Weekly Writings

God Knows

By Scott Eaton

May 22, 2020

On August 4th my wife Paige and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage together. Wow! I can’t believe how fast these years have flown by! I am so grateful to God for giving me such a Godly wife. God knew what each of us needed in a life partner and I know that HE put us together. 


Without a doubt, I have to say that no one knows me better than my wife. She knows my quirks, strengths, weaknesses, and the list goes on. Even though my wife knows me better than anyone on this earth, I know that God knows me best.


Psalm 139 is a great passage of scripture that lines out some very specific details of what God knows about each of us. Here are 5 points that I’d like to stress from this passage:

  1. God knows us and our every action. (Verses 1-2a) O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up.
  2. God knows how we use our time. (Verse 3) You scrutinize my path and my lying down and are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
  3. God knows our thoughts and our words before they are uttered. (Verses 2b,4) You understand my thoughts from afar. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it all.
  4. God knows us because He created us. (Verses 13-16) For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My frame was not hidden from You... In Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me...
  5.  God knows a prayerful heart. (Verses 23-24) Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.

I know that some of these points can be comforting, while others may be convicting. But please be reminded that God knows our needs as well as our hearts. His desire is

that we live pure lives that bring Him honor and glory.


I have a Maker

He formed my heart

Before even time began

My life was in his hands

He knows my name

He knows my every thought

He sees each tear that falls

And He hears me when I call

(He Knows My Name - Tommy Walker)


The Heart of the Matter

By Josh Moyers

May 15, 2020

Matthew 9:36-38

36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."


I am so thankful that we have brothers and sisters in Christ at FBC Ellijay that do not allow situations to prevent them from kingdom work. While it may not be a “church sponsored” event, I continually hear stories of how our church family is finding ways to serve our community and serve individuals. 


This passage always challenges me to see people the way Jesus saw people and to put the first thing first. It is very easy for us to get distracted with “sideline” thinking and understanding. Here, Jesus reminds us of what is important: to respond with compassion and to represent the Gospel. 


The Greek word for compassion reveals the meaning of having ones bowels yearn, to feel sympathy, and to be moved. It gives us the picture that this wasn’t simply a “Bless their heart” response like we might hear from our grandmother. Jesus was moved to compassion, sympathetically and empathetically involving himself to the point of possibly having a physical feeling of ache or angst. 


From here Jesus took the opportunity to teach his disciples what to do in this situation. 1. Pray. 2. Act. Jesus wasn’t seeing needs and just telling his disciples to pray about what they see and not do anything about it. Prayer leads to action and Jesus was saying pray for how you can personally get involved in the lives of the people you encounter. 


A few things stick out to me with this passage:


Jesus saw people in their point of need.

Jesus had compassion on them.

Jesus’ compassion led Him to teach others to pray and share the Gospel.


I pray this passage will guide our thoughts and actions in the days ahead to respond to others with compassion and to represent the Gospel of Jesus Christ. May we be bold and courageous in working the fields of evangelism and may God bless the work of our efforts to be fruitful for His Glory. 


Longing for God

By Tony Samples

May 8, 2020

Psalm 42:1-3

“As the deer pants for the flowing streams,

so my soul pants for You, O God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When shall I come and appear before God?”


These are the words of David as he is in exile away from his kingdom due to the Absalom rebellion. David is sleeping in a cave. At home, David would have had a comfortable place to sleep. He would have had servants to prepare and serve him food. There is a comfort in being in your own home that David does not have at this time. Of all of the luxuries of home that David could have listed and longed for, the one thing he misses the most and longs for the most is to be in the presence of God.


David paints a picture for us of the deer, possibly on the run from danger and desiring water to drink, pants for or longs for the flowing stream—the creek—the place to get a cool drink of water. And like that deer, David is so thirsty for the presence of God. Literally, when David prays “My soul thirsts for the living God” he is praying “When can I come face to face with God?” We find Daniel praying in chapter 9 and Daniel states “then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplication with fasting” (Daniel 9:3). When David said he longed to come face to face with God, what did he mean?


In the Old Testament, when we see David longing to come face to face with God or to see the face of God, he is using a phrase describing appearing before God in the sanctuary. It was in the temple, in the Holy of Holies, that the presence of God or the Shekinah glory of God dwelt. So, David is longing to get back to the temple, the sanctuary, the place where the presence of God dwelt and meet God once again face to face. Sprugeon said “debarred from public worship, David was heartsick. Ease he did not seek, honor he did not covet, but the enjoyment of communion with God as an urgent need of his soul; he viewed it nor merely as the sweetest of all luxuries but as an absolute necessity like water to a deer. His soul, his very self, his deepest life was insatiable for a sense of the divine presence.” None but spiritual men can sympathize with that thirst for the living God.


During this difficult time we as a nation and as a church have faced, one of the staples in our lives was suddenly gone: meeting together as the people of God for the purpose of worship to God. As God’s people we worship both individually and corporately. There ought to be a time set aside daily where we meet God in prayer and in His word for the purpose of personal worship to our Lord and to hear God speak to our heart. As God speaks to us day by day in that personal one on one time with our Savior, our hearts are prepared and ready when we meet together as a body of believers for corporate worship to magnify the name of our Great God.


Do you long for the presence of God? Do you have a thirst to come face to face with God? What does it mean to be thirsty to be face to face with God? The word thirst means “to yearn for something or someone, to desire, or to long for”. When we arise every morning do, we have a yearning for the presence of God? Is there a desire in our heart to know God in a greater way today? And when the time comes for us to reassemble in worship, will your desire be to gather to be in the presence of Holy God as God’s people to worship Him and to leave knowing Him in a greater way?


May we long for the presence of God in our lives individually and corporately. May we pray and seek the face of God and pray that God will reveal Himself to us.


In the Waiting

By Alice Holt

May 1, 2020

“In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3

 

We have wedding on our minds at our house. When I read Psalm 5:3, I think of our soon to be son-in-law. I can envision him as he waits for our daughter on their wedding day. As I envision it, he hasn’t seen her yet, but he has made his request know to her that he wants her as his bride and he knows she is coming. Then, after all of the details have been accomplished, she appears in radiance and beauty. Her radiance doesn’t come from external attributes but from the trust and love she has with her groom.

 

This took me to three different sides of God and us. First, God desires for us to commit to a relationship with Him; He waits with expectation for us. He has proven His great love for us through the giving of His son Jesus. He did this not because of anything we did or who we were but out of genuine unconditional love. As we learn who God is and what He has done for us we can acknowledge His truths, but we still have to choose to accept the truth for our own life. We must join with God in our journey through life in constant love and trust.

 

Secondly, we wait in expectation for God eternally. Our ultimate hope is a life in the presence of God. He has promised us through Jesus that one day He will return and this time we will join Him in heaven. We trust He will truly return so we wait in expectation just as our soon to be son-in-law waits for our daughter. We wait in expectation for God’s radiance to shine on us in His return.

 

Lastly, there is a side we seem to miss; we wait in expectation for God daily. Christians have a tendency to only talk about how they cannot wait for the return of Christ so all our suffering will be over. I’m ready too! However, we can’t miss that being a Christian doesn’t mean we only focus on our eternal life in heaven.  Our focus until then has to include waiting in expectation for Christ in each situation we are in every day. God doesn’t want us to bypass His work in our lives. If we miss allowing Him to be glorified through us, then we have failed at our job on earth.  Each day we should wake in a trust and belief that God is going to do something. Some days we will be facing trouble and some celebration, each day wait in expectation for God.

 

We wait in expectation for our daughter’s wedding day. We are waiting through uncertain times and ever-changing situations. It does not look as we had planned but we trust it will come. We have laid our request before God and wait in expectation to see what He will do to draw us closer to hHm and bring glory to Himself.

 

What do you need to lay before God? Lay it down and look up.

 

God is in Control Here

By Scott Eaton

April 24, 2020

Psalm 94:19 “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”


Ever since I can remember, I have always enjoyed visiting my grandparents. I didn’t have the luxury of living close to them, so visits were extra special. After Paige and I were married and we had our boys, we made trips to spend some time with them. On one of these trips I noticed on a mirror in their bathroom a piece of white tape with the phrase “God is in Control Here!!” On another trip guess what? Yup, it was still there! I don’t recall ever asking them anything about this, but I do remember thinking what a great truth to hold on to each and every day.


To be quite honest, most of us like to have at least some control in our lives. The older we become the more we realize that many things are beyond our control. Sure, we can control what we eat, watch, read, etc., but God is ultimately in control of all things. It’s when we don’t yield to God’s control that we become frustrated and restless. I recently read a statement that hit home with me: “I can rest in the fact that God is in control. Which means I can face things that are out of my control and not act out of control.” When things seem like they are spiraling out of control, we as believers need to yield and trust God no matter what.


But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.”   Exodus 14:13-14


We all can remember hearing about Moses and the people fleeing Pharaoh and his mighty army. When all looked hopeless, Moses reminded the people who was really in control. This was a journey of faith not only for the people of God, but for Moses as well.


Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.”   Exodus 14:15-16


God had already made a way for the deliverance of His people, but Moses paused for a moment to pray. It doesn’t say what he prayed. It could have been a silent prayer, but he was crying out to God. Was God displeased with Moses’ desire to pray? Nope. But He clearly says here that this was not a time to pray, but to move into action by calling the people forward. After which God would use Moses to divide the sea.


I must admit that too many times in my life I have not trusted in God’s control. Sometimes I want to take matters in my own hands instead of yielding to Him. Anybody else been there? There are times when God gives us direction in a certain area and we want to continue to pray about it. We must remember that when God gives direction we must launch out in faith. As my grandmother wrote, “God is in Control Here!”


God is in control

We believe that His children will not be forsaken

God is in control

We will choose to remember and never be shaken

There is no power above or beside Him, we know

God is in control

(Twila Paris)


Working Hard or Hardly Working

By Josh Moyers

April 17, 2020

If any of you are like me and my family, you hopefully have been enjoying the sunshine while we have it. My family has taken time the last couple weeks to do some yard work, which includes mowing the yard, spreading mulch, planting two trees, planting some herbs and so much more. There is something about being outside and getting your hands a little muddy and dirty.



Right after God made Adam, God told Adam that he would be responsible to work the garden. Ever since creation, man was told to work.


Genesis 2:15 - The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

After the creation account and right after the fall and entrance of sin into our world, God still commanded man to work the ground.


Genesis 3:17-19 - Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you,‘You shall not eat of it,’cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.


Adam and Eve and every human following them had the responsibility to work the ground, sweat, labor, and put forth effort to produce something, anything so that they could survive.


Ever since the fall, mankind has been working to produce things to survive. Some still farm, others work factory jobs, others are lawyers, doctors, nurses, or teachers. The point is, no one is exempt from work. It is a part of life. Even if a person is retired, there are still things to do which one would consider work. No one sits around all day eating Twinkies (or at least I hope not). 


There is one aspect of work that humans have tried, and to this day still try to produce and that is the work of salvation. We have attempted to work to earn our salvation, to do better, to be better, to pray hard enough, study the Bible enough, serve others enough. The reality is, all of our efforts fall way short of the finish line. 


In 1 Corinthians, Paul is addressing division in the church. People are commenting on how one church member follows Paul while another is stating that they follow Apollos. Paul quickly brings these conversations to a close by saying:


1 Corinthians 3:6-7 - I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.


He brought the conversation to a point by reminding the church family, and every reader, that God is the one who ultimately produces. We have a small part to play in sharing the Gospel with others and pointing people to Jesus. Yet ultimately, God is the Master Gardner who brings about new life and growth. We don’t have to work as if all depends on us. We simply have to trust the One who brings it all about.


Isaiah 42:5-9 - Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: 6  “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, 7  to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. 8  I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. 9  Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

A Child's Eye View

By Alice Holt

April 10, 2020

I love the simplicity of a child’s mind. A child sees what is real and most important. They see others without prejudices or differences. They see with their heart more than their head.

 

Matthew 18:1-6 are some of the most life changing verses to me; particularly verse 6.  

“The disciples ask Jesus, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ Jesus called a child to him and said ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believes in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.’” 


Jesus knew his self-centered disciples were over complicating things. He lovingly set them straight when he called to a child. Even the disciples knew infants and children are dependent on the basic necessities for life. Jesus was reminding them of this to get the focus back on their basic need; Him. How easily our focus strays just like the disciples. We twist life into something it is not meant to be and, in the process, completely miss the simple truths God has for each day. Even deeper, we cause someone else to miss those simple truths. So many times over the years I have heard volunteers at our church say, “I was shopping and that little girl from VBS came running up to me and gave me a big hug!” Each time I hear this I am so grateful for the leadership we have in our church but it also reminds me of Matthew 18:6. Our responsibility to these children is not just to be a certain person within the walls of the church but to be that same true follower of Christ outside of the church walls.  Also, it is incredibly important that we accurately share the Gospel. It terrifies me to think I have misled even one child and because of this their eternity is not with Christ.

 

Jesus was also making a point to teach the disciples, and us, to not overcomplicate the Gospel. A child or unbeliever does not need us to explain deep theology or the law of the Old Testament before they learn who Jesus is and what he has done for them. What we share must stay simple: God created all things and rules over all things. We have chosen to do things wrong yet God provided a rescue in Jesus.  Jesus died for us as a free gift of forgiveness of those things we do wrong and offers salvation from the penalty of death so that we can live a full life with him both here and eternally in heaven. The choice is up to us to receive this free gift of forgiveness and salvation.

 

Now that we are in this self-distancing phase, we may be susceptible to acting like the disciples and allowing our focus on Christ to stray and instead putting our focus on ourselves.  There are two main reasons why we cannot allow this to happen. First, we should keep our focus on Christ whether someone is watching or not watching. Is your relationship with Christ real or are you pretending to have a relationship with Christ to put on a good show for society? Second, our spouse and our children see whether or not we live in a relationship with Christ like we say we do. When the doors are closed and only family is home, we must still keep our focus on Christ. The same situation applies with our spouse and children as with the children that enter our church doors.  Our greatest influences are on the people within our house.

 

Spend each day watching for God’s love and faithfulness to unfold. However, you will need to put down your eye glasses of maturity and put on your glasses of childlike faith. The simplicity of a child’s mind is beautiful.  

Jesus Our Hope

By Scott Eaton

April 3, 2020

Psalm 146:5 How blessed is he whose hope is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.


In 2015 I had the opportunity to take a tour to the Holy Land with the Sons of Jubal. If you don't know, this is a men's choir group from the Georgia Baptist Mission Board for music guys like me. Our group toured throughout the area giving concerts, but we also took in sight-seeing trips along the way. On one particular day we took a boat trip on the Sea of Galilee from the town of Tiberius. The picture to the right was taken from the boat I was in. It was a beautiful day and the water was calm at the start of our trip. As we headed north toward Capernaum, the weather quickly changed. It wasn't a big storm, but enough to make us reflect a bit on how Jesus' disciples might have felt in Mark 4:35-41. I'm sure you know the story: Jesus and His disciples were in the boat going to the other side of the sea when a storm came up. Jesus was asleep at the back, waves were breaking over the side, the boat was filling up, and the disciples were stressing out! But Jesus calmed the storm and then asked the question, "Why were you afraid? Do you still have no faith?"


In the midst of our struggles and especially now, we can be assured that God is right there with us. We might have fear, but the more we keep our mind's attention and our heart's affection set on Him, the more we can experience His peace in the storm. In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus talked about two foundations: one built on rock and the other on sand. With Christ as our foundation, we can rest in Him and boldly say:


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.


When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace;

In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.


His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the whelming flood;

When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.


On Christ the solid Rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

A Prayer for Those Who Don't

Know How to Pray

By Josh Moyers

March 27, 2020

There are times when I don’t know what to pray or how to pray, and I believe I am in good company. The loss of a loved one, heart break, the fear of happenings around the world, the fear of the unknown, financial ruin, sickness and pain: all of these have the potential to put us in a place of emptiness and desperation mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

I’m sure many of you have spent time listening to the news to get the latest from FOX or CNN. Many of you have scoured FACEBOOK or other forms of social media to see what your friends are saying. We look for what others say are ways to stay healthy. We look for what others say what we should do in the midst of COVID-19. I wonder if we should at times, when we don’t know what to pray or how to pray, look at the prayers of those who have gone before us.

I believe it was J.I. Packer who wrote that a good Christian book is one that points the reader back to God’s Word. I agree with Packer and would add that a good Christian prayer is one that points the listener/reader back to God’s Word. May I recommend a prayer from a Puritan brother. May this prayer be one that encourages you and directs your attention to the goodness of God. May this prayer be one that ignites a desire to read God’s Word and may God speak to you clearly in your times of need.

___________________________________________________


“A MIDDAY PRAYER FOR PERSPECTIVE” - (Robert Parker 1564-1614)

Show me how to love the Word, that my bold love for you would increase. Remind me that the fashions of the world pass away, and their momentary glory will vanish into emptiness and nothing.

Draw my heart to you and set my mind on things that will last forever. Help me love you fiercely, and cleave to you with a perfect heart. May nothing here satisfy my soul.

Protect me through the rest of this day, that I may fall into no temptation, and no danger of soul or body, for the sake of Jesus Christ my blessed Redeemer. AMEN.

___________________________________________________


2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (ESV) - 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Romans 8:26-27 (NLT) - 26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers[a] in harmony with God’s own will. 

Heart Sanitizer

By Alice Holt

March 20, 2020

I have a funny story to share with you. For months now we have been telling both of our children, especially our little germ ball 8-year old, to make sure to wash your hands well, use hand sanitizer, don’t drink from the water fountain at school, use a tissue not the entire sleeve of your shirt, etc. Evidently our son’s schoolteacher has been emphasizing the need for germ eliminating as well. The last day of school pick up I was informed by said 8-year old that I needed to make sure I had all the “germ products” because everyone is working together to get rid of the germs in this virus. He then proceeded to list different items that went as follows, “We need wipes, room spray, hand sanitizer, new toothbrush and a Bible.”  When he finished his list, he asked me if I knew why the Bible was on the list. As a curious but cautious Mom would do, I asked him to tell me why.  “You know Mommy, we have germs on the outside and germs on the inside that make us sick. We also have germs that need Jesus. You know, like we talk about at church?” I inserted, “Sins.” He continued, “Yes, sins. That’s the bad stuff you do that makes you sick in your heart. That’s why we need the Bible because Jesus has the best hand sanitizer of all. But it’s not for your hands, it’s for your heart.” Although his statements weren’t quite accurate his point was well made.

 

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

 

Despite social changes throughout our world, one thing stays the same: many do not know Christ.  Our emphasis on sharing the gospel with others should not change because we can’t sit down with a cup of coffee together or meet together for corporate worship.

 

I pray we never lose the importance of person-to-person evangelism or fellowship, but during this time of social distancing ask God to show you how to make the best use of technology and/or social media as a means of sharing the Gospel.

 

God Rules

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

 

We Sinned

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

 

Jesus Gives

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”

 

We Respond

Romans 10:9-10 “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.”

 

God Provided

Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is God’s gift – not from works, so that no one can boast.”

 

Today I encourage you to make contact with those around you to make sure they have the greatest sanitizer of all. And ask them if they have some toilet paper I can use!