Rev. Jay Wolf, the lead pastor at the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, sent in a verse for this issue. Jay also included some information about his father. Jay, a dedicated man of God, says his father was his chief cheerleader. He also described him as a true Texas cowboy. In fact, Jay said his dad reminded him of John Wayne. Jay says he carried his dad’s name and received his lavish love and encouragement. Jay had this to say about his dad:
Dad called me in January of 1996 and sadly explained that the cigarettes he unwisely smoked for 50 years now yielded the horrible harvest of lung cancer which had spread into his liver and bones. The doctor told him to get his affairs in order. The news hit me like a ton of bricks. I went before the Lord on Dad’s behalf and activated God’s invitation in Luke 11 to “ask, seek and knock.”
The cancer ravaged Dad’s earth suit. My Heavenly Father tied my heart to His anchor of assurance in Hebrews 12:1-2 which instructs, “Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us set aside every sin that does so easily entangle us and run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes upon Jesus who is the author and the finisher of our faith. Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross and is now seated at the right hand of God.”
On my birthday, September 11, 1996, My Father joined the “great cloud of witnesses.” I believe Dad still cheers for me from the grandstands of glory. So I will faithfully run the race of serving King Jesus until the day He calls me to the great reunion with my earthly and heavenly Fathers!
The following verse that Jay furnished for this issue is most insightful and has a message for each of us. It explains things very well!
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
George Littleton, who resides in Auburn, sent in a verse for this issue. George is not only a good friend, but a talented writer and historian. He is also a person who cares deeply about our state and its people.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
Tammy Griffin, owner “A Catered Affair,” a business in Montgomery, sent in two verses this month and asked us to select one. Tammy said God gave her these verses as she started her career and allowed her “love for cooking” to be her life’s work. After reading them, I decided that both needed to be in this issue.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Gary Soriano, the Owner and operator of the Chick-fil-A locations in EastChase and RSA Tower in Montgomery, also sent in two verses for this issue. Gary has had the opportunity to travel to Southeast Asia several times in the past six years to speak on leadership from a biblical perspective. His messages were all based on the techniques and teachings of Jesus and the examples He gave us. Gary points out that Jesus is the ultimate model of a servant-leader in a person’s business life, as well as their personal life, and that is absolutely true.
Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.
Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Joe Bill Campbell, a lawyer with the firm of Hughes & Coleman, located in Bowling Green, Ky., also sent in a timely verse this month. Joe Bill, who has been a trial lawyer for 45 years, attributes his success in law to his relationship with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He says making God a priority in his life, seeking His Will, and sharing time with God daily through Bible reading and prayer have been the keys for his personal and professional well-being, inner peace and success in life.
Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him. Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all His goodness.
Psalm 34: 8-9
Allen Newton, lead Pastor at St. James United Methodist Church, furnished the final verse for this issue. In John 15: 5-8, Jesus explains the relationship between Jesus and all true believers. It’s a simple, but profound relationship, and fortunately it’s one that can easily be understood.
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
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