I have the best of both worlds. I was born and raised in the United States of America, and have now lived in Canada for close to 47 years. My US passport allows me to travel in and out of my birth country as often as I like. My Canadian Permanent Resident Card allows me to enter my adopted country without worry of being turned away.
This week, both of these countries are observing special celebrations. Canada Day on July 1st, and Independence Day on July 4th. Although these celebrations have quite different origins, the countries enjoy the same types of freedoms and liberties. We have the freedom to choose our life’s work and career. We have the freedom to gather together and worship our Saviour. We have the freedom to hold to individual thoughts, beliefs and opinions. We have the freedom to express those opinions while respecting the rights and freedoms of others.
The day that I decided to follow Jesus and accept His forgiveness, I became a Child of God and a Citizen of God’s Kingdom. As a daughter of the King of Kings, I gained additional freedoms and liberties that day. I gained freedom from the punishment for my sin, and I gained the liberty of knowing that my future, though not always easy, is directed by an all knowing and loving God.
Several months ago an acquaintance of mine made a statement that prompted me to study the scripture about our freedom in Christ. I wanted to be sure I was clear on my understanding of just what this freedom means to me, and how it ought to affect my lifestyle.
There are many verses that speak of freedom. One verse speaks of both having freedom, and being a slave.
”As God’s slaves, live as free people, but don’t use your freedom as a way to conceal evil.” 1 Peter 2:16 (HCSB)
Paul writes about lifestyle liberties in his letter to Jesus’ followers living in Corinth.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NIV)
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 1 Corinthians 10:23 ESV
Yes, I may have the “right”, to do what I want to, but I need to keep several things in mind. Is it beneficial to me and to others? Is it constructive? Will it make me a better person? Will this behaviour benefit only me, or will it also help those whose lives I touch?
Above all, I must keep in mind what I read in verse 1 Corinthians 10:31:
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Whatever I choose to do, or say, will it bring Glory to my Creator, Saviour and Lord?
It’s June, and my thoughts automatically turn to my father. Dad passed away on Father’s day morning, June 21, 2009, a bittersweet time in the life of our family. We knew we would miss him terribly, but we also knew he was now in the presence of his Lord and Saviour.
Dad taught me many things. He spent hours teaching me to throw a ball, ride a bike and drive a car. The time he spent with me was special, and it mattered to me.
One phrase that I remember him saying is: “Debi, don’t believe everything you read.”
These words came to mind as I thought about all the conflicting messages we are given throughout a day. Dad gave me that warning years ago referring to the local newspaper which was the main source of daily news at that time. If dad were to warn me today, he would need to include all media. We have media messages assaulting us everywhere. How do we determine what is true? How do we know which products are best, which ideas are true, and which politicians we can believe? We must be diligent and do our research.
One of our daughters faced an important life decision several years ago. I happened to watch Oprah one day and she was addressing the subject our child was facing. The way the subject was handled helped me formulate questions that I could present to our daughter. These were questions that she needed to answer before she could continue in this particular relationship. With God’s guidance, our daughter was able to make the right decision. Oprah’s program helped that day, in that situation, but, Oprah is not always right.
Today we have access to a multitude of people with a variety of philosophies and beliefs. Many of these people have great ideas and helpful tips, but when they begin to approach spiritual areas, we need to have discernment. Remember Satan’s purpose, since his first conversation with Eve, is to present us with lies, and half truths. Through “popular thought” and “modern ideas” he is able to confuse us. No one person is always right, and no one is always wrong. We need to study these things for ourselves. We need to be sure any “new” ideas are in tune with God’s Word. If we spend quality quiet time in His Word, asking Him to show us His truth, He will help us discern real truth.
Before accepting a new idea, be sure to study it in light of all scripture, and seek the council of men and women in whom you see God at work consistently. Remember God’s teaching in Philippians 1:9-11:
“9 And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, 10 so that you can determine what really matters and can be pure and blameless (T) in the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that [comes] through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
Debi Snider... more