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Thankful in America

Thankful In America

I’m proud to be an American. It is only by the grace of God that I am here. I am very thankful. Do I take the blessings of this country for granted and have a ho-hum attitude about them?

On TV, in magazines, and books, I have learned how some people give everything they have and risk their lives to come to this country. If America is so bad (as some of our politicians and protesters claim), why do these foreigners want so badly to get here? And if it is that important and valuable to them, is it that important and precious to me?

I have the freedom to:

  • Live where I choose
  • Travel any time and anywhere
  • Shop wherever I want and buy whatever I can afford
  • Choose the career or job I want
  • Select the college I want for my training
  • Find good healthcare

I think about my many blessings:

  • I have a home with adequate heating and cooling. Many in other countries live in a shack, get heat from a wood fire they build, and cannot imagine having air conditioning to escape the heat.
  • We watch TV. But worldwide, many have no electricity, so TV would not be an option for them.
  • We read newspapers, magazines, or books, not thinking that many have no access to literature.
  • We worry about dieting because we overeat. In many places, people would be thrilled to death to have even one meal a day.
  • We travel anywhere we wish. In some countries, even a journey of 20 miles would be a significant event because they have to walk or ride a horse or a bike.

This list could go on indefinitely. Does the Scripture in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 apply here? “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  In 1 Timothy 6:6-8, Paul writes, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”

In addition to these physical blessings listed above, two unique freedoms stand out to me:

The freedom to own and read the Bible and the freedom to worship together publicly. We have always had the Bible in English available to us in America – but at an enormous cost.  Please note the immense struggle and sacrifice to produce an English translation of the Bible.

John Wycliffe was the driving force behind the Wycliffe Bible. In the 1300s, only Catholic priests and highly educated persons could access the Bible – written only in Latin. It was the Latin Vulgate, a translation from the original Greek. Wycliffe probably translated most of the New Testament himself from the Latin Vulgate, while other scholars worked with him to translate the Old Testament. When the scholars finished the translation work, the Wycliffe Bible was HAND COPIED and distributed as widely as possible. Wycliffe was hated for two reasons. The Catholic Church didn’t want the lay people to have and read the Bible. Wycliffe made it available to them in English. They also hated him because he preached the Bible as the authority, not the Roman papacy. He escaped martyrdom and died a natural death in 1384, but the hatred toward him was so great that his remains were disinterred in 1425, burned, and thrown into the river.

William Tyndale was a young scholar in Britain who had a passion for making the Bible available to the ordinary person. He could not get approval in England, so he went to Germany, completed the translation from the Greek Textus Receptus, and had 6,000 copies printed in 1525 and smuggled into England. He is known as the Father of the English Bible. After all his labors, William Tyndale was convicted of heresy and burnt alive in 1536 at the age of  42. His crime: translating the Bible from Greek to English for the common people.

During this period of history in England, because of the Catholic church’s power, many were martyred for loyalty to Christ and for believing that the Bible was authoritative over the church. The battle for access to the Bible continues today. In America, we may have several copies of the Bible in our homes – and we often let them sit without reading them. But this is not true in other countries. The Voice of Martyrs website has a Global Prayer Guide. They list 41 nations as restricted. These nations have active anti-Christian laws, and the government persecutes believers. There are 23 nations listed as hostile. There are no anti-Christian laws, and the government may or may not help persecuted Christians. But local governments, Christian localities, and families of converts actively persecute believers. In many of these restricted or hostile nations, owning a copy of the Bible is perilous–or even holding a portion of it in your possession. In a few countries, to be found with a Bible or Scripture portion could result in imprisonment or even death. In some countries, you must secretly meet in small groups when you meet for worship.

Today, I am so thankful for the Bible that is freely available to me. I want to value it enough to read and study it regularly. I am also thankful for my local church, where I have the freedom to meet with other Christians regularly for Bible study, praise, and worship.

Psalm 119:89,  Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.

Psalm 122:1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.

About Dale B

I am a born-again Christian who loves to write and share the Good News about Jesus. Raised on a small Wisconsin farm and saved at age 12, I have been active in Christian service since that time. My many years as a pastor, accountant, and lay worker in the church have equipped me to help those in need. In retirement now in Texas, the Lord has led me to writing as a means of winning people to Christ and helping Christians grow in the Lord. By God’s grace I hope to be a blessing and encouragement to you.

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2 comments

  1. Dale,

    Great article with so many facets and elements of truth.

    Yes, we give thanks we are free. And I agree with you, I’ve often said, “if America is so bad? Why are so many clamoring to get in and risking their lives in the process to do so?”

    It was said that in end times, famine will be for the Word of God. So many Christians are being stifled.
    Isn’t it amazing that so many try and so many continue to try, but fail in trying to debunk the Bible?

    Yet here it is still going strong!

    Thank you for your words…I enjoyed your article.

    Have a blessed Sunday~

  2. Robert A Schaetzle

    Dale,
    I finally took the time to read your post…’Thankful in America.’ My wife Yvonne and I just finished with a visit from a visiting mssionary we’ve been supporting many years now He and his wife have been stationed in a North African State for some time. His visit was a pleasant suprise as he and his wfe are returning soon to their mission home.
    It’s a situation we don’t address publically because of risk. My wife was diagnsed with Acute Myeloma Leukemia nearly five years ago. Four months ago her cardiologist gave her 10 days -two weeks. But by God’s power and grace we are blessed as she she has gained more strength and energy that can only be through much prayer and the power of God’s love.

    Yvonne turned 84 in Febuary, and I’ll be 84 next month in August. Your profile mentioned you grew up in Wisconsin. I too, was born and raised in the Milwaukee area, though I’ve lived most of mt life here in Santa Clara Valley. ( Silicon Valley to those who recognize the area.)

    I too, like yourself spent many years studying our America. Traveled all 50 states (one of my childhood dreams Fulfilled) Learned more our our biblical heritage than I ever got out out of a textbook. While I did a lot a lay pastoring for many years, My energies are now spent in the care for my wife. Our five children are such great blessing to be close by to help us. Thanks again for listening and sharing.

    In HIS Care, Bob

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