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Thought for the Week
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February 27, 2018, 11:43 AM

James 1: 2-5 (KJV)


I had occasion recently to be able to participate with many of our brothers and sisters at church in cleaning up some of our landscaping.  In doing so, one of the jobs we did was taking up some large shrubs at the front of the church.  These shrubs were about 25 years old.  They all looked pretty much the same from the outside, some had grown a little larger than others, but all in all, pretty similar.  It wasn't until we pulled the shrubs up that I noticed something significantly different about a particular row of shrubs than the others.  While most of the shrubs gave some struggle while taking them up, so much so that each shrub in a row had to be taken up individually, this particular row of bushes all came up at one time with very little effort.  You see, underneath the soil was very damp. Evidently, this area holds a lot of water.  While the other shrubs still flourished and did very well, and on the outside appeared pretty much the same, this particular row had no need to get its roots down deep for water.  Thus, when time came, they just pulled right out of the ground with no fight whatsoever.  

James 1: 2-5 states, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

Be joyous in time of trial, when things aren't going our way?  Yes!  Sometimes life is all about the way we look at it.  While I realize there are definitely times of sorrow in our lives and times we have no control of the circumstances.  If we really look at it, what circumstances do we really have control over?  Very little, I believe.  But we do have control over how we handle difficult times.  We can decide what to do when trials come our way.  Do we lean on our own understanding?  Verses four and five tell us exactly what we should do.  First, let patience have her perfect work.  God sent his own son into the world to die for you.  Do you think he did that in order to leave you alone?  We can have full faith that God is with us and may be allowing us to learn to lean a little closer to Him.  He may be allowing us to put our roots in a little deeper.  And the fifth verse says if we lack wisdom, ask of God!  How beautiful this is, to be able to go to the one who sent his son to die on the cross for us, turn to him, not the world, and the promise here is he will give to you liberally.  He may not ever reveal to us why something is going on, but I believe our roots can get a little deeper with every dry spell and trial, and our trials can bring us closer and closer (to Him) in our walk with God.

Bro. Chip Bishop




February 21, 2018, 9:52 PM

Victory


In 2 Peter 3:1-7 we read, "This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:   Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,  And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.  For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:  Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men."

Consider this for a moment, if we are not serving God, then history as it was taught when I was in school, is just that.  The world is still simply moving and evolving from day to day just as it has since God created man.  Sure there are advancements and the world changes, but the sun still rises and sets, rain comes and goes, people continue to be born and pass on, and man generally still wallows in its depravity.  If we choose to see the life we live this way, how hollow and unfulfilling it can be.  There is a promise of something greater, a deliverance from the world and its toil and drama.  There is a promise of life that is more rich and fulfilling than the goods of this world can ever provide. 

Christ tells us in John 10:10 that he came to this earth that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly.  While God did not seem to change the world, he provided a way that the hearts of those in the world can be changed if we submit our lives to him.  He promised victory over sin, death, and the world if we will give our lives completely over to him. 

I Corinthians 15:53-58 states, "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

The question is, Have you allowed God to change you, have you found victory in this life?  If not, you can!  Submit your life to Christ and allow him to change you and show you what living life is all about.

Bro. Chip Bishop




February 13, 2018, 1:42 PM

Hebrews 13: 1-3 (KJV)


Hebrews 13: 1-3 states, "Let brotherly love continue. 2. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body."

The third verse in this passage has stuck with me for quite some time now.  Read it carefully and think of the gravity and weight of the commands in this verse.  Christ came to this earth to suffer as we do, that he may become an advocate with the Father for us, and there is no better demonstration of this than his tears in the garden as he was praying for those he was leaving behind. I think Paul understood this immensely as well, as he wrote several times in his letters of shedding tears as he wrote, that the receivers may know the love that he had for them.  It is easy to say we love someone, it is also easy to pray for them as we are going through our daily prayers, but how do we pray for adversity and bonds when we, or yet our children, are the ones going through them.  This verse is challenging us to remember as if it is us going through the bonds or adversity.  It says remember them as you are in the adversity or bonds.  If we are in bonds or suffering adversity, as we all will in this life, when is it not on your mind?  When we wake it is the first thing we think about, when we sit down to eat it is there as well, when we get up in the night, they are there.  Do we truly love those God places in our path?  Do we truly love the sinner as God loved us?  This verse seems to me to be a call to action for all of us.  May we, as we go on our daily walk, remember those God has placed in our path the way Christ loved us before we knew him. 

Bro. Chip Bishop 




February 6, 2018, 9:48 AM

The Good Shepherd


The Bible refers to Jesus many times as our Father, and our shepherd. In fact, St. John 10:14 says, "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine."  Matthew 6:31-32 says "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, what shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things."

The main similarity in the role of shepherd and the role of Father is that they take care of those who depend on them. And that certainly describes our Jesus.  He knows what we need, better than we do ourselves. He knows what we want - in fact, He know what we think we want, and what we actually want.

Not only does he understand us completely, but he loves us, with a love so deep and rich that we can barely comprehend it. He wants us to allow Him into our lives. He wants to take care of us. He hears every word we say, and He knows our voice, whether it is the voice of our heart, or we are speaking out loud. 

Do you know his voice?  Don't you want to know Him? 

Sis. Demi Arceneaux




January 30, 2018, 12:34 PM

Ephesians 2: 8-13 (KJV)


Ephesians 2: 8-13 states, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."

One of the most important things we can come to recognize in our lives is that we are what we are only by the blood of Christ.  In recognizing this, as the passage says we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.  Will we fill up all of our disposable time with things that serve ourselves or will we submit our time and life to Jesus to be used for his work.  Every day we have opportunity to live intentionally to seek opportunity to demonstrate Christ to those we come in contact with, if only we are living our life looking for those opportunities rather than being so caught up in the things we need to get accomplished that day.  We were all once Gentiles and aliens to Christ, so we need to find ourselves intentionally seeking to introduce others to the grace whereby they may be saved through faith.

Bro. Chip Bishop


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