We begin our human lives in a salty sea inside our mother's womb. Water is our first home. In the most basic biological sense, water is life. Our bodies are about 75% water, the same as the earth on which we live. Most of us could live for about a month without food, but only about three days without water. Water is what keeps us going. In Scripture, we know that God chose water to cleanse the earth of sin in the great flood. The ark built by Noah saved the souls of the 8 people who would rebuild humanity. God helped the Jewish people escape slavery in Egypt by leading them through water. We know that water is esteemed by the Lord because of the role water plays in our sanctification. Christ is the Living Water, which alone can satisfy the deepest thirst of our souls for truth and hope and love. Before Christ, the ritual washings and purifications of the Jews prefigured the cleansing power of the Sacrament of Baptism. Our Lord was baptized by His cousin John, who announced that day that Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:29). Water is our entry into the Church. Through Baptism we are marked as a child of God, a member of His royal family.
Which brings us to why I love holy water. To begin with, there's nothing magic about holy water. It's what the Church calls a "sacramental." It's not a Sacrament itself like Baptism or Confirmation, but it is a "sacred sign which bear(s) a resemblance to the Sacraments" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 1667). Most Catholic Churches have a baptismal font in the entry of the building to remind us that it is through baptism that we come into God's family. The font is filled with water that has been blessed by a priest. You may also see smaller holy water fonts at the inner doorways to the nave, or seating area. Catholics dip three fingers of their right hand into the water in the fonts when they enter the church. We pray the Sign of the Cross and reverently bless ourselves "in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." The blessing the priest gave the water is attached to it. So using holy water to bless yourself or your children or your home conveys that same blessing. Devoutly blessing yourself with holy water remits venial sins. This is powerful stuff. Sometimes I think we take holy water for granted. Listen to this, which is from the prayer blessing the water and describes the power it has to "...put to flight all the power of the enemy and be able to root out and supplant that enemy and his apostate angels." There's a reason demons flee from holy water---it reflects the goodness of God and evil abhors love and mercy and hope. If you don't keep holy water in your home, get some. Use a clean sealed bottle and bring some home. I have a personal font by the front door. I bless myself when I leave and when I come home. The Church encourages us to bless ourselves and our family members. You can use holy water to bless your home, your family, your car, your pets, and your meals. If you're sick, you can add a few drops to your food. Remember, holy water isn't a magic potion. Like other sacramentals, it prepares us to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit. Holy water helps us to remember how much God loves us.
I love holy water because it reminds me of my Baptism. I was nineteen and I'll never forget the joy of knowing God's love and mercy had made me as white as snow. It was knowing how much He loves me and wants me to know and love Him. When I bless myself, I remember His love anew. I love holy water because it makes me look differently at the ordinary things of the world. God uses ordinary things like water and oil, bread and wine, and transforms them into extra-ordinary creations. He wants to do the same thing to me and to you. Holy water is as powerful as our faith in Christ. It is the mercy and forgiveness of God. It makes demons flee in terror. It refreshes my soul.
I read once that love is an act of continual forgiveness. That means God is continual forgiveness, since God is love. Every time I use holy water, I remember how much God loves me and forgives me, every day, every moment. When we don't take advantage of the goodness of holy water, we miss out on this gift of blessing God has given to us. I don't know about you, but I need His blessings. I need all of them. And I especially need His mercy and forgiveness. That's what holy water reminds me. That I'm loved and I'm forgiven. Thanks be to God.
"Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it." ---Mark Twain
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Charlotte McGuffey, Salem Baptist Church
Perry McAllister preached at Salem on Sunday morning in the absence of Mike Teague, who had spine surgery on Wednesday of last week. Mike is home now and doing okay according to Joyce. He came for a few minutes of the singing on Sunday night.
Sunday night was our 5th Sunday singing with the Willow Creek Quartet. We had snacks in the fellowship hall afterward. We had several visitors in both services and hope they will come again.
The children had a scavenger hunt and hike at the Elsie Holmes nature center on Sunday afternoon. The children ran up the hilly trails, but the adults were a bit slower, some maybe a lot slower. They enjoyed refreshments after the hunt and hike.
The Combustion retirees’ semi annual meeting will be held on Thursday, October 4 at the Senior Citizens Building in East Ridge. Bring a covered dish and come visit with your former co-workers and friends.
The Ensley/Carpenter reunion will be held on Saturday, October 6 from 2:00 to 5:00 at the Salem fellowship hall. Bring a covered dish and join us, also old pictures if you have any that would be of interest.
Those celebrating birthdays are John (Stanley) Ware on October 1; John Huskey, Donna Ensley and Jane Daniel on October 5; Eddie Bramlett on October 6 and Emmi Jenkins on October 16.
Rev. Danny Henson had knee replacement surgery last week. He is home now and doing therapy. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Rev. Wayne Hamrick still needs our prayers as he battles cancer and a liver disease. Pray for Joan and son, Micah as they take care of him.
Others on our prayer list are James Davidson (brother of Bill Davidson), Mary Eslinger, Holly Stockburger, Georgia Blevins (sister-in-law of Chubb Blevins), Janie Arch (sister of Chubb), Charlie and Pat Bates, Alvin Kittle, Kay Rhymer, Kathleen Lewis, Archie and Susie McNish, Lisa Rauch, Teresa Tillman, Earl Presley. Howard Ensley has been in the hospital having tests but was better over the weekend and hoping to go home soon. Janice Watkins will be having surgery this week and would appreciate your prayers.
Prayer has been answered. Tommy and Phyllis Johnson’s daughter and son-in-law and family are moving to Ft. Benning in Georgia from Colorado. Donnie also received a promotion to Sergeant. Tommy and Phyllis are thankful to have them closer.
David and Frank Scoggins enjoyed the Hamilton County Fair on Saturday returning home in time to watch the Georgia vs. Tennesee football game.
The Taylor girls were treated to an afternoon of fun at Lake Winnie by their aunts, Penny and Libby, and grandmother, Mary Eslinger. What a fun place for children.
Food for thought: Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. (Abraham Lincoln)
Margie Stringer, North Whitfield Baptist
Bro. Stringer just came out of a three-night revival at Welcome Hill Baptist in Ringgold. The Lord really blessed and it was so good to be with Bro. Ed Parsons and his church.
Sister Winnie got to come out on Sunday night and it was good to see her. Some of the church people were out sick but there was such a good spirit, good singing and folks in the altar.
We were at our church Sunday morning, it was youth day and Bro. Michael Blackstock brought a wonderful message. Bro. Riddle brought the message Sunday night and they reported it was so good.
We appreciated all our folks who came to the revival, some came every night.
Eddie has been down with us since Thursday. He felt pretty good till Sunday and he laid around most of the day.
Mertha and Marvin McCormick will be married at Dogwood Baptist Church next Saturday the 6 of October at 4 o’clock p.m. Bro. Stringer will perform the ceremony. They belong at Dogwood but they wanted their Pa-Pa to marry them. Bro. Ray Gentry is their pastor.
Jerry Clark has been in the hospital several days. Pray for him. Bro. Larry Keaton went to the hospital with his heart out of rhythm but he was sent home that night. He hasn’t been well since before he had his heart surgery.
Continue praying for Glenda Hasty she is still not feeling well at all. Pray for Wayne Proctor he is at home with hospice and he really needs your prayers. Bro. J.T. and Bro. Stringer visited him on Sunday evening. His wife was Barbara Cummings.
Continue praying for Jimmy Hooper, he is suppose to come home from the hospital Tuesday after a long time in Nashville. We pray the treatments he had there and the blood transfusion have helped him.
Pray for Dale he will go back on Thursday to Piedmont to the doctor.
Norma Headrick had to go back to Birmingham to see her doctor, so really pray for her. Pray for Evelyn McKneese, she is better and can stay some by herself. James Wilson is out of the hospital and was at church Sunday. Allen Robinson is out of the hospital.
Emma Jo Davis, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church
Can you believe it is October already? I don't know where this year has gone. I always heard that as you get older the faster the time passes and now I believe that is true.
We still have members out sick, Carolyn Denton had knee surgery on last Thursday and she is still in a lot of pain. Please remember her in your prayers. Alma Bryson was out of church on Sunday morning as she wasn't feeling well. Remember her as she has some health problems. Jewel Mitchell was in the morning service, I don't know that she was really able to be there. She is having some serious back problems and needs our prayers that she will be better soon. We missed her in Sunday school.
It is great to see Dorothy Longwith able to be with us now. Just keep her in your prayers, as she is not well. We were glad to have Ronnie Long in the service on Sunday evening and enjoyed his songs.
We send condolences to the family of Marguerite Campbell Felker. She passed away last Friday. Also to the Dan Edwards family. Dan passed away last Monday after a yearlong battle with cancer. Remember the family of both of these in prayer.
Prayer was also requested for Marty Shope, Wayne Perry, Doris Pitts and all the others that are on our prayer list. One lost man that is having some serious health problems. He really needs to be saved most of all. Kenneth Peters is home after his stay in the hospital with pneumonia. Hope he is on his way to recovering from his by-pass surgery. Remember to pray for our military, our country and especially this upcoming election.
Happy birthday wishes go to Susie McNish, October 4. Brianna Compton, October 6. Debbie ONeil, October 7. Jill Flood, October 8. Collis Holcomb and Margie Sellers, October 10.
Thought for today "Instead of putting others in their place, put yourself in their place." Amish Proverb.