Good News Message
- “The Battle is the Lord’s.” 1 Samuel 17: 47
Hello God’s BelovedsI love to read how often our God has brought aid to the people who love and trust Him.The Word tells us those who loved the Lord and expected great things from Him were never disappointed when they put their total faith in Him. This is exactly how each of us should be though it isn’t always that easy, is it? When we see with our eyes the huge obstacles before us at times. But that is exactly why He wants us to see those challenges through the lens of faith. There is so much emphasis placed on the concept of faith in His Word and it is because faith aids miracles. We push towards our God in faith that He can do more than what our human eyes can comprehend and so often He responds in ways we never imagine when we are overwhelmed with our problems. And we should expect great things from our Lord. He wants us to approach him boldly in faith. It’s part of the process as He teaches us, life experience after life experience, of His incomprehensible love for us. An opportunity to show how He is always there for us in all things and in all ways.God certainly doesn’t need for us to “have faith” in order to perform His miracles but our CHOICE to choose faith results in space opening around us for Him to work to produce the outcome we need. That’s what the words “give it over to HIm” mean at the most basic level. Step back and give Him room. He won’t intrude on the space. He always honors the space He gave us to do with what we will. And once we invite him in, we must always remember that He works on His timetable. That doesn’t always translate to the timing we think should be in play but we can trust in His sovereignty when it comes to the good of us which lends itself to the good of the whole. As we look at the things He has done for us, and our Brothers and Sisters, we are assured of that fact; so, we can walk in complete faith in Him as we journey on each day.I so love the story of when King David was a young man and showed an absolutely outrageous faith in our God. Before “the man after God’s own heart” became a King, when he was just a young man tending sheep for his family, he was sent to take some supplies to his Brothers who were fighting the Philistines. David was not in the fight because his people felt he was too young but, when simply following the instructions of his father to bring aid to his brothers, he was given the opportunity to show how the incendiary courage God had given him worked in a believer’s life. 1 Samuel 17 tells of how he got into the fight, and what God did for him. I highly recommend you read that chapter, plus all that is before it and after completely, when you have time.All of David’s life is worth exploring but this chapter, in particular, is show stopping as we watch David face his Goliath…He spoke to the giant and his army and said, “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves, for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give all of you into our hands.” Verses 48, 49 and 50 go on to say, “As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.”Think about this. A boy with a destiny. One the boy couldn’t see but God could and nothing was going to get in the way of that. All the boy had to do was believe that there was enough power in whatever tool he had against the danger in front of him.This He will do for each of us as we move towards our own destinies. Help us slay whatever “giant” stands before us.The Lord meets us on the battlefield as we trust Him to do so. Our father loves us and our victories are His victories. Let us never forget that fact. Let us live in the GLORY and EXTRAORDINARY LOVE of it.Poppa B.Continue reading →
- Concerning Spiritual Gifts. 1 Corinthians 12Hello Beloveds,Last week, in the context of Love being the most important aspect of our journey through this life, I touched on the different talents each of us possesses and want to press into the specifics of that more in this and letters to come. The Apostle Paul writes to us about Spiritual Gifts. It is so important that we realize how special these talents are. They are different for each of us and exist for a very important reason. They’re given to us by the Holy Spirit to use to bring about the very unique things we are called to do, as individuals and for the whole of humanity, while we are here. Whether we realize it or not, each of us has been designed and called for very specific work that benefits us all and it centers around these gifts bestowed upon us.The Apostle said:“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All of these are the work of the same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one, just as He determines.” 1 Corinthians 4-11Concerning the gifts of the Spirit, the Lord does not want us to be uninformed. The gifts cannot be created by us. They are created and birthed in us to use for our Lord. Which, as it turns out, helps us as individuals and as a whole. Because we are in Him. God doesn’t NEED us to do anything. But we worship a God that WANTS us to be all we can be. And that will ultimately serve the grand purpose of what humans were designed for in His great plan. More and more, as I contemplate life in these days of division, I realize how connected we all are. How much we affect one another with our choices. So, it is very important that we learn what our gifts are and very important that we use them. Doing so can heal us and help us heal each other at a time when we all need restoration. The notes within my study Bible point out that, “The spiritual gifts given to each person by the Holy Spirit are special abilities that are to be used to minister to the needs of the body of believers. This chapter [1 Corinthians] is not an exhaustive list of spiritual gifts – see Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and parts of 1 Peter 4 for more examples. There are many different gifts, some people have more than one, and one gift is not superior to another. All Spiritual gifts come from the Holy Spirit, and their purpose is to build up Christ’s body, the Church.”And every gift, big or small, serves purpose. I believe our gifts can impact not only believers but all that we encounter. While we’re here, our job is nothing if not to make the world a better place. Bringing our talents forward is a huge step in that direction. What we find is that doing so serves us first, in the release that comes from bringing forth what is inside of us and, typically, the awareness and wisdom that comes within the process of developing and using our gifts. From there, we serve others by enlightening or entertaining them. Sometimes both. Either way, we make each other more by gifting each other with our gifts.This subject is on my heart and I hope to spend more time discussing the Spiritual Gifts. Let us never underestimate what they are for, how they are to be used, and where they come from. Let us use them wisely and frequently. We will talk more of this and how to find your own, if you don’t know, as we go forward.You are beloved to God. Believe that.Poppa B.
- Love is Indispensable. 1 Corinthians 13Hello Friends,The last couple of weeks, I’ve addressed grief because so many are experiencing it in these challenging times. Today I want to share some thoughts on the one thing that matters in all that’s happening and what our part is in the grand scheme of this thing called “LOVE.” We are given love from our God. He literally IS the force that is love. And since He is in us, that means love. also, literally lives in us.Our God gives us life exactly when we are supposed to have it. The days he fashioned for us to live in at a very specific time are for a very specific purpose. And while we are here, we are to demonstrate His love to those in the world when and where they need it. And, in doing so, we let others see the reflection of Him. He wants everyone to know and understand what love is… what He is through us and our behaviour. We are designed to commune with Him and with one another and, in addition, we are all given gifts that enable us to share this amazing knowledge with all who will hear it.Our Creator says, through the great Apostle Paul, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts, and I will show you the most excellent way.” 1 Corinthians 12:27-31We know that some have one or two of the gifts. Some have all. That really isn’t important. What is important is that we bring forward whatever our gifts are in His service which serves the whole of humanity. The humanity that He wants to bloom into all that we can be. And what is most important of all is that we do what we do, first and foremost, from a very intentional space of love. I cannot define things any better than Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 when he explained that of everything we’ve been given, what endures, what trumps every gift that makes us unique and special is that force that binds and guides us… love.“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have Love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have Love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled, where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, and now these three remain: faith, hope and Love. But the greatest of these is Love.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-13Love never fails. It can take turns we don’t understand but let us realize that because love is God, love cannot ever fail. We can count on that. So let us look to Him, and walk in Him, and bring what and who He is to this world. He is all that is Indispensable.Love,Poppa
- Great is your Faithfulness, O God of Love…Hello God’s Beloveds,These days it sometimes feels like we live in a chaotic world that may try to consume us. But we will not be consumed, nor anything like it, if we walk in the LOVE and FAITHFULNESS of our great God. If we can trust even in the pain that surrounds us. Interchange the word ‘consumed’ with the word ‘defeated’ and consider this:The Word promises, “Because of the Lord’s great love, we are NOT consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is His faithfulness. I say to myself, the Lord is my portion; therefore I hope in Him.”As we walk in this world, even if it is a hundred plus years, it is such a short time. We get to experience many things, including mind bending challenges, but let us always remember, they are all part of the short beautiful journey we have here. A journey designed to aid in the ultimate creation of us. Those things that seem poised to defeat us along the way can lend themselves to our good. To our becoming. The great apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be anxious about ANYTHING, but in EVERYTHING, by prayer and petition with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. And the PEACE of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Phillippians 4:6-7I believe everything we face here has been approved by our God. Even our worst circumstances. We wonder sometimes why our shaping requires pain. For what it’s worth, there is opportunity in it… to ask “What would You have me learn in this, Father? What are you trying to teach me?” Learning what He wants us to know and do and receiving those lessons leads to our growth. Our own innate singular evolution of “becoming.” When we get that part right, the stewardship of our own selves, we can then connect to the whole of humanity and contribute to the good of it. That process can be scary. But what we know for certain is that if The Word tells us never to be anxious about anything, we don’t have to be for The Word is TRUTH. All of this is just part of our journey.Things may be hard to face. Sometimes, we may cry of a broken heart. But, as we go through our trials, we can know that we are greatly loved by our creator Father who promises our sorrows are temporary. As certainly as He may allow us to experience the fires of life, he can and does also send what we need to recover. As our hearts heal, and we continue on, let us look for those resources that WILL come in a myriad of ways. Hang on because He’s created a world of BALANCE for us, regardless of how the turmoil makes us feel topsy turvy and out of alignment. We can count on that principle too. For all the bad, He will restore things with His good. We have a wonderful, beautiful God of Love, who will provide all we need, that we can walk with if we choose to. May we always choose to and receive and trust what He has prepared and allows for us. He is always GOOD so his processes will lead to good even if we can’t see it. THAT is VICTORY.“The Lord is Good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him.” Lamentations 3:22-25Believe it. Trust it. He’s got us.Love you SO…Poppa B.
- Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4Hello God’s Beloveds,It is sometimes hard to rejoice when we have lost someone or some thing that we dearly love, but we must remember to “rejoice in the Lord always.”That sounds ridiculous and even blasphemous in the face of our pain. But rejoicing in the Lord is yet another term for trusting Him. Trusting the outcome.Because for all that we don’t know or comprehend in the face of loss, what we can know for sure is that He is always GOOD. He is always LOVE. He always carries our best “end” within his unfathomable heart for us. No matter what we are going through, He can turn it for our good. Yes, it may take time. Excruciating time. But if you’ve ever experienced the joy that comes on the other side of a great trial or pain that has been survived… existed in those priceless moments where we are actually aware of how our pain has led us to some wonderful place we’ve arrived in… then we can look back on those moments and trust the same outcome for our current pain. That is what we can rejoice in regardless of what may be going on that we do not understand.He said, “Weeping may endure for a night, but JOY comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) He is ALWAYS there for us. In our sleep. In our pain. In our joy. In our “morning.” While we’re in pain, we can cling to those moments that we have known this without question. And if that hasn’t been your experience, ask our Father to reveal His presence to you so that you can feel what I’m describing here.I love this beautiful word from The Word which says, “Do not worry about anything. Just always pray and ask God for everything you need; always giving thanks. And God’s peace which is so great we cannot understand it, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)We have lost a couple of God’s Best recently. Many people are “losing” in these strange days. We grieve over that. It’s hard to be “thankful” but, again, that simply implies trust. Because life goes on and so must we. If we’re still here, we have purpose. Our Lord of Love will help us with whatever we have to do. Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) When we are weak, we can lean into His power. Our pain creates opportunity for Him to show us who He is and how He can turn that pain for whatever it is meant for. Let us acknowledge our weakness in the flesh, know that He understands it, and attempt to walk in trust with the perfection of Christ in our spirit. He said for us to remember, that “When I am weak in my flesh, I am strong in the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)Pain feels like weakness but it isn’t. It’s a temporary part of this human experience that serves our overall shaping but He’s got us.May we always remember the battle is the Lord’s. When we pray, for anything, give it all to Him and trust the outcome. He is always there for us to do the things we cannot do on our own. He loves us so completely. He is with us. He is the answer to our needs. We are always totally safe with him. He will keep us from sinking.Let us assist by helping each other through the traumas of the day, whatever those may be.Blessings and love to you and all of yours.Poppa B.
- When Things Don’t Go as We Hoped …
Hello my Friends,💚Last week I asked you to pray for my very good friend, Tim Hoover. This week, I am very sad to say we have lost another fine gentleman to COVID. I am SO thankful for all of your prayers. Most of you did not know him, but because I asked you to, you prayed for his recovery just the same. THANK YOU. That comforted me and, I’m sure, comforts his family, as we begin the process of adapting to life without this special man among us. There were so many that lifted Tim to our Father but the answer was “no.” The story of David and the way he begged for the life of one of his children comes to mind. God’s answer was the same there and The Word speaks of a broken hearted David making himself go on. As we will have to. As so many throughout the world are having to do in the aftermath of this terrible disease once it touches their lives and they lose so much. It’s incredibly hard to understand but, still, we must trust in God’s divine plan. For all we do NOT understand, what we can know for certain is that our sovereign God is in control. Even when it hurts to unimaginable degrees. This pain is acute but He promises it is temporary. That is not necessarily consolation when we are in the midst of such profound loss but it is TRUTH we can cling to as we reach for an anchor in our desperation and grief.We don’t know when it is our time or anyone else’s to leave this life but it is always sad – whenever it is. In this particular case, we have a man that was wonderful and full of life. But it was time for him to go Home. The Word also says that our God of Love prepares this time for us before we come to live this life. That we each have a number of days allotted. It is so important that we remember that each of those days is to be lived, every day, the best way we can with Him and in Him. Some days that is far from easy to do. But we know, even in the midst of our pain, that God loves us, holds us and cries with us in our losses. Remember when Jesus wept with Lazarus’ siblings? Even knowing their pain wouldn’t last long, He knew what they felt right then and it grieved Him. He knew they didn’t understand. Our pain grieves our Father.But let us always remember these words from Philippians 2:13 where He said, “For it is God who works in you to will and act according to His Good Purpose.” Our God of Love has a a Good Purpose for our lives, and in ALL things that happen. We do not understand those things that hurt us here but we must find a way to trust them. We must trust Him and never forget He Loves us – as hard as that is to do at such times. When we get Home ourselves, our God will explain. Our pain will end and we will see purpose we cannot right now.For any Magnolia folks that are interested, Tim’s service is to be on Saturday. It is at 10 A.M. in East Texas at the Shiloh Cemetery. This is at the corner of CR 3131 and Hwy 315 near Mount Enterprise, TX. Memories will be shared at Shiloh Baptist Church, right next to the Cemetery. All are invited and welcome to come celebrate Tim’s life.I love each of you, dearly. Always remember how short this life is. Always remember the Lord works in each of us for a Good Purpose. Take care of one another throughout the trials of life. Let us give ourselves in service to Him now, when so many need us, and trust Him to bring everything together for all of those in our lives.Poppa B.Continue reading →
- “God has highly exalted Him, and given Him the name which is above every name.” Philippians 2:9
Dear Ones,Today, I’d like to simply request that each of you take a moment to offer a prayer for another very Dear One in need. As many of you know, a close friend, Tim Hoover, who was a Leader with Magnolia for a period of time, is in the hospital with COVID. He has been there several days and is not improving. We received a note this morning from his family that says: “Urgent, urgent prayer request: Tim’s CO2 levels are dangerously high. Like stop your heart high. Like I had to say whether or not to give him CPR if that happened. Today is almost like a make or break, according to the Dr. Please stop and pray with me…I am not ready to give Tim up, but I also want the very best for him. My heart is breaking. For him. For us.”As most of you know we just lost a very dear friend to COVID in the last couple of weeks who was previously with Magnolia as well. May this not be the case here. So many have faced the loss of loved ones during this dark time. We cannot control the pandemic but we can point our hearts and healing energy towards those whose stories cross our path. I sincerely ask for your prayers for Tim and his precious family.We know the answer to our every need is in our Christ Jesus. As we pray to Him, let us remember these words:“Therefore God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)There is unimaginable power in that name because He has conquered all things. Including this pestilence. He is Lord. Let us trust Him for our every need. Let us trust Him completely. He loves us so. Let us remember that when our journey takes frightening turns, He always does the right thing for us.My heart is with each of you and I am praying for you all. No matter what the circumstance may be. Our Lord loves each of you. He will never leave you, or forsake you. Trust Him completely.Poppa B
- “The Golden Rule” – Matthew 7:12
Hello my FriendsAs we, as a country, withdraw from a country that we have been in for 20 years protecting and providing troops, weapons, and safety to, our hearts are heavy at all the chaos that is unfolding and for those so terribly frightened they may be left behind, both Americans and nationals who have called Afghanistan home. How sad. How tragic.Today it saddens me especially that, as a species, we have not learned to live under the “Golden Rule”, which says:“In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”These simple words form the basis for ALL morality.Continue reading →This was told to us by Christ Jesus himself. It is a simple and beautiful thing to remember, but even more important to actually live the principle as we walk with one another on this earthly journey.As so many in Afghanistan face the potential loss of freedoms gained, their dignities, and the very real threat of death, we see that Galatians 5:13 – 14 repeats the all important “Golden Rule” and reminds us what we who can still exercise it are to use our freedom for: “For you, brethren, have been called for liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh; but through Love serve one another. For the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” As I’ve mentioned before, if The Word repeats something, pay attention. It’s important.These words state clearly we are to care for and serve one another.We may feel helpless in this situation occurring so far away but we know LOVE is the way. So, what can we do for our global neighbors in the face of this monumental turmoil? Research trustworthy organizations with brave boots on the ground “fighters” working to help those in need. We can help finance rescue and reorganization with our dollars. And we can pray. Pray every single day that those in need will be met with the love and support and protection they need.My prayer is that all of us attempt to meet this crisis by considering the depth of these words within our Golden Rule and not turn a blind eye to this hell on Earth. When Jesus’ Spirit went into the dark depths to free the captives He did it with the intention of restoring them. Everything He did was meant to serve as an example for us. I believe we dwell in the Spirit and It dwells in us. It so often moves and works through us. I would encourage you to pray and see what you and yours might be led to do to help those trapped inside this horrific problem. How we might aid Spirit in rescue and healing. The need is great.We are all one. This isn’t someone else’s problem. It belongs to us all.It is the hope and desire of Abba Father that ALL shall receive His amazing gift of Love. That we shall ALL accept the Golden Rule, and do unto others as we would have them do unto us. May we do what we can to bring this hope and desire of our Lord to ALL. This is the way.He loves us So.Poppa B.
- “Purpose in The Lord’s Supper”
Hello Loves,Observing The Lord’s Supper is something that has always been important to me but, in the last few years, I’ve come to appreciate it even more. I observe it in my home. Sometimes alone. Sometimes with my family. It’s become a huge part of my personal walk with God. I believe it is more than a ritual. I believe it fortifies us in body and spirit… which is why we were asked to continue the tradition.In the Book of Exodus, chapter 12, verses 1 through 28, we are told the origins of The Lord’s Supper. According to some of His disciples, the event coincided with Passover, a time that celebrated the Jews exodus from slavery in Egypt. When God’s pestilence “passed over” those whose homes were marked with the blood of sacrificial lambs. I do not doubt that time frame as God is big on symbolism and this time Jesus spent with his closest followers preceded the sacrifice He would make of Himself so that we might have the ability to exit the slavery of sin and move into the freedom that is ours in Christ.The Word explains how the lambs sacrificed during Passover paralleled Jesus in this manner:1. The Lamb had to be without blemish (our Lord’s public life proved His unblemished Holiness);2. The Lamb had to be killed;3. The blood had to be applied;4. The blood constituted a perfect protection from judgment;5. The body of The Lamb had to be feasted on.Afterwards, God’s chosen were saved from death. To observe the feast was a duty and privilege that literally saved those that partook of it. The Word says the believer is served by the blood of the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world, and is strengthened by “feasting on the living Christ.”Observance of the Lord’s Supper is a beautiful thing. Consider its potential importance if our Lord performed it on the last night He was among mankind before He was crucified.The Word says: “When the hour came, Jesus and His Apostles reclined at the table. And He said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.’ After taking the cup, He gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body given for you, do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way, after the supper, He took the cup saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.'” Luke 22:14-20The Lord’s Supper was instituted in those moments. Yet another example for us to follow. For a purpose.Some Christians celebrate His Supper weekly, some monthly, and some quarterly. I prefer to celebrate it daily. For me, there is nothing like starting the day with the Lord being put first. I realize it is the Lord’s Supper, but having a meal with Him anytime is wonderful! This is a beautiful way to begin the day, and certainly you can celebrate this with Him as often as you would like. Or as often as He moves you to do so. The key is to always keep Him and what He did for us in mind when we do. In simplest terms, we are strengthened to endure all that life hands us when we acknowledge the sacrifice He made of His body for us. The victory Love brought to us all in doing so. This is putting Him first in our lives.I love you dearly, Beloveds of God. May you be blessed greatly every time you enjoy this time of thanksgiving with our Lord of Love.Poppa B.Continue reading →
- “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new Creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Hello, Beloveds of the God of Love.How wonderful it is to know who you are. So many people are lost because they simply do not know who they really are, or what could be theirs. They do things that hurt themselves, and hurt those they are connected to. When we accept Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior, and mean it, we get to find out who we are. We become a new Creation, and we know it.My own experience was profound and I’d like to share it with you again. When I accepted Christ, I had no idea I was going to. I went to Church that day with my wife and daughter to join it, but little did I know what would happen. I only went because my wife asked me to because she wanted our young child to hear about Jesus. I thought joining the church would be good for business. We had just moved to Temple from Arlington a couple of months prior to that for me to manage the Firestone Store there and I saw “the church,” whose message I had no real use for, as a way into the local community. The surprise was on me when it turned out the Lord used our life circumstances to place me there to hear the Good News for the first time in a long time… and to give me a chance to say “Yes” to Him again.I’d made a profession of faith when I was 14, but let the men of the Baptist Church in the small town where I first said “yes” to Christ, drive me away. They would come into the Service Station where I worked, use profanity, and tell stories that a boy wanting to understand Jesus should not hear. My family weren’t church goers. I’d found God when I was invited to a Revival by someone who felt I needed Christ. I did but Ieft the Church almost immediately, thinking it was a non-real entity because of the hypocrisy my impressionable young self had witnessed.I was 29 that day in the Temple Church. It was the first time in 15 years I’d been back in any Church except to attend a funeral, or “visit” for some other reason. I never changed my mind that it wasn’t for me. But the day “circumstance” led me to another pew, as that Pastor preached the Good News, I heard him. I believed what he said. He’d visited us in our home before and knew where I was with my belief. There is no doubt in my heart he preached the message for me that day.We only went to join this good man’s Church as far as my wife knew. She was raised Methodist and knew she’d have to be baptized officially into the Baptist congregation, but she was ready to do that for our little Sweetheart Girl. So as we went forward that day at the invitation to join the Church, she didn’t know I was ready to give my life to our Lord, and, honestly, neither did I. When the Pastor asked “how we were coming,” she told him her story and, when he asked me, I intended to simply tell him I was coming to move my letter but, as I started to speak the words that came out of my mouth were, “I come to receive Christ as my Lord and Savior.”I started to cry, then sat down and cried until the Service was over. That cry was wonderful. A literal shedding of the old me. I knew I wanted Christ in my life. I asked Him to be my Savior and genuinely gave my heart to Him forever. He became my Lord in those moments. My life with Him started right then and I could feel the beginning of the new Creation He would make of me. The old was gone by the time I walked out of that church. The new has been evolving every day since. That is an ongoing process for us all. I love Him dearly and He loves me. I am His child. As are you. That is our identity. We are children of the Most High God. Take time to consider that and all that it implies.May an experience this powerful be so for each of you, blessed Friends. May we all come to realize who we are. I love you Dearly. So does He.Poppa B.Continue reading →
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