On The Journey, Judy Bowman

“Sweet mercy”

Several years ago when I was going through a difficult period in my life, I let my heart be filled with bitterness and resentment. I had been hurt by people I had thought were my friends. I became consumed with feelings of betrayal and anger. I spent (wasted) my time nurturing those feelings. I was going nowhere, except into a hardened and sinful place. I was more concerned with holding onto my grievances than I was with allowing God to heal me of my pain. Until I was ready to forgive, how could Jesus forgive me? So one night I wrote down the names of all the people who had wronged me. I held the list in my hands and began to pray for each one of them by name. It was tough. At first I’ll admit that only a tiny piece of my heart was involved when I prayed. But as I continued with it day after day I felt myself letting go of the anger and hurt. I didn’t forget what had been done, but I was able to lay my hurts and resentments at the foot of the Cross. In return, God gave me His mercy and peace. For the first time in a long time, I was free.

Looking back, I can only wonder at the weeks and months I had invested in all that anger. I let it take over my life and rob me of my joy. I gave it permission to be in control, instead of welcoming Christ’s mercy into my heart. This is something nearly all of us deal with at one time or another. One famous family experienced the pain of separation and estrangement over a lack of forgiveness and the price they paid for it was enormous.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning is one of the most well-known Victorian poets. Growing up in England, she was the oldest of twelve children. Elizabeth began writing poems in childhood and despite a lifelong battle with poor health, she continued to be a prolific poet. Her courtship with Robert Browning produced a multitude of letters famously detailing their love for one another. But Elizabeth’s father was completely opposed to their relationship. After they married, she was disinherited and her father never forgave her and never spoke with her again. The newlyweds moved to Italy and she never saw her dad again. Despite his hard feelings towards her, Elizabeth continued to faithfully write to him for many, many years. Towards the end of her life, she received a large box filled with the letters she’d written to her father—all of them unopened and unread. Because he couldn’t forgive her for loving Robert Browning, her father had missed out on knowing his daughter.

When you get right down to it, not forgiving someone who has wronged you is a sin of pride. You and your grudges become more important than anything else — family relationships included. You think you know best. You believe that your hurt feelings have priority over anything else. They almost take on a life of their own and you nourish and encourage them by remembering how you were wronged and treated unfairly. It’s all me, me, me. Your memories build a prison around your heart and that’s the definition of pride.

Who do you need to forgive today? Are you estranged from someone in your family? Forgiveness and reconciliation are a gift you can give to yourself. Even if the other person never admits how they hurt you. It’s not about them. It doesn’t mean that you weren’t hurt or betrayed, it just means that you no longer choose to hold onto that hurt anymore. Ask The Lord to help you do this. It might take a while, but that’s okay, too. Little by little you’ll feel a burden being lifted and grace will lead you through it. Don’t waste time losing out on love.

“When you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” — Mark 11:25

MaKayla Thomas, North Whitfield Baptist Church

This Sunday brother JT Sanders preached on sin and how it is our leprosy. Like leprosy, it has many negative effects on your life. Sin “stinks” and can make one “dirty” like leprosy would. It limits one’s ability to be close to others and God. Sin is something that can be quite corruptive.

As for upcoming events, we have visitation the 3rd of this month at 6:30 and another the 8th at 10am. On the 9th we have Homecoming so service will start at 10:30 am. The 13th is the boy’s camping trip and the girls will be doing something together while they’re away. The 17th-21st is Vacation Bible School and the 30th is Youth Sunday.

Be sure to come down to North Whitfield sometime, we would love to have you!

Glenda Smiley, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

One cold winter day my friend Sue posted on Facebook, “Today I’m thinking about watching and waiting for life to bloom. My husband planted a beautiful garden along the side of our house. Right now, it looks dead, non-existent, but I know that in a few months it will come back to life. I’m waiting and watching in hopeful anticipation. It’s there; I just can’t see it yet.”

Prayer is like that sometimes, Ps 5:3 says, “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up”.

Colossians 4:2 adds, “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving”. I want to live continuing steadfast in prayer, being watchful and thankful, with hopeful anticipation, because I know my God is working even when I can’t see it at the moment. When we read God’s Word and listen for what the Holy Spirit says to us in it, we can pray according to His will, and He will hear our prayers and answer them.

Ephesians 1:12 tells us God saves us, “That we should be to the praise of his glory.” What better way to praise His glory than, to be steadfast, watchful and thankful in prayer in accordance with His will? K. E. Horsley

Continue to pray with us over the many needs in this world. Especially pray for those with physical needs, Lula Petty, Stinnett Ballew, Claudette Armstrong, Denise Pitts, Carolyn Denton, and all the others listed on prayer list. God knows!

Pray for our Pastor, church, and families. Pray for ministries, country, military and first responders, homeless and nursing homes, orphans. Pray for America and Israel. Pray for those grieving and pray for souls to be saved.

We are planning for revival beginning on June 23 with guest speaker Dean McNeese. Mark your calendars and pray God will send His Spirit to breath on this meeting and His messenger. Also, mark calendar for Vacation Bible School, June 22-26, 4K-12th grade.

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

Come and visit! We are waiting to see you and hope to be able to minister to your families spiritual needs.