Payh Blog
Easter still life. Easter eggs, Easter service
Sep 26, 2018

Putting All Your Eggs in the Right Basket

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city. -Hebrews 11:13-16


Where does faith direct your sight? Faith is a simply amazing spiritual reality that is absolutely necessary for perfect vision, while not relying solely on physical 20-20 measurements. This “faith dimension is the great truth emphasized in Hebrews 11 and is the vital element re-directing your sight to the only basket which can truly secure your treasures.
Natural instinct tends to pick the closest, most obvious basket, that is, something made in your world. Heaven is largely an unknown, unseen existence which, while still unexperienced by you, is questionable to eyes which attempt to see it apart from spectacles of faith.
Our forebears in the faith all died without experiencing the fulfillment of the central promises of faith. This should have resulted in a rejection of faith’s use by those who followed, even you, seeing it failed to deliver that for which you yearn.
Hebrews 11 says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. What you can see with your eyes and touch physically with your hands is, obviously, the most concrete to you. It is this earthly basket to which you possibly gravitate to deposit what you most treasure; in a bank, in stuff, whatever it may be.
What you cannot see or touch today is more nebulous by nature with materialist thinking. However, by the sheer promise of God, the eyes of faith will always pick the spiritual, the truly secure basket. Faith is the required bridge to a confident assurance of making the right choice.
The physical laboratories of this world cannot prove whether you are choosing the correct basket for your “eggs or even rightly choosing which eggs are truly treasure. Faith is the spiritual sieve able to cull out and preserve what is definitely valuable in your life. Faith must be exercised personally by you in selecting your basket, unconstrained by the tentacles of the world whose certain end is pre-determined.
What then is faith which settles on this spiritual basket? Again, Hebrews 11 defines faith as believing God is and that He rewards those who seek Him. The Psalmist declares, “The fool says in his heart that there is no God.
Faith believes that God is THE God who is revealed in His written Word, exactly as that Word describes Him. It believes His Son is the visible expression of Himself. By faith you call Jesus Lord and Savior. You understand you come to the Father, God, only through Him who calls Himself the truth, the way, and the life. In faith you receive the indwelling Spirit of God as the One who encourages and comforts you, sent to you by God, the Father, and by His Son, Jesus. This is “the faith delivered to you and the saints by the prophets and apostles.
Personally exercised faith selects the basket of God’s promises, a basket as real as the sun, moon, and stars; a basket as tangible as your own body, mind, and soul, all which you know intimately; a basket in heaven, where moth and rust will never corrupt.
The conviction of God and your trust in Him is always through faith; but one day, at your death, you will know and see “face-to-face that faith becomes sight. Put all your eggs in that basket!


“My faith has found a resting place; from guilt my soul is freed. I trust the ever living One; His wounds for me shall plead. I need no other argument, I need no other plea. It is enough that Jesus died and that He died for me.
(First verse of Lidie Edmunds’ hymn, “My Faith Has Found a Resting Place, 1891)
 

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Hands of the Parent and Litlle child in Field on Road
Sep 22, 2018

Trusting God with Your Children

Parenting is hard. It all starts even before your first child is born. You find out you’re pregnant and immediately begin the process of sacrificing your body for another as you sustain and nourish the life growing in your womb. You are constantly nauseous, have to give up your favorite coffee drink for nine months, grow increasingly uncomfortable as your belly expands, and can’t breathe or sleep well, all culminating in the actual act of laboring and birthing your baby.
You quickly realize, however, that all of that was the easy part. You leave the hospital with your baby wondering why in the world these doctors are trusting you to keep him alive – you know nothing about babies! You spend your child’s first year of life completely sleep-deprived, depending heavily on caffeine while you read every parenting book you can find and search Google for just about everything. (Should I let my baby “cry it out? When should I start feeding him solids? What is a normal body temperate for an infant? How early should we start having playdates to foster social development?)
Then you hit the “terrible twos and you realize how good you had it during that first year. Your child is becoming more and more independent and simultaneously more and more difficult. He has loud tantrums in the middle of Target for no apparent reason, causing all the other shoppers to cast judgmental stares in your direction as you melt into a puddle of embarrassment on aisle twelve. He starts talking more and may even repeat some phrases he has heard from that one relative that you really wish he hadn’t. He is no longer a baby, but he isn’t a “big boy yet either. You spend the majority of this phase trying to balance letting him explore his independence and mature while still guiding and protecting him.
The next fifteen years are focused around your child’s schooling. During this phase, you must help your child learn how to read and write, manage his homework, chaperone his fieldtrips, make cupcakes for his class parties, deal with cliques and hurt feelings, send him to proms, guide him through his first relationships and also first heartbreaks, teach him to drive and take him to get his license, support him as he decides where to go to college, sob throughout his graduation, and then come to terms with the fact that, after all of this, he is moving out of your house and going out on his own into the world as a young adult.
It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, and it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. In the words of Ed Asner, “Raising kids is part joy and part guerilla warfare. But for many of us, the hardest part of parenting is trusting God with our children.
If I’m honest with myself, deep down I believe that only I know what’s best for my children. I want to protect them from the dark and dangerous world we live in. I don’t want them to get hurt or sick. I never want them to feel scared or alone. And I do everything in my power to protect them from these things. The truth of the matter is, however, that I’m simply not in control of their lives – just like I’m not in control of my own.
It’s easy to feel a false sense of control in our lives, especially when things are going well, but the Bible is very clear about who is really in control of all things: “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose'” (Isaiah 46:9-10). “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails (Proverbs 19:21). “You are all around me on every side; you protect me with your power. Your knowledge of me is too deep; it is beyond my understanding (Psalm 139:5-6). “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ (Jeremiah 29:11).
While it’s tempting to think we are in control when our circumstances are positive, sometimes we have no difficulty understanding that we don’t have control because it is painfully obvious. Every day at the Paul Anderson Youth Home we talk to parents who feel like their lives are spiraling out of control because their sons are addicted to drugs and alcohol, rebelling at home, failing in school, disrespecting authority, and making poor decisions left and right. Many of these parents have raised their children in godly, loving homes and never expected this kind of behavior from their sons. They have tried all sorts of discipline and simply cannot seem to reel their sons in. They are at the ends of their ropes, at a loss for where to go next, and fully aware that they have zero control in the situation.
It’s hard to fathom anyone loving our children more than we do, but we know that God does because His love is perfect. He has known the course of our children’s lives since the beginning of time, and He will direct them as He pleases for His glory. They will experience pain, hardships, consequences for poor decisions, and many things we wish we could protect them from, but God is sovereign, infinitely wise, and deeply loving. He knows what is best for them; we don’t. He sees the bigger picture that we don’t have access to. It’s hard to let go of our imaginary “control in our children’s lives because we are afraid they will get hurt, and it’s hard to swallow the realization that we aren’t in control when our children stray, but we can rest assured that God will not only act in love, but with a love that is far greater than the love we have for our children. Ask God today to help you release your children from your clinched fists into the loving palms of His hands, or fall at His feet and surrender your helplessness to control your wayward children. Rest in the peace that will follow.


Is your teenage son struggling with addiction or unruly at home, school, or in the community? PAYH can help. Give us a call at 912-537-7237 or email us at info@payh.org.
 


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Group Of Middle Aged Friends Meeting Around Table In Coffee Shop
Sep 19, 2018

Where Are You From?

“From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. -Acts 17:26


When you meet a stranger, one of the questions you always ask is, “Where are you from? We all live somewhere; maybe dry, wet, flat, hilly, sea, mountains, lakes, desert. The earth is so diverse in geography, weather, foliage, bugs…you name it. Normally, we love where we are from, where we call home. As Paul writes, we have learned to be content in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.
Believers in the Lord Jesus know that this world is not their home and that they are just passing through, but they also surmise from Scripture that heaven – that is, the new heavens and the new earth – has a great continuity with the creation we know now. Our imagination cannot fully conceive what wonders God has planned for His children in our eternal home, which is not a lightyear removed from the creation God created for us initially. The effects and impact of sin will be gone, while the creative genius of our God shines forth in all its beauty.
Our society for many, not all, is a mobile society. We are blessed to experience the grand variety of the earth. In doing so, we are reminded over and over what a great and mighty and marvelously creative God we have, whom we rightly love and worship not only for how He blesses us, but for who He is. We experience the sights and sounds, the cold and hot, the heights and depths, the little and big, the stark beauty and utter magnificence of our grand planet as we travel it.
However, the greatest joy of all comes from those we share it with. You can easily know from stories like Robinson Crusoe or Castaway that isolation is not what any of us really desires, not forever at least. The earth’s physicality is amazingly diverse, with myriad sights and wonders of beauty, but what really constitutes home for us is who lives there. Fellow creatures joined together by the One who created them constitutes real joy. We are not alone, just as Adam did not remain alone forever.
The earth is not only diverse geographically but is so humanly as well. Heaven is described in Revelation as people from every tribe, tongue, language, and race doing something they love together: worshipping God. Seeing the beautifully diverse earth is one thing; seeing it and sharing it with others is quite another. The fellowship of the saints is the capstone of your life, and this fellowship would not be possible without the God who indwells us.
God created us in His image but not from the same cookie cutter. Just as the earth is beautiful in its magnificent diversity, so is mankind; male and female from every tribe, nation, tongue, and race. We shall return to a pre-Babel state, communicating clearly with all. I do not know whether accents will remain with us, but I am thinking, without any corroboration, they might.
Apart from angels, the height of creation is your fellow man. Your home is with them. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. You will share eternity with these fellow saints, your neighbors in the faith. Practice your love for them now, which is a big part of your becoming fit for heaven!


“Yet she on earth hath union with God the Three in One and mystic, sweet communion with those whose rest is won. O happy ones and holy! Lord give us grace that we, like them, the meek and lowly, in love may dwell with Thee.
(Fourth verse of S.J. Stone’s hymn, “The Church’s One Foundation, 1866)
 

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Oasis in the desert
Sep 12, 2018

Oases: Key for Your Survival

“He said, ‘If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention to His commands and keep all His decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord who heals you.’ Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water. -Exodus 15:26-27


The Israelites were under persistent life-threatening pressure. Having left Egypt, they were being chased night and day by Pharaoh’s lethal army. He had reneged on his last promise to let the Israelites go after the demise of his own son and many, many other first sons. Now he was intent on bringing his Israelite slaves back to Egypt after first killing a number of them in oppressive retribution.
He finally caught them at the great Gulf of Aqaba, putting their backs to the sea where their only escape was through the midst of his fierce army – an impossible feat. Then God opened up a passage through the sea for the people’s escape, all the while protecting their vulnerable rear as He brought the sea crashing down on their Egyptian pursuers, utterly destroying Pharaoh’s army.
Immediately after overwhelming gratefulness to God for their miraculous deliverance came another test of their fickle faith as the bitter waters at Marah would not, could not satisfy their great thirst. Then, at the point of human breaking, God provided an oasis in the midst of this dry desert wilderness after so narrowly escaping Pharaoh’s clutches.
Myriad fresh water springs among numerous shady palm trees appeared in their path, the very splendor and definition of what constitutes a true oasis in a thoroughly parched land. At the most vital time, God gave rest, security, and the abundance of springs of fresh water to assuage their tremendous thirst, providing “salvation in the midst of desperation.
Neither you nor I could survive the constant pressure of adversity without the occasional oasis of rest, security, and sustenance. We live in a fallen world. The thorns and weeds resulting from the Fall are indicative of so much more adversity: psychological pressures of guilt and sin, the harried persistence of making ends meet, keeping up with the demands of life, problems of relationships and jobs, putting “things together, health, keeping up with the Joneses, and country and world problem worries. All contribute to pressures beyond the capacity to cope.
God did not create us with the ability or intent to live constantly on edge, minds running at breakneck speed, emotions persistently heightened, nerves continually intense, with no respite. We require oases of rest, oases of sleep, the rest of shutting mind and body down for recuperation. Too little sleep is health-threatening. Our bodies, mind, and souls require rest!
God has created us for sleep in each 24-hour period, and a day of rest for every week. It is built into our constitution. These are given oases. Vacations are a planned respite. Intermittent work breaks are healthy musts for continued productivity.
By example, Jesus taught you the necessity of disciplined time for prayer, worship of God, meditation in His Word, and spiritual “re-creation, all for the refreshment of the soul. The physical body, the mind, and the soul are all integrated in the makeup of every person. Each part affects the health of the whole person because they are each irrevocably connected (Hebrews 4:12). Specific oases are needed for the refreshment of each part of the whole person. None can be ignored.
Oases are God’s part-provision for coping with life in this fallen world. He provides “the springs and palm tree moments in which you can be refreshed for your continuing journey. Ask Him for refreshing sleep, even as you thank Him for it. Plan breaks for necessary recuperation. Discipline yourself for regular time of prayer, worship, and reading and meditating on God’s Word. These are the oases you really need, as do your loved ones!


“Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart. Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee, and Thy beauty fills my soul, for by Thy transforming power Thou hast made me whole.
(First verse of Jean Pigott’s hymn, “Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting, 1877)
 

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Sep 05, 2018

Justice: The Necessary Ingredient of Life

“The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of His feet. -Nahum 1:3


Everyone wants to be treated fairly. They want justice for themselves and also for their loved ones. What exactly is justice? Right off the cuff, most say they have a good assumption what “justice is, for most have an idea of what is fair. Humans are created with a natural instinct of right and wrong; a conscience, an internal arbiter. So, you normally know when you or another crosses the line from right to wrong, and you certainly know when someone else treats YOU wrongly!
Yet, in this world we all observe and even experience a justice system which is quite uneven. The just are often found guilty and the guilty acquitted. Evil is called good, and good called evil. Influences other than straight-forward justice too often decide a case; that is, money, status, bribery, the identity of the accuser, and the identity of the aggrieved all variously help determine a verdict, of course not necessarily fairly.
This is why the accused innocent are often said to cry out to God for justice. They ask, “When will the wrongs done to me or others receive a just recompense? Whom can I go to to receive a just judgment? But human judges come in all stripes with many varying perspectives, opinions, and motivations, and all fall short of perfection.
In Nahum 1:3, the Bible defines justice: “The guilty are all punished. The Scripture declares, though, that every man, woman, and child is guilty; all fall short of the glory of God. Everyone, therefore, deserves punishment.
Nevertheless, Jesus makes a commitment through His Father’s heart of love and mercy to take on Himself the punishment fully deserved by all. According to Nahum, justice means none of the guilty go unpunished. Into this maelstrom of justice steps Jesus. Justice is not diminished by His actions; His personal substitution for our guilt meets every demand of justice. When God the Father’s eyes look on the guilty who are in Christ, He sees His Son’s perfection. The righteousness of His beloved Son is what meets His gaze.
All of this is true, but what does it do for your current situation of the daily demands of unmet justice? Small things often go unrequited, bigger things become extremely aggravating, and the biggest things can be devastating to your life. The Bible talks about “justice stumbling in the street. This is what it is referring to. Receiving justice is not a given in life. That which is unjust frequently wins, at least temporarily. The unjust action may outlive your own life, meaning you will not see justice in everything in this life.
Can you live with that? The Bible says, “’Vengeance is mine,’ says the Lord! Such justice is not promised fully until the Day of Judgment. This necessitates trusting God now and being patient for His timing. Trust and patience are not easy. In fact, they are downright difficult. Nonetheless, this is what you are called on to practice, the requirement of faith. Salvation must have your faith, and so does living. Living with injustice requires a lot of faith, and “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).
Justice will not be a part of your everyday life, but the Lord is, and He will never leave you nor forsake you. When injustice overtakes you, put your eyes on Jesus.


“Whate’er my God ordains is right; His holy will abideth. I will be still whate’er He doth and follow where He guideth. He is my God; though dark my road, He holds me that I shall not fall. Wherefore to Him I leave it all.
(1st verse of Samuel Rodigast’s hymn, “Whate’er My God Ordains Is Right, 1675)
 

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