On The Journey, Judy Bowman

“Holy water”

We begin our human lives in a salty sea inside our mother’s womb. Water is our first home. In the most basic biological sense, water is life. Our bodies are about 75% water, the same as the earth on which we live. Most of us could live for about a month without food, but only about three days without water. Water is what keeps us going. In Scripture, we know that God chose water to cleanse the earth of sin in the great flood. The ark built by Noah saved the souls of the 8 people who would rebuild humanity. God helped the Jewish people escape slavery in Egypt by leading them through water. We know that water is esteemed by the Lord because of the role water plays in our sanctification. Christ is the Living Water which alone can satisfy the deepest thirst of our souls for truth and hope and love. Before Christ, the ritual washings and purifications of the Jews prefigured the cleansing power of the Sacrament of Baptism. Our Lord was baptized by His cousin John, who announced that day that Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:29). Water is our entry into the Church. Through Baptism we are marked as a child of God, a member of His royal family.

Which brings us to why I love holy water. To begin with, there’s nothing magic about holy water. It’s what the Church calls a “sacramental.” It’s not a Sacrament itself like Baptism or Confirmation, but it is a “sacred sign which bear(s) a resemblance to the Sacraments” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 1667). Most Catholic Churches have a baptismal font in the entry of the building to remind us that it is through Baptism that we come into God’s family. The font is filled with water that has been blessed by a priest. You may also see smaller holy water fonts at the inner doorways to the nave, or seating area. Catholics dip three fingers of their right hand into the water in the fonts when they enter the church. We pray the Sign of the Cross and reverently bless ourselves “in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The blessing the priest gave the water is attached to it. So using holy water to bless yourself or your children or your home conveys that same blessing. Devoutly blessing yourself with holy water remits venial sins. This is powerful stuff. Sometimes I think we take holy water for granted. Listen to this, which is from the prayer blessing the water and describes the power it has to “…put to flight all the power of the enemy and be able to root out and supplant that enemy and his apostate angels.” There’s a reason demons flee from holy water—it reflects the goodness of God and evil abhors love and mercy and hope. If you don’t keep holy water in your home, get some. Use a clean sealed bottle and bring some home. I have a personal font by the front door. I bless myself when I leave and when I come home. The Church encourages us to bless ourselves and our family members. You can use holy water to bless your home, your family, your car, your pets, your meals. If you’re sick, you can add a few drops to your food. Remember, holy water isn’t a magic potion. Like other sacramentals, it prepares us to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit. Holy water helps us to remember how much God loves us.

I love holy water because it reminds me of my Baptism. I was nineteen and I’ll never forget the joy of knowing God’s love and mercy had made me as white as snow. It was knowing how much He loves me and wants me to know and love Him. When I bless myself, I remember His love anew. I love holy water because it makes me look differently at the ordinary things of the world. God uses ordinary things like water and oil, bread and wine, and transforms them into extra-ordinary creations. He wants to do the same thing to me and to you. Holy water is as powerful as our faith in Christ. It is the mercy and forgiveness of God. It makes demons flee in terror. It refreshes my soul.

I read once that love is an act of continual forgiveness. That means God is continual forgiveness since God is love. Every time I use holy water, I remember how much God loves me and forgives me, every day, every moment. When we don’t take advantage of the goodness of holy water, we miss out on this gift of blessing God has given to us. I don’t know about you, but I need His blessings. I need all of them. And I especially need His mercy and forgiveness. That’s what holy water reminds me. That I’m loved and I’m forgiven. Thanks be to God.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” — Mark Twain

MaKayla Thomas, North Whitfield Baptist Church

This Sunday Brother JT Sanders talked about how God is more than enough and loves us. He is compassionate towards us and is everything that we need. He died for us so that we could be saved.

As far as upcoming events, we have a visitation on June 3rd at 6:30 p.m. and June 8th at 10 a.m. We also have homecoming June the 9th. Be sure to come down to North Whitfield sometime, we would love to have you!

Glenda Smiley, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

What a gorgeous day the Lord gave yesterday. Every day can be gorgeous with Him as we experience His goodness and grace.

People are blessed every day by the Lord. Whether you are saved or unsaved, all are blessed by God’s mercy and grace. Pastor Flood’s message yesterday was taken from Hebrews 12:18-24, captioned in the Ryrie Study Bible as “the drive of life”. In verse 14 of the same chapter, we are told that without holiness in life we cannot see the Lord. Therefore, we should worship Him acceptably. What is our drive in life? What are our hopes and aspirations in this life we now experience? Our hopes of the future? As Christians our hope is in the Lord and our future is eternity with Him. Often, when we go out to dinner, we have what is referred to as an appetizer. An appetizer is something we have prior to the meal to stimulate our appetites. Scripture, worship and blessings are appetizers to our futures in heaven with Christ. Ryrie’s notes concerning our scripture text explains, “the old covenant (the law) and the new covenant (the gospel) are contrasted by comparing Mount Sinai, where the law was given, with Mount Zion, the spiritual city, eternal in the heavens and symbolic of the gospel of grace”. Nelson’s quick reference, “the people of Israel had a frightening experience of law at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19), but our experience at Mount Zion is one of grace and glory. We are citizens of the heavenly city and will one day fellowship with patriarchs and angels....and God!” The blessings of this life are but an appetizer of the life to come in Christ!

Continue to pray over our prayer list. God knows every name, every need listed. Pray for His will to be done in each situation. Pray for PVBC, Pastor and his family. Pray for revival throughout the world and for souls to come to Christ!

Happy Birthday wishes are sent to Dianne Hullender (29th) and to all who will experience your special day this week.

Remember to mark your calendars for July 22-26 for Vacations Bible School, grades 4-12 at 6:30 p.m. We will be looking forward to spending this time with your kids as we work and prepare to make this VBS the very best for the Lord.

It’s that time of year when many are graduating after having prepared themselves for what the Lord has next. We had a celebration for Hannah and Matthew as they approach this wonderful occasion. May they be richly used of the Lord for the furtherance of His kingdom.

Our services are always live streamed on Facebook. Service times are Sunday School 10 a.m., Worship 11 a.m., Evening 6 p.m. with prayer time at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday Bible Study and Youth meet at 7 p.m. Transportation call 706 537-3633.

We are waiting to greet you at PVBC. It is always an honor to have visitors and you will be welcomed as our special guest. Please make plans to be with us! Church would a great place to celebrate and honor Memorial Day recognizing all the blessings we have from the sacrifice of brave men and women!