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December 13, 2016, 2:39 PM

December 14, 2016

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9

    Many people are searching today.  The problem is a lack of understanding of their real needs.  They will diligently tear into gifts under the Christmas tree because, just maybe, the answer to their problems will be found there.  Most people today are looking for happiness.  They go out of their way grasping at all sorts of things hoping to find the elusive happy life.  However, their hearts are in a constant state of restlessness because they do not understand the source of happiness.  In all their searching, they really need Jesus.  He is the One who fills the longing for happiness, the comfort in sadness and peace in an otherwise chaotic world.

    Christmas is all about THE Savior and our need for Him.  There is only one Savior and His name is Jesus.  You see, the salvation of sinners is the reason that Jesus came to the Earth.  We are sinners and our greatest need is for our sins to be forgiven because that is the only way we can have a relationship with God.  A quote that summarizes our need for Jesus goes like this: “If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent an educator.  If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent a scientist.  If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent an economist.  If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent an entertainer.  But our greatest need is forgiveness, so God sent us His Son, Jesus.”

    Christmas helps us remember that our only hope is in Christ.  We have all lost our chance at perfection so that means we have no possible way to enter Heaven on our own.  Yet, because of God’s gift of His Son, we all have the opportunity to be saved from God’s wrath and receive eternal life.  “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) This Christmas, remember that happiness is found in a person rather than in things.  The greatest Christmas gift of all is God’s gift of His Son.  Of all the gifts you may desire this Christmas, may the number one gift you seek be THE Savior of the world, Jesus!

                                                                                                                          We love and appreciate each of you,

                                                                                                                          Brad and Virginia

December 7, 2016, 11:47 AM

December 7, 2016

“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins’.”  Matthew 2: 20-21

          How many times do we read in the bible about those who found themselves in a dilemma between what God said and what makes sense?  How often have we ourselves been in a similar scenario?  Oftentimes, our prayer life is focused only on the things we can understand rather than God’s ultimate plan for our lives.  What happens when it just doesn’t make sense?  We tend to become easily frustrated when we cannot figure out the details.  One person that must have had a difficult time was Joseph in what we call the “Christmas Story”.

          Mary and Joseph were pledged to be married.  This period of time was similar to engagement today but there were more stipulations and much greater consequences.  The Bible says, “before they came together, Mary was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit”.  Imagine all the scenarios that must have played over and over in Joseph’s mind.  The penalty for Mary in such a situation was very stiff, even stoning to death.  We know that Joseph had great love for Mary because he decided to put her away quietly.  Look carefully at the passage above.  God had a plan that was nowhere to be found on Joseph’s radar.  The angel’s proclamation was probably a very uncomfortable feeling for Joseph.

          Consider the people who knew them: What would they say?  God doesn’t mind putting us in uneasy circumstances.  He doesn’t mind putting us in circumstances that test our faith.  The question is: what do we do when we cannot see past our understanding?  Do we become frustrated and miss the blessing or do we, like Joseph, accept what God says and see His miraculous ways?  As Max Lucado says, “God is still looking for Josephs today.  Men and women who believe that God is not finished with this world.  Common people who serve an uncommon God”.  We pray you are having a great week as you follow Joseph’s lead by serving God even when His direction doesn’t really seem to make sense.

                                                                                                                                                             We love you,

                                                                                                                                                             Brad and Virginia

November 29, 2016, 12:00 AM

November 30, 2016

“While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”  Luke 2:6-7

        It is so easy for us to become distracted and for our lives to drift out of focus.  We often find ourselves looking for the “main event” in the wrong places.  We usually search for extraordinary events only in the places we feel they will occur.  We spend the bulk of our time trying to focus our attention on a super event that will somehow bring a sense of purpose to our lives.  What do we usually find out?  The events that really have meaning are quite frequently in the areas of life we take for granted.  The greatest, most fulfilling opportunities usually occur in our everyday, sometimes mundane, life.

        Consider the passage above.  One of the greatest events in all human history occurred in a very ordinary place on a seemingly typical night.  The shepherds were in the fields keeping watch over their flocks during the night.  Yet, in the stillness of the night and among the typical, sometimes menial tasks of the shepherds, the Messiah was born!  Suddenly, the quietness was shattered and the lowly shepherds were eyewitnesses to an extraordinary, even terrifying event.  An angel appeared to them proclaiming the birth of the Savior!  Then, a great company of the heavenly host began praising and glorifying God.  What an event!  It was huge but it took place in the familiar surroundings of the shepherds.

        The shepherds weren’t looking for this grand event but it took place amid their everyday routine.  Far too often, we neglect the simple opportunities surrounding us each day.  We spend time looking for, and trying to create, grand events when God may be placing an extraordinary event in the midst our ordinary life.  What greater event could be shared than for a person to surrender their life to Jesus?  We have an opportunity to be involved in extraordinary events when we tell others the Good News of Jesus.  What great events are you looking for?  Where are you expecting them to occur?  Look around and be watchful because an extraordinary event may be right in your midst.  May you have a wonderful week as you look for the extraordinary among the ordinary!

                                                                We love you,

                                                                Brad and Virginia

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November 22, 2016, 12:00 AM

November 23, 2016

“Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.  Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.”  Psalm 95:1-2

    The Psalms are filled with praise and thanksgiving to God.  As we read passages such as the one above, we reflect upon the many ways God has truly blessed us.  As the psalmist, we should praise God and glorify Him continually.  A thankful heart is one true characteristic of a Christian because it reveals God’s presence in our lives.  In our culture, it is very easy to take for granted the many blessings of God. 

    The enemy will use any number of strategies to turn our hearts and minds away from what God has given.  Remember, his goal is to bring chaos and discontentment to our lives.  One of the enemy’s favorite tactics is to get our minds away from God’s many provisions and to focus our attention on things we do not possess.  Rather than contentment and thanksgiving, our human tendency is to take for granted the things that we already enjoy.  This sounds very similar to the way things happened in the Garden of Eden, doesn’t it?  The enemy convinced Adam and Eve that what God had provided was not enough.  He continues to use that same strategy to bring a sense of discontentment which leads to ingratitude.

    It is very easy to become dissatisfied with what we have because we have been blessed with so much.  Particularly, at this time of the year, we hear the question: What are you thankful for?  As Christians, our thoughts should immediately focus on Jesus.  You see, the wrath of God was poured out on Jesus for the sins of mankind.  Who put Jesus on the cross?  Some will say the Roman government and their soldiers while others will say the Jewish leaders.  However, we know that it was God’s plan from the beginning to place Jesus on the cross.  He would be the One to take the penalty for our sins.

    If God never blessed us in any other way, we can thank Him and praise Him forevermore because He has given us life even when we deserved death.  The next time satan tries to manipulate your situation and tell you all the things you do not have, take a few moments to reflect upon the cross and thank God that He has given real life that can never be taken away.  In Jesus, we truly have everything we need.  May you have a blessed Thanksgiving as you “praise God from Whom all blessings flow”!

                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                Brad and Virginia

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November 15, 2016, 12:00 AM

November 16, 2016

“We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, His power, and the wonders He has done.” Psalm 78:4

            What a difference a week makes!  We truly witnessed a miracle and the promises of God fulfilled.  However, it is not the time to get back to “business as usual”.  It appears God has given Christians in America another opportunity to be intentional about sharing our faith.  Let’s face it, we have not been doing such a good job of sharing the Gospel and showing people the love of Christ.  We have failed to share within our families and, as such, there is a generation that, for the most part, does not understand a relationship with Almighty God.  We must have a heart moved to sincere dependence on God and heart that will not shrink away from our duty.

            We must continue in diligent prayer for President-elect Donald Trump and for those who will work closely with him because the future of our nation is at stake.  The outcome of this election was the result of the fervent and diligent prayers of God’s people.  God will bless America to the extent that we are moving toward Him rather than allowing our culture to dictate the future direction.  God’s plan has always been for each generation to teach the one coming behind them.  Look carefully at the passage above.  Do children see parents living the Christian life?  Do they hear and see parents diligently calling out to God because they realize their very sustenance is found in Him?

            We, as Christians, have a huge responsibility!  There is so much to be done in our nation.  Right now, our nation is divided in several areas.  The only One who will truly bring peace and unity is Jesus.  Without Him, and without a sincere effort among Christians to be His witnesses, we will lose the nation that means so much to us.  The enemy absolutely hates the outcome that we have experienced and we can be sure that he will be fighting every step of the way.  We must not let him hinder our focus or allow him to take us out of the game thereby rendering us useless in the Kingdom.  We need to continue dedicated and fervent prayer as the battle will definitely heat up around us.  May you be blessed as you unashamedly share the Good News this world so desperately needs to hear!

                                                                                                                                              We love you,

                                                                                                                                              Brad and Virginia                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              



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