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April 27, 2016, 11:00 AM

April 27, 2016


“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  Hebrews 10:24-25

What a wake-up call this past Sunday!  We were so blessed to be able to participate in ELBA’s “On Mission Celebration” and to have missionaries share with us.  We were all challenged as we heard reports of work continuing around the world and here at home.  In many ways, we were made painfully aware of our “Americanized” definition of being a disciple of Jesus.  Several questions remain in my mind as we digest the vital information shared with us this weekend.  Are we “doing” church or reaching lost people?  Are we “really” giving to help support missions efforts abroad and at home?  Are we committed to sharing our faith even in the midst of growing persecution?

                The days are here.  We no longer have the luxury of “Americanized” Christianity. We have been much more concerned about our affluence than we have been about people coming to Jesus.    Jesus said,”you cannot serve both God and money” yet our culture has been trying to do just that for decades.  In the lives of too many Christians, money has become far too important. We live in a society that craves more and more money to buy things we do not need while people around us die without Christ.  What has our purpose become within the Church?  Have we turned our money and energy within toward ourselves or do we really have a desire to touch lost people with the only message that saves and provides hope?  There must be a balance to our purpose.  Sure, there are areas that must be addressed within our fellowship.  However, do we place the same or greater emphasis on ways to reach a lost world for Christ?

                I must admit that a question has been continually whirling in my brain since Sunday.  What are we (Plant City Baptist Church) doing to make a difference in the Kingdom?  Are we using the resources available to us to make the most impact in the lives of people?  Please be in prayer for “God-given” direction as we serve Him in these last days.  “God, please help us to realize the days are short and our mission is so vital.  Help us to realize also that Hell is real and people without Jesus really do go there for eternity.   The song by Brandon Heath is so timely.  “Give me Your eyes for just one second.  Give me Your eyes so I can see everything that I keep missing.  Give me Your love for humanity”.  The days truly are short and our purpose is so urgent.  May we be completely focused on our Father’s will and away from the entanglements of this world!  We love and appreciate each of you!

We love you,
Brad and Virginia

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April 20, 2016, 2:00 PM

April 20, 2016


“For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He holds success in store for the upright; He is a shield for those whose walk is blameless.”  Proverbs 2:6-7

How many wise people do you know?  The list seems to get shorter as the days pass by.  We know that with wisdom comes common sense.  One of the real signs that a nation is in trouble is the breakdown of leadership.  The breakdown in leadership has become very evident in our nation.  Leadership breaks down when there is a rejection of the ways of God to be replaced by the senseless mind of those without Christ.  As God begins to remove His hand, leaders arise without knowledge and wisdom and begin to make decisions that are foreign to His will.

                Personally, I believe we’ve been there for a while.  Many decisions being made today by our leaders (national to local) are at best questionable and at worst downright insane.  Are we surprised?  Why should we be?  We have such a vivid illustration in the Bible.  The Bible is that “old book” with good stories that are totally irrelevant for today.  Right?  Anyway, the Bible shares the story of King Saul.  Israel, against God’s desire, longed for a king like all the other nations.  God allowed them to have a king just as they desired but it didn’t work out as they planned.  As time continued, Saul began to reject the ways of God in favor of his own ways and decisions.  In many ways, the latter decisions by King Saul would be considered insane.  Why?  He was living and making decisions based on his ideas and knowledge rather than God’s.

                We are seeing the scenario play out all over again within our nation and around the world.  It appears that God, as He did with Israel, has allowed us to have the things we have so desired.  Are the decisions being made today the same decisions that made America the great nation it has been?  It is not very hard to answer that question!  We must pray that God would once again provide leaders of wisdom and character.  The wisdom and character that we need in our leaders comes exclusively from Almighty God.  Without God’s help and intervention, we will continue down the same bleak path of destruction.  Let us be diligent to pray for our nation, for our current leaders and for God to give us a new set of leaders that love Him, trust Him and follow Him in every situation.  May God’s blessings be yours in abundance this week as we earnestly seek His guidance.

We love you,
Brad and Virginia

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April 13, 2016, 12:00 AM

April 13, 2016


“We wait in hope for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.  In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.  May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in You.” Psalm 33: 20-22

Well, here we go again!  We are hearing the protestors every day against morals and common sense in our nation.  A few weeks ago it was Georgia and now it is North Carolina.  Bruce Springsteen has cancelled a concert in North Carolina and PayPal, the online payment giant, has decided to scrap plans to open a facility there.  What is the problem in North Carolina?  The controversy stems from a bill concerning transgender restrooms.  The bill states that transgender people who have not taken surgical and legal steps to change the gender noted on their birth certificates have no legal right under state law to use public restrooms of the gender with which they identify.

                Can you just imagine where all this is leading?  Basically, it is what happens when a nation forgets God and makes decisions without His guidance.   Do people really believe that only transgenders will use those restrooms?  I can see boys and men lined up to use the ladies’ restroom or locker room.  How long does it take for a nation to become lawless and live without rules necessary to govern?  From my understanding, a people without sound rules, is the last step before a dictatorship begins.  Some would say that we have laws and are not a lawless people.  The truth is that we have more laws than we could ever enforce and once we transform all “rights” into laws we are treading on very shaky ground.  As Christians, we have been told so often that we cannot judge others and that has made us become eerily quiet.  The Bible tells us to make “right” judgments.  If we love people we should tell them the truth.  Does the truth always make us feel good?  No, but it is what we need to hear and follow.

                We must pray for our nation, our state and our local communities.  We have definitely been heading in the wrong direction.  We must pray for God to raise up those who will lead us back to the principles of Almighty God.  It is a very critical time in our country.  Franklin Graham is going to all 50 states before our elections this fall to energize and mobilize Christians to come back to God, pray for our nation and be sure to vote.  There is a prayer rally taking place in Montgomery this week.  We have several from our church that are making the trip.  If you were not able to make the rally with us, please continue to pray along with all of us for God’s guidance and direction.  May you have a great week as you constantly and consistently pray for our nation.

We love you,
Brad and Virginia

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April 6, 2016, 12:00 AM

April 6, 2016


“Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  1 Peter 5:8

                The enemy is always looking for ways to affect our focus on God.  The Bible is clear that the enemy is constantly seeking someone to devour.  What does the word devour mean?  It means to consume destructively or recklessly.  That is what the enemy desires to do to all of us.  We must avoid the schemes of the enemy in order to fulfill our God-given purpose.  We get a good understanding of the enemy from the Book of Revelation.  Revelation 20:2 says, “He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or satan, and bound him for a thousand years”.  We have the same enemy that Adam and Eve had in the Garden and we know him as satan.  The passage above (1 Peter 5:8) tells us to watch out for his continual schemes.  We are to “be alert and of a sober mind”.  The armor is available every day but we must put it on!

                What does the enemy desire to steal from you?  We have shared many times about the enemy’s plan to steal our joy.  In stealing our joy, he renders us very weak for Kingdom work.  Yet, he always starts by stealing our focus.  Life has its abundance of twists and turns.  Without constant reliance upon God and a continual feast from His Word, we become very vulnerable.  We lose our focus when we become distracted.  Remember, the devil is very good at distractions.  These distractions come in many forms and sometimes appear as good for the Kingdom.  If the enemy masquerades as an angel of light, then we know he will use distractions that appear good.  One of the enemy’s greatest distractions is busyness, especially within the Church.  He also uses distractions like fear and disunity.  We know that for Christians he cannot steal our salvation but he strives to make our lives miserable.  He knows that the more miserable we become the more likely we are to be “out of the game”.

                How do we overcome the enemy’s schemes?  Paul (Ephesians 6:10-17) and Peter (1 Peter 5:9) give us the same game plan which is to stand firm and remain strong in the faith.  We cannot fight the enemy alone!  We fight the enemy by standing firm and allowing God to fight our battles.  One of the ways for us to stand firm in the faith is to flee (run away) from the temptations and distractions of the devil.  The closer we remain to God the better we are able to know the enemy’s schemes.  God’s Word gives us many ways to escape the devil’s grip.  We are to stand firm, be alert at all times, put on God’s armor daily and flee from the situation.   May you have a wonderful week as you watch out for the enemy’s distractions and remain focused on the One who truly loves us all!

We Love you,
Brad and Virginia

 

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March 30, 2016, 1:17 PM

March 30, 2016


“For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction."  Psalm 1:6

As I write this week, I am looking at a Valentine’s Day card that Kenleigh gave me weeks ago.  The card reads, “I’ve got my eye on you”.  Isn’t that amazingly similar to what God says to us?  God is always watching over us.  Many times we get the feeling that God is only watching us to see what we do wrong.  God watches us for many different reasons.  However, we must remember that regardless of our actions, good or bad, God does see them all.  Many have the mistaken idea that because we can hide things from people we can also hide things from God.  God not only sees all the things that we do, He also knows the exact reason we do them.

                All of this brings us to the word motive.  A motive is the real reason that we do something.  So many today are wearing themselves out because they are somehow trying to earn God’s favor.  They believe that surely our deeds must help get us to Heaven.  The truth is: we do good deeds because we are saved not because we believe they will add to what we already have in Christ.  How many people do you know that struggle with grace?  It is hard to understand that everything was made available to us at the cross.  Jesus said, “It is finished”!  Everything that Jesus came to accomplish was completed at the cross.  What does that mean for us?  It means that it is not a matter of working for God’s favor but a matter of accepting what has already been done for us!

                Now, what is the reason we do things in the Kingdom?  Is it only a matter of obligation that we believe will give us a little better standing in God’s eyes?  Or, do we do things because we love God and desire that our actions please Him?  God loves us!  Remember this week that God truly has His eyes on us!  If He knows when a sparrow falls to the ground, we know that He is surely watching over us.  We must learn to enjoy God’s grace and stop trying to accomplish something that has already been done.  God truly watches over us because, as a loving Father, He desires the absolute best for His children.  Any time He points out our wrongs, it is for our ultimate good.  I’ve got to close with a great quote from C.S. Lewis.  “The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men.”  Praying you all have a great week!

We love you,
Brad and Virginia

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Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37   Entries 166-170 of 183