This past year was a very trying year for so many. Not much has changed as we start a new year, but this too shall pass. Some have lost much in this troubled year and many are still hurting. Lost loved ones, sickness, lost incomes, lost homes. So many different struggles for so many to overcome. How do you get over something that makes your heart so sorrowful? As one who knows the sorrow of losing a child to sickness and an adult child to the world, I understand the pain. We lost my wife’s parents at a very young age. We get the feelings of pain, sorrow and just feeling lost and uncertain about so much. Jesus knows the human emotions of sorrow and loss. Jesus wept over the sadness He was feeling over His friend’s death, even when He knew the outcome was being raised again. Sorrow is a strong emotion and can overwhelm you, if you let it. So please talk to someone. Please talk with God and pray for strength and understanding.

 

     You must find your joy in the promises to come. Find it in your heart to be thankful for the time you have been given with your loved ones, for tomorrow is not promised. Pray for the ones who have walked away from the safety of the Lord. Pray they find their way back before it is too late. Pray they will have sorrow to the point of repentance. Never stop telling them you love them and that Jesus does too. Find strength in God’s Word and always turn there when feeling sad or weak. Find comfort in God’s love and the love of your brethren.

 

     2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.)

 

    2 Corinthians 5:1 (For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, external in the heavens.)

 

                                                                                                                             In Him, Chuck

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     In this world there are things that you can wait to take care of and some you cannot. Getting some of the chores done around the house can sometimes wait if you want to do something else, unless it is a water leak or something serious that can cause damage. There can also be some health issues that may be a wait and see situation. If it isn’t life threatening, that is. If you’re thinking of making a major purchase you surely want to sleep on it and don’t buy immediately. There are other times you should act immediately like when my dad was up in an almond tree with a chain saw. The chain caught his pant leg after cutting off a branch and it cut through the pants and into his leg. ”Ouch right?” Luckily he was able to climb down and drove himself to the house to get a ride to the hospital immediately. Maybe it would be a good idea to not climb trees with a chainsaw all alone, just saying. There are also things that will require us to act immediately in our lives. What about ‘our forever’ talked about in the Bible?

     Mathew 4:19-20 (“Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.) Maybe we should be a little more responsive like these men were, when we respond to what Jesus says to do. When Jesus worked His miracles and healed people, it was something that happened immediately. The servant was healed that very moment. The paralytic picked up his bed and went home. The woman with a hemorrhage for 12 years was at once made well. The girl in the official’s house died, Jesus took her by the hand and the girl got up. When Christ Jesus did or spoke something he wanted to be, it was immediate. He has promised us a beautiful wonderful life after this world. He always speaks the truth and it always comes to be.

     So what shall we do? Why do we wait? Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. There is no name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. So let’s act as if that is the most important thing we need to teach others as it is.  Acts 9:20 (and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”) When the jailer was converted in Acts16, it says and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.

     It is too important to wait for later, for tomorrow is not a certainty. If you believe, please act immediately and don’t put off your salvation any longer. If you know someone that needs Jesus, teach them the good news immediately. Don’t delay, act now it may be too late tomorrow. The Lord said to Paul in a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent.” Let us do the same without delay. May the Lord Jesus be with us all.

                                                                                                         In Him, Chuck

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Demand excellence and be willing to pay for it

The price can be high for serving the Lord. Our brothers and sisters in the 1st century were willing to pay the price. They knew the price that they were going to have to pay for living and serving our Lord. When John wrote about the seven churches in Asia, we know some were willing to pay the price, but many were not. What church are we? What person am I? The rewards are great, if we are willing to pay the price. If we really look at the cost of serving the Lord, is it worth it? “I am coming quickly, hold fast to what you have so that no one will take your crown.” Revelation 3:11.

 

Commit yourself to constant self-improvement

We will never reach perfection, but we should never stop trying to improve. There is always something we can improve on. We do need to commit. Remember what Christ did on the cross. Our answers on improvement are all found in the Word. “But seek first the kingdom of his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33.

 

Swing for the fence

There is an interesting story about Babe Ruth. In one of his last appearances at bat he pointed to the fence and said I am going to hit a home run, he did. He set out to do something and he did. Have we set out to do something and forgot the fence? We need to do our best to do what we set out to do. If we say I am going to be a light to the world for God, are we doing that? Swing for the fence and do it. “You are the light to the world, a city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14. All saw Ruth point. We can point also.

 

Don’t flaunt your success, but don’t apologize for it either

Be thankful for the abilities our God has given us. God gave us these things to be used. The song goes this way, “This little light of mine I’m going to let it shine” One of the verses says this, “hide it under a bushel – NO!”

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     As we begin a new year in this crazy uncertain world that we live in today let us pray.

Before we do things this year, let’s pray like we never have before. This country we live in needs God more now than ever in our lifetime. So, let us seek Him out first. If you wanted to ask someone for guidance, wouldn’t you ask God first? We probably are all praying several times a day now, I’m sure. So, it couldn’t hurt to do more, could it? We are told that in everything by prayer let our request be known. We need this year more than ever to pray before we do anything. Pray when you wake and be thankful for another day. Pray before you leave your home for a safe journey throughout the day. Pray for guidance in all you do or say on this journey each day. Pray before you make a purchase. Pray before you go to class, to learn or to teach. Pray before you study for wisdom. Pray that God will guide your tongue each day to help you say the right things to help others. Pray for guidance in discipline when necessary. Pray and be thankful for your food. The clothes on your back. The roof over your head. Pray for your family’s health, all your loved ones and our congregation. Pray before you study. Pray before you end your day. Pray for more peace and safety for our officers. Pray before you do anything this year.

     Philippians 4:4-7 (Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.)

     1Thessalonians 5:16-18 (Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.)

     James 5:16 (Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.)

     Luke 6:12 (It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in payer to God.)

    Matthew 21:21-22 (And Jesus answered and said to them, Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea, it will happen. And in all things you ask in prayer, believing you will receive.)

   Mark 11:24 (Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you received them, and they will be granted you.)

     Pray this year more than ever and believe that God will grant it to us.

                                                                                                                          In Him, Chuck

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Remember that winners do what losers aren’t willing to do

The word “can’t” sure can play a role in our lives. Are we willing to say we can’t, even before we try? Negative ideas can defeat us in our lives. It is such a great a feeling, when you look at something you have never tried to do and find out that you can do it. I can look at all the inventions that men have made, they sure were not successful the first time, but they learned from mistakes, and figured out how to make it work. Our Christian walk is the same way, we will make mistakes but as long as we keep on trying, we will succeed. Remember what the word says to us, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

 

Take responsibility for every area of your life

We can do right, no one forces us to do wrong. Now it’s for sure we can get help from God by prayer and action. We are not out there without help. The question is where do we get that help. I look at the world right now and see how depended it’s on men’s words and men’s knowledge and see what a mess we are in. God has the answers, we need to be in the Word so we can find it. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

 

Don’t waste time learning the “tricks of the trade.” Instead learn the trade.

In our congregation we have many skilled people. All learn the trade with much effort. If you learn the tricks you will not understand the steps that it took to get there. There is value in learning how. If I learn a memory verse just to say I did and don’t learn the application, it will not benefit me. Remember what the man named, Simon asked for in Acts chapter 8. Read Acts 8:18-23. Simon desired the tricks of the trade. We need to remember why there were miracles. It was to prove the Word and not to glorify man. It was good that Simon learned there was more to it than the tricks of the trade.

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