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March 21, 2017, 4:58 PM

March 22, 2017

“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.  When I awake, I am still with You.” Psalm 139:17-18

            How many of us have labored long and hard to build a sandcastle only to have it washed away a few hours later?  Sand can be easily eroded by wind and water.  Sand in small quantities can become very irritating.  We’ve probably all tracked sand from the beach into our rooms and even into our beds.  Even though sand can sometimes be a nuisance, it also has many important qualities as well.  Sand mixed with concrete helps fill voids and pores, helps solidify the mixture and prevents excessive shrinkage resulting in fewer cracks.  When sand is gathered in large quantities, such as the ocean floor, it can hold massive ships in place as the ship’s anchor buries into it.

            Throughout the Bible, there are many references to sand.  Abraham was told that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars of the heavens and the sand on the seashore.  We are told that Joseph stored up so much grain while he was in Egypt that it was like the sand of the sea.  Now, we understand that these are not literal comparisons but that God meant a very large number.  Look carefully at the passage above.  David shared an important statement that is very encouraging to us.  David reminds us that God’s thoughts towards us outnumber the sand.  Think about how many grains of sand it takes to hold a huge ship in place.  Then, remember that God has so many more thoughts toward us each day.

            God loves us so much and desires such a close fellowship with us!  Some will not allow that fellowship because they do not know Him.  Others may know Him but have become too busy to enjoy close fellowship.  Still others, like David, understand a close walk with God and realize He has countless thoughts toward them each day.  Just as sand has many benefits to concrete, so God’s thoughts toward us solidify and fill the voids in our life daily.  Also, unlike a sandcastle, God’s thoughts, love and grace are never washed away. David said, “when I awake, I am still with You”!  Wow, what an understanding of God’s love and care for us!  When we wake up in the morning we realize we are still in His hands and His thoughts are toward us.  Are you experiencing true fellowship with God? 

                                                                                                                                                         We love you,

                                                                                                                                                         Brad and Virginia

March 14, 2017, 1:05 PM

March 15, 2017

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; new things have come.”   2 Corinthians 5:17

    Just when we thought spring had arrived, we are harshly reminded that winter desires to hang on a little longer.  It also reminds us that things are not always what they appear to be and that things can change very abruptly.  However, as we remain patient, spring will officially arrive along with the beauty of the season.  As we look forward to spring, we think of the flowers, gardens and outdoor activities that will take place.  We will then focus on new life emerging as we move from the dreary days of winter to the exciting days of spring.  As we think of new life, we must focus on the new life we have in Jesus.

    The Scripture passage above reminds us that “in Christ all things are made new”.  We cannot help but think of all the beauty associated with the months approaching.  However, there are some other things that can happen with the arrival of spring.  Have you ever been to an abandoned estate to see what was once a beautiful, thriving flower garden?  Maybe you saw a rose bush that had become all gnarled and overgrown from years of neglect.  Maybe you’ve owned a tree or shrub that had been overtaken by more aggressive vines and plants that appeared to be hopeless to save.  You then took the time to clean the aggressive vine and plants away, pruned it and even added some fertilizer.  What happened?  Amazingly the once hopeless looking tree or shrub put on new growth and began to bloom because of the special care it had been given.

    What does that help us remember?  It reminds us of the love and care God has for us in His Son, Jesus.  Have worldly weeds and vines overtaken your life?  Whether you have never known Him or have strayed away, God desires a relationship and close fellowship with you.  In either case, God must remove the clutter and aggression of the world so that you will be useful in the Kingdom.  Oftentimes, God’s pruning and cleaning in our lives is painful but it is always for our benefit.  God wants us blooming in an otherwise cold and dull world.  If you do not know Him, you can become His child today by repenting of your sins and asking Jesus to save you.  If you do know Him but have strayed from fellowship with Him, ask Him to remove the worldly vines that so easily entangle us so that you are growing, blooming and revealing Jesus to a lost world.  Praying you are having a great week!

                                                                                                                                                         We love you,

                                                                                                                                                         Brad and Virginia

March 7, 2017, 10:30 AM

March 8, 2017

“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

     As we approach springtime, we seem to feel better and have a brighter outlook.  The days are starting to get longer and there is something refreshing about more hours of light.  If physical light has so many positive effects on our life, spiritual light has even more.  Spiritually, the world is a very dark place.  The Bible is very clear that those who have the light (Jesus) have the true light of life because He is the light of the world.  As we look at the world today, relatively few people have the light of life.  We are told that there are some 2.3 billion Christians in the world today which makes up about 32 percent of the population.  Of those who call themselves Christians, how many have a personal relationship with Jesus and would be counted as His followers?

     The Bible is also clear that Jesus is the only one who can provide the light of life.  Without Him, darkness invades our thinking, our actions, and our culture.  If you were the enemy trying to keep people away from the light, what would your strategy be to accomplish the task?  First, you would probably develop many forms of false gods and false worship.  Then, you would probably tell people that there are really many ways to a glorious eternal life and that every religion and form of worship is just as good as any other.  If that were not enough, you would develop ways to make the ones who do know the truth keep it to themselves and not understand the real need to share with others.  Finally, you would probably develop ways to make those who know the truth appear mean and uncaring toward the rest of society.  We see these tactics of the enemy alive and well all around us.

     The truth is: We serve an exclusive Jesus!  We live in a culture that promotes inclusivity at every opportunity.  People desire to include everyone because that shows compassion and caring.  So, we have our government, corporations, schools, and even many churches mandating classes on inclusion and tolerance because we care about everyone.  We are told that we show how much we care about them by accepting every lifestyle and religious belief.  The sad fact is that the inclusive attitude really pushes people farther away from the truth.  As Christians, we are hated by so many because we love people enough to tell them the truth.  The truth is this:  Jesus is the only way for salvation, He is the only One who brings light to our lives and He is the only way through whom we can have a relationship with a holy and just God.  Because of these words of truth, we are greatly despised in the world.  Keep on telling the truth!

                                                                                                                                      We love you,

                                                                                                                                      Brad and Virginia

February 28, 2017, 3:27 PM

March 1, 2017

“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          

How do most of us live?  We often live in such a frantic pace that we miss many, if not most, of the opportunities available to us.  We find ourselves living in segments of time.  Imagine watching a parade through a knothole in a fence.  You can see the parade but miss all the other activities going on at the same time.  Much like looking through a fence, we tend to compartmentalize our life into very specific segments without giving much thought to the whole picture.  We usually become so busy trying to make each new segment turn out right that we miss the other activities along the way.  We end up striving to accomplish our own plan rather than the best plan that God has for us.  In doing so, we often fail to be obedient to God and find very little meaning in life.  

Unlike looking through the fence, God sees our life in its entirety from beginning to end.  You see, God has so much more for us than we could ever imagine but we find ourselves striving to live on our own.  We look far too much at performance because our world is so performance driven.  However, God’s purpose for us is not so much about performance as it is about obedience.  Obedience means that we are remaining close to God and serving Him out of love.  Remember the church at Ephesus?  Jesus commended them for their good works but was grieved because they had lost their first love.  What motivates us to do what we do?  Are we doing things to glorify God or man?  There is a vast difference!  Everything that we do in following Jesus must be based on love.  We do good works because we love God and desire to please Him in every way.

What most hinders our obedience to God?  A five-letter word that we all know very well.  MONEY!  One of the reasons we fail to see the big picture is that we allow the world’s way to get in God’s way.  Will Rogers probably said it better than anyone: “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people that they really don’t like”.  Then, they allow that vicious cycle to keep them from serving God.  What about you?  Are you spinning your wheels moving from one life segment to another while seeing only glimpses of life?  Or, have you concluded that God sees your entire life, has your best interest for every day, calls you to a real purpose while allowing you to experience Him and see the true meaning in life?  Praying you are having a great week!

                                                                                                                                 We love you,

                                                                                                                                 Brad and Virginia

February 21, 2017, 12:18 PM

February 22, 2017

“Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to inherit eternal life?”  Matthew 19:16

The rich young man asked Jesus a very important question.  A question that many people ask today while trying to find the answer within themselves.  There is something about us that urges us to the belief that we must do something ourselves to be saved.  People have all kinds of beliefs about what they need to do to be saved.  They will say things like:  going to church, reading the Bible, and somehow getting their lives straightened out will achieve eternal life.  However, many people have a hard time with what Jesus said to this young man.  Jesus told him to sell his possessions, give to the poor and follow Him.  The main emphasis being to follow Him.  Let’s look at several lessons revealed in this passage.

                Jesus was not saying that selling our possessions and giving to the poor is the way to salvation.  Yet people today, just like the young man in the story, are desperately searching for the one physical achievement that will earn them everlasting life.  The selling of his possessions was a way to get rid of the problem affecting the young man’s opportunity to follow Christ.  The sale of his possessions alone would not have been enough to save Him.  Jesus clearly told the young man that the way to eternal life is to follow Him.  However, it was the riches this man owned that kept him away from total surrender to Christ.  Jesus continues to say “follow Me” today but how many are really willing to follow?  We allow many obstacles to interfere with our obedience to God.  The young man was very happy when Jesus told him to follow the commandments because, like so many of us, he felt pretty good about his efforts.  His demeanor quickly changed when Jesus told him to sell his possessions.  In fact, the young man left very sad.

                This man seemed to have had a real desire to follow Jesus.  Yet, his desire to follow was based on his terms and his actions.  There are many who believe that putting money in the offering plate, helping a neighbor or attending church will earn us a good spot in Heaven.  While all of those are good things, the only way to be included in Heaven is by faith in Jesus.  We must follow Him because there is no other way!  Obviously, this young man already knew there was a big hindrance in his life?  He knew it but really did not want to hear about it and just could not bring himself to part with his possessions.  He knew there was something still undone in his life.  What about you?  Is there something still undone that you need to surrender to Jesus?  Maybe you are asking the same question as the young man: “What do I still lack”?  Is there something that is keeping you from salvation?  Surrender it to Jesus today and then sincerely follow Him! If you are saved, is there something keeping you from daily fellowship with your Heavenly Father?  Surrender it today and be set free!        

                                                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia

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