We continue our reading program in the Psalms. This week's reading is Psalms 111-113. Read and take note of how God is with His people! You can download the entire Reading Schedule here.
From the desk of Joshua Creel
Like many here, I barely knew Brother David Owen having only met him once or twice when he came to visit Katie. Which is why I was a little surprised to find myself choking up frequently at his funeral. I don't consider myself a crier, but throughout the memorial service I found my eyes welling up with tears. The first time was when I saw David's granddaughters crying and being comforted by their father and aunt Katie. And when Katie would dab at her eyes with a kleenex, I found myself needing to do the same. The worse was when I saw Bro. Kinsel being unable to finish some of the songs before he stood to give the eulogy. When he stopped singing, I found myself unable to continue as well.
I guess that's what it means to be sympathetic. David wasn't my grandfather, but I remember how I felt when my grandparents passed away. I understand why those little girls were crying. I'm thankful that both of my parents are still living, but I can imagine how I'll feel when they do pass. And I've been in Brother Kinsel's shoes, needing to speak words over the body of a loved one, but unsure if I would be able to get the words out. I sympathize with all of these.
And our Lord sympathizes with us. He sympathizes with us when we grieve (John 11.35), and He sympathizes with us during times of trial and temptation (Hebrews 4.15). Not only is He sympathetic to our human sorrows and struggles, He offers the solution to them! "Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews. 4.16)
From the desk of Steve Patton
“It Ain’t Over Till Its Over” – Yogi Berra.
One of my childhood heroes died this week. I loved Yogi Berra. I was a huge Yankees fan as a kid because they were on TV every Saturday and it was the grand era of Mantle, Maris, Berra, Ford, etc. Berra went to 14 World Series, winning 10. Phenomenal. But his personality is what won over the world. He even helped inspire one of television’s most memorable cartoon characters - Yogi Bear. But much of his fame in later years came from his Yogi-isms - accidentally nonsensical sayings with a grain of truth and wisdom. “Never answer an anonymous letter.” I’ve always followed that advice. “If you ask me anything I don’t know, I’m not going to answer.” I wish I had listened to that gem on some occasions.
One of my favorites was, "Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.” (???) Somewhere Yogi learned the importance of respect for others and that you get back what you give, even if he expressed the golden rule (Mt. 7:12) in his own quirky way. But he could also be decisive: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” He knew the importance of moving forward with your life, whichever fork you took I guess (Phil. 3:13,14). Indecision was not part of his nature.
There are spiritual applications in these, though I know nothing about Yogi’s religious background. God wants us to be wise in our dealings with others and in the choices we make in life (Deut. 30:15,16). He wants us to treat our fellow man with respect. But I think I just wanted to write something about Yogi. He was one of my favorites and everyone liked him. There is something to be said for that. Learn to show the qualities Jesus wants from you in everyday life, especially in the little things. You will gain others respect (1 Tim. 3:7) and you, too, will be remembered. It is finally over for Yogi but not for us. Make good choices every day and honor God. The world will be better because you did.
Family Pride by Josh Creel
Sometimes you're just proud of your family. You see this in the faces of grandparents at family gatherings, as they consider all the accomplishments of their children and grandchildren. You see this on the faces of parents as they watch their children achieve certain goals or demonstrate the character that was taught at home. Even siblings take pride in the accomplishments of their brothers and sisters (although they often dare not say so).
Might I say that I'm proud of this family? Over the past few weeks we've had reason to rejoice as several committed their lives to Christ, being baptized into His body and having their sins forgiven. We've also had reason to sorrow and mourn as brethren have lost family members, or received bad news about ones they love so much. And I've seen so many doing exactly what God would have His children do: "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep," (Romans 12.15).
I'm proud to be a part of this family. More importantly, I believe that God is proud of His children, for in caring for each other we bring honor to Him, our Father. But let's not allow family pride to turn into satisfaction. There's still much to do in this family, brethren who need us by their side to both rejoice, and to weep.