On The Journey, Judy Bowman
They'd saved for years to build their dream house and were finally moving in on a warm fall day. She was in love with their custom kitchen and he was looking forward to enjoying football season in his big "man cave" downstairs. As they settled down to spend their first night, though, something was wrong. That big screen television downstairs was on, blaring so loudly they could hear it two floors away. Shaking his head, he made his way to the basement to turn it off. Had he left it on, he though to himself. He couldn't remember. But when he got downstairs, he discovered a much larger problem than he was expecting. Sure enough, the television was on with the volume set on high. The bigger problem? The TV wasn't plugged in.
He saw the plug and the cord curled there on the shelf. He inspected it and looked at the back of the TV. He used the remote to turn down the volume and then, turned the set off. The sound stopped and the screen went black. He went back to bed without saying anything to his wife. He wasn't sure what he'd have told her anyway. But it didn't matter because just as he got into bed, they both heard the TV come on again downstairs. There's a lot more to this story, but I won't share it here. Let's just say that the problem they had in their new house were eventually resolved with the help of a Catholic priest and continued prayers.
Stories about strange or "other-worldly" experiences fascinate us. One look at what's popular on television reveals how much many of us like watching zombies, vampires, witches, time travel, and magic. Ghosts are a discussion we might have another day. What the couple above experienced in their new home wasn't a ghost but a poltergeist. This is a manifestation of a spirit that, while perhaps not truly evil, serves to annoy people and cause disturbances that can be seen or heard by us, like a TV set that works without being plugged in. There's no definitive Catholic teaching on much of what might be considered by popular culture to be paranormal. But, let's face it, the Church is in the business of the supernatural. Until just a few years ago, we called one of the persons of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy "Ghost." Church history is full of extraordinary miracles and Saints with amazing, out-of-this-world gifts and abilities.
We have to remember that every spirit is subject to the power of God, Who created and sustains them. He gives us all that we need to confront and overcome any bothersome spirit, beginning with the Sacraments of His Church. Baptism, Confirmation and frequent Confession are the armor He provides us. The Holy Eucharist is Christ Himself, truly present. The prayers of the Church and the assistance of the angels and Saints also help us to dispel any bad spirits around us. Blessed crucifixes and holy water are powerful sacramentals against evil. And anyone who has seen a scary movie knows that when you really need the big guns, you call in a Catholic priest. They're armed with prayers that work against all kinds of nasty spirits. And I can never understand why folks wait so long to contact a priest in these situations. A favorite Catholic prayer for protection from all manner of evil is this one:
St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world,
seeking the ruin of souls.
Remember that God's love and protection will surround and uphold us whenever we ask for His assistance.
Margie Stringer, North Whitfield Baptist Church
Hello to all this week!
Last Wednesday night, brother Tim Roberson preached, and they had such a great meeting.
If you can't get to church, you can watch us on Facebook. Just type in North Whitfield Baptist Church, and you'll get us.
The Greesons were with us on Sunday morning. What a great meeting. Brother Darrell Broome preached for us on Sunday night. It was another great meeting and we sure enjoyed his message.
We have a radio broadcast each Tuesday morning from 11 to 11:30 a.m. on WFLI 1070 am your dial.
Until Jesus comes, if you don't have a home church, you have a special invitation to come by and visit us. We have classes for all ages.
There is so much sickness going on. Elisbeth Killian is in the hospital and sure needs everyone's prayers. James Robinson has had a stroke, and is in rehab needing our prayers.
Lee's Chapel is in revival this week with brothers Gladden Coe and Jimmy Taylor starting nightly at 7 p.m.
I am praying that the churches will return to the old paths once again.
Pray for the Griffeth family. Susan went home to be with the Lord last Wednesday morning. There will be a memorial service on Saturday at North Whitfield Missionary Baptist Church at 3 p.m. in honor of the life she lived. Pray for the family.
Brother Arvin and sister Carolyn Bryson have both been in the hospital. They were at church Sunday morning, and it sure was good to see them.
Until next week, may the great God of glory bless and smile on all of you.
Charlotte McGuffey, Salem Baptist Church
We had a wonderful day at Salem on Sunday and we were blessed by being there. Our pastor, Rev. Chris Davidson, brought a good message Sunday morning, and Rev. Anthony Robinson was our guest minister on Sunday evening.
The ladies had a good turnout for Bible study on Saturday. Everyone enjoyed the study in II Corinthians and the fellowship with each other. Thank you to Sherry Davidson for leading this.
We are so sorry to report that Leola Taylor Hundley passed away over the weekend. She had just celebrated her 100th birthday two weeks ago. She has been living in middle Tennessee near her daughter. Her funeral will be held in Ooltewah on Saturday. Our sympathy to her family and friends.
Don't forget the Valentine's party on February 11 at 5:00. There will be food, games and fun for all. Also, bring a wedding picture of you and your spouse.
Continue to pray for those on our prayer list: Rev. Chris & Sherry Davidson, Harry Roberts, Bobby Bridges, Harvey White, Harry Ensley, Carolyn Earhart, Rev. Glenn & Stella Cavin, Barbara Ensley, Donald Scoggins, Johnnie Bramlett, Jimmy and Doris Lake, Howard and Mary Helen Ensley, Mary White, Hailey Stone, Jim Stewart, Charlie and Pat Bates, Charles Forester and many others. We are happy to report that Bobby Bridges is improving and is now at home.
We were grateful to hear that Tommy and Phyllis Johnson's daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren had a safe trip back to Texas where Donnie serves in the Army.
Happy birthday to Doris Lake on February 10.
Happy Valentine's Day to everyone.
Closing thought: I have set the Lord always before me; because He is my right hand, I shall not be moved. Psalm 16:8
Emma Jo Davis, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church
Hope everyone has had a good week and not come down with a cold or sinus. We are still missing several in our services that are out sick.
Carolyn Denton is not well. Debbie O'Neill, Tammy McAllister, Collis Holcomb is to have more tests, Dewayne Hill's, mother and stepfather. They all need our prayers.
We send condolences to the Petty Family in the death of Annie May Petty. She has been sick for some time and some of the family had been staying with her about all the time. Almost everyone will remember her as the Avon lady. She sold Avon for years. We send condolences to the Hester Family in the death of Brenda Childers Hester also to the Williams Family in the death of Debbie Williams.
Those on our prayer list are, Lula Petty, Bernice Orr, Jimmy Orr, Linda Hixon, Dorothy Longwith, James and Linda Smith, Ann Touchstone, Davina Clark, Eula Akers, Wilma Bell, Margie Land, Our Military, Our Missionaries and Our Nation and Leaders.
Several of our family meet for a birthday dinner for my son, Tim Davis on Saturday. Everyone enjoyed the time together and the good food.
We will get to do it again next month for Leland's birthday.
There are certain things that are utterly predictable, to a fault. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. The tide comes in and then goes back out. We speak of God's goodness, and someone takes offense...
Believe me, that last item fits in the list just as consistently as the first two. Each time I write of the specific goodness of God, I receive a great many positive responses. But inevitably I also receive at least one negative response.
It will go something like this: "Well how nice for God to be so good to you! You must be so special, seeing as how other people are hurting so bad!"
I do not answer back unkindly; I understand that many people are indeed hurting, and I feel for them. But the response itself shows a huge flaw in logic, and in a person's understanding of the goodness of God.
One of the rules of logic broken by the response above is stated as follows: "Evidence should be stated as fairly and completely as possible." Another one is, "Emotion is not an acceptable substitute for proof." If emotion were removed from the equation, and if all the evidence were fairly weighed, some things could be clearly discerned. Things that, by the way, provide for a proper understanding of the goodness of God.
To begin with, people who respond with the view I referenced above are failing to consider the larger picture (all of the evidence, stated as failry and completely as possible). God may send a particular, undeniable blessing to me today while another is hurting, but next week they may be receiving the undeniable blessing while I am hurting. Should either of us, in our time of blessing, fail to say "thank you," or fail to be grateful? Should either of us, in our time of hurt, be envious of those who are not hurting?
The larger issue in the faulty view I referenced is the underlying assumption that God must always make everything turn out the way we want in every case, or he is not good to us.
But Scripture decimates that view.
Job went from the mountain top of human experience to the very depths of despair, and then back to the mountaintop.
At the beginning of His trial he said "blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21). In the midst of his trial he said "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him" (Job 13:15).
After his trial he said, "I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be
withholden from thee." (Job 42:2).
Paul the apostle healed others, and then received a thorn in the flesh that God refused to remove, even after he asked God three times to do so. Paul answered " Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
We live in a fallen world, a world of disease and hurt and war and pain, and mankind's sin caused it all. For God to always make everything turn out the way we want in every case would mean that he has removed all of the effects of our sin. That is something he will not do; it is those very diseases and hurts and wars and pains that let us know in the most unmistakable terms that we need him to begin with.
What he will do from time to time is step in and make himself known by doing something very special for us. A specific answered prayer, a blessing that only he could have given.
But He will not always do so. God is not a puppet, or a divine ATM, he is the Creator, and we are the creature.
If you are seeing the tangible visible blessing of God, it is appropriate to praise him for those blessings. If you currently are not, it is appropriate to praise him just for who he is, and just for what he already did for all of us on Calvary.
Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Mooresboro, N.C., a widely traveled evangelist, and author of several books, including a kid's fiction book about the Battle of Chickamauga, "Broken Brotherhood." He can be emailed at email@example.com.
The Rev. Ash McEuen and his daughter, Soraya, recently led members of Graysville United Methodist Church in the dedication of their new playground. The playground is available for all children in our community. Tables will soon be added to the picnic pavilion near the playground. It is hoped that our playground will help grow healthy children and families. The funds for the playground were raised through yard sale profits. The church would like to thank all who donated articles for the yard sales and also those who shopped. Future yard sales will provide funds for further updates to the church that will help the community. Graysville UMC is located at 2331 Graysville Road in the historic township of Graysville.