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March 5, 2019, 9:31 AM

March 6, 2019


"The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating Him.  They blindfolded Him and demanded, 'Prophesy! Who hit you?' And they said many other insulting things to Him."  
                                                                                                                                                    Luke 22:63-65
 
Have you ever thought much about the men charged with guarding Jesus?  The passage above says that they mocked Him and beat Him.  They hit Him while blindfolded and demanded He prophesy about who hit Him.  We cannot imagine doing that to God but those men really had no idea that He was the Savior of the world. To them, He was just another criminal and they would treat Him just the way they treated all the others.  Do you ever wonder if any of those men became followers after seeing and experiencing the crucifixion of Jesus?
 
There are those today who treat Jesus much the same as those guards.  No, they do not beat Him or blindfold Him, but they do mock Him.  They reject Him and thereby mock Him as the guards did.  People today either know Jesus for who He is (Savior, Messiah, and King of Kings) or treat Him much like the guards.  Jesus very well could have prophesied about who hit Him and shared every small detail about their lives as well.  However, He knew the reason for which He came to earth and this particular time wasn't to confront a group of guards who were mistreating Him.
 
There are many today in the same condition as the guards in Jesus' day.  Do you know someone today who mocks Jesus because they do not realize who He is?  Those who do not know Him fail to understand that every breath taken is because He has allowed it.  We live in a dark world that is continually getting darker.  During these days we must be the light that shines in a dark place.  As stars against the blackest night or diamonds against a black background, so we should shine more and more brilliantly as the days become darker.  Share the Good News, hold on to the Truth, and impact the people around you so that they may experience the only One who can save us.  May you have a blessed week as you continually shine forth the light of Jesus!
 
                                                                                                                             We love you,
                                                                                                                             Brad and Virginia



February 26, 2019, 3:47 PM

February 27, 2019


“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” Philippians 2:14-15

How often do others hear us complain? Sometimes far too often! It may be about the weather, other people or even church activities. Would friends, co-workers, or family members describe us as complainers? We probably should ask those who are around us most often. We live in a culture of complaints which shows that, as a nation, we have become very spoiled. There was a time when people were so appreciative of the conveniences we share. Complainers are typically those who gripe about a situation but do not want to be involved in making necessary changes. God never expects us to be complainers. Why? He has called us to be content in all circumstances, to know that He loves us, and to know that He provides for our well-being.

The scripture lesson above reveals a specific reason why Christians should not be the world’s complaining champions. We are different and have been set apart for God’s service. We are to shine like stars in a crooked and depraved generation and to be the examples of Jesus in the world. Who wants to follow us if we spend the majority of our time complaining? For us, the Bible is our life standard. As we live according to biblical standards, our lives stand out as we glorify our Lord. We have allowed the world to influence us and cause our impact to decline. Those who consistently harbor complaints have a negative impact on others around them. As Christians, we should be the ones who positively affect others because we have hope and are the light of the world.

We all know (hopefully) that everything will not go our way. There are times that we really do feel like complaining because life has gotten very chaotic. However, remember when those times come that people are watching to see our reaction. The way we react to adversity is a good indicator of our trust in God and greatly affects the people around us. We choose every day to either be a part of the problem or a part of the solution. As we go about our daily routine this week be careful and take note of the times we complain. Ask God to help us see the good potential in every circumstance and be ready to make the most of it. Remember, we are battling the enemy every day and he wants to make you less effective. Our prayer is that you have a very blessed and joyous week as you shine like the stars to reveal our Lord and Savior.

                                                                                                                                         We love you,

                                                                                                                                         Brad and Virginia




February 19, 2019, 2:14 PM

February 20, 2019


“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.” 1 Peter 2:12

We are all guilty! We sometimes fail to live up to what it means to be a Christian. As Christians, we are children of the righteous, holy, and omnipotent Heavenly Father. It means that we are a part of God’s family. As such, we have insight into a part of life that so many people are living without. We can live according to the truth because we are able to understand it. How can we understand the truth? It is found in God’s Word and we are privileged to study it diligently. We have a relationship with and access to the One who created and holds everything together. Therefore, people should see us striving each day to live and make decisions as Jesus would.

Do we chase perfection? That may sound silly in the culture of today. Have you ever read any material about Vince Lombardi, the coach of the Green Bay Packers of many years ago? His goal for the Packers was always perfection. Even though he knew perfection was unachievable, it never stopped his daily pursuit of the goal. In similar fashion, we know that we will never be perfect this side of eternity, but that should not excuse us from making perfection our goal. We live in a world where mediocrity is the goal and that thinking has made its way into the lives of many Christians. We have lost the desire to “aim for perfection” because we are told over and over that no one is perfect. That is true but as God’s children we should be moving closer to Him each day and striving to be more like Jesus.

As the Church of the living God, the world should be able to look to us to see an example of living according to the high standards of Scripture. Sure, we all stumble from time to time, but that should be the exception rather than the rule. Paul addressed that issue very clearly in the book of Romans. “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? May it never be!” (Romans 6:1) As persecution increases, it becomes even more of an imperative that we live the example of Jesus. As a football team gets inside the red zone, the fundamentals and techniques of the game become increasingly important. As we near the end of this age, the way we live becomes even more of a testimony to the lost. May your week be blessed as we all strive to be more like Jesus and be a constant example to those around us!

 

                                    We love you,

                                    Brad and Virginia




February 13, 2019, 12:00 AM

February 13, 2019


"Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.  I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands."  Psalm 63:3-4
 
Everyone wants to be loved and for someone to care for them.   You can be assured that God loves you regardless of what you've done or where you are right now.  Will you receive the love God has for you?  You see, there are millions of people today who have heard of God and of His love but have never accepted it.  If there has ever been a person to readily experience God's love, it was King David.  Please read Psalm 63 sometime this week.  The passage describes David's understanding and acceptance of God's love.  He describes God's love as being ?better than life?.  Can we say that about our own relationship with God?  David readily grasped the understanding that he must accept God's love.   Will we, as Christians, be instrumental in helping others understand His love?
 
One of the great obligations we have as Christians is to share God's love with others.  We must live our lives as true reflectors of who God is so others will be able to experience Him.  Do we live each day as though God's love is ?better than life??  David faced many trials, pursuit from enemies, and family turmoil and yet he was able to say, ?I will praise you as long as I live?.  Do we still praise God in the midst of turmoil?  Are we constantly sharing God's love by showing Him to others?  It is much easier when all things are going well for us.  However, what happens when unexpected events begin to pile up against us?   Do we acknowledge that God's love for us is still amazing?
 
How wonderful it is to be a child of God!  Sometimes it's hard for us to understand that the Creator of the universe loves us and desires a personal relationship with us.  God demonstrated His love for us by sending His Son Jesus to be our sacrificial Lamb.  If you are loved by others just think how much the One who is love cares for you.   In Psalm 63:1 David says, ?O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you and my soul thirsts for you?.  What a wonderful example to us of the way to really experience God's love.  Earnestly seek Him above all else and experience the love He has for you.  May you each have a very blessed week as you reflect the love of God in a chaotic world.

                                                                                            We love you,
                                                                                            Brad and Virginia



February 5, 2019, 1:50 PM

February 6, 2019


“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

 

Wow, what a week! You find out very quickly that life is very fragile, and you never know from one day to the next when something may happen. Last week was one of those weeks. At least we know most of the issues and are able to take medication to keep things under control. We definitely appreciate each of you as you have been so encouraging in every way. Thanks so much for every prayer, phone call, text and card as they have all been so inspiring to us these past few days. We have seen first-hand what it means to be surrounded by our church family.

You never know what it may take to get you out of a comfortable routine. So often it is the routine that keeps us balanced and able to clearly focus on each new day. However, it is also very easy to become so dependent on the routine that we miss other opportunities along the way. God has a way of moving us from the ordinary routine into areas of extraordinary service. Our prayer is that in some way we were able to encourage others through this experience. Sometimes it is so easy to forget that this life is really not ours but is God’s to use as He deems necessary. I have learned more how to empathize with those facing difficulties of many kinds. I have also learned that strokes are an unforeseen event that can lead to many significant problems.

In the midst of it all, we have been tremendously blessed. Many have commented on how lucky I have been through all of this. We choose to consider it a true blessing from God and He gets all praise through every event. We pray that God will allow us many more years of faithful service in the Kingdom. Our prayer for each of you is that you realize how quickly events can change. None of us are ever promised additional time so we make it our goal to make the most of every opportunity given to us. Every day is a great day to live and experience God. Do not let the “busy-ness” of each day minimize the privilege to make a difference in someone’s life. Thanks to God for more days and thanks to each of you for joining with us in making the most of each one.

                                                                                                                    We love you,

                                                                                                                    Brad and Virginia


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