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August 8, 2016, 8:04 PM

It is really not about me


On occasion in our worship services we sing a hymn with a line in the song that says "when I gave all trying over, simply trusting, I was blessed".  We sing another hymn written by our own "poet" that says "Lean upon the Savior, tell him all your cares, for he's ever mindful how his children fair".  Another hymn says "trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey".

Our world is increasingly 'all about me'.  Increasing automation means companies can give personal, customized services (nothing wrong with that)..... but the me centered world sneaks in before we realize it.  As an example, most recent Christmas cards seem to have pictures of the senders more than the birth of Christ.  Do I go to church hoping for a blessing more than hoping to bring a blessing?  Do I seek to be encouraged vs. encouraging someone else?

There is a "release" that comes from giving one’s heart and life up and letting Jesus sanctify our soul and dwell in our hearts and lives.  'Obey' is not about me.  Just to help guide us more, Saul was told that "obedience is better than sacrifice". 

Your words may have been different than mine, but I promised the Lord…I'll go where you want me to go, I'll say what you want me to say, I'll do what you want me to do before I received the blessing that through faith, His Spirit is in my heart and I am sanctified. 

Unless I "take back" some of what I laid on the alter to be sanctified, it’s not about me.  The master of the wind and sea can easily calm the storms in my life; "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him".  So after I've done my part, the challenge is trusting him to take care of me and focusing on how to encourage and prosper His kingdom.  Let us "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love".

Bro. David Cosby  




August 2, 2016, 12:00 AM

Holiness


The Bible tells us in Hebrews that without holiness we will not see God.

Hebrews 12:14, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord”

How can a sinful person become holy?  We cannot find this state of being holy on our own so this is why we need the resurrecting power of the God resting in our hearts and lives.  To be holy is to truly find God and to obtain our eternal salvation.  To be holy, we must repent and then ask God for his Holy Spirit to live in our hearts.  It is truly a life changing experience.

In 1 Peter 1:13-19 we read, Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:  But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.  And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot”

Holiness is essential to our eternal destination (heaven) and for our way of life while living on earth.  Once we choose to follow God our pathway is brighter and the way is made for us:

Isaiah 35: 8-10 states, And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.  No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:  And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Life is still life, but the outlook and destination are much, much brighter when we choose to live Holy through the power of God.

Bro. Terry Clelland




July 12, 2016, 12:00 AM

Choices


Every day we have opportunity to make choices for our life and others around us.  Some choices are small and of no consequence, however othere choices can be life changing.  Today God invites us to choose Him and His ways!

In Deuteronomy 30: 19-20, we have an example of the calling that is set before us each and every day, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:  That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. So, with the decision before us and phrased this way, it doesn’t appear to be much of a choice, but is this easy?”

We can look to the book of Joshua 1: 7-8, “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

And another passage from the book of Jeremiah 29: 11-13, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”

This is no small decision, it is certainly a determination, and is not something where we simply happen to choose God.  This is an all-in choice, a forsaking of other gods, which can be viewed as anything that would come between us and the one true God.

The final passage that comes to mind on choices and daily living and choosing God can be found in Proverbs 3: 1-6, “My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.  Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:  So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Remember to choose God this week in every little thing.

Bro. Terry Clelland




July 5, 2016, 12:00 AM

Part 4-Are we saved at Repentance?


The following is Part 4 of the Repentance/Forgiveness Bible study.  Are we saved at repentance?

Jesus had the ability to forgive sins while He was on earth as evidence when we read Mark 2: 1-12.  So what was the purpose of his death and resurrection?

In Romans 8: 11 it states, "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”    This quickening is the baptism of the Holy Spirit that John spoke of and the born again experience that Jesus spoke of to Nicodemus.  The word used in the scripture is Sanctify.

We also read in Hebrews 13: 11-12, “For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.  Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.”  From this scripture alone we can conclude that Jesus died to sanctify us!

Romans 16: 16 states, “ That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.”  

The experience of Saul who later became the Apostle Paul is documented in Acts, where he is converted and then is filled with the Holy Ghost.  We read of his conversion in Acts 9, "And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem."

"And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?  And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."

"And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.  And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man." And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.  And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink."

"And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.  And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight."

"Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:  And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.  But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:  For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake."

"And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.  And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Recorded later in Acts, the Apostle Paul gives another recount of his experience before king Agrippa.  Acts 26: 17-18 states, "Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."

Hebrews leaves on record the fulfillment of the Prophecy of the New Covenant, which is found through the sanctified experience.  In Hebrews 10: 14-17 we read, "For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.  Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."




June 27, 2016, 12:00 AM

Part 3-What does it mean to be Converted?


The following is Part 3 of the Repentance/Forgiveness Bible study recently hosted.  What does it mean to be converted?  Conversion occurs when a person truly decides to serve the Lord and asks Jesus Christ for forgiveness.  Once a person is forgiven, they are converted and ready to receive the Holy Spirt which is the “born again” experience.  Conversion is the first step in our approach to God. It is being converted from the old sinful way of life to a brand new life serving the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines converted as, "turned or changed from one substance or state to another; turned from one religion or sect to another; changed from a state of sin to a state of holiness; applied to a particular use; appropriated." 

Matthew 18: 2-4 states, “And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” 

In Mark 4:12 we read, “That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven of them.” 

Luke 22: 31-32 states, “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”  Jesus spoke to one of his disciples about what Satan had planned for him before his conversion. Jesus was concerned for his disciple and offered up a prayer for him until he was converted. 

The primary evangelist of the New Testament, Paul, had a very miraculous conversion. In Acts Chapter 9, we read that Saul (Paul's name before his experience) was a religious zealot who was threatening the lives of the new Christians. While on the road to Damascus to bring Christians into custody, he was struck blind by God. God spoke to Saul in the 4th verse "...Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" Saul immediately knew that God was speaking to him and in the 6th verse says "And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me do?" God sent a gentlemen named Ananias to pray with Saul. 

God can use extreme measures to get our attention and persuade us to convert to a life of holiness built on Jesus Christ. We need to obey his call and allow our lives to become a holy vessel ready for the God’s use.

Join us next week as "Are we saved at Repentance?" is discussed.


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