelt signed the Selective Training and Service Act. The draft continued through war and peacetime until 1973, just two short years before the ending of the Vietnam War. More than 10 million men entered military service through the Selective Service System during World War II alone.
Today, enlistment in our Military is voluntary, yet this country has never known a shortage of Soldiers throughout our conflicts. This fact alone, clearly demonstrates the dedication of this Nation’s people, both men and women, to the protection and survival of our great Nation.
A Soldier’s Fear
For those that haven’t served, I’d like you to picture for a moment, the fear you might encounter as you are first called to serve.
- You are taken from your home.
- You are taken from family and friends.
- You are taken from your Mother and Father
- Husbands and wives leave their spouses and children.
- You may be placed in a foreign, unfriendly and unwelcoming land surrounded by people that despise you.
Can you imagine the fear in the hearts of our Soldiers? They may never know what to expect yet they’ve given-up their freedom to defend ours. To defend the very foundation of this Country… and they do so with great pride and dedication.
I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures from overseas. You’ve seen our Soldiers gathered around each other on their knees in prayer.
Being a Veteran myself, I can relate to you a prayer we used to pray before our days began to help us with our fears.
Psalm 27: 1-3 – The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
So why do you think our Soldiers turn to God so often? Why, even if they may have forgotten Him in the past, do they turn back to Him.
Psalm 18:2 – “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
Yes, to our Soldiers, God has always been and will always be “Our Rock!” He has always been there for us, through good and through bad, and has never left our side. We are taught this at a very young age and, I can assure you, every Soldier remembers this lesson.
Bible Encouragement for Our Soldiers
In 2 Samuel 22, during the reign of David, you will find many references where a Soldier may find their strength. David, himself being a Soldier, drew heavily on God for his victories.
Advancement and Confidence – 30 – “With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.”
Strength and Safety – 33 – It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.” 35 – “He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.”
Victory – 38-39 – “I pursued my enemies and crushed them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. I crushed them completely, and they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet.”
Our Enemies Fear
There are many times our Soldiers are afraid during battle. If you have never served you have no understanding of what it’s like to be “hunkered-down” in a foxhole or behind enemy lines with bullets whipping over your head.
You are most assuredly afraid. Don’t let this fool you however, a Soldier’s bravery can be called-up at a moment’s notice.
When a Soldier, once frightened, witnesses a fellow Soldier go down or an innocent civilian murdered ruthlessly, it then “becomes personal” and their pride and dedication to the cause takes over their actions.
Our enemies should be very much afraid when our Soldiers are incensed, for they are fighting for their God and Country and they should know…
Romans 13:4 – “For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”
How much do you think we owe our Veteran’s and Soldiers? Likewise, how much do we owe Christ for His sacrifices? Do you remember Jesus’ “dedication to His cause?”
When He was hanging on the cross…
“If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.” The crowd at the cross taunted Jesus. “Save Yourself!”
But Jesus was committed to a cause! He wanted to save the world through the cross.
Our Soldiers and Veterans have demonstrated a heart committed to a cause:
- The cause of freedom.
- The cause of courage.
- The cause of love of country.
- The cause of Constitutional self-government.
- Jesus Christ was committed to a cause!
- Our Veterans were committed to a cause!
Let me ask you a question: To what are you committed? For what cause would you risk life? For what purpose would you dedicate your energies…
Your finances, your time?
We should honor our Veterans.
- We worship our Commander in Chief.
- We owe our liberty to our Veterans.
- But we owe our eternal lives to Jesus Christ.
- We salute the flag!
- But we kneel before the Christ of the cross.
Mark 10:45 – “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
How many of our Soldiers have died for those who had no respect for them despite all they have done for our Country?
It is the VETERAN, not the preacher,
who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the VETERAN, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the VETERAN, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the VETERAN, not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the VETERAN, who salutes the Flag,
Who serves under the Flag.
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We should always give thanks to God for delivering to us our Savior. We should always give thanks to Christ for all He sacrificed here on earth, perishing at the very hands of His own people, to cleanse us of all sin. Through His blood, we have been saved and will have eternal life.
We should give thanks to all that have served this Country. It is their sacrifices that have entitled us to live the way we do, to worship the Father, Son and Holy Spirit freely without fear. They have done this willingly, voluntarily without remorse and, if you asked any one of them, would gladly do it again.
May I please have all Veterans up front? Come up and be recognized. Come up and let us all give thanks for your service to this Country and its people.
For all in attendance today, please give these brave people a round of applause. Give thanks to our Lord for giving these brave souls to us who have protected us, sacrificed their own safety, and done so with heart, perseverance and dedication to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (Declaration of Independence)! Give them your applause, give them a hug and by them a beer!
Go with God; be good to one another; always stay humble; always be kind… God Bless (Amen)!