It's All Grace

Amazing things can happen when you allow the Lord to work in your life.

Honoring our Veterans

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Yesterday, our church body paid tribute to our Veterans who served our country, fought and even died for our freedom that we experience daily in America.  Two of our children (Brady & Olivia) along with one of our grandchildren (Landen), voluntarily participated by singing, and our youngest son, Brady carried the Navy Flag to honor my Dad, two nephews Ryan and Tyler, as well as others who are or were in the Navy.  The branches recognized during the service were the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

Many people today, have chosen NOT to honor our soldiers, paying no respect by spitting on them as they walk by, calling them names or act as if they don’t exist!  How sad.  I have members of my own family who have served this country and I want to take this opportunity to honor them publicly and thank them for all they have done – contributing to the freedoms I enjoy today.

My Dad and two nephews served in the Navy, to which I am grateful and want to say “Thank you for thinking of others more than yourself, for valuing the life of others higher than your own, and for loving your country enough to fight for her and defend what we stand for.”  Thank you Dad for making this a better place to live because you chose to serve your country, accepting your call as an honor to make a difference.”

My sister in law Karen, served in the Air Force as a flight surgeon.  Thank you Karen, for sacrificing your time away from home and from your children, to serve your country while purposing to make things better, leaving behind an example for others.

In our “service to remember” stood not only 23 veterans, but in our small country church, there were Purple Hearts, a World War 2 Veteran, Viet Nam Vets, etc.  Some of their stories, I’ve heard and are heart wrenching.  In one of the photos above, stood the WWII vet (with a cane) helping one of the purple hearts (with a walker) to his feet when his flag was brought out!  Can you imagine, giving up YOUR life to fight for others freedom, losing limbs, coming home with mental disorders, etc., only to be mocked and ridiculed, hated and cursed?

I am grateful that my children and grandchildren not only witnessed this type of service but were actively involved in something so great of value!  I hope they will remember it always, as they see difficult days ahead.  I rarely can sing a patriotic song, or pledge allegiance to the American Flag, that I don’t get choked up remembering why we are free!  When I see the military flags, I am reminded of the sacrifices so many made . . . for ME and for you!

Just as many made sacrifices and died for our country, there was ONE ULTIMATE sacrifice that also brings the greatest freedom we can ever experience!  JESUS CHRIST.  He died for our sins to save our soul from hell, so that we could spend eternity in heaven with HIM and desire to live FOR HIM while here on earth.

Our pastor reminded us that our military is only as great as our nation.  As our nation goes downward, so shall the military follow.  No matter how bad things may get, I still believe that America is the greatest country in which to live.

Don’t forget to honor and thank each veteran and soldier for their commitment to serve and defend, no matter the cost.  They have left behind spouses and children to fight for your freedom.

May God continue to bless America!

“If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  II Chronicles 7:14 

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Can You Hear Me Now?

And Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  Mark 4:9

Numerous times Jesus includes the equivalent of saying, “Listen up!” when He speaks. His expression, He who has ears to hear,”makes us realize how often we use our ears for other purposes—to secure sun glasses, to keep our hats from falling over our eyes, and to hang jewelry. But we’ve got ears in order to hear. Jesus wants to provoke attention, even though He knows some will not listen.

When we look at the reasons why people don’t listen, we can group them into four categories. As you read them, do a spiritual hearing check-up by asking yourself, Am I like that?

Immaturity. People of all ages can have this problem. Immaturity is the inability to connect actions and consequences. The immature person doesn’t get it. They can’t make the connection between their choices and what comes because of those decisions. They need to discover the unbreakable law of cause and effect that God has established in the universe. If you choose to sin; you choose to suffer. That’s what’s coming. People frequently say, “I’m going to beat the odds. I’m going to cut the corners.” Then they hit a brick wall or disappear in a bottomless pit. Often, painful experience is the only effective teacher to improve an immature person’s hearing.

Rebellion. “My will. My thrill. You chill.” Those are the proud declarations of rebellion. “No one’s going to get between my will and my thrill! This is what I want to do. You back off! Don’t tell me anything.” Rebels won’t listen and they try to cut off any attempts by others to help. They are stuck in overdrive, headed for a wall—and they don’t care! But hardship and humiliation can make a rebel’s heart attentive.

Woundedness. Hidden hurts close hearts and ears. They can’t hear because something happened that left unseen scars. Sometimes in a family or a church things happen that few know about. The person holds it all inside and drifts away. They’re hurting, but don’t bring it out in the open. They can’t listen to reason because all they hear is their hidden wound.

Relationships. Peers could be the problem. Peers in the ears block fears. Warnings we should hear and be afraid of don’t register on our radar. Like a teen who feels the need for speed, with a friend in the passenger seat shouting, “GO!! GO!! GO!!!” There are many times we should be afraid, but we’re more concerned about impressing our friends and the people around us.

Most of us can relate to one or more of the reasons above. But He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Jesus’ words remind us He has spoken even when we are not listening. And His Word is always ready when we’re ready to use our ears for their designed purpose—to listen. Until we’re willing to respond to the truth He has for us, we’re not really listening.

How did you do with the hearing check-up? If you realize you are being influenced not to listen to the Lord because of one or more of these causes, it’s time to let God do some hearing correction. Ask Him to tune your ears to hear His voice.

Pastor James MacDonald

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Dry Eyes and Dry Hearts

The true man of God is heartsick, grieved at the worldliness of the Church, grieved at the blindness of the Church, grieved at the corruption in the Church, grieved at the toleration of sin in the Church, grieved at the prayerlessness in the Church. He is disturbed that the corporate prayer of the Church no longer pulls down the strongholds of the devil. When you see Christians in the church having adulterous relationships, in bondage to immorality, to pornography, to sexual sins and wrong relationships and it’s going on and they’re sitting in church as if it’s just nothing, does that break your heart? Does it grieve you? It’s not hard for us to cry, but are we crying over things that really matter? If our eyes are dry, could it be because our hearts are dry? You see, tears flow naturally from broken and contrite hearts.

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Where Is Your Arena?

In Hebrews 11:1-24, all these people who had great faith, their arena was their home!  It’s more important to live by faith at home than it is at church!  Faith is what allows Gods people to know the truth.  If I am a person of faith at home, it is extremely impactful.  Don’t allow your godly heritage to stop with you!  It’s not about making our kids DO WHAT IS RIGHT, but making our kids WANT to do what is right.

Joshua chose WHOM his children would serve. When looking at a man or a pastor, examine what kind of kids he has and you can determine the FAITH & INTEGRITY of that man of God!  Evangelist Bill Rice III

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Glorified Salt Shaker

Are you a salty saint?  Salt generates value, salt seasons, salt preserves, and prevents decay, salt purifies and burns, salt penetrates and gives flavor, salt gives life and salt heals…our problem is not just HOLLYWOOD.  It’s SALTLESS saints!  Our churches have become nothing more than salt warehouses.  Are you worth your salt?  Are you being the salt of the earth? Or are you just a glorified salt shaker? See Matthew 5:13-16

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Are You Sleeping?

There are many churches today who have “merged” with the world, that you can hardly tell the difference, & are running hard in the opposite direction of the  Lord & His Word, just as Jonah did when God said, “Arise, go to Ninnevah”.
Where are the distinctions that make the church different than the world?  Bringing spiritual warfare INSIDE the church is nothing new, after all, satan can fight better from the inside of the church than from than outside.  Unfortunately it is the believers who give satan a ride, into the church. When we begin to get away from God, justifying, covering up, and compromising, there is no telling how far we will go!
Will we obey the voice of The Lord, or end up in a deep dark place as Jonah did?  Is the world going to wake up the church as the mariners did in Jonah 1:5-6, or is the church going to wake up the world?  The church needs to be waking up the world, not the opposite!  It’s a heart wrenching thought, when we take a deep-honest look at just how far the church has moved!
Todays pulpits are almost bankrupt from the fear of man & love of self, causing the church’s drowsiness & apathy!  However, it’s usually those that are asleep who will deny that they are sleeping.  No one wants to admit they are asleep, yet they cannot tell you what they’ve done while sleeping.  Ever heard anyone say, “I don’t snore or I don’t talk in my sleep”?  However,  If you DO those things while sleeping, you only know it because someone who was awake told you what you did while you were asleep!
We are living in perilous times.  Will you be a surprised Christian (because you are spiritually asleep) when The Lord returns, or are you able to see the signs of the times?
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