On The Journey, Judy Bowman

Looking towards some”

The older I become, the more time I spend thinking of my past. I guess middle age has that effect on some of us. My grandparents did it and my parents did it and now it’s my turn. I can be driving down the highway reviewing my plans for the day when a song comes on the radio and instantly, I’m seventeen again without a care in the world. Or I smell a distinctive aftershave and I’m immediately a little girl, sitting in my daddy’s lap as he works on the newspaper crossword puzzle. Memories. The veil that separates today from all those yesterdays seems to be getting thinner and thinner. I think a lot about my childhood home. I hear the cows mooing in the backyard pasture. I taste a salted tomato, still warm from the sun. I see my mom cooking our supper or my brother tossing his football.

These kinds of memories are often called “nostalgia.” This is a Greek word that means “longing for home.” That rings true for me, as I was blessed to come from a loving home. Maybe for others, that nostalgia may be for whatever time or place in their lives that represents a safe and accepting place to them. Memories like this are often most aching when we experience the death of someone we love. Standing at my mother’s graveside, the past, the present and the future are all together in that one spot. I remember her from the past. I miss her now. And I anticipate seeing her again in heaven. I am nostalgic for that moment. God has designed us to have that homesickness for heaven because that’s why we were created. I suppose I’m thinking of heaven more these days because as I age, more and more of my family and friends have already made the journey. Sorting through my mother’s things after she died, I came across her address book. Most of the names in it were crossed out. As we lose the ones we’ve loved in this life, our eyes and our hearts turn ever more often to those distant hills that shelter our forever home.

I think the saints are consumed with that yearning for heaven. Their lives are extraordinarily fixed on the eternal presence of the Lord. Like St. Paul, they feel that powerful pull to the home they’ve never seen. He wrote about the Jewish saints like Sarah and Abraham and Noah saying, “…they were longing for a better country, a heavenly one”(Hebrews 11:16). But so many of us have an impoverished idea of the reality of paradise. Who among us longs for an eternity of playing harps on fluffy clouds? Surely the earliest Christians did not die as martyrs for this boring reward. No, we can see what they imagined heaven to be from the paintings they left for us on the walls of the catacombs. Their heaven was a beautiful garden, filled with children and animals playing together, with parties and banquets and feasting and singing. It was a real, living Garden of Eden. Heaven was their home and they were willing to lay down their lives to go there. In St. John’s Revelation, we can see what the Lord showed to His beloved disciple. “I saw an angel standing in the sun. He cried out in a loud voice to all the birds flying overhead, ‘Come! Gather for the great banquet of God’ “(Rev. 19:17). It’s a party alright. One filled beyond our knowing with an over-abundance of joy and love: with our Lord. We’ll be with our loved ones and with new friends, with the angels and the choirs. And there’ll be surprises, because our God is a god of surprises, after all. We’ll be free of sin, which is everything that has limited us on earth. As Dr. Peter Kreeft has said, “Jesus is our best indicator of Heaven.” What a wonderful place to live! No wonder we long for it so deeply. He is our beginning and our end, our Alpha and our Omega. “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together”(Colossians 1:17). That includes you and me. As we journey through Lent this year, let’s focus less on giving something up and more on loving and serving Jesus and the people in our lives. Let’s keep our hearts moving to our heavenly home, with joy and gratitude.

“Oh my delight, Lord of all created things and my God! How long must I wait to see You?” — St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

Glenda Smiley, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

Pleasant Valley Baptist will be recognizing Pack A Pew with Love day on Sunday, February 16 starting at 11AM. Everyone is invited to come help pack out the church as well as a pew. All visitors will receive an appreciation gift as well as the person who brings the most visitors. Whether you are invited specifically by someone or you just come on your own, you will be our special guest and we look forward to having you in our service on this special day.! The worship hour will be followed with a fellowship meal and all are invited to enjoy food and fellowship.

We have many interesting studies going on at PVBC. In Sunday School, a study is beginning on why we believe what we believe as Baptist. It will be a comparative study looking at other Baptist teachings of the day. This study will better enable us to be confident in what we believe and how to defend those beliefs. On Wednesday, we are studying the book of Daniel. This past Sunday night, a study on Ezekiel was completed. Come learn the Bible with us and see your faith grow!

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, call upon Him, realizing they are accountable to Him for their conduct and choices. Pray for our President and all elected officials, national, state, and local. Pray for the Heart Beat legislation (anti-abortion) being resisted in Georgia and being considered in Tennessee. Pray concerning the impeachment trials vote to acquit, for God’s will be done. Pray about coronavirus (11 cases in US) facing the world (pestilence). Pray for PVBC to be faithful to preaching God’s Word, grow, and spread the gospel in this community. Pray for souls to be saved and for God to send revival. Our churches and our country need God sent Revival.

Worship services are live-streamed on Facebook. Service times are Devotion & Prayer 9:45AM, 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.

Come visit at Pleasant Valley Baptist located at 1995 Ooltewah-Ringgold Road. If you have a desire to better know and understand the Bible, PVBC is a great church to learn, grow and serve the Lord!

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