Thanksgiving. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you read or hear that word? Is it a day, a family meal, or perhaps a specific menu of foods? Is it an attitude that comes and goes based on how you feel? Or is it a way of life which flows from you regardless of your circumstances? These devotions I will be sharing this month were originally written throughout November 2019 and then edited/updated during the summer of 2020 for a 31 day devotional journal, “The Heart of Thanksgiving: Living a Life of Thankfulness”. I will be re-sharing them here this month to encourage each of us to pursue a greater spirit of thankfulness in all we do.
Here is day eleven with an important reminder that living with a heart of thanksgiving should cause us to be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy in this world and for the freedom we have in Christ.
Thankful For Freedom
“Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.”
1 Peter 2 16-17 (NIV)
While I acknowledge a reader base that is spread out around the world, I do live in a country that has set aside a day to honor our veterans so it is only right that the theme of a post written on Veterans Day is a big “Thank You!” to those who have served their country.
I am grateful for the various levels of freedom I have and pray that I would not take those freedoms for granted nor use them to mistreat others. While my real and lasting freedom comes through the sacrifice of Jesus and His willingness to seek and save that which was lost, I have many day to day freedoms that have been obtained and protected by people, including those who have served in the United States military.
Over the years, many men and women have sacrificed much, some their very lives, to secure and maintain freedoms that do not exist in many other parts of the world. Whether serving by choice or by draft; whether in time of active war, conflict, or peace; whether front lines or support staff; I am thankful for each one that has extended the lifespan and value of the freedoms to be found in this country. While I fear that many have begun to turn their freedom into a “cover-up for evil”, their doing so doesn’t diminish my thankfulness that I can use that same freedom for doing good.
So, on this Veterans Day 2019, I pause to say thank you to all who have served your fellow Americans as a member of the U.S. military. I pray that this nation’s gratitude would increase and flow beyond a single day of recognition. As one who can only imagine in broad terms the scope of what many veterans have experienced in detail, it seems that a simple thank you isn’t nearly enough. I pray that we as individuals, and we as a nation, would rise up and say with our actions as well as our words, “thank you for serving.” I pray that those who have experienced the horrors of war, regardless of what fancy name the politicians may have chosen to give it, would receive the true thanks of a nation — a thanks that is expressed by helping them through the turmoil that remains in their mind.
As you pray, ask God to help you be more thankful for the freedoms which are often taken for granted. Pray that the freedom you have in Christ and the freedom you have in this world would be used for His glory.
As I say thank you to those who have served in this nation’s military, I pray for the day when wars will cease and all who are in Christ will find peace and rest in Him throughout eternity.