Your Voice

Beloved movie conveys valuable lessons

One of the many Thanksgiving traditions we have in our family is watching the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Filmed and released in 1946, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is considered one of the greatest films of all time. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, including best picture.

The film was No. 1 on the American Film Institute’s list of the most inspirational American films of all time and No. 20 on AFI’s 100 greatest American films of all time.

For the uninitiated, the film tells the story of a character named George Bailey who is at his wit’s end on Christmas Eve of 1945.

Impact of community

Frustrated by his circumstances, he contemplates taking his own life. The intercessory prayers of his friends and family members are heard.

God sends a guardian angel, Clarence, to save George’s life by showing him what his town and friends and family would have become without his lifelong acts of sacrificial love and unrelenting dedication.

It’s a powerful tale of what one man’s devotion to his family and the truth can have on his community.

Watching the movie with my family this year, it struck me anew that George Bailey’s personal integrity, along with a steadfast dedication to his extended family and friends, exemplifies what it means for a man to be honorable, virtuous and courageous.

It is hard work to find individuals willing to seek sacrificial commonality.

It is harder work to consistently be someone willing to sacrifice personal comfort and material wealth to tell the truth so others may also see and benefit from it.

We should all search our souls and ask God to give us the daily strength to be that person.

  • When we have the opportunity to speak the truth, we should.
  • When we have the opportunity to fulfill our duty, we should.
  • When we have the opportunity to serve others before ourselves, we should.
  • When we have the opportunity to resist tyranny, we should.

In order to truly live abundantly, we must live boldly.

In order to live boldly, we must first embrace truth. It’s not enough to understand truth or to keep it to ourselves in an act of self-preservation.

We must proclaim the truth to have a truly wonderful life.

By Stephanie Smith
Birmingham, Alabama


Priorities

God has said for us to share the gospel so that the world will hear. We must see the truth and reality of our part in taking the gospel to the world.

Pickens Baptist Association  members have seen over 7,000 people born into the Kingdom in 14 missions trips to Brazil in the last 17 years, and those 7,000 continue to share the gospel.

God is working in many places in the world, so look for where that place is and go. It will be a great blessing to you also.

Evangelism and missions should be the very top priorities of the church.

Buddy and Emily Kirk
Carrollton, Ala.

It’s not easy to follow Jesus, but I’m certain of one thing: I don’t want to quit now. Persecution is biblical.

A follower of Christ in Brazil

A pastor, of all people, should realize the gift of influence and use it wisely.

Pastor Michael J. Brooks
Siluria Baptist Church
Alabaster, Ala.


Astronauts bring tidings

On Christmas Eve 1968, NASA’s Apollo 8 lunar mission was orbiting the moon with astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Jim Anders onboard.

On the third lunar orbit, Col. Frank Borman transmitted this Christmas message back to earth:

“Give us, Oh God, the vision which to see Thy love in the world in spite of human failure.

“Give us the faith to trust Thy goodness in spite of our ignorance and weakness.

“Give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray with understanding hearts, and show us what each one of us can do to set forward the coming of the day of universal peace. Amen.”

On the ninth orbit, as their black-and-white video cameras beamed grainy images back to earth, the crew read from Genesis 1:1–10.

In this modern day of wars and daily violence, let’s remember and try earnestly to apply the colonel’s inspiring words from Apollo 8, being ever mindful of the true reason for the season: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).

James W. Anderson
Talladega, Ala.


Shining the light of Christmas

I love twinkling lights, clear lights, uplights, lights shining on trees, lights in landscaping and just about any light on a house at Christmastime.

There’s something gentle and beautiful when you drive down the streets and towns looking at the beautiful array of Christmas lights. It gives a sense of peace and hope.

As we start to feel a chill and crispness in the air, trees and lights begin to go up, and the Christmas season begins.

Every year I have joy and hope during this beautiful time … but I can’t help but think about those who aren’t so excited about the season. Those who are alone, and those who have lost loved ones. Those who are sick, homeless, parentless or childless.

This all came into my heart as I listened to the first Christmas carol this season when I was in my car on the way home one day.

I thought, “There are people out there [for whom] this time of year is a time of sorrow and loneliness.” How can I help? How can we be a light at Christmas and all through the year?

When I look back over the years, I see how Christmas has become so commercialized that the true meaning of Christmas seems to be almost forgotten.

It is vital we as Christians celebrate and honor the birth of Jesus during this special time of year and throughout the year.

Take time out of your busy schedule to just sit and look at the lights and reflect on the birth of our Savior, who came into this world for us!

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

Beth Nahkala
“Lights at Christmas”
leanintojesus.com/blog


“Don’t leave Jesus in the manger. Take Him with you when you go.”

Charlie Button
Huntsville, Ala.

If you want a disciple-making church, you must teach your people how to fish. Before Jesus said, “Go make disciples of all nations,” He said to His followers, “Let me teach you how to fish.” His invitation was clear. “Follow me,” He said, “and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). Just as my father taught me how to fish, Jesus taught His followers how to be fishers of men. In churches today, every disciple needs someone who will teach them how to fish.

Pastor Bill Wilks
NorthPark Baptist Church
Trussville, Ala.
livethedlife.com

God’s plan brings healing. God’s plan meets us in our mess and offers life. When we trust God, we are trusting His character in the midst of our broken circumstances. And the moment we do, we have a solid foundation on which to build our lives. Trusting God invites us to know God and to experience His work as we surrender to His good plan.

Andrea Lennon
Arkansas Baptist Witness

One Friday when I was a boy, Mr. Floyd Morris asked if I would help him haul hay. I agreed, needing the spending money.

Mr. Floyd, who had a bad back, would drive the tractor along the rows of square bales, and I would toss a few into the trailer, then jump in and stack.

For three days we worked. It was the hardest work I ever did, but my hard work made such an impression on Mr. Floyd that the rest of his life he talked about those three days.

Hard work should define our relationship with God too. It will leave a lasting testimony to those who observe.

Give God your best. Your work won’t save you eternally, but it will define you temporally.

Wayne McMillian
Uriah, Ala.
via Facebook

Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.

Charles H. Spurgeon


From the Twitterverse

@mike_reeves

Christ’s people can let you down. Christ never will.

@davideprince

One of my favorite times in corporate worship is when we sing a song in a style I don’t prefer.

  1. It reminds me the gospel is bigger than me and my preferences.
  2. It allows me to count others as more significant than myself.
  3. It reminds me that the gospel is not trapped in any area.

@PastorJFC

Bearing shame and scoffing rude, In my place condemned He stood, Sealed my pardon with His blood: Hallelujah, what a Savior!

@revandyfrazier

Christian, you are not defined by what has happened to you, or even what people say about you. Your worth and identity are found in what Christ has done for you and who He says you are.

@KentuckyBaptist

“The holidays can be incredibly stressful for some individuals or families, and a time of profound sadness for others. However, the holiday season can be a welcome time of gospel intentional hospitality.”

@scottsauls

Dear Christian,

There is no shame in being ordinary. Who you are is enough.

Your worth is limitless to God …

@shane_pruitt78

An ever-changing world desperately needs a never-changing God.

@costiwhinn

Pastors, never downplay the importance of physical exercise (if you’re able bodied).

  1. Workouts release God-
    ordained endorphins meant to
    propel you forward.
  2. Physical fitness prolongs the quality of days God has sovereignly ordained.
  3. Physical laziness is a symptom of heart issues. Our God and His faithful workers are not couch potatoes.

@mhenslee

“One good deed is more worth than a thousand brilliant theories. Let us not wait for large opportunities, or for a different kind of work, but do just the things we ‘find to do’ day by day.”
—C.H. Spurgeon

@jasonkeithallen 

“God sends people into our lives just when we need them, to say the right word, His word, just when we need it.”
—W.A. Criswell