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Weekly Inspiration

By Ryan Kelly –

“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” Romans 15:1-2

Life will often give us circumstances that cause us to become weak either physically, mentally, or spiritually. When we are exhausted, even the small things in our day can cause significant problems and frustrations. Sometimes, we just need a hero to swoop in and help us with the problems of life.

God will equip people to fill this role. You don’t have to be exceptionally talented or smart…you just need a heart set on helping a brother or sister in need. Perhaps he is equiping you to be a hero in someone else’s life. To that extent, stay vigilant for opportunities to be a hero in someone’s life and help them in their time of need.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

This photo happens to be of three of my favorite things — a sunrise, a mountain, and a river.

Although, admittedly, I am the type person that sees a great many more sunsets in my life than I do sunrises, I do love the sight of one.  It signals a brand new day, of course.  A new day with new opportunities, new chances, new beginnings.

To me, a mountain is one of the most majestic and glorious things God ever created.  Standing high above anything and everything else, it points to the heavens, tall, mighty, and proud, inviting all who will to come explore its grandeur.

Then there’s the river.  I live not too very far from one, and cross it many times in a week.  Rivers bend and curve, stretching for many miles in each direction, inviting exploration or simply relaxation as you listen to the flowing waters.

With a new beginning, an invitation to grand exploration, and the relaxing sounds of rushing water, I need no other comforts for my week ahead.  I know the God I serve has given me yet another opportunity to be a blessing & a witness for Him, another chance to see and be a part of the grand world He created, and another chance to relax as I listen to the sound of His calming voice leading me along.

A sunrise, a mountain, and a river.  I need nothing else from Him this week.  How about you?

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

In all my years of sharing these “thoughts” I’ve never shown you a picture like this one.  Here you see a lone church pulpit.  It is flanked by organ and piano, by American flag and Christian flag, by a Bible and the offering plates on the communion table, and by a lovely stained glass in the baptistry.

This particular pulpit stands in one of our nation’s smaller churches, but the building size makes no difference.  It makes no difference that the pretty flower arrangement happens to be silk and not fresh-cut from someone’s yard.  It matters not that the stage area is rather small.  What truly matters here is the Word that will be brought from the pulpit’s preacher.

And what also matters greatly is the ears that will be in the pews hearing the anointed challenge from the Lord.

How did you spend your Sunday this week?  How do you plan to spend the next one?  Were you in a Bible-believing church congregation worshiping?  The writer of Hebrews reminds us to “forsake not he meeting of ourselves together.”  Simply said, we desperately need the fellowship of the common believer!

Before you complain to the Lord this week by asking Him where He has been for you lately, ask yourself where you have been for Him.  Do I have to attend church to be a Christian?  No, certainly not.  But as a professing Christian, I should want nothing more than to spend my time in worship along with others who have the same desire.  Where will you spend your time this week?

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

At first glance, you might not see anything special about this week’s picture.  But look closely.  Yes, it is just a highway lined by trees.  But those trees, those gigantic trees, called Ponderosa Pines, line this highway near the Pacific coast of Oregon.  Look at the size of the trees in reference to the car on the highway.

A tree is just a tree.  Well, no, it isn’t.  Each part of our country is different.  I grew up with a yard of very large oak trees.  Today, my yard and most of those around me are full of just plain pine trees.  Certainly not the same shade providing variety of tree I played under as a child.

You will walk your routine this week as a tree.  You may be straight and narrow like the pines in my yard.  You may stand mighty and fierce like a grand old southern oak.  You may flower and sway like a crepe myrtle.  Or you may stand way above the rest of us like a Ponderosa Pine.  None of that really matters, as long as you stand.

Winds and storms come.  Dig your roots deep and stand.  Human forces may seek to destroy you.  Plant your roots and stand.  Other trees may fall your way.  Hold on strong and stand firm, reaching to the heights that are meant for God-fearing people to reach.

Yes, you may just be a tree.  But just look how tall and mighty and unbelievably strong you are compared to the world at your feet.  Be the strong person you are called to be this week.  Tower above the world’s problems, and stand.

Just a thought.

Weekly Inspiration

By Ryan Kelly –

“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13

Never give up on any fight in life. Always work hard, always rise to the challenge, and never back down. Through Christ, you can be victorious in any battle.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

I’ve shared many signs with you in the past few years, but here’s another.  It says, “Please Keep Off The Walkway, Don’t Handle The Fish”.  Now, those of you who know me personally know that my middle name is ‘sarcasm’.  I read this sign and immediately think, “Well, if the fish didn’t want to be handled, they had no business being on the walkway to begin with!”

Of course there were no fish on the walkway.  This sign was posted at a fish hatchery.  We were free to wander the grounds, but not to be on the walkways between the large fish tanks or to lean over the edge and bother the fish.  I’m not quite sure why anyone would want to, anyway.  However, most signs are indeed posted for a reason, and the reason is usually because someone has tried to do the very thing that is being warned against.

As you wander in your daily work, how hard is it for you to remain focused?  Are you easily distracted by the things around you, even to the point of putting your hands and efforts into things where you have no business?

Allow me to challenge you to remain focused this week.  Love your neighbor.  Lend a helping hand.  But be careful not to neglect your own duties as well.  If you stopped to “handle all the little fish”, too many others would too.  And that isn’t good for the fish.  They must learn to swim and survive on their own.  To some, that might sound cruel.  To the fish who never learns to swim, it is detrimental.  And another thing — if you wander those walkways so closely between those fish tanks, and you slip and fall into one, not only have you possibly injured yourself, but you have greatly disturbed the inhabitants of the tank!

Just a thought.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

Especially when I have nothing pressing to do, I love to hop in my vehicle and ride.  Doesn’t matter where, doesn’t matter why.  Just ride and enjoy the scenery.  I usually take my camera along, so I might stop here and there to snap a photo, or I might not.  I just enjoy the ride.

This particular road pictured here is part of the historic Columbia River Highway in northern Oregon.  That is a particularly beautiful ride, going along the mountainside past waterfalls, overlooks, and high above the river.  Just God’s beauty everywhere.

I could sit in my chair at my desk staring at the computer screen while I work.  That is productive.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  But if that’s all I do, then I’ve missed some great opportunities to see and be elsewhere.

Your “road” in the week ahead may have twists and turns, potholes and speed bumps.  It may lead directly to where you expect, or it may not.  Regardless of where the road of life takes you this week, I pray you take the time to focus on the God-given blessings that are passing you by.

Focus on what needs to be done, certainly.  But look up, look out, get out, and appreciate His blessings.  Take a ride.

Just a thought.

Weekly Inspiration

Grace That is Greater Than All Our Sin

By Ryan Kelly

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

One thing that I have asked God to give me recently is the vision to see people’s pain. This isn’t in any way to pry into their past or to know things about them that are private, but rather so that I can better understand that we all have “skeletons” in our closet that hold us back.

Why would this be helpful? Because in order to address grace, you must first address the need for grace. There is not one single perfect person in this world today. Some may seem “better” than others, but every single one of us deserves a first class ticket to hell because of our acceptance of sin and rejection of God.

Fortunately for us, God does not force us to have what we deserve. And this is where grace comes in. We do not deserve salvation, but God gives it to us anyway simply by accepting the ultimate sacrifice for sin in the form of Jesus.

God’s grace is greater than all our sin. No one is beyond salvation in Jesus.

So, when you are held back by the hauntings of the past or feel inadequate for the good things that God produces for you and in you, remember that we all fall short of the glory of God. But His grace is sufficient for us all, and it is given to ALL that believe and worship in the one and only Son of God.

This Week’s Thought

By Brad Campbell –

Just a thought to help start your week.

A farmers market is always an interesting place to visit.  You might see any number of home grown vegetables and produce like these pictured here.  This particular market in the Pacific northwest was full of home grown veggies, fresh breads, homemade soaps, handcrafted woodwork, and live music, among other things.  Everything on display or for sale had to do with the work of someone’s dedicated hands.

The kiddos are headed back to school.  Many little ones will be in new classes with new teachers and meeting new friends.  But there are always those who seem to have a tougher time making friends, fitting in, or adjusting to new surroundings.  I’m also aware of a couple of friends who are beginning new jobs, perhaps facing the same things our little friends will in the school setting.

Perhaps they each just need a touch from someone’s dedicated hands.  The children depend on us to help show them the way, teach them right from wrong, and be there for them when troubles arise.

Aren’t you thankful that we serve a God Who so lovingly does all of that for his precious children?  We are products of the greatest farmers market ever, handcrafted by the Master, on display for the world to observe.  Put your best foot forward this week, helping others along the way, always thankful for Father Farmer’s loving care.

Just a thought.

Weekly Inspiration

By Ryan Kelly –

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3

How often do you view a stressful or challenging situation as a joyful occasion? Normally we will not, but will rather pray that God will end the situation so that the “joy” may return. I certainly have been one to pray that the pain of a bad situaion will end quickly, and certainly don’t think that there is anything wrong in doing so.

However, what is more important is that we attempt to see God’s work in all areas of our life…good and bad. Bad situations are never fun, but they do not have to be exclusive of seeing joy in life. Rather, finding joy through the pain or difficulty is often the best way to glorify God.

How illogical is it to glorify God when everything seems to be going wrong? How much will the world see your faith by doing so? When you can find joy in Christ’s sacrifice for you even through the trials, it eases the pain and allows you to focus on the bigger picture of what is happening in the moment. Doing this takes practice, but the result is a wonderful thing. Focus on the bigger picture of what God is doing and what He has done for you. It will ease the pain and give God glory through the good times and the bad times.