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January 23, 2019, 11:10 AM

January 16, 2019


“A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from God, for without Him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” Ecclesiastes 2: 24-25 

 

The Bible is very clear about instructions for every area of our lives. One of the major themes we see in God’s Word is satisfaction with His provisions. It is very easy, especially in our culture, for the term satisfaction to become twisted. The meaning found in Scripture moves us toward a sense of thankfulness and appreciation to God for His daily provisions. However, in our society, the word satisfaction is often used to further the attitude that one cannot do any better. These are two fundamentally different meanings of the same word.

Are you satisfied? Do you enjoy your work, your home, your children and your lifestyle? Have you ever noticed how television commercials focus on areas where people struggle with satisfaction? If there is any feeling of discontentment, the commercials seem to steadily reinforce that feeling. That is the tool companies use to make people try products they think will make them look better, feel better and live better. The apostle Paul used the word content or contentment to help us grasp a real understanding of satisfaction (Philippians 4:11). He understood contentment and satisfaction to be an attitude based on our thankfulness to God.

We can be sure that contentment and satisfaction will not be found by comparing ourselves to others. In Philippians 4:12, we find that Paul had “learned the secret of being content”. What was Paul’s secret? The secret Paul learned consisted of one basic principle that we should know. Paul learned to consistently and faithfully trust Christ to give him strength in every circumstance. One of the biggest problems, even among Christians, is trying to compare our life to others. You will never be like someone else because God did not create you that way.

People are looking for the real deal today. They are not interested in phony people trying to be like someone else. They are looking around at those who are truly satisfied even in the midst of difficult times. Solomon’s words are so true: “without Him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” We must understand that our contentment is in direct proportion to our fellowship with God. May you have a blessed week filled with contentment and satisfaction.

                                                                                                                                      We love you,

                                                                                                                                      Brad and Virginia

 




January 23, 2019, 10:59 AM

January 9, 2019


“Then his wife said to him, ‘Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!’ He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not trouble?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” Job 2:9-10

 

We live in a culture that seems to have forgotten the term integrity. The word is used very loosely today, if at all. Integrity means adherence to moral and ethical principles and a soundness of character and honesty. For Christians, it means following the example set forth by Jesus. We are constantly faced with situations that tempt us to alter our integrity. This happens most often through peer pressure. There are those who try to coax us away from the Biblical standard in order to avoid the truth in a particular situation. Actually, it is not so much people as it is the enemy using others to make us vulnerable. Satan has always worked that way because he desires to affect our fellowship with God, our witness and our purpose.

Far too many take God’s principles as just “old news” from the Bible. There are many times when we are tempted to give up and give in to the pressure surrounding us. That is exactly what the enemy desires! Job experienced a terrible situation without the support of his wife. She questioned his faithfulness to God and recommended that Job give up. Look carefully at Job’s answer in the verses above. “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” Adversity is a bridge to a deeper fellowship with God. Adversity comes into each of our lives and usually at the worst possible time.

How we respond to adversity says so much about our relationship and fellowship with God. People will taunt you, ridicule you and even question your heart’s desire to be obedient to Him. Yet, we know that in those difficult times, God is always there for comfort, strength and guidance. It is through adversity that we seek God and grow toward greater dependence on Him. You may be in the midst of adversity even as you read this article. If so, remember that God is with you, loves you and is deepening your walk with Him as He guides you through the situation. If you are not facing adversity at the moment, praise God and ask Him to prepare you for the day that it will come because it surely will. May we, as Job, understand that God gives and takes away but we will praise Him forever!

                                                                                                         We love you,

                                                                                                         Brad and Virginia




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


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