Christmas: Peace in Distant Hills

A Misty Morning -- Graham Edwards

A Misty Morning — Graham Edwards

Teach us to value most eternal things…


To find the happiness

that giving brings…


To know the peace

of misty, distant hills…


To know the joy

that giving self fulfils…


To realize anew

this Christmas Day…


The things we keep are those we give away.

M. D. Winsett

Stephen Hyder: Prayer as a First Step Towards a New Job

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Stephen Hyer (second from right) with members of the BCBC youth ministry.

Stephen Hyer (second from right) with members of the BCBC youth ministry.

Losing a job is one of the most stressful life experiences. And today, nearly 94 million Americans are neither employed nor looking for work.

For them, it’s normal to feel angry, hurt, depressed, scared, and grief at all that they’ve lost. It’s normal to feel anxious about what the future holds.

Job loss and unemployment can rock your sense of purpose and self-esteem.

While it can all seem overwhelming, there are many things you can do to take control of the situation. And at the top of the list is prayer.

Pastor Tommy tells us, “Prayer is a cornerstone of life.”

On life’s journey, sometimes prayer is forgotten. It can get lost as we become overwhelmed by issues of the moment.

Stephen Hyder recently went through one of those times—the fear of a job slipping away followed by the trepidation of a job lost. But unlike many who in difficult times forget to pray, he turned towards prayer for support and guidance.

Here is his moving story.

Fear the Lord

continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (Philippians 2:12)

God the Father and the Sinner. Ladislav Záborský, 2007.

God the Father and the Sinner. Ladislav Záborský, 2007.

The Bible uses the word fear at least 300 times in reference to God. Today, fear usually refers to an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. And it is used this way in the Bible as well.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

But there are two sides of fear in the Bible. Yes, there is fear displayed as cowering in dread and terror in anticipation of displeasure. But there is also fear based on awe, reverence, and obedience.

Dr. David Jones in his audio lecture on Christian ethics describes fear of the Lord as reverent submission motivated by love. Love is key. It is love as it might be offered to a parent by a child because the little one knows that all needs will be met and life is safe from harm.

Eugene Merrill, a distinguished professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, assures us that “fear of God lies at the heart of successful living in the world. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, a fear equated with the ‘knowledge of the Holy One’”.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise. (Psalm 111:10)

“To fear God,” continues Professor Merrill, “is to know him and to know him is to fear him. Such healthy fear enables one to praise God.”

He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Revelation 14:7)

Reverent submission that motivates us to obey him — fear of the Lord — allows us to enjoy his benefits and blessings.

But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children — with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. (Psalm 103:17-18)

Steadfast obedience that is motivated by love — fear of the Lord — is to rest in peace and security.

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.  Their hearts are secure; they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes. (Psalm 112:7-8)

Fear that allows us to warm ourselves in his peace and security, offers, in the long run, a satisfying life.

The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short. (Proverbs 10:27).

Praise our Lord, and fear him as a child towards a loving parent.



Please Support Tanner Besosa as He Heads to Guatemala

And my tongue shall talk of Your righteousness, rightness, and justice, and of [my reasons for] Your praise all the day long. (Psalm 35:28)

Dear Family and Friends,

Tanner Besosa

Tanner Besosa

I’ve had an eventful few weeks in Florida. We are preparing for Boot Camp, which is our training before we take our young men and women to the mission field. We are setting up camp sites, and preparing the food we will take on the field.

But the most eventful thing that has happened is that instead of going on the planned trip to witness at the Indiana fairs, there is need of a leader to help build an orphanage in Guatemala City, Guatemala. So, I and 3 other leaders will take 29 young men and women to Guatemala to build the orphanage, as well as share the love of Christ with orphans around the city.

With this sudden change in plans I now find that I need $600 more to pay for the trip to Guatemala.

Please pray for me and that the Lord will bless the work I am about to undertake. And please pray that I will raise the money I need.

I also ask that you prayerfully consider supporting me if the Lord leads you. You can contact me at (828) 707-7017. My e-mail is, and my address is 867 E Hall Rd. Merritt Island, FL 32953.

If you have any questions about the trip, or if you feel lead to encourage me please contact me. Thank you all so much for your prayers and support!

Love in Christ,

Tanner Besosa

Pray for the Persecuted

Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. (Luke 6:22)

St John the Evangelist at Patmos (Tobias Verhaecht)

St John the Evangelist at Patmos (Tobias Verhaecht)

Every day on every continent men and women face persecution because of their belief in Jesus Christ. It’s estimated that since Jesus laid down his life, 43 million Christians have become martyrs. Today, 200 million people face persecution for believing in Jesus — 60% of those people are children. Among the most dangerous countries in the world for Christians are North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Our hearts ache and our payers go out to these brave Christians who endure abuse and death while holding strong to their faith. However, we should remember that intolerance and hatred run deep in the world today. It is not limited to Christians. Hate knows no bounds. Buddhists have persecuted Muslims in Sri Lanka; and in Burma, Al-Shabab militants from the Somali border have targeted all non-Muslims in Kenya. In Eritrea, another African nation, citizens that follow the Catholic, Muslim, Orthodox or Evangelical faiths are safe, but often people who have other beliefs are persecuted. More examples are here and here.

The New Testament is filled with examples of how to pray for Christians who are under attack. More than this, the New Testament is a model for prayer for all persecuted people (including nonbelievers and those who follow other teachings) in the world.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:17-18)

Pray that the persecuted will come to know the hope and love that God offers and feel the strength of the Holy Spirit. We are all children of Christ; therefore, pray that even in the midst of crisis those who’s lives seem hopeless will find the Lord and fearlessly tell others about the joy of Jesus.

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. (Isaiah 54:17)

Peace is Possible

The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. (Psalm 29:11)

Small Rhythmic Landscape. Paul Klee (1920)

Small Rhythmic Landscape. Paul Klee (1920)

In a world of constant conflict and suffering, is there any hope for peace?


In the Bible, God promises that peace is possible. He promises peace so extraordinary that it “surpasses all understanding”.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Through meaningful worship, the study of selected Scriptures, and small group opportunities, we will trust God to help us discover:

  • Peace with God
  • Peace with ourselves
  • Peace with others
  • Peace when our world is shaken
  • Peace with death and dying

Never forget…

If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.…(John 14:15)

Waiting to Go Home

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:13-14)

As I sit here watching my mom sleep so peacefully,

she is waiting to go home to live with Jesus.


She had seen her daughter in heaven, who said,

“Not yet momma, but soon.”


She was reaching for Jesus’ hand as she saw him, but he said,

“Not yet, Marilyn.”


She saw her grandmother,

but her grandma didn’t speak to her.


My mom is at peace with herself and dying.

She can’t wait to join Jesus and her family.


She is not in any pain.

She is just waiting to go home.


My mom, Marilyn Speed, is 91 years old and was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

Robin McIntosh



Should We Meditate?

I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. (Psalm 77:11-12).

Rembrandt's Old Man in Prayer (17th century)

Rembrandt’s Old Man in Prayer (17th century)

Many Eastern religions teach that the source of salvation is found within, and that the fundamental human problem is not sin against a holy God but ignorance of our true condition. These worldviews advocate meditation and “higher forms of consciousness” as a way to discover a secret inner divinity.

Differences in various forms of Eastern meditation aside, they all aim at a supposedly “higher” or “altered” state of consciousness. Meditation guides claim that normal consciousness obscures sacred realities. Therefore, meditation is practiced in order to suspend rational patterns of thought.

The biblical worldview is completely at odds with the pantheistic concepts driving Eastern meditation.

No amount of chanting, breathing, visualizing, or physical contortions will melt away the sin that separates us from the Lord of the cosmos—however “peaceful” these practices may feel.  “Pleasant” experiences may be portals to peril.

Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14)

Even yoga teachers warn that yoga may open one up to spiritual and physical maladies.

The word meditation comes from the Latin word meditārī, which, among other things, means to reflect on, to study, and to practice. For Christians, meditation is a form of prayer in which a structured attempt is made to become aware of and reflect upon the revelations of God. 

Meditation is pondering the Word in our hearts, preaching it to our own souls, and personally applying it to our own lives and circumstances. It is a form of reverence as we bring ourselves closer to Christ.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).


Pray for Those in the Massive NC Auto Accident

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. (Psalm 18:28)

The Times-News reports, “More than 100 cars and trucks were backed up for miles — and hours — Sunday on Interstate 40/85 in Alamance County following a chain reaction of collisions.” The incident was reported around 6:45 am Monday near exit 289 on I-40 westbound

You can read the article here.

Ambulances from Emergency Medical Services in Orange, Chatham, and Guilford counties were brought in to handle patients needing to be transported to area hospitals.

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. (Psalm 119:50)

According to this report, “There were no life-threatening injuries as a result of the crashes, despite one of the early ones involving a Jeep landing on top of at least one other car.”

How Do You Pray with Your Children?

Help my children develop a strong self-esteem that is rooted in the realization that they are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:10)

Mary and The Holy Baby Jesus. Stephen B. Whatley

Mary and The Holy Baby Jesus. Stephen B. Whatley

I noticed that when my boys prayed they were repeating my words when we pray together: “Thank you for this day.” “Bless us with good health and keep us safe.” “Surround us with people who bring us joy and want the best for us.” Etc. etc.

So, I thought, what if I let them in on my actual prayers — what I say when I pray on my own? Why not pray my specific prayers, so they truly hear what’s important to me?

When I did this the look on their faces was different. They were really thinking about what I said and sometimes smiling with love.

For example, “Lord, I pray that these boys know how proud we are of them, that we will always help them, love them, and be here for them when they need us. I pray that they love each other and speak kindly and show love to others. I pray that they remember the good in their hearts and how special you’ve created them. They are VALUABLE and IMPORTANT to this family.”

In this prayer they hear me telling God the great things about them, what I want them to remember. I think it sounds different to them.

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14)

Some kids think if they’re not being told “good job” and are having a hard day fighting with their parents or siblings that they’re not good or loved at those times. I hope we can find ways to help them believe in themselves even on those harder days when things aren’t all smiles. It’s especially important in families where things are stressful from a loss or other heart-heavy things.

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

Life can be a perfectly messed up story, but that doesn’t mean the good parts disappear. Teaching our kids this idea may help them in the tougher adult aspects of life as they grow up.

Thanks to Lisa LaFortune at “Families! Change the World”.

Free Prayer in a Coffee Shop

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”  (Matthew 9:37)

Pastor Thomas Rusert

Pastor Thomas Rusert

Every Thursday morning Pastor Thomas Rusert sits with a cup of coffee at local shop in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Next to him a little sign reads, “Free Prayer”. And he waits to see whom God will send his way.

At first there was hesitation. “I went in with fear and trembling,” he remembers. “I put the sign up, put my nose into a book — I was afraid to make eye contact.” Eventually, the Lord sent many “customers” to his table — strangers looking for a place to cast their cares.

One person had a nephew with an ailment. Another with schizophrenia who claimed to see witches.

A man in town for legal business put his papers on the table and just walked outside, Pastor Rusert following. “I heard all the unuttered prayers and pains he had held inside for two years:” divorce, legal problems, drug overdoses, and death.

Now, people stop to pray with him every time.

Sometimes, we have to move beyond the steeple to care for our people. And in so doing, we may just find that God takes care of us, too.

Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest. (Matthew 9:38)

Remember what Martin Luther said, “Pray, and let God worry.”

free-prayer_tp (1)

An Invitation to Wednesday Evening Prayer

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. (Psalm 107:28-30)

Adolph Robert Shulz, 1955

Adolph Robert Shulz, 1955

Jesus made a promise to us.

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. (John 15:7)

Accordingly, group prayer was a characteristic of worship among early Christians.

When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. (Acts 12:12)

And so it is today, says Greg Laurie Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, “we should never give up or back down. We need to keep praying.”

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

Join us on Wednesday evening at 6:30 to 7:30 pm in Pastor Tommy’s office for a time of praying for our church and our impact on missions in the world.

Also, please see our Prayer Requests on this website. Prayer is very powerful, and its effects can cause everlasting life changes.

Pray: Lord, I Want to be a Success in Your Eyes

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

Train up a child in the way he should go, (Proverbs 22:6)

Train up a child in the way he should go, (Proverbs 22:6)

Socrates wrote, “Could I climb to the highest place in Athens, I would lift my voice and proclaim, ‘Fellow citizens, why do you turn and scrape every stone to gather wealth and take so little care of your children to whom one day you must relinquish it all?’”

This was probably later in his life since the hills around Athens aren’t that steep. Mount Parnitha, the tallest, is about 4,500 feet. But that’s another story.

More importantly, Socrates was concerned for the children of Athens. Parents were spoiling them with material goods while neglecting their spiritual and moral training.

Sounds like society today. Would you agree?

In her book, *Honey for a Child’s Heart: The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life, Gladys Hunt tells us, “Societies do not disintegrate; families do.” “And when that happens, people run the risk of experiencing deep loneliness and disorientation as they look for someone to belong to and something worth believing in.”

It’s dispiriting that so many in our society look every which way for peace and joy (read success) — every which way but towards Jesus.

“Whether you’re part of a blended, single-parent, foster, adoptive, or traditional two-parent family, your family is important to God,” says Lisa Button. “You can ask him for anything in regard to your family as long as it’s in line with his heart, his desires . . . and essentially, his will.”

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

It is only through Jesus that we truly succeed. Pray: Lord, I want to be a success in Your eyes. Help me to be strong and courageous in doing Your will.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

*Bent Creek Baptist Church is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. By clicking the book cover shown above your purchase of this book on Amazon will earn BCBC a fee from Thank you for your support.

Be Reconciled; Then Offer Your Gift. Pastor Sam Bennett

The bible teaches that one of the greatest hindrances to our prayer life is broken or damaged relationships. Psalm 66:18 tells us…

If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; (Psalm 66:18)

Sam Bennett, Associate Pastor

Sam Bennett, Associate Pastor

Holding iniquity (sin) in our hearts blocks our prayers from reaching God’s ears. It is as if we were standing alone in a giant coliseum with a dome over our heads. We call out to God for help, but our prayers are blocked by the ceiling of sin and iniquity. Yet, when we repent and restore our relationship with God, the dome rolls back revealing a loving Father who desires to hear our every cry.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus teaches…

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24)

Jesus is saying that our relationship with our brother or sister takes priority over giving Him any of our gifts and talents. In fact, He is saying that the gift is unclean or impure until we have removed the sin of a broken relationship with a brother or sister. Only after we restore the broken relationship will Jesus accept our offering.

The bottom line is this: If our prayer lives are to be effective, we must confess any and all iniquity that is stored in our hearts prior to engaging in prayer to our Heavenly Father.

This is truly a battle of the heart, and the battle for our heart is God’s fight. However, we must engage and fully participate so that through the power of the Holy Spirit, He can reveal and remove our transgressions.

Associate Pastor, Sam Bennett

Guidelines for Making Prayer Requests and Praises at BCBC

Here are a few guidelines to help you make prayer and praise requests.

Most importantly, you do not have to be BCBC members to request prayer or be prayed for. Anybody who wants to pray with us is welcome.

Email requests to the church

You may email our church secretary, Mrs. Linda Stewart at Let us know the email addresses of your family and friends who will be the subject of your prayer or praise.

If there is no email account, let Linda know your snail mail address. We will mail a copy of the prayer request to you. On the other hand, tell Linda if for any reason you do not want to have the prayer letter sent.

We invite you to keep everyone updated on your prayer requests and God’s answers to your prayers through Sunday school leaders or by emailing Linda directly.

Post prayers and praise directly on the BCBC website.

On the first page of the BCBC website, scroll to the bottom and click “Read more.” Then click “Prayer Requests Form Page,” and follow the directions to make the request. Check back daily to see how many people have prayed.

Be persistent in your prayers. If needed, request again, like the parable of the persistent widow to the unbelieving judge.

In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, “Grant me justice against my adversary.”

For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, “Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!” (Luke 18:1-8)

As for the confidentiality issue, ask permission from the person being prayed for to include their name in the prayer or praise request.

Trust our good God that he will answer our prayers in His best ways.

Let’s praise God together for His answers to our prayers.

Get Prayin’

“Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are devoted to prayer,

the study of God’s Word,

and united in joyful, Christ-exalting worship.”*

"Sometimes when you discover something really special, it defies category. Sometimes, there's transcendence." Lecrae, Christian Hip Hop.

“Sometimes when you discover something really special, it defies category. Sometimes, there’s transcendence.” Lecrae, Christian Hip Hop.


Every Sunday at 9:30 am, Pastor Tommy hosts a pre-worship service prayer meeting. We come together to ask for the Lord’s blessings. Everyone is welcome to join us (BCBC members and nonmembers). Just come with a heart willing to experience our Lord’s love.

You ask, “Why bother to pray?” “What’s in it for me?”

“In today’s world,” writes David Jeremiah in his book, Prayer, the Great Adventure, the act of praying “flies in the face of our frantic efforts to prove that we are self sufficient, independent, and strong.” But be honest, we are none of these things!

Get prayin’.



We pray because it’s necessary, not because we ought to. We pray because we are without recourse. Acknowledging our limits and the Lord’s power, we call on his help. It’s our declaration of dependence. Could you use a little help?

Get prayin’.

Some think that prayer is what good people do when they are at their best. It isn’t. It’s what we do when we need guidance. Do you need guidance?

Get prayin’.

Some suppose that “insider” language is needed before God takes us seriously. There’s no code. God understands all languages.

Get prayin’.

Prayer is elemental. “It is no exaggeration,” says Pastor Jeremiah, “that prayer under-girded and preceded and empowered everything that our Lord did while He walked on this earth.” He is the best example of the power of prayer.

Jesus never taught his disciples how to preach, only how to pray and how to pray well. And he did it enthusiastically, with joy.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

To know how to speak to God is more important than knowing how to speak to man. Power through God, not men, is achieved by prayer — the first thing.

Get prayin’.

How often?

Pray continually. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7)

Get prayin’.

But remember, “Prayer is not just about asking for God’s blessings,” says Robert Velarde, “– though we are welcome to do so — but it is about communication with the living God. Without communication, relationships fall apart. So, too, our relationship with God suffers when we do not communicate with him.”

Get prayin’.

We’re prayin’ for you.

*From the BCBC Vision Statement