Payh Blog
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Nov 26, 2020

Peace With God Is the Reason for Thanksgiving

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

Peace is a quandary, isn’t it? Do you have it? Do you not? You want it, but is it accessible? If I get it, can I keep it?

Peace in most minds is variously the absence of war; or it is the absence of psychological/emotional war within an individual soul. It is a contented harmony among family and friends. It is the opposite of frenetic life. It is calm in the midst of storm; it is a body that is not restless; the nerves, the brain are simply “at ease.”This is what many call “peace”; the dictionary definition.

But the Bible differs in what it labels “peace.” The Bible speaks essentially about what exists between God and His creatures. If you and God are at war there is really no peace anywhere! It is only false prophets crying, “Peace, peace” when there is no peace!

Peace comes about with God in one solitary way. According to all of Scripture His Son is the sole mediator between the Father and us. Jesus says emphatically, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” Peace stems from this exclusive relationship experiencing healing. And peace lasts when it is genuinely this peace. Peace which is temporary is no peace at all.

Peace and thanksgiving are inextricably linked. Scripture claims peace produces a grateful heart. Peace in the heart results in a thankful person.

Authentic, full-fledged gratitude arises out of being at peace with your Maker. Peace with Him makes it possible to thank Him in the first order and then thank all others as a natural consequence of it. Peace with God transforms you into a truly thankful person in every area of your life. You cannot help but exude gratitude toward everyone and be grateful for everything when you have genuine peace with God as your foundation.

Today on Thanksgiving you ought to take time to insure you have peace with God. True gratitude rests in this loving relationship with Him. If it isn’t right you won’t be a thankful person. If it is right you cannot keep from an effusive thanksgiving to others, and especially to God.

Thanksgiving is not as much a one day American holiday on the last Thursday of November as it is the best description of your heart, because of the peace which is yours by Jesus Christ.

“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul.’”

(1st verse of Horatio Spafford’s hymn, “It Is Well with My Soul,” 1873)

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Payh Blog
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Nov 19, 2020

What is My Life?

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

You have, I am sure, sometimes wondered, “what is the meaning of it all?” Why am I here? Why am I? These are not valid questions for anyone who believes he or she has evolved mechanically from primordial soup in a distant past; coming into existence through an evolutionary process saturated with unbridgeable evidence gaps. None of this provides answers to your life’s significance or meaning.

Do you live only for this blip of time which is your life and then you are not; and “not” forever? One day you are and another day gone? Oh, well, “C’est la vie!”

But, if there truly is a God-Creator who is responsible not only for all life but for everything which is, then these questions have great validity. You ask, did God create? Did He create me? Or do your two parents explain you? And what explains your parents and so on and on? And was your birth truly minus God’s personal involvement?

If that is the case, can you really think you have any significance among billions of humans, hundreds of millions of years of time? Are you any more significant than a single grain of sand on a massive beach? Or, contrary to such meaninglessness, do Scripture passages like Psalm 8 and Psalm 139 speak with ultimate meaning in communicating exactly who and why you are?

Your mind is by nature curious. It seeks answers to your being; ultimate questions concerning life, your own eternity, and God. What can I really know about who I am? And, specifically, how should I live since I have been given this opportunity of breath?

Your personal identity, your meaning in life, your significance is based wholly in the God who is and who has with His own intimate knowledge made you. Your being, body and soul, were formed by God in the womb with only his eyes as witness. Every single day ordained for you was personally set by God in the loving counsel of His own will. He determined this with you on His mind. Dwelling on this wonderful and provocative truth has to penetrate and focus your thinking.

He alone knows you thoroughly. Nothing is hid from His eyes about you. With all of that, He still loves you and covers your sin under the blood of His Son. Through Jesus you confidently come into your Father’s presence and know His promises are made with you as the loved recipient.

Believing this, how should you live your life? Micah the Prophet is forthright in his instruction. He says: “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God!”

Simple, but is it even possible? It is if you put the character of Jesus on as the clothing of your own heart. This is done by knowing who your Lord is as presented in His Word and by imitating Him as His grace assists you. This is a discipline of determined purpose. The very reason you get out of bed each morning.

“All that I am I owe to thee; thy wisdom, Lord, has fashioned me. I give my Maker thankful praise, whose wondrous works my soul amaze.”

(1st verse from Psalm 139:14-24, 1912 version of The Psalter)

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Payh Blog
Nov 12, 2020

No Greater Love

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13

I am a combat veteran who fought in a war America lost: Vietnam. I came home by the grace of God and am living 50 years later. Very fortunately for America, her veterans, celebrated yesterday, won both World wars, as well as a host of others.

There was never a danger we would ever be consigned to speaking Vietnamese, but speaking German or Japanese were real possibilities. Were it not for America’s exceptionalism in World War II, we may have.

I am an aficionado of World War II history. I wish many more Americans of all ages were. The history is neither dry nor dusty. Not only is it riveting, but it is transformative in the lessons which can be gleaned. I am thankful for all we have been given by these valiant warriors, some who died and others who survived, even into their hundreds; as well as veterans of all the wars in which America has been engaged.

We also learn by the history and experience of war that its very nature is barely controlled chaos. Mistakes are the name of the game, overcome not only by sheer numbers and war materiel, but ultimately the sacrifice, determination, and courage of a whole generation of Americans.

They poured out their life’s blood, persevering gallantly in service in Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, Europe, Germany and a host of Pacific Islands so that tyranny might be crushed. And for a time, it has.

Crosses and grave markers dot those fought-over foreign lands. Many of the vets who survived have made their way back to those hallowed cemeteries to kneel near their buddies’ resting places. For those who died and for those who served we still celebrate Veterans Day in America. Some citizens may not celebrate, for they have the freedom not to, all because millions served and some of those gave the last full measure of devotion.

Jesus spoke these descriptive words two millennia ago about folk in every age. His words were spoken not to a specific time or event, but to a compelling act of love which transcends the ages. Those words speak clearly to these life-preserving souls who over the centuries willingly gave of themselves for others, even to the point of laying down their life for their friends.

Martyrs have given their lives for the greatest Friend of all, as do those who serve Him lovingly as slaves (Romans 1:1). Nor will such be forgotten, as the last book in God’s Word declares they will come to life and reign with the Lord for whom they died.

Many lovers of their neighbors through the centuries have given their life that those friends might live. Only our Mighty God knows who each is and has recorded their names in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

None of them served or died in obscurity, for God knows who they are as do all those populating the Courts of Heaven. Their true significance and the memorial of their love lies in the omniscient mind and heart of our eternal God.

Jesus’ death on a cross at Calvary solidifies this act of love of those who faithfully serve and gave even to the point of death. Jesus Himself freely poured out His life blood that we might live; otherwise the service and sacrifices of these veterans and all other followers of the Lamb will have come to naught. He does not forget! I hope you didn’t either, yesterday, today, or tomorrow.

“Take my love; my Lord, I pour at thy feet its treasure-store. Take my self and I will be ever, only, all for thee, ever, only, all for thee.”

(6th verse of Francis Havergal’s hymn, “Take My Life, And Let It Be,” 1874)

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Payh Blog
Founders Day 2020
Nov 10, 2020

Paul Anderson Youth Home Honors Founders’ Memory and Heritage

Paul Anderson Youth Home Honors Founders’ Memory and Heritage
“The World’s Strongest Man” remembered for a foundation of faith during Founders’ Day celebration

(VIDALIA, GA) The staff and boys of the Paul Anderson Youth Home (PAYH) took a break from their schoolwork and daily routine to honor the legacy of Olympic gold medalist weightlifter Paul Anderson and to celebrate his and Glenda’s obedience to our Heavenly Father’s calling on their lives, to work with young men who made poor decisions and began a downward spiral.

Founded in 1961, PAYH is a Christian residential program and on-campus school dedicated to providing an alternative home setting and a positive opportunity for struggling young men between the ages of 16 and 21.

Held each October to commemorate Paul’s birthday, Founders’ Day is centered on prayer, feats of strength and group cooperation. A morning of prayer on the knoll where Anderson is buried was followed by an 11 a.m. brunch. In the afternoon, the young men split into teams for the physical activities.

Dubbed “The World’s Strongest Man,” Paul Anderson was as strong in faith as he was in body. He founded PAYH with his wife, Glenda Anderson, who continues to serve as President. They envisioned a Christ-centered residential refuge for young men with behavioral problems struggling with issues of discipline, substance abuse, anger and depression. To date, over 1,400 young men who have attended the accelerated learning, technical training and counseling program serve as testaments to the institution’s success.

“Each year this celebration reminds us of the bedrock we stand upon,” said Glenda Anderson. “Prayer was essential to Paul’s journey and to saving the lives of our boys. With the Home’s 60th anniversary just around the corner, our duty to Paul, and to the young men we serve, is to ensure it remains so.”

With a theme of rejuvenation, this year the young men were allowed to sleep in a bit before praying for the home’s residents, staff, families, devoted philanthropic partners, those affected by the coronavirus and the future of our world.

Following the service, the young men learned more about the history of PAYH from Eddie Burris, a former resident now serving as Director of Plant Operations. Along with his wife Betty, Vice President of Outreach and Compliance, they have worked at the home for over 50 years. After a mid-day meal, the day concluded with logrolling races, hurling weights and carrying stacks of bricks to spell out words.“There is nothing so restorative as prayer, reflection and physical activity,” said Glenda. “This is exactly how Paul would have wanted to be remembered.”


Founded in 1961 by weightlifting world champion Paul Anderson and his wife, Glenda, the Paul Anderson Youth Home (PAYH) is a Christian residential program and on-campus school for young men between the ages of 16 and 21 struggling with behavioral problems and issues of discipline, anger and depression. PAYH is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). In addition to counseling and character development, PAYH offers an accelerated learning program enabling residents to graduate with a high school diploma and technical certifications. To date, over 1,400 young men have attended the program. The Home is located at 1603 McIntosh St. in Vidalia, GA. To learn more about PAYH, call (912) 537-7237 or visit

Cynthia Cradduck
Cecilia Russo Marketing

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Payh Blog
Nov 05, 2020

Voting Produces Results

“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord, he turns it wherever he will.” Proverbs 21:1

This is being written well in advance of November 3. At this point I really have no idea who won. I do not even know if anyone today yet knows, because of the projected counting of mail-in ballots.

Be assured, SFTD steers clear of personal-name politics, though not from Scripture-based obedience to God’s commands. God well knows politics is part of human life. After all, God presented us with the godly instruction of Romans 13 and many other Bible passages, which refer to God-ordained human governance.

In any case, the Bible tells clearly that God directs the hearts of world leaders whom he raises up or brings to nought, turning one way or another the stream of their heart. Of course, that means not only a George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, but also an Adolph Hitler and a Josef Stalin.

Does God really direct the hearts of such heinous leaders as Hitler and Stalin? They obviously cannot over-power the sovereign God. But why are they allowed to perpetrate such evil on the populace? Both Hitler and Stalin are of their father, the devil. But where does God fit in?

This presents us with a great mystery, the mystery of sin and the goodness of God. God is not the author of sin, and His pristine character is well described in Scripture. He is perfectly holy, righteous, and good. In Him there is no blemish. So how do we account for evil leaders if God directs their hearts like a stream of water? I think such is a mystery hidden within His plan.

No matter the result of this election God is working out His sovereign plan on the earth, and we who love His Word know the final result. We know that sin continues today to present ever increasing tribulation to believers and decreasing godliness in the world, until the true King returns to establish His kingdom. The book of Revelation assures you things will get worse before they get better.

We do not know in all its details how God will accomplish His plan as He systemically moves the world toward the return of the Savior and King, but we do know He is in control and He has the back of His children in all the vicissitudes this life presents.

That does not mean you will not see hardship and trouble; you will experience the valleys of the shadow of death. But He remains ever beside you as you trust Him to deliver in one way or another. He will not give you what you cannot survive, whether in this life or beyond the veil.

We by no means even know our nation will survive till Christ’s return, but we do know His true church will prevail and all His children will be kept for eternity. The gates of hell cannot destroy the true church, nor her true members.

“God reigns” is the clarion call of the believer, no matter what the results of this election. He will never relinquish His rule nor turn from His sure plan. But He persistently exhorts you to, “…build yourselves up in your most holy faith, and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life (Jude 20-21).” So be it.

“This is my Father’s world, O let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet. This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done; Jesus who died shall be satisfied, and earth and heaven be one.”

(3rd verse of Maltbie Babcock’s hymn, “This Is My Father’s World,” 1901)

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Payh Blog
Nov 03, 2020

This Month at PAYH: Monthly Newsletter, November 2020

A Little Grace Goes a Long Way

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” – Colossians 4:6

My parents might be shocked to read this, but I wasn’t a well-behaved child growing up. It seemed like I was always in time-out, getting spanked, or otherwise suffering the consequences of my own actions. This was true at home, at school, in church, or out in public. I was a natural-born trouble-maker and there were times that I pushed my parents and the other authority figures in my life to the breaking point. I was a very strong-willed child and I was determined to do things my own way.

Once, I was given the assignment to write sentences at home for misbehaving at school. In my mind, this was the worst punishment that had yet been invented; the boredom of writing the same thing over and over was more difficult for me than any spanking or time-out. Although I’m sure I deserved it, I honestly don’t remember what I did to earn this consequence. However, I will never forget the way the teacher handled it.

You see, that night my dad was going to take us to the circus. Like any other kid, I was excited about this and couldn’t wait to see the show. However, I knew that if I went home with sentences to write, there would be no circus for me. Nearly in tears, I told the teacher privately about our plans and asked if there was anything she could do. She thought about it for a few moments and said “Have fun at the circus. We’ll worry about your sentences tomorrow.” The next day, after having a blast at the circus the night before, I was allowed to do my sentences a day late. I had never been so happy to receive a consequence.

My teacher would have been justified to refuse to help me. It wasn’t my first offense, and it wouldn’t be my last either. She could have insisted that I be “taught a lesson,” but while it has taken years to process, I think I learned one anyway. God is gracious to us on a daily basis. Every breath we take, every meal we enjoy, every heartbeat – 3 billion of them over the average lifetime – is a manifestation of His grace and mercy.

2020 hasn’t been an easy year, and it shows no signs of getting easier. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic troubles, civil unrest, and natural disasters, today may prove to be the most bitter and contentious election of our lifetimes. Our society seems to have plenty of anger, hate, and frustration, but suffers from an extreme shortage of grace. As we navigate what seems sure to be a turbulent next few weeks, let us remember that God chose to show us grace when what we really deserved was judgment. I pray that we will keep that in mind and let grace always be at the forefront of our dealings with others.


Stephen Nichols

Director of Communications



New Creatures in Christ

Scripture has been a part of the PAYH program’s foundation since its inception, and it is both taught and memorized on our campus. This year, we are pleased to have Gady Youmans teaching God’s Word to the young men. Gady, who is currently working on his doctorate in Biblical Counseling at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, is guiding the young men through a chronological study of the Old Testament. Before taking the young men through a chronological tour of the Old Testament, he led them through the “Romans Road,” and 4 of them accepted Christ!


Founders’ Day

Instead of a normal work day, the PAYH young men spent Paul Anderson’s birthday honoring his legacy. After being allowed to sleep in, the day began at 8:30 AM with prayer at the knoll where Paul is buried. Eddie Burris, who came to the home as a young man in the 1960’s and has been employed at PAYH for over 50 years, gave them a lesson in the home’s history. After a mid-day meal, they concluded with a series of physically intense games on the field.


Paul Anderson: Legacy

On October 17th, 1932, a champion was born. After overcoming Bright’s Disease as a young child, Paul Anderson went on to win the 1956 Melbourne Olympics before founding the Paul Anderson Youth Home. This year, as we prepare to celebrate 60 years of operation, we look back and remember the life and selfless sacrifice of our PAYH Founder.

Watch our newly released tribute to his life and legacy at



We said goodbye to one of our young men last month. After losing his best friend, Hudson described his life as a “disaster.” At PAYH, he learned to respect himself and others, how to discern right from wrong, and how to apply himself as he seeks God’s best for his life. Quoting Philippians 4:13, he said “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Listen to his testimony in his own words at

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