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The First Presbyterian Church of West Plains continues to offer a unique way for community members to seek spiritual support, especially for those who might feel uncomfortable entering a church. Their innovative 'prayer wall,' a concept that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic, remains a steadfast symbol of the church's commitment to serving the broader community's spiritual needs. more
For the past 25 years I have used a marital survey designed and developed in 1977 by Prepare Enrich when I counsel couples. It helps people prepare for marriage and as-sists married couples who are struggling. I am far from alone; pastors and counselors have used this resource with more than 4 million couples. more
Job 1:21 ...the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. more
Isaiah 40:3 says, “A voice cries out, ‘In the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord.’” In ancient times, when kings planned a journey, a crew was sent ahead to make sure the road—the way—was passable. They filled in the potholes, removed the obstacles, and repaired the road so the king and his entourage could make the journey. During these weeks before Christmas, let us prepare ourselves so that Jesus may come into our lives anew. Take time to pray and read the Bible each day. (Luke has 24 chapters. You could read one a day.) Remove the obstacles that keep us from Christ. Let go of selfishness and grudges. Cooking, shopping, and decorating are not the only preparations we need to make in this season. “Prepare the way of the Lord!” May God bless your week. Diane Cooke, Pastor, Presbyterian Churches, Willow Springs and Mtn. View. more
As families across the United States gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, a deeper exploration into the holiday's roots reveals a complex intertwining with Christian traditions and beliefs. Though widely regarded as a secular holiday centered around gratitude, Thanksgiving's historical and spiritual connections to Christianity offer a richer, more nuanced understanding of this annual celebration. more
The season of Advent, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas and the return of Jesus at the Second Coming, holds a significant place in the Christian liturgical year. Observed over the four weeks leading up to Christmas, Advent begins on the Sunday closest to November 30 (St. Andrew's Day) and ends on December 24. more
Here is a Thanksgiving recipe which can make every day more meaningful. Take time every day to one of these: 1. Tell someone “Thank You.” Let them know you really mean it. 2. Write a Thank You note…email, snail mail, or text. Express your appreciation for someone’s caring, their help, support, their presence in your life. 3. Keep a Gratitude Journal. Write down several specific things for which you are thankful. They can be big things or small things. Simply express gratitude to God for them. When we practice thanksgiving each day, we are more aware of the ways God blesses us. Psalm 9:1 says, “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart!” May God bless your week! Diane Cooke, Pastor of the Presbyterian Churches, Willow Springs and Mtn. View. more
In Sam Kim’s excellent book, A Holy Haunting, the author referenced a recent national survey released by Cigna, a global health service company, which asked people 20 questions about loneliness. The survey revealed: more
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned... There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44). more
I have a bible app on my smart phone as most Christians probably do and I get daily verses that will pop up during the day. Normally, I read the scriptures and I might meditate on them for a short while. I try to consistently work on learning how to listen to the Holy Spirit more deeply, how God speaks to us in ways that are outside normal perceived channels of communication but have much meaning. I have learned and continue to learn that God speaks to us in a variety of ways. We can hear from God through the scriptures, through music, a song and through encouragement from other people. more
Eagle Heights Independent Baptist Church, located at 1078 CR 8570, West Plains, MO 65775, is excited to invite the community to its "Friends and Family Sunday" event. This special occasion, to be held on Sunday, November 19, 2023, will feature the renowned family singing group "The New Horizons" from Lebanon, MO. more
Many years ago, I read best-selling author John Maxwell’s fascinating book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Maxwell told a dramatic story about businessman Roberto Goizueta, the former CEO of Coca-Cola. In 1997, only a few months before his death, Goizueta delivered a brilliant speech to the Executives’ Club of Chicago in which he shared the passion which motivated him to get up each day. He said, “…A billion minutes ago, Christianity emerged. A billion seconds ago the Beetles performed on the Ed Sullivan show. A billion Coca-Colas ago was… yesterday morning. And the question we are asking ourselves now is, ‘What must we do to make a bil-lion Coca-Colas ago this morning?’” more
We read in Psalm 107:1, “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.” Throughout the year we give thanks to God for abundant blessings, Now that November is here, we think about Thanksgiving Day and the Pilgrims’ celebration in 1621. The Mayflower sailed across the Atlantic with 102 passengers and 30 crew members. Because of disease and exposure during the bitter cold of the winter, about half of them died. With the help of Squanto and the native Wampanoag tribe, the Pilgrims had a harvest that autumn. They celebrated with their new friends and gave thanks for the abundance God provided. May we pause every day to give thanks! May God bless your week! Diane Cooke, Pastor, Presbyterian Churches, Willow Springs and Mtn.View. more
The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Jeremiah 31:3 more
In the vast expanse of religious teachings and interpretations, the fundamental message of Jesus Christ remains a subject of profound contemplation and discussion. Central to Christian faith, the words and actions of Jesus as depicted in the New Testament offer insights into his teachings. At the heart of this exploration lies a question that challenges the conscience of believers: Does following Jesus Christ mean adhering to a strict set of rules, or is it a deeper call to embody the essence of his teachings? more
Ozark Christian Tabernacle is set to host the Catalyst Conference from November 3-5, aimed at empowering a generation that seeks Him. This free conference is dedicated to equipping youth and young adults with the biblical tools they need to navigate the complexities of modern life while strengthening their faith and understanding of the Bible. more
When a mother who had taken cocaine and oxycodone during her pregnancy gave birth in May 2001, her baby boy was born at just 26 weeks and weighed a mere one pound, 12 ounces. Christopher Duffley was so frail his chances of survival at first were very slim. During those critical evenings, his aunt prayed for God’s help. more
Psalms 139:13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. more
People often think of saints as those who are especially holy or officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, like St. Christopher or St. Mary. Yet, in the Bible, the term saint has a different meaning. Basically, it means one who is set apart for God’s good purposes. In the New Testament, the Christians in local churches are called saints. In Romans 1:7 the Apostle Paul writes, “To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints.” All Christians are saints, not because they never sin or because they are perfect. No, all Christians, while saved by God’s grace in Jesus Christ, are still sinners in need of God’s forgiveness. Yet, all Christians are called to serve God through the power of the Holy Spirit and to live lives consistent with God’s holy character. Let’s live into our calling! “Love the Lord, all you his saints.” Psalm 31:23. May God bless your week! Diane Cooke, Pastor, Presbyterian Churches of Willow Springs and Mtn. View. more
In an era marred by misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and misguided animosity, it becomes imperative to journey back through time and scriptures to unravel the threads that intricately weave together three of the world's major monotheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Although varied in practices and perspectives, these faiths share a common root in the veneration of the God of Abraham, embodying a rich tapestry of religious, historical, and cultural connections. more
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