On The Journey, Judy Bowman

“On my nerves”

She is easily offended. Folks who don’t share her political beliefs offend her. If you don’t have the same religious faith as she does, it offends her. She’s mad at anyone who owns a gun or who eats meat or who eats meat killed with a gun. She likes letting other people know that they are offending her, too. She proudly stands on what she believes is the moral high ground. She likes the view from up there. But she doesn’t seem very happy or contented.

We all have people in our lives that get on our last nerve. Maybe they’re family or maybe they’re a friend. Maybe it’s someone you work with every day. Maybe it’s one of your neighbors who plays their music too loudly. Maybe it’s me. Whoever it happens to be and whatever it is that they say or do to upset us, we allow them to suck the joy right out of our day. Most of the time, the person is just as joyless as they try to make others.

There’s a Saint who wrote about people that we react to with annoyance. He’s one of my favorites because he cuts right to the heart of things. He’s a 20th century Saint who died in 1975 and his name is Josemaria Escriva. He was a Spanish priest and one of the very first quotes of his that I read in college has stuck with me throughout my life. “Don’t say: That person gets on my nerves. Think: That person sanctifies me.” What? Even that annoying guy who cut me off in traffic? And that overbearing lady who thinks she knows everything? That neighbor who is constantly doing things to disturb my peace and quiet? Yep. That person. And your sister who still gets on your nerves and your in-laws who think you’re not good enough and your boss who never has a kind word for all your hard work. Every one of them is in your life for a purpose—to test you, to refine you, to help you to grow in grace.

In contrast, a contemporary of St. Josemaria was the French writer and philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. He famously wrote: “Hell is other people.” Unfortunately we see so much of this world view around us these days. Folks are easily offended, quick to become angry, always ready to place blame. Sounds hellish, doesn’t it? But think how different things would be if we accepted the daily annoyances and offenses as St. Josemaria advises us to do. Our little gripes can be seen as promptings of the Holy Spirit for us to practice virtue. We can be transformed by the very people and circumstances that we usually react to with anger, impatience, selfishness, and pride. Cut off in traffic? Say a quick prayer for patience and for the safety of the other driver. Annoyed by a neighbor? Ask for compassion and understanding. We never really know what the other person is going through. Feeling ignored by your boss? Pray for humility. Jesus never sought the approval of others and neither should we. Pride is a sin which goes against the humble heart of our Lord. For all the flaws our human nature exhibits, there’s a corresponding virtue which God will provide the grace to heal, if we only ask Him.

Do you believe that hell is other people? If you do, life will be a pretty unhappy journey for you and the people around you. But if you allow the Lord to put people and situations in your path to challenge you and to offer you the opportunity to grow in grace, you’ll become more and more like Him. Ask for grace each and every day, each and every hour. Beg the Lord to show you His face in every person you meet. In this way, we can help to sanctify one another. We, as followers of Christ, prove just how wrong Sartre really was. Hell isn’t other people, it’s failing to see how connected we are to one another. We’re the Body of Christ, not the separate individuals of Christ. We’ll transform our hostile and dysfunctional culture when we place our hearts and souls at His service, in humility. We’re all in this together, after all.

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” — St. Teresa of Calcutta

MaKayla Thomas, North Whitfield Baptist Church

This Sunday Brother JT Sanders preached on assurance. When we’re saved we know God and His promises; He will not cast you away if you ask for Him to come into your heart. Your assurance comes from trusting God and believing Him. He is truthful and will only ever be.

As for upcoming events, we have fellowship with watermelon and cookies the 25th after church. The youth is also going bowling the 31st at 4PM. Donations for the “God’s Goodies” event where they are putting together bags for the homeless are still being taken up. Sign ups for the drama have also opened and we encourage anybody that can and are willing to sign up.

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

Glenda Smiley, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

Pleasant Valley Baptist is in the process of making many plans. Labor Day is fast approaching with plans to have special service on Sunday, September 1, 10:30 AM. Labor Day is set aside as a national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well being of our country. There will be no Sunday School with food fellowship to follow the morning service. Be there to experience the service. We want our community to come together with us at PVBC to celebrated this holiday.

We are also making plans for a truly special fall event which the entire Ringgold community will want to be a part of and enjoy. We will be announcing the details as plans further develop. It is the church’s desire to be involved in, minister to, and fellowship with our community. There are needs in lives that can only be met by being involved in people and people involved in God’s church. Give us an opportunity to get to know you, enjoy the events, and friendship of our church. You will feel welcome and loved by a friendly family. After all, we all are neighbors of the Ringgold community!

Had first Back 2 School Bash providing backpacks and school supplies to kids. Had good food and fellowship with the kids and families in attendance and stand ready to minister to their needs. We look forward to an “annual” Back 2 School Bash to help families and kids.

Pleasant Valley Baptist experienced a great day in the Lord on Sunday. Had a good turn out and the messages God gave Pastor Flood were both encouraging and comforting. They were taken from scriptures Hebrews 4:1-10, victorious Christian life, and Psalm 61:1-3. the Rock, Christ.

Also, had a tremendous celebration for Brother Harry Hullender’s retirement from Chattem. Brother Harry is a wonderful and faithful asset to our church and community. PVBC rejoiced to see him so warmly appreciated by family and friends.

Please pray with us for those with physical needs, Jewel Mitchell, Carolyn Denton, Lula Petty, Denise Pitts, Claudette Armstrong, and many other of which the Lord knows their name and their need. Pray for Pastor Flood and his family, for the church and ministries including missionaries, Sunday school, youth, nursing homes and homeless, orphans. Pray for our country and leaders, congress,

Israel/America. Remember crisis at the border and the Iran/North Korea/China situations. Pray for wisdom and protection relating to random shootings in our country. Pray for God to raise up godly men to serve in our congress and state governments. Pray candidates seeking to be president will be real and quit the chatter to only get votes. Pray for PVBC to grow and spread the gospel in this area. Souls to be saved.

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