Thursday, 28 June 2012

God's Country

          A recent road trip caused me to celebrate being part of this vast, diverse country of Canada. As I traveled across the fertile plains of southern Manitoba to the rolling green hills of central Saskatchewan, I felt proud to be a citizen of this beautiful country. Canada is often listed in the top five best countries to live in the world. Canadians are blessed to live in a land with abundant natural resources, economic opportunities, and cultural variety.
    I have traveled through many of Canada’s unique provinces, enjoying the ever-changing landscape, however one common thread runs from east to west --- its people. I discovered it is not the geographical features which make up a country; it is its citizens. From Vancouver Island to St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada is unified through individuals who take pride in belonging to something greater than themselves. A large part of the population are not native born Canadians. They have immigrated from other countries and especially appreciate being able to share Canada’s privileges and contribute to their new adopted home.
    As much as I enjoy being a Canadian, I am grateful to be a citizen of an even greater nation, a holy nation belonging to God. 1 Peter 2:9-10 says we can be part of "a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God."
    Acceptance of God’s Son, Jesus Christ as Savior is like being granted citizenship papers to become a member of God’s nation. When we are given the stamp of salvation we are approved to receive His mercy and grace. God’s desire is to continually have new citizens added to His kingdom, and His reason is so He can show us His unmerited favor. "Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." - 1 Peter 2:10 
    But we are not naturally born into God’s spiritual realm. We must make a decision to leave the territory of darkness our sinful nature makes us part of, to enter in to God’s kingdom of light. Not only can we become citizens of this glorious country, we can actually be adopted into God’s family. "He planned in love for us to be adopted as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will...because it pleased Him and was His kind intent." -  Eph. 1:5  (Amplified Bible)
    A new citizen of Canada is expected to contribute positively to the welfare of the country. They are required to become gainfully employed so they can provide for themselves and be responsible members of society. God also has His reason for bringing us into His merciful domain... "so that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light". - 1 Peter 2:9b
    On July 1st many red and white flags will be flying, declaring the loyalty of Canadians to their country. I enjoy being a Canadian, but my true loyalty belongs to God‘s holy nation, because there I am a citizen forever, where His banner over me is love.     

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