By Fran Bunn
A message from Pastor Gene Whitehouse of Peachtree Baptist Church:
“I find very few things as precious to me as a word from the book of Isaiah.”
“…For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My purpose shall stand, and I will fulfill my intention.’” — Isaiah 46:9-10.
“The very fact that God has made this promise and given it to us shows me that the control of all things is in His hands. This is God’s sovereignty over all things. I experience stability, refreshment and contentment knowing that yesterday, today and tomorrow are according to the counsel of His will.
“We sometimes question or expect God to do what we want when really, he has already planned our paths. Sometimes we ask, ‘Why would I pray if God has already planned what will happen?’ We follow that question with: ‘He will accomplish his purpose, whether I pray or not. What real difference do our prayers make?’
“If you are consistent and persistent in your prayer life, you cling to the promises of God. His promises do not become excuses to relax and pray less, but give your prayers confidence and urgency before Almighty God. You are expectant that your next prayer will be the very means by which God will keep His promise, demonstrate His power and reveal his power over all things (sovereignty).
“God makes our humble, dependent, expectant cries for help the instruments of what he does in the world. We should assume that God has very few plans for the world that do not involve the prayers of his people. His will will be done whether I pray or not, but his will will not be done without prayer, because he has chosen to make prayer vital.
“We never change God’s plan when we pray, but we are called to pray, and pray expectantly, for change. We are to pray for all kinds of change in our hearts and bodies, in our neighbors, in our workplaces, in our nation, in the world, but never for any change in God. Christians pray, in whatever we pray, ‘Your will be done’ (Matthew 6:10).
“Prayer is not an afterthought in God’s plan. Prayer is not a Plan B, or a spare tire in case life breaks down. Under God, prayer runs the world. However, He does some of his most important work in the world, and in our lives, precisely because one of his children asked him to.”
The sanctuary flower arrangement Sunday was presented to glorify God by Rosemary and David Bryant in honor of the Fourth of July and its celebration of American independence.
Jerry Hobgood’s devotional this week was “God’s Statue of Liberty,” by Anne Graham Lotz, from “Fixing My Eyes On Jesus.”
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” — John 8:36.
“All over the country, today is a day for picnics and fireworks. For parades and marching bands. Celebrations of our independence — our freedom!
“2 Corinthians 3:17 speaks of an even greater freedom: the one we have in Christ. It says, ‘Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.’ That freedom is the freedom from the penalty of sin, freedom from the power of sin, freedom from shame and guilt. Freedom from fear of death. Freedom from the devil’s grip. Freedom from the grave!
“Praise God. Through the cross, God’s Statue of Liberty, we are given genuine, lasting, ultimate freedom. We are truly free at last!”
Hope for today: “No one braves the treacherous journey to America in order to live as they would in their homeland. Likewise, Christ did not leave glory and suffer an agonizing death so that you could live in anything less than absolute freedom.”
During this time, we have to realize everyone is suffering from the coronavirus, with unrest in this great United States or from something else. Some of us are suffering more than others. We need to remember all those who have come before us to suffer and die, as Jesus did, so we could live a life of freedom in this great country. This is the time we all need to step up and pull together to get through these difficult times. We all need to help and serve one another just as Christ served us. Pray for our people and country.
Another reading this week was “A Statue of Liberty” by Billy Graham, from “Hope for Each Day: Words of Wisdom and Faith.”
“During the national observance of the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty in New York, I was struck by the great emphasis on the number of immigrants who had often left everything behind. Coming to America with nothing but the clothes on their backs, they risked their lives for something they valued more highly than everything they had left behind: freedom. They did not take their adopted country’s hard-won freedom for granted — and neither must we.
“Their experience is a picture of what we must do when we come to Christ. We must forsake our allegiance to this world, leave behind all that it offers and become citizens of a new kingdom — the kingdom of God. His statue of liberty is in the form of the Cross.
“The statue in New York Harbor lifts her lamp ‘Beside the golden door.’ The statue of liberty on that hill outside of Jerusalem lights the way into eternal life.”
Special music: Jane May preformed a piano solo. Marta Whitehouse and Jerry Hobgood sang a duet, “In Times Like These.”
Verse of the week: Romans: 15:2.
• Welcome Addison Brooke Edwards, new daughter of Ashley O’Neal and Jason W. Edwards. Addison was welcomed into the world on June 22, weighing 7 pounds. Sisters Abigail and Charlotte, grandparents Linda and Kenneth Edwards and great-grandmother Annie Belle Edwards are over the moon.
• Abigail Edwards celebrated her fourth birthday on June 24.
• Congratulations to Katie Tucker and Dustin Hagwood on their marriage.
• Don’t forget, just because we are not able to do our celebrations or normal habits now because of the virus, we do not have to cancel these events. Just postpone them. Have a bigger and better event later. Look forward to that.
IN LOVING MEMORY
The entire Peachtree Baptist Church family expresses heartfelt, deep sympathy to the family and friends of Bettye Claire Roser May, 88, who passed away June 21. She was a longtime resident of Spring Hope was the mother of Dr. Thomas May. She was a member of First Baptist Church of Spring Hope and was very active in and around the Spring Hope community.
PRAYERS AND BLESSINGS
• To all those sick and in need. Please keep them all in your prayers.
• Norman Whitley, Maxine Whitley, Jean Bunn, Linwood May, Ronnie Matthews, James Sheppard, Audrey Farmer, Jake Robertson, Linda Beasley, Mable Purvis, Mac Bennett, Ronnie Russell and Rudy Brantley.
• James Sheppard will have a test done at the hospital.
• Curtis and Ginny Beddingfield’s daughter needs special prayers.
• Lynn Griffin’s mother will undergo a test.
• Please keep all front-line heroes in your prayers.
• Please don’t forget the people in the nursing homes in your area. So many are suffering with COVID-19.
• Pray for the people of this country and the world that we can come together in peace and love to solve our problems.
• Birthday blessings to Jimmy Baines (July 1), Paige Macquin (July 2), Barbara Sykes (July 2), Melanie May (July 3), Bobby Bunn (July 7), Mary Jane May (July 10), Glenn Brooks (July 10), Sue Griffin (July 12), Derrick Pittman (July 13), Drew Griffin (July 16), Tabitha Edwards (July 25) and Bill Nelson (July 28).
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Fran Bunn is a member of Peachtree Baptist Church.