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Beautiful Blue Sky White Cloud And Sunshine
May 29, 2019

Ascension

“And when He had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing into heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, whom was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.’ -Acts 1:9-11


Today is Ascension Day, though, unless reminded, you might not think anything about it. After all, it is neither Christmas nor Easter, two rarely forgotten holidays. Jesus’ enemies really thought they had disposed of their “problem with His crucifixion, fabricated by lies as His guilty verdict was. So, these same patent liars’ reactions to an obviously empty tomb was to bribe the guards then falsely report that Jesus’ disciples had unsealed the large stone over the tomb entrance and stolen His body from under the noses of a military guard…highly improbable!
Jesus’ ascension from the earth 40 days after His resurrection is quite at odds with ordinary science, as is His virgin birth, resurrection, and the many miracles accompanying His ministry, including raising three from death. One ridiculous skeptic mocked that if Jesus had really ascended, then He would have gone into orbit. The supernatural is beyond the understanding of such.
His disciples actually observed Jesus’ feet and body leaving the surface of the Mt. of Olives and rising to a certain height before being enveloped in a cloud. But the disciples continued to stare after their Lord until two angels in white robes asked them why they were still looking up. “He will come again exactly as you have seen Him go, they told them.
The use of a cloud or clouds is not an unobserved event in the history of God’s dealings with His people. He led the escaping Israelites when they left Egypt by a pillar of cloud traveling before them and a pillar of fire at night, even preventing the Egyptians from overcoming them by that same pillar intervening when their backs were against the sea. The next morning, they would cross over a God-parted Red Sea into Arabia, most likely through the Gulf of Aqaba at a place marked by stone pillars placed there by King Solomon generations after.
A cloud covered Mount Sinai when God and Moses were on it, and Moses then returned with two stone tablets inscribed by God’s “finger with the Ten Commandments. A cloud also covered the Mount of Transfiguration on which stood Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, and Peter, James, and John, when a voice spoke from the cloud, “This is my beloved Son, whom I love. With Him I am well pleased.
It is apparent from study of these cloud passages that God not only presents Himself within a cloud at various times, but He actually speaks from the cloud and uses the cloud to obscure while transacting a transfer from the visible realm of earth to the currently invisible realm of heaven or transverse. It is what God, whom no eye has seen, uses to hide from our eyes what we do not or cannot comprehend. You can question God about His choice to do this, but I think your best course of action is to trust Him and believe because of who He is! He has proven Himself worthy of trust and of faith.
So, Jesus ascended into the sky and was enveloped by a cloud before His eyewitnesses. Then we are told here and in a number of passages, including Revelation 1, that He will return with or on those clouds, and at that time alone, every eye will see Him. How is this so? I do not question the God of the universe, who alone knows what He is about.
Why celebrate Ascension Day? Because all will go through some form of it one day. All, believers and unbelievers, will move from the realm of earth to the realm of heaven and the final Judgment. This is true for those who die first and those who live until the Lord’s return. But it was your Lord who ascended first, the One who leads the way, making all possible for you and me to follow.
Ascension, just as birth, ministry, death, and resurrection, is worthy then of your meditation and celebration. In your ongoing sanctification, you are becoming like Him, as the Psalmist says, “When I awake I will be like Him, for I will see Him as He is.


“Hail the day that sees Him rise, Alleluia!
to His throne above the skies, Alleluia!
Christ the Lamb for sinners given, Alleluia!
enters now the highest heaven, Alleluia!
 
(First verse of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Hail the Day That Sees Him Rise, 1739)
 


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Summer landscape with green grass, road and clouds
May 22, 2019

Times or Seasons

“So when they had come together, they asked Him, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ -Acts 1:6-8


You have undoubtedly asked the Lord when He will restore and establish righteousness on the earth and, at the same time, dispel the entire culture’s depraved paganism now overflowing this world like a flood. The disciples are no different than us. They have spent time with a risen Christ, who has personally, with many proofs, broken the bonds of death and displayed to them a world-overcoming power.
They have languished and suffered under the forceful dictates of powerful Roman oppressors from their birth. They have felt the terrible persecution at every turn, just as today many Syrian and Iraqi Christian martyrs, Nigerian and Egyptian persecuted believers, and Christ followers in most every country in the world, including here, suffer at the hands of pernicious and persistent enemies of their Savior. Now they see Jesus’ promised but future victory over their physical predicament. So, they rightly ask Him now, as you do, “How long, O Lord? How long?
His answer to them acknowledges their ignorance of God’s calendar. No one knows but their Heavenly Father. Other than spring, summer, winter, and fall, the “times and seasons in Jesus’ answer refer to an introduction of at least a two-millennium age in which they and all who follow are to testify to the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the whole world. A diverse universal church encompassing every nation, race, and language of humanity will be built by the Lord Jesus and His servants. He here gives a task to them and to each and every follower of the Lamb, including you and me: “You will be my witnesses throughout the entire world, beginning at home and spreading abroad to encompass the whole.
Not until that task is completed by God’s determining omniscience will a new heaven and earth be permanently established. The kingdom of Jesus will then be fulfilled physically and spiritually – a kingdom in which you will one day live, rightly called “Home!
Jesus answered this question and punctuated His answer with His ascension. A few days after, He sent His Holy Spirit, as promised, with more signs and wonders. They not only received His calling, command, and instruction, but they were courageously willing to, consequently, sacrifice their lives!
Just as the Creator set the sun and the moon to rule our days and nights and also our year of four seasons, so Jesus’ answer and tasking defines this long season from His ascension to His return. Peter writes, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. You and I find ourselves most probably near the end of this season of God’s calendar. Take to heart Jesus’ words then, “Behold, I am coming quickly! Make these words dwell in your mind and set the activity and attitude of your remaining days.
God’s Word may have been written over centuries and completed nearly two millennia ago, but it is still as fresh, relevant, and powerful as when it was first written. It is as though Jesus is speaking these same things to you as to His first century disciples. This is exactly the nature of His Word. It lives because He lives!


‘’Bring near Thy great salvation, Thou Lamb for sinners slain; fill up the roll of Thine elect, then take Thy power and reign. Appear, Desire of Nations, Thy exiles long for home. Show in the heavens Thy promised sign; Thou Prince and Savior, come.
(Fourth verse of Henry Alford’s hymn, “Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand, 1867)
 


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General Background
May 16, 2019

PAGC 2019 Slideshow

26th Annual PAGC

The 2019 Paul Anderson Golf Classic was as usual a memorable event. It was a beautiful day; the weather was perfect, the food was delicious, and the fellowship was incredible.  Thanks to all who came out to help raise nearly $100,000 that goes directly to helping transform the lives of troubled young men and their families at PAYH.


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Close Up Of Young Lady Studying Her Bible
May 15, 2019

Final Words

“‘Surely, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! -Revelation 22:20


I frequently begin a new non-fiction book by first reading the last few paragraphs. Of course, I would never do that with a fictional novel; it might ruin the story! Reading the last few paragraphs of a non-fiction work tells you a lot about the author and the final summary of the premise for his book. A good beginning needs a good ending. Final words say a great deal, and Revelation 22 of the Bible is no exception. Jesus’ final words in the closing of God’s Word, the canon of Scripture concluding with the book of Revelation, are vital words for your consumption.
Whether the Book of Revelation is the actual final written words of the canon of Scripture is not absolutely certain. The Gospel of John, with its unique material “added according to the influence of its post-Patmos inspiration, as well as the Epistles of John could be the final words written by the last living apostle; but Revelation is clearly the proper concluding bookend of the whole Bible along with its beginning, Genesis, as determined by the church under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
How better to reveal and inspire a “last will and testament to His beloved than to describe what is gloriously ahead for His bride along with Jesus’ final promise, “Behold, I am coming soon!? In the last few paragraphs of the entire 66 books, Jesus provides a personal warning attached to a promise: “Wash your robes, He says, for “I will soon return! (Revelation 22:14 and 20).
Jesus also emphatically warns that no one should add or take away from the words of this book – a warning we find repeated twice in Deuteronomy. Finally, He commands that readers and hearers of the Bible strive with everything in them to “keep His words.
But how can you yourself know if anything is added or subtracted unless you are well aware of what is in it? What does this require? A knowledgeable, studious awareness of the whole! You must be a reader and hearer of the whole Bible on a fairly consistent basis.
For you see, from observation of the Church’s history, additions or subtractions always lead to devastating heresies. Heresy leads to death and destruction. It also leads to guiding “little ones astray with the resulting declared judgment of Jesus of hanging a millstone around the necks of those who do and being thrown into the depth of the sea.
“Little ones are not just youth or children; they are immature Christians, seekers of every age, those who are but “infants in the Word, unable to discern heresy and its consequences. There are many “little ones who too often have a naive ignorance of Scripture. This is no trivial matter, but one of life and death, not to be merely shrugged off. Persevere to know the Word!
Jesus tells you personally in His letter to Laodicea, “If anyone hears My voice, that is, you must be reading and hearing Him, “and opens the door, that is, opens a conversation with Him, seeking His heart and mind in fellowship, He then promises, “I will come into him and eat with him and he with Me (Revelation 3:20).
Remember the meal that a risen Jesus enjoyed with two disciples He met on the Emmaus road (Luke 24). Remember the breakfast He had on the beach of the Sea of Tiberius with a number of His disciples (John 21). This is not impossible for Him to do with you as well. He said, after all, “Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the world (Hebrews 13). This is obeying a relevant everyday command: initiating and maintaining intimate fellowship with Jesus in His Word.
This is the only way to maintain your love for Jesus, abiding with Him in His Word. Jesus warned perhaps the healthiest church among the seven, Ephesus, of losing their first and most devoted love for Him (Revelation 2). He says essentially, “Return to me! Capture again the passion of your first love. Love me completely with everything in you; in turn you will be blessed beyond measure.


“O Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee; I give Thee back the life I owe, that in Thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.
(First verse of George Matheson’s hymn, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go, 1882)
 


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Best Friends Have Good Time
May 08, 2019

Words Have Meaning

“‘He is not here, but has risen. Remember how He told you, while He was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.’ And they remembered His words. -Luke 24:6-8


The men did not; the women did!
Two men dressed in “dazzling apparel asked these women who came early Sunday morning to Jesus’ tomb with spices for His body this surprising question: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?
The question must have caused their mouths to drop open. Then the two angels reminded them of what Jesus had already clearly spoken to them before He went to the cross. Jesus had said, “…three days after [wicked men kill me], I will rise!
They had so utterly forgotten Jesus’ promise that they actually did come to the tomb on the third day, but they came with no expectation of greeting their risen Master. They came instead to care for His dead body. They had no idea that all Jesus’ words had meaning. He had not spoken frivolously; He meant what He said!
Then the women remembered; the reminder of Jesus’ actual words struck their memory-chord, and their excitement rose immediately. “Yes! This is exactly what He told us! He said after three days He would rise! How could we forget?
In contrast, the men, including the eleven apostles, remained in brain-lock, disbelief, and fear. Even the women’s genuine excitement before them would not persuade. They really should have known better, but instead they responded, “What are you women talking about? Do not bother us with idle words!
Peter’s instinct, nonetheless, was pricked. He ran all the way to the now-empty tomb to prove whether their words were true or not. I rather imagine returning from the tomb is exactly when Peter encountered His living Lord, for Paul tells us “Jesus appeared to Peter first and to the remaining apostles later the same day.
The women’s report to the men were no idle words. Jesus’ words had meaning; they conveyed truth, they conveyed what actually happened, and the men should have believed! Nevertheless, their eyes were soon after opened by a resurrected Jesus, appearing to them in a closed-door-room setting. Yes, indeed, Jesus had told them in advance. Their former unbelief and failure to contemplate had turned His words from truly spoken to misunderstood and ignored – in one ear and out the other.
There actually is, though, such a thing as “idle words. In Matthew 12:36, Jesus said, “I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless [idle] word they speak. James talks bluntly about the power and poison of the tongue to hurt, start fires, curse, and destroy.
Today is a day fraught with idle words, spewing out like a fire hose. It seems most words spoken today are purely idle – curses, frivolous, unimportant, unprofitable. We need to avoid such when we use our tongues. Seek to always speak with meaning, to profit your hearer. This is a discipline well worth cultivating.
Jesus’ words were never idle. Those who discount the fact that He is always the visible and verbal expression of God the Father do so to their own folly. When Jesus speaks, wise men listen. Too many words spoken by Him before His cross were lost on the disciples. Are they lost on you?
After the resurrection, His words were remembered, never to be forgotten again by them. The resurrection was a punctuation mark to all the words which Jesus spoke. His rising brought weight to everything He had expressed before His death on the cross.
Words have meaning! Idle words ought to be discarded and forgotten. But words from the mouth of Jesus, indeed, from the Triune God, ought to be treasured, memorized, and acted upon. His words are never misspoken or merely idle.
In Matthew 5:18, Jesus said, “Until heaven and earth pass away not one jot or tittle will pass from the law until all is fulfilled. Every bit of the Word of God is profitable for your salvation. No book of the Bible nor any passage in it consists of idle words. It is all of great value to benefit your heart, soul, and mind, even though you think them unimportant. None of His Word should be ignored or under-appreciated.
This is good reason for you to read completely through your Bible repeatedly. Leviticus is just as important as the book of John; they are both a necessary part of God’s Word. The Bible contains what is true and essential. It is a living book, impacting every reader, either by sanctifying them or sealing their judgment. Those who discard or ignore it reap the whirlwind! Words have meaning – yours, and especially His!


“No more we doubt Thee, glorious Prince of life. Life is naught without Thee; aid us in our strife. Make us more than conquerors, through Thy deathless love. Bring us safe through Jordan to Thy home above. Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son; endless is the victory Thou o’er death hast won.
(Third verse of Edmond Budry’s hymn, “Thine Be the Glory, 1884)
 


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Joiner & Family
May 07, 2019

This Month at PAYH: Monthly Newsletter, May 2019

SEPC

The Man I Never Met

Last month we introduced you to the oldest member of the PAYH family; this month we’d like you to meet the youngest. Josh graduated the PAYH program in 1999 and, 20 years later, the impact his time at the Home had on his life led him to name his newborn son after our founder. Pictured on the right is Josh, his wife Patti, and his son Anderson Paul. Below you’ll find a short message from Josh testifying to the life-changing impact and the priceless difference a changed life can make.

There are people you meet that impact your life so significantly, you never forget the smallest detail about them. They make you want to be a better person, and aspire to impact as many lives as they have.  They allow you to feel safe, encourage you, and see talents you didn’t know you had.  I imagine Paul was this type of person. 

I never met him, but I feel as if I know Paul.  Stories of Paul’s thundering voice from the back porch being heard across the yard, instructing and leading the boys.  His intensity for life, love of God, and his passion to help troubled young men become productive and contributing men to society can be seen throughout the Campus.  More important than the stories, is the foundation on which He and Glenda built the Home. It’s that foundation, that shaped me.  The ethics, discipline, love and spiritual guidance I received at PAYH made me the man I am today. 

Anderson Paul Joiner was born April 20th at 3:36pm.  His name represents something bigger than any one of us; it epitomizes the impact Paul Anderson had on my life, even though I never met him.  I hope and pray my son can be a man like Paul.

A man’s worth should not be judged by his job or possessions, but by his legacy.  Paul’s physical strength was unmatched; his legacy is stronger!

Thank you to Paul, Glenda, staff and everyone who has supported PAYH!

Sincerely,

Josh Joiner (PAYH Alumnus / May 1997 – Dec. 1999)

Stories from the Home

SEPC Goodness Garden

SEPC

The ever-faithful Southeast Produce Council visited our campus last month to tour the campus and plant the garden for the spring. After planting a variety of crops and visiting with our young men, the SEPC members joined us for lunch and fellowship in the dining hall.

 

Higgston Baptist Church Cornhole Tournament

Cornhole-Tournament

The boys had a blast last month with Higgston Baptist Church and Pastor Allen Rea, who treated them to grilled pork chops, coleslaw, baked beans, banana pudding, and other treats. After lunch they held a cornhole tournament in which each young man was paired with a church member, with Lane’s team coming out on top.

 

42nd Annual Onion Run

Onion-Run

PAYH has been participating in the Onion Run since its inception, and our young men have become a regular fixture of the event. This year, like most years, they earned several medals, with Camden taking 1st in his age category and Tait and Tres coming in with 2nd and 3rd.

 

Southeast Georgia Soapbox Derby

Soapbox-Derby

In 2017 PAYH was asked to be the pit crew for the Southeast Georgia Soapbox Derby, and they had such a great time and did such a good job that they asked us to make it a permanent arrangement. Last weekend they did it again, loading cars on trailers and changing tires throughout the day. Lyons City manager Jason Hall trained the young men prior to the event and provided them with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Upcoming Event

PAGC

This year we are hosting the 26th annual Paul Anderson Golf Classic at the River Club in North Augusta, SC. Over the past 26 years this tournament has provided several million dollars in revenue and has been a major part of our operating budget. To learn more, or to register a team, visit payh.org/golf.


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Close Up Pilot Hand Taking By Portable Radio Set In Cabin
May 01, 2019

Mayday!

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. -Isaiah 41:10


Mayday! Mayday! This is not related to May Day, the celebration of spring or the chosen holiday of the Socialist Workers Party on May 1. Mayday is the universal call of distress invented by Frederick Stanley Mockford, a senior radio operator at Croydon Airport in London. He was asked to come up with a word to be used in distress situations for pilots, ship captains, or anyone in trouble using a radio.
He chose “mayday after the French word “m’aider“ (“help me), a shortened form of “venez m’aider (“come and help me). Thus “mayday has become the call that universally signifies trouble and distress. “Help! Come quickly and rescue me!
This is the cry of parents, or grandparents, or guardians who show up at the PAYH with a young man in tow. They are saying, “We are at the end of our rope. We need help. We are desperate! Our son is too much for us. Essentially, they are saying “Mayday! Mayday! Come and help us!
The young man certainly is not at that point. He wonders why he is here. “I don’t need this! This is the last place I want to be. But here he is, and we are tasked with helping him and helping his parents.
He needs to come to the point in his life here at the Home where he calls out all on his own, “Mayday! Mayday! Help me deal with my problems. I cannot remain where I am. This is not who I want to be.
This call-out may not happen for months. It may take half a year or a year or more; it may not happen at all. He may genuinely call for help but not be willing to take those steps which fully result in dramatic change – that is, change which is permanent, the change only Christ can affect. Or, his call of distress is thoroughly genuine and exposes a desire for true transformation.
“Mayday is a call you feel like making at various points in your own life. It may not be a call to the Lord for salvation, which has already occurred in you. It may well be a call for God’s rescue from urgent overwhelming problems besetting you – financial, health, job, relationships, whatever. But you need His help!
Psalm 50:15 lays it out: “Call on me in the day of trouble. I will deliver you and you shall glorify me. Calls to the Lord do not go unanswered. Though, there are conditions under which God will not hear you, especially if you have no repentance from personally known sin in your life. But God’s ears are wide open, otherwise, to hear the genuine calls of His children.
Do not pre-figure what God’s answer will be or what you expect it should be. Whatever His answer, trust it is exactly what you need. You need to have an understanding and acceptance of God’s sovereignty, His perfect knowledge of you and of your particular circumstances.
Faith sees God in this light and, consequently, is never disappointed. After a little bit of time and no expected answer, too many people feel that God is absent or just is not. The born-again Christian is not so shortsighted. He, as the Psalmist pleads, waits on God! He waits on Him until he has his answer.


“I wait for God, the Lord, and on His Word my hope relies; my soul still waits and looks unto the Lord till light arise. I look for Him to drive away my night, yea, more than watchmen look for morning light.
(Second verse of The Psalter, “Psalm 130, 1912)
 


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