For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.  A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.  Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4

 

       On Monday we celebrated our country’s 246th birthday.  In was on July 4, 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was ratified by the Second Continental Congress which established the United States of America.  I am thankful to be an American and live in the USA.  We certainly have our share of challenges and disagreements, but I sure appreciate the freedoms we have to worship along with so many other benefits we enjoy in America.  I’m thankful for all who have gone before us to help provide for and defend our many freedoms. 

       On Monday, I had the privilege of holding my grandson, Aiden, for the first time.  Wow!  He is a good looking little fellow and it sure is special to hold a grandson in your arms and just stare at him with much gratitude in your heart.  Children and grandchildren are such blessings.  After coming home filled with joy, I turned the TV on and heard about the mass shooting (seven killed and many more were injured) at a July 4th parade in Highland Park, Illinois.  Our joy can quickly turn into mourning when we see such evil acts around us.  Last week, three police officers in Allen, Kentucky were killed while trying to serve a warrant.  We mourn for all those who have been affected by these horrendous murders.

       The majority of human suffering comes from the hands of other humans.  As sinful people, we are capable of such evil.  Because we live in a cursed and fallen world, we expect environmental disasters and even diseases to come against us.  However, it is hard to comprehend the evil that is sometimes manifested from other humans.  The Bible tells us that man has a sinful nature, many walk in darkness, and we are tempted by the desires of our flesh and the devil.  Until Jesus comes to establish His kingdom, we must endure such evil. 

       When we see evil around us, we should quickly realize the need for the gospel.  We have the solution (gospel) to the world’s greatest need (lostness).  I believe that through the saving power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, hearts can be transformed and people can put off the works of the flesh (like murder) and walk in the Spirit.  The fruit of the Spirit is much different (love, joy, peace, patience kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control).  While I am pretty neutral on gun laws, I don’t think we can legislate morality and I doubt that stricter gun laws will prevent people from doing evil to one another.  I’m not interested in arguing the politics of gun laws, but I am certain that Jesus is able to change lives. 

       As we celebrate another year for America, let us be committed to praying for our country.  On a national level, we should pray for our President, Vice-President, legislatures, and judges.  We should pray for our military and our military leaders.  On a state level, we should pray for our Governor, legislatures and judges.  We should also be praying for our local leaders all the way down to our local school board members.  Have you been praying for our leaders?  Not only should we pray, we should get involved and let our voices be heard in relationship to our Christian values.  The United States is a representative democracy which means that we elect officials to vote on laws and policies on our behalf.  As Christians, our values should be aligned with those of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

       We long for the day when Jesus returns and establishes His eternal kingdom.  There will be no more evil, disasters, or diseases in His kingdom.  Until His kingdom comes in full, we are to be salt and light in our world.  Who do you need to share the gospel with this week?  Are you still praying for your “One?”  Have you had any gospel conversations with him/her lately?   

 

Bro. Harold