Last week I made the mistake of turning on the television. Worse, I watched long enough to see Anderson Cooper promoting the next guest on his talk show. He said "Nadine" was going to discuss her recent marriage: to herself. And she did. Nadine described her loneliness as a single woman and her desire to find a way to value herself just for being who she is and not because she was in a committed relationship. She seemed intelligent, attractive and well-spoken. I watched long enough to see her describe the video of her recent "marriage" ceremony and then departed for her honeymoon. She recites her wedding vows to herself each day and often goes on "date nights" where she treats herself to a night out at a favorite restaurant. She wears a wedding ring and considers herself really and truly married. Nadine works very hard at trying to convince people she's married and happy. I'm not sure how many people believed her.
Nadine is a lot like the rest of us. She wants to be happy and loved. She wants to belong to someone and have a meaningful, intimate relationship. Maybe she's been disappointed in relationships before and she's looking for someone who won't let her down. Unfortunately, she's bought into the post-modern myth that we can each make up our own truths as we go along. It's pretty easy to feel a bit sorry for Nadine because we all know women like her. She thought she'd have a husband and family by now. She's a good person. She deserves to have what she wants in life. And when she doesn't get it, she makes up her own rules. After all, our culture teaches us that it's okay so long as it doesn't hurt anyone. And marriages being re-defined every day by many in our world: the homosexual lobby, popular media, and even the courts. Culture tells us that men can "marry" men and women can "marry" women. We see TV shows with one man "married" to four women. How long before culture gives the nod to adults "marrying" children? How about a wedding between a man and his dog? A woman and her sister? A guy and his car? It makes Nadine look almost normal.
Like I said, I can understand how Nadine feels. All of us want to be loved and accepted for who we are. We long to be a part of something. We want and need relationships. I feel sorry for her. Not because she hasn't found a husband, but perhaps God is calling her to a single life and she doesn't hear that call. Or if she does, she can't or won't accept it. Our culture believes that single people are somehow less-valuable than married people. Folks have a hard time understanding how a single man or single woman could lead a fully-satisfying and joyful life. I think this is one reason our culture doesn't value the consecrated celibacy of religious sisters, brothers, and priests. Single = unnatural or unhealthy. Yet we know that God calls each of us to our own vocation and many are called to the single life, outside of religious vows. Perhaps this is God's plan for Nadine. Or perhaps her story is just one more variation in the long, slow decline of marriage as a Holy Sacrament for the people of God. Divorce, cohabitation, life "partners" and serial sexual encounters continue to erode at the fabric of the "domestic church" as our Catholic Catechism refers to family life (paragraphs 1655-1657). Abortion is at the heart of this sad story, I believe. I doubt Nadine would see it that way. But a failure to value life as a sacred gift from God and a belief that we somehow "own" our bodies can lead to all kinds of logical and horrible consequences. Such as 3000 abortions each day in America. And a woman like Nadine who attempts to marry herself.
Through all this cultural confusion, Christ remains the clarion call of Truth. His love and mercy reaches out to everyone who has been wounded by the sins of divorce, homosexuality, or abortion. Jesus longs to embrace each one of us and to share a relationship with us in His Church. His embrace IS the one true love which will never disappoint, never betray, never move on to someone else. Everything Nadine (and all of us) is looking for, is found in Him. And without Him we wander about on our own, always looking for what other people can never give us.
"One road leads home and a thousand roads lead into the wilderness." ---C.S. Lewis
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Shannon Smith, Pathway Baptist Church
What a beautiful day the Lord gave us today. A wonderful day to be in the house of the Lord! Our services today were truly amazing. We started the morning service in the usual way with an altar of prayer. The went right in to our congregational singing with “We Have Come Into His House” and “Alleluia”. Then Josh Smith sang “He’s Coming to Take Me Home” assisted by the choir and Bro Mark sang “Thank God For Grace” assisted by the choir and Debby Broom sang “Worthy Is The Lamb” and was assisted by the choir. The spirit was moving in lives and the altars begin to fill with people bringing their burdens to the Lord and seeking His face. God poured out His blessings on us all and delivered His people from their burdens and restored and refreshed them. Bro. Mark spoke from Hebrews 13:5 God says He will never leave us or forsake us. No matter what your going through God’s grace is sufficient. He also referred to 2 Chronicles 7:14 simply God is doing His part but He ask us to do ours by humbling ourselves and seeking His face and turning from our wicked ways, this shows action on our part and God is always active in all of His children’s lives.
After the morning service we had a Brotherhood luncheon to help raise money for the brotherhood and we want to thank each of you that made food and came out and supported the effort. Then our men went out to do our homeless ministry and were blessed to help others and minister to their needs. Please be in prayer for Bro. Steve Yarbrough as he leads this ministry.
Sunday evening service was also a blessing, if you don’t come back for the evening service you don’t know what your missing. Aaron Robertson sang “I Can’t Even Walk Without You Holding My Hand” assisted by the choir and Bro. Mark sang “Till The Storm Passes By” assisted by the choir. The choir sang “God Says Your Gonna Make It”. Bro. Mark preached from Nahum 1:1-7 titled “Keep Trusting Jesus” 1.) The Burden of Nahum. 2.) The Belief of Nahum. 3.) The Blessings of Nahum.
I would like to remind you all of the Quarterly Bible Life Challenge Bro. Mark gave us a few weeks ago and remind you to be reading your bible daily and see what God does in your life through this. This month is Sunday School Trail month. If your not involved in a Sunday School class this is the month to come and find your place in one of our classes, there is something for everyone. June 17th we will have a Night of Preaching each one of our preachers in the church will be participating. It is titled “The Miracle of It All”. Please make plans to come out and support all our preachers.
I would like to wish all of you having birthdays this week a very happy birthday. I hope God richly blesses each of you. Continue to love and pray for one another and pray for our family as we always pray for you. God bless
Charlotte McGuffey, Salem Baptist Church
Rev. Lee Griggs was with us on Sunday and brought good, thought provoking messages in both services. We were sorry to learn he is still having problems with his eyes after surgery as his vision keeps changing. The doctors have told him it should stabilize soon.
We were glad to have our visitors on Sunday and hope they will come back soon. Several of our regulars were missing on Sunday. I know two families were on vacation and hope they have a great time.
Buck Blevins, brother of Chubb, is in failing health. He will be 84 years old this month. Pray for him. Also, pray for the Butch Culpepper family who lost their daughter in an accidental shooting on Friday night.
We continue to remember Charlie Bates as he recuperates and rehabs from knee surgery. We are thankful Betty Taylor got a good report from her recent procedure. That is an answer to our prayers. We are still praying for the right man to be our pastor at Salem and for the pastor search committee as they seek this person.
Earl Presley was honored with a reception given by his children on June 2 at Fairview Baptist Church in Ooltewah. This was in celebration of his 90th birthday which he will celebrate on June 11. A large group of family and friends attended. Earl said he didn’t know when he had enjoyed anything as much as this party. Earl was married to Florene Ensley who passed away 6 years ago. They raised their family of five children at Salem. Their children are Millard, Shirley, Pam (deceased), Vickie and Sandy.
James Trew and Tilda Ashley were married on Saturday at Salem with a reception following in the fellowship hall. As Saturday is their bingo night, they were going to go play bingo after the reception.
Our sympathy is extended to the family of Melvin Madaris who completed his life here on earth last week. He is survived by his wife and two sons, Mel and Tim. Melvin was retired from Combustion Engineering and started the family business known today as Madaris Exteriors. He was a well known gospel singer having sung with his family group as well as other groups in the north Georgia/Chattanooga area.
The Ringgold High School Class of ’47 held their 65th reunion on May 25 at the Boynton Voting Precinct. They had a good crowd and had several attending who don’t attend the monthly breakfasts.
The grandchildren and other descendants of Emmett and Fannie Williams recently held a reunion at the Salem Fellowship Hall. A large crowd attended. They plan to meet again next year.
Happy birthday to Bill Davidson on June 3, Jeanette Fleming on the 9th, Earl Presley on the 11th and Alex Johnson on June 12.
Sincere thanks to all those who helped put up and later take down the flags in Ringgold. There were a total of 984 flags this time and they looked beautiful waving in the breeze. Mel and I enjoyed driving my dad and mom, Jack and Barbara Ensley, around Ringgold to look at the flags and walking around the Courthouse lawn. We have several relatives with flags there so it has a special meaning to us. This is a huge undertaking and we should not take it for granted.
Margie Stringer, North Whitfield Baptist
We had a good weekend. The preachers and men always enjoy the preaching time on Saturday night.
This week the preaching time will be omitted for the benefit singing at Welcome Hill for Jimmy Hooper and his medical bills.
The Jeff Hollender singers and the Gospel Soul Seekers will be singing there. They will be starting at 5 o’clock for hot dogs and snacks in the fellowship hall and the singing will begin at 7 o’clock.
We had a good revival, those men preached their hearts out every night.
Polly Dilbeck was having some serious surgery on Monday. Really pray for her.
Nearly all of our singers were gone on Sunday for singing appointments.
Our sympathy goes out to the family of James Vaughn who passed away last week. Bro. Stringer had his funeral on Sunday afternoon in Summerville.
Belated birthday wishes to a grandson, Kyle Stringer, on June 1.
Pray for Joyce “Cummings” Woodall who has been put in Ridgewood Manor at Dalton. Sarah Gordy got to go home from the hospital. ray for Francis Canales and also her son, Emanuel, who are both having a lot of health problems.
I’m sure everyone who got out, enjoyed the 41 yard sale. I didn’t get out as I’m not able anymore but we had one set up in my yard, and I enjoyed seeing a lot of old friends and made new friends.
Our homecoming will be this Sunday, June 10th. Come out an be with us. We don’t have evening service but we will have service Sunday night.
Bro. Larry Keaton had a birthday the other day and he was 70. Pray for him and his health. My boys Dale and Eddie, have still got their health problems and both of them are in need of surgeries they can’t have because of their low blood problems. Pray for them, it is serious. Really pray for them and me too.
Emma Jo Davis, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church
Here it is June already, where has the time gone. This is a busy time of the year. Father's Day will be June 17th then we will be having our Veteran's Appreciation Service on the last Sunday Night in June. That will be June 24th. Tell all the veterans that you know about this service and tell them we would love to honor them for their service to our country.
Also another important date in June was the day Bro. David Flood became our Pastor four years ago on the 15th of June. We will have a time of fellowship to honor him and Jill after our Church Service Sunday evening. I hope everyone will be able to be in the service and let him know that we do love and appreciate him and his family. Please bring finger food, drinks and maybe some sweets, join us for this time of fellowship.
Dianne Hullender had her treatment last week and although she is not feeling her best, she is doing good and will start radiation therapy soon. We are praying that she will be well soon.
We are thankful for the visitors in the services hope they received a blessing and will be back with us soon. It was extra special to see Dorothy Longwith with her daughter, Ann. We missed Sarah Petty and Margie Sellers in our Sunday School class on Sunday. Was glad Lula Petty was able to be with us as she doesn't always feel up to being with us. She is there when she is able. Alma Bryson was with us although she wasn't feeling well at all. Please pray for these.
Others on our prayer list this week are: Ellie Pitts, Louise Clark, Faye Robinson, Norma Headrick, Elsie Disheroon, Emma Lou Brown, Edna Allen, Katherine Plemons, Bernice Orr, Benny Wilson, Jan Elliott, Mavis Cain, Kim Owens, Holly Stockburger, our Missionaries, our Military and our Nation.
Happy Anniversary Wishes go to George and Elaine Bennett, June 12.
Jason and Julie McCurdy were on vacation last week in Florida and had a great time and the weather was just perfect. We missed her in the services.
It was good to have Terry, Jan and Chason Disheroon in the Sunday morning service, Sunday before last. Enjoyed Chason's song and we wish him success in his new job, even if it is in Texas a long way from Ringgold.
Johnny and Linda Chapman visited Gladys Holsomback last week and Johnny is not doing well at this time. Please pray for him.
Our Vacation Bible School this year will be July 16-20. If you have children that would like to come let us know. The bus will be running for the ones that need a ride. I'm not sure about the times yet, but should know about that soon.
Thanks to the ones that tell me that they read the Church's news and enjoy it. I really appreciate hearing that you do enjoy it.