In Hope-Against Hope

April 16, 2016

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Scripture

In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”

Romans 4:18, NASB

Quote

Faith is seeing light with your heart when all your eyes see is darkness.

~Anonymous

At age 75, God promised Abraham that He would make him the father of many nations. Abraham assumed correctly that God would do this through his descendants but the years passed and Abraham had no children. Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though he was approaching 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham had no reason to hope and yet he kept hoping–believing God would fulfill His promise.

So what does this phrase mean, “In hope against hope?” It means Abraham had no confidence {hope} in the flesh but he had not lost his confidence in God’s promise. His hope was that God would supernaturally, by grace, fulfill the promise. As we look back, we know this is exactly what God did. Who can explain a 90 year old woman getting pregnant? When a 90 year old woman gives birth to a healthy baby, it’s a God thing.

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  • Don’t have a lot of extra: We will have a full schedule Sunday beginning with Deacon’s meeting @ 8:15, LCBS @ 9:15, Worship @10:15 and 6:15. AWANA and Visitation @ 5:30.
  • Pray for VBS–June 13-17
  • You can buy ROSES FOR MAMA this Sunday.
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Kenny Evans this Mother’s Day

My Hope Is Gone

April 15, 2016

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Scripture

My days have passed; my plans have failed; my hope is gone.

~Job 17:11, GNT

Quote

Sometimes when things seem to be falling a part, they are actually falling in place.

~Image Quotes

Romans 8:28 is a favorite verse for a lot of people, And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. To work together is one word in the Greek, synergeō from which we get the word synergy. It is used four other times in the N.T. {Mark 16:20, 1 Co.16:16, 2 Co. 6:1 and James 2:22}. God has the uncanny ability to make all things, good and bad, work together for our good and His glory.

Job was in despair. He lost all ten of his children 1n one horrific day. To make bad matters worse, he also lost his health, his home and the respect of his community. He cried out to God but heaven was silent. With one negative thing after another coming upon him like a flood, he gave way to despair and in his despair he said, My days have passed; my plans have failed; my hope is gone.

I am so glad that Job did not have the last word. Although he was giving up on life and merely waiting to die, God had other plans. Just remember, “It aint so until Jesus says it so and when Jesus says it’s so, it is so whether or not you think it is so.” 

We left home in the fall of 1971, moving to New Orleans so I could attend seminary. I left behind a lot of family and friends, some who were lost. I prayed for one in particular but finally gave up. I don’t think I spoke my thoughts but in my mind, I thought the door of mercy had closed. In the Summer of 1974, I got the glorious news that he had been saved. A fine laymen influenced him to Christ.

This taught me a valuable lesson: sometimes we look at outward circumstances and we think there is no hope but this is not our call. Palms 146:5 comes to mind, But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God.

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  • Good trip to Montgomery yesterday. DBC was represented by seven but it should have been seventy. It was a special moment and a tremendous blessing to be in a crowd of people who unashamedly love Jesus and have a spirit of brokenness and repentance. I listened and wept. I would guess there was from three to four thousand in attendance but had it been an Alabama or Auburn football game, there would have been 100,000. Our indifference and apathy are appalling.
  • Dogwood Winter keeps hanging around: too cold for plants to grow and too wet to mow or plow but it could be worse, a lot worse.
  • Looking forward to May 8th and our Mother’s Day special with Kenny Evans of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
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Kenny Evans our Special Guest on Mother’s Day

Hope

April 12, 2016

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Scripture

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.

~Hebrews 13:14, NLT

Quote

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”  

~Viktor Frankl

Everyone needs something to look forward to, we call this hope. Regret looks backward but hope always focuses on the future. This is why Jeremiah put the two together when he wrote to the exiles…For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. On the other hand, Solomon said, “The wicked have no future, therefore they have no hope.

Difficult circumstance are hard to cope with, especially when you feel that you have no control but when we have no control over our circumstance, we by grace can allow the circumstances change us.

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  • God is good. My guardian angel got a full workout yesterday. We left for Troy at 6:00 am and got in from Bessemer at 5:15, driving the last 2 hours or so in heavy traffic and rain. After yesterday, I needed a blessing and I got one at Oakridge Baptist church last night. I had to be thankful for the traveling mercies and the great service at Oakridge but we can’t really be happy when we have a child that is very unhappy. Hope is wore out physically: June and I both are concerned about her physical health as well as the emotional. We do appreciate all the prayers and that is what we need the most. HOPE CAN HAVE MAIL: Hope Garner, THE FOUNDRY, 1800 4th Ave. North, Bessemer, Alabama, 35020. You can visit with her on Thursday night and Sundays. June has the details if you decide to go down.
  • Franklin Graham Prayer Rally this Thursday.

Practice What You Preach

March 31, 2016

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Scripture

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
~Jeremiah 32:9, NLT

Quote

The preacher who only preaches what he can practice is not worth our listening.

~Manley Beasley

In theory, preachers should preach the pure and perfect word of God. We who are grossly imperfect lift up a perfect standard. I don’t measure up to what I preach and neither do you. Manley Beasley was one of my favorite preachers of last century. I have heard him read a text, make an opening remark which was usually his sermon in a sentence: Then, with a grin, he would pause and say, “I’ve already said more than you can live up to.”

Whereas it is impossible for the herald to live up to the perfect standard of the king, he had best take his job seriously and be ready to demonstrate the message he preaches. Jeremiah preached faith and hope. Israel was being invaded by the Babylonians. The invaders had crossed the northern borders and were capturing cities in the upper regions. Jeremiah had been telling the people not to give up hope in Israel’s long range future; yes, there would be a captivity but Israel would return and have a future and a hope.

Jeremiah’s cousin  Hanamel decided to put him to the test so he visited the prophet who was in prison and offered him the family farm for a price. If Jeremiah had said, “Are you kidding me? Do I look stupid? The Babylonian army is camping on this piece of property as we speak and you want to sell it to me? Then Hanamel would say, “You are just like all the false prophets, you don’t mean what you say.” Jeremiah, knowing he would never set foot on the land, bought the land as a gesture of faith.

The moral of the story is that preachers need to be careful about what we say: God may give us a chance to practice what we preach. I talked once about how easy it was to forgive and the LORD allowed something to happen in my life that taught me how hard it can be to forgive.

I went back and reread my last five blogs. I wrote them for the sake of others without realizing they would be for me. As my wise mother was fond of saying to me, “You are getting a taste of your own medicine. How do you like it.” Right now, I’m getting a heavy doze of humility which may not be appreciated but definitely needed.

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Coming to DBC in 2016…Kenny Evans {Mother’s Day} and Dr. Junior Hill in August 21…

  • SENOR ADULT DAY this Sunday with SWAMP JOHN’S for lunch. I need some dessert makers.
  • Today is the last day of March and the end of the first quarter. One forth of 2016 is gone like a freight train. Just 38 days till Mother’s Day, 60 days to Memorial Day and 269 days till Christmas. I would tell you how many days until VBS but I don’t know. We may possible change the date. Mandy will meet with workers this Sunday.
  • Franklin Graham prayer rally April 14

 

Hope

March 27, 2016

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Scripture

But those who die in the LORD will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joyFor your life-giving light will fall like dew on your people in the place of the dead!

~Isaiah 26:19, NLT

Quote

Blessed are those who can live with unanswered questions, who can rest in what they see and who can wait patiently for God to reveal what they can’t see.

~Charles Rozell Swindoll

When it comes to questions, I have them and it took time and grace for me to learn to live with unanswered questions. There is a lot we will not know in this life. Our understanding of reality is very dim but God has given us this blessed thing called “Hope.” How miserable we would be if we had no hope. Job had questions, lots of questions. One is found in Job 14:14…Can the dead live again? If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle, and I would eagerly await the release of death.

God created both the natural and spiritual world with the natural reflecting the spiritual. When it comes to the resurrection, our Creator has given us signs in all direction. A nights of restful sleep and then the awakening is a picture of the resurrection. Spring time is a picture of the resurrection–everything appeared dead but has sprang back to life. Plants are a sign of the resurrection. The same olive trees that Jesus prayed beneath are still in existence. Didn’t Titus the Roman have them cut to the ground? Yes, but that doesn’t kill and olive tree, they shoot branches from the stump. Seeds are another sign. I have all kinds of garden seed in the freezer. There is no apparent life in them but soon I will be planting them and they will come up.

Feed your faith, starve your doubt, cling to hope and trust God with all your unanswered question.

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  • EASTER SUNDAY…can you believe it!
  • Sunrise @ 8:00…Breakfast @8:30…LCBS @ 9:15…Easter Parade @ 10:10 and Celebrate Jesus @ 10:15
  • Today is your last chance to get SWAMP JOHN’S TICKETS.
  • I finished Dr. Graham’s latest and probably last book, “Where I Am” last week and I highly recommend it. It would make a good gift for a lost friend who is seeking.

Christmas Hope

December 16, 2015

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Scripture

My mercy and justice are coming soon. My salvation is on the way. My strong arm will bring justice to the nations. All distant lands will look to Me and wait in hope for My powerful arm.

~Isaiah 51:5, NLT

Quote

Man can exist without hope but he cannot live without hope.

~Ya’akov

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Can you imagine a world without Christ? I am very grateful to be living on this side of the cross. We have so much more than our O.T. counterparts:

  1. We have access to the throne of grace. They had to approach through a priest.
  2. We have a High Priest who can be trusted. They had the likes of Caiaphas who was rotten to the core.
  3. We have the printed word of God including the words of Jesus. They a limited number of scrolls but not the O. T. as we know it. The bible is a huge blessing.
  4. They had Passover but we have Easter and Christmas. No comparison. I had rather celebrate the birth of a Lamb than to slaughter one, hadn’t you?

For centuries, the Jews waited on the Promised One, the Messiah, the Seed of woman who would crush the serpent, the great Prophet who would speak for God, Isaiah’s great Light and Prince of Peace. He would be the Son of David who would rule with fairness and justice. He would be the Liberator of the oppressed and the hope of nations.

The one thing that believer’s have, in any set of circumstances, is HOPE. Never think lightly of hope, it is the key to living sucessfully.

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  • Gary Garner got good news. They are going to do two more treatments as a precaution but his PET Scan was good; THANK YOU JESUS!
  • Heath’s surgery went good. He went to ICU but should get a room today. It’s a tough surgery that leaves one feeling miserable [said the Doctor]. That is not his exact words but its a good translation. He should begin to feel better in a few days.
  • We have found a violinist: Beautiful Hannah Marie Clardy Garnett is a violinist and I did not know this until yesterday. She also knows Haley’s brother: the two have performed professionally. One tiny problem, she and Hunter live in B’town. I told her she had a standing invitation to play the violin at DBC. Maybe we will get to hear her during the holidays.
  • I forgot to talk with Adam last night but there is a change that we will do Jace’s baptism this Sunday.

Gary, Keri and Kane

Eternal Optimism

August 31, 2015

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SCRIPTURE

And we know that God causes all things to work together { synergeō} for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
~Romans 8:28, NASB

QUOTE

I do not believe in the ‘Luck of the Irish’, I believe in God’s providence and that He has a purpose for every life.
Nelle Reagan.
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Romans 8:28 was Nelle Reagan’s favorite verse and she taught this verse to her son. She taught him to never assume or jump to conclusions when something bad happened. She was a good teacher and he was a good student.

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I can remember the day of Jimmy Carter, when America was held captive by a gang of insane Iranian bullies. It was not a good feeling to watch NIGHT LINE each night as we counted the days of our captivity. Carter was inept and totally overwhelmed; he didn’t have a clue and his countenance generated despair. Personally, I wondered if there was any hope, then came Ronald Reagan  with his spirit of optimism. As first I thought it was an act; no one could be so optimistic in such trying times but it was not an act. His mother had taught him well and his optimism radiated from his speeches. I loved his speeches, there were all full of hope.

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We can’t survive without hope and my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name. On  Christ the solid ROCK I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
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  • Another good day: what can I say, God is good. Great crowd last night. When I walked in, I couldn’t believe it and we had visitors, Gerald and Beverly were with us. They were with us on the Alaska Trip. They are retired teachers from Lawrence County.
  • We are not sure if the pavers will begin today or not, the rain may have delayed them.
  • Gary Garner is supposed to come home from DGH today.
  • Joe David will preach next Sunday and I am scheduled to be in Revival the following week but I have not heard from my pastor lately so I am trying to confirm that date which means he will be preaching the first two Sundays in September.

Gary, Keri and Kane

Walking By Faith

July 18, 2015

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SCRIPTURE

For we live by believing and not by seeing.

~2 Corinthians 5:7, NLT

QUOTE

Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.

~Augustine

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Paul said, “We live by faith, not sight.” The Gnostics pretended to relate to God on the basis of knowledge but this is contrary to what the scriptures teach. Hebrews 11:6 reads, “It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” Faith is not a new way, it is the only way. Abraham was saved by faith just like you and I. He looked forward in faith to Calvary and we look back in faith. In this life, we rely on faith and hope; you cannot possibly please Christ or follow Him without these two. Without faith we lose our confidence and assurance; without hope we give way to despair. Make no mistake my friend, we desperately need them now but in heaven our faith and hope gives way to sight.

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  • I have some GOOD NEWS: Gary Garner was much better yesterday. He has been able to eat for last two days but still no explanation for what is going on. Bufford made a profession of faith since my first visit. I don’t know when but the last time I tried to lead him in a sinners prayer, he said, “I’ve done it already” and wow what a change. Yesterday he told me that if he gets able, he is coming to Danville to be baptized. What about that folks! Third: we got our new van yesterday just in time for the youth to go to camp. It is unbelievable! You just look at it today: it is nice. God is good!
  • Count Down to Alaska–2 days. June has been packing for a week and I bought me a new cap for the trip today.
  • Regular Schedule Sunday beginning with Deacon’s Meeting at 8:30.
  • TRUSTEES will decide Sunday about parking lot and we are probably going to annual contract on lawn and shrubs.
  • I was hoping to have some plans for the play ground before we left but it may be after we get back, I am running out of time.
  • Mother would have been 100 hundred today.

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Keri and Kane

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Scripture

The world will hope upon His name.

~Matthew 12:21, CT

Quote

He that lives in hope dances without music.

~George Herbert

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Matthew is quoting Isaiah 42 which is one of Isaiah’s songs of the Suffering Servant {Messiah}. In this song, the Servant is portrayed as one who faithfully establishes justice in the world and serves as a light for the nations. Some one was extoling the virtues of Robert E. Lee when he stopped them: “I am a man of many weaknesses, the only hope our nation has is Jesus.” Nothing has changed: the only hope for America is Jesus and He is the hope of the nations.

At CHRISTMAS we celebrate His first advent but there is a second: He is coming again to establish justice and every knee will bow and every tongue confess. He will be worshipped and adored by all nations. Phillip Bliss said it beautifully: The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin and Like sunshine at noonday, Christ glory shone in; the light of the WORLD is JESUS.

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  • Today we pray for the world.
  • Regular schedule tonight: Supper at 5:30, AWANA at 6:15 and the GATHERING at 6:30.
  • I keep forgetting to mention it on Sunday but our 12 foot step ladder is missing {At church}. We have a lot of lights that need changing and I keep hinting but they are not getting changed. It would help if we had our big ladder.
  • Not to late to sponsor a child for Christmas but you need to see Mandy this Sunday and get your paper work. Why does God bless us? Think about it, there is a reason.

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Hopelessness

December 7, 2014

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SCRIPTURE

Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always!

~Psalms 131:3, MSG

QUOTE

The simplest way to destroy a person entirely is to take away their hope.

~Yaakov

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Put your name in place of Israel…Wait, ______, for God. Wait with Hope. Hope now: Hope always! Never, never give up hope. The great thing about being in Christ is that we are never in a place of hopelessness. You may be going through hell but it is not your final destination.

In the late 1800’s on one of the islands of Hawaii, called Molokai, the people of that island had resigned themselves to utter defeat and due to this hopelessness, they engaged in drunkenness, immorality and abusive behavior. These islanders had one thing in common: they were banished by the authorities in Hawaii to this island because the highly contagious incurable disease called leprosy had seized their flesh and with it, all hope was vanquished from their soul. It was compassion for these very people who constrained a Catholic priest named Father Damien to move to this island in 1873 to spend his life ministering to these people. He built hospitals, clinics, churches and even some 600 coffins during his ministry there, while ever trying to persuade these people who God had not forsaken them. In church gatherings, Father Damien would stand and lovingly address the people with these words, “my dear brethren,” but one morning in 1885, a dozen years after his arrival at the age of 45, in a calm clear voice, instead of “my dear brethren” he began his address with “my fellow lepers…” He had become one of them.

Wow! Christmas is the celebration of Jesus, God’s perfect and unique Son, becoming one of us. He took on our leprosy. It is time to pause and shout: Hallelujah, what a SAVIOR!

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  • Today we pray for Senior Adults.
  • Deacons Meeting at 8:00, LCBS at 9:00 and Worship at 10:15 and 6:00
  • Don’t forget to make your appointment for the Church Directory. See Mandy or Jamie at the Welcome center after service.

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