Blessed Purity

Written by: Melanie Riddle

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:7-8). 

In my research on the word purity, I found that it appears about 40 times in the Old Testament.  In a basic sense, the Hebrew word for purity relates to having an ethical and moral sense.

In the New Testament, purity is associated with understanding, patience, and kindness (2 Corinthians 6:6); speech, life, love, and faith (1 Timothy 4:12); and reverence (1 Peter 3:2.)

One of my many memories, as a public elementary teacher for 38 years, is when I extended mercy to one of my 2nd grade students. Our math curriculum had a daily test of “Minute Math.”  This would be for addition or subtraction.  I would set the timer for 1 minute.  Students would work as many or all of the 25 problems.  As I walked around the room, I saw a student cheating (the student had already answered several problems before the timer was set).  At recess time, I asked the student to stay in for a few minutes.  I didn’t have duty, so after the rest of my children left the room, I told the student what I’d witnessed.  Of course, the student cried.  I asked the student to write a letter on the back of the math test to her parents.  The student was to tell them what had happened.  After writing the letter, I asked the student to let me read it.  The student was still crying while I read the two-sentence letter.  At that point, I told the student I was going to extend mercy.  I explained what mercy meant.  I wadded up the test/letter and put it in my trash can.  The tears were then tears of relief.  I hope that student took that lesson into adulthood.

Purity, as in the New Testament, was exemplified to me through my mother.  The Beatitudes were some of my mom’s favorite scriptures.  She was an angel here on earth.  She lived her life as a caregiver, nurturer, teacher, and had a deep love and trust in her Lord and Savior.  Mom never talked poorly about others, had a positive attitude, and cared deeply about her children, grandchildren, family, and others.  Some of her darkest moments never destroyed her.  Her parents died 2 weeks apart.  Her mother, my Grandma Dennis, died on March 25, 1994.  Her daddy, my Pop, died 2 weeks later on April 8, 1994.  She was devastated.  We grandchildren were, too.  Mom was always a Daddy’s girl.  But, her prayer life, leaning on her Lord, her church, and her three children helped her heal.  We were with her at the hospital when she passed on July 29, 2005.  We kissed her goodbye.  That was the worst day of our lives.  But our Lord gave her heaven.  I know that she saw the Lord.  Shortly before she passed, she raised her arms toward heaven.  She saw our Lord Jesus.  Mom was the definition of purity here on earth.  She passed as the angels took her with Jesus to Heaven’s Gates.

Thanks be to God for blessing me with a mother with a pure heart.  I pray that I will live my life following my dearest mother’s and Jesus’ examples.  May all of us ask God for His wisdom and guidance to be pure in heart.

Read more

Humility That Brings Unity

Written by Becky Perkins

According to the dictionary and Weirsbe Bible Commentary, humility is a modest or low view of one’s importance.  It is selflessness and having dignity.  A humble person listens to and accepts others.  Humility is staying stable and maintaining power on the inside and not needing to control others on the outside.  Humble people think well of themselves and have a good sense of who they are, but they also are aware of their mistakes, gaps in their knowledge, and imperfections.  Humble people are content without being the center of attention or getting praise for their accomplishments. 


I like the idea that humble people do not think lowly of themselves and are quite stable and secure with themselves, and they do not view their importance as better than that of someone else.  They do not think they are better than another person, they do not think their point of view is the only right way, and they are not quick to give their opinion, unless asked.  Humble people are confident, polite, firm in their beliefs and actions, but do not boast about themselves and show arrogance. 


I tried to think of a biblical character who showed humility, and the only one that showed true humility was Jesus.  Joseph came close, but he did show arrogance at a young age with his brothers.  If Jesus was the only true humble person who walked on the earth, then we should try to imitate Jesus in every way.  Jesus loved everyone and gently guided people toward the Father.  When we let anger, boastfulness, and arrogance rule us, we must empty ourselves to allow the Father to fill us with humility.  This would require our daily submission to the Father and emptying ourselves of self and our ambitions and thoughts. 


Sometimes, we Christians, are so passionate about a given subject or situation, we become adamant that things go our way and how we want things to happen.  I know over the years, I have been very passionate about certain ministries and how ministry should happen.  I have had to go back and say I was wrong and bend low to the Father’s desires.  In some cases, I have had to ask forgiveness of someone else.  When we want things to go our way with a group of people or ministry that we mark as our territory, we need to just stop.  Stop, take a breath, and ask Jesus to take our passion and make it His passion.  We must stop long enough to seek His passion in a given situation; otherwise, anger rears its head and the passion, which turned to anger, will divide teams of people, friendships, and possibly an entire church.  Being a competitive person, I have done this very thing.  I have experienced that “mis-led passion” in family situations, church situations, friend situations, and at every level.  The older I become, the more I seek humility.  It takes me emptying myself and seeking Jesus’ thoughts and example, often. 


Even the Apostle Paul struggled with humility and was criticized by people when his opinions and thoughts were not shared.  In Acts 20:17-20, Paul says “I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents.”  Sometimes, we must humbly admit we may not be right, we may be wrong, realize it is not about us, and hold true to the fact that seeking humility, love, and unity is more important. 

Read more

Blessed Lamenting

Written by Mike Seaton

The prophet Jeremiah wrote Lamentations to record his overwhelming grief as he scanned the desolation of Jerusalem. His people had not listened to God’s warnings, and now the once-proud city sat in ruins, its temple destroyed and its inhabitants in exile. In spite of the seemingly hopeless situation, however, two things gave the prophet hope – God’s compassion and love.

Jeremiah knew that God would keep his promise to restore his people to Jerusalem. He knew that God would preserve a remnant of the Jewish people who would return and rebuild the ruined walls. Jeremiah relied on the strength of God’s promises, which he found consistently faithful and uplifting.

In the same way, God’s promises to us are “new every morning.” God is faithful, and promises to care for us even when the world caves in upon us. We need to rely on him for the strength to get through each day – especially on our most difficult day. *

Our most difficult day was when our son, Michael, tragically passed away. Losing a child is the worst kind of pain parents can experience. Several years later, Suzanne and I visited the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus gave his “Sermon on the Mount.” There on the mountainside we saw a stone that said, “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.” The Holy Land experience greatly influenced our lives.

In March 2022, I attended the Breakthrough Prayer Conference hosted by Reverend Sue Nilson Kibbey. That conference and a more recent one have greatly impacted my prayer life. For almost 500 days, I have prayed the following prayer each morning:

“Our God, We pray you will fill us with your wisdom, courage, peace, comfort, compassion, and joy. Give us a teachable spirit so we may grow in faith and love in Christ. We pray you will open our hearts and minds to receive new possibilities for us individually and also as a family. We know it is not our will but your will be done.” Amen.

After that prayer, with my five-minute egg timer that was handed out at the conference, I pray, “Heavenly Father, your servant is listening.”

My prayer life has been instrumental in my healing process and finding hope once more. I anticipate God is ready to do something new and exciting in my life.

In Romans 12:12, the Apostle Paul writes “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.”


* “The Journey,” Discovering God, pg. 1081. 1996 by Willow Creek Association.

Read more


Written by Bonita Cadle

I was pleasantly surprised when asked to write about Matthew 5:11-12. These two scriptures are from the Beatitudes given by our Lord Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount. The site on the Sea of Galilee is one of my favorite places in the world. It is such a special and spiritual place, so beautiful, peaceful, and inspiring. My trips to the Holy Land have truly been a blessing.


Another blessing I received was in November 2014 when I attended a Great Banquet retreat at St. John Presbyterian in New Albany. Wesley Chapel partners with St. John in these biannual retreats for both men and women. I highly recommend you attend one if you haven’t. I was reborn during the weekend I attended and became a true Christian. I will forever be grateful to my friends who invited me that weekend. My family and I began attending Wesley Chapel that same month.


Four months later in March 2015, my father suffered a stroke and lost his independence. It was a very dark time in his life (and mine). Being a Christian enabled me survive that dark time. I did not handle a previous dark time in my life very well. Losing my mother in August 1995 resulted in a nervous breakdown. I am an only child and she was my closest friend. I was surrounded by darkness.


As Christians, we know there will be trials and dark times. When we weather these storms, with the help of fellow Christians and our Lord Jesus, we gain perseverance. My father began living with us shortly after his stroke. In 2018, I asked my husband Cliff if he would allow me to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Pastor Tony. He so graciously allowed me to go. Cliff, the love of my life, died three years later on February 27, 2021, from Covid. I will forever be grateful to him for allowing me to go.


Matthew 5:1-12 contains the beautiful Beatitudes delivered by Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount. The beginning nine sentences describe an unlikely group of people as blessed: the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger for righteousness and more. Beatitudes 1-8 speak about the actions of groups of people (“those”), but in the 9th Beatitude, Jesus gets personal by changing His focus to “you.” After introducing the rewards others gain as a result of their blessedness, He now begins teaching specifically to His disciples (us).


All are blessed because of their part in the kingdom of heaven. This includes those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake on account of Jesus. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me (Matthew 5:11). When reviled or persecuted, we are to be meek, patient, humble; not angry, or reviling; but endeavor to do good to those who persecute and slander us (2 Timothy 2:24-25). Instead, rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven: for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets (Matthew 5:12).


For the first time, Jesus mentions heaven as the destination of His followers, instead of the kingdom of heaven or God. These forms of suffering (mourning, poor in spirit…) are not prerequisites for salvation; rather, they are natural expressions of saving or keeping faith, in the life of those who know Christ. We know our rewards will be great in heaven, but as Jesus’ followers, we are to do good works. We need to be a powerful influence as the salt of the earth and light of the world.


During the darkness of my dad’s stroke, I believe the Holy Spirit gave me the strength to extend grace. My father was very angry! He ruthlessly lashed out at my husband and me. He said and did things I probably wouldn’t have been able to forgive before attending the Great Banquet in 2014. Being a Christian equipped me to honor my father and be a light in his darkness. I felt somewhat persecuted by my own father. It was difficult going to church after being berated by my father. But being a Christian wasn’t simply enough; I needed to do good works. I believe my care, meekness, service, love, honoring, and light led my father to finally go to church with us. Our relationship was restored and became much more personal and fulfilling. For the first time, when I was 56 years old, my father told me he was proud of me and that he loved me. He even shared with me that he had never been baptized. So, Pastor Tony baptized my dad, at the age of 80, in front of our congregation at Wesley Chapel. My dad passed away in 2019 – two years before Cliff.


Jesus doesn’t hold the great rewards we will receive in heaven as a consolation prize for a difficult life. He tells His disciples to rejoice and be glad about the opportunity to be treated badly for His sake. The rewards waiting in heaven because of this honor (Acts 5:41; 1 Peter 4:12-13) make the experience itself a victory worth celebrating. We must remember that afflictions we experience in this life are light in comparison to the weight of glory and reward we will experience in heaven (2 Corinthians 4:17).


Dear Lord,

Let us, Wesley Chapel, stand strong as we serve and love those less fortunate than us. Let us be a light and serve those who society conveniently chooses to ignore and cast aside. Let us walk through our darknesses together, supporting one another. Our Lord loves all of God’s children. Let us be a church of disciples who follow and strive to be like Him. Amen

Read more

Talk About Jesus

Written by Patrick Siefring


Hello, my name is Patrick and I am joyful that I get to tell you about Jesus! I hope you stick around and read to the end.


Are you seeking true agape (agape is the highest form of love), forgiveness, compassion, mercy, grace, and more? If your answer is yes, keep reading. Why? Because Jesus, is the one you have been searching for!

He is your Savior whether you know it or not.

He has paid the price in full for you! Jesus was both fully divine and fully human at the same time.

As God, He was the only one powerful enough to make up for our offense and our sins.

As a human being, He was able to represent us. So, Jesus freely took on Himself the sins of the whole world and ransomed us by His sacrifice.


Here’s what John 3:16-17 says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”

How amazing is that?! Now that is true agape!

So, if there is anything that you have ever done and you think you can’t have a relationship with God because of your actions, you’re wrong. Jesus longs to have a relationship with you and wants to be with you every day, every night, and every moment of your life!


Do you want to be with Him and experience everlasting love?! Then ask Him to enter into your heart and send the Holy Spirit to you. Then confess and believe in Him. Know that He died on the cross for you and that He rose again in three days. He did all of this so we could be with Him. He conquered death. WOW!


Now here’s a little piece of my own testimony of what Jesus has done for me, which is a tremendous amount. From ages 5-13, I was under spiritual warfare. One night when I was 13, I accepted Jesus into my life, and I cried myself to sleep knowing that He died for me. The next day the evil spirit that had plagued me for 8 years of my life was gone! Then when I was 30, I got baptized and made my profession of faith. At age 41, He saved my marriage and my family! He broke me of my sinful addiction! And forgave me!

Again, at age 41, I heard Him say in my head three times: “Feed my sheep!” I then became a Sunday school class leader here at Wesley Chapel.


And now Jesus is calling me to become a pastor! This is just a part of how Jesus has shown me agape love. So, if Jesus can use a sinner like me (someone who is dyslexic, has ADD, and who procrastinates) to be called to become a pastor, what do you think He can do for you? Man, I love my Lord and Savior!


My prayer for you is that you develop such a strong relationship with Jesus and become so joyful and steadfast in Jesus that people see you and can’t help but ask themselves, “what is going on and how do I get that?”


God Bless,

Patrick Siefring

Read more

How I Became A Christian

Written by Pat McKain

I grew up in a Christian home. My dad was a Methodist pastor, and my mom worked closely with him in the church. I heard the Gospel many times and felt like I knew the Lord early on. When I was 14 years old, our church attended the Billy Graham movie “For Pete’s Sake.” At the end of the movie, an altar call was given. I was comfortable going to the altar, so I asked my friend sitting next to me if she wanted to go forward. She did – so I went with her. There were so many people who responded to the invitation that the counselors met with us in groups. We went around the circle and told everyone why we had come forward. When it got to me, I said, “I came with a friend, but I think I’m here for me.”  I count that as my public confession that I was following Jesus. The Billy Graham Association followed up with scriptural materials we were to fill out and mail back to them. Then more materials were sent. I realized that as I filled out the scriptures, they came alive! Reading the Bible took on new meaning.


As I got older, I began to wonder if there was something more to this spiritual life. God promised in the Bible that walking with Him brought an abundant life. Mine felt like I was going through the motions sometimes. I wanted more! I began seriously seeking God in my early 40s. I especially focused on what mysteries God might reveal through His Word because I felt like I had missed something for which I needed to dig deeper. For two years, I sought the Lord. “Seek and you will find!” (Matt 7:7). I immersed myself in scripture, books, prayer, and the counsel of others. I was serious about seeking. After two years, the Lord answered my prayer! A new peace that passes understanding pervaded my life. Everything changed! It was a second work of grace.


You’ve heard it said, “When you’re saved, you get all of God. When you are totally surrendered to Him, He gets all of you.” The abundant life is more than satisfying…no more questions about His Presence in my life. Thank the Lord for His grace!

Read more