VIDEO Reflections On Memorial Day: The Chasm In The Middle Of The Forum – “Soldiers and Jesus”

Memorial Day isn’t about barbeques, picnics, parades, political speeches or a day off from work.

The Forum in Rome was central to its civic life. It was surrounded by temples, legislative chambers, the marketplace, and other public accommodations.

There is a legend that Rome was once shaken by a mighty earthquake that resulted in a remarkable chasm in the middle of the Forum. The empty space was so deep no one could see the bottom. Citizens brought mammoth stones and mounds of earth to fill it up. Still, no matter how much was thrown in, the crater was only worse than before.

The Senate consulted the oracles of the day, who counseled the void could never be filled until what was most valuable in Rome was cast into it.

“Heed this,” said the augurs. “Your most sacred treasure must be dedicated to the gods if the City is to stand fast.”

And so the people, horror-struck and aghast, rushed to the edge of the great pit and started casting into it their most prized possessions – fine jewels, silver, gold – but to no avail. The cavity was deeper than ever.

Perplexed and agonizing over what step to take next, a noble youth named Marcus Curtius rode forward, armed for battle.

“What is more valuable to Rome,” he cried, “than courage.”  “What is more valuable than a citizen who is willing to give himself for his country?”

All the people stood silent with their eyes fixed on Curtius. As Curtius gallantly surveyed the Forum and its surrounding landscape, he stretched forth his arms toward heaven. Then, with his sword raised in his hand, he spurred his horse and leapt into the enormous gulf.

At once the ground close behind him and neither he or his horse was ever seen again. Everything returned to normal – just as matters were before the earthquake.

War is the mighty chasm in the Forum of nearly every generation. When a nation and its justified interests are threatened by invaders, when its people are killed, when its property is destroyed, there is no choice but to resist – by any means and at any cost. There are some matters more important than life itself. To live underneath the tyrant’s boot can be a form of living death.

One of America’s best theologians was the late Dr. Lorraine Boettner. Many years ago, Boettner shared with me that much of America was under the spell of pacifism before World War II. In 1940 he felt the need to speak truth to this issue in a book he authored, The Christian Attitude Toward War. It turned out his book was strategic in helping prepare the country’s leadership for the world conflict ahead.

In his book, Boettner argued, “Some time we hear it said that all war is wrong – wrong for the defenders as well as for the aggressors – and that even when waged with the sincere purpose of restraining evil, it tends to produce greater evils than those against which it is directed…We are under no illusions that it is a dreadful thing to be engaged in mortal combat with another human being or with another army. But under circumstances that sometimes occur, not only is such combat sanctioned by God, but it is our duty to perform it with all available resources. Conditions may arise in which it becomes our Christian duty to fight or wage war… it is nothing less than criminal to fail to provide our nation with an adequate defense.”

Through the decades, more than 650,000 American airmen, soldiers, and sailors have given in battle what Abraham Lincoln referred to as that “last full measure of devotion.”

Each of them was noble, most of them young, while all of them like Marcus Curtius leapt into war’s hellish hole. Because of their sacrifice the ground closed in behind them. Because of them, life returned to the way things were before – our freedom, our property, and our prosperity preserved.

What could be more valuable to any people?

Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 16:13).

Memorial Day isn’t about barbeques, picnics, parades, political speeches or a day off from work. Instead, it’s observed lest we forget. What an indictment to think we could ever forget. Yet we can and do.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt admonished, “Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.”

Someone once said, “Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.”

On Memorial Day we honor our war dead.

There is another Hero, however, whose mention is not simply an afterthought to these reflections, but the very source of soul and civil liberty. It is imperative to remember this righteous warrior! His name is Jesus Christ.

Christ leapt into that great conflict between good and evil like none before or after Him. By way of the Cross, the blood, the forgiveness of sins, and the sword of His mouth, that yawning abyss, the pit of eternal perdition, closed behind him. But unlike the Roman legend of Marcus Curtius, Christ actually resurrected – reappeared alive again – and now holds within His hands the keys of death and hell.

One day Christ will return to this earth. The Bible says in that hour “He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4). In that day, His City, His Forum, shall be without end.

If we forget Jesus, if we neglect to repent of our sins and place our faith in Him and His atoning work, if we fail to surrender to His lordship now, then we shall surely be lost in the abyss forever.

James Otto “Soldiers and Jesus” memorial day tribute

God with Skin On

God with Skin On

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13

My husband left for a month-long trip, and almost immediately I was overwhelmed by the needs of my job, our house, and our children. A writing deadline loomed. The lawn mower broke. My children were on school break and bored. How would I take care of all of these things on my own?

I soon realized I wasn’t on my own. Friends from church showed up to help. Josh came over to fix my lawn mower. John brought me lunch. Cassidy helped with the laundry. Abi invited my kids over to play with hers so I could get my work done. God worked through each of these friends to provide for me. They were a living picture of the kind of community Paul describes in Romans 12. They loved sincerely (v. 9), considered the needs of others rather than just their own (v. 10), shared with me when I was in need, and showed hospitality (v. 13).

God, thank You for placing us in communities. Help me to look out for others’ needs and to show hospitality.

Because of the love my friends showed to me, I remained “joyful in hope” and “patient in affliction” (v. 12), even the mild affliction of solo parenting for a month. My brothers and sisters in Christ became what one friend calls “God with skin on” for me. They showed me the kind of sincere love we ought to show to everyone, especially those in our community of faith (Galatians 6:10). I hope to be more like them.

God, thank You for placing us in communities. Help me to look out for others’ needs and to show hospitality.

Share your ideas of hospitality at

To whom do I need to be “God with skin on” today?

By Amy Peterson 


The practice of hospitality is a key teaching in the New Testament. Jesus told His disciples to depend on the hospitality of those they ministered to (Matthew 10:11; Luke 10:7–8). Jesus also received hospitality from others (Mark 2:15; 14:3; Luke 7:36). Mary and Martha opened their home to Jesus (Luke 10:38), and this is probably where He stayed each time He came to Jerusalem (see Matthew 21:17). Luke mentioned a group of women who “were helping to support [Jesus and the twelve disciples] out of their own means” (Luke 8:3). The apostle John commended Gaius for his cheerful generosity and loving hospitality because he provided itinerant Bible teachers a place to stay (3 John 1:5–8).

When we lovingly support ministry workers in practical ways, we are their partners in ministry (v. 8). Therefore, Paul urges us, “When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13 nlt). Peter echoed the same sentiment: “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other . . . . Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay” (1 Peter 4:8–9 nlt).

K. T. Sim

Eliminating Doubt

Matthew 21:20-22

As we mature spiritually, we become more solidly rooted in the confidence that God is faithful. But sometimes doubt will creep in and wither our trust. In order not to lose ground, we must act decisively to reduce misgivings. Here are three steps we should take:

1. Recall God’s past faithfulness, and remember His promises. When we devote time to thanking the Lord for His intervention in prior situations, we are reminded of His love and provision. Meditating on promises from Scripture also reassures us that He will continue to meet every need. For example, Psalm 41:12 says that the Father is always present with His children, and His Holy Spirit was given to us for strength and direction (John 16:13; Eph. 3:16).

2. Water your growing faith with God’s Word. When you ask for scriptural guidance, the Lord will direct you to passages that relate to your situation and offer needed emotional and spiritual assurance. Spend time meditating on these verses, prayerfully considering how to apply them to your circumstances.

3. Choose to believe God and His promises. He has proven Himself faithful from the first moment of creation to the present. We are wise to place our confidence in Him.

Developing a sturdy, well-rooted faith requires that we cooperate with the heavenly Father. Our human nature complicates matters by making us vulnerable to doubt. But when we choose to trust God, uncertainty cannot shrink our faith.

God’s Good Pleasure

But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” (Psalm 115:3)

We often raise questions about God’s actions, but He is never obligated to explain to us His reasons. It is enough to know that it pleased Him, for whatever He does is right by definition.

For example, if someone asks why God created the universe, we must answer simply that it was for His “pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11). “Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places” (Psalm 135:6). He does not have to give account to us, for we also were created at His pleasure.

And why did He allow His Son to suffer and die on the cross? Although “he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him” and to “make his soul an offering for sin,” knowing that eventually “the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand” (Isaiah 53:9-10).

We may never be able to understand why God has done this, especially for sinners such as us, but we don’t have to understand. “It pleased God . . . to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21), not them that understand.

We can be sure that God does have perfect reasons for everything He does, and perhaps we shall understand it all in eternity. In the meantime, we are simply (with Paul) to be thankful that “it pleased God, who . . . called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me” (Galatians 1:15-16). He has, in some way beyond comprehension, “predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Ephesians 1:5), and that is enough to know for now. HMM

One thing I know

John 9:24-41

John 9:24

Smooth words, but full of malice; they did not, however, deceive the resolute man to whom they were spoken.

John 9:25

That was enough for him, and he could not be beaten out of it. Surely the man who had opened eyes which had never seen the light before could not be a guilty person.

John 9:26, 27

He turned from his defensive position and warmly assailed his questioners. They were so determined to cavil that he refused to go over his story again.

John 9:30-33

This was splendid reasoning. The man’s eyes were opened in more senses than one.

John 9:34

Railing and persecution are the old arguments of those who are silenced, but refuse to be convinced. We must expect such things just in proportion as our enemies feel the power of our words.

John 9:35

Happy is it for us that Jesus is sure to come to us when we are cast out by men for his sake.

John 9:38

Being no Socinian, the divinity of Jesus was clear to him, and he acted accordingly. If the eyes of Unitarians were opened, they also would worship Jesus.

John 9:39

The process is going on—the wise are made fools, and the fools are made wise. Men who boast of what they know have their folly rendered more conspicuous, while self-distrusting honest-minded confessors of their ignorance are taught of God. Lord, make us to be among those whose eyes rejoice in thy light.

John 9:40, 41

If they really could not see, they might be excused, but, sinning against the light of which they boasted, they were guilty indeed.

To be sung or read


Light of the world, our eyes unseal,

Thy miracles in us recount;

Now on our eyelids place the clay,

And send us to Siloah’s fount.


Light of the world, our praises hear;

Thou hast our darkness turn’d to day.

Though foes may mock, we will not fear,

But all thy glorious work display.


‘Tis no surprising thing

That we should be unknown,

The Jewish world knew not their king,

God’s everlasting Son.


Though we endure the sneer

And jest of wicked men,

We’ll patient wait till Christ appear,

For he will come again.


Be At The Humble Place

All of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility. (1 Peter 5:5)

I have met two classes of Christians; the proud who imagine they are humble, and the humble who are afraid they are proud!

There should be another class: the self-forgetful men and women who leave the whole thing in the hands of Christ and refuse to waste any time trying to make themselves good. They will reach the goal far ahead of the rest.

The truly humble person does not expect to find virtue in himself, and when he finds none he is not disappointed. He knows that any good deed he may do is the result of God’s working within him.

When this belief becomes so much a part of any man or woman that it operates as a kind of unconscious reflex, he or she is released from the burden of trying to live up to the opinion they hold of themselves. They can relax and count upon the Holy Spirit to fulfill the moral law within them.

Let us never forget that the promises of God are made to the humble: the proud man by his pride forfeits every blessing promised to the lowly heart, and from the hand of God he need expect only justice!


As The Life, So the Fruit

“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:8

If we desire to glorify our Lord by fruitfulness we must have certain things within us; for nothing can come out of us which is not first of all within us. We must begin with faith, which is the groundwork of all the virtues; and then diligently add to it virtue, knowledge, temperance, and patience. With these we must have godliness and brotherly love. All these put together will most assuredly cause us to produce, as our life fruit, the clusters of usefulness, and we shall not be mere idle knowers, but real doers of the Word. These holy things must not only be in us, but abound, or we shall be barren. Fruit is the overflow of life, and we must be full before we can flow over.

We have noticed men of considerable parts and opportunities who have never succeeded in doing real good in the conversion of souls; and after close observation we have concluded that they lacked certain graces which are absolutely essential to fruit-bearing. For real usefulness, graces are better than gifts. As the man is, so is his work. If we would do better we must be better. Let the text be a gentle hint to unfruitful professors, and to myself also.


%d bloggers like this: