Thankful for Freedom

I love that we in America officially kick off our summer, our time to play and relax with family and friends, by first remembering those who have gone before us. We honor those loved ones we knew and those we didn’t know who still gave their lives for our freedom.

mem day

This Memorial Day, I’m especially reminded of those around the world who don’t have the freedoms that we do. They don’t have the liberty to love and serve God, to openly express their faith, to share His truth with others without fear of persecution. Many have lost their earthly lives for standing up for their belief in Jesus Christ.

And yet, here in America, we have the freedom to serve Him every day in every way, and we tend to take it for granted. As President Ronald Reagan said, “I don’t have to tell you how precious gift of freedom is. Every time we hear, watch, or read the news, we are reminded that liberty is a rare commodity in this world.” We are a blessed nation, blessed by God who sacrificed His only Son for us and by the men and women who have sacrificed so much to give us opportunities and freedoms that most people in the world do not have.

God has called us to live in freedom and to use that freedom to serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13). We can’t take that freedom, paid for at such a high price, for granted. This Memorial Day, and every day, we should thank God for His blessing of freedom, thank Him for those who serve to protect our freedom, and ask Him to bless those who don’t have the freedom that we do.

Have a beautiful Memorial Day and remember to thank those who have given so much for you to be able to enjoy it! 🙂


Grace That is Greater

One of those hymns that gets stuck in my head and I sing over and over through the week is “Grace Greater than Our Sin,” by Julia Johnston and Daniel Towner. Towner’s catchy tune makes the song easy to remember, but the words are what lift my heart. It is grace that will “pardon and cleanse within;” it’s grace that is “greater than all our sin.”

Singing that hymn in church this morning struck my heart and made me really think about God’s grace and what an unfathomably marvelous thing it is. Grace, according to the Holman Bible Dictionary is “undeserved acceptance and love received from another…unmerited salvation…grace, favor, mercy….” It is this undeserved acceptance, this unmerited favor that offers us sinners, we people who’ve fallen far short of God’s perfect standard, salvation. Wow! As the Apostle Peter says, “We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 15:11).

The key, however, is that grace is undeserved. God doesn’t put qualifications on His grace for us. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that we are saved by the free gift of God’s grace through faith in Jesus, not by works, so that we can’t boast about saving ourselves or earning our salvation.

Do you think you can earn God’s favor? Do you believe that you can go through your life and do good things—be nice, smile, give money to the poor, help little ladies cross the street, etc., etc.—and somehow do enough to be worthy of God’s love and salvation? How do you know when you’ve done enough good to outweigh the bad?

We can never know for certain that our good deeds stack higher than our bad. Praise God, He doesn’t use works as His measuring stick, for we could never measure up. Praise God that we are saved through His kindness—His grace— and not by good works, because if we could be saved by our good works, grace wouldn’t be what it is—free and undeserved (Romans 11:6).

And now, “May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).