1. Today is the start of the Memorial Day weekend ... also recognized as the unofficial start to summer. Community pools will be opening. Grills will be cooking. Bands will be marching in community parades. So how did this holiday get its start? Here's a bit from the History Channel's website:
On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed.
The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.
Decoration Day eventually became known as Memorial Day. In 1968, the U.S. Congress passed a law designating Memorial Day as a federal holiday and moving it to the last Monday in May (from May 30th, its traditional date). This law went into effect in 1971.
So in the midst of all of our family cookouts and trips to the ball park (or however you will choose to spend your time), let's not forget the purpose of the holiday. It is a day to remember the men and women who gave their lives in service for our country. We are free today because of their sacrifice.
But let us also remember the One who also gave his life so that we might be free: Jesus Christ, God's Son and our Savior. His substitutionary death on the cross is one we should and must remember EVERY SINGLE DAY! For without his sacrifice, we would be without God and therefore without hope - for this life and the life to come!
2. On Wednesday evening my wife and I were treated to a rare sight. As we pulled into the parking lot of a local restaurant to meet up with some friends, we were greeted by a group of about forty horseless carriages which filled a large section of the lot. Now a horseless carriage is an automobile built before 1916. And some of these horseless carriages were downright groovy to the max (now there is an expression from my past!). I cannot imagine the stir these contraptions must have caused in their day. A day in which you had to have a horse to pull your carriage! But wait ... there goes a carriage with NO horse! But the horse is not totally absent in these early autos. The power of the engines which drove them was measured by horsepower. So if it were a ten horsepower engine, it
had the pulling power of ten horses. So where did this use of the term "horsepower" come from? We can thank James Watt for it (he is the guy whose name appears on our light bulbs!). When he was marketing his steam engines, he had to find a way to express their power. So he did so by equating the power of his engines to the power of horses. Since most people were familiar with horses and what they could do, they could then understand just how powerful this new invention was. And, of course, the term "horsepower" is still used today.
Over a century later, today's "horseless carriages" have a lot more horsepower under the hood (on average, today's mid sized cars run from 170-190 hp with turbo options that can push 300 hp - compare this with Henry Ford's first auto which featured a whopping 4 hp!). And whereas in 1900 there were only 8,000 autos registered in the United States, today over 263 million crowd our streets and highways! So yes - the times have changed! And in many more ways than just how we get from point A to point B!
In the midst of all this change, it is quite a comfort to me to know that there is one unchanging constant in my life. God. He never changes (James 1:17; Hebrews 13:8). He is THE constant presence in our lives upon which we can count. He will always be there for us (Hebrews 13:5-6). So we can be content in our circumstances and unflinching in the storms of life.
My friend, I encourage you to take a moment and check out Two Ways to Live: The Choice We All Face. And make the choice today to lean on the God whose love for you in Christ will never ... ever stand you up!
Thanks for stopping by . . .