Moments with Your Mission Strategist

 Dr. Dennis Love

“The Twelve Days of Christmas
 

Referring to the shepherds, the Bible says this:  “And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.”  (Luke 2:17)

After the shepherds saw the baby Jesus, they knew there was something very special about Him, and they couldn’t wait to tell others about it.  And throughout history since the first coming of Christ, millions of people who have met our Lord have been prompted to go and tell others.  BUT…..there were times and places where it was hard, and sometimes even illegal, to talk about Jesus.  The Reformation period, centuries ago in England, was such a time and place.  God’s church was changing, and some people didn’t like the change.  Some people were even being put to death because of their faith.

There were many English Christians who wanted to share their faith and pass it on to their children in spite of the persecution they faced.  So, they found creative ways to do it without the risk of imprisonment or death.  One way was to write songs in code or hidden meanings.  One such song was “The 12 Days of Christmas.”

Many believe that the things listed for each of the 12 days of Christmas represent something biblical.  It’s hard to say that it’s a proven fact, because it was so long ago.  However, I would like to think this song, that I’ve been singing since my childhood, means more than what I always thought were really weird gifts received from someone who supposedly loves you.

As the tradition goes, the “True Love” spoken of in the song is Jesus Christ Himself.  Here is what many believe the 12 gifts represent.

  • A Partridge in a Pear Tree = the sacrifice of Jesus. The partridge is a bird that will fake injury to draw prey away from the nest, sacrificing its own life to save its young.
  • 2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments.
  • 3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Love.
  • 4 Calling Birds = The 4 gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
  • 5 Golden Rings = The first 5 books of the Bible.
  • 6 Geese a Laying = The 6 days of creation.
  • 7 Swans a Swimming = The 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit (Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Knowledge, Fortitude, Piety, and the Fear of the Lord).
  • 8 Maids a Milking = The 8 beatitudes Jesus taught from the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5:3-12.
  • 9 Ladies Dancing = The 9 fruits of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Kindness, Goodness, Patience, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control).
  • 10 Lords a Leaping = The 10 Commandments.
  • 11 Pipers Piping = The 11 faithful disciples.
  • 12 Drummers Drumming = The 12 points of the Apostles’ Creed (a brief summary of the teachings of the Apostles written in the early church but widely read today).

Though our Christian brothers and sisters many years ago may have had to devise elaborate codes to share their faith, aren’t you glad that we don’t have too now?  Though our Christian faith is being confronted on many fronts, still here in America we enjoy the freedom to tell others about Jesus.  So, since we can, let’s do what we can!  As we enter a New Year, may we have boldness and joy in sharing our faith in Jesus.  SO, go ahead and sing “The 12 Days of Christmas” all year long!     

 

God is Good

Dennis
Eph. 3:20-21
 
 
LEAH R. KELLEY MA LCMHC
 
Leah is the counselor at Hope In Christ Counseling.                       

Her office is located at 130 Logan Street, Marion. 

Phone number is 828-559-7710.

 

Gratitude

“God gave you 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say Thank you?”                                                                                                                                                                                           -William Arthur Ward

     Thanksgiving has just passed and most of you have already celebrated Christmas. We often think of the month of November and specifically the Thanksgiving holiday as a time to be grateful. However, gratitude should be a part of our everyday lives, especially as Christians. The Bible says, “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, KJV).

     Therefore, we see that God commanded us in His word to “give thanks”. In addition to this, God created our bodies and minds in amazing ways. Often, we think that science is in opposition to God and His word. However, there is scientific proof of the glories of God’s creation. Over the last few years in the counseling/psychological community, there has been a great deal of research in the area of gratitude as a treatment for anxiety. What research has found is that learning to be grateful can reduce anxiety.

“At a neurobiological level, gratitude regulates the sympathetic nervous system that activates our anxiety responses, and at the psychological level, it conditions the brain to filter the negative ruminations and focus on positive thoughts.”(Chowdhury, 2019)

So gratitude changes the pathways in our brains to reduce anxiety.

     Interestingly, God’s word has already told us this: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with Thanksgiving let your request be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6, KJV). The next verse goes on to say, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep you hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” So, when we give thanks to God, He will help calm our minds.

     Gratitude has a number of positive effects on our brains, our bodies and our social life. Research has found that gratitude can bring happiness, improve health, improve professional commitment in the workplace, strengthen social bonds, release toxic emotions, reduces pain, improves sleep quality, aids in stress management, and decreases depression and anxiety. Since God’s word has already told us to do so, we should move through this season looking for things to be grateful for instead of dreading the busyness of the Holidays and the upcoming New Year!

BRBA RECEIPTS JANUARY 2023 THROUGH NOVEMBER, 2023

 

Indiv/Business Contribution

2,293.18

Ashworth Road

1,890.08

Bethel

1,750.00

Bethlehem

200.00

Catawba Heights

2,412.90

Chapel Hill

694.25

Cherry Springs

1,771.49

Clinchfield

1,166.69

Cross Memorial

750.00

Dysartsville

800.00

East Marion

749.99

Garden Creek

1,144.01

Glenwood

10,845.09

Grace Community

6,400.00

Greenlee

4,000.00

Hankins

250.00

Harmony Grove

1,000.00

Macedonia

700.00

Marion First

999.98

Nebo First

1,501.00

New Horizon

900.00

North Cove

600.00

Old Fort First

2,836.89

Pleasant Gardens

2,158.34

Sugar Hill

600.00

Vein Mountain

800.00

West Marion

588.31

 

Thank you for your faithful support of BRBA!

IMPORTANT MESSAGE:

In an attempt to save on the cost of postage, future newsletters will not be mailed via United States Postal Service.  The newsletter will be on our website and newsletters will be delivered to each of the churches of the Blue Ridge Baptist Association.

If you are a shut-in or know of someone who may not be able to attend church, please contact the office and the newsletter will be mailed to you.

INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE ANNOUNCES 2024 STANDARD MILEAGE RATES

The Internal Revenue Service recently issued the 2024 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2024, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 67 cents per mile driven for business use, up 1.5 cents from 2023.
  • 21 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes for qualified active-duty members of the Armed Forces, a decrease of 1 cent from 2023.
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations; the rate is set by statute and remains unchanged from 2023.

These rates apply to electric and hybrid-electric automobiles as well as gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles.

THE “BEAR CLOSET” OF MARION PROVIDES SERVICES TO FAMILIES OF YOUNG CHILDREN. THIS IS A WONDERFUL WAY TO REACH OUT AND HELP OTHERS IN THE COMMUNITY.  THE CURRENT NEEDS ARE:

Baby wipes, baby and toddler bath, baby lotion, bottles, sips cups, baby cold and fever medication, girls winter clothes 5T and 6T (5T is needed the most), new car seats for toddler and infant, diaper bags, boys winter clothes 3T and 4T.

DONATIONS ARE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED.  FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT PHILLISTA GOSSETT AT 828-803-8790.

Also, the Bear Closet Food Nest Program gives out Togo precooked meals on Wednesdays to anyone. 1:30-2:30 pick up time.

 

 
BEDOTELL CAMPS

 

Based on Matthew 5–7. In Jesus’ longest recorded sermon, He took everything and turned it upside down to show us how to live the good life. Students will learn how to align their hearts with God as they encounter their Savior, deepen their trust in Him, and become empowered to be salt and light to the world.

 

Youth Week 1: June 3 – June 7                                                  Daniel Rose

Youth Week 2:  June 10 – June 14                                             Jeremy Berger

Youth Week 3: June 17 – June 21                                              Scott Pace

Youth Week 4: June 24 – June 28                                              Garrett Gregory

Youth Week 5: July 1 – July 5                                                     Eddie Briery

Youth Week 6: July 8 – July 12                                                   Ronjour Locke

Youth Week 7: July 15 – July 19                                                 TJ Gilliam

Youth Week 8: July 22 – July 26                                                 David Sons

Youth Week 9: July 29 – August 2                                              Steve McKinion

 

https://www.bedotell.com/caswell-summer-youth-weeks

We extend our deepest sympathy to Mrs. Miriam Upton, the Upton family and the Bethel Baptist Church family on the passing of Rev. Jimmy Upton.  Pastor Upton moved to his heavenly home on December 14, 2023.  Please continue to pray for the family and church.

 

BETHEL BAPTIST CHURCH

It was a blessing to recently worship with the good people at Bethel.  It was on November 19th, and Pastor Jimmy was in the McDowell Mission Hospital.  The choir did an amazing job singing, and Rev. Roger Hayley led the service by sharing some verses of Scripture on giving thanks.  He then opened up the floor and people stood up sharing a verse of Scripture that God placed on their hearts.  It was a very moving service hearing God’s people share things they were thankful for, and hearing them praise His holy name.
 
 
 
EAST MARION BAPTIST CHURCH
 

It was a joy to recently worship with the good people at East Marion.  Pastor Andrew did an awesome job sharing from Matthew 1:1-6.  Through the lineage of Jesus, he reminded us that God’s love has no bounds.  All can come to Him.   He reminded us that no one is beyond the grace of God.  He also remined us that Jesus came to give us an upside down kingdom.  In essence, we are all upside down people, yet He receives us all.

GLENWOOD BAPTIST CHURCH

I was blessed to go to church with my wife, and worship with the good people at Glenwood on Christmas Eve.  Pastor Ryan preached from the greatest verse in the Bible, John 3:16, and spoke on “The Best Gift Ever.”  He simply reminded us of the greatness of God’s love, and how His love for all mankind is the best gift ever!      

 

TRUETT CONFERENCE CENTER & CAMP

2024 UPCOMING CAMP RETREATS

January 13-15 Winter Youth Retreat

February 9-10 Marriage Matters

March 22-24 Women’s Conference

April 5-7 Mother & Daughter Retreat

Summer Camps from June – August

www.truettcamp.org for more information

 

JANUARY BIRTHDAYS

12               Mrs. Mary Gouge (Vein Mountain Baptist Church)

18               Rev. Brian Gentry (Macedonia Baptist Church)

20               Mrs. Kayla Arrowood (Bethlehem Baptist Church)

FEBRUARY BIRTHDAYS

08               Mrs. Lillie White (Hankins Baptist Church)

26               Mrs. Kelly Bennett (Glenwood Baptist Church)

The Loneliness Epidemic

On the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States finds itself in the midst of yet another epidemic—an epidemic of loneliness. While it might seem odd to declare loneliness an epidemic, it is no less true.  

Ways we can reach out: Bake cookies for neighbors, invite people to join you for dinner, volunteer at a local ministry, reach out to the people you care about, pay attention to the needs you see around you. Because Jesus went to such great lengths to show His love to us, we should be compelled to follow His example. (Excerpts from NC Family Staff article)

 
 

2024 Prayer Emphasis

Prayer is our first and primary strategy for reaching the world for Christ.

In 2024, let’s be on mission together by continuing to pray for the nations. Every month, join NC Baptists across the state in praying for two unreached people groups. When you sign up to PrayNC, you’ll get monthly resources to guide you in learning more about each group and praying for them.

Together, let’s pray for 24 people groups in 2024

https://ncbaptist.org/praying-for-the-nations

 
 

Vision Team Mission Trip to Cuba February 2-9

Blue Ridge Baptist Association in conjunction with with Baptists on Mission will be taking a team to Cuba February 2-9.  The Blue Ridge Baptist Association team consists of Dr. Dennis Love, Rev. Kevin Arrowood and Rev. Ryan Bennett. Please be in prayer for your Associational team as they travel and minister in Cuba.  

ServeNC is an opportunity for every NC Baptist church to love its community in Jesus’ name through service projects.

If your church didn’t exist, would your community notice? Whether it’s painting a school, cleaning up a yard, serving meals to those in need or building a wheelchair ramp, your church knows the specific needs that exist in your community and can choose the best project to make a difference through ServeNC.

Commit your church to one week of being on mission together and display the gospel to those in need, August 3-10, 2024.
 

Thank you to Glenwood Baptist Church for hosting the Senior Adult Rally in November. We appreciate you!