America the Beautiful?

As I was singing “America The Beautiful” in church last night, I was struck by what words didn’t move me to emotion, that usually do, and what lyrics I most concentrated on. When I sang the song, I didn’t feel the pride in our country that I would like to feel, that from a person who served in the military. When I sang “a thoroughfare for freedom beat,” I thought ‘freedom for who and for how much longer?’ Our country advocates freedom for those who would break God’s laws, but for those of us who want to keep God’s moral laws, we are treated like outcasts and accused of hate. Oh yes, we are still free to go to church, but heaven forbid if we speak out against sodomy and abortion, if we as Christians advocate for prayer and the Bible, and if we are not politically correct!

The words that struck me most in this song were “God mend thine every flaw.” Our country has lots of flaws. We live in a society whose moral compass is broken and in need of repair. How long will God shed His grace on us as a country if we ignore His commandments?

I’d much rather think of beautiful, spacious skies, amber waves of grain, purple mountain majesties, and fruited plains than our country’s flaws. But, for mending of those flaws, we must pray fervently so we will continue to be a free country, that our country be pleasing to God once again, and that He may shed His grace on us. Please pray for our country and have a safe Fourth of July, and may He shed His grace on you.

Copyright © 2016 Theresa M. Williams

And lead us not into temptation (OF9)

This phrase can be confusing. We are praying to our Lord, and He never leads us into temptation. So, what’s this phrase all about? Our Lord may, at times, permit Satan to tempt us. I think this part of the Our Father is asking for God’s help and common sense when we are tempted. If we know we are weak in a certain area, then we must do our part in avoiding those situations. For example, in the Bible where King David saw Bathsheba bathing, it should have gone no further. But by continuing to look at her, a beautiful woman, he fell into sin and committed adultery.

In modern times, a man who knows he struggles with pornography knows he needs to avoid strip clubs and adult video stores. He must avoid going anywhere near those types of places, because if he does go there, he is setting himself up for a fall (into sin). This is just one example.

Identify your own weak spot(s). How can you avoid these occasions of sin? The first step is asking God for the grace to avoid them in the first place. Let Him guide you so you can draw closer to Him.

Copyright © 2015 by Theresa M. Williams

A Holy Calling

who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 2 Timothy 1:9 NRSV.  This passage reminds me of Psalm 139:16: In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.

From these passages do you get the idea that God has plans for our lives and that He will give us the grace to do what He asks of us? Have you ever thought about what your ‘holy calling’ is? I believe also that–while there may be some dominant holy calling, holy mission that God asks of us–there are many smaller holy callings. This week I believe my holy calling is to write two different articles for an e-newsletter for a local charity. I have to put some ‘warm fuzzies’ in there and sound persuasive, not something I usually do in my writing. But, I also believe that if God calls me to it, He will lead me through it. I’m sure I will learn a lot this week about this process, and only God knows where all this will eventually lead.

I invite you to share something about one of your holy callings.

Copyright © 2015 by Theresa M. Williams