Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "As With Gladness Men Of Old"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 10:27 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbour as yourself. (NIV)
For Canadians, July 1, 2017, is special: it is Canada's 150th anniversary! In December, I will have lived in this country for 50 years. I often return to my country of birth, England, but I love Canada.
When I have visitors from England, they always remark on how much space there is here and how much distance between towns. They notice how each house is different from its neighbour. They're also surprised how hot it is, because they always come in the summer. I'm sure that they'd be equally surprised at how cold it can be, if they came in winter! Coming from a country where there is not much difference between the seasons, the beautiful colours of fall are another thing that they find intriguing. Lake Ontario is often called "the sea" by mistake, because it's so much bigger than English lakes. People are astounded when they realize how far away the sea really is.
We live in a beautiful country. We have so much freedom to roam. Another thing that surprises visitors is that Canadians move around so much. We upgrade or downsize and change our residence for any number of reasons, whereas there are no real advantages to relocating inside a small country.
Being a fairly young nation, Canada has so many amenities: straight, well-maintained highways, indoor shopping malls, playgrounds, comfort centres, fast food outlets, and churches with insulation and air conditioning.
God's been good to us. There's room for all here. We're friendly. We welcome those from other countries, and all religions are free to worship here. Being young at heart, Canadians have healthy minds and bodies. We're open-minded. We're known the world over as peacemakers. I suspect that we might, in fact, be just a little apathetic, taking our blessings for granted.
Whatever the part of the globe that we call home, we need to stand on guard. We could lose our freedoms very easily. As patriots and as Christians, we must be good stewards of this part of the globe that we call home. This means taking care of everything from voting to littering. We need to be informed. We need to keep the Golden Rule, loving our neighbours as ourselves.
As Christians, this world is not our home. We belong to God's kingdom, and one day, we will live with Him there. We are different from worldly people. God has placed us here to be salt and light — not to be assimilated into the world, but to have an effect on it. We are His ambassadors.
We're to be lights in the darkness, so when we see the sky lit up by fireworks, let us remember who we are, who we belong to, and why we're here.
Prayer: Father in heaven, we praise You for our own country, for Your creation, for blessings, and for freedom. Help us to know our true purpose: to serve and to stand on guard for Thee. Amen.