Where do you want to eat?

Some of you may remember that I enjoy walking to lunch when I can. These last two days have just been gorgeous, and I have taken advantage of the opportunity. As I was walking today, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to eat. I felt led to ask God to direct me and prayed, “Lord, where do You want me to eat?” I was thinking maybe some sushi at Fancy Q’s or a sub at Larry’s, but Southern Soul came strongly into my mind. I had thought about eating there yesterday, but the line was very long so I chose elsewhere. Today, there was only one couple waiting outside the door, so I was glad to see that. As I approached the door, I saw there was a seat at the bar and could go ahead and sit there and order without waiting in line. I went in and I saw the reason I was supposed to eat there. Sitting next to the only open stool was a man the Lord brought to my mind just the day before. I had prayed for this man and his children then because I had not seen them in several years and had lost contact with him. I was concerned for them as his wife had passed after battling cancer. He and his family were members of another church and it was difficult to keep in touch. When I came up from behind him and called his name, he turned and immediately there was that big smile of his. It truly was a time of pure happiness and joy in seeing him. I was so glad to hear how well his children are doing. He had some difficulties from a fall he had since I had last seen him, but he was doing much better now. We visited for a good five minutes or more before he needed to go and I needed to order my lunch.

That was truly a blessing from God and how He allowed me to see my brother in Christ that I had not seen for several years. And on top of that, having him come to my mind just yesterday and feeling led to pray for him. There were so many other places I could have eaten, even within walking distance, but God led me there. When things like this happen, you may have heard someone say, “That’s a God thing.” I would agree to that because there are no coincidences in life. Things don’t just happen. God can and does orchestrate our lives where He can use us and bless us in great ways. When we allow Him to guide us, we receive immeasurable blessings. Instead of just picking a place to eat because it sounds best, we can ask God where He would like us to eat. We may not always run into an old friend, but there may be another reason He wants us there. He may want to use us in some way. He may want us to be there to encourage our waiter or waitress, and even pray for them. He may want us to eat there so the owner of the restaurant will make enough sales that day to pay their staff or bills. He may want us there to meet someone new and even have the opportunity to share Jesus with them. He may want us there just to see if we will listen to Him and obey.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 NASB says, “Pray without ceasing.” Other translations say, “Pray continually;” “Pray constantly;” and “Never stop praying.” The apostle Paul is encouraging us to always be in communication with God. Be mindful of Him and be listening to the Holy Spirit speaking to you. Be expecting the Holy Spirit to prompt you. And be ready for the Holy Spirit to lead you. If we are communing with God and listening, we will hear His still, small voice. Then we will be ready to do those things He has prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:10)

So, next time you’re trying to decide on where to eat, don’t ask yourself or everyone else where they’d like to eat. Stop and ask God where He wants you to eat. Then, be ready to see what He has in store for you.


Bro. Paul Reed


Tuesday, March 9, 2021


Dear Friends,

I’m writing this article on my birthday.  I’m not reacting to a mid-life crisis but I find that I am being a little contemplative about growing older.  Do you remember turning 10?  How about finally becoming a teenager at 13, a driver at 16 or an adult at 18?  What about the big one at 21!  There was always a party, a celebration, a cake with candles.  It was always a day we looked forward to, a special day dedicated just to us.

Why do so many of us stop celebrating as more years pass? I suppose it could be that the farther away we get from those milestones, the closer we get to tombstones.  Every year adds a candle to our cake and after a while it starts looking like a fire hazard.  Anymore, birthdays come and go – maybe there’s a dinner involved, a few cards, some well wishes online but it’s really just business as usual. 

I remember an old TV commercial with a pretty wrinkle-free woman who would ask, “Why grow old gracefully? I intend to fight it every step of the way!” Of course, we all know that it’s a losing battle.  One thing we cannot stop is the passage of time and the effect it has on our bodies.  But what does God say about aging? If we listen to our Creator, we won’t hear about fear and resistance.  Instead, we hear about grace and goodness.

One of the verses that is particularly meaningful to me, given my appearance, shows us that growing older is an honor: Proverbs 16:31, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor…” The more years we live, the more experiences we’re given to learn from, and the more wisdom and perspective we gain to see life in new and beautiful ways. When we see someone in their later years (or when we look in the mirror and it’s us!) we should remember what a gift those years have been.

The media leads us to believe that youth somehow has more value than age, however the truth is, we are treasured by God at every age. Not only that, but He gives us specific gifts to share with the world in every season of our lives. In Titus 2, Paul reminds us of our great purposes, particularly the older men and older women.  He says that by living reverent lives of love, self-control, purity and kindness, we will teach and bless the younger men and women and their families. Those generations to come depend on our willingness to share what God has taught and given us.

Aging is often seen as a loss of control, independence and strength. Our bodies aren’t able to do what they once could; our memories aren’t as sharp; we begin to need more help than we used to. As the years pass, our fear of the unknown may grow stronger.  But the truth is, we’ve never been in control anyway! From the moment we were created, whether we’ve realized it or not, we’ve relied on our Creator for every step and every breath we take. Growing older helps us to understand that control is a transient illusion.  It becomes easier to rest in the promises of our loving God. Whether we’re turning 10 or 100, He promises to be with us every step of the way: Isaiah 46:3b-4 “… you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” 

So, whether you’re celebrating your birthday (like me) or that of someone you love, remember that every day in life matters. Don’t wait for a milestone to make it extra special. Look in the mirror and cherish your laugh lines and your gray hair; remember how they are created; remember you have a purpose and remember Who holds your future in His hand.

Only by Grace,

Pastor Mike

A New Song

As I was getting ready after my shower this morning, I reached in my cabinet and pulled out a new stick of deodorant. It’s always nice to have a fresh, new stick when the fragrance is the strongest and it just smells good. After applying my deodorant, I then reached for my toothbrush. It was time for a new one of those, so I pulled out a new one with good, straight bristles. Then I reached for, yes, you guessed it, a new tube of toothpaste. I had squeezed the very last speck from the old one yesterday. I got to thinking about all the new things I was using today. It’s nice to have new things. When something is new, it is in its best, most presentable condition. A new shirt always looks the best when put on for the very first time, before it is worn and washed and maybe fades a little bit. A new car always looks the best before small scratches start showing up from normal driving wear and tear. A new loaf of bread always tastes the best and most fresh when those first pieces are pulled out.


Now, older things aren’t bad. Just because we have them for a while doesn’t make them unwanted. A pair of jeans always feels better once you’ve worn them and washed them several times to break them in. A new pillow feels better once it has conformed to the shape of your head and neck. And even deodorant and toothpaste still work well after using them for several days. But everything reaches a limit. There’s only so much toothpaste in one tube. A loaf of bread only contains a limited number of slices. And material will only last so long before it wears out and your shirt has a tear in it or you have a hole in your sock. That’s what makes getting something new so nice. It’s new. It’s different. It’s fresh.


There are several psalms that say to sing to the Lord a new song (Ps. 33:3; 40:3; 42:10; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1). And even in Revelation we find that there will be new songs sung to the Lord in heaven (5:9; 14:3). Several other places we find the Word telling us to sing to the Lord, but in these passages, we find the distinction of singing new songs. As a singer, musician, and a minister of music, I’ve thought about this quite a lot. Of course God wants to hear us sing, but He also wants to hear new songs. It’s not that the old songs are bad or worthless now that they’re old, they are still good. Yet, He wants to hear new songs sung to Him. Too many times we can sing the old songs and just sing them by rote and not really think about what we are saying as we sing. It’s like just going through the motions. With a new song, we are finding fresh ways to praise and worship our God. We are thinking about the ways God has blessed us and finding new ways to thank Him for those blessings. As we sing or even write new songs, we are growing in the ways we express our praise and worship to God. The old songs can be good to sing to the Lord, as long as we are really singing them from our hearts. But don’t be afraid to sing new songs to Him and find new ways to express your love and gratitude to Him. “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) If we are getting new blessings from the Lord every morning, then we have plenty of new things for which to praise Him and plenty of new material with which to write new songs. God’s greatness is limitless. Find new ways and new words to express your praise to Him.


Next time you open something new, think about a new song you can sing to the Lord.


“O sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonderful things.” Psalm 98:1a


Bro. Paul Reed


Tuesday, February 23, 2021