Resources to Strengthen Your Relationship with God
From Southside Baptist Church, we thank you for your interest in our church in Andalusia, Alabama! We're continuing to build our website and update our resources information on donations, our devotional blog, our 40 days of prayer devotional, and links we think you'll find useful. In the meantime, fill out the form on our Contact page to request any additional information about our church.
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Pastor’s Devotional Blog
A Lesson of Renewal from the Oyster
There are many agitations that bring a stirring to our lives. There are the agitations of interruption, social and governmental irresponsibility, family matters, our jobs, our finances and sometimes, other people. These agitations, if we are not careful, will wear us out to the point of personal lifelessness along with a do nothing attitude. What we really need is a spiritual agitation to capture our attention. A divine stirring that moves us from stagnancy (personal lifelessness) and apathy (the do nothing attitude) to being on mission with God that will bring renewed strength!
This spiritual agitation only comes when one decides to contend with God. Listen to the words of God through Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, let us reason together says the LORD.” This word ‘reason’ at its root meaning means “to contend.” So, God calls us to contend with Him concerning our lives, our passions, our sins, family matters, our finances, our jobs and anything else that troubles and challenges us in life.
A fitting illustration can be found with the oyster. A grain of sand gets into the oyster bringing great irritation to the space that has been invaded. What begins is a process of bringing relief to the irritating grain of sand which produces a beautiful pearl. This pearl would never have been seen by any human eye unless the agitation of the grit was there in the first place!
If you and I are to find the refreshing, renewing and restoration we need and God desires to give, we need our space invaded by God’s holy grit! The spiritual irritation by God who knows exactly where to place his holy grit in our lives so the pearl of refreshing and renewal will break forth from our lives. Stagnancy and apathy is ground and smoothed out forming the fragrance of restoration, forgiveness and renewed purpose.
Now let’s finish Isaiah 1:18 along with verses 19 and 20. “Come now, let us reason together says the LORD: though yours sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land, (will enjoy success, fulfillment, peace and fruition); but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword, (frustration, destruction, emptiness and unproductivity); for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 1:18-20, English Standard Version Bible) Each of us must decide to accept the invitation to contend with God, spending time with Him with the different areas of our lives. If we do, the lesson of the oyster will come to life within!
Walking with you in God’s Spiritual Irritation, Bro. Mike
Christmas Is Celebrating the Savior, Christ the Lord!
Christmas is a celebrative time of the year. We celebrate by exchanging gifts with family and friends. We celebrate by singing the songs of Christmas. We set aside time to watch the Christmas classics that make us laugh and cry. We cannot forget about the decorations that seem to set the mood for the Christmas celebration. Cheerfulness and charity make their appearance in a grand way during the Christmas season. Yes, Christmas is a great time of the year!
But, Christmas should be a much deeper celebration. There is a deeper and greater joy to be experienced that all the gifts, meals, parties and events combined cannot provide. You see, the joy does not come from all the trappings that we or our society have made it to be. The joy of our celebration of Christmas comes from God himself when he gave the world the greatest gift of life some 2000 years ago. From Luke chapter two we find these declarations by the angels and Simeon.
The angels spoke great news of great joyfulness to the fearful shepherds. “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’”
Simeon spoke these words upon seeing the baby Jesus. “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
God’s gift to us is Jesus Christ the Lord, the source of true joy that never fades or falters! Jesus is God’s gift of salvation which includes the forgiveness of sin, cleansing from the judgment of sin and the removal of the weight of sin! Salvation in Jesus promises life in the full here and now along with the hope of everlasting life in heaven! The true joy expressed in great celebration comes when we see Jesus and the great salvation we have in him that is marvelous in our eyes!
Because of the marvelous salvation, we have in Jesus Christ we are able to celebrate the power of God’s mercy, the freedom of God’s grace and the strength of God’s steadfast love! Praise God for Jesus Christ his Son! Praise God for his great love (John 3:16-17)! Praise God that he has offered to every person true joy through salvation in Jesus Christ!
Jesus should be the center of our Christmas celebration, and when he is, true joy bursts forth outshining all the trappings, lights and decorations that surround us. There is no Christmas without Jesus. There is no true joy and peace without Jesus. Jesus is Christmas. Celebrating Christmas is the reminder of the good news of God’s great love for each of us. If you will open your heart to Jesus, you will experience the deep abiding joy and peace God has provided for you. JESUS is God’s GIFT to you. Receive His Gift. Open His Gift. Embrace His Gift. LIVE in the power of His Gift. MAY YOU HAVE A JOYFUL CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Celebrating CHRISTmas in this wonderful time of the year, Bro. Mike
40 Days of Prayer Devotional
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