Be ready to imagine the impossible!
This is the time of year for festivals. The Texas State Fair is going in full force. There are October Fests and I recently saw a sign for the Taste of Arlington! I was thinking…what do these events have in common? Food; and lots of it!
There are so many different things to taste. The only “fried” I used to know about was chicken, fish, fried pies. It wasn’t until I moved to Texas that I heard of fried ice cream, cotton candy, you name it! As I sat here thinking about this time of year and food, the following scripture came to mind: “Taste and see that the Lord is good’ blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8 NIV).
When I’m not sure about certain foods, I ask for a little “taste” J That way I get a chance to sample something to see if I like it or not. Sometimes, however, I need more than a little “taste” before I can decide. The scripture above reminds us to “taste and see that the Lord is good”. Did you know that the different ministries at Grace are that way? Sometimes, you have to “taste” and see, and you may have to “taste” again.
There are several opportunities for us to “taste” and see that the Lord is Good at Grace; bible study, Sunday School, choir, to name a few. Our motto is “Experience Grace”. Challenge yourself to “taste” what the Lord has for you at Grace this month….you will be glad that you did!
Blessings and Peace
Grace to you,
I pray that you have been enjoying the series, “Protecting What’s Important”. Although we have spent a lot of time dealing with the subject, I believe that we are “growing in grace” when it comes to understanding that it is vital to “guard our hearts / spirits”. As you know, the last few Sundays have been spent dealing with “guarding our emotions”. Because the subject was so well received I wanted to include the highlights in this month’s Grace Notes.
Remember; we have an enemy that is seeking to destroy God’s children, “The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.” (John 10:10) This thief uses all sorts of tricks and schemes to attempt to deprive us of this full life. According to Peter he is even, “…on the prowl like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
The “thief” wants to destroy your emotional health. Your emotions are defined by the Oxford Dictionary as; “strong feelings that come as a result one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships…” Here again is the list of steps to take when looking to “guard your emotions”. Use these steps to protect against the “thief”;
5 Steps in Protecting Your Emotions / Feelings
1. Depend on the Spirit of God for control (Gal. 5:24)
2. Choose to guard / control your feelings (2 Tim. 1:7)
3. Do not allow your mind to dwell on the negative (Phil. 4:8)
4. Do not allow yourself to be needlessly manipulated by others (Rom. 12:12)
a. Choose to care but without anxiety
b. Be honest with your feelings, especially in relationships
5. Use care when using mood altering substances (Prov. 31:4-7); i.e. - Caffeine, sugar, and other substances that make you feel different
We continue to love and pray for your growth in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Pastor Bates and Rona
Growing in Grace
In Thee Oh Lord Do I Put My Trust
This has been an eventful year in my life - much of it spent with doctor appointments and treatments. I've had three surgeries, some discomfort but no pain. I put my trust in The Lord and in fact this became my daily mantra: "In Thee Oh Lord do I put my trust!" Had it not been for The Lord, the support of my incredible family, and friends praying for me, my journey with breast cancer would be more challenging.
I credit my alert gynecologist with beginning the process of my breast cancer diagnosis. She insisted that my dense breast tissue report be look at with a sonogram - even had her nurse call and make my appointment! The sonogram was said to be normal. I was concerned and followed up with another mammogram scheduled a few months later. The mammogram revealed a suspicious area in my left breast. This was in January 2014. What followed were numerous tests and procedures until finally a kindly surgeon gave me the diagnosis - estrogen positive breast cancer! I didn't panic but focused on my options. I chose a mastectomy which has required months of chemotherapy (completed in September) and radiation therapy which I am currently undergoing.
My take-away for both women and men: please be proactive about your health care. Always get your annual physicals, women age 40+ get your annual mammograms, younger women and men examine your breasts for lumps, bumps and changes. Yes, a small percentage of men do develop breast cancer! My cancer was estrogen positive because I was on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for a number of years. If you are on HRT you may want to discuss the risks with your doctor.
I am still in treatment for breast cancer. I am trusting in The Lord to be a survivor in the coming months and years.
Billie L. Ray, Lay Leader
UMNS Weekly Digest T
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New pastor, merger offer hope for historic Dallas church
DALLAS (UMNS) — St. Paul United Methodist Church is one of the oldest African-American churches in Dallas, and it's in a historic, recently restored building. But the congregation has dwindled as African Americans have moved from the downtown area. Now a new pastor is offering hope, in part because he's bringing along the congregation from an interdenominational church he started. James Ragland, a columnist for The Dallas Morning News, reports on this creative merger and appointment in the North Texas Conference.
Working for redemption in Ferguson
FERGUSON, Mo. (UMNS) — Tensions remain high, and United Methodists in the St. Louis area warn that it will take a long time to build community and trust between law enforcement and people of color. But leaders across the denomination agree that churches have a role to play in the arduous healing process ahead. Heather Hahn has the story.
Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at umc.org/news.