July 14, 2019

When the Trials Come . . .  .

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”  I Cor 10:13

Trials are practically an everyday part of the Christian life.   The devil, the world, and even our own flesh will make sure of that!  The first step toward victory for the Christian is to realize that trials are common and ordinary in the life of a Christian.  Don’t let the devil whisper to you that it is because you are a sinner or you don’t have enough faith.  Trials come because we are not of this world; everything in this world, including our own flesh is under the bondage of sin.  What do you do to stand and be victorious in temptation?  In this brief meditation, I cannot elaborate on every tool that God has given us.  I will say, “Stop and focus on your great God and Savior and that you are saved, and begin, one by one to count your all your other blessings!”  As you do that, you will begin to see that the trial isn’t as threatening as you had thought.  You will see that God, who shed his blood for you can easily help you through your trial.   So, count your many blessings!  Name them one by one!   You’ll be blessed; joy will fill your heart; and God will give you peace and strength for the hour!   So, keep on going, Dear Brother—Dear Sister!  We’ll soon be home!

January 6, 2019

The Rod and Staff in the Valley

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me,  Psa. 23:4. 

I believe the greatest trial for all mankind is when it is our turn to cross through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  We are geared to survive; and under normal circumstances, will go to any means to do so.  That is totally normal and how we are made up.  But one thing all of us have in common is that we will leave our earthly journey through the gateway of death.  For the Christian, as in any child, we fear the shadows that surround us.  Three things I notice from the above verse.  First, a shadow, until we know what it is may scare the wits out of us, but it cannot hurt us.   We see that God’s Rod and Staff are there for us.  The Rod is to correct and defend us from any wrong or enemy.  The staff is there for our guidance.  God’s Rod and Staff are both perfect instruments.  As God never fails, neither do his instruments.   Whatever the greatest valley you find yourself in, whether death or something else, Child of God, remember who is in charge!  You will make it!  You will be victorious!  God bless you in your journey this week.

Revive us Again!

“O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”  Hab. 3:2

How often we need reviving!  I wish I could say that we don’t, but part of being stuck in the human flesh is our need for revival.  As I speak of revival, I am not only speaking of our individual lives, but especially our church body.  There is a disease we all know that affects the brain.  If the brain gives out so does the whole body.  We know our Lord Jesus is our Brain, and he will not fail us.   But, over the church, the Lord has placed under shepherds to administrate the body.  This person needs your constant prayers.  And then, we must consider the church body.  If truly the church is a body as the Lord has explained in I Corinthians 12, then the entire body must be healthy and functioning.  As we age, perhaps we aren’t in prime physical health, but we should be in good spiritual health.  When one if these is lacking, the whole body suffers.  And then, we need a reviving touch from God.  Without it, we will fail.  We can go through the motions of the Christian life, but that becomes like beating a dead horse.  Pray for your pastor and pray for our church body.  We all need a reviving touch from our Lord.

What is the Worth of a MOM? - Spanish

I am glad we can go to God's Word on this matter, rather than much of modern American society.  In facets of our society, the answer to the above question would be "nothing", other than to carry and birth the baby!  But I amglad, however, to go to God's Word for the answer to this, for God's Word exalts women and motherhood.  The world would call a succesful mom as one who has an excellent and formal education and a career that is bringing in much money - hire a nanny to raise the children.  if we measure success by the material, I suppose the former statement would be correct.  God's Word calls us to focus on the spiritual; on eternity.  Preparing your children to know and fear God is ca calling that outweighs the paycheck or the social prestige.  I would children live a bit lower lifestyle and be raised in the admonition of the Lord instead, as to have a lavish way of life and have to drown their emotions in drugs!

Our society emphasizes the exterior shell and not the inward characteristics.  Only one of these matters when it comes to eternity.  i think we all know which one this is!  No one like mom can provide the maternal nurturing that the child needs for development.  Good habits and values are taught and learned at a young age.  God's Word indeed exalts the position of the godly woman.  "Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain:  but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised," - Proverbs 30:31

ABC News-Florida man's rescue from rip current.

I'd like to share with you a note from one of our Missionaries, Dr. Cecil A Fayard of "Ship To Shore Regions Beyond International."  

MARITIMIE MINUTES:  It is sad to hear of someone who has been swept away and drowned by a rip current, also known by the misnomer riptide.  Every summer, even though the warning flags are flying, swimmers will venture out into dangerous coastal waters.  Many are good swimmers who believe they can do battle with the sea and win.  Others are caught unawares by the strong current that is often unseen.  Yes, there are warning flags that go up when rip tides are expected or present.  A single red flag means that you can swim, but you are to use extreme caution in doing so.  Double red flags mean that even the best of wimmers are to stay out of the water.  Yet, there are those who think that they can toy with danger and not lose.  Samson did this with Delilah, and David did this with Bathsheba.  The Bible teaches us to run from sin as Joseph did.  Joseph had the opportunity to sin, Genesis 39:6-7, but he refused to yield to temptation.  He saw a double red flag and said rightly:  "There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he [Potiphar], kept back anything from me but thee, because thou art his wife:  how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against Gpd?  Genesis 39:12 says that Joseph "fled, and got him out."  Watch out for the riptides of life that will pull you under.

May 6, 2018

"Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuades me to be a Christian,"  Acts 26:28 -Spanish

Although the title may seem odd, there is a reason for the question and point to be made.

How many folks are "almost Christians" like King Agrippa?  He heard Paul's testimony and apparently, in some say, felt moved.  Yet, this moving was not one to bring hom to repentance and complete faith in Jesus Christ as His personal Savior.  Needless to say, his life was not changed!  We live in a day when people seem almost persuaded.  Perhaps they have heard how God helped another Christian with a job.  Perhaps they heard another testimony of someone's Christian with a job.  Perhaps they heard how God helped another Christian with a job.  Perhaps they heard another testimony of someone's marriage getting back on track.  Perhaps they heard how God provides the needs in His children's life.  But what is lacking is the complete surrender to Jesus as Savior and Lord of their lives.  We understand that salvation is not partial.  you are either saved or lost - in or out - forgiven or guilty in your sins.

Salvation is too serious to skip through this life with a "hope-so" attitude.  Make sure you know the Lord as your Savior and Lord.  Our lives are like a fleeting vapor.  We're here today and gone tomorrow.  It sounds very cliché, but how true it is!  Make sure you know Jesus as your Savior.

April 29, 2018 -Spanish

"And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done." Joshua 7:20

It is hard to relate the story of Achan with just one verse.  You must read all of Joshua 7 for complete insight into the account.  I will refresh your minds until you can check it out for yourselves.  The Israelites were defeated; actually, thirty six (36) were murdered in battle.  Israel enjoyed victory up to that point.

This time, something was wrong.  God pronounced judgment on Israel, saying that Israel had sinned.  Humanly, I have read it and thought, Israel didn't sin; Achan did.  Long story short, Israel was not again victorious until they judged this sin and put Achan out from them.  He was stoned!  Many pass this off and say, "That was in the Old Testament." And, yes it was!  But, what can we learn from that?  Sin does affect others, whether in a family or a church setting.  Sin certainly stops God's blessings.  We can apply this to a church body.  We may not personally be in sin, but if we condone the sin of another, we are also guilty before God.  We have become spoiled by the far stretched reference to "Judge not that ye be not judged."  This has a very different context from which most people try to use it.  

At Brentwood, we are a body of sinners saved by grace...not one of us is perfect, but let us strive to maintain a clean church body before God.  Don't we long for His blessings?  God bless you as you serve Him this week.

April 22, 2017

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away,”  James 4:14

 I believe everyone who is celebrating their birthdays, other than those perhaps 25 and below would all attest to this verse.  Wow!  How time flies!  How often we hear these words, and how true.  Since these words are so true, do you live with the assurance of salvation?  Does your spirit bear witness with the Spirit of God that you belong to Him?  I pray so.  Don’t base your salvation on anything you have done, other than Christ’s righteousness.  He dies in your stead.  And secondly, are you living your live to be an influence on others?  Remember, the Bible calls the Christian the salt of the earth – lights.  Does your life point to Christ?  We only have one life to live for our Lord.  Yes, time flies, but why not make it count for our Saviour and Lord?  What greater legacy could you leave to others as they see Christ in you.  God bless you as you live for the Lord this week.  Seek God – put Him first in all you do.

March 11, 2018

“In all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, . . . . by the Word of Truth, “   2 Cor. 6:4,7. For the sake of this short meditation, I cannot put in all the verses from the passage above.  Paul is mentioning all the situations in which we are to be faithful to God.  The point being, no matter what, be faithful that the ministry “be not blamed.”  What I would like to draw attention to is the latter part of the reference above, “By the Word of Truth.”  Our success or fruitfulness as Christians is dependent upon our relationship with the Word of Truth.  Notice that it says, “The Word of Truth”—not Word of opinion or tradition, but the Word of Truth.   God’s Word is truth.   Satan’s word is a lie.  Temptation and sin come from believing a lie.  Discouragement and anxiety come from believing a lie.  Defeat and failure to grow come from believing a lie.  So, what is the solution?  The Word of Truth. We must appropriate God’s Word as our shield.  When we are about to yield to discouragement or failure, just replace that thought with God’s Word.  You feel you aren’t good enough?  “I can do all things through Christ   . “  You think God doesn’t love you or isn’t concerned with your petitions?  “He that spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with Him also freely give us all things?”   Practice searching and believing the truth more than you believe a lie, and you will notice a big change in your spiritual life.  God bless you as you serve Him this week.  May God’s Word transform us!

Sin is a poisonous weed ... that throws the whole nature out of order. The inner life disintegrates; the flesh lusts after forbidden pleasures; the moral judgment is distorted so that often good appears evil and evil, good; time is chosen over eternity, earth over Heaven and death over life. – A. W Tozer  What is the worst Sin you can commit???? Have you ever asked yourself the above question?  When we come to Christ,  we all have our own set of moral values.  These were formed by the way we were raised and how much of God’s Word influence us growing up.  In my family, to tell a lie was right up there with the unpardonable sin.  But, it doesn’t really matter what my opinion or your opinion is if it is not founded on the Word of God.  Yes, I asked the above question, but I try to answer it according to what God’s Word says.  Two things come to my mind.  The first one is “A Proud Look”, Proverbs 6:16, 17.  “A Proud Look” is the first on the list of 7 things God hates.  Pride is the father of all sins. Pride is preferring your own will above Christ’s.  Pride is leaning to your own understanding instead of living God’s way. And, it isn’t that God doesn’t like it;  God hates that!   And the other wicked sin is that of unbelief.   To two towns, Bethsaida and Chorazin, Christ exclaimed that it would be more tolerable for Sodom and Gamorra in the day of judgment than fore them, Luke 10.    What was their sin that was so grave?  Unbelief.  These are sins we usually whitewash and sweep under our spiritual rugs.  Make sure you are not guilty of either of these sins.   Keep your eyes on the Lord!  We’ll soon be home!

Keeping the Priorities Straight!!! - January 14, 2018

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” I Corinthians 9:27

How easy is it to become discouraged or angered, or just side-tracked spiritually? If there were a “thermometer” to measure our spiritual strength, how would we fare? Actually, there is something that measures our spiritual strength – it is called life.

By life, I mean those up’s and down’s that we all go through. Along with that, we all have our weaknesses and strengths. Some are given to worry; some are given to anger or perhaps, jealousy, etc. When we come to Christ, all our fleshly issues must decrease. We must bring them to the cross, and according to the gospel, we get power over them. The verse above demonstrates the fight we have with the flesh. Our only strength and resistance to those fleshly trials are to keep our eyes upon the Savior and meditate upon what He has done for us. Satan is most glorified, not in the lost person, but I believe, in the defeated Christian. He can hold the defeated Christian up as if to say, “That gospel is not real. The Christian life is not what it is cracked up to be.” In and of ourselves, we have nothing, but in Christ, we can be strong. Let’s lift our eyes and look upon our Savior. There is strength in Him for life’s trials if we will appropriate what He has given us.

They Really Found Him!

“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.  And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.  Mt. 2:10, 11. How many people today claim to have “found the Lord”, yet in their works they deny Him.  The Bible is clear that if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.   Yet we live in a day where multitudes believe they know they Lord based upon a prayer that they made years prior, or by some other religious talk or experience.   Either their testimony is true and the Bible is a lie, or the Bible is true and their testimony is false!   To know God is to desire Him, to worship Him, to serve Him.   In our passage above, we see that they bowed down.  You don’t bow the knee to just anyone.  They bowed down and worshipped Him.  To know God is to want to worship Him.  What better place to worship than in the congregation of God’s people as God has instructed.  But, the passage doesn’t stop there!  They bowed down and worshipped and then gave Him gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh.  All these were costly gifts.  Does God demand gold from us?  NO, He asks for our bodies a living sacrifice, Rom. 12:1.  A true salvation experience isn’t a great mystery.  God changes lives!   A person with the Holy Spirit in his/her heart attempts to live a godly life.   Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost.    Are you saved?  Does Jesus have your heart and life?

When God’s Will Doesn’t Make Sense!!!!                                                          August, 2017

Isa 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord;  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

More often than not, if we rely on our human understanding and logic, we would have the opinion that God’s will just doesn’t make sense.  And, if you are judging from your human wisdom, you are probably right!  We see examples throughout Scripture that this is true.  We could also look at personal experiences in our own lives and have to agree.  Many times we don’t understand.  How about the young pastor who dies in a car accident, or that mom that passes away with some dreaded disease.  First thing to remember is that God is always in control of everything, working things for His glory and your good.  When Lazarus had died, his sisters,  were upset.  Yet, Jesus had a miraculous plan to reveal His glory.   When God was to give victory to Israel in Gideon’s day, He decreased the number of their fighters drastically.  But, these had a happy ending.  What about, when we cannot see the happy ending.  WE MUST FOCUS ON HEAVEN!  Heaven is the happy “ending” for the Christian, although it isn’t an ending, it is a beginning.  Keep your eyes on God.  Remember, His ways are higher than your ways.  He has perfect understanding.  We only see through a glass darkly.  Don’t lose faith.  Keep your eyes upon the Lord.

May 21 2017 “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart  of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”      I Cor. 2:9 On Sunday, May 14th, Mother’s Day, our dear Brother Ron Hodges went home to be with the Lord;  he graduated from a life of pain and suffering into a life of bliss.  I can only imagine what Ron was beginning to see and experience as he drew his last breath on this earth.  Ron’s sister had found the date in Ron’s Bible when he came to Brentwood.  It was 1979.  Ron was a faithful man and took his job of ushering seriously.  If there was one person I knew would be in attendance, it was Brother Ron.  The only time he missed is when he was too sick to come to church.  If there is one thing I’ll remember about him, it will be faithfulness.  Thank you, Brother Ron, for the legacy you leave to us. We love you and miss you but look forward to seeing you again.  But Christian, focus on the verse above.  Can you begin to imagine what heaven will be like?  We can only see small bits and pieces of the heavenly seen.  No pain or suffering---no more tears- no night there, and the beauty!  If earth has its breath-taking views, they must be multiplied by thousands in heaven!  The greatest question here is are you prepared for heaven?  Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?  Not everyone is going to heaven; only those who have the righteousness of Christ.  Make sure you are ready for that celestial place when your life here is ended.  How we thank God for His love and blessing to us today!

April 16, 2017

“He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”  Mt. 28:6 As they went to check on the Lord, imagine that anxiety when they looked and the stone was rolled away from the tomb.  Imagine as they tried to peer into the tomb in the barely lit morning hours.  And, His body wasn’t there!  He was risen . . .how is that even possible?  Humanly, it wasn’t possible.  And many modernists today deny the BODILY resurrection of Christ.  But, yes, He was risen; just another fact to prove His Deity.  Everything about God is supernatural, even our relationship with God.  How could a person be made alive spiritually when they are dead in their trespasses and sins?  How could a person overcome the deadly sins that we are often trapped in?  How could a wicked person who has committed the most horrible sin be forgiven? How could a person have joy even amidst the darkest hour in this life?  These are just a few things that are made possible by the empowered gospel of Christ.  The resurrection puts fire to the Christian life.  If Christ had not resurrected, then sin would have won.  But, He resurrected and lives forever to prove He is victor . . . the mighty Conqueror.  Praises to our God as we contemplate His power over death!

April, 2017

The Showdown at the Cross IN our minds, let us review the scene of Christ going to the cross, His crucifixion, and death.  Take a few moments to replay these details.  As we observe and remember, we could think, humanly, that the showdown had come to a head.  After three years of people trying to defeat and discredit Jesus’ ministry, it would appear the crowd against him had won out.  He was accused, although He was guilty of nothing.  Their hatred found satisfaction in the horrible Roman torture known as crucifixion.  It was all ending up as the hateful crowd had desired, or was it?  More importantly, it was all playing out, just as a Sovereign God had ordained from the foundations of the world.  While the haters thought they had won, the couldn’t see God’s love through all this;  God’s love to redeem a people that He would save from their sins.  And, the only pathway to redemption was the shedding of blood, and not any blood, but the blood from the spotless lamb of God.  So, who really won?  Of course, God did.  His Son died as Sovereignly planned.  And it didn’t stop there?  He ever lives to make intercession for us.

March, 2017

“But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Hebrews 3:13. How much exhorting is there in our Christian conversations?  We see from this verse and other biblical principles that we are to encourage one another; we are to confront one another in case of a brother or sister erring from the way.   We often excuse ourselves by saying, “I don’t want to judge” or “Nobody is perfect . . . “.   While the Bible has guidelines about judging, that does not nullify the verse above.  And, for sure, no one is perfect, this side of heaven, but that doesn’t negate our Christian responsibility of exhorting one another.  As social beings, we need one another.  We are blessed by one another in many ways.  But, a word of warning to the erring one, or an encouraging word to the discouraged one is so important.  Maybe God has shown you a verse that would be an encouragement to another.  Maybe you have gone through a trial that might be helpful as you relate it to another brother or sister.  So, use your words wisely.  May our speech  be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man, Col. 4:6.   May God bless you this week.  Be faithful in your duties to your church and to your Lord.

February 19, 2017 What Happens when We Remember? “And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me,”  I Cor. 11:24 These words were spoken by our Lord as He instituted the first Supper with His disciples,  and, later,  Paul quoted them to the Corinthian church as they gathered to take the Lord’s Supper.  There are many themes that could be discussed when talking about the Lord’s Supper, but I think one of the most important is that the Christian should remember what Jesus has done for them.   It is impossible to seriously and deeply remember the Lord without it bringing sadness for our sins and the many ways that we fail our Lord.   At the same time, it causes a great feeling of gratitude for what our Lord has done for us.  And, true gratitude results in a servant’s heart—that is, in our love and gratitude for the Lord, we want to please Him.   A serious “remembering” would turn our lives around.   So, let us remember our Lord’s love and suffering for us and may it produce more love and a servant-like heart for our Lord.  The Lord gave His all for us; shouldn’t we give our all for Him?

February 5, 2017

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ,”   I Peter 1:13.   The Christian’s victory or defeat is based upon the battle going on in the mind.  As born again Christians housed inside a body of carnal flesh and blood, the battle won’t be over until we are in heaven.  Therefore, we have to “gird” our minds or in other words, CONTROL WHAT GOES ON THERE.  The very moment that we give way to vain imaginations we are beginning to sink away from communion with the Lord.  Depressive thoughts turn us into a joyless people.  Bitter thoughts toward others turns us into angry people.  Inflated thoughts of ourselves turns us into proud, doting people.  Unfounded thoughts or impressions cause us to be mentally unstable.  Obviously, I have given several “carnal-mind” scenarios.  As God’s people, we should be spiritually minded.  And, if we are spiritually minded, we will  be a joyous people; an exemplary  people for Christ, a beacon to others and an asset to our church.  May we cultivate that spiritual mind for our Lord.  God bless you as you seek Him this week.

December, 2016

PONDERING THE HARD STUFF “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart, . . . . “  Luke 2:19. Mary sure had a lot of things to ponder.  Prior to the above passage was the original news that she was going to conceive and have a child.  This really left her puzzled because she had not “known” a man, as the Scripture says.  After the visit with the shepherds, we see the words above.  Mary had a job, given to her by God.  But, who would believe that she had never known a man?  What would Joseph say?  How would it be to carry and child and then give birth?  All this was potentially troubling news.  Yet, God gave her strength to bear it.  The Angel of the Lord spoke to her directly in the beginning of all this and I believe that those words are what got her through.  While you and I may never be called upon in such a way to do what Mary did, we probably will go through some trying times.  But, with God’s Word and God’s presence, we find the strength and peace to carry on.  While the Angel of the Lord may not come down to speak to us, we have the Holy Spirit within who guides and comforts.  We have God’s Word to be our light and our buckler.  So, we must not fear, but cling to God’s ever-loving and wise hand.  He will see us through.  You can rest assured of that!  God bless you in this special holiday season!

I shall see God “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God”  Job 19:25,26. Job was the epitome of a tried life.  None can read the about the calamities of Job and not feel spellbound.  It wasn’t enough to have lost his entire lively hood and then his children, but after all those things he was afflicted in his flesh.  If anyone reading this has ever had a boil, you may be able to have even a small idea of what it would feel like to be covered with boils from head to foot.  One boil can almost make you feel as if you have the flu.  How much more, to be covered in boils!  And, when he could have hoped for a bit of encouragement from his friends, they could only blame him for harboring some hidden sins in his life and that he was being punished.  Have you ever been to the point that you felt you couldn’t take anymore?  Job was there!   The verses above, however, were Job’s anchor as to his faith in God.  Remember that Job didn’t have a Bible to turn to or Psalms to read.  Yet, God had put it firmly in his heart that this life isn’t the final stage.  Job, by faith, looked for a better day.  Christians, we have a better doing coming.  NO matter what you are going through down here, it is not to be compared to what God has planned for you up there.  Be encouraged!  Don’t lose hope!  One day we will see Him as He is and be in His presence, and that will be forever!  

October 14, 2016 "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."  2 Tim. 4:7,8. Fresh on our hearts and minds is the home-going of Pastor Emeritus, Jesse Howard Powell.  He was still in College when a professor had told him about Roanoke, Virginia, and Brentwood Baptist Church.    He was about to pile into his car with his wife and 6 year old son, but the car broke down.  The folks at Brentwood told him to take a train and they would cover his expenses.  He took the train to Roanoke, and preached the Sunday morning message.  The brethren voted unanimously to call him as pastor.  He went home and made preparation to move to Roanoke and returned in August of 1961, about 3 weeks later.  He pastored his entire, adult life in Roanoke and touched numerous lives, most already in heaven.  What stands out in my mind about Brother Powell was his faithfulness to God and his family, and his heart of compassion for the lost.  He selflessly served his Lord all his Christian life.  But, now, he has graduated.  What will people remember about you when you leave this earth?  God may not have put you here to be a pastor, but he did put you here to serve Him, to make a difference in the lives of others.  Have you done it?  Are you doing it?  Don’t waste your few earthly years by not serving the Lord and following Him.  After all, that is what counts in eternity.  God bless you.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,”  Mt. 6:33.

Is there some hidden secret of unlocking the riches of heaven and the Christian life?  For sure, it is no secret; it is revealed in God’s Word.  We mention it as a “secret” because it seems to be unknown to many professing Christians.  If there were a secret to the Christian life, the verse cited above would be it.  This is a very common verse, but probably one of the verses that is not put into practice very often.  When a Christian comes to the point of putting Christ first above all else, many things will begin to happen.  One, trials will come to make you wonder if you are confused, but then, very quickly the Lord will come and reassure you.  Secondly, others may not understand your zeal for the Lord.  More importantly, though, you will begin to experience that joy which passes all understanding.  You will find that inner strength, which is “God in you”, helping you through life’s up’s and down’s.  Your desire to serve the Lord will blossom.  Coming to church will not be simply, fulfilling your routine or obligation, but will be a joy, something you look forward to.  You will begin to develop a deeper love and appreciation for your family in Christ.  And, you will have more compassion for those who don’t know the Lord.  Christian, put God first; don’t relinquish the blessings God has for you in this life.  BE ALL YOU CAN BE FOR THE LORD!!!   You only have one opportunity to do this—one life to offer Him.

September 18, 2016

“And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.” I Kings 18:41. Space will not permit me to put the entire passage, neither to relate the whole story referenced above.  Israel had been under drought conditions for years because of her rebellion against the Lord.  God’s servant, Elijah, had prayed for the rains to be stopped.  After several other events and a “show down” of the Baal priests, Elijah then begins to ask God for rain.  What an example Elijah’s prayer is for us today.  From the overview of the  story, we are reminded who is the Ultimate Power and Supreme being, no other than Jehovah God.   After the Baal priests were called, God still remain supreme, and He always will.  When it was time for Elijah to pray for rain again, he humbled himself and went before the Lord in prayer.  The answer wasn’t immediate, humanly speaking, but occurred exactly when God planned for it to.  By this, we see the importance of continuing in prayer, knowing God is working, and that He will answer in His time, according to His will.  What does this mean for us individually?  Keep humble before the Lord.  Keep praying, and we will see God’s answer, in our individual lives, or in the life of Brentwood Baptist Church.  Remember, “ . .  . .there is sound of abundance of rain”.

“But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”  Luke 12:7. Isn’t it wonderful to know that we have a God who knows us, a God who is watching out for us?  How often our life brings about details that, at first thought, we wonder if God knows about “this one”?   Every detail of our lives is under God’s control.  He knows the beginning from the end, the good times we have as well as the trials.  God knows and is more powerful than all. When we are going through the darkest trial, God is just as real as He is in time of great blessing and joy!  No wonder we see in Romans 8 that we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us .  Christian, take joy and comfort in knowing that God is God; abundant life and  victory can be inheritance of the Christian.  Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  Take courage, Christian, and enjoy God’s presence with you, not just this week, but always.

AUG 14, 2016

“Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.” Eze. 3:15 When God was about to put Ezekiel into the ministry, Ezekiel found himself captive in Babylon like so many other Israelites. There in Babylon, he sat down by the river and pondered. A river was a busy place. I can imagine there were always many people in that area, using the area as a bathing place, a place to wash clothes, a place of transportation, or a place to buy and sell. Aside from those activities, Ezekiel sat and put himself in the shoes of others, and tried to imagine their lots in life. He took time to do this- seven days, the Bible says. I believe if we are to be effective witnesses for our Lord, we must also be able to put ourselves in the shoes of others. In so doing, we will have more compassion for their souls, and the good news is that we can tell them where to go to get help as we point them to the Lord Jesus. Let us not be so busy in our own affairs that we don’t take time to “sit where they sit”. Our final day is fast approaching; let us do all we can for our Lord and for others. God bless you as you serve Him this week.

July 10, 2016

“He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. Eccl. 11:4,5. Human beings could often be tagged, “Excuse Makers.” We are excellent at having an excuse for everything, and usually, it is way of justifying what we have or have not done. No wonder the Bible refers to the simplicity of a child in receiving he kingdom of God. The older we get, we have more questions that start off with, “But why . . .. ?” May God help us to practice simple obedience. If we would look around us for a bit, there are a multitude of reasons as to why we may or may not do something. We can’t sow . . it might be windy. We cannot reap . . . it might rain. God help us to be decided to obey Him, unwaveringly and leave all the “but why’s” off our list. While we do know many things about God, there are still multitudes of things we don’t know about God. Once again, this is where the child-like faith must be our guide as we live for the Lord. Put Him first in your lives; do what He says, and you will be blessed. God bless you as you serve Him this week and in the weeks to come.

June 26, 2016  

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Luke 6:38. How is your ever heard any of these? I don’t get much out of church. . . I don’t seem to have many friends. . . No one seems to want to help me. . . I just don’t feel like I am being very blessed . . .. “ I have heard such commentaries many times in my life of 60 years, 40 of those in ministry. The above passage often comes to my mind. I have heard the above passage preached and taught in regards to money matters, but I believe the precept could carry over into most areas of our lives. As human beings, we are naturally selfish. I include myself, so don’t’ be offended. It is all about me and what I can get. It is obvious and logical to want our needs met, but returning to the above questions, my question would be, “And, how much are you investing? How much are you giving of yourself? People often don’t get anything out of church because they don’t invest their time and prayers into it. They never invite anyone to church. They feel that they don’t have friends because they spend all their time worrying about their NUMBER ONE SELF , and don’t have time to reach out to others. It is so easy to blame others, but shouldn’t we take a look at ourselves? How much do we invest? How much do we give of ourselves to the Lord and to others? Let us ponder these points this week, and if you see something lacking, do something about it! God bless you in the days ahead.

June 5, 2016

Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. Psalm 19:13,14. I really appreciate David’s prayer expressed in these verses. David’s heart, at this point was such, that he even worried about presumptuous sins. To what does that refer? I believe this category of sin, much different than just giving into carnal lusts, would be sins that we might fall into when we live a life not necessarily in tune with our Lord continuously. What we do seems OK, so on we go. We automatically assume that only adultery, thievery, lying, etc., are sins. We forget about those sins we may commit when we aren’t totally and seriously committed to our Lord. In the second part of the passage above David cries out to God that even his thoughts and his words be acceptable to God. Do we have the same heart cry as David expresses here? If we keep the thoughts of our hearts right, that should take care of what comes out of our mouths. What it comes down to, do we have hearts that long to please Christ in every area of our lives? If we keep our hearts right, our words will be right and our actions will be right. May the Lord help us as we continue our Christian journey, to be fully and completely pleasing to our God.

May 2016

Is faithfulness in the Christian life really so important?  “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful,” I Cor. 4:2. Somethings are just understood. Would a man ask his wife if she wanted him to be faithful to her? Would the wife have to ask that question to her husband, or is it understood? Does the employee have to ask his employer if he is supposed to come to work when he is scheduled? Would a nurse ask a patient if he wants her to give his meds when they are to be taken? Should a Christian be faithful to Christ? Should a church member be faithful to his church? It seems that anyone would answer all these questions with “of course,” that is, until we come to the last two questions. Oh, that God would put a zeal in Christians’ hearts to be faithful to Him. We don’t have to clarify that some people cannot be faithful in church due to aging, physical ailments, etc. But, we who still have the capabilities, let us do all we can for our Lord. I believe that faithfulness is one of those “works” that James talks about when he says, “Faith without works is dead.” Truly we are saved by grace, but if we don’t have a salvation that makes us want to be faithful to our Redeemer, then perhaps our faith is dead, according to Brother James. Let us renew our commitment to our Lord. May the Lord draw us near to His side in this week and in the weeks ahead. Let us be a bright light of what God has done in our lives. May God bless us this week!

March 20, 2016

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation,” I Peter 1:15. “So, what plans do you have for holy week?” I was recently asked. Since that is not a question I am regularly asked, I had to stop and think what the person was talking about. It didn’t take me long, of course, to remember that we are approaching Easter. I quickly responded, “Every week should be a holy week for the Lord. As we look at the verse above, we understand that being holy is not limited to a certain, man-made tradition. Certainly, our Lord’s crucifixion, death and resurrection were not “man-made”, but some of the tradition that goes along with it are. And for some, holy week is a time to do some deed, and then feel prideful that you accomplished what you did. When a person is a repentant child of God, every day of his or her life must be lived in holiness to the Lord. We do not pick and choose when we do it. Romans 12:1 says it best, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” God help us to strive to be that living, holy sacrifice that God wants us to be, and not just once a year or one week a year, but every day of our lives. God bless you as you serve the Lord this week.

February 14, 2016

1Sa 18:18 And David said unto Saul, Who am I? and what is my life, or my father's family in Israel, that I should be son in law to the king? But, what can I do? Have you ever mouthed these words? Has this ever been your attitude as you anticipate a situation or a problem? I don’t feel that I need to expound on situations or problems to which these words might have been spoken. Most everyone reading this will have his or her own examples of those moments in life that left you feeling helpless, in your life or in the life of a loved one. So, what can you do? First of all, don’t ever doubt the power of “one”. We see in God’s Word how that many times, the entire plight of a nation depended upon the faith of one. I remember a Syrian captain, cured of a dreaded disease because of the words from a little girl. I am reminded of many who were saved and born again because of the testimony of one person. You are one; you are a might vessel in God’s hand as you obey Him. So, because of the Words of one, great changes were made. But, secondly, you can pray. Imagine you having an audience with the God of heaven, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the All-Powerful one who can do anything. Let us never doubt what we have in children of God, and never doubt your worth as we look at God’s workings. God bless you as you walk with Christ this week.

January 17, 2016

When i was a child, I loved wading in a creek that surrounded our farm on 3 sides. One day as I walked along, I stepped on something that cut the heel of my foot. I inspected my foot, saw it was bleeeding a bit, but didn't pay too much attention to it. Later, I noticed it hurt to put my shoe on and as time went on, the pain just got worse. My mom told me to soak it in hot salt water, which I did for a day or two. It just kept getting sorer. One day after soaking it in hot water, I was looking at it and saw something shiny. When I saw it, I quickly began working on it and got it out. It was a piece of glass, approximately 3/4 inch, square, but of course, jagged. Almost immediately, my foot felt better and by the next day, the pain was almost completely gone. As our church body approaches the Lord's Supper, we see that we are to examine ourselves, individually, and as a whole. May we take seriously anything that is in our lives that isn't good; that isn't for the Lord's glory, and if we see such things, may we get rid of them. The Bible so excellently uses the comparison of a human body to teach us about the Lord's body, his church. Even what we may think something is small, is not small, if it sin or another area in our lives is not surrendered to the Lord. No wonder the Bible says, I Corinthians 5:7, "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us . . " May we, individually and as a church body, be pure that we might reflect God's glory.

January 10, 2016

“Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.” Col. 4:1 Since none of us here are slave owners, neither do we have servants, this verse may seem strange from which to bring a devotional thought. In our past Wednesday night Bible study, we studied chapter 4 of Colossians. As I think on this verse yet again, I see how “Masters” are admonished to be fair with their servants. This is very important that the child of God be fair and right in our dealings. How many fall into the snare of improper handling of their financial affairs, thus bringing a poor testimony to the cause of Christ. So, yes, let us be fair and right in our dealings. Let us also be persons whose word is believable, faithful and compliant in what we say we will do. Another thought from this verse: If we are to give to our servants (one another) what is just and equal, how about what we are to give to the Lord? Do we give Him what is just and equal as His children? Not one of us could speak up and answer with a “100% YES.” Although we should be able to feel that, due to the way we order our lives, we are living and behaving ourselves in a way that does please our heavenly Father? How about you? Are you faithful and loyal to Christ? Let us determine to live our lives in such a way that He is glorified, in our private devotions as well as our public activities.

January 3, 2016 

"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” I Cor 6:9-11 . What a difference the Lord makes in the lives of His children! As a child of God, it doesn’t matter what our past says, it is what we are in Jesus Christ. Many reading the passage above may be reminded of their past life before coming to Christ. Or, maybe your particular sin isn’t named above, but rest assured, it would be under the category of “unrighteousness.” Yes, all of us in our natural state were unrighteous before God, thus the need of a drastic, supernatural change that only the grace of God can perform. Have you experience that change? If you know Christ, beware lest Satan should come and whisper in your ear about your past. Christians often fall into defeat because they get their minds on what they were before, instead of what they are now that they are in Christ. Thank God for His cleansing blood and where we are now that we are in Christ! Justified means, “as if you never sinned.” How precious to know the slate is wiped clean when we are in Christ. Let us live our lives, every day to His glory, and let us serve Him faithfully with gladness in this new year. God bless you and Happy New Year!

December, 2015 "What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?   I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.  I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people."                                                                                           Psa. 116:12-14. So, what will you render or give to the Lord for His blessings to you?  Or, has He blessed you?  Do you feel that He has?  Many times, we are so cumbered about with the stress of this life, we stop to really think how God has blessed us, thus the second question above.  Certainly, God has blessed all of us, but are we conscious of His blessings?  Are they fresh on our hearts?  Some times, we just need to stop and count our blessings, lest we get so nonchalant in our Christian lives.  So, stop and count your blessings.  What has God done for you?  for your family?   Now, we can approach the first question, what will you give the Lord, or what will you do for the Lord, seeing He has richly blessed you.  The Psalmist said that he would call upon the name of the Lord and pay His vows unto the Lord.  What kind of vows do you and I have to pay?s  According to Romans 12:1, are bodies, even our entire lives should be a sacrifice unto God.  In other words, God should be our Lord, our Master, and all that we do should be in accordance with His plan for our lives.  God doesn't ask something impossible from us.  He asks something that we all could give, ourselves back to Him.  Let us encourage ourselves to be God-centered in our lives.  Then we will be blessed, our church will be blessed, and we will be a blessing to others who know us.  May God bless you this week. Let us all seek to put Him first in our lives.    

November 29, 2015

How Beautiful Heaven Must Be!                                 

 “For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him,” Isa. 64:4 The Scripture gives us a few peep-holes into the wonders of heaven!  We stand in awe as we try to imagine what heaven must be like.  First of all, think of heaven’s beauty.  Most of us have seen breath-taking beauty here on earth.  Think of sunsets, ocean scenes, fog rising from a lake on a cold autumn morning with sun rays filtering through.  Don’t forget the wonders of the ocean or the intricate details of the petals of a flower.  But, these examples are just of what we will behold with our eyes.  Can you imagine perfect health, perfect mobility?  For the years of pain that many have suffered, they can hardly imagine being pain free.  Maybe you haven’t had physical pain, but how about emotional disappointments and stress.  Have you ever wept until there was just not more to weep?  Heaven will be a perfect place of beauty, complete comfort, and mental and emotional bliss.  Can you imagine?  Yes, Christian, you aren’t home yet!  And this place I describe in these few words is just around the corner.  So take courage, my brother and sister.   Don’t despair because of your present woes.   Heaven awaits.  May you keep your hearts and minds fixed on the wonder of heaven.

November 21, 2015

“ In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”     I Thes. 5:18.    At first sight, most people’s reactions to this verse would be, “Yea, Right!”  We would pass it off as one of those Bible verses that probably doesn’t apply to our situation.    Let me be clear, there are no Bible verses that we could put under the “doesn’t apply” category.  God has given His Word as our guide for living a successful Christian life.  How can you give thanks for ALL things?  Thank you is a condition of your heart, much more than two words.  For one to truly be able to give thanks in every situation, he  must be convinced that whatever it is, God is in charge.  Not only is He in charge, but He is working out something for our good and His glory.  This is where faith comes in, dear Christian.  We must be able to trust in those two truths afore mentioned.  When we come to a place of complete surrender to our Heavenly Dad, we can say, “O.K., Lord, you are in charge.  I trust you.”   Are you trusting God enough to thank Him in any situation?  God bless your Thanksgiving celebration this week. And remember, God is worthy of our thanks in all things.

November 8, 2015

The dog is turned to his own vomit again' and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."  2 Peter 2:22b All too often in the Christian journey, we see people that supposedly come to the Lord, "ask His forgiveness and salvation," and seem to start off faithfully in their Christian life.  Then, sometime later, a month or a year, it seems they have forgotten about God and the salvation they seemed to have claimed in Him. It saddens our hearts to observe this, but the Bible speaks of such.  As we see above, it is compared to a dog returning to eat his vomit.  How disgusting!  Yet, how putrefying it must be to a thrice Holy God!  We will see from our study this morning that many of who profess are not true possessors of salvation.  As time goes on, their spiritual state is revealed.   Christian, let us put into practice what the Bible teaches in Hebrews 10:25 to encourage one another.  We encourage by our words and prayers, but even more so with our actions!  And let us not faint when we see someone fall away, but keep our eyes fixed on Christ.

“Wherefore comfort one another with these words,”  I Thes. 4:18 “These words” I don’t here have the space to include, but you may read them in  the first book of Thessalonians 4:13-17.  This passage deals with the rapture of the saved person.  We are reminded that a better day is coming.  Before long, there will be no more illness to struggle with, no more bills to pay, no more family spats to worry about or try to mend.  The Lord is coming!  From the passage above, we see the Lord could come at any time.  The saved who have already died will be resurrected and given a glorified body.  Those who are still living at this time will be supernaturally transformed, taken from this life and transported to the Lord.  As I say these things, it seems it would be a long process, but actually, the Bible refers to it as “in the twinkling of an eye,” in other words, in less than seconds.  As humans, we have a hard time imagining all this, but it is the promise of God to us.  So, don’t get too cast down with your daily struggles and don’t become too enamored with your life here, Christian.  Very, very soon, these things could happen.  Live each day of your life in light of eternity.  And, yes, these are words of comfort, words of hope as we know a better day is coming.  God bless you in the days ahead as the coming draws nearer.  And, may we faithfully await this great time.

 “As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.”  John 21:9 Jesus’ disciples had been out fishing.  They get to land and find Jesus, cooking them up some breakfast.  Imagine that, the Son of God, Creator of the heavens and earth, humbling himself to worry about the appetites of those tired, dirty men.  After all, they had been out all night, and obviously were hungry.    Two things touch my heart about this passage.  One is the concern  that Jesus has even for our most simple needs.  Many great teachers are only concerned for their students as to whether they understand and learn the subject at hand.  Yet, Jesus’ love is manifested here.  Not only were they his students and disciples, they were his children.  The second thing I see here is Jesus example of humility.  Why should he dirty his hands to build a fire, to prepare a meal?   Hadn’t He done enough?  He had died for them, suffering the most excruciating death imaginable.  Again, we see the humility of our Lord to show His love to his children.  May we copy our Lord’s example of humility and concern for others.  Have a great week in the Lord.  Pray for one another and be mindful of one another’s needs.  Not only will you be blessed, others will be blessed, and this produces a shining testimony of God’s love for the world to see.  God bless you this week.

September 13, 2015

“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”  Genesis 3:1. And, most of you know the rest of the story.  If not, you may read the continuation of the verse in Genesis 3.  What I wish to point out in this brief meditation is how Satan plants doubt in the minds of people concerning God’s Word.  We know that lost people do not take God’s Word to heart, or they would have already repented and accepted God’s free gift of salvation.  They, perhaps, question whether heaven and hell are real, or whether life is unsure as the Bible proclaims.  Or, perhaps they wonder if God would truly forgive and save them.  I often think how that spiritual blindness describes lost people, but sad, it also may describe some saved people.  Some, who claim to be saved years before,  seem to be skating through this life with no regard to their Creator and Savior.  It seems God’s Word is of little importance  to these kinds of “Christians.”  So, Christian, remember,  Satan’s main tool is putting doubt in  our minds concerning God’s Word.  Christians, let us wake up and rededicate ourselves afresh to God’s Word and to reading it and obeying it.  Only then, we will be kept from the wiles of the Wicked One.  God bless you this week as you serve the Lord!

September 5, 2015

Seeing my dried up cornstalks and the rest of the garden that is “gone” reminds me of the verse,  “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away,”  James 4:14.   This is a verse that we all remember, but too often, we forget the truth of it.  It is amazing how that God’s universe speaks to us of God’s truth.  Nahum tells us that we see God’s power in the whirlwind.  We see the mighty oceans and think of God’s vastness.  We see the beautiful mountains and they speak to us of God’s majesty.  And, on the other side of the spectrum, we are reminded of the brevity of this life in the drying grass.  I believe it is God reminding us not to get too comfortable down here; everything down here is changing and at best, only temporary.  So, are you ready for eternity?  Are you at peace with God through His Son?  If so, eternity isn’t something to be dreaded, but something to be anticipated.  If you don’t know the Lord, receive Him today.  And if you do know the Lord, make sure you are living your life in light of eternity.  God bless you this week.   If you would like to talk, or if  I can be of help to you, please let me know.

August 30, 2015

“Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.  Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help. Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.”  Psalm 35:1-3. As you read through the Psalms, you will find that David often mentioned his enemies.  Indeed, David did have a lot of enemies, before and after he was king.  King Saul was determined to find David and kill him, so as to eliminate any rivalry.  Later on, David’s own son wanted to take the kingdom from his dad.  These were internal enemies, within Israel.  Then, without Israel were the Philistines and other nations that hated David and wanted him dead.  Yet, in spite of all these things, David pours his heart out to God.  His prayer was not a simple, mechanical prayer.  David poured his soul out to God.  As you read all the Psalm mentioned above, we see that, not only did David pray, but he also trusted in what God would do.  David knew God was a merciful God.  He seemed to understand that God’s way is perfect.  Now, you and I may not have the same kinds of enemies that David did, but as Christians, we also have our enemies that would like to conquer our souls.  It could be worldly temptations,  it could be physical illnesses or just the worldly system at large.  Whatever is challenging you, pour your heart out to God and then trust in His tender mercies.  He will see you through.  As His child, the victory has already been won on your behalf.  Keep praying; keep trusting.  God is in control.  God bless you this week.

Aug 16, 2015  

“Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.” Psalm 123:2. Where else could be go if not to the Lord?  I like this verse.  I can imagine how attentive a servant is to his master, lest he be punished, or lest he risk losing approval from His master!  The same is the case of the mistress and the maiden.  The job 3 of the servant or the maiden is to be attentive, to be willing to do whatever for their master.  What a great picture of our relationship with our heavenly Father.  We must keep our eyes on Him, or we will miss our Father’s command, His smile, His peace, etc.  So, keep your eyes on the Lord.  It guarantees you to keep in the right path; it guarantees hearing the words, “Well don, thou good and faithful servant” someday.    He knows; He cares; He loves us!  Let us be what He would have us to be!  God bless you as you resolve to serve Him a new and a fresh this week!

August 10, 2015

“He must increase, but I must decrease,” John 3:30. This is a short verse, but don’t let that fool you.  Actually, it is a summation of the process of the entire Christian life.  The more we learn of Christ, our attention shifts.  Instead of my agenda being my most important item, I began to be concerned for God’s will for my life.  Little by little, we begin to learn to trust Christ in our daily lives.  At first, it is easy to trust Him when all is going well, but as we grow, trials will creep in.  Let us never look at the trial as an accident or a blunder in God’s will for us.  We must remember that the trials are growth exercises to help us to become more and more like Christ.  Just when we think we are really doing well, something else comes into our lives to try our faith and put our trust in God to a test yet again. So, as you read the verse above, at first sight it doesn’t seem to have much content.  But, yes, Christian, it is our reminder.  Instead of our being number one, Christ becomes our number one.  And, I am glad.  For He knows what way is best for us. He carries us when we cannot walk alone.  He comforts us when, otherwise, there would be no comfort.  He is our all in all.  God bless you as Christ increases in your life.

July 17, 2015

Summer is well upon us.  I have been enjoying my gardening and outside activities very much.  What have you been doing with your summer?  The older I get, I see how much more quickly time seems to fly by.  Another secret is that we are not getting any younger!  And, if you are reading this, you aren't either.  How is your relationship with God?  Do you know Him?  Do you serve Him?  If there is anything I can do, pastorally speaking to help you, please let me know.  Maybe you have a Bible question or just need someone to talk to. Shoot me an email or give me a call and see when we can get together.

Happy Father's Day, 2015

“So, you are going to be a father.”  Dads, do you remember these words to you the first time that you heard them?  If you are a man reading this and don’t have children, imagine how these words would sound to you, even today.  Most of the men here at Brentwood are fathers, grandfathers, and there may even  be a great grandfather in our midst.  What a grave responsibility fatherhood is.  The biblical perspective of fatherhood has largely disappeared from our society, except for a remnant of faithful men who still determine to follow God.  Most dads dream of how their children will be one day when they are grown up.  We think of their education, their profession, their future lives, etc., but  what we  leave our children as a spiritual heritage is the most important.  As long as you have breath, dads, it is never too late to talk to your children.  While they may be grown up, they still need your godly counsel.  The words you could say might make a complete difference in their relationship to Christ and their eternity.  So, ask God for wisdom and the right words as you attempt to minister to your adult children.   Happy Father’s Day, Dads.  God bless you today and in this coming year.

May 7, 2015

How do we make sense of God’s Word?  How do we know what to take literally or what is symbolic?  How do we know what is for today and what was for another period on God’s design?  Differences in these areas are the reasons, I believe, that there are so many view points on doctrinal issues.  Maybe this is the reason many modern “churches” declare, “It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you love Jesus.”  Above all, we should love the Lord, but it DOES MATTER what we are believe.  That is why the Lord told us to study the Scriptures and to RIGHTLY DIVIDE the Word of Truth.  The “rightly dividing” refers to the way we understand and apply God’s truths.  Is that certain teaching for today or not? I could name countless issues that Christians disagree on.  You know many yourself.  However, each Christian is to study God’s Word and ask God’s Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth.  It is easily to flippantly say, “I believe this”, or “I don’t believe that.”  Our knowledge of God’s Word is serious and we should study to be convinced of what we believe.  God help us to be good students of His Word.  “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  2 Timothy 2:15.

May 31, 2015

Decide to serve the Lord! I am glad God put us first when he determined to go to the cross of Calvary, naked, bleeding and beaten, and finally die for us!  It was God’s plan for His Son to be our Savior, our sacrifice for our sin so that we wouldn’t have to spend an eternity in hell.  I am glad he didn’t put his own agenda first; I am glad he didn’t have to work that day; I am glad that he didn’t find something else more important that giving His all for us.  Shouldn’t we give all for him?  Why do some treat their Christian duties as any other mundane duty . . .  going to the bank, washing the clothes, picking up groceries, going to church?   Could it be lack of a relationship with Christ?  How many people will miss heaven, merely thinking they were OK with God when they didn’t have a clue of who He really was!  Make no mistake, to know Christ is to follow Him, to desire His blessing and presence in your life, to take delight in doing things for Him.  Christians are never perfect; always up and down, but the natural turn of a Christian is to desire our heavenly Father.  Let us pray for true conversions in our church and let us personally, pray for more resolve to follow Him and to be a blessing to others.  God bless you this week.

May 24, 2015

Are you Thankful???? “And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?”   Luke 17:17   You will remember the account of the ten lepers that were cleansed.  All ten were pleading with Jesus that He would heal them.  Jesus gave them the instruction to go and show themselves to the priest.  While they were on their way, they were all cleansed.  However, only ONE took the time to stop and thank and praise Jesus for the blessing He had bestowed.   As we celebrated Memorial Day, stop and remember those who have been a special blessing to you at some significant point in your lives.  While many are a blessing in some way,  there are  some that have just been a special oasis to us  amidst a time of suffering that we went through, a time of discouragement or some other need.  The Bible tells us  that we should be thankful.  For many of you, perhaps these “special people” are already with the Lord.  But, there may be someone that you could call or write and appreciate for what they have meant to you in your life.  First and foremost, we thank our Lord for his unspeakable gifts and blessings to us, but let us also express gratitude to others that were there for us.

May 10, 2015

. . .a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised,” Proverbs 31:30.  The world has a very different way of looking at motherhood than the Bible believing Christian does.  The world seems to place first priority on looks;  and, every person should try to look his or her best, but our looks do not determine our worth.  The worth of a woman is far more than her figure or the botox she has had injected into her face!  When your obituary is written, Mom, when you are already gone and your family sits around the living room talking about you, what will stand out in their minds?  For a person to truly fear the Lord, she must come to know Him as personal Lord and Savior, and then begin growing in Him.  The godly influence that a mother leaves her children, or the godly influence of a woman to others is what will stand out in time.  Wouldn’t you like to feel that you have made a difference in someone’s life, even in someone’s eternity?  Walk with God; fear Him, and you will be that person of great, godly influence that others will praise.  Strive to be a woman of God.  Yes, in the world today, this thought is very fanatical and very old-fashioned.   But, what is more important, to impress someone because of physical appearance,  or because you helped to prepare them for eternity?  God bless you, Moms!  We love and appreciate you!

May 3, 2015

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. . .”  2 Cor. 10:5. Where do our thoughts take place?  Where are they born?  Of course, these things take place  in our minds.  Your  body never acts  to do something until it goes through your mind.  Before enjoying a bowl of popcorn as my night-time snack, the thought comes to me of popcorn, buttered and salty.  A while after the thought, my body begins to move toward the kitchen and I reach for my skillet that I use for popcorn.  Not long afterwards, my thought has become reality.  Can you see why we are to keep our thoughts in captivity to Christ?  When we think discouraging thoughts, lustful thoughts, malicious thoughts, it isn’t long until something begins to take place and these thoughts slowly work themselves into reality.  So, Brother, Sister, guard your mind.  You have the door and the key.  Don’t allow bad thoughts to take over your mind.  Think on the things that are pure and lovely. Guarding your mind is a big part of the battle.  God help us that our minds would only be filled with thoughts that glorify our God!  God bless you this week as you walk with the Lord.

April 15, 2015   We are looking forward to Friend Day at Brentwood this coming Sunday, the 19th.  If you read this, we would love for you to come.  Join us for lunch after the morning service.  And remember, there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother!  Do you know this friend?

April 1, 2015 Wow!  Already April!  I am glad to welcome the nice weather a beautiful array of spring colors.  I am reminded that time is going fast.  We only have one life-time to serve Christ and to make a difference in the lives of others.  Come visit us at Brentwood.  We are traditional in our music and Bible exposition.  God is still channging lives.  Come and be a part of it.   February 14, 2015  “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us,”  Psalm 103:12 I am so glad that God forgives and FORGETS ours sins.  Sometimes, even though we are forgiven by God’s grace, if we aren’t careful, we still disparage ourselves because of our short comings or even times that we were away from the Lord.  Many Christians have gone through their “Samson” experiences.  We think of Samson as the strong godly man who, for his love for Delilah gave in to her sinful wiles and lost all.  I  AM NOT SAYING THAT ALL CHRISTIANS HAVE FALLEN INTO ADULTERY, but I am saying that many of us have had the barren times in our lives when we weren’t where God wanted us to be, and were so down at that time, we didn’t really care where God wanted us to be.  Then, our heavenly Father, being the faithful one that He is, stirs us up and brings us back into fellowship with Him.  When we look In Hebrews 11:32,  one of the most carnal men is mentioned in God’s Hallmark of Faithfulness,  Samson.  You and I may not  consider him a faithful man, but in spite of his carnal downfall, God refers to him as faithful.  Christian, let’s not lament about yesterday’s failures, but bask in the grace of God,   where we are now and rejoice in  what God has done in our lives.  May you have complete victory and joy this week in the Lord.

January 19, 2015        

We had a great day today in the Lord's House with 30 in attendance, the most we have had here at one time.  It is a blessing to see what God can do.  If you are looking for a church home, come and pay us a visit.

January  19, 2015      

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.   In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  Prov 3:5,6.   More often than not, things happen in the Christian life that just do not make sense, according to our human reasoning.  Even many of the precepts in God’s Word would not make sense if we tried to understand them from a human standpoint.  Job could have been number one in reaffirming the first sentence here.  So what do we do when our circumstances do not make sense?  This passage is the key; trust in the Lord, not a little, but with all the heart.  Take your own understanding out of the way. Trust in the Lord.  In all thy ways, acknowledge Him.  The three letter word, ALL is a very big word here.  So, we either trust and acknowledge, or we go through life embittered and frustrated.  God help us to Trust in Him and acknowledge Him in every way and in every area of our lives.  Anything short of that will not do.  God bless you in your Christian walk with the Lord in the days to come!

January 10, 2015

We are well into the new year.  We are excited about last Sunday; a husband and wife has joined our church.  That is a real enouragement.  The brother is excited to help me in visitation efforts and the many other chores around the church. OUr ladies had a great meeting today with 11 in attendance.  Thank you, Lord, thank you Rebekah, and thank you ladies for coming.   We are looking forward to great things in this new year.

December 2, 2014

PRAISE THE LORD!  I am thanking the Lord for his blessing at Brentwood.  When we came here, there were 8 members.  Now there are 19.  We did have 20, but our oldest member graduated into heaven about 2 weeks ago.  Typical attendance on Sunday morning was 12-14 when I first came.  Last Sunday, we had 28 in attendance.  If you live in this area, pay us a visit sometime.  I am glad and reminded that DOING GOD'S WORK GOD'S WAY BRINGS GOD'S BLESSING.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

We had the privilege of receiving 3 new members today.  One by baptism and 2 my statement of faith.  Little by little, wwe are growing!

 UDATE ON MRS FOSTER   September 4, 2014

The dear saint I had metioned above has taken a turn for the better and is doing quite well.  She is now at the Richfield Convalescent Center in Salem.  Due to her extreme needs, she was not able to go back home, but needs professional care.  KEEP HER IN YOUR PRAYERS.

 Wednesday, September 3, 2014

We have begun services at Emeritus of Cave Spring which is a nursing home.  I never such such animated, interested people.  What a blessing to me.  I believe this ministry will be more of a blessing to me than to the people there.  We have a group of 25-30.  Their enthusiasm is just amazing.  We will be doing this every Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.  Pray for us and for the folks  there.

At a Dear Saint's Bed side  August 26, 2014

Some of you reading this blog may have known Mrs. Wallis Foster.  She  is the mother in law of Pastor Ken Johnson and a member of our church.  She has reached the age of 97.  Currently she is Roanoke Memorial Hospital, very possibly soon to be going home to be with the Lord.  All I have heard about Mrs. Foster is what a godly woman she was.  She loved her Sunday School class, she loved her family, country cooking on a woodstove, etc.  I enjoyed being at her bedside yesterday and again this evening.  Yesterday,  I did most of the talking, trying to lead her in remembering her earlier days.  Wow!  She soon will bre with the Lord.  I cannot help but wonder what people will say about us when we are near death.  I pray that the people that surround us will have positive remarks and memories of us.  Things that glorify the Lord.  Please pray for Mrs. Foster, her daugther, Norma, and other family members that she will leave behind for a while.