Freedom and Basic Gratitude
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Like a mother entering the last stages of labor, earthquakes are contracting the earth along fault lines. Tensions are rising between Middle Eastern nations, Europe and Russia, China and the West, and the United States and the whole world.
Before momentous upheavals, there are often signs—when a volcano is about to explode, for example, seismic activity increases. In the human realm tensions, economic crises, threats of war and striving for power increase.
After a tragedy like the recent plane crash near Smolensk, Russia, that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski and much of the Polish government, instability follows, and a power vacuum looms. When this happens in Europe—watch out! The two previous world wars began under such conditions. To learn more, read "Why Understand Prophecy?"
Un-dooming the gloom
I can't do much about these gloomy tidings on an individual level. However, no matter how bad things get I can always be thankful, so I tried an experiment.
I mentally rehearsed all the things for which I was able to thank God. Somehow I started with the goodies—computer, opportunities to travel, enjoyable extras, clothes of my choice. Then I realized I was merely being grateful for the frosting on the cake! There was another layer that went unnoticed and without which all the frosting would be meaningless.
So, to my list I added indoor plumbing, electricity, comfortable home, fresh food and the other physical blessings that I have enjoyed since birth in my American homeland. It isn't surprising that those who have grown up with seemingly endless abundance are often ungrateful for it. What is normal from birth goes unnoticed until deprivation makes it merely a golden memory.
Deeper still is something that gives meaning to the physical blessings—freedom. Blessed with freedom of movement, I am able to leave my house and go where I please without reporting to someone or being stopped. With the freedoms of religion and of assembly I can, as yet, worship God openly in peace and meet together with others of like faith.
In 1320, in the Declaration of Arbroath, Scotland, it was stated this way: "It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we fight, but for freedom alone, which no honest man gives up except with his life."
For the Scots, their search for freedom was a physical fight. For us it's a spiritual battle to daily abide by God's way, keep His seventh-day Sabbath and annual Holy Sabbaths, and to let His law of freedom be written on our hearts.
God gives us these blessings and He also takes them away, as it suits His purpose. Now is the time to show basic gratitude for the many freedoms we still enjoy in whatever part of the planet we call home.
To value what we have and thank God for it is to show respect for God. No matter the state of the world, our citizenship in God's eternal Kingdom can never be taken away by man—this is the most precious freedom of all! VT