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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



June 25, 2019, 2:29 PM

June 26, 2019


“And Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David at Horesh, and encouraged him in God.”  1 Samuel 23:16 (NASB)

 

Are you an encourager? We all need friends who are encouragers. David had a friend like that in Jonathan. Even though Saul, Jonathan’s father, was pursuing David to kill him, Jonathan remained close to David encouraging him and warning him of Saul’s plans. you the one who encourages co-workers, neighbors and family through difficult circumstances? As we look around us, we are surrounded by so many people who are discouraged, hurting and depressed. It may be because of a lost job, other financial problems or a situation within the family. As we see the many circumstances around us, we are reminded that God has a purpose for each of us. He has called us to share Jesus with those around us, to be an example of Christ to the world, and to encourage those around us who are experiencing difficult times. As God’s people, are we seizing the opportunities available to us each day to encourage others?

You know, far too often, we find ourselves complaining about the very opportunities we have been asking God to provide. We have a tendency to get impatient far too easily and often. Do you enjoy waiting in line? I hate it! However, God is teaching me that waiting in line has the potential to be a blessing. How? Well, those times we are waiting in line is the perfect opportunity to share with someone else and be an encouragement to them. They might just need to hear a positive word from someone at that particular moment. There are other reasons we may be waiting in line. Do we ever stop to think how God may be protecting us from harm down the road? The few minutes of waiting may protect us from an automobile accident or any number of other problems. Isn’t it amazing how God works in every circumstance to protect us and use us to be an encourager to someone else all at the same time?

As you wake up each morning this week, ask God to allow you to be an encourager to someone in need. Pray specifically for opportunities, even while waiting in line, to share God’s love and purpose.

Regardless of what many would say, God is still working in the lives of those who want to be used by Him. May God’s blessings be yours in abundance this week as we all strive to be encouragers in a lost, dark and depressing world. Just a reminder, there will not be a newsletter next week. We want to take this opportunity to wish you a happy and very safe Fourth of July!

 

We love and appreciate each of you!

                                                                                                     Brad and Virginia




June 18, 2019, 11:05 AM

June 19, 2019


"Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light for my path." Psalm 119:105

Probably one of the first verses of Scripture we learn as children is Psalm 119:105. However, even though we learn the verse we still struggle to live by it. We would do so much better if we truly allowed God's Word to guide our path daily. The author of Psalm 119 is unknown but most scholars attribute this psalm to King David. There is a tradition that says King David used this psalm to teach the alphabet to his young son Solomon. It was not just the alphabet for writing letters but also the alphabet of spiritual life. What if dads today were careful to do that? Assuredly, this country would be a better place.
 
We have mentioned lately the significance of the old path and the right path. King David came to know very well the significance of following God's path while also understanding the destruction that comes from going in the wrong direction. In verse 104 David says, "I hate every wrong path." We do not understand the detriment of the wrong path unless we know the peace, security, and freedom of the right path. David found out just how quickly life can change when following the wrong path. He spoke frequently in the Psalms about God's law, statutes, and precepts. These are used to point out the right direction and to declare God's power and authority. David realized, often after making wrong decisions - like us, that God's ways are always right. God never leads us in the wrong direction although He will allow us to make unwise decisions to a point. He constantly desires to teach us how much He loves us by providing the best for us. The enemy, on the other hand, waits every day for the opportunity to steer us down the wrong path. That is the reason David says very clearly, "Your Word is a lamp to my feet."
 
Why does it often take us so long to learn that? We need God's lamp to light every step we take. If you walk along a trail at night with a flashlight, you shine the light down on the path. You do not shine the light out in the distance to see where you are going because you may stumble and fall. You shine the light directly on the path so that you can keep your footing and make it to your destination. God desires to shine His light on the path of life to help us find the right way. Sadly, we often try to put the light on everything around us rather than the steps we need for each day. May you make each step count as you use the light of God's Word for clear directions.
 
                                                                                                                                                                   We love you,
                                                                                                                                                                   Brad and Virginia



June 11, 2019, 11:08 AM

June 12, 2019


"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

Are you secure in what you believe? Are you secure in what the Bible says? Do you believe the Bible is truth regardless of current trends? We are living in times when so many people are doubting the truth. Satan has always worked to put doubt in the mind of mankind. He began by asking Eve questions that would cause her to doubt the very words of God. The same is true today as people dare to contemplate the validity of God.

We are living in times when people consider themselves to be God. In fact, many must be convinced that they know better than God because they so often are determined to give a different meaning to what God said. There was a great article in Decision magazine this month focusing on "Progressive Christianity". Alisa Childers gave five signs that a church may be taking on the progressive movement. The five signs are: a lowered view of the Bible, feelings over facts, essential Christian doctrines are open for reinterpretation, historic terms are redefined, and the heart of the Gospel message shifts from sin and redemption to social justice. These issues are ever so surely making there way into many congregations. ?We shouldn't be surprised to find some of these ideas infiltrating our churches. Jesus warned us, 'Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves'."

God's Word never changes and neither does God. His word is the same as it has always been. It never has and never will change because of man's view of the times. We trust that you are constantly aware of the battle we face in these last days. Be prepared because it will only get worse. Our relationship with Jesus will cause us trouble as we wholeheartedly stand for truth. You have probably already had conversations with people who hold to some of the ideas listed above. As Paul told Timothy, ?But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."
                                                                                                                          We love you,
                                                                                                                          Brad and Virginia


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