There’s a story in the Gospel that I seem to always come back to in my readings and study. I wouldn’t exactly call it a favorite of mine because, in a way, it makes me a bit uncomfortable. But over the years I’ve found that if something in Sacred Scripture makes you uncomfortable, you need to pay attention. Sometimes those passages that trouble or confound us are exactly the ones that God most wants us to hear and understand. In my case, one of these troublesome passages is the story of Bartimaeus which St. Mark describes in the tenth chapter of his Gospel. We see Jesus and the Apostles on the journey to Jerusalem, with a large crowd following them. Christ makes it clear that He is going there to be jailed and killed and that He will rise again on the third day. James and John are intrigued and they ask Jesus to let them sit beside Him in heaven. He explains to them that His will for them all is that they serve one another, rather than seek personal authority or power. As they are leaving the city of Jericho, they pass by Bartimaeus, a blind beggar sitting at the side of the road. When Bartimaeus hears that Jesus is nearby, he cries out to Him: “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me” (Mark 10:42). Many in the crowd rebuke him, telling him to be quiet, but he keeps calling to Jesus. Christ tells the crowd to let Bartimaeus come to Him, which he does. When he gets to Jesus, the Lord asks him: “What do you want Me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51).
And that’s the question from my Savior that never fails to astound me. Because I know Jesus is asking me the same question. “:Judy, what do you want me to do for you?” The Creator of the universe is stopping by to see me, in the midst of all my sin to ask me if He can be my servant. He wants to stop everything and listen to my pleading voice. And what do I say to HIm? What do I want from Jesus? This is one of the most radical and countercultural truths of our Christian faith: God wants us to tell Him what we want from Him. On the way to His Passion, He wants us to ask even more of Him. Within sight of His death on a Cross, for our sins, He stops to ask, “What do you want Me to do for you?” What love! What absolute Love He has for us! To be loved by Love Himself. God comes to us to ask to be our servant and to offer Himself for our needs. His love is all-consuming and is most ultimately consumated on His Holy Cross, where He gives everything for you and for me.
How do we answer Christ’s heart-stopping question? For we know that in our answer we’ll reveal the truth of our relationship with Him. Like John and James, do we desire honor and glory? Do we want a bigger house, a better job, more influence, more recognition? Do we desire forgiveness? Like Bartimaeus, do we seek to be set free from darkness? Or do we fear God so much that we can’t imagine asking Him for anything? Will our answer to His question be to ask something for someone else? Will we reveal love in our hearts in our unselfish plea? What is our deepest desire, our most heartfelt yearning:? A cure? A vision? A favor?
We can find an answer in Bartimaeus himself. He casts himself on Christ’s great mercy and cries out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.” He asks to be set free, “I want to see.” Christ assures him that his faith has saved him. And then we read, “Immediately he received his sight and followed Him on the way”(Mark 10:52). Isn’t this what happens when we approach the mercy of God in the Sacrament of Confession? We cast ourselves on Jesus’ mercy and ask Him to set us free from our sins, from our blindness. And God never fails. Our faith saves us, we get up, and we follow Him. Like Bartimaeus, we’ve been set free by our Servant Savior. Never doubt God’s great love for you and His desire to set you free from your sin, whatever it might be. Get up and follow Him.
Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin, all hope consists in confession; in confession there is a chance for mercy.--St. Isidore of Seville
Shannon Smith, Pathway Baptist Church
Today was a great day to be in the house of the Lord. Our service started with an altar of prayer. The power of God could be felt immediately with burdens being lifted and lives being touched. The congregation sang victory in Jesus and the choir sang “Worthy is the Lamb”, “God Still Answers Prayer” and “Statement of Faith”. There was a long fellowship time with people just enjoying one another. Our church continues to be in a spirit of revival. We had a family to join this morning and we praise the Lord for the Kelly family.
Bro Mark continued preaching on 2 Chronicles 7:14 “Seeking His Face” 1.) Believe God can turn you from your evil ways. 2.) Believe God will hear your prayers. 3.) Believe God will forgive your sin. 4.) Believe God will heal your land.
Sunday evening Bro. Mark preached from James 1:19-25 titled “Instructions For a Church Revival” 1.) Listen more than we talk. 2.) Linger before you talk 3.) Live Godly without anger. 4.) Live like it’s your last day. If we all knew it was our last day here on this earth I think we would all be doing things a little different. I hope you would be trying to reach those that you know are lost. Well the truth is that it could very well be our last day on this earth, because the Bible tells us no man knoweth the day or the hour when the Lord is coming back. So we should live each day as our last and reach those that are lost before it’s too late. We all have people watching our life that we aren’t even aware of. What are they seeing when they watch you? Are they seeing someone that loves the Lord and is willing to do whatever it takes to reach the lost and showing them love and compassion, or are do they see religion without relationship? The choice is yours, because Christ doesn’t make us live a certain way He gives us the right to choose. Choose you this day whom you will serve, But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord!
We want to say congratulations to Brandon & Jenny Blankenship, Saturday they welcomed their new baby girl Evie Brooke Blankenship into the world. Please continue to remember all those on the prayer list, for there are many. Please remember Donna Parton as she will have surgery this week, and James Ables as he will also have surgery. Continue to pray for Valerie Mullins and her family.
If you were visiting with us today we pray you had a very blessed service and will come back to visit us. If you don’t have a church home we would love for you to visit us at Pathway Baptist. Continue to love and pray for one another. God bless.
Charlotte McGuffey, Salem Baptist Church,/b>
Sunday was a great day at Salem. Although our Sunday School attendance was down, we had a good attendance for the preaching service. We had several visitors and invite them to be with us again. Several folks were sick on Sunday.
On Sunday night, we were thrilled to have the Rex Bolis family singing for us and sharing their testimony. They are Filipino and Bro. Rex is pastor of the New International Baptist Church which meets at Camp Scott Patterson. Their church is a member of the Catoosa Baptist Association. You could really feel the spirit when they sing and they are very genuine and real people. Bro Rex stated he went to school at a catholic school and he and his family are here because churches in America sent missionaries to the Phillipines where he was saved. Now missionaries are sent from the Phillipines around the world to spread the gospel. His family is a living example of what our Lottie Moon Mission Offering does. We look forward to having them with us again. As their church does not meet on Sunday night, some of their people came to be with us. Food and fellowship were enjoyed in the fellowship hall afterward.
Beginning Wednesday, February 1 at 6:30, there will be a new program for middle and high school age young people (age 13-20). The program is called A.L.I.V.E., which stands for Actively Living in Vision of Eternity. Pastor Hollifield has challenged each young person in that age group to invite 5 of their friends to come and be a part of this new adventure.
Happy birthday to Pat Bates on February 2. Happy anniversary to Alvin and Wilma Kittle on February 12. We wish them many more years together.
We will have a Valentine dinner on Saturday, February 11 with the men doing the cooking, serving and even THE DISHES. The ladies are looking forward to a night off.
We had special prayer on Sunday for Rick Rollins, neighbor of Chubb Blevins, who has been in the hospital over three weeks with various problems. It seems when they get one problem treated, something more serious comes up. We still have many others on our prayer list.
Mel McGuffey was surprised for his 75th birthday with tickets to an evening with Christian comedian, Dr. Dennis Swanberg. Dennis speaks at many churches and conferences and has appeared on many Gaither concerts. He is a former Baptist preacher and has a unique way of working the message into his humor.
Pete Ware visited with Lois Cornelison and family on Sunday on his way to a golfing get away.
Margie Stringer, North Whitfield Baptist
Sunday was youth Sunday, we had good services both services. The youth did a great job. Bro. Stephen Roberts preached both services. His singers sang on Sunday night.
Our deepest sympathy goes out to the Bryson family on Barbara’s passing. She was out neighbor for several years. Also, Bro. Lee Parson passed away this week. He was a special friend.
Pray for Dale and Eddie, both are sick. Dale has an appointment at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta on Monday. Bro. Allen Dean has been in the hospital and needs our prayers. Bro. Hayman Souther is in the Dalton hospital, Yolanda Reed had both knees replaced on Tuesday last week and came home on Friday. She is really doing good.
Amanda Self’s baby was born on Friday, The baby weighed 9 pounds and 9 ounces. They are home doing fine.
Connie Norman is doing better from her surgery. She was able to be in church.
Marty Bell is to go to Brazil Monday for three weeks for his company. He is our youth pastor. Bro. Bobby Arnold is the youth director. These men are such a blessing. Rhonda Killian leads the singing for the youth choir, she does a great job.
I went to Smithville and stayed all night with my brother. Went to Murfreesboro VA for an eye exam. Sure did enjoy the trip. Kathy visited Welcome Hill with Todd and Tiffany Poteet, it was there youth Sunday. They reported a great service. Bro. Ed Parson is pastor. Pray for Winnie Parson, Bro. Ed’s wife. They have been friends for years. Bro. Ed worked for Sweetwater Rug Company. I worked there for eleven years. Somany dear friends worked there. Several have died since it closed. Those sure were happy years. I looked forward to going to work. Bro. Fred Hooper was my boss, a good man to work for. I have so many friends there. I sure wish someone would get a reunion together for the Sweetwater folk. Sure would be nice. The older I get the more I cherish my friends. A lot from Keith a lot from Tunnel Hill. Hello to all.
May the blessed Lord smile on all of you this week and may you have good health.
Emma Jo Davis, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church
What beautiful weather we are having here at the end of January! But it is still winter so we may still get some really cold weather yet.
Our Sunday School Class was so glad to see the ones that have been out, back with us on Sunday. Alma Bryson was over her flu, Margie Sellers had been out because of having surgery on her hand now she is better and able to drive again and Sarah Petty had been out of town so we were happy to have them all back in church on Sunday. Also glad to see the visitors that came to be with us in the 11 o’clock service hope they enjoyed the service and will be back with us soon.
Last Thursday was Leon and Emma Lou Brown’s 29th wedding anniversary. Several friends and family members met at the nursing home with a cake and cards to celebrate with them. They were surprised and really enjoyed seeing everyone. They are at NHC in Rossville, if you have a chance go visit them they would enjoy seeing you.
Lee Petty is better and back home. He still needs our prayers. John and Nancy Silvey’s grandson, Hunter is to have surgery on a kidney that has has not been right since he was born just about 3 months ago. Remember him and his parents, Cody and Betsy Silvey in your prayers that this can be corrected now before he gets older. Also Koplyn Whiddon, Pat Martin’s grandson is still having several health problems and needs prayer. We still need more teachers for our Sunday school classes and also a youth Pastor as we are getting more young people. This is so important to get them while they are young.
We send condolences to the family of Tony Baughman in the tragic death of this young man. Also condolences to the family of Ronald Smith.
Others on our prayer list are: Ellie Pitts, Lula Petty, Louise Clark, Faye Robinson, Arthur and Dorothy Longwith, Ralph and Norma Carpenter, Norma Headrick, who is better and may be coming home soon, Elsie Disheroon, Edna Allen, Earl and Katherine Plemons, Bernice Orr, Benny Wilson, Dorothy Cumbee, Gail Payne, Cindy Haney, Holly Stockburger,Our Military, Our Missionaries and Our Nation.
Happy Birthday Wishes to Britney Bates, Jeremy Bryson, Larry Headrick, Faye Weeks all on Feb. 7. Tim Davis, Feb. 4. Jacob Davis, Feb. 5.
Thought for today- God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.