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Fearless

By Ryan Kelly –

Have you ever been afraid of something? Perhaps as a child you were afraid of a monster in your closet or afraid of a dark room. Maybe now you are afraid of losing a loved one, or afraid of losing a job or home. Fear is common in this world, but it shouldn’t be.

Fear is a key tool of Satan to place a wedge between believers and our Lord. Fear causes us to seek immediate relief, and often this does not involve the great faith that we are urged to have in God. Fear is evil, and we must reject it.

2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Our spirit is not designed to be afraid, but to be at peace as we have faith in the Lord.

In Isaiah 41:10, God tells us to “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

If the Lord of all creation tells us to place our faith in Him and not to fear or worry, then we need to listen. The fact is that life is hard and things go wrong. But these are not a surprise to God and He never lacks a plan fir us through these challenges. Although we may be anxious about the future, we should never fear anything. Because God is for us, so who can be against us?

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

I’m sure there are signs like this all over our nation, but I saw this one just outside Carson City, Nevada.  The sign warns of the possibility of bears crossing the road at this location.  Now for those of us who would rarely see such wildlife, the possibility of seeing bears is exciting, especially if you see them from inside your safe vehicle!

This sign, like others you see and others I’ve shared, is a warning.  We are warned that we might see bears.  A railroad crossing sign warns you that there might be a train.  A weather forecast like the one we had where I live warns that we might have some snow.

We might.  We might see a bear, but we drive on.  We might encounter a train, and yet we ride the road anyway.  We might have to stop along the way, but we drive while we can.  We might get some snow, but we don’t sit and wait for it.

Do you turn off the television because you might hear an ugly word?  Do you go to one store instead of another because of who you might see there?  Do you skip out on life because you might run into a problem along the way?  Are we missing out because we might have to face a difficulty?

May I encourage you to keep on keeping on?  Smile at someone today.  You might get one in return.  Visit a neighbor today.  You might drive down a road full of God’s precious scenery.  Go to church.  You might receive a blessing.  Get up off the couch.  You might feel better.  Live your life today.  You just might find out it’s a great day to be alive!

Don’t stress out just because something “might” happen.  Trust in the “might” and power of God to get you through!

Just a thought.

Weekly Inspiration – Rasically Blameless

By Ryan Kelly –

It seems that we now live in a nation that, through media and subsequently public opinion, we are now guilty until proven innocent. Although this is the opposite of how our legal system is supposed to work, it’s much easier to sell a story when you can paint an individual as guilty and tell a one sided story.

For many, this should be a scary reality. But for Christians abiding in God’s Word, we should have no worry about being seen as guilty when we are innocent. 1 Peter 2 shows how we will be seen as blameless in the eyes of others based on the history of our righteousness.

“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:11-12‬

When you are radically blameless, no one will be able to tell lies about you. In fact, Scripture says that they will even look foolish when they do tell lies about you, because your righteousness is so well known that no one against you will be seen as credible!

We serve an awesome God that will have His light shine from within you. Continue to follow close to our Lord, and He will protect you from all evil.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

Hey!  How are you?  A glorious new year has begun!  You read that correctly.  I said, “Hey!”  And almost immediately in my own mind I heard the response, “Hay is for horses!”

Two words with two spellings but the same pronunciation.  My photo shows several hay bales.  They are lined in preparation for the winter’s feeding of the cows and horses.  You see, the grass doesn’t grow as much (and certainly not as green) in the winter time.  But with the supplemental hay bales, the animals can still munch to their heart’s content.

As we begin this January, we certainly still face many challenges from the previous year and all that it entailed.  However, we can’t continue to live in the past year.  We must live today.  One thing I miss the most in today’s “socially distanced” world is our daily interactions (fellowship!) with one another.  I imagine that most of you feel the same.

So, I have a very simple challenge for each of us.  Practice saying “hey.”  That’s “hey,” not “hay.”  (he he, ha ha).  Every person you meet in your brief but necessary outings has the same longings as you — to be noticed, to be loved, to be acknowledged, to simply hear a friendly voice saying, “Hey, how are you today?”

If all I can say is “hey,” and all I manage to do is put a smile on someone’s masked face, then it has been a good day.

So, Hey, my friend!  You are loved and prayed for.  Thank you for sharing with others.  It WILL be a good year.

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

This little creek runs through the woods not terribly far from where my wife grew up.  Although it cuts through the pines for quite a distance, it never gets much wider than a little stream.  And, as you can see from the picture, it can be quite murky and rather nasty looking.  It’s just a dirty little creek in the woods.  It has no significance whatsoever.  Or does it?

For the occasional fox or deer that fill those woods, it provides a cool drink.  For the wild hog, it provides a muddy place to “root.”  For the bob cat or, yes, the rare black bear that comes roaming through, it provides a place to play and relax a bit.  For the hawks and many other birds, it provides a nice place for bathing and feather washing.

That dirty old neglected and overlooked stream to us is just the opposite for the forest creatures.  God provides.

As we wrap up yet another year and look forward to the next one, should the Good Lord see fit to bring it, I pray that you will remember those two words in that very simple phrase — “God provides.”

As murky, ugly, and cold as 2020 was for so many, it also provided the necessary means to continue on, to provide for our family, to meet our needs.  All because God provides.

Ever doubt those two words?  I know a place in the woods where you can take a stroll, see a dirty stream, and prayerfully change your mind.

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

I took this picture of what I’m calling God’s writing in the sky.  He left a giant exclamation point in the clouds.  Amidst the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season and the beginning of a brand new year, many of us have had several questions for God.  Some of those may have been doubts, but I’m not even talking about doubting the love, the wisdom, or the grace and mercy of God.  I’m referring to questions we can’t help but have right now, such as…

Lord, why did my best friend (neighbor, parent, grandparent, etc.) have to suffer through (and perhaps pass away from) this corona virus?

Lord, why have those we love been “quarantined” or simply shut away from and cut off from the only ones of us they still remember?

Lord, why does this thing keep going, and going, and going…?

Oh, Lord, why?

We ask those questions, and we may seem as if we get no answer.  Remembering that God operates upon God’s time schedule, not ours, we re-focus and take a deep breath, knowing that, just as the Scriptures remind us, all things (every thing, every disappointment, every struggle) will eventually work out to glorify the Father.  By coming through the year 2020, every single one of us will have something to add to our list of things we can witness and testify about to the goodness of God!  — Even if the only thing you can come up with is, “Thank God it’s over!”

But, in all of our thoughts, every one of them listed above ends with a question mark.  God ends His response to us, not with a question mark, but with a giant exclamation point!  He reminds us He is in charge!  He is still God!  Good will ALWAYS reign over evil!  Yes, an exclamation point just like the one I saw painted in these clouds!  An exclamation point!  “Sit still, My child!  Look to Me!  Question Me if you must, but learn to lean on Me!”

Look, listen, and learn as the Lord exclaims His love for His children!

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

Have you ever visited a lighthouse?  Have you ever climbed to the top of one?  The historic Tybee Island Lighthouse sights on Tybee Island, Georgia, the eastern terminus for U.S. Highway 80.  The island is filled with little shops and beach homes and condos.  And of course, the lighthouse still stands.  Once used to warn vessels at sea, the lighthouse can be visited as a tourist attraction now, along with the nearby museum.

On one such visit, I climbed to the top of the lighthouse.  One of the views I had from up there is the one you see here.  I was looking east over those homes to the Atlantic Ocean.  

The lighthouse is such a simple example of what the Christian is to be in this world.  Especially now, in this holiday season of one of the weirdest years many of us have yet to experience, we need to shine the light of Christ to warn others of the impending doom of continuing in the darkness.

Just as a keeper once made sure the lights were always operational atop that old lighthouse, we are to keep the light of Christ and of the Christmas season burning all year long.  Lives depend upon being able to see the light!  One of my late father-in-law’s favorite songs was one called “The Lighthouse”.  A southern gospel favorite, the song spoke about that old lighthouse that still stands up there on the hill.  

Stand strong.  Shine brightly.  Choose to make a lasting difference in the lives of those you meet this holiday season.

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

This photo is from a few years ago.  It was the spring that growing cats was easier than growing flowers.  You all remember that year, right?  Ha!  No matter what I did or what I set out in that planter, the cats invaded the space and claimed it as their own.

So many of you have struggled so very hard this year just to keep some sense of normalcy.  However, it seems that no matter how hard you’ve worked, how diligently you’ve tried, your efforts have failed and other things have moved in on your otherwise simple life.

We have blamed a lot of the nonsense this year on the coronavirus or simply on 2020 itself.  But the truth of the matter is, sin is just as rampant this year as it has always been.  And with sin comes selfishness.  We want what we want, we want it now, and we want it all to ourselves  Our plans fail and we pout.  Don’t think you do?  Just think back on everything that has hit you this year, from forced time off of work, sicknesses or surgeries, distance from family and friends, not to mention the crazy political nonsense we’ve dealt with all year long and will continue to hear in the weeks ahead.  

If I had worked harder at keeping the cats out of the flower box, I would have had some nice petunias instead.  Perhaps if I work harder at keeping the nonsense, the aggravating thoughts, the selfish woe-is-me attitude, and of course the sin out of my life, the remainder of this year will be a little brighter.

Whether you grow flowers as intended, or you grow happy healthy cats instead, do your best, work your hardest, and hold your head high as you look to the Lord for strength.  For the child of God, joy truly will come in the morning.

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

Although dark and a little blurry, maybe you can tell that this is a picture of a possum (or an opossum, depending on your vocabulary).  This is actually a young possum, judging by its size.  I’ve seen some in our yard that are larger than our cat.  This little fellow is perched on a window ledge at the back of our house, peeking in at us.

Strange looking as it is, it is relatively harmless.  They do aggravate me (and the cat), because they like to eat the cat’s food.  But these creatures love to eat mosquitoes, so I honor them for that!

This peeking possum is peering through the pane, pondering perhaps the people perched inside.  Curious, maybe, of what life is like on the other side of the glass.

How many times in our lives do we peek over on the other side, wondering what it must be like.  Sitting so close, yet so far away, we look through the glass at those who seemingly have fewer troubles, more fun, more money, and less aggravation, and we long for that side of the glass.

God created possums to stay outdoors, on their side of the window pane.  This little fellow is where he is because God put him there.  And the Lord does the same with you.  Whether it’s “greener grass” on the other side of the fence, or “brighter things” on the other side of the window pane, don’t let yourself be fooled by the fools who attempt to fool you into feeling inferior.  Ponder if you must.  Peek, even.  But praise God that he placed you where He did for a much bigger purpose than coveting your neighbor’s privilege.

Perhaps I’m picking on the poor possum.  But he’s much safer on his side of the glass, and so, thank the Lord, am I.  You aren’t a possum.  You’re a people.  Praise Him for your place in this world.

Just a (playful) thought.

Till later,

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

“It’s beginning to look a lot like…” what?  These days, it’s hard to know if it’s fall, halloween, almost Christmas, hurricane & tornado season, or still summer time playing tricks on us.

The view in this picture is a look down my parents’ driveway.  When I look at this, I see the changing colors of autumn.  I see falling leaves and bare tree limbs.  I see the dirt and the sun shining through the trees.  But I see and hear a lot more than what the picture shows.

I see a loving home.  I see parents who have lovingly supported their children and grandchildren in all their many endeavors through the years.  I hear lots of loud voices full of laughter, excitement, and sometimes music.  I see my mother, who now reminds me very much of my Grandmother, in her kitchen stirring up any number of things.  I hear my father, pastor of fifty-plus years, asking many questions in genuine concern for the welfare of his grandchildren, the youngest of whom are in high school.

I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that there’s more than meets the eye for me when I look at this picture.  For those of us blessed enough to still have our parents or other parental relatives in our lives, I pray you are cherishing every moment.  Yesterday I looked down my driveway at my own house as each of my now-grown kids drove off and back to their respective homes after a cherished weekend with us.  A simple little picture of a simple driveway, but there’s so much more to be seen.

From the words of the Scripture, “Honor your father and mother that your days may be long upon this earth.”  Honor and respect.  That’s what our world needs more of.  And in sharing those two things, we share the love of our Heavenly Father.

As you glance down the driveway of this week, may you see and hear all the beauty that comes from being in the family of God!

Just a thought.