New Life (5/28/17)

When our oldest daughter, Katie, was two years old, her Aunt Mary passed away. Several years later, when Katie was nine, Mary’s brother, Kay, went to be with the Lord. When I found out that Uncle Kay had passed, I went into Katie’s bedroom to tell her. After I explained what happened and that Uncle Kay was now in heaven, she looked at me and said, “I bet Aunt Mary was waiting for him when he got there.”

This Memorial Sunday, we honor our family members who have passed from this life during this past year. We trust they are now living a new life in heaven if they knew Jesus as their Savior. And, just like Katie, we wonder what their new life in heaven is like for them.

While we’re encouraged about the hope we have of a new life in heaven, we don’t have to wait until we die to have new life. In Romans 5, Paul said we have peace with God because of what Jesus did on the cross. We need Jesus because Adam only had one law to follow. Don’t eat the fruit. As we know all too well, Adam disobeyed and that brought death and suffering to all of creation. Jesus’ resurrection, which came after millions of people had lived and committed countless sins, freed us from the curse of sin through God’s grace. (more…)

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The One Word That Kills Spiritual Growth (5/21/17)

Are there areas in our lives where we’re doing things which are in direct opposition to the teachings of Jesus but we’re convincing ourselves that we’re innocent of doing anything wrong? We can all say “yes” if we’re really honest with ourselves. The next question is: Are we willing to change and be faithful to Jesus even if it means stepping out in faith, trusting God and perhaps even walking alone?

After all, there’s no question that following Jesus is downright difficult at times. Sometimes family members shy away from us because of our faith. Co-workers avoid us and perhaps even mock us for taking Jesus too seriously. Sometimes our bosses will ask us to do things that are morally wrong but saying “no” to them might cost us a good paying job. It’s easier to ignore people than it is to work at restoring broken relationships with them. Turning a blind eye to suffering and injustice is much easier than standing against it. And the list goes on and on… (more…)

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Hearing God’s Voice (5/14/17)

As most of you know, I used to be part of a family logging and firewood business. My father and I would visit our logging crews together on a regular basis while our office manager took care of the office. One time dad and I were going to check on a logging crew but our office manager happened to be off that day. My mom came into the office to answer the phone when dad and I left.

The area in West Virginia we lived in has very sporadic cell phone service. There was only one area where we had service between our office and the logging job. When we reached that area, my dad said, “Call mom and make sure everything is ok.”

I called and she answered, “Hello. Clearwater Timber Resources and Frontier Firewood.” Instead of saying, “Hey mom. Is everything OK? We wanted to check in before we got out of cell range.”, I disguised my voice and said, “How much is your firewood?” Mom didn’t recognize my voice. I carried on a conversation with her and she never realized who she was talking to her. (more…)

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Letting Go (5/7/17)

One of the things I like about the Church of the Brethren is our understanding of God. According to brethren.org, “The central emphasis of the Church of the Brethren is not a creed, but a commitment to follow Christ in simple obedience, to be faithful disciples in the modern world. As do most other Christians, the Brethren believe in God as Creator and loving Sustainer. We confess the Lordship of Christ, and we seek to be guided by the Holy Spirit in every aspect of life, thought, and mission.”

As Christians, we want to experience the love of God, the saving power of Jesus and to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives, which includes our thoughts. We should strive to be obedient to every person of the Trinity in everyday life and the ministries God gives us.

Stephanie and I have never questioned God called us to Snake Spring Valley Church of the Brethren. We’ve felt nothing but love from you and we’ve seen God working here from the moment we arrived. We also like living in Bedford County.

Still, there were areas in our lives where we needed God to work. Although we loved each other and had a solid marriage, after 30 years of being together there were a couple of areas in our relationship where we achieved the level of “miserable comfortableness.” If you’ve been married for a while, you know what I mean. I’m talking about those areas where you’re not happy but you know things may never change so you find a place where you can endure it. Stephanie and I were aware of these problem areas but we didn’t have the ability to change them on our own So, we kept praying: Lord, make my spouse the person I need and make me the person my spouse needs. (more…)

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Bearing Fruit (4/30/17)

During the summer of 2000, a friend of mine, Harry, and I decided to attend the NASCAR race at Daytona, Florida. As we made our plans, Harry said, “I’ll print a map off the computer so we know which routes to take.” (This was before GPS.) When I picked him up to leave for the trip, I asked about the map. He responded, “I didn’t print one. We just head south don’t we?”

I didn’t agree with his philosophy. When you’re going from Point A to Point B, you need a map. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting off-course or, even worse, completely lost. I went back to my house and got a road atlas.

God is calling us to go on a journey with him. He wants to take our relationship with Jesus to the next level. Since we’re going from Point A, where we are now, to Point B, the place where Jesus wants to take us, we need a map. We have one. It’s called the Bible. If we want to be all that we can be in Christ, we need to believe it’s true and live according to its principles and teachings. If the Bible says something is sin, then it’s sin. If the Bible tells us to love, then we need to love. If the Bible tells us to submit to Jesus, then we need to submit to Jesus. If the Bible tells us to walk with the Holy Spirit, then we need to walk with the Holy Spirit. (more…)

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