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August 30, 2016, 10:22 AM

August 31, 2016

“Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”      Hebrews 12:3

     Where do you turn for encouragement in these uncertain days?  We live in a world of lies and unkept promises.  We hear people all the time make promises they could never keep.  We oftentimes hear leaders make promises that are either unattainable or downright lies.  It is so refreshing in our world to experience people who are truly encouragers.  They are the ones who tell us the truth even when it hurts.  They are the ones who never make promises that they do not intend to keep.  They are the ones you can always depend on to share words of wisdom in an untruthful world.  As Christians, we are blessed to have people like that among us and we should thank God for them every day.

     As important as encouraging friends are, there is an even greater source of encouragement for these times.  We find the greatest encouragement in God’s Word, the Bible.  The Bible is a constant reminder that this life is a temporary journey toward real life.  The Christian life is best summarized as a marathon.  It is a matter of self-disciple, motivation and total dependence on God to keep us moving over the long hills and deep valleys.  We know that we all have a course set before us and that no two courses are exactly the same.  We cannot run someone’s course for them because God has made each of us unique in order to accomplish His purposes from the perspective He has given us.  We also know that all along the way the enemy is constantly trying to entangle and distract us to get us off course.

     As difficult as life, particularly the Christian life, can become we always have God’s Word to encourage and motivate us to “stay the course”.  One of the most encouraging passages is found in Hebrews 12:1-3.  In this passage, we better understand the difficulties of the Christian life while also discovering such encouragement as we keep our eyes on Jesus.  The passage tells us that we are to: (a) throw off everything that entangles us (b) run with perseverance the course we’ve been given (c) keep our eyes focused on Jesus during the entire journey (d) remember how Jesus (perfect and sinless) endured the cross for each of us and (5) hold on and never give up or lose heart as we continue our course to reach the ultimate goal … our eternal home.

     We pray that you are each having a great week and are encouraging others as we bring light to a dark and sinful world!

                                                                                                                                         We love you,

                                                                                                                                         Brad and Virginia




August 23, 2016, 11:04 AM

August 24, 2016

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”  I Corinthians 2:14
 
    There are many in our society who carry the burden of being physically blind.  Some were born that way while others became blind through accidents, diseases and even medications.  As in all of medicine, there have been advances in the area of blindness by slowing the process of sight loss and even correcting certain blindness-causing situations.  Yet, something far worse permeates throughout our culture.  It is spiritual blindness.
 What is spiritual blindness?  A portion of a recent article sums it up very well.  “To be spiritually blind is not to see Christ, and not to see Christ is not to see God.  Spiritual blindness is a grievous condition experienced by those who do not believe in God, Jesus Christ, and His Word.  Those who reject Christ are the lost.  Being spiritually blind, they are perishing.  They choose not to accept the teachings of Christ and His authority in their lives.  They are blind to the manifestations of God as revealed throughout His Word and Jesus Christ.” The lyrics of a song by Chris Tomlin says it all!
 
               “Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness; opened my eyes let me see.  Beauty that made
               this heart adore You, hope of a life spent with You.”
 
    The only way for us to truly see is for God to open our eyes by receiving the truth He has so freely given to us.  It is amazing to see the extent of spiritual blindness in our world.  However, it really should not surprise us at all.  “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4,6).   May we fall to our knees in thanksgiving to God as He allows us to see truth in the midst of darkness and chaos!  
                                                                                                                                             We love you,
                                                                                                                                              Brad and Virginia



August 16, 2016, 12:23 PM

August 17, 2016

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

                                                                                                                        Philippians 3:13-14

     We all have a desire sometimes to live in the past.  We’ve all heard and experienced the stories of the “good ole days” and desire to return.  As times become more chaotic, we find ourselves longing for a simpler time.  We long for days of less stress, fewer problems and easier answers to the problems that we do face.  However, when we think about it, those who lived in the “good ole days” probably longed for someone else’s “good ole days”.  Whether we like it or not, things are different and constantly changing!  An interesting quote this week says: “While statistics are interesting, they’re all in the past”.

     People, businesses and even churches can get themselves in deep trouble by insisting to live in the past.  The past should be a learning tool that we use to our advantage.  We must make it a point to learn from past failures and successes.  The enemy desires for us to constantly dwell on our past failures so that we are afraid to take a step of faith to follow God’s plan.  Paul knew this all too well.  His past was filled with anger, hate, and persecution of the Church.  However, once he met Jesus, his life took on new meaning.  He was forgetting about the past and “straining toward what is ahead”.  Now, does that mean that Paul never remembered any of the things that happened in the past?  No, it means that the things that happened in the past (which the enemy would desire to negatively affect his ministry) had no impact on Paul because he was a new creation in Christ.

     We must all learn to do the same.  It is fun to reminisce about things that happened years ago.  When we think about the past, we will often remember failures which the devil desires to use against us.  However, as Paul, we can forget about those things because in Christ we have been forgiven.  Let us, also like Paul, “press on toward the goal to win the prize”!  There are three important lessons for us: Study the past but live in the present, always continue learning, and seize every moment to share the love of Christ with every resource God provides!

 

                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                Brad and Virginia




August 9, 2016, 3:23 PM

August 10, 2016

“My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”             Colossians 2:2-3

 

     What things are you committed to?  We all have a list of commitments and sometimes it becomes very difficult to prioritize.  What usually ends up happening?  Certain tasks get our attention while others go lacking.  It happens in every area of our life.  Commitment means that we must make a decision.  The Latin root for decision is “to cut away from”, as in making an incision.  When we commit to something, we are cutting away all of our other possibilities.  Does that describe our commitment to Kingdom work?

     A huge part of commitment is believing in what you are doing.  When we are passionate about something, there should be a level of intensity and excitement.  As Christians, we must be passionate about our calling.  However, we must be extremely careful because the enemy will see that we become involved in so many activities that we become frustrated and lose sight of the real goal.  What is the real goal?  Our real goal is to do the will of our Heavenly Father!  He gifts, calls and equips us to do different tasks while bringing all of those together to strengthen the Body.  What happens if just one person is not passionate about Kingdom work?  What happens if just one team player decides not to play to his/her potential in a game?  An interesting quote says, “A person with 100 percent ability and 50 percent commitment can throw a wrench into the whole system through inattention, inconsistency and laziness”.

     We must all take a good inventory of ourselves.  Do we know what God has called us to do?  If not, our first commitment must be to spend time with Him and seek His desire for us.  If we do know what God has called us to do, let us pray that He will make us passionate about it.  We should then inspire those around us and join together to accomplish God’s plan.  As we embark on a new church year, let us all become truly passionate about Kingdom work.  Let us become excited and encourage those around us as we have so many opportunities to serve our King.  We pray that you are having a great week and experiencing God’s blessings in numerous ways!

                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                Brad and Virginia




August 3, 2016, 9:55 AM

August 3, 2016

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God."                                                                                                                                                   1 John 4:7
 
     Our society is sorely lacking a key element.  Do we genuinely love one another even within the Church?  You see, apart from a relationship with God, we have no idea about real love.  The passage above reiterates the command for us to love each other.  Why is this command so important and necessary for the Christian life?  It is because love comes from God, and we can only express that kind of love when we know the One who is love.  In 1 John 1:5 we read, “This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all”.  We see so much darkness in the world today because so many have rejected the truth and have no clue about God's amazing love.  With God, light and love abound whereas without Him there is darkness and hatred.
     God loves us and has clearly demonstrated His love through His Son.  Jesus willingly became our sacrifice because there was no other way for us to have a relationship restored with Almighty God.  Why would Jesus do that?  Because of His unfailing love for each of us!  He loves us regardless of what we have done or failed to do.  God's love for us is not based on what we deserve because there is no way that we could ever be able to deserve His mercy and grace.  We have failed to obey Him and have followed our own set of plans and yet He still loves us.  Why?  Because God is love!
     As Christians, we have no excuse not to love one another.  The Bible is very clear about who we are and how we should be reflectors of God's love.  In fact, the Bible tells us that whoever does not love does not even know God.  We should be the first to show love (yes, even to those who seem unlovable).  We have so many opportunities throughout the day to reflect God's love.  Are we taking the time to do that?  As we go about this week, let us be keenly aware that we are examples of what God's love is really all about.  Let us truly love others because God truly loves us!  May your week be filled with God's blessings as we live a life of love to one another.
 
                                                                                                                                          We love you,
                                                                                                                                          Brad and Virginia

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