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June 15, 2016, 9:28 AM

June 15, 2016

“The son said to him, father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”  Proverbs 15:21

What are your thoughts when Father’s Day is mentioned?  People have many different emotions when talking about Father’s Day.  Some people had a great childhood experience while others may still struggle with the pain and heartache of situations that occurred at home.   The stories can literally be overwhelming.  It is really hard for some people to be able to comprehend a father figure who really loves them and desires the best for them.  As we celebrate Father’s Day together this week, let us be thankful for our fathers and willing to nurture those who struggle on this day.

Fathers should be great encouragers.  A story the other day reminded me that it is so important for dads to encourage their children.  The story was about a father who never really knew how to encourage his son.  He was very quick to point out all of his mistakes but never once congratulated him or encouraged him about any accomplishment.  This scenario is played out millions of times in our society today.  However, another situation can be just as bad if not worse.  There are some dads who think their children never do wrong.  This leaves children with a false sense of perfection.  There are no perfect people in our world today yet God has given us the way to be made perfect in His sight through His Son, Jesus.

It is a wonderful experience to have a Heavenly Father who encourages us, disciplines us when we go astray and yet forgives us so that we can serve Him better.  Regardless of our childhood, we need to introduce people to our Father who loves them, gave His only Son for them and promises eternal life for us through His Son.  There is something very important that we need to understand about God.  There is nothing you can do to make God love you less.  You may feel that way sometimes but be assured that God loves you regardless of where you are or have been.  Do you feel far away from God right now?  God desires to restore your relationship.  The question is: Will you allow Him to do that?  May you all have a blessed and prosperous week.  For every dad, we wish for you a great day as you celebrate Father’s Day!

                                                            We love you,

                                                            Brad and Virginia




June 8, 2016, 10:06 AM

June 8, 2016

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:13

Could you describe your life as being full of joy?  Are we joyous in our relationship with God?  Are we joyous in our relationship with others?  Are we joyous in our witnessing?  Finally, is our joy contagious?  Our joy in the Lord is so much different than happiness.  Happiness comes and goes whereas our joy in the Lord is constant.  Of course, the enemy is always looking for ways to steal our joy.  Remember, the enemy desires to take us out of the game.  He cannot take away our relationship with God or our salvation through Him so he strives to take away our joy.

          One of the problems in Christianity today is that we have, in many ways, become anything but joyous.  Paul vividly reminds us to be joyous in every circumstance.  The magnitude of our joy is in direct proportion to our closeness with our Heavenly Father.  Think about this question:  Is it a real joy for others to be around us?  Do they feel the love of God overflowing in our life?  We are to be encouragers.  It is very difficult to encourage others if we are not living the joy-filled life.  We may not be happy in every situation (something would probably be very wrong with us if we were) but we can always be filled with the joy of the Lord.  As Christians, especially in America, we have become far too cozy and involved with the world’s ways.  Therefore, we lose our focus and become entangled with striving to achieve happiness rather than being content and excited about our real joy.  For us to be joyous, we must keep our eyes focused on the only One who gives real joy.

          It is so easy to be ensnared by the world.  After all, God really wants us to be happy, right?  We find ourselves in a constant battle to be happy even if it means drowning in debt, forsaking assembling in worship together or neglecting Bible study and prayer.  Just one glimpse at Paul’s life and we will be made very aware of the constant problems he faced as he served God.  God never promised that all of life would be filled with happiness and the much sought after things of the world.  However, He does promise to give us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  He freely shares all of this with us as we walk by the Spirit not gratifying the desires of the flesh.  May your life be filled with the joy of the Lord and may you encourage others as the Holy Spirit enables you.

                                                                                                                      We love you,

                                                                                                                      Brad and Virginia




June 1, 2016, 2:08 PM

June 1, 2016

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have but do this with gentleness and respect. “ 1 Peter 3:15  

     Let's explore a few areas where Christians seem to have become very negligent.  Why are we so unlikely to share our faith?  Are we afraid?  Do we feel that we will be rejected?  Do we feel inadequate and think that someone will ask a question we really do not know how to answer?  Worse yet, have we become apathetic toward the people around us?  More than likely, if we are concerned, we spend far too much time trying to figure out how to witness the “right way”.  Granted, there are many good resources that teach Christians about sharing their love for Jesus.  However, we need to understand a few things about sharing our faith.  First, time seems to be very short.  It appears that we are in the midst of the last of the last days.  Second, we just need to focus on telling people what Jesus has done for us.  We must become diligent about sharing Jesus!
     Not only have we become negligent about sharing our faith, we have also become negligent about Bible study.  Do we really know how to study God's Word?  Too many Christians read a little in the Scripture but do not have a time devoted to real study.  One way to become more comfortable about sharing our faith is to become more familiar with the Bible.  Like anything else we care about, dedicated Bible study takes time.  Are we willing to spend the time needed for true Bible study?  Are we willing to participate in a Bible study group?  It seems that we make time for every other area of our life while leaving Bible study far down on the priority list.
     Another area in which we struggle is with the application of God's Word.  How can we apply what we have read and studied in a real, personal way?  We live in an era where certain passages in Scripture are no longer considered reasonable for today.  In fact, in many ways, it seems easier to leave it alone rather than face relentless condemnation.  The Bible is our guide for living!  The Bible is designed to encourage correct decisions while, at the same time, pointing out areas in our life that need attention.  It is only through a relationship with God that we truly experience God's Word and are able to apply it correctly.  What a time to be sharing our faith, taking the time to study the Bible and making appropriate application.  May you experience a blessed week as you diligently share Jesus and spend quality time with God each day.
                                                                                                                                          We love you,
                                                                                                                                          Brad and Virginia




May 25, 2016, 12:00 AM

May 25, 2016

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

                Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could still say that about the United States?  There was a time when we were much closer to God as a nation.  However, the cycle has become very prevalent just as it was for Israel and Judah.  What cycle are we referring to?  God’s people seem to continually move in cycles in relationship to Him.  The cycle moves from oppression, to freedom, to prosperity, to self-sufficiency, to God’s judgment and then back to oppression.  Why does this happen?  We just really cannot handle God’s blessings.  The more God blesses, the more we drift away from Him.  What stage of the cycle are we in now as a nation?  We are seeing only the beginning of God’s judgment in many areas.

                We will celebrate Memorial Day this weekend.  Yet, how many will really stop to remember the sacrifice made by so many?  There are so many who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we are able to enjoy peace and security.  However, it seems that so many of the freedoms that were so courageously fought for, are now being taken away day by day.  As we look around us, does peace and safety really describe our American culture?  We have a big problem which is really no different from the problem faced by Israel and Judah thousands of years ago.  We have forgotten God!  We have been so blessed and yet we have decided to live away from Him.  Of course, it’s not everyone, but the general mindset seems to be that way. 

                Have we forgotten how to pray for our nation?  We need to continually thank God for the way He has blessed our nation, for those who gave their lives so that we could be free, and that God would move among our people so that we would come back to Him.  We should also be thankful for those who currently serve with courage and valor.  However, we must always remember that the ways of God grow brighter and brighter while the ways of the world grow darker with each passing day.  We need to be diligent about sharing Jesus with others because time, as we know it, is coming to an end.  Pray for opportunities to share with others the message of Jesus.  The only hope for our nation and the only hope for real life is found in Him.  As someone recently said, “Until they have God in their hearts, they will never understand”.  That is so true.  May God’s blessings be yours in abundance as we strive to know Him better, live for Him daily and tell others the Good News.

 

                                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia




May 18, 2016, 9:50 AM

May 18, 2016

“For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.”  1 John 3:11    

 

Why do Christians not love people?  Do you ever hear that question?  The question of Christian love is constantly surfacing in the chaos of our culture.  Many say that we are not very loving when we negatively respond to people and situations around us.  The problem seems to stem from our definition of love.  The dictionary tells us that love is a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.  To so many people today, love means that we unequivocally accept whatever another does as good and legitimate.  Jesus definitely loves everyone but He constantly pointed out the wrong intentions, attitudes and practices of those around Him. 

          Love carries with it all kinds of emotions as well as responsibility.  If your child is playing near the street, what is your responsibility?  Also, what would you desire someone else to do if you were not close by?  We live is a culture that now says leave the child alone because he is having fun and no one has the right to interfere with him.  We know that real love will motivate us to get them away from the street because it is extremely dangerous for them.  The analogy is simple but it helps us define love.  Oftentimes, telling someone the truth hurts them deeply. Yet, because we love them, we desire the best for them.  Our love for them reminds us that (just as in the case of the child near the street) for them to remain in their current situation will cause them great harm.

          All of this brings up another issue.  We live in the days of political correctness that tells us that we have absolutely no right to judge the actions of another.  However, do we make a judgment about the child playing near the street?  The argument would be made that it is a child and children need continual guidance.  The truth is that we all need guidance throughout our lives.  Our guidance comes from God who truly loves us, the Bible that directs our steps and people around us who love us enough to tell us the truth.  Yet, there are many who will not “get it” because real love, real wisdom and real understanding are only found in a love relationship with Almighty God by faith in Jesus.

                                                                             We love you,

                                                                             Brad and Virginia


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