Ow!

“REED” This

 

Ow!

 

This past weekend I was working in my wood shop. I don’t have air conditioning in the shop, so my shirt was basically soaked because of the heat. I was done and needed to bring some things back into the house. As I walked up the stairs to the back door, I noticed a sizable wasp nest tucked up in the corner of the eave a few feet from the door. I also noticed there were several wasps flying around that nest, so I was trying to get in before they saw me. Unfortunately, the door was locked, both my hands were full, and my key was in my pocket. Thankfully, Debbie saw me and came to open the door for me. Just as she was opening the door, I felt a sharp pain on my back quickly followed by a strong stinging pain. “Ow! Ow! Ow!”, I said as I jumped through the door to set things down out of my hands and reached back to try and swat the wasp that was stinging me, but I was too late. She had already flown off the back of my shoulder, but the stinging venom she left in me was still doing its work. (Yes, it was a female wasp. The males don’t have stingers.) A good ten to fifteen minutes went by before that sting died down. But I was left with a quarter-sized, hot to the touch, red, swelled up spot on my back that throughout the rest of the day would remind me, a little painfully at times, I had been stung. I got to thinking about that wasp stinging me. The first thing I felt was its stinger pricking me. My skin being stabbed was the first pain. Then, I felt the stinging burn of the venom being pumped into me. That was much worse than the stinger prick and was the reason for me crying out, “Ow!” Just like a shot at the doctor, the needle is not bad, it’s the stuff they pump into you that hurts. The difference being the doctor is giving you something to help, not venom.

 

That was the first time I had seen that nest. I usually will leave a wasp nest alone, as long as no one gets hurt by them. But if one stings me or another member of my family, then I will kill them and destroy the nest. Some of you might say, “But what about the ‘“Vengeance is mine”, says the Lord, “I will repay.”’ verse?” I don’t believe that applies to wasps. I can’t figure out why that wasp felt threatened by me. I was at least six feet away from the nest. Maybe she didn’t like the color of my blueish gray shirt or the fact that it was wet with sweat. I’m sure I will never know.

 

For the past year or more, it seems that a lot of people are like that wasp. They quickly feel threatened or are offended by the smallest things and are ready to light into someone with stinging words and actions. Maybe we are all tired of dealing with this pandemic and have had too much time to just sit and stew about something. Aggravation with masks and restrictions, racial tensions, and political bickering have been so annoying and unsettling. Whatever has put everyone on edge, no one has the right to lash out at someone else in anger or be rude. As Christians, we need to be like Jesus and only respond in love, keeping control of our emotions, and not letting anger lead to sin. Here are a few scriptures we all need to help remind us how God wants us to be.

“Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper – it only leads to harm.” Psalm 37:8

“People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.” Proverbs 14:29

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

 

Remember, no one likes to be stung by a wasp. Let’s not be a stinging wasp to someone else with our words and actions. Let’s be the love of Christ.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

 

 



Family Heritage

“REED” This

 

Family Heritage

 

Many of you know, and I guess many of you may not know, I am the youngest child in my family. I have three older sisters and one older brother. Celia is the oldest followed by Becky, who is five years younger. Ruthie was born two years after Becky, followed by John, who was born another two years later, and then I was born two years after him. So, my oldest sister, Celia, is eleven years older than me. I truly enjoyed growing up with so many siblings. We had 15 first cousins on our mother’s side of the family. She was the oldest of four girls born to my grandparents. So, I’m one of 20 grandchildren on the McClure side. On my father’s side, we had nine first cousins between his older brother and younger brother, making me one of 14 grandchildren on the Reed side. Dad had three half-brothers and one half-sister that I remember, but I don’t remember their children as we didn’t see them much. We saw our first cousins quite a lot as they all lived in Oklahoma, except for one of my mother’s sisters and her family living in the Dallas, Texas area and our family living in Arkansas just six miles from the Oklahoma state line. It was only a three-hour drive to Madill, Oklahoma where both sets of my grandparents lived, which was in the south-central part of the state just above Lake Texoma on the Oklahoma and Texas border. Whenever we went to visit one side, we always were able to visit the other side. They were even members of the same church, which, incidentally, was the first place my mother saw my father, therefore we all worshiped together when we were there on a Sunday. The family names were Reed, McClure, Ard, Jacks, Williams, and my great aunt and her son’s family name, Broderick. All these names, which included 51 people, were raised in the church, and were taught to know and love Jesus. That’s three generations of my family. The first of those generations were taught by the previous generations. That teaching carried on into the other two and has been and is being passed down into two more generations.

 

As my uncle, Darrell Ard, has done a lot of research into our ancestry and I have done a little, I find it interesting that I was the first ordained minister in our family tree. That means that all this strong Christian heritage has been passed down through many generations not by preachers, but simply by lay-people that love Jesus and shared Him with their children. That so encourages me! What an awesome blessing from God! I know that not everyone can say all of this about their family. Someone else may not be able to say any of their ancestors knew the Lord, and that is sad and may be very difficult for that person. But that person can be the first generation that is a believer in Jesus and starts what an ancestor many generations later can say, “That’s when our family began following Jesus.” That’s why I’m writing this. Not to brag about me, but to acknowledge how the Lord has blessed me and to encourage all of us to keep sharing Jesus with our families, and to all the people we can so that their family trees will be full of believers. We have the awesome opportunity and responsibility to share Jesus with our children, our siblings, cousins, and maybe even our aunts and uncles and grandparents. Long ago, God instructed the Israelites to tell their children and generations after them of Him and His ways. That still applies to us today.

 

“The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  Deuteronomy 6:4-7  CSB

 

I love my family, and I am grateful I can continue to love them as we spend eternity together in heaven. I pray you can say the same about yours. Whether anyone listens or accepts, in love we must continue sharing Jesus. Prayerfully, our family heritage will all be eternal life with Him.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

 



Sing the Song

“REED” This

 

Sing the Song

 

We are blessed to have a lot of trees, shrubs, and bushes around our house. Most are natural, but previous owners had put in several different kinds of plants and we have enjoyed all of them, as well as adding some ourselves. One of the benefits of these plants and trees is they attract wildlife. We have enjoyed seeing so many different animals and birds around and many of them have made their homes on our property. Squirrels scamper around and chase one another up and down the trees. Possums can be seen occasionally, along with otters and maybe a mink one time. The racoons are always fun to see, especially when the muscadines are ripe. They seem to really enjoy those. I have seen several bird nests around and every morning we can hear them singing. One type of bird that we hear and see are wrens. These birds are no bigger than my fist, and yet their song is strong, clear, and louder than the other birds. Very often there will be one close to a window or door and they will sing their song loud and strong. I’ve watched them several times as they sing for a minute or so, and then fly about thirty feet to another branch and start their song again. It is quite fascinating to watch and hear. As I was listening to one this morning, I didn’t see it, but I could tell when there was a pause in the sound and then it started again from a different spot. I knew it was flying around to different places to sing its song. One last pause, and then I heard it no more. Its flight around my yard was complete and it had moved on somewhere else. I immediately missed hearing the beautiful song.

 

As I thought about that, something rather quickly came to my mind. As Christians, God has appointed us to be sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. We not only have been given the opportunity, but also the responsibility to sing His song. It’s a beautiful song of love, forgiveness, restoration, and salvation. And it sounds so good when you hear it. It is amazing. It is breathtaking. It is moving. And it is comforting. The world doesn’t know the song, but they need to hear it. The song of Jesus is beautiful, and it needs to be loud and strong amidst all the noise of the world and its distractions. We need to sing it here and there and everywhere. We need to sing it for this person, then go to that person, and then to the next person again and again until they know the song and can sing it too because they know Jesus. We need to always be singing, taking advantage of every opportunity we have to share, because one day the song will stop. One day we will be gone and there will be no one to sing. The world will no longer hear the beautiful song of salvation and it will be too late.

 

The possibility of hearing a wren tomorrow morning around my house is pretty good. If I don’t hear one, I will probably hear the other birds and enjoy their songs, but I would miss hearing a wren. As we all hear the birds singing and calling out, may they remind us that we too are to be about the Father’s business. Just as God gave the birds their song and they sing it for His glory, we need to be singing the song of Jesus so others will be saved and God will be glorified.

 

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:8

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021



I’m Not Comfortable

“REED” This

 

I’m Not Comfortable

 

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to go on a trip with Debbie in celebration of our 30th wedding anniversary. We got married on June 15, 1991, but the first week of July worked out the best for the trip. We decided to go somewhere cooler than southeast Georgia, so we went to Estes Park, Colorado. I had been there before when I was a teenager, but Debbie had never been. I remembered it being a beautiful place and even in July, it was still cool and pleasant because of the altitude. Now, I’ve lived basically at sea level for 25 years and I’m used to a lot of oxygen in the air. Every time I have been to Colorado before, I have driven there, slowly getting higher and higher in elevation. This time, we flew from Savannah straight to Denver. As you know, Denver is known as the “Mile High City” because it is one mile high in elevation, 5,280 feet. The elevation of Estes Park is 7,522 feet. Needless to say, at that elevation, there’s not as much oxygen as here. As we got there late Sunday night, I hadn’t realized it being that different as I was busy getting luggage, getting my rental car, driving up to Estes Park and trying to find the lodge after dark where we stayed so I could finally get some rest after a long day of travel. The next morning, however, I could feel the difference. It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t breathe, I just had to take more breaths than usual. It was the sudden movements and getting up and down from a chair or the car that made me feel dizzy. I didn’t feel sick, just weird and different. After looking up some things on the phone, it was determined I had symptoms of altitude sickness. I’d never experienced this before. I’d been at these higher elevations several times and been fine. A little winded, but never dizzy or uncomfortable.

 

We feel uncomfortable sometimes when we are in new or different places. It’s not what we’re used to, so we are out of our comfort zones. But, if we just stay in the same place, we just see the same things. We have to go somewhere else, somewhere different, to see something new. In our Christian walk we are used to a weekly and even daily routine. We attend church services, Bible studies, and prayer groups. We participate in activities and help in specific areas in our leadership positions. We do all the normal things and we see God working and can even experience some great things. But when we get out of the normal routine, when we step out of our comfort zones and go and do something new or different, it is then we see God work in new and different ways. We can’t see mountains in southeast Georgia. We have to go somewhere else because there are no mountains here. We can’t keep doing the same things and expect different results in our service to God. He wants us to step out of our routine, do something new for Him, so He can show us even greater things. That’s how we grow. We may not feel comfortable with these new programs, methods, people, or even meeting places, but as God leads, we need to step out on faith and follow Him. As we do this, He is able to reveal Himself in new and greater ways.

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NLT

“It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8 NLT

 

Thanks to the Lord’s strength, we were able to go and do and see everything we had wanted while in Colorado. We were even able to go into the Rocky Mountain National Park up to 12,000 feet above sea level and see and enjoy God’s beautiful and magnificent creation. We never would have seen and experienced the grandeur and awesomeness of everything had we not gone. Pictures cannot come close to the experience of being there. God is truly awesome. But if we never step out of our comfort zones, never step out in faith, we will miss the greater depths of His awesomeness that He wants to reveal to us and wants us to experience with and through Him.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

 

 



What Are You Looking At?

“REED” This

 

What Are You Looking At?

 

I have one of the most beautiful drives one could ever have each day as I drive to and from the church. As I turn from highway 17 onto the F.J. Torres Causeway and travel just a few hundred feet, I am met with the beautiful marsh grass waving in the breeze with the tidal creeks winding their way through it and in the distance, through the space between two islands, there is the vast Atlantic Ocean. In the mornings, the sun shines brightly before me with its light shimmering across the water with millions of sparkles dancing off the top. And in the evenings, the beautiful sunsets gently bathe the marsh with a golden warmth while an array of reds, oranges, purples, and pinks splash across the sky just above the horizon as the sun sets in the west. These times seem to bring God’s magnificent and glorious creation onto full display and I am in awe every time I see it. I quickly want to praise God for His beautiful creation and the opportunity to see it. I think, “What a wonderful blessing You are giving me, Lord.” Then, I sometimes begin to think about all the life that is out in that marsh area. God has created all of it: the marsh grass, the crabs, the fish, the shrimp, the birds, the water, the soil, and everything else and has put it in motion and every day that creation of His follows the order that He has set in place. Every day I look out and His creation is still there, living and existing as He meant it to be. How wonderful and awesome is our God!

 

This morning was different. I didn’t see all of God’s beauty that I just described. I was too busy trying to watch the road and all the traffic around me. I was traveling up to speed, yet it was still bumper to bumper. I was trying to get around those who were driving too slowly while begin careful not to run into the vehicles in front of me. There were times when I may have had an opportunity to glance to my right or left to see the marsh and water, but my focus was completely on my driving and making sure I was getting in and through the traffic the best and quickest way I could. My goal was getting on to the office so I could get my work done. But, when I arrived, I felt that I had missed something. I knew what it was because I had felt that way before. I had missed the opportunity to look and see and marvel at the Lord’s creation. I had missed the opportunity to praise and thank Him for the beauty of His handiwork that was right there for me to see and enjoy. My focus was on something else. Yes, I needed to be focused on my driving, I fully understand what you are saying. But I could have done that and still been mindful of praising God. Too many times we get caught up in our lives, the business of work, activities, our goals, our desires, and we miss the simple joys of life as well as Who should be our priority. We neglect to lift up our eyes and see our Creator and all He has done and give Him the praise He is due while we live our lives. If our focus is only on ourselves and our goals, then we need to stop, repent, and ask God to forgive us. Then, we need to put God first and foremost on our minds so our eyes can see and we can be mindful of His presence that is always all around us. We will still be able to accomplish our work and all that needs to be done, and I believe even better than without. We just need to be sure and not miss or neglect God.

 

I do look forward to seeing God’s beauty each time I drive across the causeway. But even if I am driving or even sitting on Frederica Road because of the traffic, my mind’s eye still needs to be on Jesus and praising Him.

“I lift up my eyes to You, to You who sit enthroned in heaven. As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God.”  Psalm 123:1-2  NIV

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

 

 



Who Do You Look Like?

“REED” This

 

Who Do You Look Like?

 

I recently came across an old photograph. It was one I don’t remember ever seeing, and certainly don’t remember it being taken. It had to have been from late 1986 or early 1987, as I believe it was the last photo taken of my father and me together before he died. We are standing side by side in what looks to be my grandmother’s, his mother’s, kitchen in her house on Wolfe Street in Madill, Oklahoma. From his illness and how he was standing, it’s the only time it looks like we were the same height. In good health, he was a good three inches taller than me. I decided to post that picture on Instagram and Facebook this past Sunday, which was Father’s Day. I thought it would be a nice tribute to him, even though he didn’t look his best due to his cancer treatments at the time. Several people commented on the picture with many of them saying how much my sons look like me, as I was only 18 in the picture, much slimmer, and had no beard. Through the years I have thought many times about the similarities in our facial features and/or build.

 

We’ve all heard or said, “He has your eyes,” or “She has your nose.” People will look at newborns and try to see the mother or father in them, “Now, who does he/she look like?” Everyone is always looking for those family resemblances. As parents, we are always wondering what our children will look like before they are born, when they are children, and even how they will look as adults. As I was reading the comments about my boys looking like me, I began to think, “Do we look like our Father?” I know we can’t see God because God is Spirit. But as Christians, do we look like Him? When people look at us do they see Jesus? Do they see His love, His compassion, His mercy, His grace? Do they see love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control? Those are the fruits of the Spirit (Gal.5:22-23) and they are to be seen in us. Too many times we are caught up in the world and our lives are not displaying these qualities and characteristics. Yet, these are the characteristics of the Spirit, of God, and we are to be like Him. We are to be Christians, “little Christs”, showing that we belong to Jesus and that Jesus has made a difference in our lives. We need to look like our Father. We need to look like God. The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 5:1-2a, “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.” And Jesus says in Matthew 5:16, “Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” When people see us, our actions should point to God because we and those actions ‘look’ like Him. Then, they can praise Him and He will receive the glory.

 

I enjoy the fact that my boys look like me in some ways. It’s always fun to find the family resemblances. But my prayer for them, as it is for myself, that we all look more and more like our Father in heaven. 

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

 



30 Years Ago

“REED” This

 

30 Years Ago

 

Can you think back thirty years ago? The year was 1991. That spring was my final semester of college. In April of that year, I sang my senior voice recital. In May, I graduated from Ouachita Baptist University. Then in June, on the fifteenth day of that month, I married my beautiful wife, Debbie. The Bible tells us that God created a helpmate for Adam because it was not good for him to be alone. He made a woman that was just the perfect mate for him. He did that for me when He created Debbie and brought us together. I love her so much and am so grateful for God making her for me. There is no doubt in my mind that we were meant to be husband and wife. On June 15, 1991, we said our vows to God and one another that we would love one another and stay together for the rest of our lives. We made that commitment and have stuck with it even though some difficult times have come our way. We know we are committed to one another and committed to this marriage. God brought us together and through His strength and help, we have stayed together. He has blessed us with two wonderful, healthy boys and blessed us with a daughter-in-law and a granddaughter now. He has blessed us in allowing us to serve in several churches and live in four different states together. And even though we have faced and gone through many trials and difficult times, we always have known we had each other, and we had the Lord with us.

 

A strong marriage commitment is such a wonderful blessing. But there is an even stronger commitment that we can experience. When we commit our lives to Jesus, that relationship with Him is even stronger. Not always from our side, but on God’s side of the commitment. We don’t always follow Him in the correct ways and many times we even act against Him. We don’t always hold up our side of the relationship. God, however, always holds up His side of the commitment. He never lets us down, never disappoints, and never breaks a promise. Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:11-13, “This is a trustworthy saying: ‘If we die with Him, we will also live with Him. If we endure hardship, we will reign with Him. If we deny Him, He will deny us. If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is.’” Even when we sin against God and are unfaithful to keep our walk clean, God remains faithful to us and continues to hold us in His hands. He will never fail us and will always keep us as His children. His incredible commitment to us is overwhelming because His great love for us is overwhelming. That’s why Paul writes in Ephesians 5:25, “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up His life for her.” We are to love our wives with the same sacrificial, unselfish, agape love that Jesus has shown to us. We can’t be perfect like Jesus, but we can strive to be.

 

I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but thankfully, there has been a lot of forgiveness. My marriage is far from perfect, but it is strong because our commitment is first to God and then to each other. He gives us the example and we strive to follow it. I’m grateful for the thirty years He has blessed me with my beautiful, loving wife, and I pray she can handle another thirty or more with me. And as far as the other, I’m grateful for the forty-seven years of being held in my Savior’s hand after committing my life to Him.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

 

 



Sickness, Illness, I Don’t Like It-ness

“REED” This

 

Sickness, Illness, I Don’t Like It-ness

 

This past Sunday I was unable attend church due to illness. I can’t remember having to miss a service for that reason since I’ve been here at Frederica. I started feeling bad late Saturday afternoon after working outside all day. I knew as I sat in my chair that evening that the body aches, headache, maybe some fever, coughing, and extreme fatigue were not good signs that I’d feel much better the next morning. Sure enough, after a restless night, I was still wiped out and felt terrible as I began letting Pastor Mike and Pastor Cameron know I couldn’t make it for services. It greatly bothered me to have to admit that. I hated the fact that my body wasn’t feeling well enough for me to fulfill my responsibilities. But I knew I couldn’t do it. I simply did not have the energy. This was more than just soreness from overworked muscles. My body was telling me I needed rest and I was being made to listen. Thankfully, after sleeping most of Sunday and resting most of Monday, I was back to normal this morning. I don’t know exactly what to call the “illness”. The more I’ve thought about it, I think I may have just overdone it on Saturday. Too much dust from mowing and moving some old lumber I had stored, building some supports on the outside of my wood shop, combined with the heat of the day and the heat of the fire burning most of that old lumber, plus the smoke from that fire, all amounted to taking a toll on me that I didn’t expect. But, I’ve had days like this before and I didn’t feel this bad afterward. Why now? Yes, I know I’m getting older. And I hear what Aunt Bee heard from ol’ doc Andrews, “We’re no spring chickens anymore.” (A little Andy Griffith humor)

 

We don’t always know why we get sick. We can be feeling fine one day and then totally rotten the next with no explanation. We can get checked out by doctors and they may can tell us what we have, but not how we got it. We may know someone else we were around that has the same symptoms, the same illness, and know where or from whom we got it, but we don’t really know how. We were just around them. But how one little germ got from them to us is still a mystery. However it happens, we all get sick at times. Be it serious or not, it’s always a nuisance. We can’t do what we want or need to do until the sickness passes and, if you’re like me, we don’t like it. Since sin entered the world, everything that harms us entered the world, and it all ultimately leads to death. Our mortal bodies cannot last forever. We must endure this life in the flesh and its frailties, both spiritually and physically, while striving to live our lives in the Spirit. Paul says in Romans 8:10, “If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.” And that righteousness is not our own. “He [God] saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” (Titus 3:5-6) Our physical frailties can bring us down just like our fleshly, spiritual frailties. Satan will use whatever he can to discourage us and distract us from staying strong in our walk with the Lord. But we must remember that even though we physically are dying, our spirits are alive in Christ, and we can rejoice in knowing we have everlasting life through our Savior.

 

There are times in our lives that we will be sick. Hopefully, we can physically rest and allow our bodies to heal. And when we suffer through the physical pain, we can find strength in knowing this physical life is only for a moment compared to the eternal life we have in Jesus.

 

“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”  2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

 



Unfinished

“REED” This

 

Unfinished

 

Today, I needed to go out and see how the new church building was coming along. I made my way up Frederica Road through all the beginning of summer traffic without too much trouble. There were no workers present as it was lunchtime, so I was alone with God as I strolled through the building. It was quiet with just the sounds of songbirds, the breeze blowing through the trees rustling the leaves, and my footsteps. I was thanking God for all the work that had been done and prayed for the continued protection of the workers as they constructed the building. I looked around with amazement as excitement filled me once again. The exposed framework was quite intriguing as it all fit together to define space and give structure and support. I thought about how so much of what I saw would soon be covered with sheetrock and other finishing materials and never be seen again. Yet, it would still be there accomplishing what it was meant to do. I envisioned how things would look once everything was done. It will look beautiful and function as designed. It will be just what we need and provide space to meet for Bible study, worship, fellowship, and equipping for us to go out and share the gospel, the love of Christ, and minister to the needs of our Jerusalem and beyond. It will be finished. But for now, it is unfinished.

 

It made me think about people. All of us are unfinished. As Christians, we are all on that journey of sanctification, becoming more and more like Christ. It reminds me of a song from an old children’s musical. The lyrics are,

“He’s still working on me,

To make me what I need to be.

It took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars,

The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.

How loving and patient He must be

‘Cause He’s still workin’ on me.”

The “still working” is a great comfort. None of us are perfect. Some are closer to perfect than others, but we are all still a work in progress. And none of us will be finished until God completes everything in us. As we look around, we must remember that when ministering with other people. We want people to be patient with us as we are still growing in our faith and in our walk with Jesus, so we must be patient with others. Like our new church building, we may look good now, but we’ve still got a way to go before we are done. There are a lot of things that still need to be done on that building as we have a lot of areas where we individually need to grow. The wonderful blessing is we know there will come a time when the building is finished. And, God will continue to work in and through us until He has accomplished and finished His desire for our lives. Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” NLT

 

That new building is already doing great things for God even though it is unfinished. It is creating excitement among us and this community. It is providing work for multiple people. And it is already a testimony of God’s faithfulness, power, and love for His people as well as people who are lost. May each of us be an unfinished masterpiece for Him.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

 

 



FORE!

“REED” This

 

FORE!

 

I had the opportunity to play golf today. I first learned how to play golf when we had an exchange student from Sweden come live with us the year I turned twelve years old. His name was Jonas and he was an excellent golfer. He actually won state medalist for high school golf in Arkansas that school year. My father had played golf before I was old enough to remember, but it had been some time since he had. Dad decided to pick it back up so he could play with Jonas and taught my brother and I how to play. I’ve enjoyed playing ever since and even played on our high school golf team. I never made it so far as to even compete in the state medalist tournament, let alone win it, but I still had fun. Today was no different. I didn’t have a great round with a low score, but I enjoyed being out on the course and playing. Sometimes the ball went where I wanted it to go and sometimes it didn’t. Sometimes it went in the right direction, but was too long or too short. Other times it went too far to the right or to the left, and even was lost in the trees, bushes, or marsh grass occasionally. (Okay, so I lost five or six, but I found three.) Like a lot of things, to be good at golf you need to play frequently. Today was the first time I’ve played since February, so I really wasn’t expecting to play too well. I was happy to have had some good shots and tried not to get upset over the bad ones. What I had learned in the past when I played a lot helped me to do well, but since I don’t play frequently, my muscle memory wasn’t at its best and the consistency of my shots was lacking.

 

Our spiritual life needs good frequency. That daily time reading God’s Word and spending time with Him in prayer and meditation cannot be beat. That consistent communication with God helps us more than I think we can ever realize. When we have that consistent walk, we seem to have so much strength and confidence as we strive to live our lives for God. We may face difficult challenges, but because we are in closer fellowship with the Lord, our minds are focused more on the Word and how God would have us react to those situations in ways that please Him. But, when we slack off for a few days or weeks, our reliance on our past times with the Lord only go so far. Our strength is quickly zapped because it isn’t being recharged. Before we realize, we are losing battles and struggling because we aren’t plugged into the power source anymore. We become weak trying to hold it together on our own. When we stop just trying on our own, the wonderful thing is all we have to do is plug back in – simply turn to God and ask Him for help. We can open the Word and read, and His Spirit will begin to fill us with His strength. We can talk with God in prayer and let Him revive our spirits. Our strength can be restored and then we can tap back into God’s strength and let Him fight our battles and guide our steps and use us in accomplishing His will. Jesus speaks to His disciples and says in John 15:4-5 NLT, “Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.” We need to stay connected with the Lord and walk with Him daily. Our daily, consistent walk with God in His Word and in prayer is essential nourishment for our spiritual lives.

 

Hitting a golf ball long and straight requires a lot of practice with good techniques. Consistently hitting a golf ball long and straight requires a lot of frequent practice with good techniques. Otherwise, it’s difficult to keep the ball in the fairway. We need daily time with the Lord to keep on the straight and narrow. And spending time reading the Word and praying is a whole lot easier than keeping your golf swing in order.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

 



^