And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. (Revelation 12:11)

Today, we take some time to remember all those who have died serving our country in the armed forces. We honor those who have lost their lives on behalf of protecting our nation, and also pray for and bless their families.

Memorial Day is a day set aside to respect and recognize the many lives that have been lost in protecting our rights and freedoms as Americans. Throughout the history of our nation, countless men and women have given their lives- often at a very young age- to uphold the principles that we can sometimes take for granted!  I want to thank the heroes who have lost their lives for their great courage and noble actions– they have loved not their lives even unto death. (Revelation 12:11)

 

Even Unto Death – For His Kingdom

As I am reminded about the sacrifice and selfless courage that men and women have shown in serving the United States, I have also been reflecting on the countless lives that have been laid down for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

For two millennia, men and women all over the planet have literally laid down their lives to follow Jesus. In the early Church, we see disciples of Jesus and others who were killed for their faith- like Stephen the first martyr, stoned to death after testifying to Jesus the Messiah. In the centuries following, many in the Catholic church were martyred, and are today revered as heroes of the faith. 500 years ago, Martin Luther began a movement that has led to many men and women sacrificing everything to boldly proclaim the name of Jesus unto death. Even today, millions continue to follow Jesus in the face of great persecution. In countries like India, for example, choosing the Christian faith can be a matter of life and death.

Despite persecution, the Body of Christ continues to grow! The men and women who have been martyred for their faith are overcomers and incredible examples to us of bravery and great faith. Jesus said He would build His Church and that the gates of hell would not prevail (Matthew 16:18).

 

what does sacrificial love look like?

And love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4: 10)

The men and women who have laid down their lives, either for the sake of the gospel, or even for the sake of their nation, give us a powerful example of sacrifice. Their stories partially reflect the ultimate love that God has demonstrated to us in sending us His Son.  God sacrificed everything for our sake, and in turn, desires that we learn to love one another sacrificially.

Most of us will not become martyrs, but we can honor those who have and follow their example in demonstrating sacrifice. Sacrificial love for one another involves looking not only to our own needs but to the needs of others (Philippians 2:4). It can mean putting aside comfort, laying down pride, or releasing time and finances to serve or help others in need. But fire falls on sacrifice (Leviticus 9:24), and I can assure you that God will bless you- and others- in response.

I encourage you today to reflect on the testimonies of those who have laid down their lives for the sake of our nation and for the sake of the gospel. In their honor, ask the Holy Spirit how He is calling you to love sacrificially today. Allow their sacrifice to inspire you to action!

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Ché Ahn and his wife, Sue, are the Founding Pastors of HRock Church in Pasadena, California. Ché serves as the Founder and President of Harvest International Ministry (HIM) and the International Chancellor of Wagner Leadership Institute (WLI). With a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary, he has played a key role in many strategic outreaches on local, national and international levels. He has written more than a dozen books and travels extensively throughout the world, bringing apostolic insight with an impartation of renewal, healing and evangelism.

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