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July 27, 2016, 8:57 AM

July 27, 2016

“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.”  Colossians 1:9-10       

     It has been very dry this summer.  Some have gotten more rain than others, but everyone seems to be experiencing a shortfall.  Many afternoons my hopes have been dashed as clouds form suddenly and yet dissipate just as quickly.  Oftentimes, it seems as though clouds are building and then the wind suddenly blows them away.  Watching the clouds sometimes reminds me of our walk with God.  Our key in this life is to spend time with God, listen to His commands, be obedient and share with others.

     There are times when we feel as though we are just drifting aimlessly the way we often see clouds.  Then there are times that we (Christians) come together to accomplish a particular goal given to us by God.  Clouds seem to do that as they join together and eventually bring rain to a dry and thirsty land.  Yet, there are other times when we become distracted and fail to meet our goals.  The wind seems to do that sometimes to the clouds resulting in no rain.  Our lives are constantly rocked with distractions because the enemy knows they will keep us from our goals.  The more distractions in our life the less time we spend with our Heavenly Father.  The less time we spend with God the more trouble we will face.

     Where are you at the moment?  Are you just drifting aimlessly along without any real understanding of your purpose for life?  Are you a team player along with other Christians sharing and striving together for a bigger purpose?  Are you being distracted at every turn resulting in drought in your life and the lives of those around you?  We all face trouble and distractions in this world.  It will be that way until we reach our Heavenly home.  However, that doesn’t mean that we sit on the sidelines waiting for the game to be over.  God has a specific purpose for each of us.  Many times it means collaborating with other Christians to accomplish Kingdom work.  We can learn so much from all of God’s creations, including the clouds.  May your week be filled with joy as you spend time with God, overcome the distractions and accomplish His plans both individually and collectively.

 

                                                                                  We love you,

                                                                                  Brad and Virginia




July 20, 2016, 9:19 AM

July 20, 2016

“Holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.”  I Timothy 1:19
 
     Most of us have no idea what it would be like to be shipwrecked.  It may be on a deserted island with no contact with family, friends or any other person.  It could be among a group of barbaric people who would try every way to kill you.  It could be among a group of people who despised Christians and sought every way they could to continually persecute you.  Regardless of the place you eventually end up, being shipwrecked would cause a sense of uncertainty, confusion and even fear.  Paul knew very well what it meant to be physically shipwrecked.  However, he also warned Timothy about people who become shipwrecked in their faith.
     In the passage above, Paul helped Timothy (and us) understand that without very careful attention, we can easily become distracted and shipwrecked in the faith.  There are far too many Christians whose lives could be described that way.  They are not lost but their lives have become filled with uncertainty and confusion.  The Bible clearly tells us
(I Corinthians 14:33) that “God is not the author of confusion but of peace”.  The enemy's constant desire is to draw us away from the things of God because his desire is constant confusion and disorder even among God's people.  Lack of Bible study, prayer and fellowship with other believers puts us on a course to be shipwrecked.  God has a very real purpose for your life which leads to joy and fulfillment.
     Do you feel as though your life and faith have become shipwrecked?  Do you really feel close to God?  Have you made poor choices resulting in a life filled with uncertainty and confusion?  The natural tendency of the world's way is to draw us into that feeling of confusion.  There are many who live that way, but God desires to help you receive or regain meaning and purpose in your life.  The Bible tells us that Jesus came that we may have a full and meaningful life.  Repentance is the key!  Recognize your situation and the enemy's plan to shipwreck your life.  Recognize that God is waiting for you to come (or return to) the point of sincere fellowship with Him.  Then, confess and allow God full access and control of your life.  We all face difficult times but always know that wherever you are or wherever you have been, God is still there to bring peace, joy and contentment.  Always remember that He loves you and desires the best for you!  We love you too!
                                                                                                                         Brad and Virginia



July 13, 2016, 8:40 AM

July 13, 2016

“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”  John 10:10

     We live in a time of great distraction.  The enemy is a deceiver and constantly uses distractions for his advantage.  We are constantly distracted by any number of electronic devices, social media, false teachers, church programs and just plain ole stuff.  Then, add to that, the violence breaking out around our nation and we have a real sense of chaos and distraction.  Exactly what the enemy always desires!  We must keep our eyes continually on the goal which is to know Christ, obey and serve Him, and help others see the message of the Gospel.  This is certainly not a time to be distracted from studying God’s Word, be living as though we have no hope or be failing to present Christ and His love in every opportunity.

      We have experienced the plot and plan of the enemy very clearly over the past week.  From man’s early beginnings, he has constantly been at war with himself.  God’s desire is for us to know the love that only a faithful Father can lavish on His children.  Apart from experiencing and living that love, man’s world is turned upside down by greed, hate and violence.  Again, exactly what the enemy desires!  Many would never admit it but our problems in America and beyond all revolve around issues of the heart.  Those who remember 50-60 years ago, easily remember a similar time of rage and hate.  Yet, we made it through that time and were making real progress in spite of many problems.  Back then, we still had a common bond (Jesus) among us regardless of race or color.

      It seems now that we are trying to solve all of our issues on our own without the help of Almighty God.  There is an overwhelming attitude now that if we pass more laws, throw money at projects and pay people to leave the workforce that situations will somehow steadily improve.  We see quite well that has not been the case.  So, what do we do amidst the distractions?  First, understand that we have an enemy and know his distractions for what they really are.  Second, realize that more than ever before we must know God’s love and reflect it wherever we go.  Third, hold on to what you know to be the truth (trust, love and serve God).  May your week be blessed as you make it through the distractions to spend real time with God!

                                                                                                                                  We Love You, 

                                                                                                                          Brad and Virginia




June 29, 2016, 10:27 AM

June 29, 2016

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for His inheritance.”  Psalm 33:12

     We have been so blessed!  That is the best description for our nation.  However, do we really recognize the magnitude of God's provisions for us?  God allows nations to rise and fall according to the fulfillment of His purpose for them.  Never be deceived by thinking we are a great nation because of things we have done.  We are a great nation because of God's plan and purpose.  When that purpose is completed, we will become like the other great nations throughout history.  God allowed the founding of America for “such a time as this”.  America, once a strong and flourishing Christian nation, has become a downward spiraling amalgamation of chaos, corruption and uncertainty.  Why?  It is because we have lost the very focus that made us great.  We (Christians) have exchanged the desire to build up the Kingdom for the desire to build up ourselves.
      We see a nation today where leaders spend much more time quarreling among themselves rather than looking for real solutions to problems that are becoming more and more complex.  Our people have become conditioned to the chaos and, in many ways, have developed the attitude of not even expecting any better.  If we continue down the same path that we are currently traveling, we will not see things get any better and the downward spiral will move faster and faster out of control.  The sad truth is that things have really not gotten bad enough to drive us to our knees.  We must recognize that in order for this nation to survive, there must be an all-out surrender of God's people to the Lord.  Please join with me in falling to our knees before Almighty God.  He can work and will work when His people humbly cry out to Him.  How much worse will it get before we realize the condition in which we find ourselves?
      As we approach Independence Day, let us be made more aware of our need to pray for God's guidance in our nation.  We love this nation but we also know that what we are doing and the decisions we are making do not please God.  As we cry out to God, let us keep the following passage in mind.  “Who knows, God may yet relent and with compassion turn His fierce anger so that we will not perish.  When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He relented and did not bring on them the destruction He had threatened.” (Jonah 3:9-10)
      On another note, we have been “submerged” in God's Word through VBS this week.  We would like to say a sincere thank-you for all of our children and volunteers that are making this week so awesome.  It is so wonderful to be a part of a church that is so ALIVE and growing in relationship with God and each other.
 
                                                                                                             We love you,
                                                                                                             Brad and Virginia



June 22, 2016, 10:17 AM

June 22, 2016

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, 'children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation'.  Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” Philippians 2:14-16 
 
     Are we giving continual evidence that our daily walk is becoming more and more like Christ?  Day by day we should be striving to become more like Him.  It is sad that many Christians never move past the salvation experience. Of course, the salvation experience is vital but there is so much more to the Christian life.  Oftentimes, we find ourselves continuing to be slaves to the same habits and temptations and guilty of the same failures.  Yet, the Bible points us to a journey toward God which should mean growing more like Him daily.
     One of the ways that we can determine our progress is through the passage above.  Paul says to “do everything without grumbling or complaining”.  The next verse explains why that is very difficult even for Christians.   According to Paul, we live in a “warped and crooked” generation.  If anything, we live among those seemingly even more warped and crooked than in Paul's day.  Yet, even in the midst of the insanity, God has given us an attitude of peace and certainty.  We know who is ultimately in control and that God's purpose and plan will be accomplished.  The word Paul uses for grumbling (goggusmos) is very similar to the word used for Israel's grumbling in the desert with Moses.
     There is nothing any more frustrating than to be around people who are constantly complaining.  There is also nothing more detrimental to God's work than Christians arguing and complaining among themselves.  When we grumble and argue, our thoughts are turned completely upon ourselves.  Then we do not experience God's blessings because we do not see them in the midst of the clutter taking up our minds.  Are there things going on around us that we do not like?  Are there decisions being made around us that have a negative impact on us?  Of course, and we should address those.  However, it would benefit all of us greatly if we search for and implement solutions rather than only grumbling about the problems.  “Then, you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”  We are praying that you have a great week as you serve God and shine among others like stars in the sky.
                                                                                                                                                   We love you,
                                                                                                                                                   Brad and Virginia

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