Payh Blog
Holy bible,Teenager man holding Holy bible ready for read
Jan 30, 2019

Most Excellent Theophilus

“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. -Luke 1:1-4


Two very significant books of the New Testament are addressed to a man we know very little about, other than the fact that Luke directs his two inspired books to him. Theophilus is obviously a man of high stature and rank, or even possibly a High Priest; we do not know. He had become a follower of Jesus, had been taught in “The Way, and now Luke wrote to make the teaching he had received “more certain. Of all the biblical authors, only Luke addresses his two books, Luke and Acts, to a human man. He does so with the purpose that the teaching Theophilus had received in the faith would be rendered more fixed in his mind and heart.
This is the very purpose of God’s written Word for your own life; fix its truths within you! Keep establishing them in yourself daily until you are more conformed to the image of the living Word. What pattern of reading and meditating do you have planned for 2019? All else is superfluous in both your planning and your performance in the New Year if you do not plan for and do this.
Is this really so? What difference does the reading of God’s Word make in any individual’s life? Is it really so transformative? Can the initial transformation become more and more obvious? If you are reading the Bible habitually and thoroughly and believing what you read, the assurance of your faith grows in confidence and power. You rest more in the certainty that God’s promises in Christ are directed to you personally.
Considering what has been poured into you by the Holy Spirit, sheer gratitude initiates humility. In fact, personal humility authenticates the genuineness of your gratitude to God. In humility and awe, you inwardly ask yourself, “Heavenly Father, why me?
In both the Old and New Testaments, the Bible repeatedly expresses that you are not reading any ordinary book. In an unenlightened manner, it may appear to be just any other book with quite ordinary words. I do not doubt that some think it so and discard it or leave it on a shelf.
But the Bible is self-attesting; it claims to be supernatural. All of the Bible, all sixty-six books, as determined to be acceptable parts of the canon of Scripture by the church down through the ages, is as Paul declares in 1 Timothy, “God breathed and inspired. I do not know how God accomplished it all, but He did! Using men from every level of education, age, calling, and circumstance, over centuries, the Holy Spirit of God spoke through them and guided them to commit His Words to writing; He protected such from error so that even the painstaking copying of the original was guarded from inaccuracy, not going astray from the very Word the Holy Spirit desired to impart to faithful teachers and personal readers.
This Word of God variously and uniquely describes itself as real “bread to eat, as honey from the honey comb, as fire, as a hammer that can shatter rock. It is life-giving water. It molds, it divides, it puts together; it is a surgeon’s scalpel that can penetrate into the most intricate parts of the physical body integral with the spiritual. It can divide soul and body, spirit and flesh – something which modern technology and knowledge has been unable to truly discern. The Word of God stands all alone in the ranks of human literature. There is nothing which even comes close to comparing with it.
Only its believing reader knows it to be what it claims to be, though the Bible tells us demons read it and tremble. Just like First Century Theophilus, believers in every age know it will accomplish what it was sent to do: fix our eyes on the Savior and conform us to the image of God’s Son. The whole counsel of God by Jesus’ own testimony is spread over all sixty-six books. Do not read Revelation and forget Genesis. Do not memorize John 3:16 and not commit to memory Genesis 3:15. Meditate on the Psalms as much as you pray over the words of Philippians. Ensure Scripture interprets Scripture; the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New. “He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Be a Theophilus Christian! Let the Word saturate your heart and mind and fill you with good things so that your spiritual vigor is renewed like the eagle. May you wait on the Lord by reading His Word, for “they who wait for the Lord will renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. A seventy-three-year-old knows the meaning of these words better than an eighteen-year-old, but both will be profited by the words of this Book. They can live abundantly by following in the footsteps of Theophilus. Make 2019 a Theophilus year!


“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. More to be desired are they than gold, yea than much fine gold. Sweeter also than honey and the honey comb.
(Psalm 19:7-11, first verse, anonymous)
 

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Paul Anderson
Jan 29, 2019

Paul Anderson: Strength Legend

Strength Legend

When Paul Anderson won his gold medal in 1956, he had a very real opportunity to use his fame to become wealthy. Instead, he gave up that opportunity and chose to spend his life serving others, founding PAYH in 1961. As Paul invested his life in God’s Kingdom, many others chose to become partners in this ministry over the years. Even now, 25 years after his passing, Paul’s legacy continues as we continue to see more troubled young men come to Christ. Through your support, lives are being changed for eternity!


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Crucifixion Of Jesus Christ,Religious cross silhouette against a bight sunrise skythings network
Jan 22, 2019

Who Pierced Him?

“To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father—to Him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. ‘Look, He is coming with the clouds,’ and ‘every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him’; and all peoples on earth ‘will mourn because of Him.’ So shall it be! Amen. -Revelation 1:5-7
“But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed. -Isaiah 53:5


It is difficult to actually picture the reality forecast in Revelation 1 describing the Lord’s future return. “Coming with the clouds? What exactly does this mean? “Every eye will see Him? How is that even possible when the population inhabits all sides of a sphere? “All tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him? This is understandable. But the description “Even those who pierced Him? Who are they?
Well, there is the centurion who pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, right up under His ribs into His heart, after He had breathed His last. There are those who drove spikes through His hands and feet to nail Him to the wooden-beamed cross, and there are those who pierced His brow while roughly shoving a crown of sharp thorns down on is head. These “piercings came at the hands of those who tortured and crucified Him.
Then we read in a passage written by the prophet Isaiah long before Jesus’ crucifixion that “He was pierced for OUR transgressions, leading the reader to deduct that our transgressions led to Jesus being pierced, crushed, chastised, wounded, and murdered. We ourselves brought all this on Him. When you know the literal perpetrators of Jesus’ physical piercings from the historical account of this first century execution, how does Isaiah come to indict all of us – who were not even there, who lived after the crucifixion, and even those who lived long before it – as the ones who “pierced Him?
The descriptive phrase “even those who pierced Him appears to refer to a very large crowd of transgressors responsible by their transgressions for the piercing, torture, and crucifixion of Jesus; those of us who become healed by those wounds, by His flogged, skin-shredding stripes, by His deeply thorn-pierced brow, by His spike-hammered hands and feet, and by His bloody, crucified body. Is this the crowd of which you own up to being an integral part? Do you own this as something you yourself actually perpetrated? Do you agree that you played an actionable part in Jesus’ death?
I rather think we are far enough removed from this by the centuries of time, not having the literal bloody hands of crucifiers, nor the weight of guilt in executing this perfectly innocent man, and not taking upon ourselves any personal responsibility for this heinous crime. How could we? But God’s Word still lays it at our feet. It accuses us of bringing about the Lord’s life-sacrifice. We are told He went to His cross willingly and purposefully, but its fatal catalyst was our transgressions, your sins and mine. Is this felt? Does your mind accept a guilty verdict? Does your heart bear the weight? Do tears really flow?
Augustus Toplady wrote in his well-known hymn:
“Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee. Let the water and the blood, from Thy wounded side which flowed, be of sin the double cure; save from wrath and make me pure.
Not the labors of my hands can fulfill Thy Law’s demands. Could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow, all for sin cannot atone; Thou must save and Thou alone.
Does this take captive your thoughts? Does it etch itself in your soul? It is one thing to own up to being a small part of a vast group of humanity, redeemed that it is; it is another to accept and feel the weight of personal guilt with a resulting personal cleansing, all while intently immersing yourself in a one-on-one relationship with the living Savior. His atonement of you is one of personal substitution, purposely bearing your sin on His cross as YOUR actual substitute. By His grace, He does it all, while you personally relish the peace He gives you by virtue of His death and His resurrection which followed, removing the sting of death.
“Even those who pierced Him will actually be those who see Him with their own eyes at the immediate moment of His return. They will see Him through tears, but not tears of wailing from grief-stricken regret of rejecting Him; they will be tears of joy in seeing Jesus, our “kinsman-redeemer, face-to-face. What an overwhelming homecoming! This is yours!


“My sin — O the bliss of this glorious thought! — my sin, not in part, but the whole, is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more; praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! It is well with my soul, it is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul!
(Third verse of Horatio Spafford’s hymn, “It Is Well with My Soul, 1873)
 

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Man With Backpack Walking Away Alone At Sandy Beach In Mountains
Jan 16, 2019

Whispers in Darkness

“Will not the Day of the Lord be darkness, not light – pitch dark, without a ray of brightness? -Amos 5:20


You and I have a tendency to look at a new year with expectations. Those expectations are affected by what is going on in our lives today, as well as the lives of our families and friends, our nation, and the world. This world is fraught with problems, tensions, wars, and rumors of wars. Economies, governments, protests, terrorism, natural disasters, health and sickness, life and death – all impact our feelings and outlook in a new year.
So, do you have a good outlook for 2019? Does everything look bright? Or do harbingers of the future disturb your equilibrium? Depending on your reading material, you can expect “pie in the sky or, at the other end of the spectrum, dread of what is right around the corner.
T.S. Eliot, one of the most skilled members of the literary arts in the 20th Century, writes in his well-known Murder in the Cathedral,
“The New Year waits, breathes, waits,
whispers in darkness…
Some malady is coming upon us…
Ill the wind, uncertain the profit,
certain the danger.
O late late late is the time, late too late
and rotten the year…only is here
The white flat face of Death,
God’s silent servant,
And behind the face of Death,
the Judgment
And behind the Judgment the Void,
More horrid than active shapes of hell;
Emptiness, absence, separation from
God.
This is the very theme of the prophet Amos in our text. What does this world really present to your eyes other than danger and unpredictability? Warnings of this meet your ears and eyes in each and every newscast, newspaper, or internet blurb.
Whispers of darkness hide in every imaging of the future. If your hope is in Christ, His promises override those whispers, but still the whispers are there because the Bible hides nothing from its readers and lovers. Before glory, persecution and suffering must come. The “last days usher in the harbingers of creeping and inexorable evil. Satan, the ruler of the demonic in the world, still is at war and hopes to bring his absolute worst upon God’s children and the rest of humanity on the earth.
Two primary certainties in the new year and beyond punctuate expectations of the future. Firstly, tribulation, forebodings of suffering, and attacks on the gospel and its followers, and secondly, the certain promise of our Lord and Savior’s return and the glory which will follow. If you find yourself in the midst of it, the actual suffering and persecution may well blemish your hope of Jesus’ return and victory, but it mustn’t! This is exactly why you are told about such things, the very reason why the book of Revelation is in the Bible, the very reason why Jesus Himself warned you repeatedly of trial before rest, of Satanic attack before judgment and justice.
No believer should ever be surprised by what is coming upon the world, even his or her own world. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. That valley has its real fears, but the fear of the Lord will be your formidable strength. Fear Him, for He alone holds in His hands the power of your life and death. He will keep you from all “harm! I put quotations around “harm because you must remember that He is the Alpha and Omega, and He sees the entire picture, the beginning to the end; harm is not true harm when the final conclusion is blessing. Never forget that!
In the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation, each letter ends with an encouragement to every true disciple to “overcome! Who can really overcome all that is coming on the world? The one who finds refuge in Jesus! The one who continually refreshes their faith. The one who keeps their eyes on the Savior. The theme of every consideration of each new year from now to the end ought to be this: Overcome! Overcome in the power of the Lamb.


“When through the deep waters I call you to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow; for I will be with you, your troubles to bless and sanctify to you your deepest distress.
When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie, my grace all sufficient shall be your supply. The flame shall not hurt you; I only design your dross to consume and your gold to refine.
(Third and fourth verses of Rippon’s Selection of Hymns, “How Firm a Foundation, 1787)
 

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Jan 15, 2019

Christmas Play 2018


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Sun Light And Early Morning Mountain Sky
Jan 10, 2019

Eternity in the New Year?

“But these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. -Matthew 25:46


Eternity, for all the sure promises of our future home, is a great unknown for us mortals; the Bible says it is “beyond imagination. Nevertheless, for all our yearnings for the return of the Lord, if indeed we are eager for His coming (Titus 2), we wonder what eternity itself is really going to be like. For those of us who have known life for a generation, even 70 or 80 years, life unending is not familiar. Based on our personal experiences, it is a bit incomprehensible. We cannot thoroughly grasp the concept of finite beings actually becoming infinite.
At the end of each year, we traditionally look back to at least all the celebrity deaths which transpired in it. Families remember their own loved ones who entered eternity sometime between January and December. The living look ahead, wondering what the next year holds for them. Not even the best prognosticators really know what this year will bring. The future is in God’s hands and known only by Him. The believer ought to be content to rest in those hands.
In celebrating Advent at the end of 2018, one of the thoughts we cherish in our hearts and minds is Advent’s second theme: the “soon return of the Savior. Maybe in 2019? Even if He tarries, it is still a fact that some will cross into eternity in the new year! As the well-known hymn writer says, “Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all its sons away. Will it be you? Death is not always a function of age. It comes as a fulfillment of the phrase “every day ordained for you in Psalm 139. Seeing eternity’s proximity, how do you consider and meditate upon what awaits you on the far shore of that river? Some will mourn and wail at the return of Christ, while others will hail their Savior and Lord with expressed and felt joy.
An active faith anticipates life beyond the grave promised to the believer, and an active faith is intent to be ready for it. The strictures of this life get most of our attention, but what thought do we devote to preparation for the next? Jesus told us, “Work [now] for the night is coming when no one can work. But after we lay down our swords, after we enter our Sabbath Rest, what will life forever after entail?
We struggle with comparisons of experienced life and what we have never experienced. Never-stopping time greatly impacts our lives now. Timelessness is an entirely different existence. Perhaps you might think that timelessness invokes boredom. All we know of eternal life from the Scriptures tells us that boredom will certainly not be a reality in eternity. It is not wise to conjecture that some of our experiences in time will be a part of our experiences when time ceases; such comparison is foolish. God has taken care of all such concerns in His new heaven and new earth.
Are such comparisons and imagination apart from total dependence on God’s Word worth our time now with so much to consider before getting there? This is a good point! I rather think the Bible focuses our thoughts mostly on the here and now and the battles which engage us today. It is enough to know that eternity will be minus the pain and perseverance of the battle of this life and that a crown really does await the overcomer! The hope of the believer’s reward is enough to whet the appetite of those eager for Jesus’ return. It is more than enough for us to anticipate receiving our hearts’ treasure: Jesus Himself.
I rather think it is sufficient to know that eternity need never be feared for the followers of Christ; it is beyond our imagination in the best way. It is an inexperienced way of life, yet with continuity with what we have known of the wonders of creation past, even though we will dwell in a new heaven and new earth. We will not float on clouds. We will still put our hands in the earth, touch and taste water, and apparently sit down to a wedding feast whose menu is a mystery but includes the fruit of the vine. I believe it is a way of life far superior to extinction. It is enough to know that God created us for perpetual fellowship – fellowship with Him and with one another. Relationships are the essence of life, especially as they revolve around our relationships with our Triune God.
Eternity ought to be relished beforehand, not feared as an unknown for those who are truly in Christ, for God fully intends it as a perfect reward for His own family. He designed it as the home He knows we will enjoy forever, even as we enjoy Him forever. In 2019, or farther away, in the presence of Jesus, face to face – it is worth everything!


“The sands of time are sinking, the dawn of heaven breaks. The summer morn I’ve sighed for, the fair sweet morn awakes. Dark, dark hath been the midnight, but day-spring is at hand, and glory, glory dwelleth in Emmanuel’s land.
(First verse of Samuel Rutherford and Anne Cousin’s hymn, “The Sands of Time Are Sinking, 1857)
 

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Empty asphalt road and New year 2019 concept
Jan 08, 2019

eNewsletter: January 2019

Where are we headed in 2019?

The future impact the Paul Anderson Youth Home desires is: To See Generations of Strong Families Serving Christ. In seeking God’s wisdom and direction concerning how best to achieve this vision, we initiated a formal strategic planning process involving both key staff leadership and board members.
Russell Ackoff has stated that “planning is anticipatory decision making that involves the process of making decisions prior to the action being required. As a team, we agreed that future impact is influenced by at least two things: the decisions we make today and the follow-up actions we take.
Our ongoing mission, the only reason we exist, is to help transform the lives of troubled young men and their families. By pursuing this mission daily and by focusing on our four core priorities, we are trusting the Lord’s hand of power and provision to provide the means to see this vision become a reality. We look forward to continuing our partnership in ministry with you during the coming year!

Stories from the Home

Santa-at-PAYH
PAYH young men pose with “Santa” ( or Vidalia Fire Chief Brian Sikes, depending on who you ask), who surprised them with treats and gifts.

Christmas Play 2018
The PAYH Christmas Play enjoyed its largest attendance in years this past December. Jackson opened the program with his own original composition, “Youth Home Blues. From there, the play embarked on a journey to understand the struggles of young men when they first enter the PAYH program and how they find ways to adapt to their changing environment. Over the course of his experience, Jackson eventually learned that Christ would show him the way. As usual, it was a real treat for the audience. We hope you’ll choose to join us this for this year’s production on December 5th & 6th, 2019.

Stearne-Penmaking
Concentrating intently, Stearne puts the finishing touches on his hand-crafted pen.

Christmas at PAYH
After a busy Christmas play week, the PAYH young men enjoyed some well-earned rest during Christmastime. During a break from school, our young men enjoyed numerous board games and various other fun activities. That’s not to say they didn’t keep themselves busy. They baked and delivered Christmas cookies to many local individuals, including the Vidalia police and fire departments, visited various local churches for special services, and each young man had an opportunity to craft hand-made wooden pens. When their families came to visit, our young men were able to give these special pens to their fathers as Christmas gifts.

Financial News

The Lord saw fit to bless us tremendously this past year in many ways. In one particular way, He moved upon the heart of an anonymous donor to offer a $100,000 matching grant. We had just over 5 weeks to meet the challenge, but the Lord saw it through in only 2. May His name be praised!

Upcoming Event

Race-logo-10k-5k-1-mileWhether you’re a competitive runner or enjoy a casual stroll, there’s a place for you at the 4th Annual Chick-fil-A Vidalia Road Race. Benefiting both PAYH and Winshape Camps in Vidalia, we are expecting over 500 runners to join us on March 2nd. Sign up at RunVidalia.com and visit the race’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/RunVidalia.
We can’t wait to see you there!


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Traditional Christian Christmas Nativity Scene of baby Jesus
Jan 03, 2019

The Mysterious Magi

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him. -Matthew 2:1-2


God orchestrated two diverse groups of visitors, or rather worshippers, to herald His Son’s birth: one near and announced by angels, and one from afar and announced by a peculiar star. Poor shepherds, watching sheep in the countryside that were to become sacrifices to the coming Messiah in the Temple in Jerusalem, were at Jesus’ birth. Wise counselors to kings of the east, among a group called Magi, did not arrive until Jesus was not quite two years old because they had to travel a great distance to get there. One group was of Jewish religion and race; the other represented Gentiles. According to the Bible, the whole world was either Jew or Gentile then.
These Magi were students of the stars, astronomers, or some might say astrologers. Knowing Daniel, who was a leader of the Magi while exiled in Persia, I rather think that these were scholars and researchers who were called on by kings for their advice. Though not of Persia, Herod recognized their calling and also sought their advice, though he did so under devious intentions.
These Magi, apparently worshippers of the true God, could very well have been led to salvation by Daniel and his friends (remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?) through their forebears. After all, the Scriptures say, “For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments (Exodus 20:5-6). Daniel’s testimony impacted Magi spiritually, which could also impact generations of Magi and others down to the time of Jesus’ birth, many generations removed from Daniel.
In any case, these particular Magi became aware of a birth when a certain star, perceived to be connected to a prophesied King of the Jews, arose in their night sky. How could they know this except by the writings of some of the Prophets and the guidance of the Holy Spirit?
A “group of possibly three or more, representing believing Magi, started off on a long journey to Jerusalem seeking to worship this Child who was born “King of the Jews. His birth was marked by the rising of this star, just as Herod chose to murder all the infant Jewish boys of Bethlehem and its surroundings based on the Magi’s calculated timing concerning the star’s first appearance; hence Herod’s arrival at a margin of two years old and below.
These Magi were assisted by an angelic dream in preserving the baby King’s life by directing their journey home with another route, avoiding Jerusalem and Herod’s clutches. The gifts of the Magi reported by Mary through Matthew most likely sustained the escape to and sojourn in Egypt of the Holy Family. It is the manner in which God the Father has chosen to work within His world, always keeping one step ahead of Satan’s evil intentions.
These stories of history recorded by Luke and Matthew are known throughout the world, cherished by millions, celebrated with decorations, sung in carols, meditated on in quiet, and are the theme of countless worship services. The observance of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany repeating the wondrous story points to our Savior, warms spiritual hearts, and focuses the minds of believers on the majesty of the Gospel! Thus, we are one more Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany closer to the return of our King!


“Sages, leave your contemplations; brighter visions beam afar. Seek the great Desire of nations; ye have seen His natal star. Come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ the newborn King.
(Third verse of James Montgomery’s carol, “Angels from the Realms of Glory, 1816)
 

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