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April 6, 2016, 12:00 AM

April 6, 2016

“Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  1 Peter 5:8

                The enemy is always looking for ways to affect our focus on God.  The Bible is clear that the enemy is constantly seeking someone to devour.  What does the word devour mean?  It means to consume destructively or recklessly.  That is what the enemy desires to do to all of us.  We must avoid the schemes of the enemy in order to fulfill our God-given purpose.  We get a good understanding of the enemy from the Book of Revelation.  Revelation 20:2 says, “He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or satan, and bound him for a thousand years”.  We have the same enemy that Adam and Eve had in the Garden and we know him as satan.  The passage above (1 Peter 5:8) tells us to watch out for his continual schemes.  We are to “be alert and of a sober mind”.  The armor is available every day but we must put it on!

                What does the enemy desire to steal from you?  We have shared many times about the enemy’s plan to steal our joy.  In stealing our joy, he renders us very weak for Kingdom work.  Yet, he always starts by stealing our focus.  Life has its abundance of twists and turns.  Without constant reliance upon God and a continual feast from His Word, we become very vulnerable.  We lose our focus when we become distracted.  Remember, the devil is very good at distractions.  These distractions come in many forms and sometimes appear as good for the Kingdom.  If the enemy masquerades as an angel of light, then we know he will use distractions that appear good.  One of the enemy’s greatest distractions is busyness, especially within the Church.  He also uses distractions like fear and disunity.  We know that for Christians he cannot steal our salvation but he strives to make our lives miserable.  He knows that the more miserable we become the more likely we are to be “out of the game”.

                How do we overcome the enemy’s schemes?  Paul (Ephesians 6:10-17) and Peter (1 Peter 5:9) give us the same game plan which is to stand firm and remain strong in the faith.  We cannot fight the enemy alone!  We fight the enemy by standing firm and allowing God to fight our battles.  One of the ways for us to stand firm in the faith is to flee (run away) from the temptations and distractions of the devil.  The closer we remain to God the better we are able to know the enemy’s schemes.  God’s Word gives us many ways to escape the devil’s grip.  We are to stand firm, be alert at all times, put on God’s armor daily and flee from the situation.   May you have a wonderful week as you watch out for the enemy’s distractions and remain focused on the One who truly loves us all!

We Love you,
Brad and Virginia

 

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March 30, 2016, 1:17 PM

March 30, 2016

“For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction."  Psalm 1:6

As I write this week, I am looking at a Valentine’s Day card that Kenleigh gave me weeks ago.  The card reads, “I’ve got my eye on you”.  Isn’t that amazingly similar to what God says to us?  God is always watching over us.  Many times we get the feeling that God is only watching us to see what we do wrong.  God watches us for many different reasons.  However, we must remember that regardless of our actions, good or bad, God does see them all.  Many have the mistaken idea that because we can hide things from people we can also hide things from God.  God not only sees all the things that we do, He also knows the exact reason we do them.

                All of this brings us to the word motive.  A motive is the real reason that we do something.  So many today are wearing themselves out because they are somehow trying to earn God’s favor.  They believe that surely our deeds must help get us to Heaven.  The truth is: we do good deeds because we are saved not because we believe they will add to what we already have in Christ.  How many people do you know that struggle with grace?  It is hard to understand that everything was made available to us at the cross.  Jesus said, “It is finished”!  Everything that Jesus came to accomplish was completed at the cross.  What does that mean for us?  It means that it is not a matter of working for God’s favor but a matter of accepting what has already been done for us!

                Now, what is the reason we do things in the Kingdom?  Is it only a matter of obligation that we believe will give us a little better standing in God’s eyes?  Or, do we do things because we love God and desire that our actions please Him?  God loves us!  Remember this week that God truly has His eyes on us!  If He knows when a sparrow falls to the ground, we know that He is surely watching over us.  We must learn to enjoy God’s grace and stop trying to accomplish something that has already been done.  God truly watches over us because, as a loving Father, He desires the absolute best for His children.  Any time He points out our wrongs, it is for our ultimate good.  I’ve got to close with a great quote from C.S. Lewis.  “The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men.”  Praying you all have a great week!

We love you,
Brad and Virginia

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March 23, 2016, 11:15 AM

March 23, 2016

“Jesus said, `Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’  And they divided up His clothes by casting lots.”  Luke 23:34

      He is risen!  Easter is about God demonstrating His love for us.  It is very easy to say you love someone but the message is really revealed when that love is demonstrated.  The passage above helps us really understand the magnitude of God’s love for us.  Even in the midst of crucifixion, Jesus shared the indescribable love of God.  Aren’t you thankful today that God, in His love and mercy, is willing to forgive us and restore us to a relationship with Him?

    We have come to the point in our culture of taking Easter far too lightly.  Do we realize the love displayed by Jesus coming to earth to be the perfect sacrifice?  Do we realize the magnitude of the empty tomb?  What does the empty tomb mean to you?  The word empty is usually used in a negative way.  However, the word empty can also share with us some wonderful things.  In order for us to know Jesus, we must empty our lives of anything that would hinder that fellowship.  Emptying our lives means to surrender to Jesus who paid the penalty of the sin debt we owe. 

    The tomb is certainly empty and that is the greatest news of all!  What is the meaning for us?  Jesus is victorious over death, sin, Satan and the grave which means that through Him we are also victorious and will experience everlasting life.  The world system does everything possible to take our eyes and thoughts away from the reality of Easter.  When we think of the word empty, it does seem to have a negative ring to it.  However, we thank God for the empty tomb and the opportunity in Jesus to empty our lives that we may truly know Him.  In Him we are more than conquerors!

    This is an absolutely wonderful time of the year.  Enjoy the season but be reminded often of God’s love for you and the price that was paid so that you could have everlasting life.  Spend some time outside and allow God to speak to you through His magnificent creation.  Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of a holy and righteous God which means that by His blood we have been set free from His wrath.  Do you know Him?  Have you emptied your life of self gratification in order to be filled by the One who shares everlasting life?  We pray that you have a wonderful and blessed week as we all focus on the reality of Easter and give thanks to God for His indescribable gift.

We love you,
Brad and Virginia

 

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March 16, 2016, 9:44 AM

March 16, 2016

“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”  Hebrews 13:5,8       

Change.  The very word brings fear to most people.  Do you enjoy change?  Most people would probably admit that they do not really like for things to change.  We become extremely comfortable within our surroundings.  However, change is an inevitable part of life.  Whether we like it or not, our lives are always subject to change.  Some changes are abrupt while others take place at a much slower pace.  Some changes are really good while others can literally be detrimental to us.  Change is occurring all around us.

            Our Crowns of Glory members were able to experience the effects of change this week.  They were able to see first-hand the transformation that has taken place at Point University.  They saw all the changes that have been made to the old “corporate office” building in West Point.  They were all amazed at what they saw.  Many of them once worked there and were pointing out where various departments were once located.  It was a fun and enlightening trip.  Most had to agree that the changes that have been made were a vast improvement for our community.  As in this case, change can be a really good thing. 

            There are so many changes happening all around us.  Our once small, sleepy community is beginning to wake up.  Change is occurring all up and down the valley area.  For the most part, the changes so far seem to be good for us.  Yet, in the midst of all of the changes being made, there is One who remains true, constant and consistent.  Look carefully again at the passage above.  Jesus never changes!  He is certainly the same yesterday, today and forever.  He will never run out on us and we can always trust Him.  Do you truly know the One who never changes?  You can today by surrendering your life to Him!  Jesus came that you may have a full and abundant life.  There are truly changes all around us every day but we are so thankful that our Savior never does!

We love you,
Brad and Virginia

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March 9, 2016, 2:04 PM

March 9, 2016

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

It is so easy for us in these chaotic times to lose our real focus.  With so much bad news all around us our focus swings toward the negative.  It is certainly true that our world is filled with bad and negative news.  However, we have such a responsibility to share the Gospel especially in these difficult times.  The enemy loves to distract us in any way to shift our eyes and minds from our real purpose.  Lest we forget among all the negative news, there is good news all around us.  God is still working all around us and having such an impact amidst the negative. 

Virginia and I had the opportunity this week to go out to eat for her birthday.  While we were there, we had the opportunity to share very briefly with one of my former students.  She will be graduating high school in May (I am really getting old) and will be attending Georgia Tech pursuing a career in chemical engineering.  She is one of those students you do not forget because of all of her good qualities.  There are many students that I remember for different reasons!  She will do fine and experience many opportunities in life.

Why do I share that story this week?  We talk sometimes about our younger generations as though they have no wisdom or understanding.  We were vividly reminded Tuesday night that there are still really good young people around us who will contribute quality to our society.  We hear of all the problems around us and yet it seems we rarely hear good stories.  We are also reminded every time we meet at church that our young people are doing some great things among us and we are so proud of them.  They love the Lord and it shows in all that they do.  It’s just fun to be with them!  We see so many young people that still “get it”. 

In spite of the negative we see and hear around us, let us seek out some good stories and tell others about them.  Let us remember our purpose and not let the enemy divert our focus.  We know the enemy only comes to steal, kill and destroy.  However, even in the midst of chaos, we know the One who gives the full and abundant life!  May your week be filled with positive, uplifting stories in the midst of negative all around us.

We love you,
Brad and Virginia

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Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19   Entries 81-85 of 95