Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Remembering Thanksgiving, Week #2

 Seventeen years or so ago, I went on a short term missionary trip to Mexico. It was fun, interesting, and fulfilling. I saw some areas of Mexico and saw things there that made me realize how good we have it here in the United States. I came back home with a new appreciation and thankfulness for what I have.

  I read at least one devotional every year, and this past year I have been reading the Extreme Devotion. It is full of stories of people who have been persecuted, tortured,  and/or killed for their faith. A lot of these stories take place today in Muslim countries or other countries where Christianity is not tolerated. As I have read these stories I have experienced a few emotions:

Guilt, because I grumble and fret over things that pale in significance to what these people are dealing with.

Fear: I experience some fear realizing we could end up the same situation as we live in times where our government, media, and others are becoming increasingly hostile to Christianity.

Thankfulness: Even though we are starting to face some backlash and light persecution in this country over our biblical stance on homosexuality and abortion, we are still free to worship and attend church without fear of imprisonment or worse.

On week two of this month of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for:

1) Freedom. We are losing some of our freedoms and they are being infringed upon, but we are still freer than many around our globe. And not only do I experience freedom as a United States citizen, I experience spiritual freedom as a child of God, and no government or anyone else can take that away.

2) Church. I have felt disconnected from my church for pretty much the seven years since I moved back to Ohio after living in Indiana for two years. I feel we need more community, at least I need more community.... but it is a good church and I have a great pastor and pastor's wife and Sunday School teacher. It is encouraging to meet with people of like-minded faith, even if you only see them at church.

3) The Bible. There are people in our world who are not allowed to have the Bible and have to hide it. In some places, Christians pass around pages of the Bible to share and read. I have several Bibles in several different translations that I can read any time I want without fear of getting in trouble. And the days of believing I had to read a certain amount of chapters and verses to do my duty as a Christian are gone. I know now it is better to read a verse or two and get something out of it, than to read several chapters and check off the box that I did it.

4) Facebook. It might seem odd to be thankful for something that so many criticize and that can be a problem, but I have made some true friends through Facebook, keep in contact with other friends and family that I wouldn't be in contact with as much otherwise. I have received encouragement and prayer from those I interact with, especially in groups that have people dealing with the same things I deal with.

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