Building Hope: Happy Independence Month

It is by the grace of God* that we live here in the United States of America.  Have you ever thought about that?  There is no reason you could not have been raised in China, oppressed in Russia, starving in Bangladesh, or living in an Afghan refugee site.  It always amazes me when I think about that possibility.  I am always filled with deep gratitude this time of year, when it becomes a true celebration of our nation and our freedoms during July.   In this great country, we experience freedoms that millions of people can only dream about.  The greatest freedom of which is to express our love and faith in the Lord and Savior of the world!

Are you making the decision to exercise that God-given right in this country, or do you maintain political correctness at most times?
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort those who mourn and provide for those who grieve. (Isaiah 61:1-3)

My friends, we are far too complacent! It requires energy and effort to do the aforementioned written by the prophet Isaiah.  Our day gets in the way: sick kids, jobs to do, groceries to purchase and prepare, beds to make, floors to clean, lunches to make, bills to pay, errands to run, chauffeuring people from place to place, and don’t even get me started on the time it takes to prepare ourselves as we get older!

But to make that decision for Christ-centered living, we must CHOOSE to act.

As much as we complain or listen to others complain about the injustices here in the United States, it is by far a blessing beyond measure to be here.  Civil unrest, strife, famine, sickness, and war permeate much of this world.  Here, however, we have a lot of freedoms and much to be grateful for.  There are options awaiting us at every turn.
“For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance–now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” (Hebrews 9:15)

We do have choices.  God has ensured when He created man, that we would have the freedom to make choices.  Since the fall in the Garden, we have witnessed the consequences of poor choices ever since.

I am often perplexed by the choices we make; the consequences of those choices, and how God can use our ill-advised choice at times for the benefit of someone, something, or some specific time.  It is most likely that each of you have had personal experiences which reflect yours or another’s poor choices.  I ask you to stop and ponder them for a few moments.   Then think about this:  God wants us to stop and meditate on His will for us in every situation.  He wants to bless us, and we need to work with Him to ensure that those plans He has for us can come to fruition.  Of course, He can make it happen, but wouldn’t it be easier if we went alongside Him? His Word makes clear the direction we should go.  We must be obedient and surrender to that direction; however, it is our nature that succumbs to the enemy’s prompting to choose the wrong path at times.  Allow the Lord to bless you abundantly by including Him in your decision making situations.

“Who, then, are those who fear the Lord?

He will instruct them in the ways they should choose. They will spend their days in prosperity, and their descendants will inherit the land.” (Psalm25:12-13)
Here are a few scriptures to tuck away in your heart on the act of “choosing wisely”:

•    “Do not envy the violent or choose any of their ways.” (Proverbs 3:31)
•    “Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold.” (Proverbs 8:9-11)  (Also check out the whole chapter of Proverbs 8).
•    “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” (Proverbs 12:26)
•    “Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” (John 7:17)

Every year on July 4th, America remembers its freedom from British rule, but as citizens of heaven who are only incidentally American citizens, we have even more significant liberty to celebrate.

We have freedom from bondage, shame, legalism, our past, and our sins, which are covered by the blood He shed to cover us.
Freedom to CHOOSE Wisely!

“But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.  Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.  But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”  (2 Corinthians 3:14-17)

Praying you will choose wisely today, and may God bless and keep you under His wings. May He enable you to be protected by them and soar on them wherever He leads you today!

Much Love,
Anna Marie
*Definition: Grace is God’s unmerited favor. It is kindness from God we don’t deserve. There is nothing we have done, nor can ever do to earn this favor. It is a gift from God. Grace is divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration (rebirth) or sanctification; a virtue coming from God; a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine favor.
(Grace by Mary Fairchild, Guide)

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