As I prepare for church this and every Sunday morning, I always take a moment to reflect on the past week. Some weeks I am very heartened and other weeks I am less optimistic, but I always try to use what has happened to find reasons for hope for our future. I think the passage in Romans which I quoted at the outset is a good reminder of just how important hope is, and I am very thankful for several wonderful signs of hope that we have seen this past week.
Hope doesn't mean that we won't suffer sometimes, but hope does give us strength to be patient through troubled times and to offer prayer for God regularly for His help and guidance. After all, He is always nearby to guide us and He awaits our call. And maybe, just maybe, we are all waking up to the importance of our freedoms and how we must stop them from slipping away. One of the most critical, of course, is our freedom of religion and it is a freedom that, if lost, will result in many of us losing our way. If we have hope and work hard for the "prize", always remembering to talk with Our Father for guidance, He will never let us down.
Strength and determination are required of all Christians and we must dedicate ourselves to being modern day Apostles for Jesus Christ, witnessing for Him and spreading His Gospel to all of our fellow men. Won't you join me in prayer? Let's thank God for the hope that He brings and pray for the courage and strength to stay the course with and for Him.
Dear Heavenly Father, We come to you today with renewed hope in our ability to return our beloved nation to the course upon which it was founded: freedom from tyranny and devotion to Thee. This has been a good week for those of us who declare ourselves as traditional Christians, those who follow the word of the Bible and its pronouncements of Thy teachings. Many good things have happened and they give us joy and help us stay our course. And we know that all of these things only happened because of strong and devoted Christian believers and Thy will.
Three nationally-noticed things happened in America this week, Lord, that especially captured our attention and showed us that many good Americans are standing up for individual freedom. The huge throng of motorcyclists, waving American flags from their bikes and behaving in very good form as they traversed the street of our Capitol City were one. Then the voters of Colorado, the good law abiding citizens that they are, took a stand for our Constitution and our freedoms, one that has reverberated nationwide. Finally, an outspoken showman and rock star known for his wild dress and music came out strongly on behalf of a young Christian athlete and the freedom to worship as we choose. Many of us think these are signs of Americans yearning for something we are in danger of losing and we thank Thee for giving different and diverse people the spirit and courage to stand up.
We know, Lord, that maintaining our freedom is critical to our ability to worship Thee effectively. We also know that this freedom is a gift, for freedom carries with it the option of making choices, choices which can be good or they can be poor. But with the free will that Thou hast given us, the ability of each of us to choose gives us the potential for limitless joy if we use it correctly. We choose Thee, Lord, knowing that in doing so we will be afforded the opportunity to gain eternity with Thee when this life is done. And we also know that following Thy rules and requirements can be most difficult and challenging, for the fallen one is always looking to tempt us to do things differently. Be with us and give us the courage to fight him off, no matter how tempting the offer, no matter how seemingly wonderful his lies might be. And help us to truly be able to discern him and recognize him, for he is a master of deviousness and disguises designed to fool us. Some of those around us who might seem to be good can in fact be very evil, and we need Thy help in telling the difference. Help us to use prayer, Bible reading, our church relationship and our God-given soul granted to us by Thee to fight him off and stay true to Thee and Thy word.
And on this Sunday, our Sabbath Day, help us to remember the importance of worshiping Thee in a community of like-minded citizens who want to publicly display our love and devotion to Thee. It is a time of thanksgiving, joy and enlightening, and help us to always remember our obligation to do so. And also give us the drive and determination to actively seek others for the faith, for their are thousands of people yearning for peace and love in their hearts yet they don't know how or where to find it. Let us help them find the answer in Thee.
Finally, Lord, be with us in the upcoming week as we go about our daily activities in a sometimes seemingly godless world. Help us to live our lives by Thy example and to show others the joy of Christianity by the way we live our lives. Help us to always remember kindness and love and display them in our thoughts, words and actions. We ask in the name of Thy Son, Jesus Christ our Savior, who died on the Cross for our sins so that we might live, Amen.