Payh Blog
SFTD-08-27-2020
Aug 26, 2020

Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6


There are famous quotes from classic novels that are remembered perhaps more than the story or novel itself. The quote is so well phrased and of such importance that it stands all on its own. Yet, it is still written within the context of a story and is defined or given power by the context of the storyline.

Take for example Gone With the Wind: Scarlett famously says, “Tara! Home. I’ll go home. And I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all…tomorrow is another day.” Or, Brett: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” from the start of A Tale of Two Cities, or “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known.”

The well-known Christian author J.R.R. Tolkien, “It is a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door.” The Fellowship of the Ring. “There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.” The Two Towers. “Not all those who wander are lost.” The Fellowship of the Ring.

Or, the well-known Russian author, Dostoyevsky, in his The Brothers Karamozov, “Above all, don’t lie to yourself.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 is set in the context of the 3rd chapter of Proverbs or within the entirety of the book of Proverbs. Do you really want to know what it means to “trust in the Lord with all your heart?” Then read the entire 3rd chapter; indeed, read the whole book. Meditate on it. These two verses are very quotable and some of the most memorable in Scripture.

Proverbs 3 is packed with wisdom, as is all of Proverbs. In one chapter is a lifetime of instruction. Pursuing its truths consumes a life. But the blessing of doing so lasts forever.

There are numerous ways in which to truly trust in the Lord, and we see some of them specified in this 3rd chapter. The first is not forgetting or simply paying no attention to the Lord’s instruction to those who really desire to trust Him. The Psalmist says in Psalm 1 the one who trusts in the Lord with a whole heart is one who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on His words day and night. Not merely a weekly Bible reading or even a daily one, but he or she engages His words with heart and mind in the day and in the night. Less TV watching and much more Bible reading and thinking about what you read.

“Write them on the tablet of your heart.” Just how do you do that? How do you engrave His words on your “love center,” your heart? Where your emotions and feelings reside? Where whatever drives you to do what you do and think and say finds its root, its anchor, its inspiration? It is delighting in His words, hanging on them, that you do not ever want them to escape you! Never to be put out of your mind or lost to other thoughts or inclinations. Nothing as worthy can ever be a substitute.

Is this possible? Yes, but it requires discipline. It requires perseverance. But mostly it requires true love. Love for Him who gave everything for you, even His life.

“Be not wise in your own eyes!” Make a life’s habit of acquiring and practicing true humility in your soul.

“Honor the Lord with your substance!” Allow Him use of all of your resources. Give generously to Him and to your neighbor. Remember the rich young ruler who went away sad because the Lord asked him to give away his many assets and come and follow Him. He would not trust the Lord because he proved his earthly wealth was his god.

“My son (or daughter), do not despise the Lord’s discipline or grow weary of His reproof!” Do not forget, not ever, He disciplines those He truly loves. He treats you as His very own son or daughter, because you are a genuine member of His own family. When discipline comes in your life receive it graciously as from the Lord’s hand whatever it is. Because it is from his heart and hand.

This is exactly how you trust the Lord with your whole heart. Don’t glibly quote these famous verses. But meditate on them, read them in their context to fully grasp what is being said (Proverbs 3), and apply their lessons to your self-analyzed motivations in life. I guess the best way to put this is “eat these words” and digest them within you, so their truths become who you are.


“Be still, my soul: the Lord is on your side; bear patiently the cross of grief or pain; leave to your God to order and provide; in ev’ry change he faithful will remain. Be still, my soul: your best, your heav’nly Friend through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.”

(1st verse of Kathrina von Schlegel’s hymn, “Be Still My Soul,” 1855)


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Payh Blog
SFTD-08-20-2020
Aug 17, 2020

The Beginning of It All

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” – Genesis 1:1

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27


Your own eyes see and experience the world and universe in which you live, including sun, moon, stars and planets in the sky above. Your curious mind wonders, how did all this really come to be?

There are basically two proposals for all you see and experience: one, the creation of all by a personal God, or, two, the evolution of all things through eons of time according to random chance; but still no satisfactory answer from the evolution side for how it all began. Other proposals are theories with various mixing of the two. The one you choose depends greatly on whether or not you believe there is a God.

Of course, there are those who believe in God, and also believe in evolution. Scientific discovery, whether hypothesized or “proven” has had a lot to do with the formation of evolutionary theory since Darwin first proposed it. Scientific discovery has been used by proponents of both, creation and evolution. Such discovery, mainly archaeological, has further supported the veracity of the Scriptures and its claims to God’s creation work. A lot of scientific discovery further supports God creating from nothing to all which exists today.

On the other hand, scientific discovery has continued to either buttress or to wholly alter evolutionary hypotheses. Many holes remain in evolution’s basic theory, while its proponents treat it as well-established fact; as does most scientific literature, museums, textbooks, and organizations. Of course, if you do not believe in a creating God, what alternatives have you?

Hebrews 11 addresses the truth of the Creator God: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” “Creatio ex nihilo,” creation out of nothing, is exactly how the Bible reveals God creating what we now see of our material world and universe.

Evolutionary theory expresses that eons of years plus chance produced what is today, without any design or designer; an unsupported leap of faith. There are only guesses as to how it all began; or, if matter and universe have eternally existed which at some point in eons past began to evolve into the earth we know today. Strange, though, there is no proof of any life anywhere else in the entire universe, on any of the numberless planets, except by supposition with absolutely no evidence.

Admitting that I am perhaps biased by my faith, the theory of evolution holds no water for me. It is a shot in the dark, a bigger leap of “faith,” than believing in a personal, eternal God who designed and made all things, and sustains all things. The evidence of design in the intricacies and complexities of all that is is simply overwhelming. There is nothing in all the universe which lends itself to believing that all that is came from random, chaotic chance.

The belief in evolution is so stupefying one would have to believe it arises from a blinding, irrational conspiracy perpetrated on those who believe so adamantly in it. Well, that is exactly what the power of the prince of the power of the air does (Ephesians 2:2), even God’s sworn enemy, Satan. Of course, he is hidden, as he desires, from many who cannot see or believe in the reality of the spiritual world, whether angels or devils. Such see evolutionary theory as solid fact, while ignoring its holes, creating discrepancies unbridged by concrete evidence.

The evidence of special revelation, the Bible, is questioned and belittled, while the hypothesized theory of “scientific” evolution reigns supreme, even after further discovery renders some previously discovered “facts” of evolution false.

One example, evolution denies the biblical revelation of an actual Adam and Eve from whom proceeded the entire human race, even though Jesus Himself affirms their existence. Evolution teaches that humanity through evolutionary processes sprung from many places on earth in prehuman form later evolving into human form, so that a whole population eventually came about over time, some human and some prehuman living side by side.

The Bible teaches that Adam and Eve created in God’s image, had intelligent minds and personalities, able to give all the animals and birds of different types names, for example. They were not unintelligent creatures having to evolve over centuries in the intelligence of their minds.

Evolution would propose that human intelligence evolves from ages past to much more intelligent humans of the evolving future. In other words, though a relatively short time for evolving, many of today’s politicians surpass the country’s founding fathers in intelligence. I don’t think so!

That is the working principle, though evolutionists say that takes thousands of years. In actuality, Adam and Eve had as sharp or sharper minds as we have today though they lived millenniums ago.

You have a choice: creation of all by God, or evolution by chance and time. Or even a mixture of the two, which tends in most cases to lean more toward evolution than to God’s creating and maintaining power. Let faith be the dominant element. Believe in God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the creator of all things, including you!


“We sing the mighty power of God that made the mountains rise, that spread the flowing seas abroad and built the lofty skies, we sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day; the moon shines full at His command, and all the stars obey.

There’s not a plant or flower below but makes your glories known, and clouds arise and tempests blow by order from your throne; while all that borrows life from you is ever in your care, and everywhere that we can be, you, God, are present there.”

(1st and 3rd verses of Isaac Watts hymn, “We Sing the Mighty Power of God,” 1707)


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Payh Blog
SFTD-08-13-2020
Aug 10, 2020

Blessed

God promised Abram many millennia ago, “In you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)


You see a final description of “all the families of the earth” in Revelation 5:9-10. It is a description which encompasses all people, of every race, of every language, of every tribe, of every type of men, women, and children in every age of the earth. There are no such thing as “un-reached peoples!” The family of God encompasses every kind of people; representatives from every group. All the kinds of people which God created; these will be an integral part of God’s redeemed and completed family.

God created Adam, He then established the lines of families coming from Adam’s sons, Seth and Cain, He saved alone Noah and seven people of Noah’s family from the universal flood.

Of the people populating the earth stemming from Noah and his children after the flood, God chose from among them Abram/Abraham to create from his seed God’s chosen people Israel, who would in turn by God’s provision become a light to non-Jewish Gentiles. Thus, some of Israel together with many Gentiles, who are grafted into the tree, will become the solitary Olive Tree which constitutes the whole family of God (read Romans 11); complete, whole, redeemed.

Abraham had faith, faith in the One True God (Hebrews 11:8-19). So he was called by God the father of the people of faith. God’s Word proclaims: “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29).

The blessed people of the earth are these: those who are in Christ, Abraham’s offspring, the actual heirs of the promise made millennia ago. Are you of those blessed by God? If you are “in Christ” you are! What does it actually mean to be “blessed?” It means everything! Anything else in your life means absolutely nothing in comparison to possessing this blessing!

Esau craved the ancestral blessing given instead, by God’s obvious providence, to his twin brother Jacob. But once given to Jacob by his father, Isaac/Israel, it was irrevocable. Esau’s tears were bitter, but apparently unavailing for Esau’s descendants. This was the lesson given in Scripture to you to explain the exclusivity of God’s eternal promise. The blessing you seek for yourself comes only through Jesus Christ to those who by faith are in Christ. The blessing will never accrue to any who are not in Christ. Such will simply never happen.

To be included among the blessed families/individuals of God’s promise to Abraham is inestimable. It is eternal. It is beyond any gift that can ever be given. It is the ultimate, supreme gift of the ages. It will never be revoked. It is sealed eternally by the perfect character of God. The essence of this blessing is specifically this: “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23).

Seek, therefore, with all that is in you to be found “in Christ.” This is obtained by faith. Paul said to the Philippian jailer who asked him how he could be saved, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, you and your household.”

“Believe in” means know who Jesus is, what He has done, and trust in Him, His words and promises. Faith acts in belief. It will neither renege nor be turned aside in its seeking of Jesus. “I must have Jesus or I die,” is the blunt testimony of the follower of Jesus. You mean it, and you commit your whole life to it.

This promise is yours if you are found “in Christ.” Once in Christ the Word of God affirms, “no man can pluck you out of His hand!” (John 10:28) Rest always in this sure promise of God. You are and will be blessed, and that forever!


“All praise to thee my God, this night, for all the blessings of the light; keep me, O keep me, King of kings, beneath thine own almighty wings.”

(1st verse of Thomas Ken’s hymn, “All Praise To Thee My God, This Night,” 1709)


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Payh Blog
Finish-the-Race-1
Aug 04, 2020

This Month at PAYH: Monthly Newsletter, August 2020

FINISH THE RACE

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to undertake a significant physical challenge. After almost a year of training, I rode the 2020 PAYH Bike Ride. Over the course of 5 days, I pedaled 332 miles, averaging just over 66 miles per day at 16 miles per hour. Throughout the week I had highs and lows. Sometimes, I felt like I had unlimited energy and could ride forever (normally in the morning when it was cool). At other times, I felt as if it was all I could do to keep going. It’s easy to get discouraged when the sun is high in the sky, the temperature is in excess 100 degrees, every muscle in your body is urging you to quit, and you look ahead through the shimmering air rising from the asphalt to see that the Good Lord saw fit to create yet another hill.

One of the ways I stayed motivated was to make sure to keep my focus on the right thing. It wouldn’t have been helpful to take a 70-80 mile day and count down the distance until it was complete; instead, I had to break it down into manageable chunks. It was far more helpful to tell myself “only 5 miles to go before the next rest stop” than to say “I still have over 50 miles left to ride today and I’m already getting tired.” If I had focused on the heat, or my exhaustion, or the fact that I still had a long way to go, I don’t know that I would have ever finished.

As Christians, it’s also easy for us to get discouraged, particularly in the midst of the continual turmoil of the fallen world in which we live. There are many distractions out there to keep us occupied, weigh us down, and cause us to veer off course. We have only one way to avoid these pitfalls – we must keep our focus on Jesus Christ! To focus on anyone or anything else guarantees that we will fail. Without Him, we are powerless against Satan and his angels. Through Him, we have access to the strength and endurance we need to accomplish His Will for our lives.

Stephen-Nichols-Signature-

Stephen Nichols

Director of Communications

STORIES FROM THE HOME

Girls-at-Pauls-Grave

Remembering the Man They Never Met

One of our employees took his daughters on a walk on the PAYH campus, and they passed by Paul’s grave. They asked about his life and listened in amazement as their father told them of Paul’s feats of strength, and how he used to lift up multiple grown men at a time, and once even picked up a cow and carried it. Most importantly, they were glad to learn that Paul knew Christ. Seeing a crape myrtle nearby, the girls then decided to place some flowers on Paul’s grave.

Sports-Initiative

Sports Enhancement Initiative

We are in the process of strengthening our sports and physical fitness programs, and a partner who wishes to remain anonymous has gotten us off to a great start with the donation of softball helmets, balls, and a pitching machine, as well as a dozen soccer balls, two sets of jerseys, socks and shin guards, and two regulation-sized goals! We are also working on concepts to completely reconstruct our sports fields, remodel our gym, and expand our weight room to better suit the needs of our young men.

Lifeguard Training

Lifeguards

Several of our mentors undertook the challenge of a lifeguard certification this past month and have completed their certificates. As a result, we now have the ability to staff our pool with a trained lifeguard any time the young men want to take a swim. This adds an additional measure of safety to our young men as well as peace of mind to their parents and families. Congratulations to Jay, Dustin, Daniel, Aaron, and Jimmy for finishing the course and obtaining your certifications!


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Payh Blog
SFTD-08-06-2020
Aug 03, 2020

Chosen Few

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” – Matthew 22:14


These are Jesus’ own words! They came from his own mouth, heart, and mind. What did the Lord mean by them? What truly constitutes many? What really constitutes few?

The Bible declares “Whosoever will, may come.” “Whosoever” is truly an all-encompassing group. In reality, then, all humankind is “called” by God to come to Him. But among all those who are called, Jesus says there are few who are chosen.

In Romans 1:19 the Word of God tells you, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.” There is no doubt in this context “them” refers to all mankind. Those who are incapable of sense or receiving communication are exempt and covered by the mercies of a just God. But a few verses later in Romans 2:1 God’s mind is expressed about the result of this revelation of Himself from creation, “Therefore, you have no excuse, O man.”

Man knows in his heart there is a God, and the creation makes such clear. In other words, God is calling all humankind to acknowledge Him as the one Creator. Special revelation, which includes both the Scriptures and the Living Word of God made flesh, gives to us the Gospel. And the Gospel tells us that, “No man comes to God the Father, except through Jesus Christ (God the Son).” (John 14:6) Apparently, then, from Jesus’ own words, only a few come to God the Father through Jesus.

If you love Jesus, the Son of God, you are among those “few” who are blessed beyond all blessing. Peter writes: “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.” By the practice of your faith you can confirm God’s election, His sure choice of you.

God’s election is sovereign and a truth which is not thoroughly grasped by us. Not one of any human beings knows anything about who exactly God has chosen. But anyone who so desires can by faith insure THEY are one of those who are chosen; by following Peter’s words, you can confirm your own calling and election. If you are presented this choice by God’s Word you cannot honestly object that God is unjust. Anyone who reads and follows Peter’s words can pursue such confirmation of their own calling and election.

Salvation has been described as a door which from the outside has a big sign on it reading, “Whosoever will may come!” Once you have passed through that door and close it you read another sign on the inside of the door: “Chosen from the foundation of the earth.” You can do what you wish with this analogy, just know that you are enabled to pursue the confirmation of your own salvation according to Jesus’ Apostle Peter.

A good friend of mine now in heaven often gave a speech titled “Are there few or many who are saved?” He answered “many!” I do not think he actually compared the exact number of how many are truly saved to eternal life versus how many are not and will not be in heaven. But he did think that there will be many people who become citizens of heaven. He included in that number a forgotten great host of human beings: that is, everyone who had been aborted or died in the womb, or died in infancy. Such is a great, great number.

Whatever you may think of the above, Jesus’ words must be dealt with by you. What he said is clear. What he means by it must be considered without twisting his words to mean the opposite. I think you would be more concerned to insure you are among the “few,” than quibbling about whether Jesus is right or wrong. You can take your chances accusing Jesus of a falsehood. Personally, I do not advise you take such a chance.

Be sure with everything that is in you that you be found among the “few!” Make your calling and election sure by practicing the qualities Peter speaks about in his epistle to prevent yourself from falling. Jude ends his brief epistle with an amazing benediction about keeping you from falling. “Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

Your challenge is this: Keep yourself from falling by appealing to Jesus to make the feet of your heart stable, to empower you with His grace, to save you with His blood, to present you before His Father at the great judgment, BLAMELESS!


“See the Judge, our nature wearing, clothed in majesty divine; you who long for His appearing then shall say, ‘This God is mine!’ Gracious Savior, own me in that day as thine!”

(2nd verse of John Newton’s hymn, “Day of Judgment! Day of Wonders!,” 1774)


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