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Stories Archives for 2017-01

In God's Word by Mike Mills


 

The blessed man of the Psalm-
 
"Blessed is the man who walks not in the council of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by steams of water that yields its fruit in it's season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers." (Psalm 1:1-3)
 
The Psalmist tells us not to; walk with the wicked, nor stand with the sinner, not sit with the scoffer. In other words, pick your friends carefully, choices made today determine your life tomorrow and eventually, possibly even your eternity.
 
I think this is a reason some are reluctant to accept the free gift of salvation from the Lord Jesus. They are afraid they may have to change their habits, friends or sometime maybe their jobs.
 
And this may be true, except, once truly saved it is not something you "have to do", it is something you will "want to do". Your life is then changed for the good.
 
The blessed instead delights in the commandments of the Lord and meditates day and night. (Meditate - to engage in devout religious contemplations; a quite, spiritual introspection, or look within oneself)
 
It says the blessed man is like a tree that yields fruit, that does not wither; he then prospers in all that he does.
 
So, let's break this down and see what it means to us as born-again Christians.
 
Yes, it is true that once one is born-again that his life does change. Old things of the world no longer tempt him, old haunts no longer draw him, and old habits are left and not revisited. This is all good though and helps in a closer walk with the Lord each day.
 
Let's look at the results of the born-again life.
 
By giving up the things of the world in which we once delighted, we now delight in the Lord. Our time is spent with Him and not in the pursuit of worldly things.
The scriptures say the benefits are; we then become like a tree planted by flowing water. Our roots run deep keeping us grounded in the laws of the Lord and we no longer drift around in darkness but now walk in the light. We now yield fruit for the Lord which is the reason for our being here, and everything we do will prosper.
 
To meditate daily gives us the roots we need, by transcendental meditation we go way beyond simply studying the Bible, we take study to a supernatural level and we find ourselves becoming of a quiescent mind, a restful and peaceful mind.
 
To take full advantage of our daily walk with the Lord we need to take a particular scripture or passage or even a single attribute of God and spend time in meditation just contemplating the meaning of it. Letting God talk to us as we listen to Him.
 
In this way we become more deeply rooted, more steadfast in our relationship with our Lord God. By spending this time, transcending the normal study of the Word we become much more useful to the Lord and much harder for the evil one to deceive.
 
May God bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you today...
 

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In God's Word Pastor Mike Mills


 

And Jesus answered her; "but, whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:14)
 
As God made water flow from the rock in the wilderness when the Israelites had no water to drink, so to does the water of life flow today. For not only is one saved for eternity when he accepts Jesus as Lord, "drinks of the water that I will give him", but once saved that person wants to see others experience the same joy and peace that he has received. So the water of life flows forth from each.
 
"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)
 
To receive the water of life, one must first believe and receive the word of God. He must believe and accept God's Word as truth as he accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and Master. No other way can one receive eternal life in heaven. 
 
Peter tells us; "but the word of the Lord remains forever. And this word is the good news that was preached to you." (1 Peter 1:25) 
 
The same "good news" preached by Jesus and His Apostles is still true and being preached today.
 
As Jesus said; "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink." "Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, "Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." (John 7:37-38)
 
These rivers of living water that will flow from the hearts of the redeemed is the gospel of the Lord Jesus. 
 
When one is truly born-again, that person is inclined to want to share the joy and good news that he has received with others. In this way the living water flows from each Christian into the world as it has from the original twelve disciples.
 
The reward for accepting Jesus as Lord; "Then the angel showed me the river of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city, also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. "
 
"And night will be no more. They will need no kind of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever." ( Revelation 22:1,2,5) 
 
The scene in heaven as described by the Apostle John in the book of Revelation. 
 
Is this not where you wish to spend your eternity, a place where you drink from the river of life and eat from the tree of life year-round. 
 
The alternative is to be cast out into darkness, separated from the Lord forever, tormented day and night for eternity.
 
Jesus says; "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink." (John 7:37) 
 
Answer His call, come to Him and drink from the living water and thirst no more.
 
May God's blessings fall upon you each day...

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Happenings at Paxton Methodist, Jan 23


 

Last week we celebrated the baptism of Jesus. This Sunday, the 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany, Jesus calls Peter, Andrew, James, and John to become his first disciples. John the Baptizer is in prison; Jesus picks up the mantle, calling upon people to prepare for the coming Kingdom of Heaven. The radical call and the radical response by the four fishermen served as the Gospel for this Sunday. The response by the four was radical in that they immediately answered the call. They walked away from the way they made a living. They also walked away from their comfort zone—their families and their community. Few people are willing to make that kind of sacrifice to become disciples.
 
I read an article where the writer says he is not a “fan” of Jesus, which really grabbed my attention. The writer is astounded that 75% percent of Americans—some 223,000,000 people—say they are Christians. If this is indeed the case, then how can so many people go to bed hungry every night? Why are so many children ignored? The writer decides that most people who call themselves Christians are really just “fans of Jesus.” They like the story of Jesus. They certainly want their tickets punched for Heaven. But to be a disciple—that simply requires too much. I think between disciples and fans are the vast majority of Christians who try to be followers. We try to follow in the footsteps of the master, but we find such an adventure very difficult.
 
Our Sunday School was special in many ways. First, Pat Pate came this morning, and we were all so happy to see her. Pat taught with Sue and me for a long, long time and remains one of our best friends. Secondly, Ms. Fannie sang the beginning of Psalm 104. Joe sang the next part, and then the entire class sang the last of the Psalm that was printed in our lesson. It was a great way to rejoice at God’s goodness, although singing isn’t the greatest talent of so many of us.
 
We were in double digits this morning—always something to celebrate with such a small congregation as Paxton. Joe and Laura, our “newbies,” as my sister-in-law said upon meeting them, came to church this morning. Pat knew most of the folks at Paxton already and was introduced to those she didn’t know. We received a letter from First Baptist Joaquin thanking the Paxton church for our financial and personal support in providing Christmas gifts to young folks in the community.
 
Our Paxton ministry served Holiday Nursing Center last week. Hilda, Fannie, Sue, Nora, and the preacher visited friends, shared stories, and sang songs. The weather had been steady rain for several days, but Thursday afternoon the rains slowed and the sun came out. We are looking forward to our outreach at Lakeside Village this coming Thursday at 2:00. Many of our volunteers are Paxton members, but others just have that desire to bring cheer to our friends and neighbors.
 
In November there was a wreck out in front of our house. It was rainy weather and a car hydroplaned, leaving the road and taking out two large bushes, our street sign, the State’s “55mph sign,” hitting our culvert and flipping over. Luckily, all were safely buckled in, so no one was hurt. This past week I went to a sign shop in Center to order a new street sign. The gentleman who waited on me and I got into a long conversation about people we both know. Ms. Margie Dorner, who we all know from our visits to Lakeside, came in. Turns out she is his mother, and we had one of those “small world” visits. 
 
“Whoever you are, in whatever faith you were born, whatever creed you profess; if you come to this house to find God you are welcome here.” Paxton United Methodist Church is an inviting church that takes to heart the idea of “Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds.” Sunday School starts at 9:30 and Worship begins at 10:00. Our email address is paxtonumc@yahoo.com. If you would like the weekly email newsletter about Paxton Methodist you can send me your email address to the Paxton email address and I will add you to the list. God’s Speed!

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Trust The " Anchor" by Mike Belgard


 
Repelling is fun. The feeling of walking off a 50 ft. tower or large cliff with just a rope between you and the ground is exhilarating!
 
I will never forget the first time that I was challenged to do it. I have to say this right off, I have always had a "fear" of heights. So for me to do this, in my mind, was truly a feat. As I began to climb the tower and think that what I was about to do feeds one of my biggest fears, my chest began to tighten, hands sweating, breathing labored, and my knees got weak. That's right I was in full anxiety mode. My fear was so strong I didn't know if I could make it to the top of the tower, let alone jump off it with nothing more between me and the ground but a rope and one of my Army buddies holding the line at the bottom.
 
Once I got to the top I was "rigged up" and walked to the edge of the platform. The instructor could tell I was nervous, so he comforted me with the words, "Don't worry if you fall, we can slow your descent so you probably won't die, just break a couple bones." Then he laughed. I was given instructions on how to stop or slow myself on the way down and told to step over the edge. As I looked back over the edge and seen how far it was to the ground, all those fears rushed through my head, "What if the rope breaks?, What if I forget how to stop?, What if the guy on the ground is not paying attention as I plunge to the earth?"  Then the instructor gave me some wise advice. He said, Just step over the edge and hold for a few seconds until you get used to being over the edge."  Then he told me that the guy on the ground end of the rope could stop me if I started to free fall. You see the "anchor man" at the other end of the rope could actually be your salvation if you began to fall. With this realization, my fears were relieved and my anxiety began to subside. I made the repel without incident and couldn't wait to get back and try it again. I almost let fear and anxiety keep me from experiencing something that could give me enjoyment.
 
In life we let our fears lead us to anxiety and worry. When we allow these to take control of our lives it can paralyze us and keep us from moving forward. Did you know that about 90 percent of the things we worry about daily never materialize. So we spend a lot of our days being afraid to step out of our comfort zones to be all that God wants us to be. We can use fear and anxiety as justification for our inaction, but in reality it comes down to not trusting our "anchor man." Who we put our trust in if we start to "free fall."
 
Hebrews 6:19-20 says, "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus." When we are convinced that we can trust Jesus as the anchor of our soul we can live life head on, without fear.  Paul tells us that if we, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and minds through Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4: 6-7)
 
So don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Its time for you to stop letting fear and anxiety hold you back. Step out, and put your faith and trust in the "anchor" that never fails, Jesus Christ. When anxiety enters faith leaves, but when faith takes over anxiety disappears.
 
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
― Theodore Roosevelt.
                 
Trust God and stop worrying. You won't succeed if you never try.
 
 
                                                                                                       I'm Just sayin,
 
                                                                                                       Mike Belgard

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Happenings at Paxton Methodist Church


 

 Last week we celebrated the Epiphany, which put off to this Sunday the scriptures about the baptism of Jesus.  All four of the canonical gospels have a baptism story, so we know how important this event is.  Jesus comes to the Jordan, where John is urging people to be baptized and transformed.  Jesus is baptized, which marks the beginning of his ministry.
 
Water is the most valuable resource—all living things need water to survive.  Water is a source of life and has great importance in almost all world religions.  The Hebrew Scriptures begin in Genesis speaking of water covering the face of the earth.  Revelation in the Christian scriptures has a vision of water flowing from the throne of God.
 
Baptism joins us with God and a community of God.  Stanley Hauerwas writes that we are called upon to be a community “capable of forming people with virtues sufficient to witness to God’s truth in the world.”  Our baptism calls us into the Kingdom—a Kingdom of tolerance, love, and bravery.  Our baptism is joined with Jesus’ and from that union living water must flow from our lives into the lives of all we meet.
 
The scripture for our Sunday school lesson continues to be the Psalms.  Psalm 65 praises and blesses God for abundant grain and rain.  The poet says that even the deserts drip with God’s goodness.  All the little things that we often take for granted make life good.  We often forget that.
 
We had a good crowd by Paxton standards.  We have been in double digits every Sunday this year!  Sam came with his grandmother, Mrs. Fannie: We at Paxton have enjoyed seeing Sam grow up, and now he is all grown up!  He is getting ready for a new semester at Panola.  Our End-of-Year Reports and other required paperwork were sent via the mail and the Internet.  It is always nice to get this business completed so we can concentrate on the important things.  I have a meeting with the District Superintendent next week in Lufkin.
 
This Tuesday we go to Holiday Nursing Home for our monthly program.  A week from this Thursday, we head to Lakeside Village.  Both programs begin at 2:00.
 
“Whoever you are, in whatever faith you were born, whatever creed you profess; if you come to this house to find God you are welcome here.” Paxton United Methodist Church is an inviting church that takes to heart the idea of “Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds.” Sunday School starts at 9:30 and Worship begins at 10:00. Our email address is paxtonumc@yahoo.com. If you would like the weekly email newsletter about Paxton Methodist you can send me your email address to the Paxton email address and I will add you to the list. God’s Speed!

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In God's Word Pastor Mike Mills


 
"Arise and go down to the potters house, and there I will let you hear my words." So I went down to the potters house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potters hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the Lord came to me: "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done?" Declares the Lord. "Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel." (Jeremiah 18:2-6)
 
This story of the potter's wheel truly is the story of the relationship of mankind on earth with the Lord.
 
Just as with the clay of the potters wheel, all men are "spoiled" as we are all born into this world with the sin nature inherited from our forefather, Adam. 
 
From birth we are molded by our parents, our siblings, our school and our church, yet we are still spoiled by our sin nature and for us to be complete and be useful vessels we too must be reworked into a useful vessel, a new creation.
 
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17) 
 
"If anyone is in Christ", meaning, once we have accepted Christ as Lord and Master we are then a "new creation". Once saved you will be changed, the old things of this world will no longer control you as you learn the true joy of living in Christ. You will grow in faith to realize that nothing of this world matters, only God's Word and your relationship with God is important. It is your future, your place in eternity that matters.
 
"Arise and go down to the potters house, and there I will let you hear my words." Is God not the potter, is the potters house not the church? Isn't God telling us here that if we are to become useful vessels then we must go to where we can hear His words? "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." (Romans 10:17) 
 
Absolutely, we see here from the scripture that to be saved; we must "hear the word" for "faith comes from hearing". God is telling us that we must be told as were the 1st century Christians, they did not know "the Word" until John the Baptist and Jesus Christ came preaching repentance of sins. Without this preaching, not one person would be saved today.
 
"Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9)
 
"For with heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved." (Romans 10:10)
 
There it is, we must be reworked by God's grace into new creations, useful vessels for the work He put us here to do.
 
If you don't know Him, find a church today be there tonight and begin the process of being reworked by God into a useful vessel.
 
May God's blessings be upon you...

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In God's Word by Mike Mills


 

In 1 John, the Apostle tells us how we must "test the spirits" in these latter days in order to know the truth and that we must remember that God is love and we to must live in love for one another.
 
"Beloved do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1)
How, you may ask can I know? Simple, if the prophet speaks of Christ coming in the flesh then he is from God, all others are from Satan.
 
A true, God-sent-preacher must profess that Jesus has indeed come in the flesh, a living man, and that He truly is the Son of God, that Jesus is both man and God, one in the same. If any preacher does not profess this then you should not listen to him nor assist him.
 
How can we know we are in the company of other true Christians?
 
"Beloved let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God." (1 John 4:7)
God's love was made manifest when he sent His only Son into the sinful world so that all humanity had the chance to live eternally with Him in heaven. The love of both the Father and the Son is so strong that Jesus died a cruel death on the cross for the sins of all people, forever.
 
Only those "of God" will show love to others when they are persecuting them, those of the world do not know the love of God and will not show Godly love to those who disagree with them."Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God." (1 John 4:15)
 
Each day we are to witness to others that Jesus is truly the living Son of God so they see the joy we have as we abide in Him. We don't live in a perfect world and we are not perfect so there will be trials and tribulations but we must do our best to hold true to the faith and promote the gospel of the Lord to others each day. Just saying "I pray you have a blessed day" is sometimes all it takes to help someone through a rough day, be an example of good for Christ.
 
"By this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgement, because as He is, so also, are we in this world." (1 John 4:17)
 
Residing in Christ gives us the peace of mind we need to have total confidence in the day of judgement and our place in it. Either eternal life or eternal punishment awaits all humanity. "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36)
 
The choice must be made by each. If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Redeemer, simply ask Him and He will save you.
 
May God bless you each day.

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Happenings at Paxton Methodist Church


 

 
Sunday was the First Sunday after Christmas and, of course, New Year’s Day!  Happy New Year!  I hope that the New Year will bring you joy and fulfillment.  On this Sunday the Psalter Lesson was Psalm 148.  The Psalms are the Jewish people’s hymnbook (but we just recited—no singing).  Hymn 148 is an exuberant song of praise sung by the entire universe.  The Gospel Lesson has Joseph once again receiving a vision in a dream, in which he is told to take his family to safety as mad King Herod was on the loose.  These two scriptures deal with the paradox of faith.  We go from the world shouting out with joy to the story of human depravity found in Matthew 2:13-23.
 
Psalm 148’s song of praise does not spring from a delusion that the world is fine but from the human capacity for joy.  The Irish monks and mystics of the 7th Century had a practice of “listening for the heartbeat of God”—NOT listening to the heartbeat but listening for it concealed within all that is around us.  Listening for the heartbeat of God is certainly a good practice for us this New Year!
 
Ms. Fannie had a great lesson today and encouraged everyone to take time this New Year to notice all the beauty around us.  The scripture lesson for today was Psalm 33:1-9,  a hymn of celebration of God’s creative power and his steadfastness.  One of the reasons for worship is to praise God for all his creation.
 
We were in double digits again this Sunday!  It was great to have Laura and Joe worship with us again.  It was wonderful to see Carolyn after a long absence—she has been in Pennsylvania since October.  Joy and Gene are back from Christmas with their family in Houston, and Joe Fielder said he had a good visit with Ben and his family.  All the Paxton folks sure appreciate Hilda and Joe for bringing us our music each Sunday.
 
Our next nursing home program is scheduled for Monday, January 2, at 2PM at Green Acres.
 
We’re expecting rain, but maybe we can slosh through the puddles for this mission of ours.  And speaking of weather, they’re even predicting snow for Friday!  This week we might be experiencing all the seasons in a matter of days.
 
“Whoever you are, in whatever faith you were born, whatever creed you profess; if you come to this house to find God you are welcome here.” Paxton United Methodist Church is an inviting church that takes to heart the idea of “Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds.” Sunday School starts at 9:30 and Worship begins at 10:00. Our email address is paxtonumc@yahoo.com. If you would like the weekly email newsletter about Paxton Methodist you can send me your email address to the Paxton email address and I will add you to the list. God’s Speed!

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“Song of the Birds”


 

 
“The birds of the air nest by the waters and sing among the branches ...” Psalm 104:12
 
January 2, 2017 - In 1970, a professional photographer warned me that my interest in bird photography was only a passing fad. But thirty-two years later I’ve proved him wrong. Pam and I invite our avian friends often to our home and we visit them regularly at theirs.
 
Our favorite feeder is located about fifteen feet from my computer room window. This morning I’m watching the last bunch of goldfinches stuff themselves on sunflower seeds in preparation for their journey north. Two Inca doves are fondly nestled together on a pecan limb directly above the feeder. The habitat of these little birds (sometimes called “Mexican doves”) has extended to San Augustine during recent years and their small flat nests can be found in the many trees of our town.
 
Our backyard congregation includes mourning, ground and Inca doves, chickadees, cardinals, brown thrashers, titmice, purple finches, goldfinches, brown thrashers, wrens, sapsuckers, three species of woodpeckers, jays, robins, several sparrow species, and a host of others. And we’ll soon see buntings, grosbeaks, kingbirds, flycatchers, orioles, and other biannual visitors as they return to nest in our East Texas countryside.
 
Our beautiful birds are just another expression of God’s creative genius. And as they rub their happiness off on us, they’re also teaching us to sing while receiving God’s blessings…..
 
… as they so cheerfully do. 

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