“Reed” This
 

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

 
 
 

Overwhelmed

Overwhelmed

 

This past weekend I finally had time to do some work around the house. But the first thing I wanted to tackle was cleaning out my truck. It had been some time since I had done it, so it was needed. I just hadn’t realized how badly it was overdue. I have an extended cab with four doors, but the back ones are really only half-size. It’s amazing all the things that will accumulate in there. There is a back seat, but with everything in the seats and on the floorboard, there was no way someone could actually sit there. So, I began cleaning it out. I had a trash bag with me knowing I would need it. I began filling it with empty cups that had held my half-n-half teas to-go from various restaurants. Then, I began crushing empty water bottles and putting them into the bag. I was reaching underneath the seats, pulling out candy wrappers, gas receipts, old golf score cards, and various other trash items and putting them into the bag. I came across all kinds of papers and envelopes with some of them dating back several years. I then began going through the different objects that I kept in there such as umbrellas, jackets, hats, work gloves, moving blankets, bug spray, my metal detector, books, CDs, bowling pins, pieces of wood, clam shells, clamps, and ratchet straps. Finally, I had removed all the trash and everything else out of the cab. Then I carefully put only the things I really needed to keep in the truck back in an orderly fashion. All the other stuff, I put in the garage or wherever it needed to go in the house. I put at least twenty or more CDs back with my stereo downstairs. And I threw away two umbrellas that had holes in them along with one large completely stuffed bag of trash. I thought to myself, “How was I carrying so much stuff around in my truck?”

 

It’s amazing how trash and stuff can accumulate around us. It starts with just a little mint wrapper or an empty water bottle that you just put in the back floorboard out of your way. A neat looking shell you picked up at the beach or a letter you forget to take in when you got home. We don’t think about it, but very quickly, a little here and there adds up to a lot. Finally, you look around one day and find yourself surrounded by trash and clutter.

 

That can happen in all areas of our lives, especially emotionally and spiritually. A little altercation occurs with someone, and we hold on to it and don’t let it go. Something happens politically and we keep going through it in our mind. We worry about what may happen with ourselves, a family member or friend and remain anxious, wondering if or when it will happen. Things continue to come upon us that concern us, and we just don’t know what to do with them, so we carry them around in our minds, not sure if we need to be concerned or if they really matter. All of this just weighs us down more and more. Our minds become clouded, and our strength seems to be zapped. We look around and don’t know what to do. We’re overwhelmed. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” God can clear all the clutter from our minds and lives. He is the only one who can truly give us peace emotionally and spiritually. His Holy Spirit guides us and gives us the ability to discern and understand what really matters. Even with all the turmoil and uncertainty that surrounds us, we don’t need to fear and worry. We have the peace of God. Isaiah 26:3-4 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.”

 

It may take some time for you to truly feel that overwhelming peace. It took me two hours to clean out my truck. And I didn’t even vacuum the carpet or clean the dashboard and windows. But it felt so good to be able to drive it knowing all the mess was no longer around me. Even if that peace is not immediately felt, know that God is there with you and rest in His promise. Trust in His Word.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

 



Did You Hear That?

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Did You Hear That?

 

A few nights ago, we had some stormy weather come through. There was some rain, but the wind is what really got my attention. I was awoken several times during the night. One time I heard the heavy rain hitting the roof and the water splashing to the ground as it gathers to one particular spot during storms. All the other times I was just hearing the wind. Well, not actually the wind, but the things it was affecting. I could hear the whooshing and swishing as it whipped through the tree limbs and leaves. I heard something on the back porch being blown around. What woke me up the most was hearing knocks and bumps and scratches on the sides of the house. That was telling me something I’ve known for a while that I’ve neglected – pruning. All the plants around my house are needing some serious pruning. I’ve seen it for a long time, but kept putting it off saying, “I think I’ll just go for a more natural look.” The only thing is, that natural look has gotten to a point where it just looks overgrown. Bushes that normally are only about five feet tall are above my second story roofline. Those plants are growing and look quite healthy, so I hate to cut on them. But I know, it’s not good to have the plants knocking and scratching up against the house. That can damage the paint or even the wood. A natural look is fine, as long as it is under control.

 

I was thinking about hearing those bumps and scratches, and I was reminded of something else. We all have times in our lives when we may get a little complacent in our routine or in the way things seem to be going. Our walk with the Lord is okay and we feel good. Then, we start hearing bumps, knocks, and even scratches. It may be a storm, or it may simply be the Holy Spirit trying to get our attention. Complacency is dangerous. We never need to think we have arrived at a place where we can be satisfied with where we are and what we have achieved. We are to always be growing in our faith and growing in our understanding of God and growing in our relationship with Him. We may have grown a lot in the past, but the more we know God, the more we realize we don’t know God. He is too great! But He wants us to grow closer to Him and learn more and know Him more and fellowship with Him more. Jesus said, “I Am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:1-2) That’s God working in our lives, shaping us into what He wants us to be so that we may be able to accomplish the great plans He has for us. We must be abiding in Him and growing in Him for Him to be able to do this. He won’t force Himself upon us, we must submit and allow Him.

 

Jesus speaks to Christians in Revelation 3:20 and says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” We need to be listening. We need to hear His voice and be ready to let Him in and spend time with Him. We may even be at a point where we are asleep and God has to wake us up, but we don’t want to miss the opportunity to spend time with and grow closer to our Savior.

 

(bump)

Did you hear that?

Is Someone trying to get your attention?

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

 



A Christmas Snow

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A Christmas Snow

 

When I was young, we always went to my grandparents in southern Oklahoma for Christmas. It was just a three-hour drive west from where we lived in Arkansas. It always seemed colder there because the wind was always blowing, and that time of year, it was always coming from the north. Granny and Daddy John’s house was an old rock house that was heated by a central floor furnace. That meant the living room was always a little too warm and the bedrooms were always a little too cool. But the den out back of the kitchen was just plain cold. Yet, with us twenty grandchildren buzzing around, we stayed plenty warm. I remember late one Christmas Eve it began to snow. We all looked out through the windows and watched it accumulate on the ground and measured it by how much was on the picnic table that was being covered outside the back door. Of course, we were already excited because Christmas was the next day, but now we knew there would be snow as well. As expected, it was difficult getting to sleep, but somehow, we finally did. The next morning was wonderful with all the excitement of opening our Christmas presents together with our cousins, as well as our anxiousness to play in the snow. When we finally went out, it was beautiful. Snowing all night had left thirteen inches on the ground! Now that was fun! It was hard to believe so much had accumulated, but it was snowing very heavily the previous night. Everything was covered with a thick coat of white.

 

Now, southern Oklahoma is not what you would call the prettiest area, especially in the winter. Not meaning to offend, but I could describe it as just being ugly. Being so cold and windy, the trees were always completely bare, except for the cedars, which were the only nice colors as everything else was a dull gray or light brown. Everywhere you would look was just cold and bleak and dead. But, the white snow covered almost all of that and overnight it was beautiful. You now saw the brilliance of the light reflecting off practically nothing but pure white snow. All of the “ugly” was gone.

 

No matter who we are or what we try to do, we are all ugly. Since all of us have sinned (Rom. 3:23), that sin has made us ugly. We not only look dirty and dead, we are dirty and dead. But, just like that snow covered all the dead trees and dead grass, Jesus has covered all our dirty sins with His shed blood on the cross. “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” Psalm 32:1. And unlike when that snow melted and the old dead grass was still there, Jesus has removed our sins from us, so we don’t ever have to see them again. “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” Psalm 103:12. And why did He do that? Read the verse just before that one. “For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.” Psalm 103:11. It is all because of God’s love. His awesome love. His amazing grace. His undeserved, unmerited favor. “But – When God our Savior revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Titus 3:4-6.

 

As long as I live, I’ll always remember that Christmas snow. As well as standing on Granny and Daddy John’s couch while looking out through the window behind it and watching the snow come down the night before. But for all eternity, I will remember my wonderful Savior, Jesus, who shed His precious blood to cover all my sin. And because of Him, I stand before my God dressed in white.

 

“’Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Thought they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.’” Isaiah 1:18

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

 

 



Turn On the Light

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Turn On the Light

 

I have many great memories of Christmas at my grandparents. Both sets lived in the same town in southern Oklahoma, so we were able to see and visit with all of them every year. We would alternate each year which house we would spend the night with on Christmas Eve. When we were at my mother’s parents, there was the family tradition of caroling on Christmas Eve. I loved this tradition. Being one of twenty grandchildren made for a large caravan of station wagons and singers. My aunt Johnnie was the church secretary, so she had the list of shut-ins from their church, as well as others that needed to be visited. We would pull up to a house, all of us cousins and aunts and uncles would unload from the vehicles and gather just out from the front door. One of us would knock and there was a brief pause, making sure someone was coming to the door, then we would begin singing. We usually sang at least three carols of two verses each, then we would wish them a Merry Christmas and load back up in the cars and head to the next house. As I recall, I don’t remember any of the houses we went to being right next to the other. We always had to drive a little from one house to the next. There was one particular house I always remembered well. Unlike all the others, when we stopped in front of this house there were no lights on. No lights outside and no lights inside. This man was not a shut-in, because I remembered seeing him at their church, and even playing the piano one time. We would gather around his door like the other houses. Someone would knock, but we would wait until he came out before singing. He was always so cheerful and happy that we had come. As he came out, he would say, “Let me turn a light on for you.” His porch light would come on and then we would begin to sing. The thing was, he didn’t need any lights because he was blind. He couldn’t see us but would turn a light on so we could see him.

 

I remember laughing when he would speak and turn his porch light on for us. It was awesome that he thought of us and knew that would help. I was always fascinated by this man. I often thought how different his life must be not being able to see. Yet, he had a house, lived there by himself, and was able to go and do as needed. And he had been able to do that for a while, as I remember him being older. Here was a man who couldn’t see other people, couldn’t see Christmas decorations or lights of any kind, yet he knew and worshipped Jesus. He couldn’t see the light with his eyes, but he knew the Light because someone had told him. He had been taught the true meaning of Christmas, the reason for the season. Even though he was impaired because of his lack of sight, as someone shared Jesus with him, he was able to see spiritually and understand his need for Christ. Someone loved him enough to know he needed Jesus, and he had to be told.

 

Who do you need to tell? There are many who can see with their eyes but still need to see with their hearts. They need to be told why we celebrate Christmas. They need to be told why Jesus was born. They need to be told what He has done for them. Jesus said in John 12:46, “I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in Me will no longer remain in the dark.” We don’t want anyone to be blind to the gospel of Jesus. Let’s be sure we are sharing with them the Light that has come. “No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.” Luke 11:33

 

We always ended our caroling at my grandparents’ house, where we started. We went through the same routine; someone knocked as we all gathered by the door. Then, we would sing for Granny and Daddy John, the ones who started the family and continued the Christian family heritage by telling their daughters of the Light of the world that was born on that first Christmas. Then they told us. When we were done, we all went back into their house for hot chocolate and goodies to eat. I miss those times of caroling and spending time together with family. We are all spread out across the country now with many of us cousins now being the grandparents. The family tradition of caroling may not be still going, but through the grace and strength of Christ, the tradition and heritage of sharing our faith in Jesus is still going strong.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

 

 



Family

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Family

 

I love the holiday season. Thanksgiving is wonderful with all the delicious food that takes a few days to eat all the leftovers, but that’s not what makes it special. The Christmas season is wonderful with all the presents, parties, decorations, music, and delicious food, but that’s not what makes it special. New Year’s Eve is fun with the parties, fireworks, and staying up late to ring in the new year, but that’s not what makes it special. So, why do I love the holidays? The answer is – family. There are so many good things about the holidays, but the best thing with all of them is the time to spend with family. When I say, “I love the holidays,” I’m actually saying, “I love to spend time with my family!” Now, we may not be able to see all of our family during the holidays, but the ones we can see and spend that time with make it special. The activities and food may be good, but it’s the ones you share it with that brings the joy on those occasions. Just this past weekend I was able to spend time with my immediate family. We had some really good food and deserts that all of us enjoyed. We drove over to Jekyll Island to see all the beautiful and impressive Christmas lights on display. But far and above all that was the time the six of us were able to spend together. The conversations, the laughter, the memories, the stories, and just being together was overwhelming at times. Seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces as we sat around the table or living room brought such joy. Then, being able to take my grand-daughter outside and push her on the swing, watching the contented smile on her face as she sat and went back and forth was really special. Being able to worship together as a family and serve together with my sons as they helped me lead in worship is beyond description. What a blessing! What joy fills my heart even as I think and write about it! I am so grateful to God for the family He has blessed me with and know that it is truly a gift from Him.

 

I love how God designed, created, and established the family. From the very beginning, He brought Adam and Eve together and told them to have children (Gen. 1:28). They did (Gen. 4:1), and they were blessed with their children. As I write this, I know there is not always perfect harmony within a family. Even from the beginning, there was trouble, as with Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:8). But even through the struggles, challenges, personality conflicts, and difficulties, family is still family. There is still that connection that can never be broken. And in most families, there is love for one another. That love comes from the Father, who demonstrates His love for us in so many ways. But the greatest way was through His sending His Son to be our Savior. And as we receive the gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus, we become God’s child. We then are a part of His family, and that connection can never be broken (John 10:27-29). His love for us and His promises of everlasting life holds us forever in His hands. We will always be His child and will live forever in His house.

 

Jesus said, “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.” John 14:2-3

 

What a wonderful promise Jesus has given us. Until my room is ready, I need to be showing and sharing the love of Christ with my family. And I need to be doing the same with everyone I meet so that they know how to become a part of God’s family and Jesus can start working on their room. I love spending time with my family. And I love spending time with my church family. And I love spending time with God’s family. I pray you are able to have a great holiday season spending time with your family – earthly and heavenly.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

 

 



Unexpected Visitor

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Unexpected Visitor

 

We had the opportunity to take our annual family fall trip up to the mountains last week. This year marked the seventh year in a row for this particular place, where we stay in a wonderful house that is so comfortable and nice. Even though we don’t own it, we truly feel it is a home away from home. We enjoy the views of all the colorful leaves as we drive up through the mountains as well as around the house. We got settled in once we arrived and sat down in the family room for our first night of rest and relaxation. As we were sitting there visiting and, of course, watching Jordan run around playing, I began to hear some knocking on the outside of the house. There were only a few knocks every so often, but it got my curiosity up. It was dark and I tried looking out to try and see if there was something out there or if there was just a limb being blown by the wind that would knock against the house. I couldn’t see anything, so I sat back down. A little later I heard something again. I thought I might know what it was and wanted to look out thru the kitchen window. I turned all the inside lights off so there would be nothing glaring on my side of the glass. I turned on the light of my cellphone and sure enough, there was the culprit. Just outside of the kitchen window was the wooden trash bin. The previous guests had evidently not latched the lid down correctly and there just ten feet on the other side of that window was a full-grown black bear going through their trash. It was a little unnerving while at the same time being quite fascinating. I’ve never been that close to a wild bear, and I found myself relieved I was inside the house. The bear had lifted the heavy lid off that trash bin, lifted two plastic trash barrels out of the bin, and then pulled every bag out of each of those barrels in search of something to eat. I raised the window so I could see better which made a noise. The bear looked right at me and slammed his two front paws down on the ground as if to say, “Get back! This is my food!” Seemingly, the bear determined we were no threat and simply spent another thirty minutes slowly going through everything and eating whatever he could find, paying no attention to our lights or talking while watching him rummage through the garbage. I knew there were bears there and had even seen pictures of some in the yard around that house. But in all the previous years we had never seen one while being there. It was quite exciting. I found myself thinking several things about this bear. It was a beautiful creature with thick, black fur. It gave off a childlike innocence as it went through the trash not always knowing if one thing was something to eat or not. It seemed very content just sniffing and tasting. Eating was basically all that was on its mind. Still, this was a large animal that was very strong and powerful. I certainly respected it for that, yet it was almost like watching someone’s pet dog.

 

I remember my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Prince, saying on the first day in her classroom, “I can be nice, but I can also be mean as a bear.” I quickly made up my mind to never make her mad. I didn’t want to see her be mean as a bear, especially with me. Bears can maul and seriously hurt or even kill you. Then I thought about David when he was about to face Goliath. He told King Saul in 1 Samuel 17:34-37, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God. … The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” I can’t imagine fighting a bear with my own hands. I’ve always had respect for David, but after seeing this bear so close, my respect for him has grown. But notice who David gives the credit – the Lord. Even though David had the strength and ability to kill the bear, he knew it was the Lord who gave him that strength and ability.

 

We may not have to face a bear or a lion with our own bare hands, but we have to face a lot of battles in life that are just as threatening. We face financial stresses, pandemics, economic upheaval, protecting our family, providing for our children, difficult relationships and many other things in life that threaten us physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually. But, we have to remember Whose we are. We have to remember Who will deliver us.

 

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

 

 



JC

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JC

 

We recently had a loss of one of our family members. My niece’s husband, JC, battled colon cancer for a little over a year. He passed from this earth on Sunday, October 17 and he was only 34 years old. As I got to thinking, I really didn’t know him that well. We had seen each other over the past several years only at family gatherings and that was usually maybe a day or so at a time with many other family members around. Then it was at least a year or two or more between those times. I knew him as a fine young man, very nice and friendly, but I didn’t know him like I would a close friend. Living far from each other and limited time spent together hindered our getting to know one another better. However, I very much wanted to attend his funeral and be there with family during this time. Debbie and I and our grand-daughter, Jordan, made the trip. Two days of driving got us there late afternoon the day before the service. We had a few hours to visit with my niece and her two children, as well as my sister, and another sister who was able to come. The service was held in a high school gymnasium the next morning and was very well attended. I was quickly realizing more of who JC was as several hundred people were filing in. His impact upon his community was evidently very big. Several of his friends since childhood and his brother shared about JC and their relationships. It was good to hear stories of his childhood as well as his early adult life and how he meant so much to his friends and family. As the minister began sharing, he shared scripture and then talked about how JC always had a concern for others. He wanted to help others and encourage them in whatever they were doing. He then said, “We need to live like JC lived.” That phrase stuck with me.

 

I’ve always thought about his name, “JC”, and those initials. I finally found out what they stood for on the funeral program. But in hearing them, I’ve always thought about the other “JC” I know. As the minister said that phrase, “live like JC”, the preacher inside me was ready to jump up and preach. It was a great lead-in for sharing the gospel. Yes, I could agree with “live like JC” because he lived like THE JC. He was kind, caring, concerned for others, helped others, encouraged others, and wanted the best for others. He touched others lives by treating them with love just like THE JC does. And JC did those things because he knew THE JC – Jesus Christ. He tried to do things right because that’s what Jesus Christ does and wants us to do. His life exemplified Jesus with all those who knew him. He was a loving friend to everyone. He was a loving father to his children. He was a loving husband to my niece. He was a loving son-in-law to my sister and her husband. He was a loving member of our family no matter how he was related. And he was able to love because he knows the One who first loved him.

 

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.”

1 John 4:7-12 NLT

 

I was glad I had the opportunity to attend that funeral and get to know JC better through the sharing of his friends and family. It was evident that JC lived his life loving others. I’m grateful he is a part of my family. I’m sorry I didn’t know him better here on this earth, but I’m glad I will have the opportunity to get to know him better for all eternity in heaven. Until then, I want to live like JC.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

 

 



Comfort or Growth?

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Comfort or Growth?

 

The last few days I’ve been working on finishing the new flooring in the main part of the house. I started on this project over a year ago and am finally about finished with the last bedroom. I have noticed a big difference with the luxury vinyl plank flooring verses the old carpet. That old carpet had a nice cushion underneath that the new doesn’t. There is a little bit of give, but not near that of the carpet with the padding underneath. In some ways I miss that padding. It felt nice walking on it. But, the carpet looked old and had several places where it was stained too deep to get out. As I cut strips and sections of that carpet, there was all kinds of sand, dust, and dirt that came out of it. We had run a vacuum cleaner over it many times, yet that sand and dirt was still deeply embedded in that carpet. Then, the padding underneath was exposed. The part that made the carpet feel nice was actually the worst. The amount of dirt, dust, and sticky grossness within it was repulsive. I definitely had to have my work gloves on when handling it. My mind would race thinking about what had gotten into it as it was walked upon for the last 25 years. I had to make myself stop before I got sick. After it was all removed from the house and the subfloor was scraped, swept, and completely cleaned I finally could breathe without fear of something bad coming into my nose. I’m sure the carpet was nice when it was first laid down, but it trapped all kinds of dirt and filth over the years. And the padding, what made it feel the nicest, was our worst enemy in holding the filth.

 

We get trapped into and by all sorts of things that feel good. We like those things and think they are good because of how they make us feel. The difficulty with that is what feels good is not always the best. Some things that feel good are actually trapping us and damaging to our lives and our walk with Christ. They may have been good before, but now they have become old and are holding us back from growing and moving forward to better things that God has for us. They may not feel as comfortable, but that’s only because they are new, and we are being challenged as we are growing out of our comfort zone. Paul encourages the believers in Philippi to grow in the Lord as he writes, “I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.” (Philippians 1:9-10) We can’t be happy staying in a spiritual rut because it feels good. We must grow in our walk with Christ so we can know Him more and experience the fullness of Christ and His glory. Getting out of a comfortable rut is not always easy, but we must if we want to grow.

 

That new floor may not feel quite as good to my bare feet as the carpet did. But I know it definitely looks better and no doubt is better for my allergies and health. I’m glad to get rid of that old stuff. There’s no telling what it was doing to my sinuses. And I don’t want anything holding me back from growing in the Lord. I’m ready to walk on that new path of growth God has planned for me (Eph. 2:10).

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

 

 



Old Friends

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Old Friends

 

I enjoy remembering old friends. It’s fun sometimes to think back to how things were as we grew up together. There were neighborhood friends that we would meet and play in one or the other’s backyards. Or we would meet on one of our driveways and ride bikes around on it or through the neighborhood streets. There were school friends that we grew up with being in the same grade. Sometimes we had the same teacher in grade school and had our desks next to one another. As we got older, maybe our schedules were similar in middle school and high school and we had some classes together. There were some I was friends with because we shared a particular class. I had friends that were on the football team. I had friends that were in the band. I had friends that were in my math classes. In my senior year, I took a creative writing class and became closer to some friends that I hadn’t spent as much time with before. Most were friends that I had known since we were in kindergarten, but we hadn’t always had much in common or many classes together. This class was different, and it gave me opportunities to spend a lot of time with them due to several projects we worked on together. One of those friends was a guy that I ended up hanging out with a lot outside of that class. We developed a closer friendship where we could share with one another some difficulties or struggles we were going through. Along with that, I had several opportunities to share my faith in Jesus with him. He was always willing to listen and had questions and wanted to discuss it with me. But, when I would ask him if he wanted to trust in Jesus as his Savior, he always would say, “That sounds good, but I’m just not ready to do that right now.” We kept close throughout our senior year and even into the following summer. We went to different colleges and would see each other only a few times during those years. The last time I remember seeing him was at the old Wal-Mart back home when I was visiting for Christmas. We were both married by that time and in there for some last-minute shopping. It was good seeing him and catching up just a little as our encounter was brief. That had to have been over twenty-five years ago. Last week I heard that old friend had passed away. His older sister had posted it on social media.

 

I was saddened to hear about his passing. Not only because a friend had died, but more so because a friend died and I don’t know if he ever received Jesus. It has been heavy on my mind a lot since I heard. There is nothing I can do about it now, but did I do enough? I had the opportunity to share with him when we were in high school and a few times after, but was it enough? Was my life enough of a Christian example to make him want what I had? Did he ever see Jesus in me? I may never know the answers to those questions. Yet, those thoughts are still on my mind. Although I can’t do anything for him now, I can let his passing be a hard reminder of the responsibility I have while I’m still alive on this earth. I must be about my Father’s business. I must be sharing my faith, sharing Jesus with all who will listen, and even those who won’t. I must be allowing Christ to live in and through me so others will see Him. I don’t want any of my friends, family, or acquaintances to not know Jesus as their Savior. I must be living for Him.

 

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”  Galatians 2:20

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

 

 



I Remember

“REED” This

 

I Remember

 

I remember really liking an orange shirt with Winnie the Pooh on the front pocket area. I wore that shirt when I was three or four years old. I remember living in a white brick house with a big oak tree in the front yard and my dad’s garden in the back. I remember the large drainage ditch that ran along one side of the yard and around the very back. I remember playing football with my brother in the front yard and the sidewalk to the front door was the fifty-yard line. I remember a swing set in the back yard, but I don’t actually remember playing on it. I remember when I was five years old talking with my father one night in my parent’s bedroom and praying to receive Jesus as my Savior. I remember moving to an old two-story house closer to downtown that had wood floors. I remember running and sliding across that floor with just our socks on until my brother got a big splinter in his foot. I remember it being so cold several times that we had to stay upstairs until lunch because there wasn’t enough gas in town to heat the downstairs. I remember moving to our new house that dad had built on the west side of town. I remember petting the neighbor’s horses in the pasture there behind the house when they would lean their heads down over the fence. I remember watching two snakes fight on the back porch and then watched the king snake swallow the copper head snake after winning the fight. I remember raking pine straw a lot because we had so many pine trees in that yard. I remember playing games with my family in the living room by the fireplace. I remember moving from that house to another one closer to town where I had my own bedroom and didn’t have to share with my brother. I remember it was upstairs, small, and had no windows, but I liked it. I remember moving to another house east of town where my father started getting sick. I remember not liking the neighbor’s dog because it always came over to our yard and bothered us. I remember moving to two other houses before my father passed away and before I graduated high school. I remember all my life, wherever we lived, there was music being played on piano and organ and there was singing. I remember all my life, wherever we lived, we always went to First Baptist Church in DeQueen. I remember my Sunday School teachers and R.A. leaders, one of which became my father-in-law. I remember my children’s and youth choir leaders and singing in the church. I remember the pastors: Bro. Joe who baptized me; Bro. Nick who cried a lot when he preached because he was so burdened for the lost; and Bro. Victor who played golf with me and preached my father’s funeral. I remember my youth minister, Steve, who was awesome and always helping me in ways that I didn’t fully realize until later in my life. I remember God calling me into full-time ministry at youth camp in Siloam Springs, Arkansas the summer after my junior year of high school. I remember starting college and feeling scared and alone. I remember later really enjoying college and learning more about music and ministry. I remember hearing and reading in scripture many places where God told the Israelites to remember all He had done for them. I remember hearing and reading 2 Timothy 2:8, “Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead. This is the Good News I preach.” I remember as I got older coming to a better understanding of what God had done for me when He saved me. I remember that I don’t deserve His love. I remember that I don’t deserve His grace and mercy. I remember that I am His child – a child of God. I remember “that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love” (Romans 8:38). I remember Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me,” (John 10:28). I remember He also said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about me everywhere” (Acts 1:8). I remember surrendering to His call upon my life to serve Him in full-time ministry. I remember following His leading to college and to seminary and the degrees He led me to study and earn. I remember the strength and understanding He gave me in order to accomplish that. I remember the strength and ability to live for Him all the days of my life. I remember my God. I remember my Savior. I remember my calling. I remember.

 

Bro. Paul Reed

 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021