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Just a thought to help start your week.

How do you get around?  Do you use a private car?  Bus?  Train?  Maybe a bicycle is all you need.  Whatever the mode of transportation, most of us make use of at least one on a daily basis.

This particular carriage has recently been part of an exhibit at the History Museum of Mobile, Alabama.  You can tell by looking at the carriage that it was once a very nice way to travel!  The posted information for the exhibit reads, “Rockaway or Brougham Carriage.  John S. Atwater and Sons, a popular 19th century carriage manufacturer for the wealthy planters in northern Mississippi and Alabama, built this carriage.  It once served as the State Carriage of Gainesville, AL.”

I thought this was particularly interesting because the quaint little town of Gainesville, located in the county in which I live, was once the third largest town in the state.  It was also the home of Alabama’s first native-born Governor John A. Winston.  Perhaps he once rode in this carriage – or at least a similar one!

Too many times we look back at the past and think that the good times have already come and gone, never to be ours again.  But the mistake we Christians make is that our best times are yet to come!  When the day comes that my Heavenly Father transports me Home, the beauty of this grand old carriage will pale greatly in comparison to the way He will transport me!

Getting ready for a fabulous ride!  Come along!

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

As we sat at an outdoor dinner table on San Antonio’s Riverwalk not too long ago, I noticed something high up in a nearby tree.  That was not unusual, as there were many birds and squirrels all around.  But the bird I saw was very large and seemed to be watching everything below.

Out came the trusty old camera so I could zoom in and take a picture.  Only then did I realize that the big old owl that was watching us and everyone else around us was indeed plastic – a fake.  It had looked so real sitting high up in the trees.

This week, just a warning for each of us.  Take time to focus on the ones around you.  Don’t waste too much time worried about what the fake ones think or do.  It doesn’t matter.

And, also a challenge for us.  Don’t be the fake one.  Take a genuine interest in those nearby.  Offer a hand, a kind word, a smile.  Show God’s love in a genuine way.  There are entirely too many fakes in today’s world.  Folks need to see God’s people being real, being intentional, and taking an interest in the world!

 

Just a thought.

Weekly Inspiration – Do Not Be Silent

By Ryan Kelly –

While Paul was on his missionary journey in Corinth, he had great opposition especially from the Jews. Being a former Jewish leader himself, this was especially burdensome on him and caused him to want to leave the area.

Don’t we ourselves have discouragement like this in life? Perhaps to the point of wanting to give up on someone or something?

The Lord encouraged Paul with the following encounter.”

“One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” Acts‬ ‭18:9-10‬

If you face opposition for your faith or witness for Jesus, do not lose heart. God has called us to stand out and stand up as a believer in Jesus Christ, and He will give us the words and voice when we need it. Don’t fear, but be confident in what He is doing in you and through you.

Weekly Inspiration – Don’t Neglect Church Discipline

By Ryan Kelly –

It can be hard to approach a brother or sister in love and rebuke sin in their life. But it’s a job of each Christian in the church – to refine one another by fire in order to build one another up in Christ. Paul uses the Corinthians as an example of what can be produced after church discipline takes place.

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.” 2 Corinthians 7:10-11

Don’t dodge opportunities to help a brother or sister, but take advantage of opportunities that God gives you. Doing so allows them to grow even closer to the Lord.

Just a thought to help start your week.

This is the kind of road that I like to leisurely travel.  There is no traffic.  It’s only wide enough for one vehicle.  It seems peaceful.  And, because it isn’t easy to see around the next curve, there is always a sense of adventure.  Perhaps we could call it the road less traveled.

I make it a point to take advantage of those times when I can venture off of the main road, even for just a little while, and experience someplace new to me.  I have seen some beautiful countryside that way.  I’ve run across abandoned churches sitting beside immaculate cemeteries.  I’ve found ages-old log homes tucked away behind the hillside kudzu.  Because I’ve taken the opportunity to explore, I’ve gotten to see and experience some things in God’s world that I would not have otherwise, had I stayed on the main highway.

Life takes us barreling down the path toward success, fame, fortune, happiness and disappointment.  Yet, when we take the time to glance around, not so very far away from our regular routes and routines, we might be privileged to find an adventure just right for us.

As you begin yet another busy week ahead, my prayer for you is that God will give you the opportunity to venture off the beaten path this week.  Maybe you’ll find that peaceful spot you’ve been longing for.  Maybe you’ll travel for miles never meeting another vehicle.  Maybe you’ll see nothing at all, and enjoy it because your life has been so full.

Whatever you find, may your week be one of rolled-down windows, turned up radios, sunshine, and a moment to explore the blessings in God’s world.

Just a thought.

Weekly Inspiration: A Common Christian Trap

By Ryan Kelly –

We are instructed as Christians to be “in the world but not of the world.” God does not want us to isolate ourselves from society, as easy as it could be to do so, but He also does not want us to be so integrated into the world that in unbelievers cannot tell us apart from believers.

The latter is a trap that many believers face themselves in each day.

2 Corinthians 6:14 tells us, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?”

‭‭If the average person cannot tell that you are fundamentally different than the world around you because of your faith, there is a problem. Place yourself in the position of someone looking at you, seeing your friends and where you go after work, how you treat your family, what language you use and how often you witness to others about your faith. Does this look like a Christian should?

There is no question that we can all do better. After all, that is sanctification – growing closer to God and being more like Him each day. He will help you to grow closer to Him and grow apart from the world, just turn to Him and let Him work in your life.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

I dug out an old picture for this week.  My girls can get back at me later.  These three beauties are what makes life grand for my wife and me.  But look at how young they are in this picture!

Time flies.  Years pass.  Holidays come and go.  School requirements are met.  Graduation ceremonies are held.  Aisles are walked.  And life goes on.  But where did it go?  One is about to get married.  One is graduating college and about to begin graduate school.  One is completing her first year of college.  The house is too quiet.

But as I think on these things, I am reminded of just how truly blessed a man I am.

Look around you this week.  Enjoy every moment with those you love.  Take time to carry on a conversation with the 96-year-old “last one living” baby-of-the bunch who braves an 8-hour car ride to attend the family reunion.  Share a moment to discuss the family photos with the one who knows everyone in the picture but can’t remember their names.  Chase down the soon-to-be grown-up 4-year-old who giggles every time you get near, and give her a big bear hug.

Take advantage of every God-given moment this week to cherish the ones you love and to love on the ones you cherish.  Time passes too quickly.  All too soon the house will be quiet.  Don’t waste a minute.  We love and honor the Lord by loving and honoring those around us, and then, once again, we are reminded just how truly blessed we really are.

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

Maybe you remember these words to a simple old song –

“Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam, where the deer and the antelope play, where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day!”

These buffalo I was privileged to photograph definitely make their life look calm and enjoyable.  However, we must bounce back to reality.  Even if you don’t work outside the home, or you’re retired, you must admit that we all have difficult times.  The Bible reminds us that troubles will come as long as we roam this world.

The great thing is, though, as Christians, one day our roaming of this world will cease.  And immediately thereafter, we will truly be in a blessed countryside where deer and antelope and many more creatures play, where we will never again hear even a hint of a discouraging word, and where the bright sunny skies will never be blocked by dark clouds.

Oh, give me a home…

He has gone to prepare one for His child!  Allow that very thought to put this week into perspective for you.  Roam a little while longer.  Rest is on the horizon.

 

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

The photo that shows a fence row in the foreground was made in the countryside of Sumter County, AL, near the town of Gainesville.  It shows simple yellow flowers, probably weeds, but beautiful.  The other photo, with the green pasture in the background, was made in the countryside of France.  It shows a field of canola, from which we get canola oil.  Both fields are bright and beautiful, but they are in quite different places and serve quite different purposes.

Take a moment, or longer if necessary, to look at those ever-so-familiar coworkers and friends around you this week.  They may look very similar, but they may be in a very different place.  What I mean is this – We never know what another person is really going through.  Be kind.  Be patient.  Be compassionate.  Love your neighbor as yourself this week.  All may seem bright and wonderful on the outside, but they may be going through (and growing through) some very different dirt.

Shine brightly for those around you this week, knowing that we all grow in different places.

Just a thought.

Weekly Inspiration – You Have Purpose

By Ryan Kelly –

“The purpose of creation was for God to be glorified by man being created in His image. The purpose of salvation is for God to be gloried by the rebirth of man in the image of Jesus.” This quote from Dr Darryl Craft reflects a study from John Piper on Isaiah 43 and is one of the more impactful analysis of the purpose of creation that I have heard in a while.

God has always had a plan for each of us, and this plan always comes back to the glorification of himself. Whether your life is going well, or you are facing struggles or concerns, remember that God will never leave you or forsake you. You are part of His purpose and plan. You have not been forgotten, but rather you are meaningful to your creator because you reflect His glory. Stay close to Him, and you will stay in His will.