Thursday, November 22, 2012

It's Not Too Late to be Thankful, Is it? by Linda Maynard

This Thanksgiving Week, we are looking at what we are grateful for.

My list would include knowing the Lord Jesus, my marriage, my family, my home and my church to name a few. I will eternally be grateful to God for the deep blessings in these areas.

 Soon after this past presidential Election, I was ambushed with thoughts with an urgent tone. It was a strong message that resonated deep within my soul.

“Don’t forget to be grateful for the freedoms that you enjoy in America, especially the freedom to worship and the freedom of speech.”

For a long time. The ministry, “The Voice of the Martyrs” had been placed before me. I am going to be honest and tell you that I heard about its existence, but shied away from knowing anything more about it. I suppose it came into the category of ““Well, I can’t support every Christian Ministry and having to do with the fact that I knew their news would not be uplifting "(at least in my eyes at the time) Its reports, from distant countries, seemed far removed from me.
That was my stance, until I signed up to receive a free book “Tortured for Christ”, written by Richard Wurmbrand. Like Fox’s Book of Martyrs, it is a not an easy read.

 Through that offer, I also signed up for the magazine Voice of the Martyrs.

The accounts and their pictures told of horrific tales of believers standing for their faith in Jesus Christ. These men and women and yes even children are modern heroes of faith.

Many live in countries that are more than just intolerant of the Christian Faith, but those who are utterly hostile to it.

Many think it is honorable to rid their areas of Christians. In some countries Christians are referred to as infidels…people to get rid of.

Sometimes they will declare that they are doing so in order to follow the dictates of their own “consciences” by “honoring” their "god(s)"

Babies are still sacrificed in India and thrown into a fire to appease the gods. In India, I think the number of "gods "is in the millions.

In many hostile places, they are neither able to practice their faith nor to speak about it.

I recently became friend with a Chinese college student who is a new Christian. She shared how her friend and she would study the Bible together, but of course these meetings had been clandestine, she also mentioned how the teacher, who told her about the Lord, could have been arrested for proselytizing.

Growing up, I was told not to take things for granted. The message ,more or less, focused on any material things I had acquired.  Taking for granted the blessing of freedom… to practice my faith and express my beliefs openly seemed like a given.

I know there is a word that is thrown around these days and it is entitlement. I would have to say, that was my attitude. I couldn’t really see any reason why these freedoms wouldn’t always be there for me and my family.

When thoughts contrary to that long held belief intruded, I could chase them away…until this past presidential Election.

I don’t want to be among those anymore who think the freedoms that we enjoy in our country are any less, than a God given grace and blessing over our land.

I want to be among those who join with wholeheartedly praying, in the long requested prayer, which has been around the Body of Christ for years.

If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land….2 Chronicles 7:14

A beautiful and favorite patriotic song that I love is God Bless America….It even has more words than we usually sing

While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.
God bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home
God bless America, My home sweet home.

Will you join me in thanking the Lord for blessing America? Will you pray that we all will turn from our wicked ways and humble ourselves before the Lord and ask Him to spare us from wickedness and hostility, such as we have never seen in our lifetime?

In most polls, we will never come out on top but… if we take a lower stance and humble ourselves, God promises to hear our prayers.

 And for that very fact, I am grateful.


1 comment:

Jenna Vick Silliman said...

You are so right, Linda, we are blessed to have the freedom to worship here--for now. This freedom is an awesome gift. We don't know what it is like to not have it. Thankful you pointed this out. Makes me want to start reading Voice of the Martyrs again!