Tried by Fire
1st Peter 1:7 that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.



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Weddings, Wedding Venues Tried By Fire Ministries, Best Wedding Officiants in Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa - 2014 Couples' Choice Award Winner
 

WeddingWire Tried By Fire Ministries Reviews, Best Wedding Officiants in Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa - 2015 Couples' Choice Award Winner
 
Tried By Fire Ministries Reviews
 
Welcome to Tried by Fire Ministries! We are very proud and honored to announce that we have been chosen as the Couples Choice for 2014, 2015 and now again in 2016. Thanks to Weddingwire.com and all of the couples that submitted a review, giving us all 5 stars and setting us apart, being in the top 5% of wedding officiants/ministers in the nation!  If you like what you read and see here, please click the "share" button at the right bottom of each page to share with others via email or social media. No matter where you have been or what you have done in your life or what your spiritual or religious background may have been, God is faithful and just, and will help you in your trial or your situation if you only allow Him to! Tried by Fire Ministries was created to be a Light of God's Love to the world! Job 23:10 says, "when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold" (NIV) We all have our trials and testings in life but refining is a process where we, just like gold as it is refined in fire, are molded into what God wants us to be! Refining is a process for every believer. Just like when gold is refined to be the shiny stuff we know of. Without the refining process, it would be just some lump of impurities. God molds us and makes us what He sees fit for our lives. Remember if you are going through a trial, don't tell God how big your trial is but tell your trial how big your God is!  Zechariah 13:9 declares, "And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

Tried by Fire Ministries desire is to see marriages strengthened, relationships restored, God glorified and most importantly, souls saved! Bro. Roger A. Hayes is a member of American Marriage Ministries and he also partners with Smart Marriages to educate couples who are married or looking to marry with thier TOOB (teaching out of the box) style of education. Smart Marriages is affiliated with the Coalition of Marriage, Family and Couples Education (CMFCE). He has also partnered with the National Healthy Marriage Institute and it's representative Aaron Larson to assist in the enrichment of marriages and to sustain a lifetime covenant. Please visit them at   www.healthymarriagetips.com to learn more. They are great! Bro Hayes has been  ordained by the United Christian Church and Ministerial Organization, Liberty Christian Fellowship and also with American Marriage Ministries. He is currently seeking his degree in Biblical Studies from the Bible Broadcasting Institute and a bachelors degree in business administration from Ashworth College. He and his wife have followed the leadership of the Lord, with the help of Smart Marriages and The National Healthy Marriage Institute, to educate and assist marriages and relationships and to encourage Biblical integrity in the home and family!
Please see the contact tab information if you are interested in having Bro. Hayes minister for your church, event, revival or to officiate your wedding! He has officiated well over 50 weddings in many years of ministry. If you have prayer request or praise reports please leave those on the prayer request section on his contact page. Furthermore, leave your comments and suggestions on the guest book page.

 
Please consider my wife as your perfered marriage & family counselor. See below:
Angela Hayes



 
With two recent weddings behind me, one last Friday and one yesterday, and more to come, one on Sunday evening, I have added more for later in the year, so I think it’s time for a marriage post today. The more you put into your marriage, the more valuable it will become. What I mean is this, the more you try to make your spouse happy, happiness you will get in return. Love is usually reciprocated. Commit yourself sincerely and unconditionally to your spouse. They are the most important person in your life. Love is not something you just feel. It's something you do. It's an action & has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get, only with what you are expecting to give - which is your everything! Marriage is not 50/50% as you may have heard most of your life. It is 100/100%! Success in marriage doesn't come from just finding the right person, but from being the right person. We go through so many emotions when we fall in love; the butterflies you feel in your stomach when you are near them, the dizziness you have when you are away from them. It is like having a sickness that you just can't shake, a flue that you just can't recover from. But the good thing is, after the chills and fever of love, how nice is the 98.6º of marriage! The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal! Marriage can be like a submarine, it is only safe if you get all the way inside, all out, the WHOLE route. Completely! One of the nicest things you can say to your spouse, "If I had it to do over again, I'd choose you. AGAIN, no matter what!" Remember Any man can have a trophy wife but, it takes a real man to have a trophy marriage. Have a TERRIFIC Tuesday everyone!!!
Have you been wronged or hurt? FORGIVE! Have you been betrayed or forsaken? FORGIVE! Is there someone in your family or a “friend” who may have hurt you? FORGIVE them! Forgiveness is available for us, without exception. Why should forgiveness from us be any different? We just have to give it freely just as we receive it freely through trusting in Christ. Trusting involves confessing sin as sin and turning away from it to accept a new way of living and a new way of life. Don’t say, “How could God forgive me for that,” or “How could I forgive them of that” (whatever that may be). God’s forgiveness is not biased, nor should yours be or you could lose out on God’s amazing love for you or a reconciliation of a family member or a friendship. And don’t think that God’s promises are only for other people. If this is how you’re thinking, you must realize that your own sins, no matter how big or how small, are not bigger than God’s enjoyment in forgiving YOU. Mark Twain once said, "Man is the only animal that blushes, and the only animal that needs to." We are ashamed of things we've done in the past? Nobody is free who is not forgiven. Instead of being able to look God in the face or to look one another in the face, we want to run away and hide when our conscience bothers us. I love what Charles Spurgeon said many years ago, “I believe that as often as I transgress, God is more ready to forgive me than I am ready to offend”, which is so very true. His love for us is so great, so magnificent and so amazing that words are not written that could ever describe that love! He showed us His love for us in so many ways, His Son Jesus died on the cross for us, He sent us His Word to show us the Way but in reality, forgiveness is the final form of love because whatever we may have done He forgives, if that isn’t love the ocean is dry….there’s no stars in the sky…and the sparrows can’t fly…if that isn’t love, then Heaven’s a myth…if that isn’t LOVE. Saying all of that, if you really want to feel God’s love and to show it, then FORGIVE! God bless you all!

What a very busy next few days for me with a wedding of a wonderful couple tomorrow, Sarah my daughter being baptized on Sunday and another awesome wedding on Monday. Sarah would like for all who can, come see her begin her new journey in Christ. I want to do the very best for her. Now it’s time for that next step in Sarah’s spiritual journey. I have clearly explained to her what baptism means and she is very receptive. She asked Jesus into her heart months ago and after teaching and reading God’s Word to her she is ready for this. Jesus Himself declared, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children." For this reason I will not forbid her to take this step. She IS a part of today’s church just like all children and adults alike. As a father, it makes me very proud of her, as a minister it tells me that she is absorbing what is being taught. God never ask us if we accept life. He gave that to us for a purpose and it’s not a choice. You have to accept it. The only choice is how you accept it. The greatest use of your life is to spend it for something that will outlast it! With that being said, Sarah’s journey is just beginning! Troubles that may come are only opportunities in work clothes. Remember if you remove the rocks, even a small brook will lose its bubbling song. You will never be the person God wants you to be, if afflictions, trials, and disciplines are taken out of your life. His grace enables us to ‘face the music' even when we don't like the tune. Remember, when you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice! God bless you all! Keep God 1st!

Do you want your children to look back some day and say, "I want a great marriage like they had?" Do you seem like a really happy couple to your kids and even to the world around you? I sure hope so! Your spouse’s actions are a mirror that the world is looking in to. The way your spouse is acting toward you says more about you than it does about them, but if you can focus on your half of the equation, you’ll make way more progress in resolving conflict and building a healthy relationship thus, setting an example to your children and to the world in the process.  You may have heard it said that it takes a village to raise a child. That may be the case, but the truth is that it takes a lot of solid, stable marriages to create a village. Families create villages, villages create towns, towns create cities, cities states, states countries and countries make up the world! It’s time we got back to basic godly families. Families that read the bible together, pray together attend church together. It is a crying shame we have kids that watch TV in a separate room from their parents and their parents are not monitoring what they watch or even entire families that watch trash talking teens or adults on TV and like it! Then they wonder why their children talk back and act up and lean more toward the world when they grow up than toward God. We need a new perspective on life and start a family bible reading initiative in our homes. My mother used to always have either Christian music or bible reading always playing in her home. She called it “bathing her home in God's Word!” Declare this year to “bathing your home in God year”! I have a mezuzah at my front and back door, so if you walk in our home, you pass by God’s word and if you walk out you do the same, just as the Hebrew people do. I started last year with downstairs and up, to play the bible reading CD’s that Angela got me for Christmas a few years ago. I played them 24/7 to “bathe” my home in God’s Word. God blessed me too with health, a new job that I absolutely LOVE, Angela graduated with her Master's, just to name a few things that God did for us in 2014 that I contribute to doing this! I thank God for all He has done for me and praise Him continually for all He has in store for me and my family! I urge you all to do the same or something comparable. I think you will see a change in your family and in your life! Remember, marriage and the family, was the “original Department of Health, Education and Welfare.” God bless you all!

I drink a lot of water, aside from coffee it’s really all I drink. No tea, no sodas or juices for me at all. Seriously, I’ve been that way for years. Why do I say all that you may ask? Well I was thirsty yesterday, so I stepped into the break area where the ice machine is and we were out of cups. Realizing this, my thought process made me even thirstier than before, because I couldn’t have any. Have you ever been truly thirsty? I mean truly and seriously thirst to the point where your tongue seems to be weighted down with cotton balls and your throat has gotten scratchy dry and you need a drink so badly that you would sign the deed to your house over for a glass of cold ice water. If you look up the word thirst in the dictionary you will find that it means a strong or eager desire or craving; a sensation of dryness caused by the need of liquid. I once read a story about a man named Pete who lived near the desert. He didn't own much, just the little shack that he lived in and an old mule named Bessie. One day Pete decided to go out into the desert to look for gold, so he loaded up all his equipment on Bessie, his shovel and his pick, some food and especially a big canteen of water - and they headed on out. They walked for miles and miles, and after a while Pete discovered he was lost. He sat down on a rock to think about what to do, and while he was sitting there, a rattlesnake scared Bessie and she took off for parts unknown – with all Pete’s equipment, including his shovel, his pick, his food and his big canteen of water. Now not only was he lost, he also had no water! Pete wandered around the desert for days. It was hot, it was very dry and Pete got so thirsty he didn't care about gold any more. He only wanted one thing. Water! Pete would have given everything he had in the whole world for a drink of nice, cool water. When God made our bodies, He made them to need water. Without water we wouldn't be able to live. We’d shrivel up and die! But did you know your soul can be thirsty, too?  Not for water, but for something else. King David tells us what it is in Psalm 42, verse 2. He says, “My soul thirsts for God.” (NIV) You see, our bodies are made to be thirsty for water; and our souls are made to be thirsty for the Lord. In other words, we're made to need a close relationship with God. And the way that we quench that thirst is by praying, studying the Bible and by spending time with other people who have a close relationship with the Lord! God wants to give your soul a drink too. He gives us what the Bible calls “the water of life”.  You should be eagerly seeking after Him in such a way that your soul has cotton mouth and your heart hurts for more!

God is love, therefore the giver of love! Without Him we wouldn’t know what love is! The world would be full of hate and confrontation! If love fails, it’s only because we fail to love. Loved people, love people; Hurt people… hurt people; Loved people must love hurt people. God’s Word says, “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”(Matthew 7:12). Love is the only thing you get more of by giving it away. For however devoted and in love you think you are to God, you can be sure that He is even more in love and devoted to you! He will accept you even though you have shown that you prefer everything else to Him. He never becomes less truthful, or merciful, or just, or good, than He used to be. And He does what is even more wonderful: He makes saints out of sinners. I know this because He saved ME! In faith, in hope and in love there are no impossibilities. You will never know how to worship until you know how to love. Where love is great, there are always miracles. Mother Teresa once said "It is not how much you do, but how much Love you put into the doing that matters." The course of true love never did run smooth. Remember Christ LOVED you and gave His life for you to prove it! Love takes sacrifice and work.  Do all things with a loving heart! This is the secret to quality of life not only to the ones your love is directed too but to you as well. It's better to have a heart filled with love than a mind filled with knowledge. Remember, life is a journey and its love that makes that journey worthwhile. Faith makes all things possible, but love makes all things easy. Happy Tuesday to you all! God bless!

I often receive prayer request via Facebook, phone calls, texts and on my website, asking for me to pray for those who are hurting or in need. Prayer doesn't prepare us for God's will for our lives but prayer IS His will for us! Prayer is not just an act, it is an attitude! God cares enough to listen, no matter how small the request may be. He deciphers my Talladega, Alabama, country slang and He can hear what is truly inside my heart just as He does yours. Prayer bends all bars, breaks every chain, and can widen our path in Life. Prayer is a way to become His friend, just like you would someone you meet, you talk, learn more about that person and become a friend. You exchange phone numbers or emails and you converse often and get closer. He wants the same thing from you, for you to become to know who He really and truly is He wants to know and who you are and what you need! His answers are always wiser than our request! Prayer opens the way for God to do His work in us and through us but, sometimes He says simply, NO! Remember faith in a prayer-hearing God will make a prayer-loving Christian. Heaven is full of answers to our prayers, just most never bothered to ask. Luke 11:9 declares, “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”. It is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart! We just need to ask, sit back and have faith that God will answer, and accept the “NO’s” when that is what God has for us. When God answers with a “NO,” He always supplements the answer with peace (Philippians 4:6, 7) and grace (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jer. 33:3. God says He WILL answer. E. M. Bounds once wrote "Four things let us ever keep in mind: God hears prayer, God heeds prayer, God answers prayer and God delivers by prayer. "God bless you all!

Each day in our life can be a struggle, with trial, hurts, test, well, life in general. Sometimes God sees we need to face hard times so that we will be able to appreciate all of our experiences, whether it be good or bad. God sends those to us to better us, not to bother us and to see if we will turn toward Him for help. Think of it as a workout for our spiritual maturity, just as our bodies need to work out for strength and stamina, our spirits need that too. Throw your heart over the bar and your body will follow! How you react to those situations is what "the test" is. Will you have a "TEST"imony and proclaim God’s goodness, or will you just be moaning about your problems? Remember, what you are, is God’s gift to you but what you make of yourself become (an overcomer) is your gift to God. We shouldn't pray for God to take our problems away completely, because they mold us and make us stronger, into the person God wants us to be. We should pray for God to give us strength to go through each trial, trouble and temptation. Sooner or later you will see the BIG PICTURE God has for your life instead of the trials He's allowing you to go through. Remember if you had no trials you would have no triumphs. Hebrews 11:1 says Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we can't see. Have faith and things will change, sometimes faith means living without having all the answers...God will see you through! Hope is hearing the song of the future but faith is to dance to it. God bless you all!!

Well folks, love is in the air during this wonderful and glorious time of the year. Weddings are happening because of that love. One a few weeks ago and two more this month, 4 next month and 4 in July to perform! That is just for the summer months! Talk about busy, but I sure LOVE love! A true and godly marriage is the total commitment and the total sharing of your total self with another person until the Lord calls them or you home! It all began in the mind of God when He ordained it. (Malachi 2:14-16). Marriage is more of a spiritual thing as it is an earthly happening. God alone has the power to appoint the beginning, the care during, and its end. It was designed to be a perfect picture of Christ and the Church which is a sacred mystery in itself. That is why a couple in love, to the world can be strange. Think of how many times we have told ourselves, “Why does he do such things for her” or why does she act that way toward him”, all because of LOVE! Think of the sacrifice that Jesus did for us, all because of LOVE! The miracle of marriage is tied to the amazement of the works of Christ and His sacrifice. The message Jesus gave to us on the cross is foolishness to us as humans, and so the meaning of marriage is foolishness to the natural man (1 Cor. 2:14). The relationship between Jesus Christ and His church is the ultimate example of the committed love that a husband and wife should follow in their relationship with each other. This time of year, in which we celebrate the most amazing gift of love that God gave to the world, His Son, is probably the most wonderful time of year to wed. I pray blessings on these unions! Remember any man can find a trophy wife, but it takes a real man to have a trophy marriage!
The more you put into your marriage, the more valuable it will become. What I mean is this, the more you try to make your spouse happy, happiness you will get in return. Love is usually reciprocated. Commit yourself sincerely and unconditionally to your spouse. They are the most important person in your life. Love is not something you just feel. It's something you do. It's an action & has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get, only with what you are expecting to give - which is your everything! Marriage is not 50/50% as you may have heard most of your life. It is 100/100%! Success in marriage doesn't come from just finding the right person, but from being the right person. We go through so many emotions when we fall in love; the butterflies you feel in your stomach when you are near them, the dizziness you have when you are away from them. It is like having a sickness that you just can't shake, a flue that you just can't recover from. But the good thing is, after the chills and fever of love, how nice is the 98.6º of marriage! The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal! Marriage can be like a submarine, it is only safe if you get all the way inside, all out, the WHOLE route. Completely! One of the nicest things you can say to your spouse, "If I had it to do over again, I'd choose you. AGAIN, no matter what!" Remember Any man can have a trophy wife but, it takes a real man to have a trophy marriage. Have a THANKFUL Thursday everyone!!! 
Well, it is the day after Christmas, dishes are washed, wrapping paper in the garbage, mess' cleaned up and some who traveled are probably on their way back home. We usually don't travel this time of year but there are plenty of people that do. Have you ever been afraid to take even a short trip by yourself? Often, when we travel into unknown territory we feel safer if someone goes with us. There is safety in the “buddy” system. We feel safer at home when we are not alone. In threatening circumstances the sense of terror is lessened if we are in the presence of those who we know. No matter how young or old we are, this feeling of insecurity does not escape us if we are traveling alone. Something my mother taught me, when traveling always carry these verses close by, attach them to your baggage, your clothing but most of all your heart, Psalms 34:7 & 91:11-12. Just a little travel protection tip from my sweet mother in Heaven! There is very little we can do in any given year that does not require the miraculous intervention of the divine. Whether it’s putting a safety net around our homes or creating opportunities for us on the job, God is busy 24 hours a day and seven days a week, making things happen for his people. That’s what he did for us this year and will continue to do next year. He will never forsake us or leave us, even though sometimes we believe that what we have accomplished has been done without Him. As Christians, we all approach this new year with renewed faith, hope and enthusiasm. We see the great unknown that lies before us, but we also have enough sense to know that when the year is over and the harvest is great that our success won’t be because our own work, but because God never forsook us or left us alone. Today, be of good cheer; God will control today, just as He did yesterday.

The other day I took my gorgeous wife out to a nice dinner for our anniversary. The only problem there was...., the parking, we had to park on a back street or alley. She didn't like that but we had reservations and were trying to be on time. As we walked toward the restaurant, I thought of asking you all, "Have you every been in a dark alley, all by yourself?" It doesn't matter whether you have walked through an alley a thousand times, there is still an unsettling feeling about going through a dark alley alone. City folks describe a passageway that leads between or behind two buildings or rows of buildings as an "alley." We country folk haven't seen many alleys, but we have many valleys. In many ways a valley can be similar to an alley. For those of you that are unfamiliar with a valley, a valley is an area of land that is between two mountains or high regions. Sooner or later every life will face either a valley or an alley. We panic when we can't figure a way out of a situation and we see the worst at every turn. Even faith gets challenged when we panic. Is there a personal or family situation that is reaching the panic stage in your life? Are you about to lose it? Have you begun to show the first signs of panic as you see no way out of a steady spiral of trouble or trial? Before you push your panic button, why not try one last thing... stand still and see the Salvation of the Lord. As believers, we have learned that God has an amazing way of making a way out of no way. He has carved pathways through seas and brought us over many mountains. Before you lose control and panic, do what you can, then stand still and watch God work. In Christ, we are reassured that our God is a God both of the valleys and the alleys. Today, do not be afraid of anything! God bless you all!
You may have heard it said, "it ain't over until the fat lady sings". Life experience has taught me to never leave a sporting event or game before it is over, because your team seems to be losing. It's the same way in life. Those who stay to the end have learned one of life's most important lessons it may not always be wise to count your faith out early. In your search for self improvement, you should remind the world that you may be knocked down occasionally, but don't count you out! Don’t leave before our game is over! I am encouraged each time I read God's Word and think of the life and death of Christ. I see the events that transpired that day and how people gave up on Him and I see my own life, and how I too have felt like people counted me out, saw me down and thought I was done, over and not getting back up again! But I wasn't ready to give up. Faith teaches us, not to give up, even if we are nailed to a cross...stick around until our games are over. Today, defy those who have counted you out. There are many who have been counted out because they failed but were saved in the end by the Grace of God. Today, there may be someone expecting you fail. Surprise them! Be confident, bold and assured that today, you and God are going to make it happen! They think you can't do it but, there is nothing impossible for you! Miracles happen each day. Miraculously your team will come from behind and win! Don't leave before the good part! Who knows, you may experience a revival in your life of hope and faith! I'm not sure where the analogy of the "fat lady" singing comes from but I an confident that it ain't over until the trumpet sounds and we are changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye! God bless you all!
Suppose I told you that I know a person who keeps every promise he makes, would you believe me? What if I added that not only does this person keep every promise made but keeps them exactly as they were promised without modifying them one bit. Would that be harder to believe? Well, suppose I said I know a person who not only keeps every promise exactly as it was promised but also delivers on the promise at the time promised? That would be even harder to believe! There are very few of us who actually know any individuals who are able to keep all of their promises. We do know of many who work very hard to keep their promises, but are often sidetracked by circumstances beyond their control. If I told you I knew a human being that could guarantee a delivery on every promise I wouldn't be telling the truth; but while no human being can guarantee delivery, God can. If we look back we'll quickly see that despite all of its ups and downs, good days and bad days, God has delivered his promises to us, just as he said! What has God promised us? He has never promised that there would be no mountains; he did promise strength for the mountains. He never promised that we would not walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but he did promise to walk with us. He never promised to immunize us from sickness or trouble but he did promise that he would deliver us and lead us away from temptation if we ask him. Moreover, he promised to be with us always, in every situation and circumstance and to be only a prayer away. As Christians, we praise God for his faithfulness to us and give him praise for his wonderful works in our lives. He has been faithful toward us in the past and we expect him to do the same in the days ahead. Today, step forward with anticipation that God is going to do something wonderful!
Well folks, tomorrow July 24 I will become another year older. How time flies from one year to the next, the older I become! It makes me wonder if my parents ever looked into my eyes as a newborn babe and wondered, ‘What will this child become when he grows up?’ It is a mystery to us, for what God has in store for every little child that is born. Those who have become mothers this year have joined millions of mothers before them wondering what God has in store for their sons and daughters. Sadly todays society has a way of stereotyping people and limiting their ability to achieve or become something or someone because of the circumstance surrounding their birth. What could possibly come from a child born in a small town on the poor side of the tracks or with parents that have a low paying job? What possible good can ever come from that sort of life? If the birth of Jesus Christ says anything to us, it is that each child is born in this world with a divine purpose that is not altered by its circumstance but is nurtured by its circumstance. Each child has a purpose. The smart child and the physically strong have a purpose. The mentally challenged child has a purpose. The poor child and the child with few materialistic things also have a purpose. Destiny is generally defined as “A predetermined course of events considered as something beyond human power or control.” In a spiritual sense, destiny can be described as a prepaid ticket to a destination already set, if we accept it, buckle our seat belts and take the journey. As a Christian, I thank God for sending his Son to this world. It was His destiny to make sure of our salvation. It should be our destiny to live our lives according to His purpose. I resolved years ago to work toward my life's purpose. Like the Christ child, you also have a destiny to fulfill. When my spiritual birthday took place, I became a different man with a different purpose! Father God looked down on me and I could sense and feel His approval that I was fulfilling my destiny and finally fulfilling His plans for me. To be a witness, to be a minister, husband, father and friend! God bless you all!
Thinking of how much my little daughter, Sarah has grown this morning. She is so very smart and I adore her! It makes me wonder if any of you have you ever measured how fast you or your children have grown? There are some children who have a mark on the wall in their homes that shows how they have grown. Some have used little lines that have charted the progress of their growth week by week, as each inch of progress is marked by a line or note. More often than not, there is also a story that is associated with every inch of growth. We know they have grown when they out grow their clothes and shoes. We can also tell they have grown when their taste in toys changes as Sarah's begins to now. Sometimes it's exciting to stand next to the marker and realize that they have grown without even knowing it. Only when they stood by the marker were they were able to tell that they had actually grown. One of the largest jumps in our growth happens between 11 and 13 years of age. As a child enters puberty things start to happen internally and in a matter of months, clothing sizes change, voice pitch and other noticeable changes happen in what seems like an instant. It happens so fast that a child can leave home for a summer vacation with a relative in June and look like a totally different person by September. We as believers, come to Christ as a babe. 1 Peter 2:2 refers to a new believer as a "babe" in Christ that must be fed the milk of the word. However, the goal of every believer is to grow beyond the "babe" stage and step into a deeper relationship with Christ that is sustaining and strong. The desire of Christian youth, should be to grow in the spirit. They should grow stronger in wisdom and in their understanding of the important things in life. They should also gain a greater appreciation for the power of God to direct and influence their lives and invite him to lead them every step of the way. As Christians, our goal is to grow in Christ. Our goal is to be more Christ-like everyday. Today, resolve that you will handle every situation that you face with the maturity and strength that reflects your faith in God.
With summer sun here to enjoy, Do you ever wear sun glasses? They come in all shapes and sizes. They are designed to protect you eyes from over exposure to the sunlight. In summer months sun glasses are common to see as the bright sun and heat cause us to take measures to protect our eyes. They are a part if a list of things used as sun shades that include: umbrellas, hats, awnings and leafy shade trees. All have the same purpose, which is to protect the body from the sun. Most sun glasses are dark. Others are lighter. They have even been made into fashion statements as they range from the plain to those which are crazy. The ultimate goal of all sunglasses is to protect from the rays of the sun. There are a few people that wear sun glasses to hide their identity. Others have found that they are useful to hide sleepy, tired eyes. The world in general, has a fascination with sun glasses. Sun glasses work by reducing the amount of light that the eye is able to see, producing a picture of reality that is less intense. Thus, despite a brilliant sun-shiny day, some sun glasses reduce the light so much that it appears to be dark outside. I wear them due to the fact that I have one eye that it much more sensitive to bright light than the other, so I wear mine year round. When we wear them, in a way, reality is altered, at least while the glasses are worn. When sun glasses are worn inside, it can even appear that all of the surroundings are dark. There are many who face the world every day with a distorted view of life. They are wearing spiritual SUN glasses that alter what they see. What they need is SON glasses that help them see the whole scope of life from a new perspective. As Christians, we know that we see a very small part of God's universal plan for mankind. We see with the carnal eye. However, when we look with our spiritual eye, with help of SON glasses, instead of being blinded by what we see, we view life with a whole new prospective. SUN glasses keep us in the dark. SON glasses help us to receive and appreciate God's greatness and bring us to the marvelous light! Today, don't forget to face whatever comes wearing your SON glasses. God bless you all!

As I am setting my alarm clock to get up in the morning, I had a thought about time and how precious it is! I’m sure you have all heard the quote, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away”. We also measure our lives in time, we have a birth date, a time to get up, to be at work, to have lunch. We have a time for everything! Even our time to leave this world is appointed for us according to God’s Word, but in the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life you put in your years. Until we can manage time, we won’t be able to manage anything else. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Lost time is never found again.” The bad news is that time flies! Managing a thing we can never grasp it a huge undertaking. Until you value life, you won't value your time. Until you truly value your time, you will not do anything with it. The future is something that everyone reaches at the rate of 60 seconds per minute, 60 minutes an hour. With it moving that fast, how can we grasp it? Thing is, we really, truly and honestly can make life worthwhile just by allowing God into our lives to control us in all we do. Allow Him to open His arms and wrap us in His love. That’s the way we stop thinking about time. God is eternal, being wrapped up, tied up and tangled all up in His love, will make time seem to be unimportant! Pray as often as you can, read God’s Word each and every day, attend a bible believing church. Things like that can make your life complete and worth living! Remember, Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present. Accept Christ into your life today, so you can enjoy your future tomorrow! What we are is God’s gift to us, what we become is our gift to Him! God bless you all!
As I was driving here in Jacksonville, Florida yesterday, thanking God that I do have GPS technology to lead me where I need to go, I couldn’t help but think of what would happen if I didn’t have it. I recall as a youngster, going on vacati...on with my parents and them pulling over to view the glove box map to find where they were and locate where they wanted to go. There are very few things in this world as terrifying as being lost. Whether it is in the woods, on the highway, or in a strange town, the impact it can have is still the same. Panic sets in, fear, frustration and even disappointment due to lack of navigational skills. My precious wife, I pick on her often and say she gets lost going to the mailbox and back. Her navigational skills are not as sharp as mine are when it comes to geographical surroundings, but I do LOVE her! Just as frustrating, is losing something. When something is misplaced such as keys, a wallet or even your children (it does happen, I got lost at Six Flags when I was 10), it disturbs, disrupts and dominates your consciousness. Just as we are concerned about being lost, God too is disturbed over the loss of a single soul and makes every effort to find and save the lost. We Christians have a similar responsibility. That responsibility is to mark a clear and visible path to Heaven, one that is worn and weathered by personal witness, life and testimony. If you are lost in this life, find your way to God. God’s Word can show you the way because it is the roadmap for life and the life after! The greatest use of your life is to spend it for something that will outlast it! Just like losing something or being lost in your surroundings, if you do not have Christ in your heart and life then you are lost, wondering around in a world, thinking that you know exactly where you are. But, when you stand before God, will he say, “You found Me!” or will He say, “You never even looked”? God has made finding Him so very easy. I’ll use something from Pastor Paul A. Lett, “It’s as simple as ABC, admit we are sinners; believe He was born of a virgin, died for our sins and is now at the right hand of the Father and is coming back for us someday; confess our sins to Christ and turn from our sinful ways”. It’s just that simple. Remember, we are not human beings on a Spiritual journey but Spiritual Beings on a human journey! God bless you all!
As I celebrate the resurrection of Christ Jesus from the dead today, I also celebrate His resurrection in my own life, which was such an amazing event that left my friends confused and loved ones amazed at how God changed my life! I even had "friends" that told me, "it won't last". I think that many years later, I have proved them to be wrong! As Christians our goal in life should be to turn bad life experiences into better situations through the power of God. I have learned that no matter what circumstance I have that come my way, God can make it sweet and beautiful if I focus on His power and love rather than then situations of the moment. Today, don't allow anything that happens turn you bitter. Keep a sweet spirit within you! Because Jesus refused to come down from the cross, some people took it as a sign that He was unable to come down, although we know He could have called legions of angels to Help Him. 2 Corinthians 13:4 teaches us that Christ was "crucified through weakness yet He liveth by the power of God." That means He allowed himself to become weak that He could be raised by the power of God. The greatest testimony of the power of God is that He allowed Himself to become weak for us. As Christians, we should be grateful of His great sacrifice on Calvary and we should also be ready to make whatever sacrifices needed to advance Gods kingdom. Today, be prepared to do what it takes to glorify God! He was prepared to die for you! Easter represents two things in our lives, old things are passed away, and all things become new! Today would be a great day to give your life to Him if you haven't already! Happy Easter everyone!
Have you ever felt as if the devil has all his weapons aimed right at you? We are afraid when we hear of countries that have weapons of mass destruction, especially if those weapons are in the hands of those who are radical and unpredictable. The source of war and destruction is Satan. He causes nations to rise up against nations and conjures wars and rumors of wars. He does the same with you and I. He is constantly busy devising ways to destroy or frustrate us. I know this is true because the word of God says, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." 1 Peter 5:8. Satan is always busy forming weapons against us. While these weapons may not be atomic bombs or smart missiles they are nevertheless just as lethal. The devil is forming weapons against God's people even as we speak today. However, we have one great assurance that helps us to face each day. This assurance is the knowledge that no matter what plans, plots, schemes or weapons that Satan devises to be used against us they cannot prevent the unfolding of the will of God. His weapons will be useless against those who are carrying out the causes of righteousness supported by the power of God himself. Today, the devil will not be successful with all the plots and plans that are being made against you. Nothing will stop you today from accomplishing God's will if you keep the faith. Hang on to Gods promises! Trusting God does not mean believing that He will do all that you want, but rather believing that He will do everything He knows that is good for you!
Life can bring to us many happy and magical moments, windows of opportunity to do or say something that will somehow make a difference to someone. Teachers may call these times, "teachable moments." Which is a moment when a student is focused and receptive to an idea or concept that they are teaching. It's a magic moment when the chemistry between teacher and student is just right and learning can be at its best. There are also "Lovable moments" those times when even the hardest, coldest, rudest, most unloveable person seems accessible and you are able to give and receive their friendship. Life is also filled with defining moments. These are the moments in which we make decisions that define our direction for years to come. The day we graduate from high school is a defining moment. Yet, the day we decided to drop out of school and never return was also a defining moment that determines our future. The day we ask someone to marry us and the day that we accept, is a defining moment. That decision will change the course of our lives forever. When God deals with us, He uses the entire package of moments as He relates to us. There are teachable moments, in which He teaches us what is important in life. There are lovable moments, when He shows us the depth of His love for us. There are defining moments when He prompts us to choose between His love and that of the world. Today, be on the lookout for one of life's teachable moments. God is wanting and waiting to make a change in you and for you! God bless!

For all of you married adults out there, a stable, happy marriage is the best protection against sickness and even and early death, and for children, such a marriage is the best source of emotional stability and good physical health. Decades of research have clearly established this! "There's plenty of evidence that both love and marriage are very, very good for our health," Dr. Stephen Bogdewic, vice chair of family medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine told Indianapolis Star reporter Shari Rudavsky. "If a new drug had the same impact, virtually every doctor in the country would be recommending it." Remember what the first of this posts says, "STABLE AND HAPPY MARRIAGES"! "Researchers found men and women in unhappy marriages suffered from increased stress levels throughout the day at home and at work as well as higher blood pressure at midday at the office, which could raise the risk of heart attack or stroke." Marriage is NOT what you may have heard as 50/50% it is 100/100%. The man or woman who puts into the marriage only half of what they owns will get that  back out it, only 50%. Love your spouse with all you have and show them the respect and kindness that you want in return. There is no greater happiness for a man than approaching his front door at the end of a day knowing that there is someone on the other side of that door that is waiting for the sound of his footsteps. Marriage is the foundation of the family and the family is the foundation of society, so if we  strengthen marriage, we strengthen the family, we strengthen the children and we strengthen the community. If your goal is to help improve the world, marriage is as good a place as any to start. If you have conflict in your marriage, now is the time to make up, not break up. Start today by saying "I'm sorry" whether you were in the wrong or not. Make ammends and make a better family life and a healthier life for you and your children! Remember, any man can find a trophy wife, but it takes a REAL man to have a trophy marriage!! God bless you all!

Well everyone, Valentine’s Day is less than month away. Have you already made plans for your sweetheart? Is there a special time of year that you go “all out” for your spouse, such as Valentine’s Day or your anniversary? For my wife I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, I give her a week of celebration in which I call Valentine’s Week. It all begins exactly one week prior to the 14th and she gets a gift each day until Valentine’s Day. It could be something small or something not so small, something pricey or something not too pricey but, the point is, for 7 days she is given a gift and it has been a tradition since our very first Valentine’s Day together each and every year. I usually try to take her away somewhere for the weekend and treat her to a nice meal as well. All of that is fine and dandy but if I don’t give her the greatest gift I could give her, my love each and every day, then all of that is just a mute point! You can’t be value free when it comes to your marriage! What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility and still love one another through it all. Each and every one of us need a witness to our lives, a partner to share the joys and the sorrows of life with. The bible tells us in 1st Corinthians 7:2, “…each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband”, which tells me that there is someone for everyone out there! There are a billion people on the planet but, finding the one for you may not be easy. It may be that you are looking in all the wrong places. Start with looking toward God first, wrapping yourself so much and so deep in Christ, and then, the person meant for you should be the one that is also searching the depths of Christ’s great love and finds you all wrapped inside! You may be asking, “What does that really mean?” It means, the perfect person for any one of us will be “In Christ” already when you meet and not someone you try to “change” to conform to your Christian beliefs. So be picky, find the right one first! People get married without doing their homework. Too many people are getting married at the infatuation level and when hard times come, it falls apart. We’ve fallen in love with the wedding industry when what we need is a marriage industry. In a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything, the good things, the bad things, the terrible things, even the small things, all of it… all the time, every day. You’re saying “Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.”

Do you want your children to look back some day and say, "I want a great marriage like my Mom and Dad had?" Do you seem like a really happy couple to our kids and even to the world around you? I sure hope so! Your spouse’s actions are a mirror. The way your spouse is acting toward you says more about you than it does about them. It says something about them too, but if you can focus on your half of the equation, you’ll make way more progress in resolving conflict and building a healthy relationship thus, setting an example to your children and the world in the process.  You may have heard it said that it takes a village to raise a child. That may be the case, but the truth is that it takes a lot of solid, stable marriages to create a village. Families create villages, villages create towns, towns create cities, cities states, states countries and countries make up the world! It’s time we got back to basic godly families. Families that read the bible together, pray together attend church together. It is a crying shame we have kids that watch TV in a separate room from their parents and their parents are not monitoring what they watch or even entire families that watch trash talking teens or adults on TV and like it! Then they wonder why their children talk back and act up. We need a new perspective on life and start a family bible reading initiative in our homes. My mother used to always have either Christian music or bible reading always playing in her home. She called it “bathing her home in God!” I think I will declare this year for the Hayes home a “bathing our home in God year”! I already have a mezuzah at my front and back door, so if you walk in our home, you pass by God’s word and if you walk out you do the same, just as the Hebrew people do. But today I am starting downstairs and up, to play the bible reading CD’s that my lovely wife got me for Christmas a few years ago. I’m playing them 24/7 to “bathe” my home in God’s Word. I thank God for all He has done for me and praise Him continually for all He has in store for me and my family! I urge you all to do the same or something comparable. I think you will see a change in your family and in your life! Remember, marriage and the family, was the “original Department of Health, Education and Welfare.”

The devil tempts us so he can mislead us, but God allows us to have temptation to test us. Temptation is a trial of our sincerity and commitment to Christ. Every temptation is sort of a test, but not every test can be a temptation. Tests and temptations have different purposes and they come from different places. Tests are designed to show what we have learned and what we can do in our lives, just like a classroom test in school, we show “The Teacher” (God) how our faith has grown and the purpose of those type of test is a positive one, which explains why God tests people just like he tested Abraham (Hebrews 11:17). In other words, a test is a trial presented by God to prove the strength of our faith and commitment towards Him. Temptations, on the other hand, are more of a negative design to trip us up and lure us to sin, which is why they come from the devil in hopes that we will fail God and pull us away from our Christianity. Satan doesn’t tempt us because we have sin in us, but because we have grace in us and he can’t stand it. The most important weapon we can use in resisting Satan is the Bible, God’s Holy Word! Three times the enemy presented temptations to Jesus and three times he was refused, with a scripture as the reason, “it is written” (Matthew. 3:4, 7, 10). Why else would the Bible tell us to hide Gods Word in our heart, so we won’t sin against Him? (Psalms 119:11) So that we can battle the devil with any and all temptation he sends our way! His Word should be cast-iron in our minds that it becomes the leading inspiration in our thoughts, attitudes and actions. The most effective ways of influencing our minds is through memorizing Scripture by reading it over and over again each day, each week and each year. The many times I’ve read it through, I seem to find something I overlooked before, or I guess God is revealing something else to me that He needs for me right then and there, that I didn’t need at the time before. Open yours today and begin a new reading initiative to read the Bible through and through! You will be glad you did!

If you have joy that is, what Gods Word defines as “Shut up in our bones”, it is the complete confidence that God has absolute control in the events of your life for your own good and for His glory. Spiritual joy is not a viewpoint that relies on mere chance or accident. It is the deep and unshakeable trust no matter what may be your circumstances in life, all is well between you and the Lord. No matter what trial, tribulation, pain, disappointment, failure, rejection, or other challenges you may be up against! A genuine joy is inside you because of that feeling given to you by God’s grace! Joy is not being without any suffering or pain it is being in the perfect will of God and in His presence! St. Augustine once wrote, “Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure; where your treasure is, there is your heart; where your heart is, there is your happiness.” It is only through God that we can find true joy (Psalm 51:11-12; Galatians 5:22; 1 Thessalonians 1:6), and we can do nothing if it wasn’t for the power of God (2 Corinthians 12:10, 13:4). The harder we try to be joyful on our own, the more miserable we can become. Rest in the Lord’s arms (Matthew 11:28-30) and seek His face through prayer and Scripture. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). To make a long story short, joy does not simply happen to us but we have to choose joy and keep choosing it each and every day! God bless you all!

Well everyone, we made it to another Friday and God is still on the throne and He still works miracles each day. We are alive, breathing, hearts are beating and we have made it to the weekend safe and sound. I think it’s time for another marriage post to end off the week and I’ll gear it mostly to dads due to the fact that I hold that position and I have for nearly 29 years now. The most important... thing that a dad can do for his children is to love their mother. It provides a window of opportunity to educate them as to how to love their spouse and to be loved, when they grow up! Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. Your example to them will be their example to your grandchildren years to come. Marriage is a promise not just between husband and wife but to future generations and the world as a whole, to generations past and to those yet to be born and also, most important, God. If the marriage ain't happy, ain't nobody happy, PERIOD! They say it takes a village to raise a child which may be the case, but the real truth is that it takes a lot of solid, stable marriages to create a village. My goal for Tried by Fire Ministries is to do just that, to help struggling marriages survive, to help good marriages become GREAT and to assist in lifelong happiness and commitment to one another! Dr. Bill Doherty once wrote,” Marriage is a public good, not just a private relationship. We have a public stake in healthy marriages and two-parent families. Our society suffers with the collapse of the relationship of the couple who brings a child into the world.” Marriage, like a submarine, is only safe if you get all the way inside. Remember, any man can find a trophy wife but it takes a real man to have a trophy marriage! God bless you all!

With everything that is going on in the world today such as the mass shootings and terrible violence that occurs at an alarming rate, our government officials are meeting to discuss either banning guns or putting a tight restriction on any and all purchases of guns. I personally think that any legislation on the purchase of a weapon would do no good because a weapon can be anything, such as a gun, knife, even an automobile and can be used as a method to wreak havoc on any person or a group of persons. Look at the Biblical story of Cain & Able where the bible says that Cain slew his brother. It didn’t say how but that he just did. It could have been with his hands or a rock or a stick, but nonetheless, he did. It begins inside a person with jealousy and pride, anger and frustrations, not with an inanimate object such as a knife, gun, rock or anything else. If we legislate or ban guns, are knives next? Will every butcher in a meat shop have to get a special license to cut meat? I think the legislations needs to be about a weapon, yes I said that, about a weapon. One that has been around for many, many years and has altered the course of time for many people and I am speaking of God’s Holy Word, the Bible! Legislation should be to reinstate Bible reading and prayer back in our schools! That is where we have failed, allowing our known source of protection for our children, our weapons of warfare, the Bible and prayer to be taken out of schools! It is so sad that children can’t even mention the name of Jesus any longer in schools when just by invoking His name can work wonders and miracles! And reading and studying His word is vital to change the way things have become. It may not happen overnight or next week or even next year but, it can and will change things for the better. Bible reading is an education in itself! We can teach reading, writing and even math to our children from the bible because they numbered the children of Israel and counted them often and the bible is the greatest example of the whole being greater that its parts. The Bible does not teach what methods to use in teaching our children, but it does teach what character to build. God bless you all!

One of the hardest attributes for any of us to acquire is patience! With the fast paced life we live in today’s world of fast food, fast cars, hurry up’s and quickly getting anything and everything by staying connected via our smart phones, tablets and computers, patience is much more than a virtue. We tend to forget that every trial and every problem we face is in some way, is a message from God and intended to do us good in the end. They are God’s way to make us think and to take a breather from the world around us. It is His intention to send us to the Bible and to drive us to our knees and come to Him for help and guidance. Health is a good thing for any of us, but sickness is better, if it leads us to God. Possessions and money is a great too, but trials and hard times are a greater, if it brings us to Jesus. Anything is better than living in carelessness, and dying in sin. To gain the much needed patience that we must have for our lives, we really won’t like the way it comes. Romans 5:3 says, “Suffering produces endurance,” and James 1:3 says, “The testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” Most of us would prefer a much easier way for to achieve it, but this is God’s way! To become a seasoned, well trained driver, you don’t expect to just sit on the couch and watch car shows do you? No! You get behind the wheel and drive in traffic, on rough roads, across valley’s and hills. And it takes years of practice. Same thing goes for patience, it is not just something that will happen, you have to be trained and disciplined into patience to endure any hardship that may come your way. I look at my lack of a job at this time as God’s way to mold me for something better. I’m sure He has an ultimate plan with my best interest at stake. I have had several interviews so far in two weeks and He is making a way and an opportunity for me, I just KNOW that! Nothing is ever wasted in the kingdom of God. Not one tear, not all our pain, not the unanswered question or the seemingly unanswered prayers. Nothing will be wasted if we give our lives to God. And if we are willing to be patient until the grace of God is made manifest, whether it takes nine years or ninety, it will be worth the wait. God bless you all!

No matter what problems may come, whether my job situation is resolved sooner or later, I will never stop rejoicing for what God has appointed me to and for what He has always done in my life, no matter what sacrifices I have to make and no matter what cost it takes. Sacrifice brings its reward in a hope of a glorious destiny after this life on earth. Instead of saying the word sacrifice we should say it is a privilege. Whether it is work, study, witnessing, mission work, preaching, teaching, troubles or trials, all of these are nothing compared to the glory which shall be revealed in and for us someday. If we really thought about it, nothing we can do or go through can compare to the sacrifice that He made, when He left his Father’s throne on high to give Himself for us and to life a life as an example to us all, then die such a horrific death, all for our salvation and for His glory! Think of it this way, if an appointment by an earthly king or president of some nation, would be considered an honor, how can the Great Commission by our Heavenly King be even considered as a sacrifice? A ministry that costs nothing accomplishes nothing! If you do the work of the Lord, sooner or later, you will come upon a personal experience with the cross which always involves loss, hurt and pain but, you will also experience the resurrection as well and that will make any loss or trial worth it all! Why would scripture tell us to put on the whole “Armor of God” and we not expect any battles? Remember, your lifestyle is your most powerful message and I want mine to be an example of Christ’s life in mine! God bless you all!

We must remember during this Christmas season, we can never do big things for God without being willing to commit ourselves for His glory, even we feel like we can’t go on. The bible tells us in Ephesians 6:13-14, “Therefore, take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. STAND THERFORE, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,” We should be willing to walk through every open door, run down every available path and use every opportunity that God gives us. Be ready in season and out of season as if everything in this world depended on your effort. We are prepared for the God’s work only when we have cried over it, prayed about it, and then we are allowed by Him to attempt the work that needs to be done. I pray that God gives me a heart that bleeds and hurts for the lost, eyes that are wide open to see those that are in need and a mind that is clear to explain God's purposes. I pray my will is obedient to His, and that my determination is fully fearless as I set about the tasks He would have me to do. I must serve Him by sacrifice and in order to expect great things from God I know that I have to attempt great things for Him! Serving is our duty, getting results is God’s responsibility. God specializes in the impossible, so that when the victory is won and the task is complete, we cannot take any credit. Others know we didn’t do it, and we know we didn’t do it. We must always remember that we can only live the Christian life and serve God through the power of His Holy Spirit. Remember, service with the proper purpose is worship. Merry Christmas!

With all of life’s events around us, no matter if they are good or bad we do have a responsibility to make wise decisions and to discover the will of God for us. Every choice we make has a consequence. If we make bad ones, usually bad things come our way in return or the lack of a good thing. If we make good choices then we will get good in return, maybe not in this life but most definitely in the next. And it will be well worth the wait! God will never allow any action against us that is not in harmony with His will for us and His will is always aimed at to our good. But God’s plans do not rely on our decisions. God’s plan is sovereign and unlimited to our choices. His plans will happen, whether or not they include us or not but His will for you is for you to jump on board, follow Him, live your life pleasing to Him and His Word and bring others along for the glorious ride as well, leading the lost to Christ. His plan includes our foolish decisions as well as our wise ones. His will is that we choose Him and His ways. God’s will is revealed to us in His Word and in His works. It makes no matter where He places me, in what job, or how. For Him to consider me at all is enough because in the easiest positions He gives me His grace, and in even in the toughest, His grace is sufficient. I have two job interviews this week, one tomorrow morning at Nucore Steel and one Thursday morning at Honda. I ask that my friends pray for God’s will in my life, that I choose what He has for me and that I choose what’s best not only for my family, but best for His kingdom to shine. I have also submitted resume’s for many other companies and even to some churches. Please pray for me. John MacArthur once wrote, “Prayers are the nerves that move the muscles of omnipotence. Prayer is not an exercise in futility because God's will, will be done in any case; prayer is the means by which God's will is carried out.” The will of God will never take me where the grace of God will not protect me! God bless you all!

Well folks, love is in the air during this wonderful and glorious time of the year. Weddings are happening often because of that love. One a few weeks ago and two this week to perform! A true and godly marriage is the total commitment and the total sharing of your total self with another person until the Lord calls them home! It all began in the mind of God when He ordained and instituted it. (Malachi 2:14-16). Marriage is more of a spiritual thing as it is an earthly happening. God alone has the power to appoint the beginning, the care during, and its end. It was designed to be a perfect picture of Christ and the Church which can be a sacred mystery in itself. That is why a couple in love, to the world can be strange. Think of how many times we have told ourselves, “Why does he do such things for her” or why does she act that way toward him”, all because of LOVE! Think of the sacrifice that Jesus did for us, all because of LOVE! The miracle of marriage is tied to the amazement of the works of Christ and His sacrifice. The message Jesus gave to us on the cross is foolishness to us as human, and so the meaning of marriage is foolishness to the natural man (1 Cor. 2:14). The relationship between Jesus Christ and His church is the ultimate example of the committed love that a husband and wife should follow in their relationship with each other. This time of year, in which we celebrate the most amazing gift of love that God gave to the world, His Son, is probably the most wonderful time of year to wed. I pray blessings on these unions! Remember any man can find a trophy wife, but it takes a real man to have a trophy marriage!

In all marriages, there WILL be conflict. I’ve spoken with couples who were arguing over small, meticulous things like, squeezing or rolling up the toothpaste or which way the toilet paper should roll, from the back or from the front! Seriously, I have! All couples have differences, in personality and in preferences. They just need to communicate and not just think that the other person will “magically know what they want”. It just doesn’t happen that way. Your spouse, I’ll bet, is not a mind reader. Wherever you find marriage that may be at risk of failure, you will probably find that it all began with a breakdown in “REAL” interaction. However, where you see marriages that thrive and succeed, you will find good communication methods. It often happens that when couples get their relationship to God straightened out, their relationships with one another begin to straighten out as well. Our wives should make us glad to come home and we husbands should make her sorry to see us leave. Remember, we choose the one we loved, and now we must love our choice. C. S. Lewis once wrote, “When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now”, which is so very true, if we can give our focus, our love and our devotion to God first, then we can love our spouses the way God intended it to be! A lot of people depend on “compatibility”, with compatibility test and such that can be taken online but, that is not the key to a good marriage or relationship. Having a commitment and being faithful to God and sharing that attraction to Him and being willing to obey God’s wonderful teaching about marriage first, then you will love one another through it all! Staying married is not primarily about staying in love. It is about keeping covenant. “Till death do us part” or “As long as we both shall live” is a sacred covenant promise and is the same kind Jesus made with His Bride (The Church) when He died for her.

I was told yesterday by my employer that after the end of the month, I would no longer have a  job due to budget cuts. So often, troubles and trials will lead to extraordinary acts of God in our lives. You might even say that God wins His greatest victories in the middle of what we see as a clear defeat. This is shown by looking at the life of Jesus. When He was crucified on the cross and buried in the tomb, it looked like the forces of evil had won.  It was in this time of obvious defeat that the victory for the salvation for you and I was won. In times of apparent defeat, when it seems that all hope is lost, then, it’s time to resurrect just as Christ did! I WILL NOT let anything get me down! I WILL NOT lose this fight because I know who lives! “All things are possible with God!” I realize that it’s not about ME working for God, but it is all about HIM being free to do HIS work through me. God calls people into His service and places huge responsibilities on them. He expects no complaining on our part and gives no explanation on His. God wants to use us as He used His own Son. He wants us to be dependable even when it costs us moving from our comfort zone! We should be faithful to the gifts, abilities, and opportunities God gives us and leave the rest to Him. I’m not sure of where my new ventures will take me, but I am sure He will not lead me to where He is not there! The promise of Gods Word is that if we are faithful, we will, one day collect rewards for our hard work, if not on earth, most definitely in the life to come. (1 Cor. 15:58) God is not so concerned about our ability, as much as our availability. This difficult time in my life is intended to make me better, not bitter. God’s got this!

God did not require us to show our allegiance to Him before His Son would agree to die in our place so He acted first, motivated only by His love for us. He wanted to offer mercy to us as the best way to show us His grace. So, Christ died for us because He and His Dad loved us, the unlovable, just that much!  Loving someone, for us, requires a love in return. We are caring for someone only as much as they are caring for us. To love God as we were made to love Him requires a foundation love in God for those whom He has made. He took the initiative. He revealed the deepness and degree of His commitment to us and the joy in His heart for us. We should set aside our self-centered ways, especially during this Christmas season, and be moved to seek Him with all our hearts and enjoy the love that He revealed through His Son, Christ Jesus. The measure of our love to God should be to love Him without measure. Think about this for a second, do you feel more loved when God is happy over you or do you feel more loved when God at the cost of His Son allows you to make Him happy? He could have just easily condemned us. He’s involved in our lives. He’s merciful! He hates sin, and yet pursues sinners by name. God is so committed to forgiving and changing you that He sent Jesus to die for you. He welcomes the poor in spirit with a shout and a feast. His love passionately does you good. His love is full of blood, sweat, tears, and cries. He suffered for you. He loves YOU! Celebrate this Christmas season by loving God with you whole heart in all that you do. What we are is God’s gift to us, but what we become is our gift to Him. Give Him the gift of love! You’ll be glad you did! God bless you all!

We should give thanks for all things in our lives whether it is good or bad. If it’s bad, it works patience in us! Some of our greatest learning opportunities come from our most painful experiences. For an example, when my dad died in 1989, I drew closer to God and was called into the ministry not long afterward. Your past determines your present, but you determine your future! The old saying, “if life gives you lemons, then make lemonade” is so not true. If you add just lemon juice, then you have the sour taste of just the lemon. Lemonade is made with sugar adding sweetness to the sour lemons unique taste then, it gives you the good stuff we know of as lemonade!  In the bad times in life if we apply the sweetness of God’s Word to the sourness of those tough times it can get sweeter! Psalms 19:10 says of His Word, “They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; “Sweeter” also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.”  If this is your approach to tough times, you may even begin to welcome the lemons because, lemonade is delicious! The more lemons you get, the more lemonade you can make, and the better you will get at making it. You will be able to share it with your friends, and sell some of the delicious lemonade that you have learned to produce from the practice all your ‘life lemons’ have given you. Reading the bible during times of trial and applying those truths to your life will make things much better. Thankfulness flows out of a heart that is rooted in Christ. If Jesus is the Lord of our lives, we will live in Him, be built up in Him, and be strengthened in Him. Then we will find ourselves spilling over with thankfulness to Him for all that He has done for us; the good and the bad! Remember, if we had no trials, there would be no triumphs and His Grace will allow us to face the music, even if we don’t like the tune! God bless you all!

I realize that many people will be celebrating a “holiday” today, one that I personally do not recognize. This is my own personal convictions, which I will not impose on any of my friends but I just choose not to. People will be dressing up to “scare” others and tricking for a treat of some kind. Proverbs 1:33 says, “But whoever listens to ME will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil." Even Jesus said in Luke 12:5, “But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” As I said, I am not going to put my personal convictions upon anyone else just as I wouldn’t want you to do the same. I want my life to be a positive influence for Christ. To be completely occupied with Him that the values and standards of the world around me have little influence: to be in the world and yet not of the world. Do you realize that you are the only Bible some people will ever read, and your life is under inspection every day by those looking and waiting to see you trip and fall.  What do others learn from you? If you are a Christian, you can expect folks to criticize, but you also ought to live so nobody will believe them. We should make it easy for others to believe in God by the way we live! Now please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you are not Christian by celebrating Halloween nor am I saying it will send you to hell. I’m just saying that for me, Bro. Roger A. Hayes, I choose NOT to due to my own personal convictions. If you do, be safe, be careful and have a joyful time! May God bless you all!

The greatest and most influential part of a Christian is supposed to be their heart, which should reflect in their attitude. It's your heart you have to change first in order to change your attitude in life not your attitude that will change your heart. It starts from the inside out! In order to change your character, your heart must be opened to allow Christ to enter in! How can we worship a loving and merciful God on Sunday and ignore Him on Monday? I see too much of this. Life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it. Our attitude within us is more important than the circumstances outside us. The best use of our lives is to live it for something that will outlast it, leaving a Godly legacy behind for generations to come. If you are a Christian, be consistent, all out the whole route, every hour, in every part of your life! God gave us each day for us to give meaning to each day, not just the special or exciting days of our lives. Every day is important for us because it is a day ordained by God, for us to make a difference to the world. Christ died for us so the very least we can do is live for our faith. The Apostle Paul wrote, “For me to live IS Christ”, that tells me my life should reflect HIM! I know I can’t be perfect as He was, but I can strive for that perfection each day. Trying to reach the lost, one life at a time! My live is not distinguished by perfection in the way I live but by direction, in the way I am going! I’ll leave you with this thought: God formed us; Satan deforms us; preaching the Word reforms us; Bible informs us; but only Jesus Christ can transform us!!! God bless you all!

Another new great door prize has been added for the marriage enrichment sessions.... A Free haircut and style from Zaru Salon in Mountain Brook, thanks to Jessica Lazarus! God bless you for helping enrich marriages! Visit her at www.zarusalon.com and please patronize her business for giving her support in our effort to help marriages!

I have heard people say that small things don't bother them but, I wonder if they have ever slept in a room with a mosquito.  Little things are big things. In life, in love and marriage and they are to God too! No matter what you are going through today, it is NOT too small to take it to Him! An old song written many years ago goes like this, “What a Friend we have in Jesus, ALL our sins and grief’s to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because WE DO NOT carry EVERYTHING to God in prayer. Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer”! The emphasis I added because we should not hesitate to take EVERYTHING to the Lord in prayer, no matter how trivial or how small we may thing they are, they are HUGE to Him! A cute quote to give you some idea of how small things are big things came from Walt Disney, he said, “Always remember that this whole thing was started by a mouse." He was speaking about how huge his business became all from a cartoon about the life of a mouse, (MICKEY)! The mouse’ in your life right now that you may be worried about can turn into a big thing too! Worry doesn’t clear tomorrow of its troubles, but it will drain today of its strength! Only God can change sunsets into sunrises if you only allow Him too! God bless you all! HAPPY MONDAY!

One more day until Tried by Fire Ministries will host the “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage” first session of four. We have committed couples who want to improve their relationships and enrich their marriages with lasting lessons that are funny and yet informative. Thanks to everyone who donated for door prizes and to the couples that have decided to attend. Marriage creates a family and we are to serve Him in our families. Families are the primary element of spiritual support in the covenant of God because they are the means where children are not only born but raised up in. Families have a great deal to do for God’s work, in showing His amazing grace, with the spreading of faith from one generation to next. We must be examples and show not only our children, but our communities and the world, that the relationship between husband and wife, the closeness, the loyalty, the trust, the example, and the leadership that happens in a God fearing family! He made the family the tool for us to show His grace in our children’s lives. We must understand that a spiritually unstable marriage does nothing but add poison into our children’s spiritual milk because when they grow up and lead by your example as most of them do, they too will be spiritually unstable. Research shows that a child who sees his mother mistreated is more damaged than if the child himself is abused and it also shows that marriage education workshops can make a real difference in helping married couples stay together! You may have heard it said that it takes a village to raise a child. That may be the case, but the truth is that it takes a lot of solid, stable marriages to create a village.

I want to give a huge shout out to some great people who are making the marriage/couples event to become a great success! The grand prize is a nights stay at the Marriott Courtyard in Atlanta, compliments of my sweet friend and most AWESOME Marriott Rep, Mandi Tishman thanks for all you do! Next I must give a huge bow to Cynthia Ann Jones for donating a piece of her art on display at the Daniel Day Museum, thank you so very much, I am honored to call you friend! Next is a shampoo, cut and style given by Tracy Guy King of Royal T's Salon in Childersburg, you are an amazing friend! God bless you all and thank you from the bottom if my heart for your generosity! Other door prizes are coming in fast and will be selected soon and made known!  I cannot forget my neighbor and friend Melanie Patton Medley for offering her home as a daycare during this event as well! Melanie you are an awesome neighbor, thank you!

We all need love and forgiveness, but we need it most when we deserve it the least! The times when we have done things wrong, make poor choices or even when we have failed in our walk with the Lord. These situations call for more than just ordinary love. This is when we need extra-ordinary love. D. L. Moody once said, “God has cast our confessed sins into the depths of the sea, and He's even put a 'No Fishing' sign over the spot”. Forgiveness brings freedom from being influence by our past so we can become complete and benefit from the richness a Christian life if we receive it through trusting Christ, which means, confessing sin as sin and turning away from it to accept the Gods ways. You can’t sin so much that it makes you incapable of forgiveness! Forgiveness is the marvelous miracle of grace which cost God the death of His Son, Jesus Christ on the cross many years ago. The moment you realize all that it cost God to forgive you, you will be held in a headlock so to speak, locked by the love of God. God is faithful and just to forgive every sin and cleanse from all unrighteousness because of Christ's complete sacrifice alone. If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us a teacher or instructor. If our greatest need had been technology, He would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, He would have given us a blank check signed by Him. If our greatest need had been amusement, He would have sent us an entertainer. But our greatest need was FORGIVNESS, so God sent us a SAVIOR! Happy Monday everyone!!!

 Each of us will run into different troubles and trials throughout our lives. The devil seeks to defeat us by tempting us to trust our own wisdom, to live according to our selfish feelings, and to consider the desires of our own flesh. In comparison, God’s will is for us to be incredible conquerors through all tests for His honor and glory. Tests don’t make us weak. They show what sort of person we are! How we react to these tests will show our character and faithfulness in Christ as our Shepherd. Shepherd’s lead and direct the sheep. Remember the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is our Shepherd, I SHALL NOT WANT”? Think about that passage for a minute, we shall NOT want! The phrase “I shall not want” is Hebrew (Chacer) and it means; to lack, fail, decrease, have need, made lower or bereave. With Him as our Shepherd we shall NOT be any of these! The last verse (6) of this chapter says “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”, this means in Hebrew (Radaph) that they, goodness and mercy, will pursue us, or hunt us down all the days of our life, as long as the Lord is our Shepherd, He will NOT let us lose our way if we allow Him to be glorified in any trial, in any situation! Have you ever wondered why jewelry stores display diamonds with a dark velvety backdrop? If we overcome troubles and hard times, like a diamond against black velvet, true spiritual happiness sparkles brightest against the darkness of trials, troubles and tests. You will never be the person God wants you to be, if afflictions, trials, and disciplines are taken out of your life. Remember, God's grace will enable us to ‘face the music' even when we don't like the tune.

Romans 8:28 declares that “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.  I have heard people say to others who may be going through something, quoting this verse, then saying God has a reason for this and it will all be good. How can all things be worked together by God for good? The answer is looking at this verse more closely; it is a conditional verse with a promise for those who “LOVE” God and have been “CALLED” according to His purpose. It is because God's ultimate purpose is to make us like Christ. Do you show Him your love for Him in the way you live? We all have been “called” some of us just don’t heed to that calling.  John Hannah wrote in his book “To God Be the Glory”, “Many say they have a love for God, but their love is only pleasure in God as the giver of good gifts and pleasant circumstances.  This type of love is really a love of self because God is not the supreme object of the appreciation.  It is merely a love for God as a provider, a Santa Claus; it is not a biblical love”. His goal is the complete renewal of the image of God in you! Such a great task requires all the resources God can use to mold us, and He turns our lives upside down the things that we feel are important and shows us what is really important in order to produce in us the character of His Son, Jesus. God never allows pain without a purpose in the lives of His children. He never allows circumstances or anything to trouble us unless He uses that for our good. He will never waste pain. He always causes it to work together for our ultimate good, the good of making us more to the likeness of His Son!




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