FOOTSTEPS TO FOLLOW
“O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountains majesties above thy fruited plain! America! America! God shed His grace on thee and crowned thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.”
– Poem composed by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893 while riding a train through a state in America.
America still is beautiful, and God’s grace continues to be sufficient for mankind. However, when we look out on this beautiful America with our natural eyes, we see a decline in the beauty of America.
Our cities, towns, and neighborhoods are laden with poverty, poor school systems, racism, drug addiction, teenage pregnancy, homelessness … and the list goes on. We become discouraged when we think about the condition of the world; and to further top things off, we hear and see the news reports of violence and the recent natural disasters caused by tornadoes, heavy rains, snow and out-of-control fires. These natural disasters have caused many to lose their lives and life possessions. People are devastated by the loss of loved ones and their life possessions. But there is hope in the reassurance that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
If we could stop and take the time to look at the world and America through the eyes of our Savior Jesus Christ, the beauty of life would be restored.
Jesus sees the world as hopeful and beautiful. In the book of Genesis, after God would create something, he would look and say that it was “good.” God does not change. If His creation was good during creation, it still is good today, for when we see things as Christ sees things, the world is beautiful.
Life is wonderful through the eyes of Christ. In John 10:10 the scripture reads, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
Christ does not want us to lose our hope for a beautiful life and a beautiful world. When we read the above scripture, we can take Christ at his word and know that in his eyesight life can be overflowing with love, beauty, kindness and goodness. However, the thief that is mentioned is the “devil,” the evil one. The devil would like to cloud our spiritual eyes with all of the ugly things of the world and have us think that there is no hope. The devil desires to steal our joy, self-confidence, kill our influence and our love for life and our trust in God. He also would like to destroy our faith and trust in a God that loves us so much that he sent his only son to die for the sin of the world (John 3:16).
Today let’s begin to look at life and this world through the eyes of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let’s begin to fuel our spiritual eyes with the wisdom and love of God so that we can truly sing “America the Beautiful: God shed his grace on thee and crowned thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!”
– Anderson is the co-pastor at Love Unlimited Ministries in Williamsport.
FOOTSTEPS TO FOLLOW
So much chaos, deception, rebellion and the seeking of your own gratification are running rampant. Everything today is done by how you feel. It’s a “do as you please” society. In a world full of sin, we as Christians need to stand out. But one might ask,”How do I do that?”
My answer to this is to allow the light of Jesus Christ to shine through you so that you can stand for righteousness and boldness in a world filled with darkness. We must remember that we are in this world, but we are not of this world. The Lord has set us apart for his glory and his purposes to be used by Him. If we allow the world to use us, we then separate ourselves from our blessings, our victories, and, simply, the things that God has intended for us to have.
I’ve learned as a child of God and a daughter of Christ that there are just some things that we cannot do. I remember a point in my life when I was lukewarm. I knew that I was in sin, but I failed to adhere to the voice of the Lord. I was gratifying my flesh instead of pleasing the Lord. A wake-up call was needed to snap me back to action. This wake-up call came and took me by surprise. In the midst of my trials and tribulations, I cried out to the Lord in repentance and told him that I wanted all of him. I wanted to fully be that light. I didn’t want to be “dim” any longer.
Psalm 51: 10 states, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” I was so thankful for his grace and his mercy upon me, for now I am walking in my calling and letting him use me for his glory. 2 Samuel 22:29 states, “You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light. Again, it’s about shining our light into a world full of darkness so others will begin to follow Christ as we follow him. We shouldn’t want to hang with just “anybody,” or think that we can do just “anything.” This causes us to settle and become stagnant. Additionally, we don’t want to be around people who are going to dull us out spiritually and will cause us to lose our focus in doing the work of The Lord.
Now, however, just because we are Christians doesn’t mean we can’t still treat those who are of the world with love. We still have to reach out to the lost. We still have to show the love of Christ, BUT we must know that not everyone is for us. We need to try the spirit by the spirit (1 John 4:1). In all, we all should strive daily to walk with the light of Christ. We should keep our feet firmly planted and be true leaders so others will want to follow our good examples as daughters and sons of the King.
His light is forever a guide for my life, and it can be a guide for your life as well to eliminate darkness and provide the direction we need for the rest of our days.
– Blanton is a member at The Door Fellowship in Williamsport.
FOOTSTEPS TO FOLLOW
The United States of America is a great nation. We have been preserved for many years by God, have grown in numbers, wealth and power. Most of us who were fortunate enough to be born and to live in America have been richly blessed. We are blessed with freedom that breeds opportunity. However, there are many who believe our nation and freedoms are in danger, that our wealth and surplus have made us soft and haughty. They believe too many take all that we have for granted. They think we are not properly grateful and appreciative for all our blessings.
If we are to preserve that which we have, then this question becomes increasingly important: What makes a nation great?
Citizens living sacrificially make a nation great.
Greatness comes when persons reach out to seek a better life for the good of all.
Greatness comes when persons are not self-serving but want a better world for all. We need strong homes, family relationships and God-centered citizens who reach out in love. We need schools that teach strong morals, that teach values that make and will keep the people of this nation strong.
A NATION BECOMES GREAT WHEN ITS CITIZENS ARE RIGHTEOUS.
Proverbs (14:34) says, “Righteousness exalts (brings praise) to a nation: but sin reproaches it.” More than one great nation has been brought down to destruction in the wake of their own sin and unrighteousness.
We can see some of the stumbling blocks that lie before us and threaten American even today. The weakening of moral and ethical values is seen all around us.
Many are irreverent and do not value or respect the rights and worth of those around them while expecting complete tolerance for themselves and their beliefs. Sadly, there are those millions who profess a belief-faith in God, in Christ Jesus-but literally ignore Him in their thinking, planning and everyday living. For these persons, God is put on each Sunday morning and then hung in a closet out of the way the rest of the week.
Lust and paranoia drive many who find it easy to excuse their bad actions and seek approval for their sin-and friends, we can give it any name we want to, but SIN is SIN. The 10 Commandments are not suggestions. They are God’s commandments to be obeyed and respected. This leads us to seeking freedom under the law. But, the law is no better than those who make, execute, and interpret it while supported by the people who have confidence in that law. It goes back to the individual and the fact that the law cannot eradicate fear or give people the full freedom for which they yearn.
GREATNESS COMES WITH RIGHT HEARTS AND RIGHT LIVING, A nation under God.
If we want freedom, we must seek it in the only place it can be found-not in force, however strong, not in the law, however good; but in faith that expresses itself in love. John writes (I John 4: 18), “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” Yes, where there is no fear there is freedom-freedom undergirded in perfect love.
May God bless us everyone. Thanks be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for He has done great things.
– Yeagle-Hungerford is a retired American Baptist pastor who lives in Montoursville.