Gratitude Is Borne of Humility

The Bible names an absence of gratitude and humility in its lists of human attitudes in the last days:

2 Timothy 3:1-5   But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

A friend recently emailed me a link to a YouTube video of Kate Smith singing God Bless America.  Few Americans are aware that the introductory stanza of the song includes the following call to gratitude:

“Let us all be grateful for a land so fair

as we raise our voices in a solemn prayer”

According to the Miriam Webster dictionary, gratitude “a feeling of appreciation or thanks”.  But, I would argue that gratitude is different from appreciation, and deeper than thankfulness.

Gratitude requires an acknowledgement of both a need and my own inability to meet that need.

For example, I may appreciate and even be thankful for someone opening a door for me, but since I am fully capable of opening the door for myself, the act won’t necessarily inspire gratitude.

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Freedom and the Sovereignty of God

Constitution PictureIs freedom a right or a privilege? As a citizen, I would say it is a right that must be protected by the government. While it does not originate from the government, it remains the job of the government to protect it.

As a Christian, however, I know that freedom is a privilege granted by our Creator. I have no inherent right to it, any more than I have a right to forgiveness. Both are privileges bestowed in accordance with God’s gracious will.

Our founding fathers called our unalienable right to freedom “God-given” to establish that this right is above and beyond the authority of human government. Government may have the authority to protect the right, but never to unjustly usurp it.

Freedom is eroded as our government continues to insert and assert itself into areas where it does not belong.  As this encroachment intensifies, many grieve at the idea of abandoning the nation’s founding principles..

Perhaps more importantly, the situation presents a burning question: If we, in America, lose the freedoms established in our Constitution, where can a freedom-seeker go?

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The American Christian

Cross And Flag

Americans. We are self-reliant and self-sufficient. We root for the underdog and we fight for justice. We are reluctant to fight, but when reason and diplomacy fail, we will soberly take up our arms—metaphorical or literal—and enter the battle.

We rejoice in that moment when the “good guy,” against seemingly impossible odds, emerges from the battle victorious! Americans believe that with shoulder to wheel and nose to grindstone, our accomplishments are limited only by our imaginations!

We are optimistic, courageous and resolute. It’s in our DNA.

I think Peter, before his encounter with the resurrected Christ, would have made a fantastic American.

When Jesus told Peter that He would be arrested and crucified, Peter’s first response was, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You!” (The American translation is: “Over my dead body!”)

When Jesus forewarned the disciples that they would all fall away and be scattered after His arrest, Peter’s response was typically American here, too. Maybe they will, but not me! Never. “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” (Matthew 26:31-35)

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Salt And Light

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

There are dark days coming. The tone toward Christians and Christianity in this nation has changed dramatically over just the past few decades.

Today, if you proclaim you are a Christian, you will likely be viewed as hateful, bigoted, racist, homophobic and intolerant. Lately, I have even been called these things by people who claim to be Christians!

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Maintaining Christian Perspective In A Fallen World

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