Saturday was the day that was once called “ARMISTICE DAY”.  It was a day that was originally meant to commemorate the time when, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, in the year 1918, the fighting stopped, and World War 1, which was called “The War To End All Wars”, officially came to an end.

But obviously, World War 1 was NOT the ‘war to end all wars’ since it was soon followed by World War 2, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the War in Grenada, the Gulf War, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and today’s undeclared but truly worldwide War on Terror.

And now Armistice Day has become Veterans Day…and time when we ATTEMPT to pay honor to all the brave men and women who set aside their own safety and personal liberty, and have taken up arms in defense of their nation and their nation’s interests overseas.

Obviously, there is no way we can truly thank these veterans for that service, but we CAN try, and we MUST remember!

Realistically, there is no way we can truly repay those men and women, for the TIME taken out of their lives, or for the PAIN, and the HARDSHIPS, and the TERROR they endured, in defense of their country.

But we CAN petition God our Father, and ask HIM to grant to EACH of them, each of YOU, here today, an extra blessing, and an extra measure of PEACE, to somehow try to compensate for the TIME of war they endured.

In the passage we just read from the Book of Micah, the writer is speaking of a time when God Himself will END all acts of war, and institute a time of uncommon PEACE…but that is a FUTURE time.

For today, we are facing a more INSIDIOUS enemy than we have ever known.  An enemy who is determined to cram his own perverted lifestyle down our unwilling throats.

It’s an enemy who has been so thoroughly indoctrinated with HATE that they have no QUALMS about killing innocent women and children, and who sincerely believe that the very BEST thing that can happen to them, is to DIE on the field of battle.

Faced with an enemy whose only uniform is a burning HATRED for all things wholesome and Godly, we have to understand that we need to keep a constant level of alertness by our military.  But the only way to DEFEAT that enemy, is to turn them over to God, the ONLY TRUE God, Jehovah, the Creator and Sustainer of all.  Those people, God Himself WILL deal with, in His own way, and in His own time.

What WE need to do, as we pause and TRY to offer our GRATITUDE to our veterans, is to make sure that America remains, not ONLY the Land of the Free and the home of the Brave…but also the “Land of the People of God”.

And we need to do that, by recognizing that Jehovah God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, MUST be recognized, and ACCEPTED, AS God, by the majority of the people IN this land.  And I mean an actual, heartfelt acceptance, and not just “LIP-SERVICE”.

And I want to tell you, church, we’re going about that, ALL WRONG!  A little while ago, I was watching a TV program about a high school back East, and one particular parent AT that school, loudly complaining at a meeting of the School Board, by saying “We have GOT to get RELIGION back into the schools”!

And THAT is where we’re going wrong.  The very LAST thing we need, is to try to cram RELIGION, into our nation’s schools!  First of all, WHOSE religion should it BE?  The Christians?  The Muslims?  The Satanists?

And SECONDLY, it’s NOT up to our CHILDREN to restore Almighty God to His rightful place in this nation.  THAT is OUR job!  YOU and ME!  We have to STOP trying to pass OUR duty off to Public School teachers and administrators.

America was once called “The Great Melting Pot”, where people from all sorts of different cultures, and all sorts of different religions, all came together to build ONE nation.  But many OF them brought their OWN RELIGIONS with them, and CLUNG to them, which are NOT compatible WITH one another.

And many OF those people are SO opposed to the exercise of ANY religion OTHER than their OWN, that when they don’t resort to VIOLENCE to get their own way, they turn to the COURTS, and file LAWSUITS, to try to PREVENT that exercise.

In the City of Clermont, Florida…not far from where we lived, was the home of an old tourist attraction called “Citrus Tower”.  Some of you may have even visited there in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.  Well, on the edge of town there was a large water tower, and on the TOP of that tower was a large CROSS.  And that Cross had stood there, atop that tower, visible from the highway, for over 40 years!

And this is in FLORIDA, the very BUCKLE of the Bible Belt, where folks are OPEN and HONEST about their Faith.  But one day, a man who followed a DIFFERENT religion, drove down that road, and SAW that Cross, and claimed to be OFFENDED by it, contacted the ACLU, and instituted a LAWSUIT, which eventually FORCED the City of Clermont to TAKE the Cross DOWN!  It forced the REMOVAL of that DECADES-old symbol…EVEN though the man publically had stated that he never expected to RETURN to Florida, so there was NO chance he’d ever SEE the Cross again.  But he said he now KNEW it was THERE, and claimed to be OFFENDED by that knowledge.

And with people LIKE that, IN the world, it is LUDICROUS to expect that RELIGION could safely be taught IN the schools.  Not only are the three major religions in America frequently at ODDS with each other, Christianity, Judaism and Islam; but there are all those FRINGE religions that would demand equal visibility…things like witchcraft, or Satanism, or the groups that worship TREES, or CRYSTALS, or STARS.  And every ONE of them would DEMAND that THEIR beliefs be granted the SAME rights as all OTHER religions…”IF” religion were to ever be taught in our public school system.

There are also people who have repeatedly attempted to have PRAYER restored in our public schools and they keep petitioning the government to ALLOW that.

There WAS a time in America, when our children WERE free to PRAY in our schools and they prayed to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But Christians sat back, in 1963, and allowed that right to be taken away.

And NOW they want the GOVERNMENT to put it BACK!  And that would be a HORRIBLE mistake.  Because any GOVERNMENT-sponsored prayer would be so INSIPID as to offend NO one…and by that simple statement, I am offended!

No prayer is allowed in the Name of Jesus, since that MIGHT offend someone.  The same is true of JEHOVAH, or YAHWEH, or even the Name, GOD!  Because SOME might prefer ‘goddess’, while others might worship Satan, the enemy OF God.  And others prefer ANIMALS, or CELESTIAL bodies.

Face it, without national revival, Christianity in the schools is a lost cause.  And we need to accept that loss, since it was OUR fault it was removed in the FIRST place.

And we need to accept the fact that IF America is EVER to become a Christian Nation again, it will be because we ADULTS finally quit GROUSING about it, and got back on our knees, and asked GOD to come back and help us.

BUT, THAT is a war of a DIFFERENT kind.  Same CAUSE, but a different CONFLICT.  And our purpose today is to honor those who have participated in SHOOTING wars, or who were in uniform and READY to participate.

And I want to give you some startling information.  Historians have brought this information to light, and they claim that since 3600 B.C., a period of close to 6000 years, the world has only enjoyed complete PEACE, for only 292 OF those 6000 years.

IN that time, 14,353 wars, both large and small, have been, or ARE being waged.  And IN those wars, 3 3/4 BILLION people have been killed.  That is more than HALF of the present population of the world today!

And they claim the value of the property that has been lost or destroyed during those wars, is the equivalent of a band of pure gold, circling the Earth at the equator, that is 95 miles wide, and 30 feet deep.  And just one OUNCE of gold today is worth something like $1,500.  But that changes every day.

Since 650 B.C., the time when the world transitioned from the GREEK to the ROMAN Empire, 1,656 ARMS RACES have occurred, only 16 of which did NOT result in war.  The remainder resulted in the economic collapse of one or both of the nations involved.  The former USSR being the last example.

It is absolutely amazing that we CLAIM to serve a God of PEACE, and yet we have such a tremendous capacity for CONFLICT!

Right now, according to the Dallas Morning News, and NOT counting the current wars on DRUGS or TERROR, there are 19 wars being waged around the world.  MOST of them involve GOVERNMENTS killing their OWN people, in disputes over LAND or RELIGION.  IN those 19 wars, some 3 MILLION people have been killed, 90% of them innocent civilians.

Technically, “WAR” is defined as any conflict in which 1000 lives are lost in a single year.  One of the BLOODIEST conflicts, which we never HEAR about, is being waged in Guatemala, and has accounted for the deaths of 250,000 people since 1966.

And vicious DRUG WARS being waged in Latin America, are a direct result of THIS nation’s insatiable appetite for illegal drugs.  But that report in the Dallas newspaper didn’t mention the numerous GANG wars being waged, mostly OVER the drug trade, in THIS country, that claim 20,000 lives EACH year.

And it didn’t mention all the people killing other people, in the name of religion, in Israel, or Northern Ireland.  Or the ‘civil war’ going on in the Sudan, for over 35 years, where half a million people have starved to death, because OF that war.

And now, I have given you all this information concerning conflicts both PAST and PRESENT, but I haven’t even mentioned the most important of ALL conflicts, “the one SINGLE conflict that is RESPONSIBLE for all the REST of them.

In the 1st chapter of Genesis we find the account of WHAT God DID, but NOT “HOW” He did it.  But we know that He created the Heavens and the Earth, and that, AFTER doing that, He said “Let there be LIGHT”.  And then He DIVIDED that Light FROM the darkness which was ALREADY here, on Earth.  And most people, when they hear that, think of PHYSICAL light, such as the world is flooded with right now.  Light such as these LAMPS above us are producing right now.

But that isn’t true.  All sources of PHYSICAL light weren’t created until the FOURTH day.  What is spoken of in Genesis 1:3, is the SAME Light that we see LATER, in the Gospel of John, chapter 1: verse 5.

In those verses John introduces the concept that, Biblically, “LIGHT” represents “GOODNESS” and “PURITY”, the characteristics of GOD…while the DARKNESS represents EVIL and CORRUPTION, the characteristics of SATAN, the ENEMY and the DESTROYER.  The one who does NOT want YOU to ENJOY the GOODNESS of God, since HE can’t!

And in THAT, you have the BASIC, ROOT causes of ALL conflicts this Earth has ever experienced, or ever WILL experience!  We are engaged in a conflict between GOOD and EVIL.  And that conflict will continue, until the very NEXT event on God’s cosmic calendar occurs.  That’s the event we in the church refer to as the RAPTURE OF the church.

There is coming a time, and probably very soon, when the “Grapes of Gall”, which we read about in the Book of Deuteronomy, are going to be PRESSED OUT, and their POISON will flow across the whole Earth, in what truly WILL Be, “The War To End All Wars”…when God Himself will fight against the “sons of men” and the “lovers of darkness”.

THAT war will last for SEVEN years…and will conclude, when JESUS, MESSIAH, RETURNS to Earth, to establish HIS Kingdom, and to RULE and REIGN for 1000 years.

In the last 6000 years of human history, the Earth has enjoyed true peace for less than 300 years.  JESUS will Reign in peace for 1000 years.  And then He will bring about an END, by RELEASING Satan from his pit, and turning him lose on the Earth, before DESTROYING him FOREVER by tossing him into a Lake of Fire…and with THAT, the CAUSE of ALL conflicts will FINALLY be GONE.

Now, I’m telling you all this, even though you already KNOW it, because WHEN this happens, we who now ARE Children of God, will NOT BE here!

While utter destruction befalls the Earth, WE will already be IN Heaven, at the WEDDING FEAST of the Lamb of God.  And if you want to read MORE about that, read the 4th chapter of 1st Thessalonians.

You who are here this morning as veterans, are really here as VICTIMS of the CONFLICTS that have been brought about by the ENEMY of all mankind.  BUT fortunately, while man has an ENEMY, we ALSO have a Heavenly FRIEND and PROTECTOR.  We have a GOD Who loves us even MORE than that ENEMY hates us.

In fact He loves us SO much that He GAVE His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever BELIEVES in Him, should NOT perish, but have everlasting LIFE!

And this marks the third week in a row that I have reminded you of that SIMPLE, yet INCREDIBLE Truth, that God LOVES YOU SO much, He gave up the most PRECIOUS thing in all the UNIVERSE, His Own SON, just so YOU could be SAVED.  The GIVING of that Son is an event we usually commemorate on the 25th day of December, about six weeks from now.

Very soon it will be Thanksgiving Day and we’ll all pause in our so busy schedules and offer prayers of gratitude to God for the ABUNDANT GOODNESS He has given us.  And THEN we will look forward to CHRISTMAS and the Birth of God’s Son.

So it’s not too early for me to ask you to look at Christmas a little differently this year.

Go ahead and buy gifts for all your loved ones.  Go ahead and trim a tree with lights and sparkles.  But I’d like you to also take time to remember this.  The SAME God Who once said “Let there be light!”…has now also said “IT IS FINISHED”!

And the END that He spoke of…and you understand, since He has told us in Genesis 1:1 that there WAS a ‘beginning’, then there will ALSO be an ENDING!  And that ending is coming AT us, right NOW, like a runaway freight train!  It is coming QUICKLY, and there is NOTHING on EARTH that can STOP it!

All of you who have fought and suffered in your service to our country, we THANK you, we SALUTE you!  But never forget, while THOSE conflicts may be OVER, we are STILL engaged in ANOTHER conflict, and IT has ETERNAL consequences.

The battle of GOOD versus EVIL, of LIGHT against DARKNESS…is still going on…and “IT” is the basis for all OTHER conflicts.  Nearly 4 BILLION people have DIED in history’s wars.  How MANY of them died, without EVER having heard that there is a TRUE God Who loves them, and wants them to be saved?

And how many people has God put in YOUR path, and trusted YOU to TELL them that?  And how many of them did you actually SHARE the GOOD NEWS with?

The TIME is short…the FIELDS are RIPE and READY for Harvest.  We who have been saved By the Blood of Calvary, have a responsibility to be out IN that field, winning souls for Jesus…and doing that before it is everlastingly TOO late!

I told you earlier about how so many people are coming up with the noting that “we have to get RELIGION in our schools”, and “we have to get prayer back in our schools”.  But I’ll tell you again, THAT is WRONG!  What we need to DO is get prayer and religion back in our CHURCHES!  For way too long the churches have been all about SIZE…BIGNESS.  I want them to be about JESUS!

The world today seems intent on tearing itself apart.  There are conflicts going on EVERYwhere, it seems.  But as we get closer and closer to the time when Christ will call His Bride home, and the Church is then taken OUT of the world, and the ONLY thing keeping PURE EVIL in ANY sort of CHECK, is GONE…ALL the combined conflicts of the PAST, will seem TAME by comparison.

So what do we do?

Napoleon Bonaparte said…”Battles are not won by MEN, but by A MAN”!  And he was right in more ways than one.  Victories are won, NOT by CHRISTIANS, but by CHRIST!  And it is OUR privilege, and our JOY, to SHARE in HIS victory!

Think of the BASEBALL FAN…jumping up and down at the conclusion of the WORLD SERIES…saying “We WON!  We WON”!  He wasn’t a part of the winning TEAM.  He probably didn’t even live in the CITY the winning team was FROM!  But he had “CLAIMED” that team as “HIS”, and THEIR victory was HIS victory, too!

And WE can do the SAME thing!  We can shout “HE WON”, over the VICTORY that JESUS made, on CALVARY, some 2000 years ago!  And we can look ahead in TIME, to the FINAL battle…to the ULTIMATE battle…to what will TRULY BE the “War To End All Wars”!  And with Jesus as OUR Lord, HIS victory THEN, will be OUR victory TOO!  And we can shout “We WON”!

But before ANY of that can happen to YOU…you have to make sure that YOU have “CLAIMED” the WINNING side…that YOU have claimed JESUS as YOUR Lord…and that is an EASY thing to DO, once you reach the point where you can put your PRIDE aside!

What everything boils DOWN to is the battle for YOUR soul.  And the DEVIL wants to DESTROY it in the Lake of Fire that burns forever.  And JESUS wants to SAVE it, in a GLORIOUS place called HEAVEN!  And YOU get to pick which side will WIN!  Have YOU chosen the RIGHT side yet?