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Paul Reed, Associate Pastor and Minister of Music, shares weekly thoughts and inspiration.

 
 
 

Frustration

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Frustration

 

Peacefully I’m lying asleep in bed, receiving good rest for my body, and suddenly I am thrown awake by a coughing fit. No cold, nothing caught in my throat, just coughing away because of a small tickle. There are very few things more annoying than having a small tickle in my throat that makes me cough. Seemingly, the fit ends and I lie back down. Right before I fall back asleep, the tickle returns and I am coughing again. Maybe I need a drink of water because my throat has gotten dry, so I get up and take one, but it doesn’t always help. I cough and hack and simply cannot get rid of that small tickling spot on one side of the back of my throat that I feel. What is it? I’ve tried to look in a mirror to see what it is, but I never find anything. This seems to happen a lot, and not only when I’m trying to sleep. Sometimes it happens when I’m singing and leading in worship. I have to stop, turn my mic off, cough, and then try to resume. It’s even more aggravating when the tickle comes during a service. At other times, my coughing can get rather loud, not only annoying me but also those around me. I can even feel it right now as I am writing this while drinking coffee to suppress the irritation. Yet, it remains, even with the occasional cough.

 

Little irritations can cause a lot of frustration. I’ve never been one who is happy when things don’t work as they should. My mother would remind me of when I was a child and how upset I would get when things weren’t just right with my toys. If the car track wouldn’t stay together correctly, I couldn’t keep playing with it. It irritated me so much that I’d simply put it all back up and try to play with something else. I’d like to say that my dealing with frustration has gotten better, but I know I still have room for improvement.

 

How are we supposed to deal with frustration? If things or people irritate us to the point of frustration, is that okay, or is it something that we shouldn’t allow to happen? I am reminded of the time in Exodus 32 when God was ready to destroy Israel after they had made a golden calf to be their god even after the Lord had brought them out of slavery in Egypt. His frustration was a righteous anger, of course, so maybe that type of frustration is acceptable. In whatever frustrations we may have, our actions and reactions should exemplify the fruit of the Spirit. Whenever frustration comes, we need to handle it by allowing the Holy Spirit to control our speech and our actions. Galatians 5:22-25 says, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” So, when we are irritated and that irritation continues until we become frustrated, we don’t want to lash out at others or let our anger get out of control. We need to remember what God’s Word says and submit ourselves under the control of the Holy Spirit. Then, the fruit of the Spirit will be revealed through us, and our actions will be in line with God’s will.

 

We all have to put up with a dry tickle in our throats from time to time. And we all have to put up with other things that irritate us. If we get to a point of frustration, may we all be quick to hear and listen to the Spirit speaking to us and let Him lead us in dealing with that frustration.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

 



Compassion

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Compassion

 

A few days ago, we needed some lightbulbs for the sanctuary, so I walked across the street to the hardware store. As I was returning, I succumbed to the temptation to drop into the convenient store and treat myself to a chocolate covered Payday bar. I know I didn’t need it, but they are really good, and I was getting my exercise by walking across the street. Anyway, as I was waiting to purchase said candy bar, there was a man in front of me purchasing something. I noticed that the young lady that was working there was crying. She seemed to put her hand up to hide behind as she took his money for his purchase and gave him his change. I was already asking the Lord what He wanted me to do. After this man in front of me left, I would be the only one in the store with her. I was thinking it may be an opportunity to minister to her in some way. The man in front of me left and as I approached the counter, she continued to hide her face from me with her hand. I started to ask her if there was something I could help her with when I realized she was talking to someone through an ear device. She never said anything to me and would not make eye contact with me throughout the transaction, but I did overhear her saying she was not able to do something because she didn’t have a key. Another person came into the store, and I felt led go ahead and leave because she had quickly turned away from me after giving me my change. As I left the store and was walking back to the church, my heart hurt for this young lady who evidently was quite upset about something in her life. I prayed for her asking God to help her as I had no idea what she needed, but I knew that He did.

 

This particular day I had a lot of things on my mind that was bumming me out in a way. Some things and some people that had disappointed me along with some struggles in finding direction in planning had caused me to be a little down. As I encountered this young lady and thought about her afterward, I realized my problems are not that bad. Yes, they are important, and I need God’s help in dealing with it all, but they are not life threatening as this lady’s seemed to be. To be honest, she looked a little malnourished and her clothes were a little worn. From the way she was talking and acting, I wouldn’t be surprised if she was having trouble with a place to live or how to get her next meal. I may be jumping to the extreme, but I don’t know, it just seemed to be dire. I was ready to help if I could, but I wasn’t given the opportunity.

 

There are hurting people everywhere. If we will look, they are right in front of us. Are we seeing people through God’s eyes? Are we seeing the hurt and are we ready and willing to help? We may not be able to help in every situation, but we need to have compassion for people and be ready to be used by God if the Spirit so leads. When Jesus walked on this earth, He had compassion. “When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36 NLT) And He showed that compassion. “Jesus saw the huge crowd as He stepped from the boat, and He had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So He began teaching them many things.” (Mark 6:34 NLT) And He had compassion not only for the crowds, but for individuals as well, as seen when He came upon a widow whose only son had died. “When the Lord saw her, His heart overflowed with compassion. ‘Don’t cry!’ He said.” (Luke 7:13 NLT) Then He raised her son back to life. If we will be mindful of the Spirit within us, we can show that same compassion for those who are lost and those who are hurting, and we can be Jesus to them.

 

Who is hurting around you? Are you looking upon them with compassion and through the eyes of the Lord? Pray and ask God how you can show compassion to someone who needs His love.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

 



Facing the Sun

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Facing the Sun

 

This past Sunday morning I was driving down highway 17 on my way to church. I looked over in the median and noticed a lot of yellow flowers. They seemed to just be wildflowers that were only six to eight inches tall with a bloom that was no more than two inches in diameter. What caught my attention is how they were all turned one way, facing the sun. I looked as closely as I could, while keeping my truck in-between the lines, and never saw even one flower facing any other direction. Every single yellow flower bloom that I saw for over a mile was facing the sun. The plants automatically faced what gave them light, warmth, energy, and life. Those plants don’t have eyes or brains, but somehow knew to face the sun in order to receive the most from its life-giving rays.

 

What a beautiful example of what we should do every morning, I thought. These plants were doing exactly what their Creator intended for them to do. God’s creation was praising Him simply by facing the sun for what it gives them – life and nourishment. As the sun rose that morning, these flowers turned to face and look at it. When we wake up each morning our first thought should be to turn and face the Son, our Savior, who gives us life and nourishment. The Son, Jesus, is the one who gives us what we need. Part of our praising Him is acknowledging Him when we first wake up, giving Him our attention, and giving Him our day. Creation does that by facing the sun, the source of life that their Creator has given them. We should do the same and face the Source of life our Creator has given us.

 

What do I do when I first wake up each morning? Are my thoughts on Jesus or on the things I have to do that day? Am I joyfully facing my Savior and anticipating another day with Him, or am I wishing I could just go back to sleep? Do I greet Him with a smiling good morning? Do I greet Him at all or even acknowledge He is there? May we all greet our Savior each morning when we awake. May we all start our day thinking of, speaking with, and looking at Jesus – facing the Son.

 

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High. It is good to proclaim Your unfailing love in the morning, Your faithfulness in the evening.” Psalm 92:1-2 NLT

 

“In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly.”

Psalm 5:3 NIV

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

 



High Places

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High Places

 

As I arrived at the church office this morning, I drove into the back parking lot and had to come to a stop. There was a truck partially blocking the drive. The doors on that truck were also open, restricting room to get around it. I was a little perturbed until I noticed just beyond the truck was a ladder that extended all the way to the top of the building with a man standing at the top working under the eave. He may have parked as he did for his own safety from people like me. I carefully eased around the truck and ladder to reach a spot to park. As I got out of my truck and walked toward the door of the building, I looked up to see what the man might be working on. I couldn’t tell, but what I immediately thought was this guy was either brave or crazy. To be standing at the top of a thin aluminum ladder sitting on asphalt that was extended three stories high made me nervous just looking at him, let alone being the one on the ladder. I’ve been on a ladder like that almost that high and didn’t like it, and my ladder was sitting on dirt. I don’t mind heights. I’m perfectly fine standing on a high place like a mountain, a building, or a bridge because I feel safe and secure. But a thin, slim, flexible, aluminum ladder that can easily slide out at the bottom or slide over at the top is not a place I want to be. I’ve climbed a water tower and a fire tower several times and felt fine. But those are stationary. The chance one of those would fall over while I was on it was very small.

 

Some people are afraid of heights. My father was somewhat that way because of an incident that occurred when he was a child. He and his mother were riding a Ferris wheel and were near the top. The bolt on one side had come loose and they were hanging to one side and praying the bolt on the other side would not give. They were yelling down to the workman, but he couldn’t hear them as he was letting other passengers off and on in the other seats. Slowly the wheel turned until finally they were close enough for the workman to hear them and he got them down before their seat gave way. Other people never experienced anything that frightening, yet they still don’t like heights.

 

As I’ve thought about it, it’s not really a fear of heights, it’s more a fear of falling. As humans, we were not made to be able to fly on our own. A bird that falls out of a nest that is high in a tree is perfectly fine to deal with falling because it was designed and made to fly. That bird can spread its wings and gracefully glide through the air and even fly back up to the nest. We humans cannot do that. Yet, many people still enjoy being in a high place. It’s fun to be on the top of a mountain and able to look out over the valley below and see for miles and miles. Or to look out the window of a plane and see a vast area of landscape beneath. I enjoy while driving across the Sydney Lanier Bridge looking out to see the tidal rivers and marsh, the islands, St. Simons Sound, and even the Atlantic Ocean. Even climbing the lighthouse and looking out over the trees and water can give a deeper appreciation for God’s creation as one sees it from above. High places give us a different perspective. We see things that we may see every day, but from a different angle and we have a different view. These different views almost always lead me to praise God. The high places allow me to see things I haven’t seen before, and I can praise God for that part of His creation. I can praise Him for the beauty that my eyes can behold at that time. I can praise Him more because I can understand a little more who He is as He is revealed to me in a new way. My appreciation for His greatness is renewed and strengthened because of His majesty that is around me and below me. I feel closer to Him because He has revealed to me another part of Him.

 

Shaky ladders should probably be avoided. But seek out high places where you can see God’s creation in a new way. Let the different views of His creation lead you to praise Him.

 

“You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For You created all things, and they exist because You created what You pleased.” Revelation 4:11 NLT

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

 

 



Pain

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Pain

 

Last Wednesday, my mother was in the hospital and was asking to see all of her children. I found a ticket that afternoon and was on a plane early Thursday morning flying to Dallas, Texas. As I arrived at the hospital mid-morning, I was met with bright eyes and a beautiful smile from my mother who then struggled to say my name. But she knew who I was, and she did say my name, as well as answering my “I love you, mom” with an “I love you, too.” It’s never easy to see someone in a hospital bed, especially when they are ill or in pain or struggling in some way. But when that someone is your mother, that difficulty is ramped up a thousand times more. Thankfully, she fell back to sleep before I could no longer hold back my tears. She was already on some morphine to ease her pain. The doctor came in to tell us of the bad condition of her spine with the results of the MRI. That was the cause of her pain and those nerves being pinched were shutting down her organs. We knew there was nothing that could be done to reverse that and her time with us on this earth would soon be coming to an end. Our greatest concern was for mom to be comfortable. It hurt us so much to see her in pain. Unfortunately, we would see her in pain again when she was moved back to her assisted living apartment Friday afternoon. Transferring her from the ambulance gurney to her bed was difficult. I was praying and hoping this pain would pass quickly. Mom finally had relief again when the meds came through from hospice and shortly after receiving them, she felt better. That evening, when I said my final goodbye, there was a calm about her, and she was resting peacefully.

 

I flew back home Saturday morning. Mom didn’t wake up any all that day and almost all of Easter Sunday. One of her sisters was visiting and talking to her when she opened her eyes for the first time in two days Sunday evening. And it would be the last time as shortly after that, mom went on to heaven. She left all the pain and suffering behind. She was free from her earthly body and all its physical limitations, restrictions, and flaws. She immediately was in the presence of Jesus and seeing Him face to face for the first time. “Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8 NLT)

 

I don’t like pain. I don’t like seeing other people in pain. I certainly did not like seeing my mother in pain. The experience of being in pain or sensing pain is not pleasant. Because we live in a fallen world, we experience pain. We experience pain in our own bodies. We can observe others experiencing pain. We experience pain when our loved ones die. We miss them and it hurts when we know we will not be able to see them or talk with them on this earth anymore. But God understands this pain. He watched His Son die on a cross that He didn’t deserve because He was paying for the sins of the world. Jesus suffered that separation from His Father when sin was placed upon Him, and He became sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus suffered great pain because He loves us. He wants us to have a relationship with the Father so we will never have to suffer the pain of being separated from Him. And just like Jesus did not stay in the tomb but rose from the dead, we too can rise from this earthly death to live forever with Him. Knowing we have this hope, we find joy in knowing our Christian loved ones who have died are with the Lord and we can see them again. That hope along with the love of God is what helps us through pain. Our Heavenly Father is always with us comforting us, encouraging us, and carrying us through those times of pain and suffering. He promises to never leave us or forsake us, and He always keeps His promises. And one day, all of His children will be free from all pain. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:4 NLT)

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

 



An Awesome God

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An Awesome God

 

I have been battling with the live oak trees over a few weeks now. We have a lot of them around our house and those little squiggly pollen things have been all over the place, along with all the oak leaves that have fallen starting a week or so before. Trying to keep the front steps and the driveway clear of all of them has been a chore, as many of you I’m sure can relate. And once the oak pollen came out, my sinuses have given me fits. It’s been over ten days of trouble. At night, I’m disturbing Debbie even more with my snoring. I have to get up several times through the night and try to clear my nose so I can breathe. It’s crazy.

 

I got to thinking. We breathe in through our nose which has all these small hairs to try and grab particles in the air and catch them before they go too far. These particles can be dust, pollen, germs, or other small things, some we can’t even see, that are just floating around. A lot of these things are caught and not allowed to go any farther into our sinuses, but some make it through. These are the ones that cause problems. They are foreign invaders, and our bodies respond by trying to destroy them or trap them another way to get rid of them. So, our sinuses begin to produce more nasal fluid so these particles will get stuck in it. Then, we have runny noses and postnasal drip in the back of our throats. Unfortunately, many times this fluid will get stuck up in our sinuses where it can cause an infection. All of this begins to make us feel bad in several ways and we have to deal with it until the pollen stops and we get all of it out of our system. Now, I’m not a doctor. This is just my understanding from what I remember in my life science classes back in school, which was quite a while ago. But, I think I’m close to being somewhat correct in my thinking.

 

Anyway, what amazes me is the design of our bodies. Thinking just about our breathing, our noses and sinuses fend off countless invaders all the time that keep us from getting sick. We may have certain allergies that will affect us more than others, but we are healthier because of how we were designed and made. God is the only one that could have designed us. There was no big bang that made it happen. We didn’t evolve into what we are today or humans would have died off long ago. The extreme complexities and brilliant intricacies in the human body that we have been able to discover can only point to us being made by God. And what about all the other things in our bodies that are not understood by doctors and scientists, or even things that may exist and haven’t been found? None of us can fully understand the human body, and yet God has made us all and knows every single detail about every single one of us. And His great design allows us to not only exist and survive, but to thrive.

 

As I continue to think about the human body and how it works, I am more and more in awe of my Creator. I become more aware of how great He is and how little I actually understand of life, myself, and Him. I see more clearly how small and insignificant I am in the grand scheme of things. Yet, my Creator, my God, knows me and loves me more than I can comprehend. He loves me so much that He is willing to be my Savior. He knows and loves all of us the same way. How great is our God! Words cannot express how grateful I am for His love. There are so many things running through my mind about the goodness of God right now, but I don’t have time and space to write it all down. When we begin to think about and list the greatness of God, we can go on forever.

 

Many of us may be suffering from allergies. But as we go through this time, we don’t have to let it get us down. We can try to see the goodness and greatness of God at work. It’s not always easily found, but it’s there.

 

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it.”  Psalm 139:13-14 NLT

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

 



Missing Out?

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Missing Out?

 

Another Tuesday and another Taco Tuesday lunch. Only today, some of the tacos have been removed from the special. No longer are shredded chicken tacos included. Only ground beef tacos are included in the Taco Tuesday special. Why would they do this? Were too many people eating the chicken tacos instead of beef? Is chicken now more expensive than beef? Is there a shortage? I would think there are a lot more chickens in chicken houses around than cattle roaming in pastures. Why limit the special to only ground beef? To say I was a little disappointed … would be correct. Really, just a little. I usually do get chicken tacos, but I’m not that upset about having to pay an extra dollar for one. The chicken is tasty enough to be worth the extra dollar. But it was nice when we got them a dollar cheaper.

 

Any time you have something taken away from you, there is some disappointment. It was nice to have what you had. That something or someone brought you joy or made you feel good in one way or another. Some people are afraid to follow Christ because they think God will take away or limit them from enjoying some things in life because they are not things a Christian should do. They think they will no longer have any fun. But God doesn’t take anything good away from His children. That’s Satan’s trick, causing a person to think they will miss out on all the fun stuff if he/she begins to follow Jesus. Jesus said Himself in John 10:10, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” Jesus wants to give us all the good stuff. The authentic good stuff. He wants to give us true lasting joy and fulfillment in life. Satan wants to steal that from us and only give us lies by tempting us with things of this world that will not last and only bring emptiness. The happiness he proposes doesn’t last because it is superficial.

 

When we follow Christ, the things of this world that looked so pleasing and alluring no longer have the luster they once had. We now see them as the empty distractions they actually are. John writes in 1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” As we follow Christ, we recognize the empty attractions of sin and this world more and more and begin to understand true joy, true happiness, true satisfaction, and true fulfillment comes only from God and following Him and His ways. We see the things of this world that once looked like fun can and will harm us. They ultimately bring pain and regret and no lasting fulfillment because they are not of God.

 

The apostle Paul encourages us in Colossians 3:1-2, “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.” As we do this, the things of this world become less and less tempting because we realize we aren’t missing anything. We have life with Jesus now and will forever be with Him in glory.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022



Procrastination

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Procrastination

 

Early this past January I was driving down Gloucester Street one morning and ran over something in the road. Very soon after, I began to hear a tick, tick, tick as I was driving and realized whatever I ran over had stuck to my tire. As I drove a few more blocks and turned left toward my destination, I felt the back of my truck move in an unusual way. One more block and I pulled over to the curb, opened the door and looked back at a flat left rear tire. Changing a tire is never too fun, but I tried to make it a learning experience for my son, Connor. I had a full-size spare to put on, but what worried me was it was the original spare and had never been used. My truck is twenty-one years old, which means that spare was a twenty-one year old tire that had been sitting underneath the bed of my truck the entire 298,000+ miles I had driven it. The tread looked great, but the small cracks in the sidewall concerned me. After putting it on and lowering the jack, it definitely needed some air, but it was holding up. I drove to the nearest gas station and filled it up and the truck rode just fine. Later that day, I took it to a tire place to get repaired, but the four-inch metal object that had pierced the tire had done too much damage and the tire could not be repaired. I would have to buy a new tire. They only had one tire in stock that was the right size, but it was a different make. I don’t like having one odd tire. I was told the spare was actually in pretty good shape, so I decided to wait and see if the company I had bought the tires from originally could get me a matching one. After all, there should still be some warranty left on that set. The trouble then became the original tire place had shut down and the nearest existing store is an hour away. I would need to set up an appointment with the other store and make sure they had tires that matched mine in stock. Several times I meant to call and set that up, but things kept hindering me. I had to deal with Covid for a couple of weeks, and then I needed to help this person or that person do something and things kept happening that prevented me from taking care of it. All the while, the spare tire was staying aired up and working just fine. That is until last Wednesday.

 

This past Wednesday I was driving to work as usual. I did drop by and pick up Cameron to ride with me. As I got onto the island, I needed to run a quick errand off Sea Island Road, so I was stopped at the light and sitting in the left lane. After the light turned green and the cars in front of me finally started moving, I let off the brake and began to move forward. It was then I quickly realized I now had a flat tire and proceeded to pull off to the side of the road. Sure enough, the left rear tire was flat and looked as if it simply was falling apart. I was immediately thankful I hadn’t had a blowout going 50+ miles per hour across that causeway and that the tire gave out while I was stopped and waiting for the light to change. And as I had thought before, my predicament now was the spare had given out and I did not have another spare. I needed help. Thankfully, Pastor Mike was able to pick us up. I grabbed the wheel from the original flat back in January and took it to get a new tire put on it and brought it back and changed it. That took the entire morning. Thankfully, I was finished in time to wash up and make it to lunch.

 

As we were waiting to be picked up, I told Cameron, “Well, here’s another ‘“REED” This’ article.” He said, “On procrastination?” I laughed and agreed with him. I’d said all along that I needed to get that done but kept putting it off. My procrastinating ended up costing me a good bit. It cost me the inconvenience of changing a tire on the side of the road; a little soreness from having to get down under the truck to set up the jack in the right place and pull the tires off and on; a little embarrassment as people drove by and saw my predicament; and a lot of time that was set aside for study and preparation, therefore the Bible study was not ready for Wednesday night. And it cost Cameron time in the office, as well as Mike’s morning having to drive me to Brunswick and back to get a new tire.

 

We are warned many times in scripture to not delay in our decision to follow Jesus. We don’t know when our life on earth will be over, either by death or Christ’s return. Jesus said in Matthew 24:36-44, “No one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son Himself. Only the Father knows. When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”

 

We need to be ready. Don’t put off your decision to receive Jesus as your Savior. Your procrastination could cost you a lot more than the inconvenience of a flat tire.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

 



Life Is Short

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Life Is Short

 

This past Sunday was a beautiful day. That evening was also nice and enjoyable to be outside. Debbie and I had the opportunity to walk around the Wesley Memorial Gardens. We wanted to see the azaleas and were hoping to catch them blooming at their peak. Unfortunately, we were a little late for peak, but there were still a lot of nice blooms, and even some still in buds. It is so relaxing to slowly walk around those gardens and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation all around. This time of year is especially nice because of the variety of colors that dot the green background of the leaves. However, as I got closer to the blooms that were dying, I could not describe them as pretty. Some of the color was still seen, but the petals were shriveled and traces of brown and black were seen. Several blooms had already fallen to the ground and were losing their prettier colors and getting lost in the brown leaves and shades of gray dirt. Those dying or dead blooms were not enjoyed. One might could describe them as being ugly.

 

No one likes that part of the life cycle of a flower. We anticipate the budding and anxiously await the opening of the bloom. We love to look at the vibrant colors and markings of the flower and enjoy taking note of all the detail. We take pictures so we can look back and remember it even better than just the memory of it that is in our minds. But then, the time quickly comes when the colors begin to fade. Their vibrancy is no longer there, and the bloom begins to wilt. Soon it will fall off the plant or even be cut off because it isn’t pleasant to even look at anymore. It decomposes and is never seen again. What was once so highly anticipated is quickly cast aside when its time is over and forgotten.

 

No one enjoys death. Many don’t want to even think about it. Yet, death is a part of life. Like all living things, we too will die one day (Hebrews 9:27). But we don’t have to fear death (John 14:1-3). For the Christian, death is simply passing from this life on earth to our eternal life with Jesus in heaven. In a way, that is when our carefree life begins. No more sorrow. No more pain. No more sin. No more death. We will see Jesus face to face and live forever with our Heavenly Father. And as we have placed our faith and trust in Him, we know we will be with Him there. Jesus said in John 14:1-3, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me. There is more than enough room in My Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with Me where I am.” Those are the comforting words our Savior shared with His disciples while He was still on this earth. And they apply to us today as well.

 

The life of a flower is short. Our life is short. Maybe not as short as a few days like a flower’s, but short in light of eternity. While we live this life, we first need to make sure we have believed in and received Jesus as our Savior and Lord. Then, we need to spend the rest of our short life telling others about Jesus. We don’t know how much time we have left.

 

“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog – it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” James 4:14

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

 



Golf

“REED” This

 

Golf

 

The modern game of golf is understood to have been developed in Scotland in the 1400’s. There is some debate as to similar games being played in Europe many years before being the actual origins of golf, but most agree the game we now know to be golf came from the Scots. Basically, the game is played with a small ball that is hit with a stick with a crook on one end. A player tries to hit the ball with the stick into a hole across a field, with the desire of hitting the ball the least number of times as possible. A full game consists of eighteen holes, with each hole varying in length and difficulty. When the ball is hit, it is called a stroke. Each hole is given a set number of strokes that a player is expected to need, called the par, for the ball to get in the hole. Adding the pars of all eighteen holes gives you the par for the course. This is usually seventy to seventy-two. When a person plays a course, he/she is essentially playing against that course. The player is trying to hit the ball the exact number of times as the par number. Thus, the average score for professional golfers is seventy-two. Of course, when someone’s score is less than the par, they basically beat the course. Now, that may happen more with professionals, but a lot less with amateurs. The average score for an amateur golfer is one hundred. That is basically needing one and a half more strokes than par on each hole in a round of eighteen. Most golfers would not consider that to be a good score. Yet, depending upon the golfer, how many years they have played, their physical condition being considered and other things, that may be a great score.

 

I had the opportunity to play this wonderful game of golf earlier this morning. I’m happy to say my score was under the average for amateurs. However, it wasn’t the best score for me personally, but not too bad since I haven’t played in several months. I still enjoyed it. A golf course can be a beautiful work of art with its wonderfully sculpted fairways and greens, wonderfully manicured grass and sand traps, beautiful ponds and lakes, and challenging layouts of doglegs and hole placements. Add in the natural beauty of God’s creation and scenery that is all around the course, along with wildlife, and it can be quite pleasing to the eye. The game itself is challenging and frustrating, yet it is enjoyable and rewarding. It amazes me that many times I will stand on a tee box and look out onto the beautiful fairway in front of me where there is a lot of short, green grass and after I hit, the ball still goes off to the right or left in taller, thicker grass or in the brush and trees along the side. That’s called the rough, by the way. And if you go too far, it’s called out of bounds. Even though it may be a bit narrow, there’s plenty of room in the fairway where the ball could land safely and I have a clear, unobstructed view to the green for my next shot, but for some reason it’s hard to keep it in that area. I try to keep the clubface square upon impact and swing correctly, but my lack of regularly playing shows as my shots are inconsistent in landing and staying in the fairway. In order to be consistent in one’s golf game, one must be consistent in playing. Once every four or five months won’t help my game. If I want to be better and play more consistent, I need to be playing much more regularly.

 

As Christians we want to stay on the straight and narrow, sort of like staying in the fairway. We don’t want to veer to the right or left where we can get into trouble. It’s easy to veer if we don’t stay consistent in our daily Bible readings, study, and prayer. When we spend time with God each day, it is much easier to live our lives in accordance with His ways. If we’re not consistent in spending time with Him, we forget things and our focus is on the world and our own desires instead of on the Lord. The focus of our minds and hearts needs to remain on God and His Word. As we do that, the Holy Spirit keeps bringing to our remembrance God’s Word and how it applies throughout the moments of our day. Galatians 5:16 says, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” Then verse 25, “Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” When we remain consistent in spending time with God in His Word and in prayer, the Holy Spirit is able to fill us with His knowledge and wisdom and we are ready, with His strength, to walk the straight and narrow path of righteousness.

 

Having a good golf game takes time to develop and you must play regularly. Living a Godly life takes regularly spending time with our heavenly Father. And when we stay on that straight and narrow fairway of the Christian life, it’s definitely a great day.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, March 1, 2022