On The Journey, Judy Bowman

“God’s pleasure”

One day last week I had one of those unpleasant 24-hour bugs. All I wanted to do was lay very still and sip on 7-Up. I turned on the TV and the movie “Chariots of Fire” was just starting. I hadn’t seen it in many years and honestly didn’t remember much of the plot. I kind of hoped it would put me to sleep for a couple of hours and when I woke up I’d feel better. But I didn’t sleep. I was drawn into the movie and the characters, especially the story of the Scottish minister and runner, Eric Liddell. He’s most known for his refusal to compete on Sundays, throwing his, and his country’s 1924 Olympic dreams into doubt. I won’t spoil the story for you if you’ve never seen the movie. It’s a great film and during these homebound weeks would make for wonderful family viewing.

There’s a moment when Eric Liddell is talking with his sister about why he runs. She feels that her brother lets his running distract him from his more important missionary work. He tells her, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” How incredible to imagine that we can feel God’s joy! Maybe you’ve experienced a moment like that yourself. I think it’s pretty easy to think of God’s pleasure when we hear a great piece of music like the “Ode To Joy” or the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Or to imagine God smiling as He gazes on a beautiful sculpture or a painting masterpiece. The gifts of art and music and even world-class running seem to easily showcase the exuberance of God’s joy when He created these gifts in us. We stand, we cheer, we shed a tear—because that same joy overflows within us during those moments and we recognize it. In a way, those transcendent moments let us glimpse the pleasure of God that Mr. Liddell describes.

But, as I lay there on the couch last week, trying not to throw up, I seemed light years away from any kind of transcendent moment of creative joy. I wonder how many of us might have a hard time imagining how we can please God in our own “ordinary” lives. And yet, that’s exactly what we’re each called to do. When we please God, we are most fully ourselves — most fully the person He created us to be. And vice versa. When we’re the best version of ourselves, it pleases the Lord. Even if you’re not an artist or a poet or an Olympic runner. Even when I’m sick on the couch, I can please God.

Many saints have written about how to do this. My favorite, perhaps because she speaks in ordinary, everyday language, is St. Therese of Lisieux. She lived in the latter part of the 1800s in France and died of tuberculosis when she was just 24. She was convinced that all of us can be saints by living every moment of our lives as a little child in the lap of God the Father. She teaches us that every small act of love and sacrifice that we offer to God can be immeasurably valuable. She said, “To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul.” Hey, even I can do that. If something so small and ordinary can be offered to God as a sacrifice for others, then everything we do in our lives can be an act of love. It’s how we can “pray without ceasing” as St. Paul tells us (I Thessalonians 5:16-18). And mostly, it’s a way of holiness that even a sinner like me can follow. St. Therese’s “Little Way” offers us sainthood in whatever our role in life. Mothers, fathers, teachers, clerks, bus drivers — whenever we act out of love and sacrifice, we can feel God’s pleasure. That’s a good thing to remember as we begin each day.

In a prayer written by St. Therese, she says in part: I desire to sanctify every beat of my heart, my every thought, my simplest works, by uniting them to Its infinite merits; and I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the furnace of Its Merciful Love.

Glenda Smiley, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

Sunday, May 10, is the day set aside to recognize and honor our mothers. Mothers, indeed each of our mothers, are so vitally important in our personal lives. It has been said, “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”. Pleasant Valley Baptist will be open for all, members and guests alike, to come next week at 11 a.m. to hear the word of God and to honor all mothers. You are invited to take part in this special Sunday.

We were blessed and thankful to worship the Lord together on this past Sunday. Service and worship were with many safety precautions in place to protect against the Covid19 virus. Following are recommended guidelines for church services which are in effect at all services held at PVBC:

1. There will be no Sunday School.

2. All songs will be sung from the auditorium. We will have special singing that will be arranged before the service so everyone is ready and sanitation of mics and pulpit can be obtained.

3. Every other pew will be blocked off so that we can maintain 6 feet between people. This would mean you may not be able to sit in your normal pew.

4. There will be a station for personal protective equipment at the front door and back door. Upon arriving, you must use hand sanitizer that will be available and obtain a face mask to be worn until you have returned to your car. The face mask is to protect others from being exposed. You may not be concerned about yourself, but please be concerned about others.

5. Upon arriving, go directly to your seat and sit spacing yourself at a minimum of 6 feet from anyone you do not cohabitate with.

6. At the end of the service, you will be dismissed by pews. As your pew is dismissed, please exit the church and go directly to your car.

7. We will not be passing an offering plate during the service. The plate will be placed on the “In Remembrance of Me” table. We encourage online giving during this time so the handling of money and checks is lessened. If this is not possible, please feel free to utilize these plates. There will be time given to give your offering.

8. There will be no bulletins during this time. This is in an effort to keep multiple people coming in contact during this time.

9. The nursery will remain closed.

10. Do not attend if you are not feeling well, have a fever, or have had direct contact with someone who likely has or confirmed to have COVID-19. Medically fragile and elderly should continue to shelter in place and utilize remote services instead of in-person service. come and join us in this opening service. With common-sense practices and God’s goodness and grace, PVBC is excited to join together again to honor and worship our Lord. We encourage worshipping together, but understand some at high risk may still have reservations concerning attending in person. We will continue to post our services.

Much to pray for and about. Remember our country, our leaders, our citizens. Remember those among us who are sick, alone, or grieving. Special request are Debbie O’Neill, Betty Pitts, Pastor Flood’s mother, the Armstrongs, Betty Pitts, John Bryson’s brother in law, all those over 65 with underlying health conditions, and for our pastor and his family. Pray for our churches, missionaries, and evangelists. Pray everyone will humble themselves before God and call on Him. Pray God will work to revive us all for His glory!

Pleasant Valley Baptist continues to live-stream FB morning services 11 a.m., evening 6 p.m., and Wednesday Bible study. Services can also be viewed on YouTube. Be sure to attend, if possible, but view our services for encouragement from God’s Word. Until we are all come together in God’s house, be sure to worship with us via technology.

May God continue to mercifully bless you. We look forward to seeing you in God’s house Sunday, May 10, Mother’s Day, at 11 a.m.

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