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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




May 11, 2016, 12:56 PM

May 11, 2016


“This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.  But you said, we will not walk in it’.”  Jeremiah 6:16

           We knew that it would eventually get this way but we just didn’t know how long it would take.  The persecution of Christians in America is well underway and grows continually worse each day.  Yet, I am so thankful to be a Christian!  I am thankful to be a part of something infinitely bigger than man’s dreams, more important than any aspect of this life and more powerful than any government.  I am thankful that some 45 years ago, Holy Spirit prompted and drew me into a love relationship with Almighty God by faith in Jesus Christ.   It is the best time ever to be a Christian!  The darker the world becomes (it is becoming darker by the day) the brighter the light and hope of Christianity shines forth.  However, it may literally mean losing our life here for the greater cause.  Are we willing?

            Have you seen lately how quick corporate America and others are caving in to the demands of political correctness and greed?  The agenda has now become “if we take your money away, you’ll convert to our way of thinking”.  The sad fact is that it is working among those whose only goal is to obtain more and more money.  It works where people have become devoid of common sense.  It works where God has been kicked out and there is no understanding of our need for Him.  However, one day (sooner rather than later) it will all come crashing down.  We hate to here it but it is certainly true!  When that day comes, will the money we have so ravenously accumulated be able to buy us out of the chaos and confusion?  We have a very vivid reminder in the Bible concerning God’s people and their ultimate rejection of Him.  God constantly desired to draw them back because of His love for them.  Yet, the time eventually came when God’s wrath prevailed against them and He “gave them over” to their enemies.  How long will America continue to exist with the decisions currently being made?  What has really been the reason for our existence anyway?

             Jeremiah had one of the most difficult jobs as a prophet. He was called to proclaim and even demonstrate to the people exactly what was coming.  Then, as now, the people paid very little attention. Heck, they were involved in the “good life” which amounted to a little of God mixed with a lot of the world.  Sound familiar?  It should sound familiar as we see the same scenario playing out every day in our culture.  The time is now among us for the “world system”.  In fact, it appears that its implementation could be any day.  We certainly cannot know the exact timing of God’s prophetic events but we can easily see what is going on and feel the spirit of antichrist all around us.  May God’s blessings completely shower your life as you shine brighter and brighter in a very dark place.

                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                Brad and Virginia




May 4, 2016, 8:55 AM

May 4, 2016


“My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.  Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck.  When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you.”  Proverbs 6:20-22

 

Things have changed very much in our society in the last several generations.  We are experiencing a time when dads and moms have limited roles in the lives of their children while the government desires a far more reaching impact.  God never intended it to be that way.  In fact, parents are to be the number one resource for their children.  We all grumble about the limited amount of time we have, yet have you ever noticed that we have time for the things we want to do?  Many children are being short-changed when it comes to parental involvement.  Family time is becoming very scarce.

The scripture passage above reminds us of the roles of parents and children.  Parents have the responsibility to love and teach their children.  One of the main responsibilities in teaching them is to make sure they understand a relationship with God by faith in Jesus.   Children are to cherish and obey their parents and realize the message of parents is for instruction and safety.  Yet, in order for this to really take place, parental instruction must be from the counsel of God.  As we look at our nation today, we see the devastating results when families are broken apart; when families seek guidance and understanding from sources other than God.  We yearn for revival to take place in our nation.  However, before we see revival take place in our nation, we must see revival take place in our homes.  Regardless of past or present circumstances in your life, you can experience revival in your home.  We’ve all made unwise decisions and only God can overcome those and bring appropriate change into our lives.

The emphasis in the scripture above is dad and mom being together and nurturing as a family unit. We clearly see that is not very often the case anymore in our society. However, regardless of circumstances, children need instruction from both parents.  We must also recognize single moms and, in many cases, single dads who are trying, as hard as possible, to provide all the needs of their children.  We, as the church, should recognize their struggle and lend support to them in all ways possible.  We must also remember that there are others who play a vital role in the lives of children.  It may be family members, friends, school teachers or church members who give important instruction. 

As we celebrate Mother’s Day this week, let us be made more aware of the God-given role that mothers play in the lives of their children.  To all mothers and to those who share invaluable insight to children, please know that we love and appreciate you so much.  Happy Mother’s Day!

We love you,

Brad and Virginia

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April 27, 2016, 11:00 AM

April 27, 2016


“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  Hebrews 10:24-25

What a wake-up call this past Sunday!  We were so blessed to be able to participate in ELBA’s “On Mission Celebration” and to have missionaries share with us.  We were all challenged as we heard reports of work continuing around the world and here at home.  In many ways, we were made painfully aware of our “Americanized” definition of being a disciple of Jesus.  Several questions remain in my mind as we digest the vital information shared with us this weekend.  Are we “doing” church or reaching lost people?  Are we “really” giving to help support missions efforts abroad and at home?  Are we committed to sharing our faith even in the midst of growing persecution?

                The days are here.  We no longer have the luxury of “Americanized” Christianity. We have been much more concerned about our affluence than we have been about people coming to Jesus.    Jesus said,”you cannot serve both God and money” yet our culture has been trying to do just that for decades.  In the lives of too many Christians, money has become far too important. We live in a society that craves more and more money to buy things we do not need while people around us die without Christ.  What has our purpose become within the Church?  Have we turned our money and energy within toward ourselves or do we really have a desire to touch lost people with the only message that saves and provides hope?  There must be a balance to our purpose.  Sure, there are areas that must be addressed within our fellowship.  However, do we place the same or greater emphasis on ways to reach a lost world for Christ?

                I must admit that a question has been continually whirling in my brain since Sunday.  What are we (Plant City Baptist Church) doing to make a difference in the Kingdom?  Are we using the resources available to us to make the most impact in the lives of people?  Please be in prayer for “God-given” direction as we serve Him in these last days.  “God, please help us to realize the days are short and our mission is so vital.  Help us to realize also that Hell is real and people without Jesus really do go there for eternity.   The song by Brandon Heath is so timely.  “Give me Your eyes for just one second.  Give me Your eyes so I can see everything that I keep missing.  Give me Your love for humanity”.  The days truly are short and our purpose is so urgent.  May we be completely focused on our Father’s will and away from the entanglements of this world!  We love and appreciate each of you!

We love you,
Brad and Virginia

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April 20, 2016, 2:00 PM

April 20, 2016


“For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He holds success in store for the upright; He is a shield for those whose walk is blameless.”  Proverbs 2:6-7

How many wise people do you know?  The list seems to get shorter as the days pass by.  We know that with wisdom comes common sense.  One of the real signs that a nation is in trouble is the breakdown of leadership.  The breakdown in leadership has become very evident in our nation.  Leadership breaks down when there is a rejection of the ways of God to be replaced by the senseless mind of those without Christ.  As God begins to remove His hand, leaders arise without knowledge and wisdom and begin to make decisions that are foreign to His will.

                Personally, I believe we’ve been there for a while.  Many decisions being made today by our leaders (national to local) are at best questionable and at worst downright insane.  Are we surprised?  Why should we be?  We have such a vivid illustration in the Bible.  The Bible is that “old book” with good stories that are totally irrelevant for today.  Right?  Anyway, the Bible shares the story of King Saul.  Israel, against God’s desire, longed for a king like all the other nations.  God allowed them to have a king just as they desired but it didn’t work out as they planned.  As time continued, Saul began to reject the ways of God in favor of his own ways and decisions.  In many ways, the latter decisions by King Saul would be considered insane.  Why?  He was living and making decisions based on his ideas and knowledge rather than God’s.

                We are seeing the scenario play out all over again within our nation and around the world.  It appears that God, as He did with Israel, has allowed us to have the things we have so desired.  Are the decisions being made today the same decisions that made America the great nation it has been?  It is not very hard to answer that question!  We must pray that God would once again provide leaders of wisdom and character.  The wisdom and character that we need in our leaders comes exclusively from Almighty God.  Without God’s help and intervention, we will continue down the same bleak path of destruction.  Let us be diligent to pray for our nation, for our current leaders and for God to give us a new set of leaders that love Him, trust Him and follow Him in every situation.  May God’s blessings be yours in abundance this week as we earnestly seek His guidance.

We love you,
Brad and Virginia

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