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March 19, 2019, 11:10 AM

March 20, 2019


“When Solomon finished all these prayers and supplications to the Lord, he rose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven.” 1 Kings 8:54

Do you see the picture? Solomon had completed the temple and was leading the people in a time of dedication before the Lord. During his prayer, Solomon was kneeling at the altar, hands stretched toward heaven, calling to God on behalf of all the people. The scene is vividly clear. The king was on his knees before Almighty God. It really hurts to think about how far we are from the example Solomon set before the people of his day. There was no doubt about God’s existence. There was no concern that someone in the crowd might be offended. This was a true time of worship as Solomon called upon the Lord recognizing that Israel’s future depended on God’s continual blessings.

We are seeing the very real consequences of a nation being blinded by the influences of a dark world. I know it seems as though you are reading and hearing the same message each week. Yet, it is a very real burden as we see our nation constantly sinking down right before our eyes. Many would say that we continue to be optimistic and that there is still the opportunity for our country to come back to the Lord. Yes, there is certainly always that possibility but is it probable?

Just examine how far we have fallen away from a time such as we see in King Solomon’s example. It’s sad but we seem to have the total opposite mindset. So many states are passing legislation allowing the murder of children. This is really no different from Old Testament days when people sacrificed their own children before unknown gods. It is sad that a nation of such intelligence cannot understand murder. God will not continue to allow such mindless decisions. The downward spiral is happening before our very eyes. World powers have all fallen in the past and there is no reason to believe we are too big, too powerful or too intelligent to fall.

Maybe soon we will get to some lighter reading. It is just difficult not to comment on the status of our nation. On a lighter note, we hope you are enjoying the season. This time of year brings a freshness and renewal to our lives. We are seeking a desire among us to grow closer to the Lord. Even though our nation falters, we continue to seek God’s guidance and strive to know Him better. We pray that you are having a great week and are making the most of every opportunity to share Jesus with others.

                                                                                                                         We love you,

                                                                                                                         Brad and Virginia

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March 12, 2019, 3:30 PM

March 13, 2019


“The Lord says: ‘These people come near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. Their worship of Me is based merely on human rules they have been taught’.” Isaiah 29:13

What is the true essence of worship? It is to glorify Almighty God. What does it feel like to truly worship Him? Have you felt it lately? My heart has been burdened over the past several weeks because there seems to be a constant drift away from real worship. We see the constant leaning toward “meetings” that make us feel good and somehow meet our certain needs. However, that is probably not worship. In some ways, it seems as though we have forgotten the One who has given us abundant life. Our prayer for each of you is that you know God, know how to worship Him and know what He truly expects.

Are we guilty of merely lip service before God? According to Isaiah’s proclamation from God, the people of his day were offering lip service to Him, but their hearts were not truthful. Their “worship” consisted of following man-made rules and regulations they had been taught. What would have happened if they had been truly worshiping God? What would happen if we experienced the living God as we worship on Sunday? Yet, in order to worship on Sunday, we must have been worshiping God all during the week. Can we say that we walk closely with Him and depend on Him in every circumstance of our daily life?

Are we there yet? No, but I truly believe that as we pray diligently for God’s guidance, we will begin to experience real worship. When we experience worship, nothing else will ever satisfy us because that is why we were created. The challenge for our church family is that we let go of tradition and man-made regulations so that we glorify God. As we’ve said so many times before, it’s all about Him anyway! We pray that you are having a very blessed week and that you are experiencing worship every day because our Heavenly Father is so worthy of our praise, worship and devotion!

                                                                                                                                              We love you,

                                                                                                                                              Brad and Virginia




March 5, 2019, 9:31 AM

March 6, 2019


"The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating Him.  They blindfolded Him and demanded, 'Prophesy! Who hit you?' And they said many other insulting things to Him."  
                                                                                                                                                    Luke 22:63-65
 
Have you ever thought much about the men charged with guarding Jesus?  The passage above says that they mocked Him and beat Him.  They hit Him while blindfolded and demanded He prophesy about who hit Him.  We cannot imagine doing that to God but those men really had no idea that He was the Savior of the world. To them, He was just another criminal and they would treat Him just the way they treated all the others.  Do you ever wonder if any of those men became followers after seeing and experiencing the crucifixion of Jesus?
 
There are those today who treat Jesus much the same as those guards.  No, they do not beat Him or blindfold Him, but they do mock Him.  They reject Him and thereby mock Him as the guards did.  People today either know Jesus for who He is (Savior, Messiah, and King of Kings) or treat Him much like the guards.  Jesus very well could have prophesied about who hit Him and shared every small detail about their lives as well.  However, He knew the reason for which He came to earth and this particular time wasn't to confront a group of guards who were mistreating Him.
 
There are many today in the same condition as the guards in Jesus' day.  Do you know someone today who mocks Jesus because they do not realize who He is?  Those who do not know Him fail to understand that every breath taken is because He has allowed it.  We live in a dark world that is continually getting darker.  During these days we must be the light that shines in a dark place.  As stars against the blackest night or diamonds against a black background, so we should shine more and more brilliantly as the days become darker.  Share the Good News, hold on to the Truth, and impact the people around you so that they may experience the only One who can save us.  May you have a blessed week as you continually shine forth the light of Jesus!
 
                                                                                                                             We love you,
                                                                                                                             Brad and Virginia



February 26, 2019, 3:47 PM

February 27, 2019


“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” Philippians 2:14-15

How often do others hear us complain? Sometimes far too often! It may be about the weather, other people or even church activities. Would friends, co-workers, or family members describe us as complainers? We probably should ask those who are around us most often. We live in a culture of complaints which shows that, as a nation, we have become very spoiled. There was a time when people were so appreciative of the conveniences we share. Complainers are typically those who gripe about a situation but do not want to be involved in making necessary changes. God never expects us to be complainers. Why? He has called us to be content in all circumstances, to know that He loves us, and to know that He provides for our well-being.

The scripture lesson above reveals a specific reason why Christians should not be the world’s complaining champions. We are different and have been set apart for God’s service. We are to shine like stars in a crooked and depraved generation and to be the examples of Jesus in the world. Who wants to follow us if we spend the majority of our time complaining? For us, the Bible is our life standard. As we live according to biblical standards, our lives stand out as we glorify our Lord. We have allowed the world to influence us and cause our impact to decline. Those who consistently harbor complaints have a negative impact on others around them. As Christians, we should be the ones who positively affect others because we have hope and are the light of the world.

We all know (hopefully) that everything will not go our way. There are times that we really do feel like complaining because life has gotten very chaotic. However, remember when those times come that people are watching to see our reaction. The way we react to adversity is a good indicator of our trust in God and greatly affects the people around us. We choose every day to either be a part of the problem or a part of the solution. As we go about our daily routine this week be careful and take note of the times we complain. Ask God to help us see the good potential in every circumstance and be ready to make the most of it. Remember, we are battling the enemy every day and he wants to make you less effective. Our prayer is that you have a very blessed and joyous week as you shine like the stars to reveal our Lord and Savior.

                                                                                                                                         We love you,

                                                                                                                                         Brad and Virginia




February 19, 2019, 2:14 PM

February 20, 2019


“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.” 1 Peter 2:12

We are all guilty! We sometimes fail to live up to what it means to be a Christian. As Christians, we are children of the righteous, holy, and omnipotent Heavenly Father. It means that we are a part of God’s family. As such, we have insight into a part of life that so many people are living without. We can live according to the truth because we are able to understand it. How can we understand the truth? It is found in God’s Word and we are privileged to study it diligently. We have a relationship with and access to the One who created and holds everything together. Therefore, people should see us striving each day to live and make decisions as Jesus would.

Do we chase perfection? That may sound silly in the culture of today. Have you ever read any material about Vince Lombardi, the coach of the Green Bay Packers of many years ago? His goal for the Packers was always perfection. Even though he knew perfection was unachievable, it never stopped his daily pursuit of the goal. In similar fashion, we know that we will never be perfect this side of eternity, but that should not excuse us from making perfection our goal. We live in a world where mediocrity is the goal and that thinking has made its way into the lives of many Christians. We have lost the desire to “aim for perfection” because we are told over and over that no one is perfect. That is true but as God’s children we should be moving closer to Him each day and striving to be more like Jesus.

As the Church of the living God, the world should be able to look to us to see an example of living according to the high standards of Scripture. Sure, we all stumble from time to time, but that should be the exception rather than the rule. Paul addressed that issue very clearly in the book of Romans. “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? May it never be!” (Romans 6:1) As persecution increases, it becomes even more of an imperative that we live the example of Jesus. As a football team gets inside the red zone, the fundamentals and techniques of the game become increasingly important. As we near the end of this age, the way we live becomes even more of a testimony to the lost. May your week be blessed as we all strive to be more like Jesus and be a constant example to those around us!

 

                                    We love you,

                                    Brad and Virginia


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