On The Journey, Judy Bowman

“New year, new choices”

There’s a story that’s told about two uncles and their young nephew. Let’s call the nephew “John.” We’ll call the uncles “Bill” and “Howard.” This family had lots of money, but unluckily for the two uncles, their young nephew was the heir to all the wealth—-and he was only 8 years old. But in the event of John’s death, Bill and Howard would get the entire estate. Hmmmm…… So one day young John was left at home alone while his parents went out for the evening. You see this was in the days when an 8-year-old could be safely left at home alone. On that particular evening, Uncle Bill decided to drop in for a visit. When he did, he found little John at home alone, taking a leisurely bath. Bill thought how easy it would be to increase his finances if John was to drown in his bath. And so he took his nephew in his hands and, holding him under the water as he struggled, Uncle Bill killed John. Wealth at last, thought Uncle Bill.

Now imagine for a moment that a different story unfolded. On that same sort of evening when John had been left alone by his parents, he had decided to enjoy a leisurely bath. (What 8-year-old boy does this?…but I digress). Now on this evening, it’s his Uncle Howard who decides to drop by for a visit. When he enters John’s room he notices the door to his nephew’s bathroom is open. Stepping inside, Howard sees that John has slipped under the water of his bath. Small bubbles are rising from John’s nostrils and Howard notices a large bump on John’s forehead. He concludes correctly that John has hit his head and become unconscious. The rising bubbles tell Howard that the accident has just happened and that John is still alive. For now. Howard could quite easily lift John’s head above the water and save his life. As he looks at the boy, Howard considers the great wealth that would be his if little John were to perish. Hmmm….And he does nothing to save his dying nephew.

In both stories, little John dies. In the first one he dies as the result of something his Uncle Bill did to him. In the second one he dies as the result of something his Uncle Howard failed to do. Who was the worse uncle? In the eyes of the law, Bill would be guilty of murder since he actively did something to cause John’s death. Howard might be guilty of negligent homicide since he failed to something that he could easily have done to save John’s life. But let’s put aside legal questions and look at the situation in terms of sin. Which uncle is guilty of the greater sin?

At the beginning of Mass, we Catholics pray an ancient prayer called “The Confiteor,” from the Latin phrase meaning “I confess.” In it we acknowledge our sinfulness and ask for God’s mercy. We pray, “I confess to almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned; in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do…” In this prayer, we acknowledge that NOT doing something can be just as sinful as our actions, our thoughts, and our words. We call these “sins of omission.” It makes us take a closer look at all the choices we make each day.

What if we don’t share our time, our talents, or our treasure with the poor and needy? What if we don’t love the Lord with all our hearts? What if we stop praying or stop going to Mass? What if we don’t go to confession anymore? What if we don’t take a stand against abortion? What if we fail to share the good news of the Gospel with the people in our lives? A kind word goes unspoken. An act of charity, not done. “Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin”(James 4:17). We all know the story of the Good Samaritan who stops to help the dying man. But do we also remember the priest and the Levite who could have helped, but chose to keep going? As we walk through these first days of the new year, may we all be more aware of the needs of those around us and may we respond in charity and generosity. Make each moment of your life an opportunity for the Lord’s love to bear good fruit for His kingdom.

“In the end we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Glenda Smiley, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

Sunday, January 19, at 11 AM, Pleasant Valley Baptist will recognize and focus on the Sanctity of Life. Thousands of innocent babies have been murdered through the sin choice of abortion. Animals are protected more than precious innocent babies, gifts of God. We understand many mothers have been victims of the wiles of the devil and those who have made this irreversible decision are loved and need to be helped. As a nation, we must recognize this horrible national and personal sin taking measures to change Roe vs Wade.

Come join us on this special day. Be blessed and educated on this great need.

Well, we are off and running in the new year of 2020. Seems like we just celebrated the start of 2019, but yet, we are faced with how quickly time passes. Pleasant Valley Baptist prays you will have a blessed and wonderful 2020. Often, we expect God to do great things for us, but without any effort on our part. Pastor Flood mentioned in his message Sunday morning, how we duplicate the times of our lives. Doing the same thing day in and day out, week after week, and year after year. Are we living or just surviving? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome. A different outcome will not be the results unless we recognize where we are, what we expect, and desire to be different. The Lord will do His part, but we must become sick of where we are and desire to be different. When this happens, we will be willing to put forth the effort necessary to make a change in our own lives and see a change in the lives around us. The world we live in is at enmity with the Lord. Christians need to desire to see the world, our world, changed and come back to the Lord. Will you continue to duplicate your years, survive rather than live, or will you be challenged to make a difference in your life and others in 2020?

Pray with us for those with physical needs, Warren McAllister, Betty Pitts, Dianne Hullender, Jewel Mitchell, Carolyn Denton, Lula Petty, Denise Pitts, Claudette Armstrong, and many others of whom the Lord knows their name and their need. Many extended family members are in need of prayer and ask for them to be remembered in your prayers knowing God knows. Pray for Pastor Flood and his family, for the church and ministries including missionaries, Sunday school, youth, nursing homes and homeless, orphans. Pray for Israel/America. Pray for our US Congress and the members who represent you and I. May they each humble themselves before God and call upon Him. Pray about Iranian issues facing our nation. Pray for our President and all elected officials, national, state, and local. Pray for PVBC to grow and spread the gospel in this community. Pray for souls to be saved and that God will send revival.

Services are live-streamed on Facebook. Service times are Sunday School 10 AM, Worship 11 AM, Evening 6 PM with prayer at 5:45 PM. Wednesday Bible Study and Youth Kid’s Zone meet at 7 PM. Call for transportation 706 537-3633.

Come visit us at Pleasant Valley Baptist. What better time than now, a new beginning for a new year. You are always welcome!

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