Thank God for Kids - Cindy Williams
Thank God for Kids - Cindy Williams

Maranatha Baptist Church • November 21, 2020

Thank God for Kids - Cindy Williams


The other day I read, “Here I am with the children the Lord has given me to be signs and wonders in Israel” Isaiah 8:18 csb. The author of the book said that Isaiah knew God’s promises and blessings were still in effect in troubled Israel because of the children. It is her opinion that children are our “signs and wonders” that God continues to have good plans for us.


While I’m not sure that is what Isaiah 8:18 means, but it got me to thinking. We were at our son’s home not long ago to tend to Landry and Logan while Owen was born. To us, those boys are “signs and wonders” of God’s promise for a future and hope. As Psalm 127:3 states, “children are an heritage of the LORD”. These boys and the children at church and children we see everywhere should remind us that God is not through with us. He is still creating these little people who light up our lives.


As I held little Owen I could see God’s handiwork in his perfect little face and body. As I chased 2 year old Logan around I saw God’s creation of strength and energy anew. As I helped Landry with his 1st grade work, I marveled at the power God has given us to learn so well and so quickly. 


In these hard times, don’t lose hope. (I am speaking to myself too.) God is not done with us. He reminds us of His love, His goodness, and hope in Him with these children around us. As the song says, “Thank God for Kids”!

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Jess Doit -Anne Phillips
Jess Doit -Anne Phillips

Maranatha Baptist Church • October 03, 2020

Jess Doit - Anne Phillips


I’d like you to meet a friend of mine, Jess Doit. This guy has driven me to distraction many times by interrupting my meals and waking me up at night. But he has been a constant, faithful companion for as long as I can remember.


Many years ago he introduced himself to my friend, Pat, and changed her life. Pat was not known for self motivation or self discipline, so when first saved and her pastor insisted she read through her Bible in one year, she needed help. Jess was there. Now she tells me her Bible reading is the most joyful part of her day.


Andrew Brunson, in a Turkish prison, knew he was losing his mind. He felt no peace, no joy, then Doit came along. Listen to Brunson’s testimony. 


   I began every day to set aside five minutes, and I would start out by saying, ‘I repent that I have not been joyful, because you have commanded me to be joyful. (Matt. 5:12)

I am sorry. I repent. Please forgive me. Now I am going to perform an act of joy. I don’t feel it. This is a step of obedience.’ Then I would begin to dance, and I would hop around. I would leap and jump in the air and say, ‘Rejoice and be glad. Rejoice and be glad for great is your reward in Heaven.’ I would do that for about five minutes, not feeling anything but declaring I was doing it for Jesus. 


With love and determination to obey Christ regardless of his feelings, Andrew Brunson emerged victorious from his Turkish prison. With Jess Doit’s help, Pat learned to love God’s Word.


How about you? Do you have a task that needs doing? A closet to clean, a letter to write, a Sunday School lesson to study? Are you behind a chapter in your read-through-the-Bible schedule? What about that phone call to a shut-in you should make? Please. Jess Doit!

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Unspeakable Joy - Anonymous
Unspeakable Joy - Anonymous

Maranatha Baptist Church • September 23, 2020

Unspeakable Joy - Anonymous


A dear Christian lady prayed for her husband’s salvation for 40 plus years. He would have none of it. He seemed unconcerned and enjoyed hanging on to his sin. 


He became very ill. The doctor said he was dying. It was only a matter of time. This news caused many Christians to join her in prayer for his soul.


Even as he understood that death was coming, he continued to reject God’s love. He even joked about going to hell. But those prayers of the saints kept rising to the Throne of God. 


A month before he died, this man asked to speak to his wife’s pastor. That pastor was called upon to reap the harvest of those many prayers. He was privileged to lead the man to the Lord! 


As this sweet Christian lady stood at the side of her husband’s casket, she was not happy. Her beloved husband of so many years was gone from her side. She would miss him greatly. Life had changed forever. 


But, she was bubbling with joy, a joy some did not understand. Joy at the side of the casket? Yes, joy, unspeakable and full of glory. Joy that she would see her husband again. Joy for the decision he made which changed his eternal destination. The decision made in the nick of time! Joy that he is now with her Lord!


There is a monumental difference between happiness and joy. Joy goes deeper and lasts. It does not depend on circumstances. Joy is from the Lord. And, yes, she is still full of the Joy of the Lord!

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Happiness Vs. Joy - Anne Phillips
Happiness Vs. Joy - Anne Phillips

Cory Bishop • September 19, 2020

Happiness Vs. Joy - Anne Phillips


“Happiness”, says Charlie Brown, “is a warm puppy”. Linus says, “Happiness is a soft blanket.” They are both correct. Happiness is a ‘thing’. - a manmade man-maintained fleeting emotion that belongs to this world. How many homes and churches have been broken up in the pursuit of happiness? Spouse not making you happy? Find another one. Not happy at church? Try another one. Making happiness the goal of our lives is a dangerous, destructive business.



JOY! Now THAT belongs to the Christian! Years ago Pastor Grover loaned me a book by Rich Wagner - The Myth of Happiness. Wagner writes not so much about Happiness as about Grace, Peace and Joy. What lovely words all. He writes that ‘Grace offers eternity while Joy gives us a glimpse of what eternity will be like.’


It is difficult to explain the difference between happiness and Joy, but If you are a parent you will remember the happiness you experienced when you learned your baby was healthy. Now recall the sheer Joy of holding him the first time. There is a difference. 


Maybe the best part of Joy is that it cannot be apart from Peace. They are two sides of the same coin. You cannot experience one without the other. Wagner says it well: 


               Joy is Peace dancing. Peace is Joy at rest. I wish you both.

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Special Gifts - Cindy Williams
Special Gifts - Cindy Williams

Maranatha Baptist Church • September 16, 2020

Special Gifts - Cindy Williams


You know all those things people say about how special becoming a grandparent is? It’s true.

Over the years I listened to the stories and dutifully looked at the pictures of glowing grandmas’ and grandpas’ miraculous grandchildren. Never thinking I would become one of them.


In October of 2014, I flew to Florida with my husband to meet a special person. After being picked up at the airport, we were taken to the castle to meet the young prince. I can’t describe the feeling I had when I saw this beautiful creation of the Lord. Baby Landry stole my heart and set up residence in a part of it. 


In his first few years, we visited when we could. Vacations were straight to Florida and back. We wanted to spend as much time with him as possible. However, we had to watch those first years of Landry growing in pictures and videos. His parents were very good at keeping us updated on our little boy.


When the family moved to North Carolina we decided this was a ministry for us, spend time with Landry. Mike retired from work and also being a deacon. I retired the next year. We wanted to be a godly influence on our grandson, so began our treks to North Carolina.


Landry has grown into such a smart, sweet, curious little boy. He loves board games, especially Candy Land and Sneaky Snacky Squirrel. We have great games of Hide and Seek. He loves books read to him. He likes to work. He asks tons of questions. (I could go on, but I will restrain myself.)


Our first trip with Landry was to stay in a hotel (He asked if it was our house.) and Santa’s Land. We all had a ball! He rode the Rudy Coaster (“too fast Grandpa”) and several kiddie rides. His favorite thing was riding a paddle boat and feeding tons of fish. We loved it too!


The Bear Zoo was a great place where you can feed the big bears. We conned him into getting our picture taken with a baby bear. He would not smile, but that picture is a treasure. 


Next we rented a camper at Jellystone Park. There was swimming, fishing, walking, the playground, cooking out, and lots of fun. (Landry likes white marshmallows, not brown or black.)


We had a blast at the Smoky Mountain Deer Park where he rode his first horse. He loved feeding the goats and deer.


This summer we brought him to our home for a week. Such wonderful memories we made! The Covered Bridge, The Farm at Walnut Creek, walks, Wii, and so much more. 


On the way to his home, we stopped at Parrot Mountain. Such a beautiful place! We walked and looked at all the gorgeous birds God made! His favorite thing was the baby bird building where he was brave enough to hold two birds at once. Of course, crazy Grandma talked him into a picture of the tree with each of us holding birds! No smile, of course, but another treasurer!


We always talk to Landry about the One who loves him more than we do. The One who will forgive his sins and give him a home in Heaven. He is starting to “get it”! Such great questions he asks! Why was Jesus beaten? Why did He die on the cross? I love Jesus, am I okay? 


Landry and I were riding in the back of the van together on Route 40 with a view of the breathtaking Smokies. The clouds were so white and fluffy that day. I looked out the window and pointed to the mountains and the clouds covering the tops. I said to Landry, “That reminds me of Jesus coming with the clouds. You know someday Jesus will call all of the ones that love Him to come with Him to Heaven.” Landry looked at me and asked, “Will I go with him? I love Him?” I explained to him about his sin and having Jesus forgiving him. It is exciting to hear his questions and to talk to him about the Lord. I know he doesn’t understand about his sin yet, but it is coming. This grandma and grandpa keep him before the Lord in prayer.


God has given us two grandsons and soon number three will make his appearance. We will do our best, with God’s help to invest our time and love on them too. 


What they say about Grandparents is all true. Want to see some pictures?

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"A Missed Teaching Moment" - Anne Phillips

Cory Bishop • September 12, 2020

"A Missed Teaching Moment" - Anne Phillips


The argument began in the basement, rolled up the stairs and erupted into the living room. Nine-year-old Grant and ten-year-old Jared were having a theological disagreement.

   “Grandma”, said Jared, “Grant wants to know what God put us here to do?”

   “Yeah”, chimed in Grant. “My step dad says we’re here to have fun.”

My reply was an unthinking reflex action. “God put us here to glorify Him.” Then I drew a deep breath, prayed silently for wisdom and prepared to go into great Biblical detail. Too late!

   “See, Grant,” Jared (a good little Baptist was saying.) “I told you God didn’t put us here to have FUN.” And they were off down the stairs leaving me with the after shocks.

   ‘God put us here to glorify him’ must surely seem like a dry and stingy answer to children. And was ‘God put us here to have fun’ an altogether wrong answer? It deserved some discussion at least. Why did I murder a great teaching opportunity before it could draw a healthy breath? I’ve taken counseling courses. I know how to encourage discussion. And given a little time I may have thought of Ecclesiastes 12:13 -

Fear God, keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. What a great teaching moment that could have been!

   But maybe the greatest aftershock was the realization that my grandsons came to me for an answer fully believing I would have it. Then they accepted my answer as the final truth. Now THAT is a frightening thought!


Dear God, my grown grandsons now know Grandma does not have all the answers. I pray I have succeeded in pointing them to Your Word, written and Living, the only true source of all wisdom.

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Give Me a Heart to Minister - Cindy Williams
Give Me a Heart to Minister - Cindy Williams

Maranatha Baptist Church • September 09, 2020

Give Me a Heart to Minister - Cindy Williams


My devotions from the other day caused me to stop and take inventory. The subject was ministering. What is my attitude and motivation in ministering? 


In Mark 10 James and John asked Jesus for the honor of sitting on his right and left hand in His glory. When the other disciples heard this, they became indignant because they wanted that honor for themselves. Jesus went on to explain to them that He was the example they were to follow. He came to serve not to be served. 


What is my motivation when I am picking up my husbands shoes for the 5th time today? Am I grumbling about having to do this and thinking about what he should be doing for me? No, I should look at this as a small way to minister to him and serve him joyfully. 


When my children were growing up, did I expect them to minister to me by being good Christian soldiers, straight A students, excelling in sports, marrying well and making me look good? Or did I minister to them and their unique needs by listening to them, getting to know them as individuals and spending time with them?


When I go to church, do I expect the Pastor to minister to me? Do I complain the sermon was boring or too long? (This never happens with Todd Grover!) Do I wonder why people don’t come up to me and give me the attention I deserve? What about my last prayer request? Don’t they remember? No, I should be there to minister to my pastor and the church family God has given me. I may minister with encouraging words and praying for them. Helping where I can with a joyful heart. 


After taking inventory, I came up short. My prayer is for God to do a work in me and give me a heart to minister. I want to pick up those shoes with joy in ministering to my husband. I want to minister to my children and grandchildren by giving them my time and blessing them however I can. At church I want to find ways to minister to my pastor and church family. I want to serve others without expecting anything in return. I want to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.” 


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The View from the Pew (II) - Anne Phillips
The View from the Pew (II) - Anne Phillips

Cory Bishop • September 02, 2020

The View from the Pew (II) - Anne Phillips


The members of my local church remind me of this recipe for sweet dill pickles.

 

Mix in saucepan 1 cup vinegar, 2 cups sugar, 1 tbsp. whole cloves. Stir and boil until syrupy. When cool poor over dill pickle strips and refrigerate. Let set five days until crispy.

 

Some church members, like vinegar, are very necessary but can be a little hard to take full strength. Others, like sugar, are just as necessary but too much sweet is also hard to take. Then there are those, like cloves, who add spice and flavor to the church but would be useless without the vinegar and sugar.

 

Occasionally God allows another ingredient to enter the mix. This year it is a virus.

This virus has been keeping the vinegar, sugar and cloves from mixing and being as effective as it should be. Not to fear. This must be a temporary condition as we are admonished not to ‘forsake assembling together’ and Jesus has already asked the Father to ‘make us one’. (John 17)

 

Perhaps this present inconvenience is a test ‘stirring and boiling down’ to prepare us for a future trial. Persecution comes to mind. But that is a topic for another time.

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Our Testimony - Mike & Cindy Williams
Our Testimony - Mike & Cindy Williams

Maranatha Baptist Church • August 21, 2020

This is a condensed version of the great work God did in saving us. Our whole life stories would take too long to read, though now we can see His hand in our lives from the beginning.


Though I grew up going to church regularly, I was as lost as you can be. Mike had gone to church occasionally, but was also not saved. 


We met in 1977 and married in 1978. We moved to a little apartment in Jeromesville. I remember lying in bed one night and talking. This question came up, “Did you ever wonder what you have to do to go to Heaven?” Neither of us had an answer, but we agreed we’d like to know. We believe that God took that as a prayer and set His plan in motion to answer it.


We bought a house in Ashland and I took a job at Ashland Bank. God gave me a job working with a Christian lady. She spent time with me, witnessed to me, and invited us to First Baptist Church. Satan hindered us with flu, a flat tire and locking ourselves out of our house. Finally, my friend came and picked us up and took us to church. 


We attended for awhile and heard the Gospel for the first time, clearly. I remember looking at the huge choir and thinking how amazing it was that all those people thought they were going to Heaven. 


Finally one Sunday, when the pastor gave the invitation, I told Mike I wanted to go down front and he said he did too. So, we walked the aisle and a deacon took Mike and his wife took me and showed us from the Bible how to be saved. We prayed the sinner’s prayer. I truly believe that we were saved the moment we stepped into the aisle. We were ready!


That was 41 years ago and God has never forsaken us. No telling where we’d be today without Him. So amazing to look back over the years and see God’s hand in bringing us to Him!


Cindy Williams

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View From The Pew (I)- Anne Phillips
View From The Pew (I)- Anne Phillips

Maranatha Baptist Church • August 19, 2020

A TV comedian was imitating a preacher who had taken Genesis 27 as his text. Part way through the sermon he had become enamored with the sound of his own voice and, having arrived at verse 11, was repeating eloquently with much flailing of arms and pounding of pulpit, ‘AND ESAU WAS A HAIRY MAN!’ This lone phrase by accenting it’s various syllables had become for him quite mesmerizing. It was, of course, quite pointless for his congregation.


    I am 82 years old and have been pew-sitting for 74 years . (Disclosure: I skipped church those two Teen years when I thought I already knew everything.) I have heard many, many sermons and more than a few poorly prepared ones. Thankfully, Pastor Todd at Maranatha is always ready with a ‘meaty’ message to take home and chew on. Gods Word deserves better than ‘Esau was a hairy man’.

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