Bristol Motor Speedway is hosting an Easter Celebration outside of the track @ 4pm on April 17.
In order to accommodate those in our industry space to enjoy the event, there will be a special area designated for you. With that said, if you will be attending, please let me know. The track wants to make sure there will be ample space for everyone. There will also be an area for golf cart parking.
Simply reply to this thread or send me a message if you will be attending!!
Please accept our sincere apologies. The MRO CC will not be available in Richmond due to unforeseen repairs on the toter home and community center trailer. We will be back to our regular schedule in Martinsville. Thanks for your understanding!!
“I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, And not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16
“I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” John 12:46
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:10
Before the invention of electricity, oil lamps were common. Add oil, trim the wick and light the lantern.
Without light, darkness is deep, real and often frightening. When a lantern flickers out, the darkness feels complete.
Jesus frequently uses lamps and lanterns in His analogies, comparing His truth and love to physical light (Matt. 5:14-16) or using light to call for a prepared expectation of His return (Matthew 25:1-13). In the New Testament, Jesus calls Himself the Light of the World — and we are invited into His light.
There’s something inside each of us that feels dark — something that weighs heavily on our hearts. Our experiences are different, and each of us feels that burden in a different way. Our life stories are all filled with hardships and difficulties that reveal darkness in our lives.
When you come to Jesus for the first time, you’re cloaked in darkness. Your sin and shame cast shadows over your heart. You’re walking through the world blindly. But Jesus, the Light of the World, reaches you through the darkness and pulls you into His beautiful and glorious light. Jesus, the ultimate lantern, the ultimate guide, sees each detail of your pain and sin.
Throughout your life with Christ, darkness will creep back in.
As a human, you’re sinful. As a child of God, you’re forgiven. Although you will continue making mistakes, Christ’s forgiveness breaks through every barrier. Likewise, difficulties will come that you did not cause, but which affect you greatly. Even in these dark places, Christ is your eternal lantern.
Reflect and Respond
How have you seen Christ’s light in your life? How has He broken through your darkness? What parts of your life need the light of Christ the most? Reflect on this in a quiet moment with the Lord today.
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
A week later His disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”
“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:24-31
Doubt gets a bad rap in many Christian circles. In today’s passage, we see someone whose uncertainty became so well known, his name became synonymous with doubt. “Doubting Thomas” is about as desirable a nickname as “Party Pooper” or “Debbie Downer.” Feeling doubt would likely not be anyone’s preference, just as most people prefer not to feel discomfort, sadness or anger.
But is doubt bad?
Many people add insult to injury by heaping shame on themselves when they feel doubt. But like discomfort, sadness and anger, doubt is not wrong in and of itself.
Look at how Jesus responds to Thomas, who doubted even his fellow disciples’ eyewitness testimony. He isn’t harsh with His friend, but He offers to meet him exactly where he is. He provides what Thomas needs to move from doubt to trust that Jesus is exactly who He says He is.
Jesus goes on to give a blessing for all who won’t have the opportunity to touch Him in the same way Thomas did but who will hear and believe nonetheless. Thomas’ story ought not to be used to shame or discourage anyone. Instead, Jesus went out of His way to comfort and encourage His followers.
If a little child falls, good parents don’t stand over them, arms crossed, foot tapping, yelling for them to get up or be disowned. A good parent goes to the child, offering a hand and an encouraging word. God is a good Father. He is patient and kind. Even when we cannot sense Him close by, we can keep calling out and trust that He hears, He cares and He will respond in love.
How do you feel about your doubt? How do you think Jesus feels about your doubt? Calling out for help is itself an act of faith. Don’t worry if you feel uncertain even as you call.
For a deeper dive into your doubt and how the Lord can walk you through it, consider reading Doubtless: Because Faith is Hard by Shelby Abbott.
“The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” 1Corinthians 2:15-16
Stop. Take a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. Again.
You never notice that you’re breathing unless you’re asked to breathe — like right now or at the doctor’s office. But you are constantly breathing.
It’s the same with your thoughts. Every day, all day, you make choices based on thoughts you are unaware of. Often these thoughts are negative. Lies, doubts, worries and fears creep in unnoticed.
How can you be aware of and replace negative thoughts with what is true about you, about God and about reality?
Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 2:15-16 that those who have accepted Christ “have the mind of Christ.” With Christ’s Spirit, you have the ability to think like Him.
You can begin recognizing lies you are believing by comparing your thoughts and beliefs with God’s Word. We all have lies we believe that are sometimes hard to articulate, but when we confess them and bring them into the light of God’s Word, we can experience freedom. (For example, perhaps you’re believing that you’re alone in a tough situation and have to figure it out on your own, when, in reality, if you belong to Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells you. God is with you always and longs to give you the wisdom you need.)
I practice walking in this freedom throughout my day by simply asking, “What am I honestly believing and feeling about what I’m facing right now?” Then ask, “What would God say about what I’m facing right now?” Then I pray that God would give His wisdom and lead me to answers in the Bible. When I open a dialogue with God in prayer and depend on His Spirit to guide me, God begins to replace lies with truth I find in Scripture.
Jesus fought off lies this way when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Satan came at Jesus from all angles, including by distorting Scripture. But each time Satan tried to tempt Him, Jesus responded by quoting directly from the Old Testament. “It is written,” replied Jesus when Satan pressed Him to change stones into bread, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’”
John 8:31-32 is a great reminder that holding on to Christ, the Author of truth, makes all the difference: “Jesus said, ‘If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’”.
Reflect and Respond
What is a lie or worry that keeps you from the freedom that Jesus offers? Is it that you are not worthy of love? That you can’t handle whatever you are facing? That God won’t take care of you? Breathe out your negative thoughts by writing them down or saying them out loud. Then ask God what He would say about these things. What does He say about you?
Don’t know what God would say? Look for Scripture related to what you are facing. Memorize these truths. Breathe in these truths every day.
Resentment about serving builds where I used to enjoy it.
Envy rises toward people who appear to lead a simpler life.
I tabulate the work I’ve accomplished for Jesus before clocking out of good deeds for the day.
Do you, as I do, tend to function like you’re God’s employee instead of a beloved member of His family?
When I’m in this kind of funk, the story of the father and his sons in Luke 15 snaps me back to reality.
A wealthy father has two sons, and one asks for his inheritance early. This son, the younger, parties his fortune away while the other stays at the family farm, working hard to build the estate. I get that life — the life of the dutiful child.
Then the younger son returns completely broke, willing to take the place of a servant. Instead, he’s welcomed back as a cherished son.
The older brother — the responsible one — now spews his resentment. He’s never felt celebrated, and he’s angry. He was there the whole time working so hard, being so good, but missing out on life.
The father finds his older son outside the house and pleads with him. “Everything I have is yours,” the father says. “You are always with me,” he adds, pleading for deeper understanding. We are left wondering about this older brother. Does he get it? Is he ever able to receive what his father wanted to give him: an invitation into his presence, to his wealth? We are left wondering how he will respond.
Regardless of whom you identify with in Jesus’ story, this invitation is extended to you too.
If you relate to the younger son, will you come home and embrace the father waiting for you? Or will you remain far from the family, hoping to work something out on your own?
If you, like me, relate to the elder brother, will you remain in the darkness, lost outside the celebration, resentful because you worked so hard for so long to earn something that was free all along? Or will you join in on the party, accepting God’s free and complete favor extended to you through His Son, Jesus?
Spend some time reflecting on Luke 15. When have you felt lost, resentful or like you had to earn God’s acceptance? What did the older son feel that he deserved? What did the father hope his older son would see about their relationship? How is the father’s character in the story similar to or different from what you understand of God?
Alison Wilson currently works with college students at Texas A&M University.
“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”Psalm 103:8-12
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:15-25
Reflect And Respond
What moments or patterns of sin weigh you down? Write one or two down and confess them directly to God. Give them to Him, remembering that Christ paid for these sins and more when He died on the cross. Then read Psalm 51, knowing you are a new creation, clean and forgiven in Christ.
Did you know that ever since Jesus died and rose again, each Sunday is like a mini Easter? In addition to resting, like God commanded in the Old Testament, the first Christians remembered and celebrated Christ’s resurrection every single week.
Today, God invites you to celebrate and rest in the finished work of Christ — for you and for everyone who trusts in Him.
To begin your journey through the Lenten season (and every Saturday during this study), you will learn about common spiritual disciplines that many followers of Jesus practice during Lent.
Today you will learn about embracing Scripture and prayer.
These disciplines are valuable tools to draw near to God when they come from a heart seeking to do just that — rather than a heart which hopes to justify itself through these works or simply check a box on its Lent
“to-do” list. We hope these insights will encourage you and help connect you to the Father throughout these 40 days.
The chemotherapy room is a subdued place. Patients quietly bide their time as the drugs they hope will kill their disease slowly drip into their bodies. It’s quiet, somber, yet eerily peaceful. Loved ones accompany most patients, as I did with my cancer-stricken mother, offering encouragement, conversation and even occasional bursts of laughter.
Cancer doesn’t infect from the outside in, like a virus. It’s a corruption at the cellular level — one’s own cells mutate into malformed, sick versions of themselves that replicate, filling the body with disease. When my mother’s cancer was discovered, a tumor the size of a cantaloupe had already grown.
In this way, cancer is like sin. You don’t “catch” sin like you catch a cold; it’s corruption at your cellular level. You’re born with it, like many cancer patients are born with the genes that eventually cause cancer to develop.
When you place your faith in Jesus, He takes the cancer of your sin upon Himself. At the cross, the penalty for sin is paid, and its power to destroy you is neutralized. But there is a still-to-come element in Jesus’ work; while you remain here, in a still-corrupted body, the effects of the cancer’s presence linger.
Hebrews 4:12 describes the word of God in almost medical terms. Scripture is like a surgical instrument or incredibly effective chemotherapy, targeting precisely the infected area it needs to reach. Time spent reading and meditating on Scripture is like time in the chemotherapy room: peaceful, often quiet, perhaps somber, yet sometimes filled with joy.
Most importantly, present with you in your spiritual treatment room is the greatest loved one of all, Jesus, the Word made flesh, who fully cures your disease. He administers through His Word the targeted chemotherapy you still need.
Drip by drip, healing, transformation and life flow into your thirsty soul.
“Jesus, thank You for taking away my sin and forgiving me through Your death and resurrection. Thank You for the promise that, one day, I’ll experience that freedom from sin in full. Give me the desire to draw near to You through Your Word, and help me to be patient as You use it as chemotherapy to kill the remaining sin that I know and feel is still present. Amen.”
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Written by Jason Weimer who serves as the Associate Publisher for Cru Press.
To begin your journey through the Lenten season (and every Saturday during this study), you will learn about common spiritual disciplines that many followers of Jesus practice during Lent. You will begin today learning about lament. These disciplines are valuable tools to draw near to God when they come from a heart seeking to do just that — rather than a heart which hopes to justify itself through these works or simply check a box on its Lent “to-do” list. We hope these insights will encourage you and help connect you to the Father throughout these 40 days.
“Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and He relents over disaster. Who knows whether He will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God?” Joel 2:12-14
During a time of prosperity, the people of Israel let down their guard and descended into
a period of moral depravity and pagan worship.
So God Almighty caused a plague of locusts, fire and drought to come on the land as a warning that judgment was on its way. Then God sent the prophet Joel to tell the people to turn back to Him. He told them it wasn’t too late.
Repetition provides emphasis. Twice in this passage, God says to return to Him. Twice the prophet appeals to “your heart,” which is the seat of the mind, emotions and will.
The solution to sin and moral decay is to repent and return. When you repent, you acknowledge your wrongdoing, consider the weight of your misdeeds, turn away from bad behavior, and turn toward God.This action is not a surface showing of mock regret but a true change of belief and attitude. The grief, weeping and mourning described in Scripture reflect that change.
One way to express this sorrow is to fast — that is, to give up food for a period of time to help you to focus on God. Ask God to search your heart and reveal anything that violates His standards. Then ask for forgiveness and the help of the Holy Spirit to change.
“Rend your hearts, not your garments.” Keep this practice private. Many Jews would tear their clothes to display their mourning in public. Jesus said they had their reward. Your fasting should not be a show for others, but a special time between you and the Father Matthew 6:16-18
History tells us that the Northern Kingdom of Israel did not repent and was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 BC. The Southern Kingdom, Judah, was devastated by the invading army, but King Hezekiah turned to the Lord, and Jerusalem was saved. God’s call to repentance still stands. Which choice will you make?
Pray that God will help you to fast, weep and mourn during Lent. Use a time of fasting to ask God to reveal any unconfessed sin, habits or attitudes in your life that need to change, or anything keeping you from drawing near to Jesus Christ.
For more on this topic, read Matthew 6:16-18, Psalm 139:23-24, and Isaiah 57:15