The Catoosa County News



The Garden

One of my favorite images in Holy Scripture is revealed in Genesis. Picture the loveliness of the Garden of Eden, perfect in every way, filled to overflowin­g with every good thing. There are beautiful flowers and trees, peaceable animals of all species, clear waters, gentle breezes — truly heaven on earth. Adam and Eve, our first parents, live in complete harmony with God in the “Paradise of enjoyment” (Genesis 2:15). God and His children were so close that He would walk with them in Paradise “in the cool of the afternoon”(genesis 3:8). God spoke to them as you and I would speak to our beloved children. They heard His voice and He heard theirs.

What joy it must have been to walk with God, talking with Him and feeling His closeness. Throughout the Old Testament we hear stories of God talking with us. He spoke to Noah and to Abraham, to Isaac and Solomon, and to His holy prophets. He spoke with them as directly as you would speak with your best friend. He also spoke to men in their dreams and in visions He would send to them. But things change in the New Testament. Here, God speaks to us in His Perfect Word: His Son, Jesus Christ. It’s not that God stopped speaking to us — far from it! Through Jesus. God pours out His entire Heart to us. His Holy Spirit inspires us and guides us, like a magnet pulling us closer and closer to the Lord. God wants us to know Him. We see this when Jesus asks His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13). Peter alone among the disciples answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Then Jesus says to him,” Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father Who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:1617). St. Peter’s private revelation from God led Jesus, in the very next verse, to found His Church upon him. “I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church and the gates if hell shall not prevail against it”(matthew 16:18).

Today the Church continues to reveal God through His Son and the working of the Holy Spirit in the Sacraments He created. Jesus founded a Church which, in turn, gave us Holy Scripture. The Bible is a living text through which the Lord reveals His loving plan for our lives. So the idea that God no longer reveals Himself to us is just wrong. The problem may be that many people are listening to who they THINK is God but is in reality only their own desires. Or they’re following a kind of “spiritual” path that feels good and seems right, but that isn’t founded by God. “One road leads home and a thousand roads lead into the wilderness,” writes C.S. Lewis.

Jesus gave us His Church which contains the fullness of revelation and the boundless deposit of faith and grace. The Lord never meant for us to find our way alone or to struggle to try and understand the meaning of Scripture on our own. He didn’t mean for us to walk a lonely path in the hope of finding the one that pleases Him. His Church, His path, is known to us. We know it because Christ revealed it. We hear His voice in the prayers of the Mass, in the Scripture readings, in the mercy of the confession­al. He speaks to us in the Church’s art and music and in the many, varied lives of the Saints over the centuries. Most especially, Christ speaks to us in the Holy Eucharist when He comes to us most fully and most intimately. Even Adam and Eve in the garden didn’t know Him like this. Through God’s perfect Word we hear His voice calling out love to us, begging to know us, to share our lives with Him. This is our foretaste of heaven, the home to which we long to return.

“If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” — Hebrews 3:7 be pure in heart, “things grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace”. Those pure in heart are promised they will see God face to face. Be sure to watch entire message on Facebook or Youtube.

We would be honored to have your kids join Pleasant Valley Baptist Church youth programs every Wednesday night at 7 PM. Classes last about an hour so youth can be home early. Beginning at 3 years old thru 5th grade(youth), and 6th grade thru 12 (teens). Bring your children for a midweek time and join others in the sanctuary for your own refreshing from the Word of God.

Continue to keep PVBC in your prayers. Praying especially for Charlie Land’s surgery Thursday with hip replacemen­t, Mike Cross, Denise Pitts, Betty Pitts, Jewell Mitchell (great need), June Gannaway (great need), Dot Mcallister (shut-in). Pray for our Pastor, churches, evangelist, and missionari­es. Earnestly pray for our country and our leaders. Pray for souls to be saved and for revival of Christians. Pray it will start within each of our hearts.

Pleasant Valley Baptist would be so honored to have you worship with us. Services are Sunday mornings 11 AM and evenings 6 PM. Wednesday service 7 PM. Morning services are available on Facebook and YouTube. If your heart longs to hear truth, the absolute truth, come allowing your heart to be searched by the Holy Spirit and being obedient to His urging.

 ?? ?? Judy Bowman
Judy Bowman
 ?? ?? Glenda Smiley
Glenda Smiley

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