Save The Date:
May 3rd: National Day of Prayer
May 13th: Mother's Day
May 19th: Armed Forces Day
May 28th: Memorial Day
With May full of observance days related to our nation and our military, will you please join us in prayer for our nation and its leaders? Please ask the Lord for direction, protection, and economic and social issues. Most of all, please pray for revival in our nation! It is Christ who has life-saving power to change hearts and minds. Please pray also for mothers and their unique role in the family.
LET US REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT
By Bill Powell
Let me preface what I want to covey by saying I do realize the troubles in the world and that many are facing difficult times. We have all been faced with trials or know someone with difficult circumstances. We will continue to pray for you. I don’t own a pair of rose colored glasses. I also don’t consider myself to be a motivational speaker, but there are so many things to smile about, be happy for, and rejoice over. We must not be mired in the negative nor lose hope.
Each day as I speak to the Lord and begin my ask list I am reminded how wonderful life is and how blessed I am. Sometimes I break it down to the senses. The things I see and have seen are too wonderful to take in. The water, the flowers, the mountains rivers lakes and trees. You add to the list. It’s endless. Yet the scriptures say that eyes have not seen the things the Lord has in store for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Wow! I have seen a lot.
Then there is the sense of hearing. Just think of what wonderful things we hear. The laugh of a child, the sound of music, and the spoken word from His Pastors and teachers. The sound of the wind and the sound of the birds on a spring morning. The voice of a loved one. And yet, ears have not heard the things the Lord has prepared for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
1Co 2:9 But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"—
What is more pleasant than the smell of fresh bread or the scent of orange blossoms? Don’t smells often remind you of things, and aren’t they usually good things? One of the senses that we often take for granted is the sense of touch. How about the touch of a baby’s skin or the feel of silk? Don’t squeeze the Charmin. Thank God we can feel pain, cold, and hot. What about the feel of love?
A sense not often considered and that is hope. If you love the Lord, you have hope no matter what you go through. We have the hope of things we can’t even imagine. That would make a good song! “I Can Only Imagine” I hope this gives you something to think about because I only scratched the surface. The gift of life is priceless and precious. Eternal life, I can only Imagine.
Heb 6:18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.
TOO WONDERFUL FOR ME
by Chris Johnson
Have you ever sat down to consider how you got to where you are today? We all have a story, a historical record that is uniquely filled with twists and turns, ups and downs, good times and bad. Added together, the sum of our days tell of how we arrived at our current position in life and might even point to some of the destinations that might lay on the route ahead. God has made us to live in the present; certainly we can review the days gone by and we can plan ahead and consider the future, but we’re called to live in the here and now and to do so to the glory of God. I was struck recently as I was thinking about these things; I came upon Psalm 139 and was overwhelmed by the glorious omniscience of God. In it the songwriter pens these words of confidence and awe to the Lord:
Matthew 28:20 records some of the final words that Jesus spoke to His disciples. Following His issuing the Great Commission He said, “I am with you always, even till the end of the age.” These two passages speak to something that “is far too wonderful for me.” One of the greatest joys a human being can have is to know and be known. We were created for deep abiding relationship with God, one another, and His creation.
These things speak to the innermost part of our soul, and thus we marvel at the opportunity to enjoy friendships and find great joy and pleasure when the Lord sends people into our path and knits our hearts together. Maybe you can think of a few people who traversed life together with you. Some people have enjoyed friendships with others that began in their earliest years and some have steadily enjoyed deep and abiding friendships along the way. We cherish these things and marvel that they are possible. Yet these relationships point us to an even greater fellowship with the Lord. His love, care, and compassion is deeper than anything we could ever imagine, so why not consider again each stroke of the psalmist’s pen? Consider His omniscience, His sovereign grace, and His eternal compassion. He knows us from beginning to end and is with us every moment of every day. I must agree with King David, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.” May the days of our lives be filled with worship as we stand in awe of our Lord’s mercy He’s poured out on us, and may we tell others the story of our lives so that they might hear the story of His life lived out in us.
ENCOURAGEMENT THROUGH DISAPPOINTMENTS
by Christina Hutchinson
Without going into too much detail, I have had a rough year. Ryan and I have been through one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to face. I have good days and then I have some really bad ones. One of the biggest lessons I’m learning through all of this is how to lean and depend on God’s promises in moments where I find myself utterly and completely broken. And taking those moments and sharing them with others who may be going through the same thing or who have already been through it. Ryan has truly been amazing when it comes to the healing and moving forward. We both bounce off scripture to one another when we feel that we’re facing those sad times.
“And we know that for those who love God
all things work together for good, for those who are called
according to his purpose.”
When faced with trials we ask the question “why?” Sometimes the answer to that question isn’t given to us. What we do know is that God gives us a “peace that surpasses all understanding” so that we can move through those moments in our life with confidence that He will always be there to guide us and protect us. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
No Fluffy Bunny Christ-Following
By Denisha Stearns
When the going gets tough, the tough get going! I heard that popular saying many times growing up in the seventies and eighties. A pop-song was even written with that title. Not as reflective of the mindset of today, in my opinion at least, where it is more like, “when the going gets tough, people get going… away, far, far away!” Oh, how we idolize the life of ease and comfort and strive for euphoria. I love my flavored coffee freshly brewed by my machine each morning, A/C cooling as I drive my car, my fluffy bunny slippers, and hot water in my indoor shower. I also relish the peace and quiet to which I fall asleep, avoid conflict with people, and escape the world’s complications through movies with problems resolved in two hours and endings always happy.
After living many years as a Christian, I have come to realize that the easy, comfortable life is not what Jesus called me to. Jesus’ directions to Christ-followers included, “Men shall revile you and persecute you…” and “I came not to bring peace but a sword.” The Apostle Paul directed likewise, “Put on the full armor of God.” “Fight the good fight of faith”. When I was a new Christian, I didn’t understand these words and the principles behind them.
They were difficult to accept and to live out. So, I chose to believe in my own lie that with enough faith, Jesus would save me from everything bad, painful, and uncomfortable.
Some early disciples found Jesus’ words hard too. At one point, disciples left Jesus because His words were hard to accept (John 6). But not Peter. “Peter, do you want to leave me too? “ Jesus asked. Peter replied, “To whom shall I go? You have the words of life.” Peter believed in and trusted in Jesus without the comfort of fully understanding. Consequently, Jesus gave understanding to Peter in His own appointed time.
Understanding and following Jesus gets hard at times such as when my husband and I aren’t seeing eye-to-eye, when I am unjustly wronged by someone, or when my loved ones have been stricken with debilitating illnesses. A temptation exists to stop praying, reading my Bible, attending church, serving others. So, do I follow anyway? Awkwardly, uncomfortably, unknowingly, and maybe in a small company, like Peter? It is at these times I remind myself what I do know- He is God, and I am not. I see in a mirror dimly while He sees and knows all. Any who lacks wisdom should ask God, and He will give liberally. And those who trust in Him will never be put to shame. He has the words of life!
Getting out of the comfort of my bed in the mornings to read my Bible and pray is difficult (I fail at times). Applying Jesus’ words to my life removes me from my “comfort zone” regularly. As well, hearing the word preached from the pulpit can discomfort me so powerfully that my repentance is encouraged, my heart and mind transformed. Yet, He didn’t call me to comfort nor to convenience. He called me to companionship with Him. He called me to Christ-like combat. Time for this Christ-follower to take off her fluffy bunny slippers, get tough, and get going- for His cause!