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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Teen Tuesday: Church Attendance

Church Attendance
Written by Nicholas Moragne

            Many have accepted the philosophy for themselves of attending church when convenient.  Although many believe this way, does that justify missing a church service? One of the most commonly asked questions in our day and age is “Why do we attend church?”  Church attendance is not just a “good suggestion,” it is God’s will for all believers. (Hebrews 10:25)
            The word “church” is commonly defined as a building used to worship God, but the definition goes much deeper than this. In the Bible, the word “church” comes from the Greek word “ecclesia”, which means a called out assembly. From this fact, we can conclude that the church is made up of the body of believers. (Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 5:22-32; 1 Peter 2:9)
            A question that may arise is, “What is the difference between a church function and a church service?” When attending a church function, there are many elements that are lacking such as: baptism, the Lord’s supper, and an offering. When we attend a church service these elements are all present at one time. (Titus 1:3; Ephesians 4:11) Attending church is very important, because God has a message from the man of God and if we don’t show up we are hindering God from speaking to us.
            There are many reasons why we should attend church and one of them is being able to express our love for Christ. One way we can show Christ that we love Him is by obeying Him. The Bible states in 1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” People obey authority figures out of fear or punishment, but God wants us to obey Him because we love Him.
            Another reason why we should go to church is that it keeps us accountable. There will be many times in our life where we will want to stray away from the things of God, but this is where a preacher, or a youth pastor plays a vital role, because they are able to point us in the right direction. It may be things we don’t want to hear, but correction is necessary for essential growth in Christ. The Bible states in Hebrews 13:17, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
            In conclusion, we have determined church is vitally important in our walk with God. The church is the place where we receive spiritual nourishment to help us throughout the week. God, the creator of the universe died for us, the least we can do is show up for church.

Monday's Message: Jesus Paid it All

Jesus Paid It All
       This hymn was written by Mrs. Hall during her pastor’s lengthy prayer, while she sat in the choir loft! The words were originally scribbled on the flyleaf of a hymnal.
       She bravely handed the words to her pastor. The wise pastor, instead of scolding her, put it to music, using another member’s music also given to him.
       The pastor had noticed that the melody and the words fitted perfectly.

Jesus Paid it All

(1) I hear the Savior say,
"Thy strength indeed is small!
Child of weakness watch and pray,
Find in me thine all in all."
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain-
He washed it white as snow.
(2) For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim-
I will wash my garment white
In the blood of Calvary's Lamb.
(3) And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
"Jesus died my soul to save,"
My lips shall still repeat.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Family Friday: Answering Tough Questions

Answering Tough Questions
                Children love to ask questions!  If you have been around children for any length of time, you have experienced their love of questions.  Sometimes their questions are cute or even laughable, but some of their questions are just hard to answer.  Questions will come up about topics that may embarrass or puzzle you, especially as your children grow older.  These are a few tips to help you cope with those tough questions that are coming!
·          Give simple answers.  The key to the answer sometimes lies in the age and maturity of the one asking the question.  When your child asks a question, answer only what they have asked; this may keep you from starting a discussion that your child is not mature enough to have.
·         Do not lie.  If you do not know the answer, do not make something up.  Making up an answer may satisfy a younger child for a little while, but eventually he will find out that you lied.  That may lead him to question whether you tell him the truth at other times.
·         Take him seriously.  Children do not like to be laughed at, even if the question is amusing.  Do not ignore questions, but do not feel obligated to answer every one.  When children ask questions about our personal life or other areas that really are not any of their business, it is okay to say, “You don’t need to know that right now.”
·         Postpone the answer if you need to do so.  Questions do not have to be answered immediately.  Sometimes you are not in the right place to have a discussion, sometimes there is not enough time and sometimes you need time to think about the question.  Let your child know that you heard his question and plan on answering it at a certain time.  This may not be what he wants to hear, but it will give him security to know that you hear his questions.
·         Take time to pray about answering certain questions.  God can give you the exact words and thoughts you need to explain and handle tough questions, but you need to ask Him for wisdom.  Also, pray for your children to understand the answer to the question.

Life is full of surprises.  Children are full of questions.  If you know some tough questions are coming soon, practice answering them by using some of these tips.  If your children are anything like mine, then your life will never be dull!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thoughtful Thursday: Joan's Story

Written by Joan Boritzki-Bettinger
After just losing our second child to miscarriage since getting married May 30, 2015, God has given us a powerful strength and peace within that we have never experienced before. It feels like a deep well and the Comforter keeps drawing from it and putting the cup to our lips to drink. While we are sad and know some hard days are still to come, we are trusting in God because His plan for us has far surpassed any hope or dream we ever had for ourselves.
My heart spilled out this poem last night when sleep would not come...
That precious life You loaned us, 
For just a short sweet while 
Brought our hearts such happiness and filled us with a smile. 
You heard us daily pray for baby's 
Body mind and soul
You heard us say "we dedicate this child to You, Lord".
Then You'd hear us laugh and talk and dream of one day meeting 
That miracle You loaned us,
For just a short sweet while.
We thought that we were ready,
This little child to have 
But in Your will was planned for us 
A slightly different path.
So You gave us strength to stand 
And bravely bear this trial 
And promised that Your best for us has not yet been revealed.
So thank You, Lord, for loving us and we know all the while
We'll meet You and that precious life
In just a short sweet while.
Trust is something that has never come easy for me. As a matter of fact, I'm a suspicious person by nature. But God, in His great love, is teaching me that love conquers all. And gaining back my trust began with Him. He is the great Teacher and the Changer of lives. He proves Himself over and over again, so trust in Him, lean on Him and love Him. 
God bless you and draw you close to Him.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

We Pray Wednesday: A Teenager's Prayer

Written by Jolene Sloan
A specific time in my life that I remember praying earnestly for something and seeing God provide was when I was just a teenager.  God used this instance to show me that, even as a 16-year-old, I could reach the throne of grace through the simple act of prayer and fasting.
My youth director, Bro. Robert A. Ross, had taken a missions trip to the country of Ukraine with a group of teenagers from my youth department the previous summer.  As I listened to his stories and the stories of those who went on the trip, I had a strong yearning to be on that plane the next time he went!  I talked to him about my desire to go, and he recommended that I write letters to pastors asking for their help to sponsor me.  You see, I was a bus kid who lived with her grandmother, and my grandmother's income was not even enough to provide our basic needs most of the time.  She got a lot of outside financial help from compassionate people, and the Lord worked many miracles to keep food on the table of this dear lady who was rearing several of her grandchildren.  We just did not have extra money for something as “unnecessary” as an overseas trip.
I was a hard-worker and did as much as I could on my own to chip away at the price of the airplane ticket.  However, as the weeks passed and the departure date grew closer, I came to realize that everything I had done just would not be enough to get me on that mission’s trip.  I had never tried fasting for something before, and I knew that this was as good as a time as any to try it out.  With my grandmother’s permission, I began fasting and used meal times to go to my bedroom to pour out my heart to the Lord about my desire to go to Ukraine that upcoming summer of 1995.
God worked a miracle and provided me with just the amount of money that I needed to buy that airplane ticket.  The money came in the form of an unexpected check for my grandmother that she unselfishly gave me.  But, more than that check, God provided me with an opportunity to see Him answer the prayers of a 16-year-old who wanted to serve Him with all of her heart.  Looking back, I am thankful that I was driven to my knees to see God provide, because that was just the tool I needed a few years later when God actually sent me to Ukraine as a missionary’s wife!  I needed to learn the power of prayer and fasting, and I needed to know that God truly does care about our needs and desires.  

{This is a picture of me holding my daughter, surrounding by some Ukrainian friends I met on my first trip to Ukraine. 
This is 14 years after that trip in 1995!}

How thankful I am that God answers the prayers of adults, teenagers, and children too!
1 John 5:14-15 "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:  And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."

Monday, May 15, 2017

Monday's Message: Trust and Obey

Trust and Obey   

The music for this song was composed by D. B. Towner, the first director of music at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. 
       The inspiration for the hymn’s writing came in 1886 during and occasion when Towner was leading singing for D. L. Moody in Brockton, Massachusetts.  In a testimony service, he heard a young man say, “I am not quite sure – but I am going to trust, and I am going to obey.”
       Towner jotted down the words and sent them to his friend J. H. Sammis, a Presbyterian minister, who developed the idea into a full hymn. 
       The refrain came first – it is a capsule version of the entire song – and the verse later.
       D. L. Moody said in one occasion:  “The blood (of Christ) alone makes us safe. The Word (of God) alone makes us sure.  Obedience (to God) makes us happy.”
—Cliff Barrows
Trust and Obey[1]

1           When we walk with the Lord
In the light of his Word,
What a glory be sheds on our way!
While we do his good will,
He abides with as still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Chorus  Trust and obey,
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey.
2           Not a shadow can rise,
Not a cloud in the skies,
But his smile quickly drives it away,-
Not a doubt nor a fear,
Not a sigh nor a tear
Can abide while we trust and obey.
3           Not a burden we bear,
Not a sorrow we share,
But our toil he doth richly repay;
Not a grief nor a loss,
Not a frown nor a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.
4           But we never can prove
The delights of his love
Until all on the altar we lay,
For the favor he shows,
And the joy be bestows
Are for all who will trust and obey.
5           Then in fellowship sweet
We will sit at his feet,
Or we’ll walk by his side in the way;
What be says we will do,
Where be Sends we will go,
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday's Message: I'd Rather Have Jesus

~I’d Rather Have Jesus (1)
     Forty years ago Bev Shea was attending the Bible School in Ottawa (Ontario) where I was teaching. He loved to sing. After more training in New York City he was given an audition at one of the radio stations and was offered a contract.
     He asked that he might sing Gospel songs. He was told that he might use one occasionally, but he would have to use the songs on the Hit Parade.
     What would he do? His mother was praying.
     On Saturday night she placed a poem on the piano. In the morning he composed a tune for it. One verse was:  “I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold: I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame; I’d rather be true to His holy Name!”
     Bev turned down the contract.
     A short time later he was offered a position with a Chicago radio station where he might use the Gospel songs he loved. While there he met Billy Graham.
     The rest of the story is well-known.
—R. Barclay Warren

I'd Rather Have Jesus

(1) I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold,
I'd rather be His than have riches untold;
I'd rather have Jesus than houses or lands,
I'd rather be led by His nail-pierced hand.
Than to be the king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin's dread sway;
I'd rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.
(2) I'd rather have Jesus than men's applause,
I'd rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I'd rather have Jesus than world-wide fame,
I'd rather be true to His holy name.
(3) He's fairer than liles of rarest bloom,
He's sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He's all that my hungering spirit needs,
I'd rather have Jesus and let Him lead.
~I’d Rather Have Jesus (2)
       When King George VI and the queen visited Washington, DC, a state dinner was given in their honor. Chief Whitefeather, an Indian, began the program by singing the British anthem. After the applause the chief sang, to the surprise of those present, the hymn whose opening words are, I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold!
       Later in the evening, the chief sat near the king and queen. Tactfully he asked the queen, Do you believe on Jesus? The queen replied graciously, He is the Possessor of my heart, and of my husband’s also! The king, smiling, added, I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold!

~I’d Rather Have Jesus (3)
       It was in the thirties. Business curves were still heading downward and there was rumor of a salary cut at the New York insurance office where twenty-two-year-old Beverly Shea was employed as a clerk. Possessor of a deep melodious voice, the young man was offered a radio contract and immediately saw opportunities for fame and possible riches in his regular appearance on a secular program.
       He had been pondering the matter for several days when he sat down to the piano early one Sunday morning to rehearse a hymn he was to sing in church that morning. As he played and sang his eyes fell on a piece of paper, on which was written:
I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold
I’d rather be His than have riches untold!
       The poem, by Mrs. Rhea Miller, had been placed where Beverly would see it by his mother, a minister’s wife, who knew of the offer her son was pondering. Above all, she wanted her son, a Christian, to become wholly consecrated to his service.
       As his eyes raced over the words, the sentences I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause and I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame struck his very heart. His fingers unconsciously left the tune he was rehearsing and began to find this melody which is today known to millions.
—Earl C. Willer

~I’d Rather Have Jesus (4)
       George Beverly Shea yielded his talents and his life to the service of Christ at a very early age. Because he realized that in this life only what is done for Christ is of any lasting value, his singing has been a blessing around the world.
       I wrote ‘I’d Rather Have Jesus’ in 1933, said Shea. As I sat one evening playing the piano, my mother brought to me a piece of paper on which was written a poem by Rhea Miller. She thought it to be a very wonderful poem and wanted me to read it. She then asked me to try my hand at writing a melody for it. I began to play as a melody came to me. I then sang and played for the first time ‘I’d Rather Have Jesus.’ 
       When the rich voice of George Beverly Shea is but a memory, many happy Christians will still be singing his song.