Weekly Writings

No Adulting

By Alice Holt

October 26, 2020

I laugh to myself a little each time I see a t-shirt or meme that says “I can’t adult today”. On some days I want to say, “I feel ya!” but on other days I wonder, what would we focus on if we didn’t adult today? To not adult means we become a child again. Do we then turn into self-centered, impatient beings? No, that can’t be it because we do that pretty well in our adulting. Do we go back to soaking in life and learning who we are to be? I could only hope that would be it.


My brother and I were raised by parents and grandparents who taught us to learn how to live in this world by having Jesus as our foundation. They didn’t do it perfectly but they did their best to live out Jesus in the way they worked and the way they played. They grew in Jesus by gathering with others in our little country church. They worked daily to set the example for us in how to truly live by making sure we learned foundational truths in the Bible.


Let’s not adult today. Instead we’ll go back to Sunday School or Vacation Bible School and see if we remember a few things.

Do you remember the Fruit of the Spirit? Can you say them in your head before you read them here? Just a hint, there are nine.

“And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” 

Galatians 5:22-23



How about the Armor of God? Can you say all of the pieces of armor without looking?

“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”

Ephesians 6:14-17


Try this one, do you remember the Love Chapter? Could you find it in the Bible even if you can’t say it all by memory? Don’t peek!

“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 in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

I Corinthians 13:4-7


Lastly, the verse every kid in Sunday School wants to have memorized: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” 

John 3:16


I think God placed me in Children’s Ministry to keep me humble and reminded of how dependent I must stay on Him to make it through life. Life is hard! I need help every single day to handle what is going on in the world. I know the days I have not put on my armor - or I put it on the way I wanted to wear it instead of how it should be worn - life did not go well. Some days my fruit looks more like it belongs in the compost pile than a beautiful offering. And to love as love is described in Scripture? Ugh.


Since we’re not adulting let’s be a child again in the arms of God. (TRUE PAUSE FROM ADULTING INSERTED HERE) Accept His love that is patient with your every weakness, every stupid or hateful comment, every selfish act, every negative thought. Remember that He loves the whole world which includes you and those that aren’t doing the things you think they should. Sit humbly in His arms and dwell in the presence of the Creator that sent His Son to die for you despite all of your weaknesses. Accept His forgiveness. Look around and find you are not alone in facing this world. Fill yourself being strengthened by His love for you and when you can’t stand anymore, stand firm and put on your armor He has given you. Armor that you did not earn nor will ever earn but was freely given to you. Now keep growing and go out and share the fruit that is produced by spending time with the good Father. And in all things love. In All Things Love!


Zeal Without True Knowledge

By Skyler Smith

October 21, 2020

What can you be zealous for? Well, you can be zealous for anything. Over the last year I can think of a couple things I have shown a lot of zeal for. For the past two years I was a river guide on the Nantahala river in North Carolina. If you know anything about river guide culture, it's that every river guide thinks they are the best. This attitude often got me and my dear friend Mark in trouble; we would constantly strive to one-up each other. This turned into a competitive battle of who could do the best gainer, who would hit the big rapids in the craziest way, and ultimately who was more fun as a guide. One day Mark tried a stunt where he gets out of the boat and jumps back in without any of his students noticing. The problem arose when Mark jumped out his boat and slipped. Quickly leaping up from the rock, he managed to jump back into his boat without students noticing. Mark steered his boat over to me and held his wrist up; protruding from his wrist were two new bumps that were not there before his stunt. After our trip I took Mark to the Emergency Room and found out the obvious - his wrist was broken. On the road back to camp we talked about how we had become overzealous to the point of sacrificing safety. To put it simply, we had a lot of zeal but little knowledge. What is the way to balance zeal in our lives?


Zeal Without True Knowledge


Romans 10:1-4

1Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.


In the beginning of Romans 10 Paul shows us how the Jewish people have misdirected their zeal. We can see through verse 1 he addresses the believers in Rome, and that he longs for God to save the Jewish people. Keep in mind who Paul was. As Saul, he had been zealous in his persecution of the church (Philippians 3:6). Paul knew the zeal of the Jewish people because of his high status in the culture (Philippians 3:4). We can see where the zeal of the Jewish people is skewed in the second half of verse 2 and into verse 3. They have an abundance of zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. What knowledge are they missing? Looking back at chapter 9 verses 30-32, the Jews tried to use the law to establish their own righteousness based on their merit or works, forgetting that it has always been faith in God that paves the way for salvation (Galatians 3). Ultimately, and to their devastation, they missed the biggest truth of all. The fulfillment of God’s promises, and the keeping of his law. Verse 4 sums it up perfectly, Jesus is the end of the law, the final sacrifice, through faith in him we are counted as righteous.


Application


We have to be cautious not to lean too heavily towards being emotion driven or being strictly based on knowledge. If our faith is strictly fixed on emotion, then we will constantly be chasing the next experience to keep us going. The problem is there will not always be that next experience, or what about when tragedy strikes? People who are emotionally driven have built their foundation on sand; when life begins to get hard, they often walk away from God all together. On the other hand, people can seek to know all the book knowledge of God, yet never really know God. It’s vital we often remind ourselves the word of God is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). The Gospel should overflow through our actions, words, and prayers. The way to look at it is this, as we grow in knowledge our zeal should grow alongside it. As we grow in our zeal it should be guided by the truths God teaches us through scripture. Zeal unguided by truth will have us swept up into any wind of doctrine.


I Surrender All

By Scott Eaton

October 5, 2020

As a young boy growing up, I used to enjoy wrestling with my brother and friends in our basement.  When one would get the other in a position like a head-lock or scissor hold, the question was asked “Do you give”?  If the opponent shouted “Give!”, the match was over.  Obviously, to “give” meant to give up or surrender. 

 

Often times we sing the old hymn “I Surrender All” without really thinking of what it truly means to surrender everything to our Lord and Savior.  We might sing “I surrender all,” but in our hearts we might be thinking “I surrender some!”

 

Judson Van DeVenter was a teacher of art in a public school.  He also played several musical instruments and enjoyed singing and composing music.  He was involved in the music ministry in the church he attended.

After struggling with God’s call on his life, he became torn between continuing his career as a teacher or leaving and going full-time into evangelism.  Many of his friends encouraged him to do the latter.  As time went on, Judson learned to “surrender his all.”  As a result, God put these words in his heart and a song was born:

 

All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give;

I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live.

I surrender all, I surrender all.

All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.

(I Surrender All -Text: Judson W. VanDeVenter / Music: Winfield S. Weeden)

 

If we are honest, we all struggle with total surrender.  We like to be in control.  Our culture says, Be your own master”.  But when we come to know Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we are no longer the master, He is.  Living a surrendered life results in a lasting peace and joy that the world around us can’t comprehend. 

 

Jesus said in Luke 14:33 “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”  In thinking of this verse, we need to be mindful of the fact that everything we have is from God and belongs to Him; our possessions, our family, our health, our abilities, our future, our country, our everything — I surrender all!

Hero of the Day

By Alice Holt

September 28, 2020

Our son loves a book series by Dav Pilkey that is comic book style. He loves it, of course, because of the 8-year-old boy humor, but he gets a bonus to the book by using a reading app on his iPad. On this app each book is read by a real person and for this series the author actually reads the books. As you can expect the author knows the characters better than anyone, so he adds the voices to depict the characters fully. I laugh a little to think what all of us would look like in a book like this. God, the author of our story, knows us better than anyone. If God were to write our story in a book for others to read, I wonder what voices and drawings He would use to describe us?


This year has been such a complex year! I can see the story of our lives having bizarre creatures growing from the drains in our houses and mutated animals devouring the city. All of us are standing by watching, not knowing what to do next. Some are sucked in by the creatures and others are trampled by the mutated animals. All are stunned and changed forever. Yet in the midst of this pandemonium is the Hero. The One who is always there to save the day. The Hero reminds all of the people they must use a special weapon He left for them long ago. Some have kept it sacred in their homes while others are unaware they needed any weapon. The creatures and mutated animals are devious and tricksters. They plant false weapons around the city to confuse the people from finding the true weapon from the Hero. Only those that already have this powerful weapon can help destroy all of the fake ones. It takes the entire town to rally around the Hero and help destroy all of the evil plans. In the end the Hero triumphs and all the people shout with celebration! The creatures and mutated animals are locked up forever, never to be seen or heard from again. The End.


Silly story I know, but it’s actually a true story that reflects our entire lives, not just this year. There is constantly an evil that stirs up around us trying to deceive and distract us from the One that saves us from all calamity. The evil wants us to be so distracted we forget we have a special weapon to fight off his schemes and devious actions. This special weapon is Jesus Christ. And we have everything we need to fight this battle through Him. He even gave us extra tools to use in our fight like prayer and the Bible.

No matter where you are today, no matter how your month has gone, or how your year has been, God the Savior of each day loves you and is fighting for you. He knows the plans of evil and as the author of all things He has the ending already written. He is not the author of fear, He is the author of victory. Don’t forget, He never said the fight would be easy, He said He would be present and fighting for us if only we believe.


Stop for a moment and thank God your story will end with victory because He is your Savior! Use the extra weapons He has given you through prayer and the Bible to strengthen you in your fight. Trust Him with your battle. If you don’t know God as Savior, stop right now and text or call someone that you feel does know God as Savior and find out how you too can know Him. Trust God wants to be your Savior of each day no matter what chaos surrounds you. Don’t sit in chaos and uncertainty; find victory!