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January 20, 2016, 3:43 PM

January 20, 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

                Hope.  So many people today feel hopeless.  When we see the violence, crime, family breakdown and immorality all around us it is quite tempting to lose hope.  When we see our nation drifting ever so surely toward the ways of the enemy, it is quite tempting to lose hope.  As we see the world becoming darker with each passing day, it is quite tempting to lose hope.  When tragedy strikes nearby, it is quite tempting to lose hope.  The enemy would like nothing better than for God’s people to lose hope and quit.  However, there is no better time to proclaim the message of the Gospel and the sure hope we have in Jesus.

                We serve the God of hope!  Hope in the midst of chaos does not naturally occur.  Look carefully again at the passage above.  This verse declares some incredible news for us.  First, we serve the God of hope.  What does that mean?  For Christians, it means that even though the world around us may crumble (as it surely will), our eyes remain fixed on God who has provided immeasurably more than we can understand.  Through Christ, we know that this present existence is not our permanent dwelling place.  There is so much more that God has promised His children.  Second, the only way that we can have real hope is because God has given it to us.  We are filled with hope through the Holy Spirit.

                So, what does hope really mean for us?  People should be able to look to Christians for true hope in a world that has literally gone crazy.  We are filled with joy, peace and hope because we believe.  God is God, there is no other.  Jesus is God’s Son and in Him we have a relationship with God.  When we experience that relationship, we carry with us the expression of hope which is like a lighthouse illuminating the way so that others can see.

                Are you a lighthouse to the lost world?  The world so needs a lighthouse.  The times are certainly frustrating and difficult.  However, we still have hope!  The hope that we experience is sure and everlasting.  We have such a wonderful opportunity amidst all the chaos to share the only real hope which is available in Jesus alone.  As you go about this week, let us be sure to share lasting hope.  Let us be a lighthouse shining ever so brightly in a dark world.  Praise God for the hope we have in our Lord Jesus Christ!

 

We love you,
Brad and Virginia

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January 13, 2016, 10:49 AM

January 13, 2016

“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”  Psalm 5:3       

We all know people who have very distinct voices.  Even if they were an aisle over from us in the grocery store, you would recognize them by their voice.  There are others whose voice may not be unique but you recognize it because you hear it quite often.  We all know the voices of our co-workers, friends and family.  Of all the voices we know, do we know God’s voice when He speaks to us?  Of course, more than likely, it’s not audible but if we spend time with Him we know how He speaks to us.

            Now, let’s turn that around for a moment.  How many people know your voice?  There are probably several people who hear and know your voice each morning.  Does God hear your voice each morning?  In the passage above, David is very adamant that God would hear his voice every morning.  Obviously, it was a scheduled event to start his day.  Do you start each day by desiring for God to hear your voice?  David’s commitment to God was to pray every morning and look up.  That last phrase seems to have a dual meaning.  First, David would look up waiting expectantly for God’s reply.  Secondly, regardless of the situation or outcome, David could be in a state of looking up rather than being depressed or distracted by the circumstances around him.

            How could he do that?  Because he knew that God was in control of his life.  He knew that as he spoke with God each day, every issue and circumstance would be up to God.  What is your attitude each day?  Does God hear your voice on a regular basis?  You can be assured that as God hears your voice each day you can look up in the midst of life’s challenges.  May we all be as adamant as David that God will hear our voice every morning and throughout each day.  There is another reason to “look up” as well.  Scripture says, “Look up and be watchful for our redemption is drawing nigh”!

 

 We love you,
Brad and Virginia

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December 16, 2015, 12:00 AM

December 16, 2015

“For unto us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.  And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end.”  Isaiah 9: 6-7

The sign at Calvary Baptist Church reads: “Merry mas!  Without Christ it doesn’t mean the same, huh?  That sign truly says it all!  While it is certainly true that without Christ we have no Christmas, it is equally true that without Christ we have no life.  Without Jesus we are spiritually dead, alienated from God and without hope in a wicked and depraved world.  Yet, in Christ, we have life, love, joy, peace, hope and a restored relationship with God.  Ephesians 1:7 reminds us, “in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”.

What thoughts are on your mind this Christmas?  Are you enjoying the season or have you become stressed and frustrated by the seemingly endless activities?  It is very easy, especially in our culture, to “see the parade and yet miss the main event”.  During this season, take time to reflect on the reason for Jesus’ coming.  He came to save sinners like us and to give us the opportunity to live the abundant life.   A familiar Christmas hymn describes so well the reason Jesus came and the reason we can celebrate:

“Give ye heed to what we say: News! News!  Jesus Christ is born today!
Now ye hear of endless bliss: Joy! Joy!  Jesus Christ was born for this!
Now ye need not fear the grave: Peace! Peace!  Jesus Christ was born to save!

 

The sign simply states: Without Christ there is no Christmas.  Can it be said any better?  As we continue through the season, take every opportunity to share the Good News that the Savior has been born.  He came as the only means of mankind’s reconciliation to Almighty God.  His name is Jesus!

We wish for each of you a wonderful, joyous and blessed Christmas season.  May we all celebrate a very Merry Christmas because it truly is all about Christ!

                                               We love you,
                                               Brad and Virginia

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November 15, 2015, 12:00 AM

November 15, 2015

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  Ephesians 6:12

                As Christians, we take our lives far too lightly.  As we continue our journey through the book of Daniel on Sunday mornings, we are finding out some incredible things that are hard for us to understand.  This Sunday we will discuss spiritual warfare.  This is a topic that most of us have a difficult time understanding.  This warfare is real and it occurs on a daily basis.  In the passage above, Paul makes it very clear that it is not people that we are fighting against but evil forces in the spiritual realm.  Obviously there are things going on around us that we cannot see and our minds really cannot understand.  How often do we really consider the spiritual realm?

                Paul warns us to put on the full armor of God.  He says to be careful that we do not skip any piece of the armor and be prepared for full combat every day.  Our goal in the warfare is to be able to constantly and consistently stand our ground against the enemy’s schemes.  The way that we are able to stand is found in Ephesians 6:10.  The passage says, “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power”.  Our combat strategy is not about winning the ultimate battle because Jesus has already been victorious.  Through the strength of the Lord, we are able to stand against the flaming arrows of the devil.  We really have no idea what is going on around us in the spiritual realm.  Certain passages (such as the one above and in Daniel 10) help us to understand that a real battle is waging between good and evil.

                We should be extremely mindful of our combat armor every day.  The enemy looks for any crack in our defense and will use that to wreak havoc in our lives.  Thankfully, by the power of God, we are able to “extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one”.  Sometimes we foolishly think we are able to fight the battles ourselves though we know it doesn’t work that way.  Maybe you are there right now.  Maybe you are struggling with a situation because you are trying to fight the battle on your own.  Why do we so often have to find out the hard way that we only stand against the evil one by the mighty power of God?  Let’s close this week with Ephesians 6:10-11 which says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes”.  May your week be filled with the awesome power of the Lord!

 

We love you,
Brad and Virginia

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