Payh Blog
Nov 24, 2016

Health Multiplier: An Attitude of Gratitude

“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:16-17

Forget all the slimming diet plans, the exercise for longevity directives, the meditate for calm guidelines, the whatever healthy living ideas on which to stake your health, the most powerful protection and enhancement of your health, fortified by scientific studies, is a genuine attitude of gratitude; a heart of thanksgiving toward all things in your life; this will do more for your personal health than anything else. One scientific researcher who was not himself a bit religious, joined by many other researchers, verified these findings: an authentic and consistent thanksgiving attitude will do much more for your health than any other regimen or alternative pursuit. 

Most people do not give thanks in all things, or even in some things. It is not the nature of people in a fallen world with a fallen nature to frequently express thanks or to be genuinely grateful, even for difficult things. There are numerous irritants in life. Murphy’s Law, the adage that anything that can go wrong will, helps the irritating nature of life be a fairly constant element with which to cope. It is that side of life which can take away an attitude of gratitude. The result of not being genuinely thankful adds stress, anxiety, unhappiness, concern, and emotional weightiness.

But it is just not merely being thankful, it is being thankful to a specific One, the actual One who provides. Frequently we see family gatherings on TV or in movies where different family members go around a circle sharing things for which they are most thankful, unfortunately without any mention of to whom they are thankful! The thankfulness which enhances your health is the recognition that it is the Lord God who provides all good things, and who makes all things turn out for your good, even those things which at first appear to be no good to you at all. (Romans 8:28)

Thankfulness to God adopts the thankful and fully accepting attitude of Mary, Jesus’ mother, when she was told that she, a virgin, would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit: she answered Gabriel, the Lord’s messenger, “I am the Lord’s servant. Be it unto me according to your word.” She said this with gratitude to the One who sent the message, and with a total acceptance of all its implications for her. Just take the time to read Mary’s Song, named the Magnificat, from Luke 1:46-55. It magnificently displays Mary’s attitude of thanksgiving to all that the Lord had done and would do. Not many suffered as Mary did in her life time, but she had a heart of gratitude, and her Lord and son would bless her, even in the midst of a “sword” which pierced her heart. Her song exposes a heart of thanksgiving which would do quite well in expressing your own attitude of gratitude to Him who does all things well.

Once again there is much in your life, even with various sufferings, for which to give thanks this Thanksgiving, and indeed every day of your life. I think I am on very safe ground to say your gratitude to the Lord will particularly enhance your health and your life. It may not take away your physical cancer, though it might, but it will give you a heart of peace, and an outlook on life of enormous joy. And the joy of the Lord is your strength!

“You are the living Truth! All wisdom dwells in you, the Source of every skill, the one eternal TRUE! O great I AM! In you we rest, sure answer to our every quest.”

(3rd verse of Margaret Clarkson’s hymn, “We Come, O Christ To You,” 1957)

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Nov 23, 2016

The Joy of Giving

Be honest: Have you ever dreaded going through the checkout line because you knew the cashier was going to ask you, “Would you like to donate to the Cancer Foundation? Maybe you’ve avoided the entrance with the Salvation Army volunteers ringing their bells because you just didn’t want to deal with it. We live in a materialistic culture that places overwhelming value on money. We focus on how much money we have, how we can accumulate more, how we can lose less, and what kinds of nice things we can purchase. We go to school in order to obtain a job that will provide plenty of money, go into debt to buy the nicest house on the block, save up to buy name brand clothes and accessories, and do whatever it takes to get the newest model car. Of course we know deep down that we should be generous with our money, but how do we truly experience the joy of giving?
The truth of the matter is that God owns everything, including “my money. This means I am His “money manager, responsible for taking care of the money He has entrusted to me. God has not blessed me financially so that I can own the latest iPhone, drive the newest Lexus, or vacation in exotic locations. On the contrary, He blesses me so that His generosity will overflow from my heart to others, pointing them to Him. Although we work hard for it, the money we earn is not ours – God provided us with the opportunities and abilities to make money in the first place. His goal is not my comfort; His purpose is His glory and His kingdom.
We so easily forget where our true home is. We invest so much in our earthly lives, even though we will spend forever elsewhere. Ultimately, this means that any money we spend that isn’t used for eternal purposes is wasted. Of course it is not a sin to purchase a coffee, but what kind of eternal value does that coffee have? I’m not saying you can’t go to Starbucks, but I do think we should be more intentional about allocating our finances to make an eternal impact. For example, perhaps it is more beneficial to take your unsaved friend to Starbucks and buy both of you a cup of coffee while you sit and talk about salvation. That cup of coffee would have eternal impact. Jesus Himself tells us in Matthew 6 not to store up treasures for ourselves on Earth, where moths and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. Nothing we purchase here on Earth will make it with us to Heaven, so why do we get so caught up in these things? When we surrender this materialistic mindset and adopt an attitude of generosity, we experience the joy of giving.
Jesus tells us, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. If you are unsure about how your financial habits measure up, take a look at how you spend your money. Your heart always goes where you put God’s money. If you consistently spend it on your appearance and possessions, that is where your affections lie. If you examine yourself and find that you are not spending your money in light of eternity, there is hope for change: GIVING is the only antidote for materialism. Jesus said we can’t serve both Him and money, so choose Him. Serve God with your money by giving generously. The more you give toward His purpose, the less consumed with worldly possessions you will be. In the famous words of Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
God prospers us not to raise our standard of living, but to raise our standard of giving. On the subject of how much we ought to give, C.S. Lewis offers, “I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charities expenditure excludes them. Particular cases of distress among your own relatives, friends, neighbors, or employees, which God forces upon your notice, may demand much more – even to the crippling and endangering of your own position. Mark 12 speaks of a poor widow who did just that; she gave her final two coins, all that she owned, to the church. Jesus referred to her as more generous than the individuals who gave out of their surplus. This woman found the joy of giving when she refused to hold on to her earthly possessions and instead gave everything.
2nd Corinthians 8 gives us a similar example: Paul says the Macedonian church’s extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity, as they gave even more than they were able. They even urgently pleaded for this privilege. I don’t know about you, but the thought of giving everything I have scares me. How did the Macedonian churches do it? They found the joy of giving. They knew that God had given to them so that they would give to others, and they remembered that their true citizenship was in Heaven. With these things in mind, they were able to give freely and joyfully instead of reluctantly and anxiously.
When you find yourself avoiding the charity volunteers or begrudgingly dropping your check in the offering plate simply because you know you’re supposed to, remember what Jesus has done for you. Not only did He give His everything for you in His life and death, but He has also given you more than you need here on Earth. Let your gratitude to Him overflow in generosity towards others. Maybe that means writing a check to your church every month, or perhaps it will look more like hosting and providing Thanksgiving dinner for your friends when you would rather save some extra cash to spend on Black Friday sales. There are many different ways to give; follow the Spirit’s prompting, and embrace the joy that giving brings.
If you don’t know where to start, Giving Tuesday is next week, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home could use your help! We have the privilege of seeing the eternal value of money firsthand, as the gifts we receive help turn troubled young men’s lives around by pointing them to Jesus, breaking the chains of addiction, and healing broken relationships.  In this case, the value of your donation will be automatically doubled, as our Board has agreed to match your contributions up to $10,000. Your generosity can make an impact far beyond the here and now, and we can attest to the joy that brings every day!
Emma Payne
Emma Payne Signature.png

Advancement Associate
Paul Anderson Youth Home

To Donate

Simply click the button below to donate online, call the office at 912-537-7237, or mail a check with “Giving Tuesday” in the memo to:
Paul Anderson Youth Home
P.O. Box 525
Vidalia, GA 30475
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We can do it if we work together
Nov 21, 2016

Imagine What We Can Do Together

This past Sunday, two of our young men confessed their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior for the first time and one more renewed his commitment to Christ, expressing his desire to be baptized!
Transformations like these are the reason the Paul Anderson Youth Home exists. 
God’s grace, and His provision through your continued support, makes this possible.

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Close Up Yellow-lipped Green Pit Viper Snake
Nov 17, 2016

Slithering Reminder

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made…The woman said, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.” So the Lord said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” – Genesis 3:1, 13-15

Most people do not like snakes. There is a general fear of them. At one time with the first two beings this was not so. They were beautiful creatures which apparently stood tall. They were crafty, smart. But because of the fall and curse their nature was dramatically changed. 

My son is not fearful of snakes. As a herpetologist and environmental biologist he actually likes snakes; he appreciates their place and value in the creation. But most fear this creature and steer clear of them, as they do us. When a confrontation does occur between man and snakes, however, they will strike, some with poisonous venom, others with a non-venomous bite. The bite of some snakes can prove lethal. Nevertheless, snakes are a reminder of the gospel, of the Savior, and of a great enemy. Genesis 3:15 is the protoevangelion , the first mention of the gospel in the Bible record; it speaks of an enmity between Satan and Christ, an enmity which  extends to Satan’s followers (seed) and to the followers of Christ. Satan will strike Jesus’ heel, but Jesus Christ will crush Satan’s head. A mind honed in the Scriptures will take notice.

In their cursed nature snakes “eat dust.” They slither along the ground. They live in holes. They feed on rodents. The devil, Satan, in the distant past entered into one of these once glorious creatures to deceive Eve and Adam. The fall of man was the result of his deception and this dramatically changed the entire creation from very good to truly worse. 

Snakes should be a continual reminder to you of a number of very important things: (1) Satan is, and he is a powerful, shrewd, and constant enemy seeking your destruction. (2) Sin is, and is what you do against God out of a rebellious nature. Sin is destructive and venomous, like a poisonous snake’s bite. The snake reminds you of both Satan and sin. (3) The snake reminds you of your need for a Savior, the need to be healed from sin, just as the bronze snake Moses crafted by God’s instruction and put on a pole in the wilderness of Sinai; a look of faith on this bronze snake would bring healing from sickness and death, from a poisonous snake bite. (4) To call someone “a snake” is to label them with a term meaning they are deceitful and seek your downfall. They are most usually up to no good. It is a life preserving measure to be reminded of the truth of sin and Satan so you pursue the essential remedy. A snake is a slithering reminder of your fallen nature, and for those who exercise faith, your sure redemption by a Savior who can and will crush Satan.

In recent days you have been reminded by the great light your Creator placed in the night sky to light your way in the dark. The “super moon” of recent days points to the Creator’s magnificent creation on your behalf, even as a colorful rainbow reminds of his covenant promises, which are faithful and true. Do you think very often of how God points you to the truth of your needs by signs in His creation, consistent reminders of salvation and blessing, sin and the curse; realities of your life. You can ignore and deny their significance, but it is to your own great loss. He speaks to you both in His Word and in His creation. He is not silent! You can make Him personally so, but only by being willfully deaf to His voice.

Though out of a distant past, there is a faithful and true testimony of historical reality which greatly affects your life now and your future into eternity. The snake tells a story which relates very much to you and your condition. Are you listening?

“Sin’s bond severed, we’re delivered; Christ has bruised the serpent’s head; death no longer is the stronger; hell itself is captive led. Christ has risen from death’s prison; o’er the tomb he light has shed.”

(3rd verse of Venantius Fortunatus’ hymn, “Praise the Savior Now and Ever,” ca 530-609)

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Nov 10, 2016

Undistracted Pursuit

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2

Horses wear blinders on their eyes for a proven purpose, which obviously works: race horses, carriage horses, horses pulling wagons, etc. Horses are easily distracted, especially from their sides and from behind. If you want the horse to focus straight ahead, you use blinders on their eyes to keep them headed where you want them to go. Blinders allow them to fix their eyes, and hence their every effort, on the goal.
Our text in Hebrews emphasizes the many entanglements of sin, the enticing distractions of this world, which cause our eyes, and hence our energy and purpose, to wander all over the place; away from the prize which brings honor and salvation. We are easily distracted from the very best pursuit of our eyes and our hearts. We too need a type of “blinder” to direct our eyes in the right direction. What do you think constitutes the best blinder for we willful, wandering-eyes people?
The text tells us we are not lone actors on this life stage. We often are led to believe that we pursue our goals freely without blinders or constraints. All is open to our desired purposes. We can fairly freely pursue whatever and wherever our likes and dislikes take us. The world is open before us. And no one is really watching us with non-approving eyes.
But are we really our own? Are we master-free? That is, except for the false notion that you are master of your own destiny, captain of your own fate. Hebrews tells you, that is, if you believe the Hebrews’ author is addressing you, that you are surrounded, whether you know it or not, by a great crowd of witnesses, made up by the men and women of faith recounted in Hebrews 11. These are those who exercised faith in their God and the Lord Jesus Christ on the hostile battlefield of this world. They were tested, persecuted, challenged, martyred, all for their faith. They are your brothers and sisters, members of your family; they are your compatriots, your fellow soldiers, bound together with you, and, as you are told, “only together with you will they be made perfect.” They have a stake in your success! This is your personal audience, truly witnesses of your race and your perseverance. It is not fought in private, it is not done in a corner. They witness your race and your effort, and they encourage and cheer you on.
In essence, they act as your blinders, to keep your eyes on the prize and away from the entanglements of the hostile and seducing world. Your belief in this “crowd of witnesses,” stirs your conscience, your resolve, your pursuit to fix your eyes on your Captain, your Master, to fight the good fight, in concert with them, and, hence, with them share the victory and the glory.
You have a pursuit to engage, you have a prize to keep before your eyes. You must individually fix your eyes on Jesus. You must nurture a relationship with him, just the two of you, reading with him, praying with him, conversing with him, sharing your heart with him, listening to him, being rebuked by him, being led forward by him, and, especially, being loved by him. It is an exercise of faith, your personal faith, to believe he is, and that he is your rewarder; that you welcome this crowd of witnesses, and even know some of their names; they witness your perseverance, your walk of faith. You need to look on them as your fellows in a great endeavor, the endeavor that distinguishes your life, characterizing everything about you. You are a soldier of the Lord’s Army, and you actively and joyfully accept their witness of your fight.
Consider this great crowd of your witnesses as your blinders to keep your eyes on Jesus, who is the author and perfecter of your faith. Nothing, no one, not one thing or event, can separate you from him and his love for you.

“Simply trusting thee, Lord Jesus, I behold thee as thou art, and thy love, so pure, so changeless, satisfies my heart; satisfies its deepest longings, meets, supplies its every need, compasseth me round with blessings: thine is love indeed. Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what thou art; I am finding out the greatness of thy loving heart.”
(3rd verse of Jean Pigott’s hymn, ” Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting,” 1876)

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Dishonest Businessman Shaking Hands With Partner
Nov 03, 2016

Lying Tongues

“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” – Proverbs 6:16-19

The political season is more than upon us in America. In fact, it is maybe nearing a temporary suspension, if such is ever possible, with an election just around the corner. It seems that politics assures us of one particular sin: lying tongues. Lies fill the air waves like gnats in the summer air of southeast Georgia. It is left to voters to sort out truth from falsehoods, but that is not a perfect science for men by any means. People greatly disagree on what are lies and what is true. It takes a Judge of all to sort it out. However, one thing this Judge has told us is that His law is written on man’s heart. Do not people know then when they are telling a lie? Or is the maxim true that if a lie is repeated often enough it somehow becomes true? Well, that is one maxim which does not hold water in God’s eyes. He is the perfect discerner of all things true and all things false.
Political seasons promise this: lies will fly no matter what. However, it is not just politicians who lie for votes and the popularity of enough people to elect them. All people are natural liars, because they have a sinful nature. God’s Word has to encourage, yes command, truth telling, because it is a natural proclivity to lie. The Bible goes so far as to tell us what God detests. Our Proverbs’ text tells us seven things which God hates, and all seven of them involve one particular characteristic accompanying the specific sin: a lying tongue, an aversion to truth. Murder is always accompanied by a lying tongue, rushing into evil is done by a liar, liars devise wicked schemes, and a creator of community conflict initiates such conflict through lies. It is the common denominator of evil. It is why Satan is known as “the father of lies.”
For those who truly desire to speak truth, and not give in to falsehoods, what should they do? If their very nature is evil, what can they do to discern truth, speak truth, and detest lies, as their Heavenly Father. After all He has said, “be holy, as your Father in heaven is holy!” It begins with submitting to the One who is the way, the truth, and the life, even Jesus Christ, the One who can redeem you from evil and can grant you his righteousness as your own. Submitting means the choice of the will to make Jesus Lord of your life. If he is, you will become like him, and thus will absolutely detest lies, and, consequently, love the truth.
To that end you will be persistent in discovering the truth of any matter. It is easy to repeat something you read or hear without taking the time to research its source and verify its truth. Facebook or social media make it extremely easy to pass on falsehoods that “sound right.” There must be within us such a deep love of the truth that we will diligently search for truth or, if we cannot verify to satisfaction, refrain from even speaking about the issue. What comes out of a man reflects his heart, exposes his true character. By their fruit, that is, a man’s words, actions, and example, you will know them. It is not an over-simplification for the Lord to direct us “let your yes be yes, and your no be no!” In other words, be very careful what you say; think in concert with your knowledge of God’s Word before you speak. Which is also to say you will be a constant student of that Word; you will be in it every day. His Word believed will keep truth on your lips.
One of the ways a Christian can be practically defined is he or she is a lover and protector of truth. A genuine Christian will speak truth. Lying is not a practice they indulge. You can come to a place where you know someone is a careful, conscientious speaker who loves the truth and hates falsehoods. Such a person is one whose wisdom you cherish. Seek yourself to be such a person.

“Take thou our minds, dear Lord, we humbly pray; give us the mind of Christ each passing day; teach us to know the truth that sets us free; grant us in all our thoughts to honor thee.”
(1st verse of William Foulkes hymn, “Take Thou Our Minds, Dear Lord,” 1918)

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