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January 23, 2019, 10:56 AM

January 2, 2019


Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

 

It is exciting that God has given us the opportunity to see another year! What things did you get accomplished last year? What things do you want to make sure you get done this year? Do we live with an expectation of Jesus’ return? If we knew for certain that Jesus would return this year, how would our plans for the year change? As we begin a new year, we should consider our steps very carefully and wisely. We need to ask ourselves three very important questions. Do we trust God with all of our heart? Do we really lean on His understanding rather than ours? Do we acknowledge Him in all of our ways and allow Him to direct our path?

This year, more than ever, we find ourselves facing numerous questions concerning the health of our nation, our churches and our homes. We must understand the need to stay in God’s Word, pray without ceasing and live as unto the Lord. Many people, including Christians, do not understand the seriousness of the times in which we live. We are seeing the results of a history of poor decisions and, without God’s guidance, will continue to face detrimental consequences.

There are two traits that are becoming less and less important in our society. These traits reveal so much about us and the nation in which we live. These two traits are wisdom and integrity. There was a time when wisdom and integrity were the essence of the American way. Both of these traits are God-given and are sorely lacking among us today. Over the past several decades, we have seen a constant and consistent decline in both traits. This has had a direct impact on the direction of our country and the church in America.

This year, our plan is to better understand what the Bible says about wisdom and integrity. We will be studying about some of the Bible characters who displayed these traits and how God blessed them and used them to impact others. It is often difficult to live a life of integrity because we are ridiculed for trying to do the right things. However, as God’s children, He expects us to be the salt and light in an otherwise dark world. Our prayer is that we are all diligently seeking God for the wisdom and integrity we need to be examples, to keep us informed and to prepare us for the days ahead. May God’s blessings be yours today and throughout this new year.

                                                                                                                         Happy New Year,

                                                                                                                         Brad and Virginia




December 18, 2018, 1:00 PM

December 19, 2018


“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had seen, which were just as they had been told.” Luke 2:20

What would have been the reaction of the religious leaders if the angel had appeared to them? The shepherds were afraid but excited to experience what had taken place in Bethlehem. After they saw the miraculous Baby, they returned to their business. However, they were never the same again. That should be our response as we experience the Savior! Once we come to know Jesus, our lives take on an entirely different meaning, and we have the desire to serve Him. The people were amazed at what the shepherds told them. The ones who were typically the outcasts of society were telling the “Good News” of great joy; the Savior has come!

There comes a time when we must return too. We get excited about the Christmas season, as we should, because it is the celebration of our Savior’s birth. During this time, we share meals together, exchange gifts and many are fortunate to have several days off from work. However, the time comes when we must return. We go back to work, take down the decorations and get back to the challenges of life. What then? The shepherds were excited when they returned because they had celebrated the birth of the Messiah. Are we excited enough in January to share the message of the One we celebrated in December? For Christians, it should be Christmas every day! The Gift should always be on our mind, the joy should always be in our hearts, and the testimony should always be on our lips

As the shepherds, we reach out to tell others the same “Good News”. Are others amazed because we are consistently glorifying and praising God as the shepherds did? May all of you have a very blessed and joyous Christmas as we celebrate our wonderful hope given to us before the foundation of the world. Then, as we return, may we be found continually rejoicing and praising God! We wish for each of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

                                                                                                         We love you,

                                                                                                                               Brad and Virginia




December 11, 2018, 1:31 PM

December 12, 2018


“He was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” Isaiah 53:3

What does the term ridicule mean? It is speech or action intended to cause mockery or sarcasm toward another person. We have all experienced ridicule in one form or another. Ridicule usually happens when people do not know or understand the entire story. What about Mary? Consider the ridicule she must have faced as she desired to please God and fulfill His calling. We can only imagine the chatter that must have been flooding the community. Yet, among all the chatter, the people were expressing their opinions rather than God’s plan.

What about Joseph? What was the “town talk” concerning him? Why would he continue to stay with that woman? Why did he not put her away, or better, have her stoned? According to the Law, Joseph had every right to break the relationship. However, to the surprise of the community, he would marry her. What was the peace surrounding the situation for Mary and Joseph? They both knew, through separate but similar revelation, that they were accomplishing the will of God regardless of the opinion of the people. Even though they were ridiculed, they would remain faithful to God and serve Him completely. Do we live our lives with the same conviction?

What about Jesus? Did He live with constant ridicule concerning His earthly parents? Did the other children express things they had heard about His parents? The sad part of the whole story is that the community nor the nation had any real understanding of the magnitude of the moment. Jesus came for His own people only to face rejection and ridicule from them. Yet, because of His unending love, He would be the suffering Lamb of God. The passage above clearly reminds us that Jesus, as prophesied by Isaiah, was despised, rejected and familiar with suffering. He lived a life of rejection and finally, according to Luke 23:10-11, “the chief priests and the teachers of the Law were standing there vehemently accusing Him; then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked Him by placing an elegant robe on Him”. They eventually crucified the only One who could provide salvation. Then Jesus, even through a life of constant ridicule, said: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

May God’s blessings be yours in abundance this week as you diligently follow Him even though doing so may bring you rejection and ridicule!

                                                                                                        Merry Christmas,

                                                                                                                 Brad and Virginia




December 4, 2018, 2:01 PM

November 5, 2018


“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.” Isaiah 9:6

What words do you use to describe Christmas? Many words swirl around during the Christmas season, but do they really describe Christmas? Is it the commercial Christmas of the world or the biblical account of the Savior’s coming?

While we have been busy edifying Santa Claus, we have often failed to present the real Christmas story. Almost every household in our country knows about Santa Claus while many children have no clue about Jesus. Listen to these words: “he knows when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.” Ever heard those words? Most children can probably quote them from memory. What if the same amount of time was spent seeking Jesus as seeking Santa (or any other character for that matter)? We have dreadful stories of what it’s like not to know Santa, but do we share with children the eternal consequences of not knowing Jesus?

It’s very easy to get disappointed by the commercialization of Christmas. Do you recall one of the Bible verses we shared Sunday morning? “He was in the world, and though the world was made by Him, the world did not recognize Him.” (John 1:10). That verse sounds eerily familiar to us today, doesn’t it? In the midst of all the excitement, how much time is really given to our Savior’s birth? After Christmas, how long does it take to get back to the status quo of removing Jesus from as much of life as possible? Then, we wonder why things seem so bleak around us? You see, those without Jesus will never understand. He is, and will always be, the answer for every situation we face, both individually and nationally. It’s time we celebrate CHRISTmas!

May you all have a blessed week as you share with others Jesus our Savior; the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Please continue to remember those in our church family who are trusting God through difficult circumstances and those who are bereaved during this special season.

                                       We love you,

                                       Brad and Virginia




November 27, 2018, 11:48 AM

November 28, 2018


“When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’.” John 8:12

 

Darkness is defined as the absence of light. The darkest and emptiest places in the universe are called voids. According to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, our very own Milky Way galaxy may float near the center of one of these voids. Why? Of course, scientists have all kinds of explanations. We know that the very faintest flicker of light can be seen in the dark. Is it just possible that God put us in one of the darkest regions of the universe so that we could better see the celestial lights of His creation? Our location within a galactic void gives astronomers the opportunity to make all kinds of observations and take measurements not possible in other areas of the universe. Sadly, what God gave mankind as glimpses of the Creator has been used to cast Him aside.

The passage above reminds us that Jesus is the Light of the world. However, few people

today know the Light or walk in the Light. Jesus came to bring light to all mankind by overcoming the darkness brought about by satan. Scripture plainly reveals to us that the true Light came into the world yet, although the world was made by Him, the world did not and has not recognized Him. Why? “People loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). This passage clearly reveals our need for Jesus!

As we begin to celebrate another Christmas season, it is imperative that we understand that the Light of the world has come to bring hope and salvation to a dark world. This makes us mindful of the lyrics to a song by Chris Tomlin:

                         Light of the world, You step down into darkness,

                         Opened my eyes let me see.

                         Beauty that made this heart adore You,

                         Hope of a life spent with You.

As children of light, may we be diligent about sharing Jesus (the Light of the world) to a dark and evil world.

                                                                                                                          We love you,

                                                                                                                           Brad and Virginia


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