On The Journey, Judy Bowman

“Change is painful”

Springtime has finally arrived in north Georgia. The dark rainy days of winter are slowly slipping away into memory and every day sees new blooms in our gardens and the woods around us. A thousand shades of green are blanketing the hills and ridges as sleeping buds burst forth to find the sun. I know how they feel. I’m feeling that same longing for the new life of spring, too. These past few weeks of Lent have prepared us for the true Light of Easter. We’ve been walking to Jerusalem with our Lord, through the good times He’s shared with His friends and now as we will be with Him through His Passion and the Cross of Good Friday. Spring is about changes and new beginnings. And change is painful.

But change is also hopeful. A new beginning opens a world of possibilities. For me, writing is like that. I’m old-fashioned and use a pen and paper writing everything in longhand. Sitting down with a blank white page in front of me is at once a gift and a burden. I can write whatever words I want to write and that’s a marvelous gift. But that freedom brings with it the burden of choosing which words to write and in what order and for what purpose. This is very much what Easter is for us as well. The sacrifice of the Cross opens heaven for us again. After original sin entered the world through our first parents, a gulf of separation kept us from knowing God as He created us to know Him. He wanted to be in an intimate relationship with each one of us, every moment of every day. So He had to build a bridge from His throne to our hearts. And He imagined that bridge in the form of a Cross. A simple wooden cross that would reach from the depths of our sins to the heights of heaven.

The hope of the Cross of Christ is our greatest gift. Through Him, we have the new life we long for–here and for all eternity in heaven. But the joy of the resurrection comes with the exquisite price of Golgotha. Easter is meaningless without Good Friday. In our culture, we often skip anything that smacks of sacrifice or suffering. We want to get straight to joy and happiness. But one look at the life of Jesus shows us how we are to live. And no time in His life is more revealing than this week. He spends time with His friends. He spends time in prayer. He helps those around Him with what they need. He keeps His heart open and His eyes fixed on Friday. He is motivated by one thing and one thing only: love. As we journey towards this Easter Sunday, how well do our lives reflect the hope of Jesus’ gift of the Cross? Like Christ, do we live a life full of prayer and service to others? Are we open to helping those around us when they need help? Does love motivate the decisions we make? If you’re like me, you probably have a ways to go. And that’s exactly when Jesus loves us most—when we still have a ways to go and we choose to make that journey with Him.

If you’ve been away from Christ, today is the perfect day to come home to Him. He’s waiting for you in the sacrament of confession. He’s waiting for you in the celebration and sacrifice of the Holy Mass. He’s waiting to give you the hope and the joy that He purchased for you on the Cross. Spring is the season of new life and light. Christ is calling you to return to Him and receive the new life that only He can offer.

“Even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to Me with all your heart..” — Joel 2:12

MaKayla Thomas, North Whitfield Baptist Church

This Sunday brother JT Sanders preached on the good news Lord brought us. The Lord died on the cross for our sins so we may one day go to heaven. Jesus also arose again and on the third day he came back just like he said he would. As far as any upcoming events we have the youth holding a cookout on 19th at Griffin Park, there will also be some games as well. On May 4th the youth will be holding a car wash and will be putting on their play the 5th. The “God’s Goodies” outreach has started and the youth will be collecting items until May 19th, put bags together the 31st, and give them out June 1st. Be sure to come down to North Whitfield sometime, we would love to have you!

Glenda Smiley, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

Sunday was an interesting day. We were all watching for severe storms. However, God blessed us with a beautiful sun filled afternoon. Although it was quite breezy, it was a gorgeous day to revel in the goodness of God.

Pleasant Valley Baptist was blessed Sunday with two great sermons. The morning worship, Zechariah 9:9-10, Pastor Flood, delivered on the first and second coming of the Lord. The Lord came the first time offering the kingdom to the Jews and salvation. They were looking for Messiah to establish an earthly kingdom freeing them from the rule of Rome. However, the Jews rejected Christ as their Messiah. Christ suffered during Week of Passion and willingly gave up His life. He had the power to lay His life down and the power to take it up again. No one took it from Him. He died, He arose, He lives forever more, and so shall all who put their faith and trust in Him. Christ rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, the beginning of the Week of Passion. When Christ comes the second time, He will enter Jerusalem riding on a horse to establish His kingdom on earth as King. The second coming is not the Rapture. The Rapture of the church (believers) has already occurred prior to His return to earth (2nd coming). The first coming, Christ came humble, lowly and meek, dying to provide salvation for all who will believe. The second coming, He will come with power and establish His kingdom to rule and reign as King for 1,000 years. When He comes for the church (Rapture) only believers will see Him. When He returns the second coming, all will see Him. Trust Him today as your Savior. He could come to rapture the church(believers) at any time. Bible tells us to “look up, our redemption draweth nigh”.

Brother Cody Cranmore, Youth Pastor, brought a wonderful message from Luke 23, the topic begin the seven sayings of Christ on the cross. What Christ said from the cross was not idle chatter and needs to be given attention. Victims of crucifixion died of suffocation, so physically, it was extremely difficult to say anything. We find Christ as He hung on the cross concerned for not only all who have ever lived, but concerned for those who had performed the gruesome act of crucifying Him. Prior to the cross, Christ had been severely beaten beyond recognition, spit upon, mocked, lots cast for His garments, The whip used to beat Him had pieces of bone tied into the whips and tore chunks of flesh from His body. A crown of thorns had pierced His head. He had been tormented and moved from court to court all night long. The crucifixion was the climax of all that had occurred before to the Savior who was without sin. As He hung on the cross. He prayed in verse 33 “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. This prayer, referenced in Isaiah 53, being that He made intercession. Christ Jesus died for all, because all have sinned, but He selflessly included those who had preformed the crucifixion. The soldiers were obeying orders and perhaps did not understand what they had done. God forgives sins of ignorance as well as those done with knowledge or understanding of sin. Yes, Christ is selfless, He bare our sins, and He loves and forgives sinners. Forgive means to send away or omit....cancel, remit, pardon. Forgiveness is different with man and God. Man forgives, but remembers. God forgives and chooses not to remember. God cancels the debt we owe that we could never pay! When we receive Christ as Savior, repentant of our sin, we are forgiven from the judgment of sin (hell), but be aware sin has natural consequences. Repentance of sin is necessary and means to turn away from. Repentance is not remorse or regret. Unconfessed sin, after salvation, separates us from the relationship with God. In addition, we need to forgive others of acts, if we wish to be forgiven of our sins. Unforgiveness to others blocks our path (fellowship) with God. Sometimes people understand what they do, sometimes not. But our responsibility remains the same. We must be forgiven by God and we must forgive others. We must forgive others even if they never seek forgiveness keeping our relationship with God free from sin of unforgiveness toward others.

Please continue to pray with us for others in need. Especially, pray for those with physical needs Lula Petty, Emma Jo Davis, Carolyn Denton, Denise Pitts and Claudette Armstrong. Remember to pray over our prayer list as God knows every name listed. Pray for our nation/leaders, military, missionaries, ministries of church, church growth, Pastor Flood and his family. So many needs. Pray for Pleasant Valley Baptist Church to be used of God to win souls, see lives changed, spiritual needs met, and the Word of God honored and preached.

Make plans now to be with us on this coming Sunday morning, Resurrection Day, Easter. What better place could you be than in the house of God on the day commemorating His resurrection. Also, plan to be with us on April 28th, to hear the message of missionary Mark Lancaster.

Service times are Sunday School 10AM, Worship 11AM, Evening 6PM with prayer time at 5:45PM. Wednesday Bible Study and Youth 7PM. Call 706 537-3633 for transportation.

Happy birthday wishes to Dorothy McAllister (17th). May you have a blessed and wonderful day.

We are so blessed at PVBC and want to share our blessing with you. You are always a welcome guest and hopefully be part of our church family. If you long to know God’s Word and fellowship with Christians who truly love the Lord, this is a place for you. Come, visit, and be blessed. Looking forward to seeing you!