Remember My Chains

April 2, 2016

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SCRIPTURE

 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

~Colossians 4:18, NIV

QUOTE

I am not a product of my circumstances; I am a product of my decisions.

~Stephen Covey

The unusual thing about Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae is that Paul had never visited this church, he knows this congregation through Epaphras, one of Paul devoted followers. Epaphras was a native of Colossae and the founder of the Church. Paul writes from Rome where he is under house arrest and is chained to a Roman guard. Not the best of circumstances, wouldn’t you agree?

The letter Paul writes is very upbeat and perhaps the most Christ exalting piece of literature in existence. The letter is laced with thanksgiving, praise, instruction and encouragement. In the very last verse, Paul pleads for prayer,“Remember my chains.” The great apostle who prayed for others coveted prayer for himself. His chains are symbolic of his circumstances which were not ideal. Paul was restricted in his movement. He was not free to move about and continue his Missionary work.

I have read the letter to the Colossians many times but yesterday, I heard Paul’s heart for the first time, “Don’t forget to pray for me.” Remember my chains is subtle code for PRAY FOR ME! Most of us have less than ideal circumstances but we must not allow our circumstances to dictate our attitude. We are to act on our circumstances or else they will act on us.

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  • Great weather: Thank You Jesus!
  • GOLDEN GIRLS this morning at 9:00
  • Deacon’s Meeting Sunday @ 8:15
  • Senior Adult Day Sunday [Tomorrow]. Swamp John’s for lunch. Special offering for St. Jude’s. If you want to help with desserts, text Amy Garnett. If you would like to help serve, text Amy.
  • Gigi’s Baptism Sunday, April 3. I think that is tomorrow.
  • 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.

Life Or Death

March 11, 2016

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Scripture

As righteousness leads to life, so he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.

~Proverbs 11:19, NKJV

Quote

Be careful about what you entertain: Sin fascinates before it assassinates.

~Image Quotes

Many years ago, a concerned parent ask me to visit their alcoholic son. I knocked on his front door and he welcomed me in graciously. He was never rude to me at any point. He was watching T.V. and drinking beer. He said, “Sorry about the beer preacher, I didn’t know you were coming.” This is the point where I usually say something self-righteous but the Ruach took control of my mind and tongue. I had no idea what I was about to say but John 3:17 came to mind…For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  After quoting the verse I said, “Jesus did not come to condemn and neither do I but the truth is, the sin you are engaged in is very destructive and without Jesus help, your own sin will destroy you.” I know he understood and he did not get upset but neither did he give up his drinking and in a few years, it destroyed him.

Proverbs 11:19 speaks volumes of truth and this verse has a lot of companions:

  • Proverbs 14:12–There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
  • Galatians 6:7-8–If you think you can fool God, you are only fooling yourselves. You will harvest what you plant. If you live to satisfy your sinful self, the harvest you will get from that will be eternal death. But if you live to please the Spirit, your harvest from the Spirit will be eternal life.
  • Romans 6:23–For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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  • SWAMP JOHNS APRIL 3… time is running out to get your advanced tickets. Amy has to call in our plates ordered on Monday March 28th. This means you have three weeks. There are no guarantees for Day Of. I think they bring 15% extra which right now would be 30 plates and it is first come, first served. I will need some help with desserts and remember ladies, this is a fund raiser for St. Jude’s. You are not doing this for me; you are doing it for the thousands of kids like Kane.
  • Great News from the Callahan’s…Keri is going to get the medicine she needs.
  • They are in the process of taking Gary off the ventilator, may have already done so by the time you read the blog.
  • John Robert Pope came home yesterday but fell before getting in the house. No injury from the fall, PLT.
  • Franklin Graham prayer Rally April 14

In His Presence

February 26, 2016

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Scripture

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

~Psalms 34:19, NASB

Quote

There is more evil in the least sin than there is in the greatest affliction.

~Thomas Brooks

I love the story in Daniel three about the Hebrew boys. One reason is the courage displayed by the Hebrews and I also like happy ending. When the kings herald told everyone to fall on their face at the sound of music, the Hebrews refused to bow and this infuriated Nebuchadnezzar. I really like their statement of faith when threatened by the king himself…Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

I can’t imagine the horror of being thrown into a fiery furnace but for the Hebrew young folks, it turned out much better than expected. While in the furnace of affliction, the LORD was with them. Where is God? I would look for Him among the afflicted, the crushed and broken hearted.

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  • Don’t forget the FRANKLIN GRAHAM prayer rally in Montgomery, April 14 at noon.
  • Baptism schedule: Blake this Sunday, Sydni March 6, Seth March 13, Mylee March 20, April 3 will be Sissy and April 10 will be Gigi. Remember folks, it is God who gives the increase…Keep praying for the Ruach ha-Kodesh to move. [Spirit of holiness]
  • Joe David will be preaching both services Sunday.
  • I begin a four day meeting at my Home Church North of Athens, the Sardis Springs Baptist Church. This church ranks number one in America at sending cards. I think this is my 17 consecutive year to do their JBS.
  • Continue to pray for Gary Garner, Buford Burgess and Angie Blackburn.
  • SWAMP JOHN’S April 3 following morning service. We need to pre-sale 83 more tickets. The next 83 are $10, after that, they will be $11 and then $12 on the day of the event. Remember, you can eat in the FORTE if you choose with drinks and paper products provided. I’ll have to find out about desserts.

Gary, Keri and Kane

Popularity Or Anonymity

February 21, 2016

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Scripture

Jesus reached out and touched the leper… “Be healed! Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. Then Jesus said…“Don’t tell anyone about this.But the man went and spread the word… As a result, large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and he couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere.

Mark 1 [Selected verses]

Quote

A celebrity is a person who works hard to become well known and then wears sun glasses to keep from being recognized.

~Fred Allen

Jesus incredible ability to work miracles plus His astounding wisdom drew very large crowds and tons of publicity, some that He did not want. To the dismay and dissatisfaction of the Jewish religious leaders, Jesus was becoming famous: He was the talk of the nation. Due to His popularity, Jesus found it difficult to spend time alone with the Father or with His disciples.

Have you dreamed of being famous? Truth be known, probably most of us have thought about being a celebrity but then again, it was only a thought. How would you like to be in Payton Manning’s shoes. Bless his heart, he put his life on the line to win a Super Bowl and it has been overshadowed by scandal. I imagine Payton manning would settle for  anonymity about now. Being famous may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

Have you thanked the LORD recently for your anonymity, your right to privacy? I think it is something to cherish.

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  • Today is Mandy’s birth date…she was born 29 years ago today.
  • Thank You Jesus for the warm, Spring like temps!
  • Full schedule today– Deacon’s @ 8:15, LCBS @ 9:15, Celebrate Jesus in Worship @ 10:15, Celebrate Jesus with Baptism @ 11:15…AWANA and Visitation @ 5:30 with evening worship @ 6:15.
  • We are kicking off another cycle of baptisms today: if the LORD keeps adding to the number of disciples, we will keep baptizing. Will Morgan today; hopefully Blake next Sunday [Feb. 28]  followed by Sydni [March 6] and Seth [March 13, his great grand dad birthday], then Gigi on March 20 and Mylee on the 27th.
  • Let’s pre-sale some Swamp John’s tickets today…proceeds go to Saint Jude’s.

Gary, Keri and Kane

Memory

February 2, 2016

 

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Scripture

This is my second letter to you, dear friends, and in both of them I have tried to stimulate your wholesome thinking and refresh your memory.

~2 Peter 3:1, NLT

Quote

The biggest lie I tell myself is: I don’t need to write this down, surely I will remember.

~Ya’akov

Yesterday morning, some one ask me about an old preacher friend and I could see his face but could not bring up the matching name. When this happens and it happens often, I have learned to move on to something else until I relax. After the meeting, I remembered the name. When we senior adults put pressure on ourselves to remember, it sends a ‘stress’ signal to the brain. The secretion of stress hormones most frequently affects memory negatively, thus we struggle to recall things we have known for decades.

Perhaps you are thinking: what on earth prompted you to write about memory? I have noticed that when I am relaxed and feel no pressure, my creative juices increase but when I feel a time constraint, the creative part of my mind simply shuts down. This is the number one reason I consider shutting down the blog. The answer to the problem is quite simple: I need to avoid getting trapped in the emergency mode.

Relaxation and recreation are friends of inspiration and creativity. If this sounds like a rededication, it is!

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  • Solomon was right on the money when he said, “Don’t brag about tomorrow,
    since you don’t know what the day will bring.” [Prov. 27:1] I have been visiting Gary Garner weekly but I should have been visiting him daily. Gary is very low. I am sure he is dehydrated and he is certainly very weak. I got up yesterday thinking I would attend the pastor’s conference and see Gary on the way back to the office. He was carried to Decatur General about noon.
  • I do have some good news, Amy got us a commitment from SWAMP JOHN’S to do a Sunday dinner {They only do a couple per year and we got one of them}. We need to sale 200 tickets between now and March 28th. Tickets are 10$ in advance. I do not know if ‘day of tickets’ will be $10 or $12. You see Amy Garnett Sunday and buy some tickets. This is not a fund raiser for the church. Our by-laws do not allow fund raisers for church needs. All proceeds with go to St. Jude’s in Memphis. I am very impressed with this hospital and what they have done for Kane. So we are killing three birds with one stone: [1] Pleasing SWAMP JOHN fans [2] Raising money for St. Jude’s [3] Creating something special for SENIOR ADULT DAY which will be April 3 in the a.m. service. We will have the FORTE set up for those who want to eat at church and we will furnish paper products and drinks. If you prefer, you can pick up your meal and take it home. Senior Adults {65 and over} get a $2 discount. Senior’s, your tickets are $8. There will be a limit to the Senior tickets so get them ASAP.
  • Praise Yeshua Ben-Elohim for a great day Sunday. God works best when we are weak and I couldn’t get anything to come out right but in spite of my weakness, God’s Ruach ha-Kodesh moved and we had three professions of faith and one baptism. Hallelujah! [Three Hebrew phrases or words above: see if you can match them. God be praise or praise God, Jesus Son of God, Spirit of Holiness] I am reading a bible translated by Messianic Jews and on occasions, they use Hebrew terms. Ya’akov loves it!

Gary, Keri and Kane