Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. –1 Peter 1:23
When one thinks of spring, one thinks of flowers blooming, leaves growing on trees and bushes, crops being planted–the whole world being reborn after winter. And, as Christians, we think of Easter: the Cross and the Resurrection of Jesus.
But, do we think of ourselves and our spiritual rebirth–our baptism into Christ? It is well that we do consider it often, for if we have been born again–reborn–then our actions must show it: We must live as the resurrected Christ wants, and we must follow the path He has chosen for us.
Pray fervently, asking Christ to tell you what He wants, and to lead you and provide you with the courage and resources to do His will. You have been reborn; your life must bloom as a new flower planted by Christ!
Bishop Valerie Melvin, Regional Minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in North Carolina, will deliver the sermon at Bethany tomorrow, March 10, at the 11 AM Worship Service. She is at Camp Caroline today for the annual Disciples Women Retreat, A Day Apart.
Following the service, lunch will be served in the Fellowship Hall.
The sailboat in the picture has a daggerboard, a retractable board that goes downward through the keel for stability. It helps keep the boat from tipping over in wind, and keeps it from drifting leeward. Larger sailboats have fixed keels, shaped like a fish’s ventral fin, that, like a daggerboard, provides stability and prevents leeward drift.
Without stability in our lives, we, too, are subject to drift and tipping over. Jesus is our daggerboard: If we know Him and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we will stay on course, not drift and not tip over. With Him, we can sail through the rough waters of despair, of grief and of illness, and stay on course. If you are “blowin’ in the wind,” my friend, Jesus is the answer!
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. –James 1:6 (ESV)
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. –Ephesians 5:1-2
Can we walk in love? Jesus told us to do that, as recorded in Ephesians. He told us the reason, too: “And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” When we think of Valentine’s Day, we think of romantic love, and that aspect of the celebration is fine, because romantic love, if it fits the description of love contained in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, is like the love of children. So, when you see little children expressing love, walk, like them, in the love of Christ.
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. –Isaiah 43:18-19
As we approach the dawn of a new year, let us prepare for new beginnings. In the old year we may have had pleasant experiences, even joy. If so, did we thank the source? If not, in the new year, be thankful for your blessings and praise Him from whom blessings come. Know that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17)
Some of us, during the old year, experienced trials, hardships and heartache. So, in the new year, put those experiences behind you, pray to the Lord for the desire and strength to be closer to Him. As you draw closer to Him and walk on the path He wills, you will find great spiritual rewards through the new year. “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
As the sun rises January 1, 2019, we wish you “Happy New Beginnings!”
Christmas is all about gifts. Every merchant knows that, and it is so deeply ingrained in the minds of the populace that no Christmas season goes by without reference to The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, in which a woman sells her hair to buy a Christmas gift for her husband, whose present to her is combs for her hair. Usually there is a poignant story in the press during Christmas season about parents who, tragically, cannot afford gifts for their children. So, what is the Gift? Is it a red toy firetruck? A diamond ring? A dishwasher? A new car? No, and it is not one we give, but one we receive. Jesus is the Gift, for through Him we are saved from our sins and given leave to enter the presence of the Lord. But, having received the Gift, we are not meant to keep it as our sole possession; rather, we are meant to tell others about it and pass it on to them.
The women, dressed in Christmas attire, after prayer, enjoyed delicious food, and “Crazy Socks.” They played a game with dice to determine what present they received, and also admired Juanita’s treasures in her home. They all said that they had a good time with the festivities and just chatting with each other, and expressed their appreciation to Juanita for hosting the party.
After worship Sunday, Dec. 9, the women who attended the party (and one man who sneaked in the picture to show off his Christmas socks) gathered in the sanctuary and displayed their “crazy” Christmas socks.
We were saddened when we learned of the death Wednesday of Mary Puckett, a longtime member of Bethany. Mary was a resident of Kennel’s Beach until the state of her health required that her family move her to the Raleigh area so they could take care of her. Her obituary follows: