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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Encouragement | He Is Peace


 Encouragement From the Character of God

He Is Peace
by: Julia Bennett

Encouragement. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as, “Something that makes someone more determined, hopeful or confident.” 

All right, that sounds simple enough. 

Is it simple, though? 

Is there a way to be so encouraged that we live “determined, hopeful and confident” on a daily basis, even on the days when life just doesn’t feel encouraging? So often life seems to leave us discouraged. This feeling not only comes in the trials and storms, but many times in the mundane normal parts of life where routine rules. Many people are weary after the summer and are looking forward to the changing of seasons, whereas some of us may be discouraged just thinking about the challenges or changes that will come with autumn. Whatever the case may be for each of us, I pray that by looking at the character of God, we would draw encouragement and learn to live so deeply rooted in Christ that we would also be an encouragement to others.

To find encouragement in the midst of our world, we have to go to the source of encouragement -- God Himself. There are many parts of God we can draw encouragement from daily, but we are just going to focus on a few parts of who He is.

God is Peace

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is the creator of peace. He is peace.

His entire purpose in coming to earth was to redeem us, which in turn gives us peace with God. That peace He gives us is the kind of peace that overcomes sin and separation from God. Isaiah 53:5 says, “But He was pierced for our transgressions, crushed because of iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.” What does the peace He gives us look like beyond peace in Salvation?

There is a deep, daily peace available to all who have put their trust in Christ and what He did to bring us peace with the Father. This peace is a practical foundation in life that gives us the ability to trust God and rest in His promises despite whatever may be going on in our lives or around us. If peace is the opposite of fear and if He Himself is peace, then through His power we have the ability to cast aside all fear and doubt. 1 John 4:18-19 says, “There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. We love because He first loved us.”  How do we practice living in that? I think the answer to that question is summed up in Isaiah 26:3-4, which says, “You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You. Trust in the Lord forever, because in Yah, The Lord, is an everlasting rock!” 

If we keep our minds and hearts dependent on Christ, He will bring us a satisfying, overwhelming peace which in turn will make us more “determined, hopeful, and confident” through the power of our God of peace. JB 

Julia Bennett is beginning her senior year of high school.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Back-to-School Supplies Drive 2015

Back-to-School Supplies Drive

Composition books. NOT spiral.
Vinyl folders with pockets and brads. Solid colors. Preferably NOT black.
Pencil pouches. NO pencil boxes.
Hand-held pencil sharpeners with collection lid.
Packaged, pre-sharpened colored pencils.
Avery Durable Reference Vinyl EZ-Turn ring binders. 1" with 3 Rings.
Avery 8-Count Big Tab assorted color tab dividers.
Wide-ruled loose-leaf notebook paper.
Pre-sharpened yellow #2 lead pencils. Recommended: Ticonderoga brand.
Glue sticks. NO glue bottles.
Rubber Erasers.
Bottled hand sanitizer.
Packages of 10 blue or black pens.

Drop off needed items at the main entrances on Aug. 9. Look for the big, blue barrels. Questions? Contact P.K. Hinkle at 417.885.5215.

Don't feel like memorizing this list? Ran out of ink in your printer? Pick up a complete list in the missions office.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Once Upon a Hawaiian Sea Turtle | Angela Kincade

Once upon a 


As we snorkeled off the coast of Maui in an area known as "Turtle Town," we had the wonderful opportunity to swim with sea turtles. We were so close in proximity that we had to swim back as to not touch them. They swam with elegant grace and peaceful beauty.

Much to our surprise, we ran across a baby sea turtle. He swam right to us. He greatly resembled the little sea turtle in "Finding Nemo," known as "Squirt." While admiring his petite frame, it became evident that he was missing a front fi. But this spunky sea turtle swam on, never missing a beat. This little sea turtle focused on what he could do, not what he couldn't do. It's all a matter of perspective.  

Our perspective is made right when we spend time reading God's Word. When we remember to fix our eyes on Christ, our seemingly large difficulties shrink in light of who He is and what He has done.

Sea Turtles dive to the shallow ocean floor and swim in underwater sea tunnels and caves in the reef, but every 20 minutes or so they must come up for air. If not, much like us, they will lose their strength and drown.

In thinking of the Christian life, it reminded me of prayer. We can swim through this life in our own strength, but to truly live we must come up for some air. When we swim in our own strength, we often find ourselves exhausted and at a loss as to which way to go. We find ourselves swimming in circles or uncertain as to which tunnel to take.

Prayer is our lifeline. It is the fresh air that we breathe. Prayer is where our faith is strengthened, where our perspective is made right, where we become more Christ-like and where battles are won. When we humbly surrender to God's Word, His will and His ways, we can peacefully glide through the deep waters of life resting confidently in His strength and not our own. In His strength, the vast sea doesn't seem so big.

While on the catamaran, the deep waves tossed the boat to and fro as we rode the waves and splashed. A few on the boat immediately felt seasick. But for most of us, it was not until about 5-6 hours later that the effects of our adventure were made known. It swept in like an ocean wave, this feeling of swaying and rocking despite standing on solid ground at the hotel. Much like prayer, some answers come quickly, while others come at a later time.  But one thing is as certain as the tide, the answers come after we pray.

Maybe you have been cruising through life and you haven't really been praying. Maybe after a few prayers you gave up. Maybe the answer wasn't what you hoped for. Maybe you just got distracted. But just like me standing on the side of the Catamaran with snorkel gear and flippers on peering into the deep waters, sometimes you just have to have the courage to dive in. Just start praying. It is when you dive deep in prayer that you begin the see the unexpected blessings and answers that are around every corner and your faith discovers the deep and hidden treasures. Faith and prayer go hand in hand.

Luke 18:1 says, "And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart."

That little, one-finned sea turtle could have easily lost heart, but he just kept on swimming with joy. As Dory, another fish from "Finding Nemo," would say, "Just keep swimming; just keep swimming." As followers of Jesus, we should, "Just keep praying; just keep praying!" The answer could be swimming your way, just like that little sea turtle. 

As great and fascinating as it was to swim with sea turtles, so far greater is the opportunity to openly read God's Word and fellowship with our loving Heavenly Father in prayer. Dive into God's Word, dive deep into believing prayer and wait expectantly. Then praise Him for the answers.

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose," Romans 8:28.

And sometimes, we have to wait patiently on God, because we may not quite be ready for the answers!  We may have some (spiritual) growing up to do, like that baby sea turtle!  I'm blessed to have crossed paths with the Hawaiian sea turtles, and I'm thankful for the lessons God taught me from my adventure with them. AK

Angela Kincade. Read "Courage To Pray" in the July 2015 newsletter.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

HELP, please!

Our big teacher training for VBS is Sunday, April 19, 4 p.m., in the Ridgecrest Room. We still have a few open spots for volunteers that we must fill before children "journey off the map" in June. Will you please help?

: preschool teachers
: first and second grade teachers
: third and fourth grade teachers
: preschool craft helpers
: more

Register at ridgecrestbaptist.org/vbs or call Bev Jestes for more information at 417.885.5213.

Friends of the Library -- Load In
We are loading in the Friends of the Library on Sunday at Remington's at 2 p.m, and we would love to see Ridgecrest turn out big for our community. There is work for all! Unloading trucks, sorting books, breaking down boxes, etc. Will you please help?

: contact Joy at joysteele@gmail.com
: lots of volunteers, lots of ages, lots of books

Thank you, Ridgecrest!