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August 6, 2019, 11:36 AM

August 7, 2019


"He has saved us and called us to a holy life, not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace." 2 Timothy 1:9
 
God has a special purpose for your life! The enemy deceives and blinds people every day so that we cannot fully decipher the purpose God has for us. As we look at our culture, the distractions become evident all around us. The message Sunday morning described some of these distractions in detail. The distractions not only blind us to the truth but also cause us to miss out on the purpose for which God has called us. The four distractions we mentioned Sunday were fear, despair, disappointment and stress.
 
In reading another article this week, the author pointed out several other distractions in our culture. It is important that we know these distractions so that we can know the devil's schemes. First is what is called the comparison trap. The comparison trap occurs when we look at what others are doing and use that as a model for our own life. Probably, the largest comparison trap today is social media. We see what everyone else believes, the stuff they possess, and the reason their life seems so happy. When we compare to others, our life often seems so mundane and boring. How could someone so mundane serve God effectively?
 
Another area that can cause major distractions is control. Some have a real issue with wanting everything to go their way. When we are desiring to serve God, our thoughts must be totally focused on Him. Any thoughts about what we want or how we want to accomplish a task can become a real distraction and keep us from God's purpose.
 
A third distraction occurs when we fail to offer forgiveness to others. How can we legitimately carry out God's purpose if we are unwilling to forgive others? The entirety of God's message to mankind is about His forgiveness of sins through Jesus. Our unforgiveness can become one of the biggest distractions and hinderances to following God's purpose. Our desire is that you are made very aware of satan's tactics as he desires to distract all of us from God's real purpose.
                                                                                                                              We love you,
                                                                                                                              Brad and Virginia



July 31, 2019, 3:21 PM

July 31, 2019


“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8

 

Are you satisfied? I mean, are you really satisfied? I would venture to say that most people in our nation are not really satisfied. People today are more educated, make more money and have more material possessions than ever before yet most people in our nation are probably not satisfied. Why? We tend to associate satisfaction with what we want to achieve or accumulate rather than a sense of gratefulness for what we have already. Read carefully the passage above.

Satisfaction really begins with our thankfulness to God for the ways He has blessed us. We face monumental problems in our country. We can easily see that the problems we face are the direct result of leaving God out of decisions that are so vital to each of us. Consider the blessings God has lavished upon our nation. We have truly been blessed beyond measure, but we expend so much effort looking for ways to have more. We have become as spoiled children with the demand to have more and better at the expense of others. We have become so far removed from the Christian lifestyle described throughout the New Testament. God has blessed us that we, in turn, may bless and serve others. However, we use our resources exclusively on ourselves with no thought or regard for those around us who are struggling. We are as ravenous lions with an unending appetite for more stuff.

There is only one who satisfies. His name is Jesus! Have you exchanged your life for His? You see, without Him you will constantly be looking for something more to bring contentment. But, in order to be completely satisfied, you must desire to go deeper in your fellowship with Him. That requires total surrender which we sometimes have a hard time accomplishing. I pray this week that you desire for your satisfaction to be totally in Jesus; to know Him, love Him and serve Him more than ever. May you truly experience contentment this week as you express your love to God and give Him thanks for what He has already provided for you.

                                                                                                                             We love you,

                                                                                                                             Brad and Virginia




July 23, 2019, 12:30 PM

July 24, 2019


"I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

What comes to mind when you think of addition? Probably the first thing you think about is mathematics. You think of adding something to get a desired result. When you are cooking, do you ever experiment by adding different ingredients? Addition can be a very good thing. In fact, when we have the addition of new members to our fellowship, we get very excited. However, the excitement should not stop there. We should continue the excitement as we disciple those new members until they become disciple-makers. That is the mandate Jesus gave us in the Great Commission. That is the concept of multiplication in the Kingdom and it is better than addition. Sure, we get excited about adding to the Kingdom, but we should get even more excited about making disciples.

There is another thought about addition that we should discuss. Many have the attitude in our culture that we just add Jesus to our already hectic schedule and somehow things will improve. They have the misconception that knowing Jesus is just one of the many parts to our lives and one of several paths we take in life. However, for us as Christians, our relationship with God by faith in Jesus is our life. Jesus is not someone we just add to see if our lives will then take a better direction. Many people desire to approach Christianity in those terms. They figure that it is possible to add Jesus as one would add a hobby or an exercise program. They feel they can try Him for a while to see if He really fits into their lifestyle. The sad fact is that those people are lost.

Remember Jesus’ parable about the Gospel message and soil types? Christianity is not about adding Christ to our already busy schedule. Christianity is exchanging our life for the life of Christ. Look carefully at the passage above. The passage is very clear that we “no longer live”. Our relationship with God is not about addition but about total surrender. It is not about adding Christ for a season but about allowing Him to change us completely forever. Let us be thankful to God that He loves us and has given Himself for us. Let us rejoice that Christianity is so much more than addition. It is multiplication as we make disciples together. May you have a blessed and prosperous week as you are determined to be a multiplier in the Kingdom.

                                                                                                                                     We love you,

                                                                                                                                     Brad and Virginia




July 16, 2019, 12:38 PM

July 17, 2019


“But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” James 2:18

 

It is extremely important that we live out our relationship with Jesus daily. Our relationship with Christ should stand out in every area of our lives. There was a time in our culture when Christians lived much like the Pharisees that Jesus so often refuted. The Pharisees were concerned about outward appearances and what others thought about them. They focused their attention on a “work your way to heaven” religion. They made sure everyone thought they were religious regardless of what was on the inside.

However, there seems to be another mindset creeping into our culture today that is just as bad. Whereas the Pharisees of Jesus’ day focused on a “works” salvation, now it seems as though Christians desire to see how little they can do and still go to heaven. So, we ask the question: How are we living before a lost world? Please understand, salvation is only by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. There are no works involved for salvation. However, James says very clearly (James 2) that works are a vital part of the Christian’s life. How should that play out in everyday life?

Let me share a very real example. Millennials are those who were born between 1980 and 2000. Best estimates tell us that only about 15 percent of the Millennial generation are Christian. What does that say about how we have been living before that generation? Then, multiply that times millions of others and we begin to understand the problems we face in this country. Out of a population of 73 million Millennials, about 62 million of those young people are lost. Along those same lines, consider some disturbing words from the father of a Millennial. His daughter had gone off to college and had become rebellious and was in very serious trouble. The dad shared these eye-opening words, “We raised her in church, but we didn’t raise her in Christ”. Wow! That is a sad testimony of our “Americanized” Christian culture.

Are we serious about living out our faith? If we are Christians, our lives should show that in every area. It seems we are living just like everybody else but expecting outcomes to be different. It doesn’t work that way! It is not enough to look and talk like a Christian. We must be a Christian. That means at home, at school, at work and every place we go. There are millions of people in this nation who are looking for reality. They are looking for those who have different standards. Our prayer is that we share the message of Jesus in the way we live every day.

                                                                                                                        We love you,

                                                                                                                        Brad and Virginia




July 9, 2019, 10:00 AM

July 10, 2019


"We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience." Colossians 1:9-11
 
How often do we really understand the big picture of how things work together? Have you ever wondered how many different things must take place in order for us to accomplish just one task for God? Consider the number of people you know today compared with your childhood. All the people we know have the potential to be a tool God uses when calling us to complete a task. God takes all our acquaintances, our knowledge, our prayers, our faith and even our failures and combines them together to manage our lives. Can you imagine us trying to put all that together every day?
 
Now, consider carefully the Bible verse above. What does it say to you? We all spend a great deal of time looking for shortcuts and time-savers. We even do that when desiring to be used by God. Yet, while we sometimes hurry through even the most important events, God takes the time and patience to put everything together exactly right. Well-meaning people have developed numerous strategies and have written many books to make us feel better about rushing through our time with God. After all, we are all so busy and have little quality time to spend with Him. Do you sometimes find yourself rushing through Bible study because you have so many other things to do? We develop endurance and patience as we spend time with God. When we waiver in our time with God, it shows as we become more vulnerable to the enemy's temptations.
 
How often do we hear someone speaking to us, but we do not understand them because we're trying to follow several conversations at once? The same is true in Bible reading and study. Do we concentrate enough to hear God's voice as we read and study His Word? It's when we hear God's voice and act upon it that we see things that only God can do. Then, our faith is strengthened, we can serve Him in a greater way, and have an impact on more people. This week, as you read and study God's Word, concentrate fully on Him as you listen for His voice. Follow the directives He gives and see your faith increase daily. Remember, He is putting all things together and is in total control of your circumstances.
                                                         
                                                                                                                                                            We love you,
                                                                                                                                                            Brad and Virginia

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