Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. People look forward to cookouts, fireworks, and having a three day weekend. Children and teachers are rejoicing because Memorial Day means the end of the school year has arrived or is eminent. It is easy to get wrapped up in the celebration and forget the reason for the holiday.
Memorial Day is really about remembering the men and women of the armed forces who gave their lives in defense of this nation. This weekend, we are mindful of those who sacrificed their lives so that we can enjoy freedom. Many of those who died in the active service never lived to see thirty. Their lives were cut short for the sake of our enduring freedom.
This is also a good opportunity to remember faithful soldiers in the Lord’s army who have been called from labor to reward. Hebrews 13:7 encourages us to remember those who led us and spoke the word of God to us. They taught us that true freedom is found in Christ. Those leaders who were faithful until the end serve as an example for us to follow. Those who taught us the ways of the Lord and encouraged us to be more like Jesus, should inspire us to be fully committed to God. When we think about the result of their lifestyle, we soon discover that we would do well to follow in their footsteps.
There is a reward that awaits those who imitate the faith of dedicated leaders who are now resting from their labors. In Hebrews 11, the writer highlights the faithfulness of those Old Testament saints. We should be inspired by Able and Enoch. We should grow by examining the faith of Noah, Abraham, and Sarah. We should reflect on the dedication of Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses. We learn from the word that men and women of long ago gained approval from God by their faith.
But we don’t have to go that far back to be inspired. Those who taught us the word of God also demonstrated to us that the just shall live by faith. Countless men and women of faith who touched our lives and impacted our journey. Ministers, shepherds, deacons, and teachers who are no longer with us, but through faith, though they are dead, they still speak. Our faithfulness today honors the legacy of faithfulness of those who have gone before us and leaves a legacy for those who are coming after us.
Singing is arguably the most discussed and debated aspect of worship. Much of the debate centers around the style of music, and the types of songs we sing. Interestingly, the debate all centers on what we sing and how we sing. Yet no one is really talking about why we sing. We spend a lot of time on the technique and technicalities of singing, but very little time on the theology of singing. God’s primary concern is the spirit of the singer and not the style of the singing (John 4:24, 1 Corinthians 14:15). First Chronicles 16 provides insight into why the people of God sing. This week we will examine one of the three reasons highlighted for why we should sing.
In 1 Chronicles 16:8-22 we discover that we sing to remember. Our songs should bring to our mind what the Lord has done. Remembering suggests mindfulness. There is a level of awareness that is involved in remembering. Singing should not be a mindless activity where we sing a whole song without really thinking about what we are singing. We should be present in the moment. The energy that we put into a song often reveals if I am singing with my mind or just my mouth.
In singing, we remember God’s wonderful deeds (v.12). The Lord had done great things among the people. As such, our songs should reflect the extraordinary activity of God. God has done marvelous things. He has done some things worth remembering. Remembering His wonderful deeds reminds us of who God is and of who we are in relation to who He is.
In addition to remembering God’s wonderful deeds, we should remember His covenant (v.15-18). Our songs should remind us about the promises of God. Christ Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise that God made to Abraham that through His seed, all nations would be blessed. Thank God for His covenant. When we remember His covenant, we can’t help but remember His promises. The promises make the covenant worth remembering. The promises are worth remembering because God is faithful to His promises.
Lastly, we remember our story (v.19-23). This song that was offered up to God talked about the history of the people of God and how God moved in the lives of His people. Notice that this song was not the song of an individual, it was a song of the people. So often in the church we lose sight of our collective story because we get so caught up in our own personal story. Our singing should have a community focus. It is not about my story, it is not about your story, it is about our story. Furthermore, our story is only relevant because of our God. Our story is only relevant because our story proclaims the good news of His salvation.
A mother’s Influence is undeniable. Mothers establish a connection with their children even before the child is born. Most often, they are the primary caregivers for their children. They are the child’s first teacher.
Mothers impact how their children view family. Mothers define womanhood for their daughters. Christian mothers cannot allow society to define femininity for the women of God. Our culture has confused equality with sameness. Equal pay for equal work and entrance into scientific and technological fields are matters of equality. Equality is a goal worth attaining. Yet although we are equal, we are not the same. Men and women are different. God made us male and female. In fact, the reason why God made woman the way he did was so that she would be different from the man and do for her husband what he could not do for himself. A daughter learns how you treat her future husband and relate to men from her mother’s example. Mothers, how your daughter sees you treat your husband will not only influence how she will treat her husband; it will also influence whether or not she will even want a husband. Some children come to the conclusion that if their marriage is going to be like their parents’ marriage, then they would be better off single.
Mothers influence their daughters’ view of friendship. Young ladies need to know how to be friends with each other. They don’t need to be learning about friendships from the unreal housewives. They need to see the example of their mothers being faithful friends. They need to see that a friend loves at all times and a sister is born for adversity. Thank God for mothers who aren’t fake and phony, but are loyal, consistent, drama-free, loving friends. Thank God for mothers who show their daughters that women can get along with each other.
Mothers influence their daughter’s faith. Obedient faith is critical. What type of Christianity does your daughter see you living? Is it hypocritical or genuine? It is not so much what you say to them that builds their faith, but it is what you live before them. Your faith influences the next generation. Eunice had a faith that was sincere enough that when her daughter Lois saw it, she wanted to experience it for herself. The genuine faith that Eunice passed on to her daughter Lois, was the same faith that Lois passed on to her son Timothy (2 Timothy 1). Thank God for women of God who have made an impact on the daughters and sons of God!
“My eyes fail because of tears; my spirit is greatly troubled; my heart is poured out on the earth because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, when little ones and infants faint in the streets of the city” - Lamentations 2:11 (NASB).
Jeremiah expresses the concern for his people. He is heartbroken because of the sins and destruction that he sees all around him. He cries to the point where he can’t see. He is hurt because youth are losing their lives. He is hurt because people have abandoned God. He hurts because God’s people are not functioning as God’s people.
Many times our tears are shed for ourselves. There is something that we are experiencing in our own lives that moves us to weep. And there is nothing wrong with that. However, when was the last time your spirit was troubled because of what others were experiencing? Have we gotten so accustomed to senseless acts of violence, police shootings, attacks on law enforcement and first responders that we no longer feel compassion in our hearts and brokenness in our souls? Are we so wrapped up in our own lives that we don’t even notice what is going on in the lives of others?
Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.