Payh Blog
adult hands key to child
Jul 30, 2013

God Gave You A Body

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No I beat my body and make it my slave so after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:25-27

God Gave You A Body. What Will You Do With It?

Today young men and staff from the Paul Anderson Youth Home (PAYH) leave Publix Headquarters in Lakeland, FL., after a kickoff luncheon hosted by Publix to begin a bicycle trek back to Vidalia, GA.; over 600 miles away. This is the 8th Annual PAYH Cycling Challenge. Please pray for their safety on the highways and follow them online as they ride. As you well know, these young men and staff do not merely jump on a bike and begin peddling such a long distance. They have been involved in disciplined and difficult training for many weeks. It is the kind of training that challenges body, mind, and spirit. Being the whole persons we are, that is, body, mind, and spirit, as believers and followers of God’s Word we are called on to feed all three appropriately according to God’s truth.
As a Christ-follower where do physical fitness and the accompanying mental tests which display the spiritual fruit of self-control fit in your life? Don’t stop reading now, for some I am sure are thinking “just another guilt trip! Recently, I sat in a mall waiting for my wife and people-watched. Hundreds passed me in less than 2 hours. I am not exaggerating when I say that 75% of those who walked by me were overweight and I was gracious in my estimating. Christians are certainly not immune from this problem in our culture. We ought to be setting the example for the culture, yet too often we are not.
The Apostle Paul tells us clearly this is a significant element in the spiritual life of the believer. His challenge and admonition speaks to the pursuit of an eternal crown and a calling in this life seeking to point a lost world in the right direction. This is a serious part of our calling as disciples of the Lord Jesus. Make no mistake, some believers because of disability or accident are unable to “beat their body into submission. Joni Eareckson Tada is a good example, and there are many who fall into a similar category. God knows this about each of our lives and the circumstances given to each personally by His hand. Nevertheless, those believers who are able are called to follow the Apostle Paul’s and our Lord’s example. Jesus was in excellent physical condition as observed in His three years of public life and in His torturous death. My wife, Glenda, tells of her late husband, Paul Anderson’s, discipline in “beating his body so as to better serve Christ. Even when restricted by his infirmities to live in bed, Paul would still do hundreds, even thousands, of “crunches, and various other exercises he devised when not being able to walk.
God, who designed and gave us our bodies, did not consign all of us to a life of inactivity. Physical conditioning sharpens the mind and heart; it enables His servants to meet the challenges of serving others and to extend the years of their ministry no matter where He calls you. The great accomplishment of completing a bike ride like the Annual PAYH Bike Challenge can be a powerful incentive in the lives of these young men. It presents many opportunities to ask God for strength and endurance, and see Him answer. Physical conditioning exercises faith just as spiritual conditioning will. The fact is that our entire person is interwoven because God made us so, a whole man or woman. The conditioning of body, mind, and spirit influences each of the other three parts for good or for ill. We cannot neglect one and expect the others to thrive. God does not desire for you to be a couch-potato. Give heed to Paul’s admonition. His words need to be taken seriously, for that is just how he phrased them; he, himself, did not want to be disqualified because he failed in this area!

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Woman hand yoga pose. Practicing meditation and praying indoors.
Jul 25, 2013

Privileges of Royalty

Much of the world, at least in the West was mesmerized awaiting the birth, gender announcement, and naming of Prince George of England this past week. The hoopla and widespread knowledge of this birth far exceeded the birth of another of far ascendant royalty in the obscure town of Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. Or did it? Few human souls knew of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth when it occurred, though millions had anticipated it for centuries. But the spiritual world and its population are humanly ignored when we consider notoriety among those that are, all who truly exist; in the heavenlies, as well as on earth. We have a difficult time believing in the whole sphere of existence that in reality surrounds us and is as much as we are; living, sentient beings. The skies were filled over the shepherds’ fields with a “host of angelic beings announcing the birth of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Nothing in the birth of Prince George or any other of earth’s royal births can exceed this.
The status and wealth of Prince George even as an infant places him among a minimal few at the top of the world’s population heap of multi-billions. Such attracts the wonder and attention of the masses. Yet every believer, who stands and lives in intimate relationship to Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, are as the hymn writer expresses, “the child of a King; princes and princesses of THE King who reigns over all the universe. Does the knowledge of this revealed and eternal truth make any difference in how you see yourself or live your life? The difficulty of realizing your position and seeing yourself in the reality of what the King declares about His chosen, loved people lies in the measure of faith that is active within you. This was often the challenge which Jesus set before His disciples as He walked with them and taught them; “O you of little faith! At the end of the Hall of Faith chapter in Hebrews 11 the Holy Spirit reveals, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:39-40) Your faith is essential in seeing yourself in your true position and living in such perspective while still “not receiving the things promised.
It is not a perspective of arrogance and power and elitism which marks most of the royalty of the earth. It is a perspective that reflects the character of King Jesus; the character of true royalty. It is a perspective of quiet assurance of who you are and Whose you are, which gives you the freedom to become all things to all men like Paul, that some may be saved. It is the perspective of the confident power that your future is secure and you need not be intimidated by others, or fear the things in the world that paralyze others in fearful trepidation. Like your King you can be a servant of servants in alleviating or removing the ills of a sinful world, knowing that your King has promised to provide everything you need to do this well. Your perseverance may be stretched to increase your faith, but His promises never fail. This must be your confidence, for He has never not fulfilled His promises.
Live knowing you are the child of a King!

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Family playing tug of war on beach
Jul 22, 2013

Summer with the family

From Mother’s Day to Father’s Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, the “summer season (more commonly referred to by youth as summer break) provides a perfect time to celebrate family and be together. The pace of the summer holiday season seems much slower than the frantic pace we keep over Thanksgiving and Christmas break. Maybe it’s the heat that slows us down or the barbeques and sunshine. Whatever the reason, “free time seems far more plentiful for those of us who have not planned the summer schedule down to the last minute.
While going on vacation or heading off somewhere for the weekend is fun, wonderful, and can be a great experience for your family, you do not have to take a trip to get the most out of your summer break. Let’s face it; beyond being expensive, vacations often leave the adults far more tired than when we left. So if our goal is to take a break and unwind, then why don’t we simply slow down as a family, together? This takes deliberately pausing and saying, what memories do we want to provide our children or grandchildren this summer? What are we really giving them? As a family, this is an opportunity to deliberately build and strengthen you connection with each other.
What do families provide?
A child answering this question might simply say: fun! Others might answer: money! We could create a list with lots of different and interesting answers. But if we were to simplify that seemingly endless list, and view it from the family perspective, we would see that some of the key things that families give to their children are a: sense of identity; an example; moral, social, and economic support; boundaries that provide security and structure in which children can flourish; influence that lasts a lifetime.
More and more information continues to reveal that this generation does not have a sense of history. The current research states that children do not even have a sense of their own family history and that there is tremendous value in knowing and hearing stories about their family’s past. This seems obvious when we remember that one of the key functions of the family is to give us a sense of place and identity. Our history tells us how we arrived at this point.
If you have a family reunion this summer, take the time to acquaint your children with their extended family and how they are connected. This is a fantastic chance to give your children and grandchildren a sense of who they are, and where they came from, while making an impression on whom they are and how they are part of a much larger community. Amidst all the noise and confusion of our culture, it is easy to lose a sense of who we really are. Connecting our children to their family history teaches them that they are not “alone. And while yes, every family has “one of those relatives, celebrate the breadth of the unique elements that make up your immediate and extended family. In truth, your family members help explain why you are the way you are to your own children.
The key piece of family is a deep commitment by the parents to parenting and raising their children. Summer is a perfect time to demonstrate that commitment. But it is not the only time. A real, lasting, commitment is shown over time; day after day. Spending time regularly doing what they enjoy doesn’t mean catering to their every interest but it does mean you should spend the time learning what truly holds their interest. The summer is a perfect time to stop, slow down, and invest in the next generation: your children and family.

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Boats on the Braies Lake ( Pragser Wildsee ) in Dolomites mountains, Sudtirol, Italy
Jul 18, 2013

Primary or Last Resort?

Human nature says “last resort. Like the well-known ditty, “there are no atheists in foxholes, we wait to pray until there is nothing else to do. The Bible gives us a wholly other philosophy as the Living Word, Jesus does, “pray continually, pray unceasingly, pray always! Praying some words toward heaven, off into space, seems so fruitless when the house is burning down. We need to call the firemen, save the children, get irreplaceables out of the house, whatever. The privilege in prayer is that you do not need to stop every other movement and action to do it. Prayer can pour out to God even when you are running or in a harried hurry. If it doesn’t it is simply not your habit, not your world-view; it is not your faith.
It is very apparent to the readers of God’s Word that prayer is akin to breathing. Consistent, continual prayer is obedient and dependent conversation with One you love and serve, because He is always there and always hears, and the world really is always burning down around you. There is even in the midst of the calm and peace of a morning sunrise the actual truth of fierce spiritual warfare never abating until Christ returns. There is a place and time for joyful praise to the One who created the sunrise, just as there is often need for a cry for help to the One who can provide help truer and better than anyone else. If you don’t believe it, you will not do it. It becomes last resort. Some say, when all else fails, pray. It ought to be, pray always and then do, and don’t stop praying as you do.
Prayer is a bridge that links all three elements of life together: you, the individual, family, and community. Prayer is an activity of individuals, of families, and of communities. The most frequent is the prayer of individuals; we have more time alone than you can imagine. The family that prays together stays together. It’s true! Married couples should pray with one another a minimum of once a day. The whole family should pray together a minimum of once a day. The community of faith should meet for the purpose of praying together as often as they get together. If prayer is not a prominent part of every worship service it isn’t worship! Prayer is boring only if the congregation must be entertained and has never been taught to pray as a community. When I attended church in Edinburgh, Scotland in the 70’s when I was there for post-graduate studies, the prayer of the pastor was the most powerful time of the service. I anticipated it with hunger every Sunday. The prayer meeting attended by lots of people and young people every Saturday night was vibrant and powerful in the life of the community. This is not the experience of much of the American church today, and it shows.
We have not because we ask not, the Word tells us. Prayer comes in all sizes, shapes, and passions. It is praise; it is thanksgiving; it is petition; it is confession; it is inquiry; it is planning; it is organizing; it is priorities. Hebrews tells us that Jesus prayed with loud cries and tears to His Father, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. (Hebrews 5:7) Prayer is not a ho-hum affair. You as a believer have the awesome privilege of going to the throne room of God ANYTIME you want. This is the most amazing, most powerful, most magnificent place and Person to whom you can go. And you can go there anytime you want? Do not get ho-hum about that!
Prayer must be a predominant part of your life if you are in the faith because Jesus and His Word says it. We talk to ourselves constantly when we are awake. The mind is always working. Make the Lord, make your God a part of the constant conversation with yourself. And then it will become true of you as it was of one of the greatest ever people of faith, “I must decrease, but He must increase. There is no greater purpose in anyone’s life.

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Waves of water of the river and the sea meet each other during high tide and low tide.
Jul 11, 2013

The Culture's Goal: Your Entire Family – Role of the family in fighting culture

You are well aware of our marketed culture. Marketing is everywhere, and knows most everything about you, your spouse, and your children. And now that the Social Media has capitulated in giving all your “private information to the government, you already know they’ve already long ago sold it to the marketers. TV shows, movies, clothing, toys, cars, every product and entertainment venue imaginable is focused on age groups from the cradle to the grave, and tailored to gender and each age to make the most profits; but also to create the culture they want through peer pressure primarily; by what they say is in, by what will make you popular in the world; a world that is most “up-to-date according to THEIR vision. The incentive is money, not “what is best for you, and each member of your family is specifically targeted. What is the role of the family in fighting back against culture?
The culture, also known as the world, has no interest in what God tells you is best for you and your children. Every family member is a target of this culture for the purpose of convincing you what to think, what to buy, and who to be. No family in the society is immune to its influences. But God makes it clear in His Word that Christian parents do not, thereby, need to be intimidated into thinking: “What is the use of fighting this for us or our children? We are powerless to prevent it! God would never have said what He has in His Word if He thought this were true. Most assuredly, He gives plenty of clear warning about the invidious culture, aka “the world, the flesh, and the devil, but He always gives the antidote to remedy those foul and destructive arrows. He points out a path to peace “like a river and righteousness “like the waves of the sea. There are very few serious parents who do not want such for their children and for themselves. They yearn for it! But are you willing to do what God says must be done to combat the world in which you live.
Isaiah 53:13 reads, “All your sons (and daughters) will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace. It is possible! But God has placed every parent as His steward, as His teacher, to bring this to fruition. Yet not without the promise of His standing behind each parent who is committed to do what He commands. Isaiah 28:9 asks, “Who is it He is trying to teach? To whom is He explaining His message? To children weaned from their milk, to those just taken from the breast? For it is do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule, a little here, a little there. God may be here chiding adults who are so dull at learning His precepts, but He at the same time gives the pattern to parents on teaching their children from infancy on, that they might experience peace. There must be absolute truth, and there must be consistency and discipline, administered with love, and always based on God’s Word. But God backs this with the promise of effectiveness. It will work; it will accomplish what He promises; just ask parents who have done it, and know the results. They did not let the culture win over them or take their children prisoner.
All the trends, all the polls, point to what the culture is accomplishing because parents are giving in: children who will not accept God’s design for marriage between a man and a woman, saving the sacredness of sex for marriage; children who will support and have abortions; children who will be interested most in ME never others, including you; children who will conform to the pattern of this world, rather than being transformed by Christ, renewed in their minds, and consequently living in the joy of knowing the good, perfect, and pleasing will of God. The culture is capturing children daily. It will happen in your family, guaranteed; unless you take God at His Word, resist the world, nurture and admonish your children with truth and love; and see God accomplish what He promises through you in them. The promised result? Peace like a river which never stops flowing. For your children, this is worth everything!

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birthday card with cake and balloons
Jul 04, 2013

America's Birthday!

It’s America’s Birthday! Two-hundred and thirty seven years old! Not very old when you consider the time already expired in civilization’s recorded history; and we have no real certainty as to how many more birthdays our country itself will celebrate; nor the time left until the Lord Jesus Christ steps again on the earth. But from many perspectives, not all, America has had a remarkable impact by God’s grace on the peoples of the earth. There are those disparagers, many more today, who by an odd non-historical standard seek to emphasize the imperialistic, oppression making fantasy of America on the ill-taught youth and fewer misguided adults of this country. But the truth which lies in the blood, sacrifices, tears, and sweat of the American soldier, the sending of missionaries throughout the globe with the gifts and commitment of millions of American saints, the generosity of the American spirit to the needs of the world that exceeds any other country on the earth, these truths will endure because of Almighty God, whose witness and memory is infinite. He has said every deed will be judged, every act rewarded or punished, and these events of obedience will not vanish into thin air, forever to be forgotten. Every pretender who has attempted to rewrite history, all scoffers to whom truth is meaningless, will be put to shame in utter silence as God sets the record straight of what really took place before the eyes of the Holy and Perfect Judge of all.
For those of us blessed to be a citizen of this land, either by birth or adoption, we have much for which to be thankful. What an understatement! But this is not our home, nor our ultimate place of citizenship, and this we must never fail to emphasize in the eyes of our hearts. As Paul clearly says in our text today in this country it is easy, a broad road to destruction, to make your stomach your God, to follow and create a destiny headed to destruction, to consider what is really your shame, your glory, and to fix your vision on earthly things. July 4th is not only reason to celebrate this country’s birth and your citizenship in America; it is a good day to re-evaluate your own heart’s vision of your real citizenship. Has Paul described you and your life-style in the text above? Though you may not think of it in such graphic terms, do you live as though you are an enemy of the cross of Christ? These evaluations are a worthy meditation for today.
My observation of the American populace and our culture lead me to believe that there are not only a very large group of Americans who are enemies of the cross of Christ, but it is a growing number. I will never disparage the fact that just like in Elijah’s Israel when he thought he was the only faithful one left, God had to tell him that he had 7,000 others who had not bowed their knee to Baal. God is still at work in our land, but what we see with our own eyes is not encouraging.  America may be in her few remaining years. But the Christian can always take heart; your citizenship is in heaven! Live now in such a manner that this is a description of you. Do not think in future tense alone. Live now as a citizen of heaven while making it known to others where your citizenship truly lies. Jesus said it clearly, “He who will confess Me before men, him will I also confess before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:33) This is an announcement of your citizenship. Let it be known on Independence Day, and every day as you eagerly await your Savior.

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