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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




December 4, 2018, 2:01 PM

November 5, 2018


“For unto us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

What words do you use to describe Christmas? Many words swirl around during the Christmas season, but do they really describe Christmas? Is it the commercial Christmas of the world or the biblical account of the Savior’s coming?

While we have been busy edifying Santa Claus, we have often failed to present the real Christmas story. Almost every household in our country knows about Santa Claus while many children have no clue about Jesus. Listen to these words: “he knows when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.” Ever heard those words? Most children can probably quote them from memory. What if the same amount of time was spent seeking Jesus as seeking Santa (or any other character for that matter)? We have dreadful stories of what it’s like not to know Santa, but do we share with children the eternal consequences of not knowing Jesus?

It’s very easy to get disappointed by the commercialization of Christmas. Do you recall one of the Bible verses we shared Sunday morning? “He was in the world, and though the world was made by Him, the world did not recognize Him.” (John 1:10). That verse sounds eerily familiar to us today, doesn’t it? In the midst of all the excitement, how much time is really given to our Savior’s birth? After Christmas, how long does it take to get back to the status quo of removing Jesus from as much of life as possible? Then, we wonder why things seem so bleak around us? You see, those without Jesus will never understand. He is, and will always be, the answer for every situation we face, both individually and nationally. It’s time we celebrate CHRISTmas!

May you all have a blessed week as you share with others Jesus our Savior; the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Please continue to remember those in our church family who are trusting God through difficult circumstances and those who are bereaved during this special season.

                                       We love you,

                                       Brad and Virginia




November 27, 2018, 11:48 AM

November 28, 2018


“When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’.” John 8:12

 

Darkness is defined as the absence of light. The darkest and emptiest places in the universe are called voids. According to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, our very own Milky Way galaxy may float near the center of one of these voids. Why? Of course, scientists have all kinds of explanations. We know that the very faintest flicker of light can be seen in the dark. Is it just possible that God put us in one of the darkest regions of the universe so that we could better see the celestial lights of His creation? Our location within a galactic void gives astronomers the opportunity to make all kinds of observations and take measurements not possible in other areas of the universe. Sadly, what God gave mankind as glimpses of the Creator has been used to cast Him aside.

The passage above reminds us that Jesus is the Light of the world. However, few people

today know the Light or walk in the Light. Jesus came to bring light to all mankind by overcoming the darkness brought about by satan. Scripture plainly reveals to us that the true Light came into the world yet, although the world was made by Him, the world did not and has not recognized Him. Why? “People loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). This passage clearly reveals our need for Jesus!

As we begin to celebrate another Christmas season, it is imperative that we understand that the Light of the world has come to bring hope and salvation to a dark world. This makes us mindful of the lyrics to a song by Chris Tomlin:

                         Light of the world, You step down into darkness,

                         Opened my eyes let me see.

                         Beauty that made this heart adore You,

                         Hope of a life spent with You.

As children of light, may we be diligent about sharing Jesus (the Light of the world) to a dark and evil world.

                                                                                                                          We love you,

                                                                                                                           Brad and Virginia




November 20, 2018, 11:27 AM

November 21, 2019


“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done.”

 

The passage above, from 1 Chronicles 16:8, is a psalm of thanks to the Lord as the Ark of the Covenant was brought back to Jerusalem. The people were excited as the ark was placed in the tent that David had erected for it. What is impressive about this is the fact that King David’s first course of action was to honor God and acknowledge His authority. David was the king but he realized that he was, even as king, accountable to God. One very important part of this passage is the instructions to “make known among the nations what He has done”. It is very important for us to be thankful. However, it is even more important for us to be thankful and to let others know the One who has blessed us.

We focus far too much of our energy toward the things we have yet to receive rather than the blessings already given to us. Are we able to say that we are truly thankful for what God has given to us? You see, a thankful heart leads to many changes in a person’s life. A thankful heart has the power to replace anger with love. A thankful heart has the power to replace the desire to dominate with the wish to be a part of the team. A thankful heart has the power to replace self-indulgence with the concern for the needs of others.

Our society has literally been taught to by-pass Thanksgiving because we are looking with such anticipation to Christmas. Yet, this is not because we are so excited about celebrating the birth of Jesus but because we are looking forward to the “stuff” we’ll get during the “winter holiday”. A very familiar hymn says it best: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace”. There is no doubt about the correlation between our closeness to God and the feeling of being thankful. It is really not the “things” in life that are inherently bad but the attitude we have about those “things”. It really is amazing how our attitude changes as we grow closer to God. We become much less focused on us and much more focused on the needs of others.

We wish for you a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your family and be truly thankful for the many ways God has blessed you. Let us be much more concerned about sharing Thanksgiving Day with family and friends than fighting through a “Black Friday” crowd. May we all be aware of our abundant blessings and remember to “make known among the nations what He has done”!

                                                                                                                 We love you,

                                                                                                                                                       Brad and Virginia




November 14, 2018, 9:59 AM

November 14, 2018


“They have turned their backs to Me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble, they say, `Come and save us!’” Jeremiah 2:27

As we recognized our veterans this past Sunday, it was truly a time of reflection. A time to reflect on our great nation and the many blessings God has poured out on us. However, it was also a time to reflect upon the real difficulties we face in America. The words above speak volumes and sound very familiar to us today. In fact, those very words have been spoken when tragedy strikes our nation. The people of Jeremiah’s day did not really want to hear anything that he had to say because it revealed the sin in their lives. Yet, God told Jeremiah not to be terrified of the people because He would surely protect him. The people had abandoned God and turned to fulfill their own desires. Jeremiah indeed faced many hardships for his obedience to God. God has never promised that obedience to Him would be easy but that in every circumstance He would be with us.

The book of Jeremiah sounds all too familiar because we are experiencing many of the same problems in our nation. We, as a nation, have literally turned away from God. We have replaced the true worship of God with a lukewarm, feel good response. It seems now as though people must be lured to worship or Bible study rather than having an attitude of excitement to meet with God. Non-Christians desire to push God away from every aspect of society while Christians have become apathetic and comfortable with the status quo. There seems to be no doubt that Christianity is losing ground in the United States while it is flourishing in other, very hostile parts of the world. In fact, many in our country have no use for God and consider Him as only one of many gods or do not believe that He even exists. Others have lost all sense of patriotism; have no wisdom (common sense) and desire to be enslaved by a government that grows exponentially every year.

This week I want to leave you with a famous quote by Alexander Tyler and follow with a question. “The average of the world’s great civilizations before they decline has been 200 years. These nations have progressed in this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again to bondage.” The question is: Where is the United States in this cycle of nations? It seems to be very clear! We have been so blessed but, just as the people of Jeremiah’s day, we’ve turned our backs to God rather than our faces. Hard words but true!

                                                                                                           We love you,                                                                                                                                                                                            Brad and Virginia


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