Our Christian faith is a faith of contradictions. God became man, leaving the Kingship of heaven to become a baby born into a feed trough in the backwater of the Roman Empire. His Gospel proclaims lifting up the lowly, making the first become last, doing good to those who hate us and, most dramatically, finding eternal life through the humiliating death of crucifixion. Our faith opens our hearts and our lives to the power of God's love to transform the ordinary into supernatural grace. Water then washes away the sins we've concealed in the hidden rooms of our hearts. Humble, ordinary bread and wine are transformed into our Savior's Body and Blood, infusing us with Jesus' Soul and Divinity. The power of Christianity flows from the sacrifice of Christ on the Holy Cross. Without His ultimate submissive act, our redemption is a lie. The meaning of the Resurrection is, in a word, freedom.
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free..."(Galatians 5:1). From from sin. Free from fear. Free from death. In the Cross is our truest freedom---the freedom to be who God desires us to be. When Christ sets us free from all that binds us, we inherit all the rights and privileges of the sons and daughters of God. We are co-heirs with Christ Himself. But this eternal transformation comes about only through an indwelling of the Holy Spirit Who conforms us more and more to Christ. This relationship is the way the Cross does its work in us, removing the strongholds of our sin and replacing them with the fruits of the Holy Spirit. This is another great contradiction of our faith: freedom comes through surrender.
And this is what confounds our culture about Catholicism. For us, freedom means the power to pursue the good, the true, and the beautiful. Freedom is NOT the right to do or say whatever we might desire. Left on our own, our freedom is both limited and fallible. We found that out in the Garden of Eden. God gave us our free will and our choices can be in conformity with the will of God, or not. He loves us and wants us to turn to Him and "freely attain our full and blessed perfection by cleaving to Him"(Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 1743). When we kneel at the Cross, we conquer the world. We are set free through Christ to experience our fullest and truest human dignity. For Catholics, this freedom isn't getting whatever we want whenever we want it, but it is pursuing the highest good. No one was freer than St. Peter when he was put in chains for the love of Jesus, or St. Francis of Assisi when he gave away all that he owned so that he could freely preach the Gospel. Anything that stands in the way of our union with Christ is an impediment to freedom. For us, it is Truth that stands at the center of freedom---not our flawed human will. This is why we stand against abortion and slavery and pornography and same-sex "marriage." Not because our faith is an endless collection of rules and man-made practices. But because our faith calls us to the freedom that only Christ can give. Through His grace, our human will seeks more and more to do His divine will. This is why we believe that no government has the right to stand between us and the God we serve. When government interferes with the free practice of our faith, the faithful must unite in protest and in prayer. To submit to government interference is to be only partially-free, and only partially-Catholic. It is to live half a life and one devoid of the fullest human dignity which was won for us by Christ on the Cross. Our true freedom was purchased with the Blood of Jesus. As Catholics, we must be willing to defend this precious and inestimable price with our lives.
"We're free only to the extent that we unburden ourselves of our own willfulness and practice the art of living according to God's plan. When we do this, we choose to live according to God's intention for us, we are then--and only then--truly free." ---Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia
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Charlotte McGuffey, Salem Baptist Church
A large crowd came out for our 5th Sunday singing to hear the bluegrass group, Right Path. We appreciate all our visitors and invite them to come back and be with us again.
We had a good number for preaching in both services on Sunday. We hope our visitors will come back again.
The Interpretive Movement class for the youth taught by Rachel Teague got off to a good start on Sunday night. This will be ongoing depending on interest and participation
Our prayer list: Buck Blevins and his family, Rev. R.V. Wells, Herschel Spivey (recent open heart surgery), Rev. Wayne Hamrick, Demetrius Stavrianos who has terminal cancer (friend of Charlotte McGuffey), Wilma Leigh, Sandra Higgins (cousin of Mickey Liner), Marie Held, Mel McGuffey (broken ribs from his fall), Kay Rymer (cousin of Linda Blevins who has cancer again), Theora Rogers (sister of Stella Cavin) is some better but still very ill, James Davidson, brother of Bill Davidson who has cancer. John Huskey had stents put in his heart last week and has more blockages. Liddy Huskey needs prayer for her further recovery from surgery. Two teachers at Tiger Creek need prayer: Debbie Silvey (back surgery) and Holly Stockburger (fighting cancer). Mike Teague is awaiting scheduling of neck surgery. Pray for all of these.
Ladies, don’t forget your Bible study on Esther begins Saturday, August 11 at 12:30, taught by Joyce Teague. Lunch will be provided.
Next Sunday night, August 12, will be the ice cream supper where the yellow team from Vacation Bible School will serve the orange team who raised the most money for the Georgia Baptist Children’s’ Home. Mickey Liner hopes to be able to show the DVD he made of all the activities.
After our service Sunday morning, Tommy and Phyllis Johnson and Wilma Leigh went to Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church for their homecoming. They enjoyed visiting with many old friends and relatives.
Happy birthday to Amber Bramlett on August 13, Paul Huskey on the 15th and Paul Bramlett on August 16. Also, belated happy birthday to Ernie Pierce who celebrated his birthday on August 3. Happy anniversary to John and Liddy Huskey on August 11.
New Liberty Baptist Church will have homecoming and celebration of their 160th anniversary on August 26. Rev. Danny Henson invites all current and former members and anyone who has ever had a connection to the church to attend the morning worship service followed by lunch in the fellowship hall.
I will close this week with a little poem that says a lot:
The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.
To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed,
To lose one’s health is more.
To lose one’s soul is such a loss
That no one can restore.
Margie Stringer, North Whitfield Baptist
It has been a very busy week. Our Sunday school had really grown. We had 152 and several came in for the preaching service. We really appreciate all our visitors.
Our sympathy goes out to the family and friends of Mary Cummings who passed away last week.
William Weaver has been moved to the East Ridge Life Care Center. Martha Hixson was rushed to the hospital on Saturday with a stroke and heart. Pray for her and her family. This is Nancy Fincher and Allen Hixson’s mother. Victor Allen was taken to the Dalton hospital on Wednesday night. He had to have a stint in one artery and a pacemaker.
There is so much sickness. Marie Hale suffered a stroke and she has been sent somewhere for rehab.
We had a lunch for Tracy Barnes who is leaving for Florida next Friday. Her husband Daniel’s job is taking him there. We are really going to miss them and little Ty.
I talked with Lucille Brinkley last week at the funeral home and she seems to be good. Pray for her, she is still at Woodale but she likes it and says they are really good to her.
Pray for me, I’m having a lot of back problems and I’ve tried about everything that I thought would help it. I can’t sit in my chair with my feet up every minute. The boys are doing good one day and down for two. So really pray for them.
James and Laverne Roberson are not feeling too good lately. Glenda Hasty is having a lot of different health problems. Bro. Clyde Painter was in the hospital a few days last week, so really pray for him. He is really having a rough time since losing his wife.
Pray for Bro. Cecil and Kathleen Williams. She is now battling with cancer.
Danny Lowe sent word to Bro. Stringer to say thanks for the prayers and thoughts while he was so low in the hospital and he pulled through and came home and says he is doing better than he has been in three years. He still needs prayer. He does have some health problems.
Bro. George Asburn had a sick spell on Saturday and they thought he’d had a stroke but his blood pressure went down and he went on to church Sunday. Just really pray for him.
Emma Jo Davis, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church
Sunday was our Homecoming at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church. It was so good to have everyone that came back to be with us for this special day. I could never begin to name the ones that were in the service and the ones that came in later. It was great to see each one.
The special singers were very good. They were part of the group "Set Apart" one of that group was called to preach so he is not with them any longer. Pray for them that they will know what the Lord will have them do now. They just want to be lead by the Lord in whatever He would have them do.
Bro. Jeep Mitchell is always a blessing. The message was "It Sounds Like Jesus To Me." His Scripture was 11 Timothy 1:10-18. When he went to church that Sunday morning years ago he was not looking for Jesus but Jesus found him. Praise the Lord for that, Jeep has had some serious health problems but he seems to be doing much better now. His wife is not well and I'm sure would appreciate your prayers for her.
Then there was the food after the service. Everything was so good. You just can't try everything because there are so any different things. Thanks to all that brought food and helped in any way to make this another special Homecoming Day. Everyone missed Carolyn Denton and Bill and Denise Zinkeler, this was the day for the Denton Family Reunion so they were up near Maryville, Tennessee. Hope they had a good number of family and friends with them and enjoyed their time with family.
Those on our prayer list this week are: Martin and Doris Pitts, a niece of Betty Pitts, Vanessa, I don't know her last name but the Lord knows who she is. Lula Petty, Ellie Pitts, Louise Clark, Thurman and Norma Headrick, Jan Elliott, Susie McNish, Edna Allen, Jimmy Blassingame, Bernice Orr, Johnny Chapman, Benny Wilson, Kim Owens, our missionaries, our troops and our country.