Articles

Articles

A Prayer and a Psalm

A Prayer and Psalm

By Steve Melton (December 21, 2020)

 

I enter Your throne room in prayer,

Before Your presence I bow.

I know You answer my request,

But, I often wonder how.

 

I want to be holy as You are holy,

Your divine nature I want to partake.

I strive to walk in Christ’s light,

The path of darkness I will forsake.

 

May I have a spirit of meekness.

Teach me to always be humble.

Help me fight against pride.

Strengthen me that I will not stumble.

 

The chill in the air this day,

Contrast the warmth of love in my heart.

You have made my spirit glow,

From the blessings that You impart.

 

May I be a blessing to others,

As You have richly blessed me.

With others share the gospel of Jesus,

That their souls may be free.

 

Our nation has become divided,

Evil has become very bold.

Give me patience to wait,

For Your will and plan to unfold.

 

Grant my life wisdom and peace,

Along with a little mirth.

May Your will start with me,

Then spread to the rest of the earth.

 

We Did Not Lose Heart

By Krystal Dunlap

            Though it has been a difficult year, we did not lose heart. We were afflicted in many ways, but not crushed. We were perplexed by the world around us, but not driven to despair, We were persecuted in almost unbelievable ways, but not forsaken by one another nor God. We were struck down throughout the year, but not destroyed.

            However, we have been blessed far more abundantly than all we could ask or think. Many of us have been given so many riches by God during this time, strengthening us through His power. The breadth and length and height and depth of His love for us goes beyond our comprehension.

            Through the grace of God, we have made it through the weight and light of 2020. Please take a moment to consider both the afflictions and the gifts that this year has brought. Hopefully, this reflection will remind us that God is able to bless us abundantly in all times so that we will always have everything we need. (Adaptations from 2Corinthians 4:8-9; Ephesians 3:18, 20; 2Corinthians 9:8)

Changing Myself for the Better Regardless of What Happens to Me

By Paul R. Blake

Secular author Albert Ellis in Guide to Rational Living wrote that there are four parts to any action we engage:

            a) The event or circumstance (It is beyond our control),

            b) The self-talk (It is what we say to ourselves about it),

            c) The emotional response (It is what we feel about what we say),

            d) The action (c & d are determined by b). If we can say something healthy, helpful, or peaceable in b, then our feelings and actions will also be healthy, helpful, and peaceable in c & d.

Let me illustrate it with Road Rage.

            a) Event - A driver thoughtlessly cuts us off in traffic; we narrowly avoid a crash.

            b) Self-talk - We say, “What a selfish idiot; he tried to kill me!”

            c) Emotion - We are angry, we hate the driver, and we want revenge.

            d) Action - We either act out against him, or take it out on others.

Or we can try to go in a different direction (no pun intended): Road Reasonable.

            a) Event - A driver thoughtlessly cuts us off in traffic; we narrowly avoid a crash.

            b) Self-talk - We say, “I’m thankful there wasn’t an accident!”

            c) Emotion - We feel relief and thankfulness.

            d) Action - The adrenaline surge passes; we go on with our day without harmful incident.

Would this work in other matters? Consider: Brother Brush-off at church services.

            a) Event - Brother enters grouchy and brashly ignores my greeting.

            b) Self-talk - “What is his problem?! Who does he think he is?! What did I do to offend him?!”

            c) Emotion - I feel upset, hurt, paranoid, and vengeful.

            d) Action - I treat him the same way next time, erecting a wall against healthy communication.

Try the following instead: Be brother Bear-with at church services.

            a) Event - Brother enters grouchy and brashly ignores my greeting.

            b) Self-talk - “He must be having a bad day. I wonder if someone close to him is ill.”

            c) Emotion - My feelings are empathy, compassion, and concern.

            d) Action - I offer an encouraging word and to help him.

How is the world changed by this approach?

            a) I remain at peace with myself, my brother, and my God.

            b) My grumpy brother gets good treatment that has the potential to change his own outlook.

            c) Witnesses are edified and encouraged to do the same.

            d) Brotherly love and unity are strengthened.

This approach is Bible based. There are three clear Bible principles of reciprocity or repaying others:

            a) The First Principle of Biblical Reciprocity: repay good with good (2Cor. 6:11-13).

            b) The Second Principle of Biblical Reciprocity: repay evil with good (Rom. 12:17-21).

            c) The Third Principle of Biblical Reciprocity: love requires that all of our responses be good, regardless of the initial action or treatment (1Cor. 13:3-7).

Test Your Bible Knowledge of the Works of Apostle Paul’s Companions

1. What did Priscilla and Aquila do for Paul and the church? __________

2. What was the occupation of Erastus? __________

3. How did Tertius help the apostle Paul? __________

4. What service did Phoebe perform? __________

5. How did Gaius help the church and the apostle Paul? __________

6. In what four ways did Epaphroditus help Paul and the church at Philippi? ______, ______, ______. ______

Upcoming Sermons

12/27/20 AM - Guest Speaker - Jesse Flowers; PM - Dealing with Impossible People, Conclusion

1/3/21     AM - Resolutions of the Apostle Peter; PM - Singing Service: Congregational Choice

1/10/21   AM - Testing for True Friends; PM - Isaiah: Prophet of Redemption

1/17/21   AM - As We Have Received Mercy…; PM - …Let Us Be Merciful

1/24/21   AM - John’s Demons and Jesus’ Sinful Friends; PM - Elijah: A Preacher on the Run

1/31/21   AM - “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord”; PM - Guest Speaker: Doug Sanders

 

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