Baptism

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Welcome newly Baptized member Mike to the Family of God August 2017.

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There Are No What Ifs

March 27, 2017

by Brandy Webb

I find myself sometimes asking, “What if I had done so and so differently? Where would I be now?” Or “What if such and such didn’t happen?” Basically, I have a tendency to say “what if” as if I could go back and change the present outcome. It is all hypothetical nonsense, really. It also causes me to keep looking backwards instead of watching where I am going, which may cause me to “run” into something or miss out on things right now. The truth is, there are no what ifs, there is only what is.

My husband does not allow himself to ask “What if…?” He actually makes a point in saying he has no regrets. Has he made mistakes? Oh, yes. He is human. He doesn’t mean “no regrets” in a prideful way. He has no regrets because he likes who he has become today. Does he have things to work on? Definitely, and he knows that. But his point is that to regret things in the past, things that we can’t change anyway, is like not accepting God’s forgiveness and His work in our lives. God has really worked in my husband’s life to create a very wonderful young man. Many who would have known him in his teens would not have expected for him to have grown up and become who he is today. Therefore, he doesn’t regret his past because he has a testimony of how God can turn you around, and that God does forgive, God does heal, God does cleanse, and God does help you get back on the right path.

I have learned a lot from my husband’s viewpoint on his life. I realize that when I linger on the “what ifs” of my life, I am focusing on my regrets. Yes, I have made mistakes, but it is far more important to learn and move on from my mistakes rather than lingering and wondering what I could have done differently. Plus, having regrets is basically saying that I don’t like who I am today, and in a roundabout way, I am saying I don’t like how God has helped me to overcome and to grow. We may have plans for our lives, but God is the one to direct our steps (Proverbs 16:9).

I also have learned that when I linger in the past, I am trying to make sense of everything. However, I am not to lean on my own understanding. I must trust in God with all my heart, and in all my ways I must strive hard to acknowledge God because only He can make my path straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Truth be told, I don’t know when I honestly was supposed to go left instead of right, only God knows. Thankfully, though, when I do go in the wrong direction, He is able to set me in the right direction. I must just hold to the truth that for right now “we see through a glass darkly” and only know in part. However, sometime in the future, we will see “face to face” and fully understand all things (1 Corinthians 13:12). Therefore, let go of the “what if,” enjoy the “what is,” trust God, and live in love.

A Walk With God

By Sharon Wilson

In my morning walk today, thoughts just began to flow and by the end of my walk, I had tears streaming down my face. These tears were a mixture of humbleness and thankfulness, tinged with a bit of sadness and maybe even longing.

Sparked by a blog post and a Facebook post, I had been mulling over thoughts about coming out of a former church organization, the same one these people posted about. I realize my sadness is for those who have such negative feelings of those times. I know my circumstances differed from others but many of us now boast of the same freedom in Christ and of grace—but we walk a different path in our understanding of it all. I can only tell my own story.

I loved my early childhood. Days on a seventeen-acre ranch in Northern California filled with carefree summers. Playing in the irrigation ditch, riding my pony, coloring cattails, watching shooting stars at night from my sleeping bag in the backyard with my siblings. Playing Double Dutch jump rope with my sisters and neighbor girls. And who can forget throwing balls over the house roof with my brothers and sisters and hollering, “Ollie Ollie Oxen Free” and giving chase—unless, of course, it was, “Pigtails”? Fiddles, guitars, country music, homemade ice cream, hide and seek, all those fun times in life.

Those days also included a long journey each Sabbath, packed into a station wagon, to a church that was over two hours away. And then there was the Spring Holy Day Season where we ate unleavened bread and spent long hours in church. Also, a trip each Fall to Squaw Valley, California to keep the Feast of Tabernacles with thousands of others. I endured long travels and long sermons but I thrived on the activities and the people connection. But more than any of that, I witnessed the dedication of my parents to serve a God they were teaching me about by their example. Much of their example was shown by helping others, and serving in any way they could—sometimes to our childhood angst of having to cram more folks in an already packed car or stay after church even longer while my dad helped somebody out in some way.

At the age of 7, we moved to Oregon, largely to honor the Sabbath where my dad’s work was concerned. We had some lean times, I am told, but my parents always made me feel rich in my soul. No more country life at that time, but a more concentrated effort on the church and I made some lifelong friends. Life was good from my perspective. I had a home, I had parents and siblings that loved me, and I had great friends and some wonderful experiences.

At the age of 12, my world came crashing down. My mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. We prayed mightily and watched as my mother’s life shrunk away. On the night she died, God became so much more real to me. As I sobbed uncontrollably on my bed, my dad stayed on his knees by my bedside praying aloud that God would comfort me and help me to know that I would see my mom again in His kingdom.

That prayer of comfort was answered. At a pivotal age, I picked myself up and moved forward knowing that my God was very much alive and working in my life and would one day usher me into that kingdom to reunite with Mom. I also felt I had to do my part, to truly believe.

Fast forward. Fourteen years after that bedside prayer of my dad’s, he too lost his physical battle to a brain aneurysm, and one year later, my sister, at the early age of 33, succumbed to a brain tumor. Through years of maturing and learning, I realize that my parents and my sister’s faith had been perfected. I am still working on mine.

In having been a part of an organization that thought that it had the only truth and was the only true church, it took its toll on me when I determined to leave that group. Was I really leaving the truth by leaving that organization? Well, for one, that group decided to change its doctrines so I looked at it as them leaving truth. Some say they finally saw the light. I thought I had already seen that light as a child. The light of God and Christ. So, no I wasn’t leaving the one true church. I was leaving an organization. I did not leave God; nor did He leave me.

God is the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. My comfort comes from Him. My understanding of grace became even more real. I am convicted of the truth—truth I gained or had revealed to me while attending that organization. I am thankful that my understanding has grown since leaving, and I hope to always be growing in grace and knowledge while I have breath in me. My discernment of the Scriptures has not led me to start keeping holidays and discard Holy Days. Nor has it led me to worship on the day I choose instead of the Sabbath God has set aside for rest in Him. I don’t eat whatever I want without regard to those things He established and designed as clean or unclean.  It has led me to grow in my understanding of the depth of God’s love and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the grace extended to me. It has enhanced the hope of reuniting with my loved ones.

Since God’s love is so great, the best I can do is show Him that love in return by doing what pleases Him. “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Why would I not? Christ came to fill the law full—full of understanding of Him. No, I can’t earn my way, and I don’t even know if I ever thought that I could. I just want to please the God who has comforted me all these years through trial and blessings and has sealed me until the day I can be reunited with Mom, Dad, my sister, and so many of my family and friends who have gone on before me.

I was never in a cult, as some claim; I was in Jesus Christ, who is risen, so that He could send the Comfort that I needed. Thy Kingdom Come!

Two Are Better Than One

By Brandy Webb

9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone? (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

My children wanted to have an unplugged camping trip on our property, meaning no devices, not even a cell phone. They scoped out the spot, planned supplies, put everything together, and set out yesterday to camp. They did have long range walkie-talkies so that I could stay in touch with them. It was so neat watching them go with their backpacks and tents. I am sure it made them feel very grown-up.

Well, my daughter, Jazmyn, had her friend with her. The two girls planned to sleep in Jazmyn’s two-person tent. My son had his own, and all the extra supplies would be in his tent since he was by himself. Everything went great until nightfall. My son learned the value of having a friend when darkness descended. He did not like the fact that he was alone. After a while when he just could not fall asleep, he trekked back home.

I realized two important things: two are better than one, especially when it is cold outside, and when we do find ourselves alone and afraid it is nice to be able to go “home.” Home was where Josh and I were. Asher knew he would not be afraid back in his house with his parents. He would not be alone either. Well, we have a heavenly Father and Brother that we can turn to when we feel alone and afraid. They should be our go to “home” place.

Fear can unravel us and steal our joy. It is good to have someone there to help lift us out of our fears or help us conquer them, and that is exactly what God the Father and Jesus can do for us if we let them. David faced Goliath without any human help, but he was definitely not alone. Daniel faced hungry lions without any other person, but he definitely wasn’t alone.

We do not have to walk this road of life alone. Yes, it is nice to have a physical friend, but sometimes we may find ourselves without the help of a human hand. However, it doesn’t mean that there is no one there to help us. So, when we find ourselves afraid and “alone,” we need to go to God and ask Him to give us strength. Hold fast to God’s words, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

Growing Your Talents

Brandy with her mom and daughter at the New Church Lady Retreat

March 10, 2017

By Brandy Webb

This past weekend I attended the New Church Lady Women’s Conference in Lindale, TX. I also was given the opportunity to speak during the conference. The conference was great. It was uplifting and edifying. I always enjoy meeting new people and catching up with those that I already know. It is also a blessing to be able to visit and learn from each other. It is a rejuvenation for our Christian walk.

This year I realized something important, to not hold yourself back from using your talents. It was not from any particular speech, it was just from observation and my own participation. Let me just start with myself. I am not the best speaker in the world, and if you watch my speech you will notice I talk fast. I talk fast because I am nervous, very nervous. I have no speech class background, and sometimes I tend to compare myself to those that I admire because they are really good speakers. They seem relaxed and their speech flows fluidly without all the “so’s” that I end up saying. This comparison just adds to the nerves. However, despite the nerves and the knowledge that I have a lot of room for improvement, I still step out of my comfort zone and speak.

The truth is, if we all waited until we thought we were perfect at something before we did it, then nothing would get done. Plus, stepping out and using your talent, especially when it is still developing, allows God to help it to grow. It puts into practice the whole lesson that when we are weak, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:10). What better way to see His strength work through us as when we go out and use our talents to serve others. Moses wasn’t a great speaker either, yet God helped him lead an entire nation out of slavery. Therefore, I must strive to not let fear stop me from using my talents. Plus, the more you use one, the more you find out that you may have other talents that you never knew existed.

Public speaking is just one of an infinite amount of talents out there. There is also the talent of organization, and that talent is vital when putting together a conference or anything that requires a group of people to come together. They are the ones that are behind the scenes making sure that things run smoothly like a well-oiled machine. Without their talent, conferences would not happen. You can’t have just speakers. You need those that organize location, food, pamphlets, registration, sound, etc. Many women this year used multiple talents to make sure things ran smoothly.

We are all wonderfully and fearfully made (Psalm 139:14). God has given us skills that He desires us to use in our Christian walk. Using our talents requires us to step out of ourselves. Fear will try to hinder us, but we have not been given the spirit of fear but the Spirit of “power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). This conference was just one small moment in time where a group of people were able to use various talents from speaking, to singing, to organizing, to just listening, to comforting, to edifying, and to praying. May we all look around us always for opportunities to use our God-given talents, and pay attention to how God can make them grow.

What’s Your Standard

by Brandy Webb

It is becoming increasingly obvious that many people seem to have the inability to listen. Unless the news is exaggerating about how people are behaving these days, it seems that a lot of people want to be heard, but they are unwilling to calmly listen to the opposing side. This in turn creates a shouting match of chaos. The real problem is people want others to treat them in a way that they are unwilling to treat others. The idea of, you listen to me only and do not attempt to disagree. This can only be described as a double and hypocritical standard. I know it comes to no surprise that the world is full of hypocrites and double standards, but we must make sure that as Christians we do not act the same way. Continue reading

The Day After

by Brian G. Bettes

The day after Jesus Christ returns, I will be a spirit being, living as a part of God’s Family (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). I will no longer have physical aches, pains, or imperfections in my body. All of the restraints caused by birth defect, accident, abuse, or age will no longer bind me or slow me down (1 Corinthians 15:35, 42-44). I will be able to jump around if I so desire, or zip from place-to-place at the speed of thought. The first time walking through a wall instead of using the door will be really fun. There will be a lot of firsts, and they all will be fun. I am really looking forward to, the day after… Continue reading

God Listens

February 10, 2017
by Brandy Webb

There are never small miracles because every miracle is wonderful. It is always awesome when God answers prayers, whether it is healing or just Him taking our anxiety away. I am realizing that I need to stay aware of all the answered prayers that I have because every single one is an awesome miracle. It is so uplifting when our prayers are answered. In fact, Proverbs points out that a “desire fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12). Therefore, an answered prayer is life giving to our soul. Continue reading