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October 22, 2019, 12:00 PM

October 23, 2019


“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7

Our life at times seems like a puzzle where all the pieces are scattered in numerous directions. Yet, if we allow Him, God will put all the pieces together in the order that pleases Him to create a beautiful picture. Many people live a continual life of shambles because they are depending on themselves to put the pieces together. Living that way is and will continue to be a miserable life. But God is constantly there, whispering your name and calling you into a deeper life. A life characterized by putting God first and leaving the love of this world behind.

So, amid the pieces, what does it mean to live a deeper life? John clearly shares (1 John 2:15) that “if anyone loves the world, the love for the Father is not in them”. Our life, every part, must be lived in Christ. There can be no separation between our secular activities and our spiritual activities. In fact, that doesn’t really make sense. God must be the center of our life in every activity. That is one of the failures of the Church today. We desire to compartmentalize the different areas of our life. Until we learn to be free from the earthly loves and passions that so hinder us, we will not understand the deeper life in Christ.

Are we cultivating a fellowship of love with God? Are we striving for the deeper life? When we look back over our life, have we left our first love? Have we become so busy in the activities of Christianity that we have been neglecting God? The Scripture above says, “continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him”. How do we accomplish that? We allow the love of God to burn in us until it consumes everything keeping us from growing in Him. Is there something in your life that you would fight God if He were to take it away? Ask yourself, “can God have it”? When we can give it all to Him, we will know that we are cultivating a deeper life.

                                                                                                                       We love you,

                                                                                                                       Brad and Virginia




October 15, 2019, 3:55 PM

October 16, 2019


“We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” Hebrews 2:1

 

We live in a world of difficulties, pain and questions. We are thrown into the midst of spiritual warfare on a constant basis. However, the Bible warns us very plainly and shares the only real way to fight the battles. The situation sometimes seems insurmountable. The enemy casts doubt about our belief that God will navigate us through the circumstance. The devil, who is our enemy, continually whispers things like; you can’t, it’s not possible or you’ll never get out of this. He wants you to give up on God because that makes you powerless to carry out your real purpose. He knows we do not accomplish very much when we are sitting idle on the sidelines.

The truth about fighting battles has become very evident to all of us over the years. You will never be able to adequately fight your battles until you are fighting them on your knees before God in prayer. God doesn’t always remove us from difficult circumstances right away. He sometimes allows us to remain there for a while because He knows it will develop perseverance, character and faith as we learn to completely depend on Him for the answers. Have you surrendered your situation totally to God? Are you allowing Him to provide the best solution?

The Bible makes it clear that we must hold on to what we know to be the truth. There is a constant danger of drifting away. We have all seen it play out in the lives of people over and over. They become careless in key areas of their lives. They begin drifting in Bible study, prayer, fellowship with other believers and the very standards of God. The more a person drifts from the standards of God, the more foolish their lives become. The more foolish their lives become, the less likely they are to make wise decisions. That is when difficult battles can really destroy us. Therefore, we encourage you to stay in close fellowship with God, hold on to the teaching you know to be the truth, and stay around other Christians who will hold you accountable.

 

                                                                                                        We love you,

                                                                                                        Brad and Virginia




October 8, 2019, 12:37 PM

October 9, 2019


“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10

 

There are so many people (even Christians) who are trying to make daily decisions based on their own understanding. They find themselves living according to the ways of the world and striving to gratify the cravings of the fleshly nature. God has the perfect plan for each of us, but we must spend time with Him to understand it. God desires so much more for all of us because He created us and knows what is best for each of us. In fact, God desires so much to have a relationship with us that He was willing for Jesus to die for us.

 

The Bible helps us understand that living according to our plans becomes very frustrating. verse above helps us grasp the importance of a growing, personal relationship with God. If we desire to grow wise and make wise choices, it all begins with an understanding of who we are in relation to God. Bible shares with us the reason a healthy fear of God is so important. When we fear God, we acknowledge that He is bigger, stronger, wiser and in ultimate control of our lives. When we know that He is the life controller, we understand that it is best for us to seek His ways. Wisdom draws us to follow God daily, to rely on His strength and accomplish His purposes. We can make decisions that gratify us for a short time, but we always find ourselves looking for something else. Only God’s wisdom brings contentment.

 

We are currently studying lessons from the book of Hebrews on Wednesday nights. The lessons help us grasp the significance of the Christian life. The writer encourages us to be wise and not make the same mistakes as ancient Israel. They were unwise as they attempted to make decisions without God and lived a life of grumbling and discontentment. The Bible is filled with examples of wisdom and foolishness. The examples are there for us to know and interpret the difference. Some people equate wisdom with being “smart”. Others understand wisdom to be knowledge gained from school, work or other experiences. While that is true to some extent, wisdom is so much more. Wisdom is the ability to make right choices, to live a life that honors God and to lead others to make wise decisions as well. Wisdom is the fear of the Lord and the understanding that our life is ordered by Him. Just one look at our nation, our churches, our schools and our homes show us that, in many ways, we are not making wise choices. It’s time that we, as the Church, understand God’s wisdom and live in a manner that honors Him and leads others to Him. May God’s blessings be yours in abundance this week!

 

                                                                                                               We love you,

                                                                                                               Brad and Virginia




October 1, 2019, 12:01 PM

October 2, 2019


“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him.” Philippians 1:29

Let’s face it, people are looking for the “good life”. The question is: What does the good life look like? What experiences in life make up the good life? What things must happen to make our lives change to the “bad life”? We live in a culture that cherishes the good life. Our cultural definition of the good life probably has to do with everything going the way we like it with nothing happening that would change that path. We have lifestyles, opinions and commercials that reinforce the idea of the “good life”. Even for the Christian, there is often the idea that everything in life is supposed to go right. If things are not going my way, I must have somehow displeased God.

Throughout Scripture we see the people of God going through devastating times. We are not immune to difficult circumstances just because we have become God’s children. We have been so accustomed to the American way that it spills over into every other part of our lives. Look at the chaos taking place in all parts of the world. We are living in days of such uncertainty. The devil seems to be making such an appearance and bringing about such an increase in violence and hatred. We’re seeing situations permeate our culture that most of us never dreamed of seeing in our country. There seems to be such a swell of hatred toward anything Christian. However, we really should not be surprised by all of this. We are just beginning to see a small glimpse of what Christians around the world have been enduring for centuries.

Do we stop to realize that the Christian life is really about sacrifice? Do we realize that once we accept Christ, we give up our life and become privileged to serve and suffer for Him? As Christians in America, we haven’t experienced anything to compare with what Christians in other parts of the world endure daily. Yet, things appear to be changing rapidly. We may not have given much thought to our calling lately (especially in America) because we tend to be most concerned with the “good life” of the American dream. Talk to Christians around the world and they will quickly remind you that the Christian life is a life of dedication, service and suffering. As we pray, remember Christians around the world (including our nation) as we all face ever increasing times of sacrifice for the Kingdom. Thankfully, God is willing to use us in any situation for His glory and honor. Praying for God’s way in your life!

 

                                    We love you all,

                                    Brad and Virginia




September 24, 2019, 2:59 PM

September 25, 2019


"Be very careful, then, how you live; not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15-16
 
What is your strategy for today? Do you have a plan that makes the most of the day for the purpose and glory of God? Do you strive to carry out that plan regardless of the various trials you may face? If you have lived long enough you know that every day has its share of annoyances. However, do you focus on the annoyances or look for the opportunities within each situation? I read a quote a few days ago which really describes how many of us live. It said, ?We focus so much attention on getting to the top of the mountain that we fail to enjoy the sights as we make our climb?. As much as we hate to admit it, that is a very good description of how we live. How about you? Are you making the most of each day?

When we stop to think about it, we all have the same number of hours, minutes and seconds in each day. However, some people just seem to be able to make the most of each day regardless of trials. Why? It has to do with purpose. What is our real purpose for each day? Believe it or not, it is not to see how much happiness and prosperity we can attain. Our purpose is to be obedient to all God has given us to do. So, the question is: Are we using our time wisely? Are we making the most of every opportunity God gives us? It is very easy for us to gripe and complain especially when the circumstances do not seem positive.

What about today? What opportunities do you have to serve God today? When you face trials this week, as we all do, look for ways God would have you turn the situation into something good. Remember Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? They would rather go through the fiery furnace with Jesus than to be in the palace with the king! What happened? God was glorified! You see, that is our purpose for each day. So, whatever the situation, make the most of it because there is always the opportunity to glorify God.

                                                                                                                         We love you,
                                                                                                                         Brad and Virginia

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