Independence Day 2016

Freedom-Not-Free--independence-day-825621_960_720pixabayFreedom isn’t free.  It’s a phrase we often hear, so much that it’s become cliche.  But it’s true.

President Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

In the United States, we are blessed to live in a place and at a time where we are free to worship God, and to tell others about Jesus.  Many, many places in the world do not have that same freedom.

But as important as that political and social freedom is, it pales in comparison to the freedom we have that was secured to us by Jesus.

Because of Jesus, we are able to receive forgiveness from God.  This is true, unending freedom.  Forgiveness now and forever.

Freedom to follow Jesus, live like Jesus (as best as we can, anyway), and ultimately spend eternity with Jesus once we experience our Earthly death.

That is true freedom!

Weekend Reads 2014 Thanksgiving Edition

weekend-reads

It’s Thanksgiving Day, a wonderful day for resting, relaxing, eating a traditional Thanksgiving meal (our tradition is Alaskan King crab, in Florida) and watching some football.

But it’s also a great day to do some reading.  And so, I present to you a Special Thanksgiving 2014 Edition of Weekend Reads.  Enjoy!

JD Grear is a well known author and blogger (who also happens to be a pastor).  Since today is Thanksgiving, on the forefront of our minds should be thankfulness, and for me generosity is linked to thankfulness.  Here is a really good read on how the Gospel can change they way we think of generosity.  

Here is a really interesting look at one aspect of simplicity and minimalism:  Why Some Successful People Wear the Same Thing Every Day.

Many of you have never read the Bible.  That’s ok.  Here’s a great place to start:  The entire Bible in 200 words.  If you have read the Bible, or want to read it more faithfully, here is a really excellent article on 9 Things Everyone Should Do When Reading the Bible.  I really enjoyed it.

Tim Challies is a very well known blogger and pastor in Oakville, Ontario Canada.  He was one of the inspirations (along with the Holy Spirit) for me to begin writing about life and faith.  He wrote and excellent article on enjoying our money titled “When Was the Last Time You Just Enjoyed Your Money?”  It reminded me a bit of Ecclesiastes 5:19 which says, “And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.”

Lastly, a really cool video.  I am especially thankful for the men and women in our Armed Forces that protect us from harm.  Here’s a fascinating perspective from the United States Air Force Thunderbirds. 

Most Popular Kindle Bible Passage

stress-philip-4-6-7-_640pixabayIf you ask me, Kindle books are one of the best parts of iPads, tablets, etc.  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I prefer a real book in my hands, but its hard to deny the convenience of electronic books.

Not surprisingly, Amazon doesn’t release much of the data they collect on Kindle books, like purchase, shares, highlights, etc.

However, a recent article in the Atlantic provided a little data about the most highlighted passages of a few books including Pride and Prejudice, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter —  and of most interest to me — the Bible.

The best selling Kindle bible is the NIV translation.  Aand the most highlighted verse?

Drumroll please…..

It’s Philippians 4:6-7.

The NIV translation reads:  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Another really, really good translation of this passage IMHO is the Message:  

6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

It’s the day before Thanksgiving.  Let us replace our fret, replace our worry… with Thanksgiving.  And true thanksgiving comes as a result of faith.  Faith in something bigger than ourselves.

Article link:  The Most Popular Passages in Books, According to Kindle Data
Scripture link:  Philippians 4:6-7
Photo credit:  Pixabay.com

Are We Truly Thankful?

mother-sunset_thankful_1thess5-18_640pixabay

This is Thanksgiving week.

Most of us will spend time with family and friends, sharing a big meal, perhaps watching some football, and hopefully enjoying some time of rest and relaxation.

I hope you have the chance to do that.

And since this is Thanksgiving, I want you to ponder a question about your life.

What if you had today, only that which you were thankful for yesterday?

Scripture link:  1 Thessalonians 5:18
Photo credit:  pixabay.com