By Dr. D.
Dear Pleasant Ridge Family,
Throughout our lives, there are a couple of things we can always count on. First; God is with us and He will remain steadfast in His unfailing love for us. Second; we will face change… nothing, except the love of our Lord, remains the same. The world that we live in will be a place of inconsistencies and we will see many transitions throughout our lives.
Recently, Teresa and I were able to go away for a bit of a retreat as we vacationed at the beach. A couple of those days were spent at Caswell (The North Carolina Baptist Assembly). She and I have taken many groups of youth there over our ministry, and it was so interesting to go and see how things have changed over the years. We began taking groups there back in 1980, but I had been there many times before as a part of my youth group. Back then, there were no buildings that were air conditioned and things were pretty primitive. Now, Caswell is a vibrant, growing venue for folks to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation and grow in a greater relationship with Him (and they have AIR CONDITIONING!). In fact, we were so happy to know that this year we have one of our own young folks from Pleasant Ridge, Kaitlin Hamby, working on staff there. Our church will have a group of our youth going there in mid-July. In addition, we’ll have many of our adults going there in September for a combined Adult Conference and Mission Trip to serve the residents of a convalescence home located in Southport. I am so glad that the Lord is using this venue to speak to the hearts of many of our folks this year!
As Teresa and I strolled the beaches at Caswell and at Oak Island, it was so refreshing to hear the crashing of the waves upon the coast, and then to watch as the shore line was cleansed and reshaped by the power of the ocean. Even deep holes and trash that had accumulated were washed out to sea. Little sand castles and barrier walls that my grandson (Eli or “Boo” as I call him), my son (Tyler) and I built along the shore were washed away with no trace left behind. As I watched that powerfully amazing act of nature, I was reminded that God’s presence with us is like the rolling tides of the ocean for our souls. His love and power wash away any impurities, any scars, any pain, any barriers that we have placed in our way to Him. The Apostle Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians with these reassuring words, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
Our Lord is faithful to carry us in our times of need and His power sustains us in our times of weakness. Jesus Christ remains the same forever and ever. However, we must know that the things, the people, the circumstances of this temporal life will change. The writer of Ecclesiastes said, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…” Our job during times of transition is to keep our focus on the main thing. Of course, for every believer, the main thing is Jesus Christ. The reason we keep our eyes, hearts and lives in tune and focused on Him is because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” –Hebrews 13:8
We can praise the Lord because He is consistent and constant in each of our lives. Our faith in Him causes us to believe Him when He says that He will remain the same in every day and in every situation. Now that’s a great God who holds every moment in His hand and a Wonderful Savior who cares enough to give us hope for all of eternity. God bless you and please remember how much you are loved! I am a firm believer that even in change, God’s greatest days for this church family are still ahead!
Stay the course!