Salt and Light

Matthew 5:13-16

Exchanged Life

I feel led to share the truths of God’s Word and who He is, and also how my life has been impacted over the years in this growing relationship with God through Jesus my Savior.  I also like to share thoughts and blogs of others that highlight our true identity in Christ, and the power that holds.  For too many years I have been blinded due to my own selfish pursuits and the culture of the Western church here in America.  I want others to also see the reality of Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

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Trent’s Lily

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:13-16 ESV

I was on a recent hike with scouts, and we came upon a flower that I had not noticed before.  I quickly approached it, for it was a very beautiful flower.  In the vast forest that surrounded us, I did not see any other clusters of this amazing flower. I brought all the scouts around this flower and began to share how rare this lily was.  It reminded me of how rare and special each one of us are in God’s eyes.

He formed me and knitted in my mom’s womb, and He made me in secret, as I was someone very special to Him.  I was intricately woven as He paid much attention to the detail when He created me, and He knows every day that is planned for me.  Wow!  I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel very special that the God of the universe, Creator of all things and my Savior cares that much for me as a rare and unique individual!

Well, as we hiked on, we later saw a huge field of these wild lilies, and folks began to jab me a little about the story I said of the flower being rare and special.  We all got a good laugh out of it, and they actually named the lily, Trent’s Lily (aka – Turks Cap Lily).  As I looked on the mountain side of all these beautiful lilies among the weeds and grasses of the mountain, I smiled as I knew, this was God’s picture of His children.  Each of those flowers were rare and special, and we are to bring beauty and light to the world around us.  These lilies did that on the summit of Black Balsam.

As you go about your day and week, remember how special you are to our Heavenly Father.  Remember and thank Him for how special and rare you are in His eyes, when often this world will try to tell you differently.

Good Samaritan

At one of our Fostering Families meeting, Carroll Parker mentioned that the story of the Good Samaritan was a great story on fostering, and it just stuck with me. It’s a story where seemingly righteous people overlooked and ignored the man that was attacked, robbed, stripped, beaten and left half-dead. The priest and the Levite saw the man, but chose to avoid the opportunity to help. I have to believe that they were just too busy to help, as they were important men of power and position. Their lives were just too full of other religious activities to actually obey one of God’s greatest commandments, “love your neighbor as yourself.” 

We all know, it was the Samaritan, a person that was considered of little worth in the Jewish culture, who stopped to help. This Samaritan was a true picture of Christ in us, for when he saw the man in need, he was moved in his heart to take pity. Love moved the Samaritan to deny himself of his own needs, as gave the wounded his time, resources, money, and much more. Let’s face it, he went above and beyond!

There is another observation regarding this story. I can just imagine as the priest and the Levite walked by the wounded man, that they immediately judged the guy. I’m sure they simply supposed he was a drunk, or he was a thug that may have even gotten what he deserved. Of course the Samaritan didn’t care what happened. For all he knew, the guy could have been a drunk or a thug that got himself into trouble, but he helped and loved the man anyway! Too often we judge others and their situations and we find excuses to not get involved, yet the Samaritan just moved as the Lord led.

You see, we have wounded children in need here in Transylvania County that are on that same roadside. Every year dozens of kids right here on our county roads lay there, wounded physically, emotionally, or both. I’m vocal on this subject because I know here in Transylvania County we have Good Samaritans that would take action in a heartbeat if they saw a wounded kid on Main Street. Churches would stand tall in obedience to God’s call to take care of orphans and to love our neighbors as ourselves if we saw the children laying on the sidewalks of Broad Street! The challenge is we’re just not “seeing it”, … or maybe, some of us are, yet we’re just too busy.

In our Fostering Families meeting today, Angie Gillespie from Transylvania County DSS told us that in the last month or so, they have had to place 6 children in homes outside our county, because not one family in Transylvania County could take them. She’s actually had to spend the night with a couple of them in The Children’s Center downtown because there was nowhere else for them to go. Again, they will be placed somewhere else, sometimes it’s as far as Charlotte, Greenville, SC, or even over to TN for these kids to simply find shelter and a safe loving environment.

I share this story because the love of Christ compels me. My hope is that the love of Christ compels you as well to simply consider if God is calling you to join in on this amazing journey of being a resource for Fostering in Transylvania County. You can make a difference, even if you are not called to full-time Fostering. Please consider joining us on Thursday, June 8th, 6pm at Whitewater Cove (3127 New Hendersonville Hwy, Pisgah Forest) for a simple information session on how one can serve this need in our county in numerous ways. 

Please contact Alex Williams from Black Mountain Home for more details. Office: (828)686-3451

Why I follow Christ

I have not seen clear statistical evidence that fewer Christians die of cancer than non-believers or that they are immune in greater degree from the diseases that afflict the human race.  Some of the kindest, most selfless persons I have known have had more than their share of bad health.  The fact that they belong to Christ did not insulate them from disease.

Therefore, I will not follow Christ for promised healing.

I will not deny or dispute evidence of restoration of health.  I will rejoice at every recovery from what seems to be hopeless, threatened death.  I will not hesitate to pray for recovered health for my loved ones and acquaintances.  I will set no limits on what God may do but I will not follow Christ for promised healing.

I see no sign that Christians escape disaster and accident more often than others.  I’ve helped dear friends empty muddy water out of dresser drawers and new appliances after a disastrous flood.  I remember as a child taking clothes to a widow with five children whose house had burned to the ground.  A bullet makes no detour around the body of a believer.

Therefore, I will not follow Christ for any promised protection from disaster. 

I will not scoff at amazing survivals nor deny that providence has and continues to work for the good of God’s own.  I will continue to pray for protection from wicked men and tragedy, but I will not follow Christ for promised protection from accident or catastrophe.

I do not observe that Christians are especially favored with prosperity.  Like James, we’ve all seen the rich oppressing the poor and justice is rarely perfect in this world.  The psalmist has said that he “had not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” and in the deepest needs of this life, that is certainly true but all of us have known people of integrity who have not prospered.

Therefore, I will not follow Christ for promised freedom from physical want or hope of affluence.

I’m not sure that Christians have stronger personalities or fewer neuroses than non-believers.  I do know that there is no bitterness like religious bitterness and no arrogance more insufferable.  I have watched Christians suffer emotional and mental disabilities and though it may seem heretical, I am not sure that I would really enjoy living in the same house with either the Apostle Peter or Paul.

God wills that the mind of Christ be formed in us and there is no doubt in my mind that the Christian’s attitudes and actions will be improved by his Christianity, but I will not follow Christ for any promise of personality enhancement or perfection.

Why then follow Christ?  Why become a disciple of Jesus when life may become more complicated as He so often warned?

For one reason alone:

In Jesus we behold the face of God.  He is the truth, the everlasting truth, God in the flesh.  I know that in His life, death, and resurrection, I am reconciled to God, the giver of life.

I believe that nothing can separate us from the love of God.  He has all power and goodness and I trust Him and His promises.  To him, I offer my life, damaged or whole, brief or full of years.  It matters not.  He is the one certain thing in an uncertain world.  He is to be worshiped, not so something will happen to me or to the world.  Something already has happened to me and the world, but because He is God who, through Christ, has reconciled the world to Himself.  He saves me.  He is my justification.  He is the center that holds.  To worship the God of our salvation, to offer sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving; that alone is our vocation.  We offer our lives to God, not so as to be healthy, wealthy, or wise, not even so to gain the strength to do great things for Him; we offer our lives to Him because He alone has claim upon us.  God is not a means to an end.

John C. Hutchinson Jr.

Random thoughts and looking back

(Editor’s note: Veteran columnist Thomas Sowell has announced his retirement at age 86. This commentary is the first of two he has written before retiring.)The first column I ever wrote, 39 years ago, was titled “The Profits of Doom.” This was long before Al Gore made millions of dollars promoting global warming hysteria.

Source: Random thoughts and looking back

His ways are higher

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9
This view of Half Dome is likely one of the more majestic views I’ve seen in my lifetime.  I love to hike, and I especially love to hike the mountain tops.  The reason so many of us love the mountain tops, is that when you get up this high, things slow down and perspectives change.  The hustle and bustle of the valley floor is so very limited and short sighted.  So God reminds us in Isaiah that we shouldn’t trust or lean on our own limited perspectives, but we should take time to hike the mountain tops where He dwells and seek Him.  I’m so thankful that His ways and His thoughts are higher than mine!

All Flesh Will Know..

Reading in Isaiah lately and I paused to reflect on the last verse in Isaiah 49 where it reads, “…And all flesh will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”  I often think and wish for that day!

When I see injustice, hurt and pain in the lives of fellow Christians, I often look ahead to the Hope we all have in that day when, “all flesh will know.”  When I see the evil and sin that plagues those that have rejected our Lord, I’m reminded that their justice will come on that day when, “all flesh will know.” In many praise songs that speak of His grace and mercy, I sing with all my heart and smile from ear to ear as I picture that day when, “all flesh will know.”

And many times after I come out of the euphoria of picturing Him in all His Glory and Majesty, I’m quickly reminded of my call on this earth to labor for the harvest. As Paul speaks of in Acts 20:24, “that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

May we be reminded of the numerous promises of God that not only points to our future hope in being united with Him, but the promises He gives us as we labor in the fields of this fallen world to glorify Him each and everyday.  To God the glory.

Jim Cymbala– 22 of His Finest Quotes — + CrossQuotes +

God is more powerful than anybody’s past, no matter how wretched. He can make us forget – not by erasing the memory but by taking the sting and paralyzing effect out of it. No church, including the one I pastor, should be measured by its attendance. God nowhere asks anyone to have a large church. […]

via Jim Cymbala– 22 of His Finest Quotes — + CrossQuotes +


The below post is taken from Jason Johnson’s blog – Foster parents: God is using you to love in some of the hardest places and through some of the most difficult situations. In the midst of all the uncertainties and unknowns that surround what you’re doing there are some powerful promises and truths in scripture […]


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