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February 7, 2017, 12:00 AM

February 8, 2016

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”  1 John 5:14

            Two very important questions come to mind this week.  How much time do you spend in prayer?  How effective is your prayer life?  In order for our prayer life to be effective, we must spend time with our Father.  A recent statistic states that church members spend about four minutes per day in prayer while pastors spend about seven minutes each day communicating with God.  Much of that time is probably spent sharing with God our list for the day.  It is like going grocery shopping and marking items off our list.  What is the real purpose of prayer?  It is NOT to bend God’s will to make it fit what we desire.  Many believe that prayer is somehow talking God into doing something that He would not ordinarily do.

            So, what is the real purpose of prayer?  The purpose of prayer is for our desires to line up with God’s will.  Prayer is about seeking the will of God and following it daily.  God always knows what is best for us and desires for us to achieve it.  However, we often approach God’s will as something we “have” to do rather than something we “get” to do.  Adrian Rogers once said, “God wants for you what you would want for yourself if you had enough sense to ask for it”.  God loves us so much and wants to see us make wise and meaningful choices.  We all feel that at times God has withheld a positive answer to our request.  At those times, God may very well be waiting for us to desire His will rather than ours.

            Prayer is our opportunity of close fellowship with our Father.  It is through this fellowship that we have the privilege to know more about God, His ways, and His will.  Yet, if we are not spending time (quality time) with God, we find ourselves offering up to Him our “grocery list” of wants that we very well may not receive.  Now, is it wrong to pray about personal issues and needs?  Certainly not!  However, we must remember that the proper way to pray about those is in conformity with the will of God.  That is why we must completely trust God because we do not have the ability to see into the future nor to determine exactly what needs to be done in our lives.  Successful prayer is growing in our walk with God to the extent that we are seeking His will and joining Him in what He desires to accomplish.   As we think about our prayer life, let us commit to spend more time (quality time) with God each day and be determined to seek His will above all other things.

                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                Brad and Virginia

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February 1, 2017, 9:44 AM

February 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 many excuses have you made lately?  Our lives seem to be filled with excuses.  In fact, we make so many excuses that we sometimes fail to recognize them.  It is so much easier to blame something or someone else for our circumstances rather than taking ownership.  Taking ownership of our mistakes is the first step toward the direction of God’s plans.  You see, excuses give us permission to settle for less than God’s best.  Excuses ever so slowly but surely bring defeat to our lives.

            The Bible is filled with excuse-makers and so are our churches.  Most of our failures come from a history of excuses and a lack of perseverance.  God often uses our failures and dead-ends to get us to re-route our lives as we adjust to His plan.  Just as GPS informs us when we need to make corrections toward our destination, God is constantly directing our way so that we are fully in tune with Him.  However, just as with GPS, the more we turn off God’s voice the more disoriented we become in life.

            It is time for us to seek victory and receive what God has for His children.  Remember Philippians 4:13?  “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  When God calls us to specific tasks, He always prepares us and prepares the way.  We must remember that God gives us supernatural qualifications and the ability to be at the right place at the right time.  Are we really seeking God’s best?  Do we desire to follow Him?  If so, we must stop the excuses and learn to totally surrender to His plan.  We often wonder what God wants us to do.  The struggle we usually have with God’s plan is that it rarely fits the concept we have of our own capabilities.  So, we make excuses and miss opportunities for Kingdom work and God’s blessing.  Therefore, let us make every effort to listen, obey and serve God without the excuses.  May you have a very blessed week as you continually acknowledge God’s ways and follow Him!

                                                                                                                                               We love you,

                                                                                                                                               Brad and Virginia

January 25, 2017, 12:25 PM

January 25, 2017

“For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”   Hebrews 4:12

We are so blessed to be Christians living in America.  We have available to us Christian resources that cover just about any topic and theme imaginable.  We have copies of God’s Word, the Bible, in abundance and yet, in many ways, we have taken so much for granted.  We have by-passed God’s Word in order to read other Christian books and participate in various programs.  We are experiencing in our nation what people around the world have been experiencing for centuries.  We have become anemic in our knowledge and understanding of the Bible.  The reason for the anemic condition in our nation is apathy.  The reason, in many other countries, is the fact that God’s Word has not been available to them; at least, not in a translation that is completely readable to them.  What a difference!

A glance at the dictionary reveals the meaning of the term anemic to be: lacking power, vigor, and vitality or simply weakness.  Does that describe our situation?  One of the main reasons for weakness among Christians today is a neglect of planned Bible study. God’s Word is so powerful and a very necessary part of the Christian life.  It is amazing how people in other parts of the world yearn for a copy of the Bible while we spend less and less of our time among the abundance of resources we possess.

I am reminded of a very eye-opening missionary story.  It seems that years ago a well-known evangelist was preaching in Poland.  He was asked to read many Bible passages to the people and to read them very slowly.  Without question, he read the lengthy passages to them.  He was asked to read the passages again more slowly.  So he did.  He was told once more to read the passages a little slower.  It was eventually made known to him that the people were literally writing the passages word for word so that they could have their own copy of part of the Bible.  WOW!  Is there any wonder for the condition in our nation?  One of our main objectives for 2017 should be to read and study the Bible more.  Will you make that commitment?  Without knowledge of God’s Word, we become very vulnerable to the doctrines of the world.  May you be blessed in abundance this week as you make every effort to spend more time in God’s Word.                                                                                            

                                            We love you,

                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia

January 17, 2017, 2:56 PM

January 18, 2017

“Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity?  Curse God and die!”  But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks.  Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”  In all this Job did not sin with his lips.  Job 2:9-10 (NASB)

    Integrity is a word that is used very loosely in our culture.  Integrity means adherence to moral and ethical principles and a soundness of character and honesty.  For Christians, it means following the example set forth for us by Jesus.  We are constantly faced with situations that tempt us to alter our integrity.  This happens among young people with peer pressure, but it is a real issue for all of us.  People desire to coax us into the “fun” of this world by leaving the truths of God’s Word behind.   Actually, it is not so much people themselves as the enemy using them to make us vulnerable.  He has always worked that way because he desires to affect our witness and purpose. 

    Far too many take God’s principles (as set forth in His Word) for granted.  There will be times when we are tempted to give up and give in to the pressures surrounding us.  However, we must remember that God has never promised that the Christian life is an easy way.  Job experienced that firsthand without the support of his wife.  She could be described as many Christians are today.  As long as life progresses according to our plans without any setbacks, we are all set to follow Christ.  Yet, what happens when adversity strikes?  Job’s wife questioned his faithfulness to God and recommended that Job just “curse God and die”.  Look carefully at Job’s wisdom in the verses above.  “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”  A quote this week sums up Job’s dependence on God.  “Adversity is a bridge to a deeper relationship with God.”

    Adversity comes into all of our lives.  How we respond to the adversity speaks clearly of our love for God and our devotion to Him.  People will taunt you, ridicule you and even question your heart’s desire to follow God.  Yet, we know that in the most difficult times, we have learned to depend totally on God for comfort, strength and guidance.  Can you imagine our lives without adversity?  We would be so puffed up with pride and arrogance that we would never seek God’s direction and fellowship.  You may be in the midst of adversity even as you read this but always know that God is with you, loves you, cares for you and is deepening your relationship with Him as He guides you through the situation.  If you are not experiencing adversity at the moment, praise God and ask Him to prepare you for the day that it will come.  May we, as Job, understand that the LORD gives and takes away but we still praise His name forever!

                                                                                                                                                 We love you,

                                                                                                                                                 Brad and Virginia

January 10, 2017, 9:13 AM

January 11, 2017

“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, 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.  In our society, the word satisfied is used to further the attitude that one cannot or should not do any better.  These are two fundamentally different understandings 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 have more, look better, feel better and live better.  The truth is: it probably will not!  The apostle Paul used the words content and contentment to help us grasp a real understanding of satisfaction (Philippians 4:11).  It sounds as though Paul understood contentment and satisfaction to be an attitude based on our relationship with 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, physically and spiritually, with everybody else.  That is a sure way to discouragement and dissatisfaction in your life.  You’ll never be like someone else, and God did not create you to be that way.

     People are looking for the real deal today.  They are not interested in phony, make believe people, especially among Christians.  They are looking around at those who are really satisfied even in the 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 relationship with God.  May you have a blessed week filled with joy, contentment and satisfaction as you trust God in everything!

                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                Brad and Virginia

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