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September 13, 2016, 11:52 AM

September 14, 2016

“We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.”  II Corinthians 5:20
     There was once a common thread that permeated throughout our country.  It was the sense of being a part of the greatest country of our time.  We have certainly had our struggles as a nation, but somehow we knew we could rally together when we faced a common enemy.  The common thread of unity seems to be waning at a rapid pace.  We seem to be more focused on what we are able to do individually rather than collectively.  Any football team or business understands that much more is accomplished when team members work together.  What has made this such a great nation?  First and foremost, it has been our history of dependence on Almighty God.  There was a time when we depended heavily upon God and trusted Him to solve our issues.  However, we see less and less dependence on God which has brought about the moral decline and the negativity we face today.  Secondly, this nation has been great because there was an attitude of working together toward a common goal with a commitment to excellence that would ensure success.  Yet, we have not seen that among our leaders or our people in quite some time!
     One of the big problems we face today is that so many people live without any sense of purpose.  Without a sense of purpose, our life goal is to only please ourselves.  Do we have a right to protest and speak out against issues we deem controversial?  Sure we do because that's who we are as Americans.  However, is that the real answer to the issues we face today?  The real answer is to foster a sense of unity among our people.  The real question is not whether or not we should protest but how we can be a part of a real solution.  What things can I do to help bring about unity in the community?
      For us, as Christians, we are to be Christ's ambassadors in our society.  That means we are showing God's love and sharing real purpose with those we contact each day.  We should be sharing with people the real life principles needed to draw them closer to God and help them understand the purpose for living.  There is a strong message for the Church.  We must be showing unity among ourselves if we are to help instill unity among others.  Let us, as God's people, seek to please God while helping others rather than living a life to please ourselves!  May you experience God's blessings in many ways this week!
                                                                                                                                    We love you,
                                                                                                                                    Brad and Virginia

September 6, 2016, 5:15 PM

September 7, 2016

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.”  Philippians 2:13

As Christians, we must be constantly mindful of the big picture.  It is so easy to get caught in our little world where everything revolves around us.  God has blessed us with a gift or many gifts to be used for Kingdom purposes.  We all have many strengths and weaknesses.  The strengths are usually the basis of God’s gifts.  The strengths in our lives are those things that we enjoy doing and feel a sense of accomplishment when completed.  We all have weaknesses too!  Our weaknesses tend to draw us away from the close relationship that God desires with each of us.  Guess what?  The enemy knows our weaknesses very well.  He knows exactly how to disrupt our lives by using our weaknesses to wreak havoc.  Therefore, we must know our weaknesses, know that they will work against us and understand we must flee when the enemy brings them up.

            What are your strengths?  How has God gifted you to make a difference in the lives of others?  In sports, athletes are trained to “play to their strengths”.  As Christians, we should be doing the same.  It is very sad that so many Christians do not realize their strengths and are not even aware of their spiritual gift(s).  Oftentimes, Christians find themselves doing the same things as others even though they never feel a sense of joy and accomplishment.  Hopefully, we are learning that we cannot live someone else’s life nor can we effectively fulfill our purpose if we try.  A recent quote says this: “Different people find their ways through different paths, and if you take someone else’s path, you may not like where you end up”.

            What impact does God desire for you to have on the big picture?  Your life has purpose and meaning which is used to impact others for Christ.  God has gifted you so that you are unique and are able to do things no one else can as effectively accomplish.  How do we fulfill God’s plan?  First, we must travel the path God has for us.  It is so tempting to follow along the path of others.  Second, we must remember that life is a continual learning process.  We do not get everything right but should learn from every event in our lives.  God never promised that life would always be easy but that He would always be with us.  Do not be afraid to step out on faith while using your gifts to accomplish Kingdom purposes.  Third, we must be in a continual state of renewal.  As Christians, we should never become stagnant in our calling.  We must be constantly growing in our relationship with God and “playing to the strengths” He has given us so that we can impact our culture.  It is definitely not an easy task but God has “equipped us for every good work”!

                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                Brad and Virginia

August 30, 2016, 10:22 AM

August 31, 2016

“Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”      Hebrews 12:3

     Where do you turn for encouragement in these uncertain days?  We live in a world of lies and unkept promises.  We hear people all the time make promises they could never keep.  We oftentimes hear leaders make promises that are either unattainable or downright lies.  It is so refreshing in our world to experience people who are truly encouragers.  They are the ones who tell us the truth even when it hurts.  They are the ones who never make promises that they do not intend to keep.  They are the ones you can always depend on to share words of wisdom in an untruthful world.  As Christians, we are blessed to have people like that among us and we should thank God for them every day.

     As important as encouraging friends are, there is an even greater source of encouragement for these times.  We find the greatest encouragement in God’s Word, the Bible.  The Bible is a constant reminder that this life is a temporary journey toward real life.  The Christian life is best summarized as a marathon.  It is a matter of self-disciple, motivation and total dependence on God to keep us moving over the long hills and deep valleys.  We know that we all have a course set before us and that no two courses are exactly the same.  We cannot run someone’s course for them because God has made each of us unique in order to accomplish His purposes from the perspective He has given us.  We also know that all along the way the enemy is constantly trying to entangle and distract us to get us off course.

     As difficult as life, particularly the Christian life, can become we always have God’s Word to encourage and motivate us to “stay the course”.  One of the most encouraging passages is found in Hebrews 12:1-3.  In this passage, we better understand the difficulties of the Christian life while also discovering such encouragement as we keep our eyes on Jesus.  The passage tells us that we are to: (a) throw off everything that entangles us (b) run with perseverance the course we’ve been given (c) keep our eyes focused on Jesus during the entire journey (d) remember how Jesus (perfect and sinless) endured the cross for each of us and (5) hold on and never give up or lose heart as we continue our course to reach the ultimate goal … our eternal home.

     We pray that you are each having a great week and are encouraging others as we bring light to a dark and sinful world!

                                                                                                                                         We love you,

                                                                                                                                         Brad and Virginia

August 23, 2016, 11:04 AM

August 24, 2016

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”  I Corinthians 2:14
    There are many in our society who carry the burden of being physically blind.  Some were born that way while others became blind through accidents, diseases and even medications.  As in all of medicine, there have been advances in the area of blindness by slowing the process of sight loss and even correcting certain blindness-causing situations.  Yet, something far worse permeates throughout our culture.  It is spiritual blindness.
 What is spiritual blindness?  A portion of a recent article sums it up very well.  “To be spiritually blind is not to see Christ, and not to see Christ is not to see God.  Spiritual blindness is a grievous condition experienced by those who do not believe in God, Jesus Christ, and His Word.  Those who reject Christ are the lost.  Being spiritually blind, they are perishing.  They choose not to accept the teachings of Christ and His authority in their lives.  They are blind to the manifestations of God as revealed throughout His Word and Jesus Christ.” The lyrics of a song by Chris Tomlin says it all!
               “Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness; opened my eyes let me see.  Beauty that made
               this heart adore You, hope of a life spent with You.”
    The only way for us to truly see is for God to open our eyes by receiving the truth He has so freely given to us.  It is amazing to see the extent of spiritual blindness in our world.  However, it really should not surprise us at all.  “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4,6).   May we fall to our knees in thanksgiving to God as He allows us to see truth in the midst of darkness and chaos!  
                                                                                                                                             We love you,
                                                                                                                                              Brad and Virginia

August 16, 2016, 12:23 PM

August 17, 2016

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

                                                                                                                        Philippians 3:13-14

     We all have a desire sometimes to live in the past.  We’ve all heard and experienced the stories of the “good ole days” and desire to return.  As times become more chaotic, we find ourselves longing for a simpler time.  We long for days of less stress, fewer problems and easier answers to the problems that we do face.  However, when we think about it, those who lived in the “good ole days” probably longed for someone else’s “good ole days”.  Whether we like it or not, things are different and constantly changing!  An interesting quote this week says: “While statistics are interesting, they’re all in the past”.

     People, businesses and even churches can get themselves in deep trouble by insisting to live in the past.  The past should be a learning tool that we use to our advantage.  We must make it a point to learn from past failures and successes.  The enemy desires for us to constantly dwell on our past failures so that we are afraid to take a step of faith to follow God’s plan.  Paul knew this all too well.  His past was filled with anger, hate, and persecution of the Church.  However, once he met Jesus, his life took on new meaning.  He was forgetting about the past and “straining toward what is ahead”.  Now, does that mean that Paul never remembered any of the things that happened in the past?  No, it means that the things that happened in the past (which the enemy would desire to negatively affect his ministry) had no impact on Paul because he was a new creation in Christ.

     We must all learn to do the same.  It is fun to reminisce about things that happened years ago.  When we think about the past, we will often remember failures which the devil desires to use against us.  However, as Paul, we can forget about those things because in Christ we have been forgiven.  Let us, also like Paul, “press on toward the goal to win the prize”!  There are three important lessons for us: Study the past but live in the present, always continue learning, and seize every moment to share the love of Christ with every resource God provides!


                                                                                                We love you,

                                                                                                Brad and Virginia

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