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October 26, 2016, 10:31 AM

October 26, 2016

“Like the nations the LORD destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the LORD your God.” Deuteronomy 8:20

    We are now less than two weeks away!  We are closing in on the most important election in recent history, if not in the history of our nation.  The candidates for President have dramatically different views about our future.  Yet, even amid such serious times, there still seems to be a sense of unconcern among many people.  Where are we?  What are we doing?  Are we really concerned about the direction of our nation?  Remember, it is not just about us but also what your children and grandchildren will face in the days to come.  You would think that our churches would be filled and our altars full as Christians humbly cry out to God.  Hopefully, that is going on in some places but it doesn’t appear to be widespread in every church.  The pastors I know have not commented about the overflowing crowds and the overwhelming desire to seek God.

    The enemy has certainly not slowed down in his efforts to cast his influence upon the understanding of mankind.  The world for sure, and sadly our own nation, seems to be expanding the anti-God, anti-Bible and anti-religion sentiment.  One real issue of this election seems to about religious freedom.  However, in many ways, religious freedom has been a contributor to our current situation.  How?  First, let me say that I am all for religious freedom.  Yet, it seems that with religious freedom, as with all freedom, comes an attitude whereby we take it for granted.  We see that attitude very clearly in several areas in our nation.  Maybe we have become much too passive and God is allowing persecution to jolt us back to the real priorities for life.

    As we look to our election in a couple of weeks, please be in constant prayer for our nation.  Folks, we are falling at an alarming rate and it all stems from neglecting our Christian roots and heritage.  Please make every effort to vote.  From what I have seen and read, there were some 40 million Christians who failed to vote in the last election.  That is shameful!  How can we expect to make any impact if we fail to exercise our right to vote?  These are very troublesome times, but we know that God is still in full control.  What does he desire from us?  The same that He desired of His chosen nation Israel.  “He has shown you, O man, what is good.  And what does He require of you?  To act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.”  (Micah 6:8) The truth is so easy to understand that even children can comprehend it.  Either we walk with God and experience His blessings or we abandon God and are destroyed.  Which path are we currently following?  May your week be blessed as we follow God in all our ways and pray exceedingly for our nation!

                                                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia




October 18, 2016, 12:37 PM

October 19, 2016

“When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer.  Therefore, say to them, ‘this is the nation that has not obeyed the LORD its God or responded to correction.  Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips’.”  Jeremiah 7:27-28

                Can we handle the truth?  Think with me for a few moments about our current situation.  Why are we facing the trouble we see all around us?  Why have we succumbed to the ways of the world?  Why have we seen this influx of wickedness over the years?  The answer to many questions like these reveal the daunting truth about the church in the United States.  In his book, Vertical Church, James McDonald shares some very staggering statistics.  “Six thousand churches close their doors every year.  Thirty-five hundred Americans leave the church every day.  Only two percent of growing churches are effectively winning converts to Christ.  Fewer than twenty percent of Americans regularly attend church.”  McDonald calls this a major meltdown; an epic failure.  We know that statistics can be substantially erred yet if these numbers are anywhere close it reveals serious problems.

                Why focus on so many negatives?  Aren’t there some good things going on in some churches today?  There are some good things happening but the trend is certainly not positive.  A close examination of the Old Testament reveals, in detail, the downward progression of a nation (Israel) who pushed God aside.  The truth is, we see it happening in our own nation today.  Why?  Because we, as Christians, have become anything but excited and enthusiastic about our relationship with the living God.  We are being backed into a corner and warned to stay quiet as the ways of the world dominate our culture.  Where is the boldness of Peter, John and Paul?  There are a few “watchmen on the wall” but their message seems to be falling on deaf ears.  We have allowed the enemy to infiltrate the camp!

                So, what can be done about our current situation?  Have things gone too far?  Unless we acknowledge the problem, we will never take steps toward correction.  Look again at the passage above.  We must respond to God’s continual warnings around us.  Our only answer is to turn to Him in repentance, obey Him and separate ourselves from the ways of the world.   The Church will continue to be here until God calls us away.  However, it will be very different from the “country club” atmosphere we have experienced.  As persecution escalates, the Church will grow stronger but not necessarily larger.  Are you ready for the times?  Buckle up and stay close to God and in fellowship with His people.

                                                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia




October 12, 2016, 9:36 AM

October 12, 2016

“All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God.”  Deuteronomy 28:2

Are you thanking God daily for your blessings?  We are all very blessed in spite of current circumstances in our nation.  We sing the hymn, Count Your Many Blessings, but do we really listen to the words?  We should focus on those words as we face trials and obstacles in these uncertain days.  Look at the following words:           

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

Count your many blessings, name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the LORD hath done.

 

The billows certainly rage all around us and the times appear bleak.  We can easily become discouraged which makes us easy targets for the enemy. 

                When God blesses us, as He continually does, what is our response to His kindness toward us?  Do we keep it all to ourselves or do we share God’s kindness with others?  Sometimes we feel as though we can just bask in what God has done for us without any concern for others.  Yet, God so often blesses us so that we will be a blessing to others.  If you are discouraged or frustrated, take a few moments to remember the many blessings you have received.  You will be truly amazed at what God has done for you.  Then, go and share those blessings with someone else.

                On another note, we are looking forward to New Desire being back with us this Sunday morning.  Please make plans to be with us a little early (10:30) as we share in worship together.  We are praying that you are experiencing God’s blessing in many different ways. Also, please remember to pray for our nation as we are experiencing some very difficult days.

                                                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia




October 5, 2016, 10:41 AM

October 5, 2016

“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.  They will come in and go out, and find pasture.”   John 10:9

    Do you remember a simpler time?  A time before remote controls and fancy electronic equipment?  I can remember a time when I was the remote control for the television, air conditioner and the farm gate.  Many times I went to the farm with my dad and at least 95% of the time it was my job to open the gates.  The gates were narrow, being just wide enough for the pick-up truck.  I can remember looking at two well-worn tire tracks that sufficed as the road to the pond.  The gate was rusted and worn but always seemed to have a welcoming impact on a young boy.  It was a much simpler time!

    As we read through the Bible, it describes several gates.  One passage in Matthew 7 describes two gates representing two different life paths.  One gate is wide with many people traveling that way.  The Bible describes that gate as certainly leading to destruction.  The other gate is narrow and much less travelled.  Yet, it is the narrow gate that leads to real life. 

    Have you ever been on a four-lane freeway and, because of road-work or an accident, the traffic narrowed to only one lane?  People quickly become bitter, angry and frustrated.  That describes so many people who are travelling the broad and destructive way.  At first, it seems like the right way because everyone else is heading down the same path.  However, with each passing life event, the people become ever-so-surely boxed in to a defeated life.  The Bible is very clear that the broad way leads to destruction (difficulty in this life and eternity apart from Christ).

    What about the narrow gate?  If the narrow gate leads to life, then why are so few people entering through it?  It is because the enemy has blinded their eyes to the truth.  The enemy says to follow the crowd and become involved with them.  Jesus says to follow Him and experience real, lasting life.  I am constantly amazed at the people who claim the Christian life must be boring.  The problem is: They have never experienced it!  The Christian life is “joy unspeakable and full of glory”.  I cannot help but reminisce a little about the old, narrow farm gate and the worn narrow path.  Those narrow tire trails led to real fun and great experiences as a child.  However, the real narrow gate is the way of Jesus that leads to the greatest life of all … heaven!  Are you on your way there?

                                                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia




September 27, 2016, 4:29 PM

September 28, 2016

“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.”  Psalm 32:1

    Fellowship among believers is very important for us in the Body of Christ.  Yet, there are many today, who neglect the opportunity to fellowship with brothers and sisters.  A recent article examined 30 ways that Christians are missing fellowship with each other.  You can probably name several of them.  As the days become more chaotic, Christian fellowship becomes more and more important.  The opportunity for fellowship should never be taken for granted.  However, there is a much deeper issue in the Church today.  It is characterized by a distant fellowship with our Heavenly Father.

    One of the quickest ways for our fellowship with God to be compromised is due to disobedience.  Disobedience is sin and sin disrupts the peace and security we experience as we walk with Him.  Remember, it is the enemy’s desire to disrupt our walk with God.  Why?  Because the enemy thrives on making our lives miserable.  There are many Christians who are living miserable lives today because they are experiencing a distant fellowship with God.  In other words, their walk with God has become very weak and shallow.  As a result, they are experiencing guilt and frustration.  God does not intend for His children to live that way and always offers an avenue of correction.  It is called confession.  Psalm 32 reveals to us the way David felt when there was unconfessed sin in his life.  The same is true for all of us.

    Is there something (maybe some unconfessed sin) that is wreaking havoc in your life?  Do you feel, as did David, like your “bones are wasting away and that your strength is sapped as in the heat of summer”?  We cannot be like Adam and Eve and try to hide from God.  He knows everything about us including the very things we may be trying to cover up.  David said, “then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity”.   What happened next?  God forgave him and restored the fellowship!

    Our fellowship with other believers is certainly important to us, and we must not neglect it.  However, our close walk with God is absolutely vital for our well-being and for the Christian impact we have on others.  Let us all examine our lives and determine if there is anything that is affecting our fellowship with our Father.  Praying you each have a blessed and prosperous week!

                                                                                               

                                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia         


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