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May 8, 2018, 4:51 PM

May 9, 2018


“I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1: 27-28

Mothers have an extraordinary responsibility. A huge part of that responsibility is training their children to follow Christ. Training them has a much deeper meaning than teaching them. Hannah is a great example of the way God desires for all of us to be willing to “die to self”. As you remember, Hannah was one of two wives of Elkanah. She was barren while Elkanah’s other wife was able to have children. As Hannah prayed that God would give her a child, she promised to dedicate her child to the Lord’s service. God answered her prayer and she gave birth to a son, Samuel. Hannah fulfilled her promise and dedicated Samuel to the Lord’s work under Eli the priest.

God calls each of us to be willing to forsake all to follow Him. In Hannah’s case, it meant dedicating Samuel and leaving him at the temple to study, learn and serve God. In Matthew 10:37 we read; “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me”. Jesus makes it very clear that we must put Him before everyone else in our lives including family members. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, we are reminded and thankful for the way God uses mothers to help shape our lives. It gives us the opportunity to understand our responsibility to our mothers and the responsibility of mothers to their children.

Children are a gift from God and they are to be dedicated to His service. Does this mean that you will not see them often as was the case for Hannah? Not necessarily but it could. There are many moms today that do not get to see their children very often for a variety of reasons. Some are serving as missionaries and are not able to get home. Others may be serving in the military and are not able to make it home. Others have obligations that take them far away from their immediate family. Regardless of how often you see your children, it is comforting to know that they have been trained and dedicated to following God’s ways. When that is the case, it doesn’t matter where they are because you know that God loves them (even more than you do) and He desires to use them to further His Kingdom. Moms, thanks so much for all that you do for your family. May you have a very happy and blessed Mother’s Day!

                                                                                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia




May 2, 2018, 10:05 AM

May 2, 2018


“Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2 Peter 3:1

Can you believe it is May already? Sometimes we just need some reminders in our life because the days seem to quickly slip away. We get so busy doing our everyday chores that sometimes we forget those things that are most valuable to us. Our focus becomes more about us and less about God. So, this week I would like to take this opportunity to encourage us to intentionally think about the significance of our lives in Christ. Why are we here? Do we spend enough time with people to have an impression on them? Do we see the beauty of God’s creation and spend time admiring what He has done? Do we spend time with our Father to know Him more, to see the big picture of the Kingdom and to keep our focus on Him? This week is a good time to be reminded of several areas of our lives.

We must begin by being reminded of God’s love for us. He loves us so much more than anyone else. He loves us despite the many blemishes and spots that cover us. In fact, He loves us more than any family member or friend ever could. The greatest example of His love was shown at the cross. God, in His great love and mercy toward us, was willing for Jesus to die so that we could live.

We need to be reminded that God, our Father, wants us to know Him. Think about that statement. His desire is not that we know many things about Him but that we come to know Him more personally each day. How can we do that? By spending more time with Him and stop allowing interruptions to dampen our quiet time.

We also need to be reminded of the importance of spending time with those who mean so much to us. You know, we are all guilty of neglecting quality time with those we love. Every day is different and we must make the most of every opportunity given to us today. must keep in mind that things can change very rapidly in our lives. must make time for those closest to us and for those who need encouraging words. must never take for granted that we can do something tomorrow.

A fourth reminder this week is to allow God to speak to you through His glorious creation. The flowers, birds and other animals are just a small part of the way God reveals Himself to us. We are so blessed if we are able to get out in nature to see and hear the beautiful sights and sounds. We all need to slow down a bit, make the most of every opportunity to share Jesus and be refueled as we allow God to speak to us each day. May God’s blessings be yours in abundance this week as we are reminded of the things that lead to wholesome thoughts.

                                                                                                                               We love you,

                                                                                                                                                          Brad and Virginia




April 24, 2018, 10:17 AM

April 25, 2018


“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then, you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

 

     Who are you?  Sounds like a strange way to begin an article, doesn’t it?  Actually, that was the name of a song recorded by The Who back in 1977 and came out on an album by the same title in 1978.  That was during my high school days which were seemingly so carefree.  However, the question today is much different than a song title back then.  What does our life mean in the context of the big picture?  We are so caught up in the world’s way that we easily conform to its patterns.  If we are not careful, the world becomes a trap that fully manipulates and determines our life.  The apostle Paul even saw this in his day and said, “do not be conformed to the pattern of this world”.  We struggle with our identity because we listen so closely to many around us who find themselves in similar situations.

     How many are living a life of unhappiness and even misery because they are trying to be someone else?  How many get up everyday ill and angry because they must go to a job they literally hate?  At some point in their lives, someone told them they needed to do a certain type of work because they would be good at it, or worse, that they would make a lot of money doing it.  Sound familiar?  Most people settle for an average life rather than the victorious life that Jesus offers.  Our natural tendency is to move in certain directions because we have been programmed by our teaching and learning experiences.  It is sad that so many young people are steered away from things they really enjoy because they are told they will not make much money or have the “fun stuff” as though that is what determines true success and fulfillment.

     Look carefully again at the passage above.  Paul says to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.  For the believer, any identity outside of who we are in Christ is false and eventually leads to unhappiness.  God wired us in a unique way.  We are different from anyone who has ever lived or will ever live in the future.  God has a purpose and plan for each life He creates.  Some choose to follow Him and have a better understanding of their general purpose.  Others choose to follow Him and grow closer to Him each day thereby gaining a much clearer view of purpose and identity.  Who are you?  Do you know your true identity because of who you are in Christ?  Are you still trying to conform to the pattern of this world?  Jesus came to set us free from the trap of this world.  Yet, the only way to experience that freedom is by living the exchanged life which means to be totally and completely transformed in Christ.  Our prayer is that you are living the exchanged life which brings joy even in the midst of a world filled with chaos!

 

                                                                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia




April 17, 2018, 2:09 PM

April 18, 2018


“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me.  My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.” Psalm 28:7

 

We are frequently reminded that God is in control of events around us.  One event in particular is the weather.  The cold weather a few mornings this week vividly reminds us that the weather is certainly beyond our control.  To some people, the weather this week has not been a concern at all.  In fact, many people enjoy the cold weather and wish it would stay longer.  However, for gardeners and flower lovers, weather like this becomes a real challenge.  Many were probably busy this week trying to cover plants to keep them from possible frost damage.  Maybe you were one of them.

 

Situations like this simply remind us that life is filled with unexpected events.  We do not really know from one day to the next the events that may drastically change the course of our lives.  However, though it may surprise us, God is never taken by surprise!  We may not be prepared when events come but we trust in the One who can handle every circumstance.  God uses events in our lives for several reasons and He is constantly molding us into the vessel He desires.  He directs our paths by whatever means to accomplish the plans He has for us and for those around us.   It is so wonderful to serve the One who loves us so much!

 

You know, we can spend a lot of time tending our garden plants.  We water them, feed them, and do our best to protect them from unexpected weather.  However, do we spend the time necessary to help people through unexpected events in their lives?  God allows certain events in our lives so that we can be a blessing to others.  Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God”.  As we serve the Lord this week, let us be aware of those affected by unexpected events and strive to comfort, nurture, and help them as we have the opportunity. 

 

                                                                                                                                                                           We love you,

                                                                                                                                                                           Brad and Virginia




April 10, 2018, 1:33 PM

April 11, 2018


“How long, Lord?  Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide Your face from me?” Psalm 13:1

We often struggle to understand God’s divine purpose in our life.  It is hard for us to realize and accept that God uses difficult times in our life to bring praise, glory, and honor to Him.  In the Psalm quoted above, obviously David was struggling.  He was tempted to believe God had forgotten him and that God was failing to hear his prayer.  We sometimes have that same feeling when faced with pressing circumstances.

We must always remember that God loves us and is always with us.  Jesus reminded His disciples of that very clearly several times.  Events around us are often out of our control.  Yet, God is always fully aware of our situation, He has the perfect solution, and He will accomplish His purpose at the perfect time.  David, like us, felt times of being at a distance from God.  However, this same David who wrote Psalm 13 also wrote Psalm 30.  Read carefully some of the verses from Psalm 30:

           “Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.”

“For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a life time; weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.  Lord my God, I will praise you forever.”

The enemy would love for us to believe that God has abandoned us and no longer cares about our circumstances.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  We are His children and He cares deeply for us.  We live in a broken world and face the consequences of being here.  However, it will not always be this way.  Paul explained our difficulty in understanding when he said in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “for now we see through a glass darkly”.  We do not fully understand right now but one day we will be made aware of how all the pieces fit together.  We will see that all things were working for our good and to glorify our Father.  When it is all said and done, we can say along with David, “I will sing the Lord’s praises, for He has been good to me”.  To Him be glory, praise, and honor forever! 

                                                                                                                                We Love You,

                                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia


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