Monday, January 30, 2012


Good morning. As I write this today, I can sit here and look outside my front door and see beautiful blue skies and the sun shinning so bright. It is giving me this false sense of spring time and warm weather. If I am not careful, I will catch spring fever. But not everyone feels this way. Some, during this time of year, deal with severe depression. On which side of the scales, (happy or sad) do you rest upon?

This weeks topic is one that all of us have said at one time or another, and I’m sure you know someone who either has or does make the same claim. “I’m not hurting anybody”. Have you ever heard someone say, “it’s my life”? Well, what makes it, our life? Did we create ourselves? Do we give ourselves breath? Did we wake up one morning and program our hearts to beat and our lungs to breath, our legs to walk and our arms to move? What about our attitudes, do you think they matter? When others are around you, would they say you were positive to be around or negative? Does it really matter?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 says, “16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” Ephesians 4:29-32 says, “29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” Mark 9:41-42 says, “41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. 42 "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.”

“I’m not hurting anybody”. Some do not care about themselves and have convinced themselves that the way they live and the way they treat others is of no effect. Have you ever walked up to a pond, or a lake, and the surface of the water appear to be perfectly smooth? Have you ever taken a rock and tried to skip it across the water, or just thrown a rock in it? If you have done this, did you notice how the ripples seemed to continue to roll until they reached the water’s edge? You may say, “well I don’t see what relevance pond ripples has to my attitude and my life”. Let me try to express my point like this. Have you ever been in a boat and had a barge or houseboat come by and throw those big waves at your little boat? Those big waves can sometimes sink smaller boats, if they are not navigated properly.

Our lives, and our attitudes have an effect on those around us. Whether we want to admit it or not. We try to tell ourselves and others that this is not true, because we don’t want to feel any guilt, but none the less, it is true. Have you ever had a bag of potatoes that had one bad potato in it, and the next thing you know, it has made all the potatoes around it bad? We can have the same effect on those we come into contact with as well.

Do you know someone who is always down, his or her glass is always half empty? You know the type I’m speaking of. The kind that if you have a cold, they have pneumonia. If you have had a rough week, they have had a terrible week. If you are having a little trouble just making ends meet, they are worse off because they had to go to Shoneys instead of O’Charleys. These types of people tend to bring others down with them.

As a child of Christ, we are not going to have perfect days or a perfect life, but we are going to have someone with us to see us through the hard times. Because of this, it is our duty to show others the positive difference Christ makes in our lives and let some of the happy in us rub off on those around us.

We can be a sour puss and make all those around us sour pusses, and grieve the Holy Spirit, or we can be excited and happy to have Jesus in our lives and know that the trials and valleys we face down here cannot compare to the heaven God has made for us. Which way have you been influencing those around you, and will you continue to influence them the same way from now on?
Remember: The next time you think, or hear someone say, “I’m not hurting anybody”, that you are somebody that may be hurting.

Until next time, please continue to pray for each other, and me, as I continue to pray for each of you.

Love in CHRIST,

Brian Hanvey
Associate Pastor
Bethel Baptist Church

Monday, January 23, 2012


Good morning. We are at the beginning of another week. Another week to be alive, to get excited to see what God is going to do in us and through us. I pray as you start this week off, you were able to be in church yesterday and received a full tank of the Holy Spirit and put on the whole armor of God’s protection so that you are ready to face whatever may come.

We had our monthly men’s prayer breakfast on Saturday, that along with the movie Courageous on my mind, has inspired this weeks topic. Let me ask you a few questions, and before you answer, I want you to stop and think for just a moment and really give some thought before you answer. What is a true “friend”? How many friends do you have and are they listed in some sort of good, better or best list? Are you a true friend? To how many people are you a true friend? God’s word has something to say that should help us out some on the issue.

John 15:13-18 says, “13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.” John 11:11 says, “These things He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up." James 2:23 says, “And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God.” James 4:4 says, “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

So, with the scriptures mentioned, and the questions listed above, what answers have you come up with? What does someone have to do, to be a friend to you? Are you the type that looks to see what they can get out of someone before you are their friend? Are you the type of person that only wants to hear someone agree with you and go along with you in whatever you say so there is no friction? Are you the type of friend that wants a friend to speak to you honestly?

If you were holding a “friend fair”, looking for some new friends, what would the requirements be to become a friend of yours? Would it matter what they wore, where they lived, how much money they made, who they hung out with, how they wore their hair, who their friends were, what color they are, if they belong to the right clubs, if they smoked or not or how they talked? Would they have to go through some kind of probation period to see if it was going to work out before you made up your mind? Would you be swayed by special favors they could or would do for you?

I have ask you all these questions and provoked you to thought to make this point. God created us to be His workmanship, His servants and to have fellowship with us. Then, He went on to go as far as to call us His friends, and then to die for His friends.

Now, I want you to think about the questions above and how you answered them. Then, I want you to think about what you have done for Jesus today, this week, month, year or with your life. Now, knowing what it takes to be a friend of yours, I want to ask you, have you met your own qualifications to be a friend with Jesus? Have you been and done all that a friend should be and do, to qualify yourself as a friend of Jesus? If someone treated you, as you have treated Jesus, would you still be their friend?

Remember: It is a honor and privilege to be called a friend of The Creator of everything. Knowing what you know now, will you work harder at being the friend to God, that you expect others to be, so they can be a friend of yours?

Until next time, please continue to pray for each other, and me, as I continue to pray for each of you.

Love in CHRIST,

Brian Hanvey
Associate Pastor
Bethel Baptist Church

Monday, January 16, 2012


Let me start off by saying good morning to everyone. I want to thank those of you who pray, call and visit, Donna and I. I also do not want to neglect to give praise to where it belongs for being able to be at church one more Sunday and having the ability to bring one more devotion, and that praise belongs to my Lord and Savior, who sees me through second by second of each day.

What would it take to shake your world? Are you the type that only believes what they can see, hear, touch, feel or smell? Have you ever stopped to think just how grounded in God you were? Do you have the relationship that is "required", and the knowledge and wisdom needed to be fully anchored in and to God, or are you just held down by a few misinterpreted verses and a lot of speculation? Do you really know the difference in these two questions? I am not trying to question the salvation of anyone or treat you like children, but I learned a long time ago not to "think" I know the answers to these questions. I am trying to make sure that you know that you know, the difference, because the difference is as real and as important as where we will spend eternity, heaven or hell.

In the book of Acts we read how Paul began his 2000 mile trip to Rome from Caesarea. To avoid the open seas, the ship followed the coastline. At Myra, Paul was put on a vessel bound for Italy. It arrived with difficulty at Cnidus, then went to Crete, landing at the port of Fair Havens. The next stop was Phoenix, but the ship was blown south around the island of Cauda, then drifted for two weeks until it was shipwrecked on the island of Malta. In chapter 28 of Acts we read how the residents of this island built a fire for the wet survivors of the swim from the shipwrecked boat to the shore. Paul gathered wood for the fire and in doing so, was bit by a deadly snake. Those who saw this "knew" Paul would surely die. When Paul shook off the snake and continued as if nothing had happened, the witnesses again "knew" Paul was a god. But Paul had a relationship with The God of the angel that had appeared to him on the boat before the shipwreck, in chapter 27, that had told Paul, "Don't be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What's more, God in His goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you. So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as He said." Paul was anchored to the God who can. Not held down by the gods who cannot.

Many of us are like the residents of this island. We have seen something amazing, or been told something astonishing, and because so-in-so said it, or did it, it has to be so. We will stand in line at the super market and read the National Enquire and talk for days about what we read and how it has to be true, but we don't want to pick up God's Word and read it, because it is just unbelievable. We have time to read the newspaper from cover to cover, catch the news for the forth or fifth time today, do a crossword puzzle, play a video game and everyone knows we cannot miss an episode of CSI, but we would rather have a root canal than read God's Word, (which is how God primarily speaks to us today) for even 30 minutes a day. We know just enough to be held down by "religion", but are not anchored in the God of life when the real storms come along.

My point is this, if you have not weathered storms in life yet, they are coming. If you are in a storm now, call on God for help. And if all is well for you, I guarantee you know someone in a storm or that has just been through one that could use your brotherly or sisterly love and support to help them through. If all is going well for you, it is the best time for you to do some growing in the faith to prepare you for a storm, yours or someone else's. John 16:33 says, "I have told you all of this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." If you do not have this peace, you should ask yourself if you are anchored in God, or just held down by man's rules, rhetoric and false teaching.

Remember: Knowing the difference of being anchored to THE ROCK, and being held down and back by the rock of sin, is the difference between heaven and hell.

Until next time, please pray for each other and me, as I continue to pray for each of you. 

Love in CHRIST,

Brian Hanvey
Associate Pastor
Bethel Baptist Church

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Good morning everyone. I pray your year is starting off great and that it only gets better as time goes on. Once again, I would like to encourage any of you that desire to, to post comments, thoughts or replies to these, as you feel lead to do so. I welcome your input as to what you feel God is trying to say to you through these. You may also submit prayer request or concerns either publicly through these devotions, or privately through email or personal messages.

This weeks topic was inspired through a visit with a sister in Christ during our fellowship time at church Sunday morning. During our short meeting, she told me she had been out church for some time and had been meaning to come back and thought coming back on the first day of a new year was a good time to start back. I also think of all the soldiers that have come home recently and the ones coming home. Then I think about those who are so filled with pride, that wish they were home, but just cannot make themselves swallow that pride and take the first step. Then I think of those who are in nursing homes and hospitals and wish they could come home, but never will see their earthly homes again. While all of this is rolling around in my mind, I cannot stop thinking about the parable of the prodigal son.

Luke 15:10-20 says, “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." 11 Then He said: "A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.' So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants." ' 20 And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

This story, of the prodigal son, has to be one of the best in the Bible. This parable is one of the best comparisons to our relationship with Christ as I think you will find.

A parable can be defined as a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson; a statement or comment that conveys a meaning indirectly by the use of comparison, analogy, or the like.

This parable relates to all of us at some point and time in our lives. The picture is of a man who love his sons and wanted to please them. When the one thought he knew what was best for himself and ask for his portion of the wealth, the father, unconditionally gave to his son that for which he ask and allowed his son to leave and go down the path he chose. When things didn’t work out like he thought they would, he spent time in great despair. Then once he swallowed his pride and made the first step in coming back home, his dad, who had been anticipating his return, ran to him, and welcomed him home.

This is the story of how God loves us. We are His children and like the prodigal, we think we know what is best for us and have sought what we think we are due from God. God has given us everything we have and allowed us to go down whatever path we choose. For most of us, we have made many wrong choices and lost so much of what God has blessed us with. Now we sit in need and want. We have this giant lump in our throats that is pride and we cannot seem to swallow it down and just come home. BUT, when we do, all we have to do is take that first step of faith, an act of repentance, and God being the loving Father He is, is waiting, anticipating our return, and when He sees us from a far, coming towards Him, He runs to us and welcomes us home.

Remember: This is not our home. We have to make a choice as to where home will be. Then we have to live like that is where we want to be. SMOKING,,,,OR NON-SMOKING SECTION??? Please, come home.

Until next time, please continue to pray for each other and me, as I continue to pray for each of you. Love in CHRIST,

Brian Hanvey
Associate Pastor
Bethel Baptist Church

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Good morning to one and all. I pray you had a wonderful holiday weekend, that it was a safe one and that you were able to spend time with God and your family. I would like to wish you luck on keeping any and all resolutions you have made for the New Year.

Contrite,,,,,,,,,,,,, without a dictionary, could you give the meaning for this word? I have been looking at different translations of the Bible lately and trying to study this word. At the same time, I’m noticing an almost numb feeling being displayed by those of us that claim to be children of God. That has driven me to this weeks topic.

We read the Bible, if we read it at all, like it is just another book. It doesn't matter if there are words we don't really understand, after all we did God a favor by even picking it up. It doesn't really matter if we don't get the point, we read our 5 verses like we promised. We attend church, if at all, like it is some sort of a PTA meeting. It doesn't matter if our minds were wandering about lunch, the ride home, work later or what the so and so's were wearing, at least we were there. We drive down the road and see beggars on the side of the street and mutter something like, "why don't they just get a job". We drive another block or two and see a group of teenagers and think something like, "look at those gang members". We look around us at the things we have and want to pat ourselves on the back for all the rewards we have due to our hard work. We hear of car accidents and the first thing we want to know is "who's at fault", not if everyone is alright or not. We hear of someone's house burning down or a tornado blowing it down and the first thing that comes to mind for most is, "I'm glad that didn't happen to me".

All of this sounds so depressing, but it is so very real. If you are honest, I would say that each of us have felt some of the ways I mentioned and or said some of the things mentioned above within the last few days. We have become numb to the Word of God. When was the last time you read John 3:16, a passage most of the reading world knows, and cried over the sacrifice God made? We read things like this in the Bible and nothing happens to us. We are not moved. What has happened to us? Have we forgotten how important we are to God? Have we forgotten that the Bible is real, that the stories and accounts recorded really happened? Or is it that we don't believe or care?

You, along with every other person born from Adam, to the future second coming of Christ, are precious to God.

Luke 12: 6-7 says, 6"What is the price of five sparrows? A couple of pennies? Yet God does not forget a single one of them.7 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows."

So we know that we are important to God, but do we know that our attitude is important to God as well?

Micah 6:8 says, “No, O people, the LORD has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Did you see God's Word says, "requires"? God requires us to do right, love mercy and walk humbly with Him.

Isaiah 57:15 says, "The high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, the Holy One, says this: "I live in that high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I refresh the humble and give new courage to those with repentant hearts."

One definition for contrite is "Broken down with grief and penitence; deeply sorrowful for sin because it is displeasing to God; humbly and thoroughly penitent.

Psalms 34:18 says, "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit."

What does all of this mean? We need to remember how to be humble, broken and caring. We need to remember to live our lives knowing we deserve hell, but because of God's Son's death and resurrection we will get heaven, IF we are His. We need to lose the words, "I've got my pride" from our vocabulary and learn how to say I am sorry, or it was my fault. We need to do right and love mercy. We need to help others whenever and wherever we can. We need to weep for the lost and all the evil going on in this world and do our part to be part of the solution, (sharing the plan of salvation and encouraging brothers and sisters), instead of being part of the problem.

Remember, we are to be a light, in a world filled with darkness. If you are stumbling over others, it may be that they cannot see and you need to turn on the light with a contrite spirit. Read God's Word and seek understanding.
Until next time, pray for each other and me, as I continue to pray for each of you. Love in CHRIST,

Brian Hanvey
Associate Pastor
Bethel Baptist Church