Thursday, January 11, 2018

Be Steadfast

The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians and urged them to “be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). That is a beautiful charge and one that every Christian should keep on their mind to keep focused in life and their duty for God. A true Christian is certainly steadfast and so is the Word of God and our hope (Hebrews 2:2-4; 6:19). Christians should strive to be steadfast in faith as Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:9 when he uses the word “firm” which is another form of steadfastness. We should also be steadfast in our prayers, confidence, and in our worship to God (Romans 12:12; Hebrews 3:14; Acts 2:42). We realize as Christians that it is important to be steadfast in our faith in Jesus, but some may still wonder why. We are commanded in 1 Corinthians 15:58 to be steadfast - why? To be approved.

Paul tells the Romans “...patience, experience…” (Romans 5:4). When we are patient under the daily pressures, then we become a better Christian, one that has proven to be steadfast and as a result we become much stronger! One that is steadfast also produces joy (Colossians 2:5). We also need to be steadfast to resist the devil, to be holy, and not to be enticed (1 Peter 5:9; Colossians 1:22-23; 2 Peter 2:14). One can strengthen their steadfastness by enduring tribulation as Paul mentions in Romans 5:3-4. And of course the greatest reason to be steadfast in Jesus is because “we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end” (Hebrews 3:14). Steadfastness reaps eternal benefits!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Is the Church Really Important?

It is so unfortunate that many people today who claim to be religious, do not feel that the church of our Lord as being all that important. However, we can clearly see in scripture the following:

God planned the church. The apostle Paul said this concerning the church: “to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:10-11). Therefore, if God did plan and purpose the church as the Bible says, then the church must be very important.

We learn also that the Holy Spirit revealed the church. The Lord’s church is revealed on the pages of the Bible, by the Holy Spirit. “how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:3-6). There are more than one hundred references to the church in the New Testament. The church must be very important since the New Testament says so much about it.

Jesus died for the church. Jesus said to Peter after Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God that “on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). We learn from the pages of the Bible that “Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25). Christ purchased the church “with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for the church that He loved and established.

May we all fully understand the importance of the blood bought church of Christ!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Preparing Ourselves for Worship

Most everyone realizes the need for preparation in our lives. Before we leave for work or school, we freshen up, comb our hair, and put on clean clothing. After a hearty breakfast, we leave the house ready to face the day's activities. 

Parents prepare and make sure that their school-age children are ready with their homework before they head to school. One hosting a get together values preparation and usually goes the second mile when company is coming. The menu is planned, grocery shopping done early, and the meal gets put on the table at the right time.

Preparation really does pay off! When we're well prepared, our lives are happier and runs smoother. We've all learned that facing a test in school without studying, getting to work late without our lunch, or serving guests after a long delay, disturbs us. We've learned the value of preparation in various areas of our day to day lives.

Therefore, don't we feel that our worship of God would be better if we made adequate preparation for it? I want to offer just a few suggestions that should make our worship to God much better on the Lord’s day.

First, we need to get up on time. It really makes a difference when we get up, get ready, and leave in plenty of time in order to arrive at the building early so we can greet our brethren, and begin focusing our attention on the privileges and joys of assembling together.

Secondly, we need to come with a prepared, seeking heart. Attending the assembly should not be approached as a matter of habit or burden of duty. It's an opportunity to get completely away from the world and be in fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ and have a deeper contact with our God. 

Thirdly, we need to come with a prepared attitude. We need to come prepared to give of ourselves. If we come only to receive, we will, in the end, get nothing. The success of the assembly depends on people who are prepared to give of themselves. Assembling isn't just a matter of getting some people together. It's a matter of getting hearts, minds, and needs together. Our preparing for the assembly will most likely make all the difference in the world. Come prepared to worship our almighty God and to edify and encourage one another.

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Love of God

Have you ever tried to understand the extent of God’s love for man? The truth is, we can’t wholly grasp the depths of God’s love for us. His love is infinite. Our comprehension is finite.

It seems that true devotion to God is not attainable without a personal awareness of God’s love. I must understand that God loves me. Please notice Paul’s use of the personal pronouns I and me in 1 Timothy 1:12-17: “I thank Christ Jesus...I was formerly a blasphemer...but I obtained mercy...Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief...I obtained mercy, that in me first Christ Jesus might show all longsuffering.” Paul was aware of his own sinfulness and unworthiness. This awareness served to magnify his conception of God’s love and mercy. 

Every child of God needs to reflect on the unconditional nature of God’s love. 1 John 4:9-10 tells us, “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 

We did not, nor can we ever, earn divine love. God’s gift to sinners is His Son, Jesus Christ. God greatly desires to save those who are sinking in sin. Jesus was, and is, the only way for God’s desire to be accomplished. God put Jesus on the cross for you and me. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). 

Let us be devoted in our love for God. We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

Friday, November 10, 2017

Glad to Worship God

Several years ago when we were living in Ridgway, CO I talked with several people who said they worshiped God by hiking along the mountain trails on Saturday and Sunday. They believed that was how they became close to God. They, along with many others have told me that they didn't need to go to worship services in order to draw near to God. In fact, some have suggested that going to church hinders them from truly communing with God.

How we feel about this matter isn’t the determining factor as to whether or not we’re correct in our thinking. God’s word ultimately must decide whether we need to be regular in our worship with other Christians. 

Long ago, David left us a good example about worshiping God. He said in Psalms 122:1, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.’” In the New Testament we read in Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” 

The instruction is clear for all who want to understand the will of God. We need to come to God in Christ by obeying the first principles of the gospel of Christ, and we must be faithful to our God as long as we live. A part of this faithfulness is assembling with the saints and worshiping God in spirit and in truth. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24). 

How about you? Do you worship God on a regular basis? If not, why not resolve in your heart to begin doing so? May God, in all things, be glorified in our lives (Matthew 5:16).

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Lord's Supper

In Acts 20:7, we're given the example of the early church gathering together to break bread on the first day of the week. Lets look at the Lord’s supper and what it should mean to us. As we gather around the Lord’s table, Christ is with us as the central figure. He is the Son over his own house, whose house we are according to Hebrews 3:6. When Jesus instituted His supper, He said, “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). His kingdom is here, and He communes with us. He has promised to be with us as meet in His name (Matthew 18:20).

As Christians partake of His body and blood, through the eye of faith, he has communion with every other Christian who is partaking. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 says, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.” Thus, the Lord’s supper is a most beautiful expression of unity and fellowship. Every heart is directed to the one sacrifice made for all.

To partake of the Lord’s supper is a confession of our faith. We show the Lord’s death until He comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26 says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” Thus, as long as faithful Christians continue to partake of the Lord’s supper on the first day of the week, they are keeping the remembrance of His death alive. This great memorial feast instituted by our Lord will continue until our Lord returns. Do you remember the Lord’s death each Lord’s day as the early Christians did?

Monday, October 30, 2017

History and Geography of the Bible Story on CD

I have just put the "History and Geography of the Bible Story on CD" on sale! This is the first time I have sold this CD for this price. Now until December 31, 2017 you can only purchase the CD for $20.00 from my website http://www.thetfordcountry.com/HistoryGeography.html

This CD contains over 1,300 PowerPoint charts dealing with the history and geography of the Bible story and compliments the popular "History and Geography of the Bible Story" study manual by Bob and Sandra Waldron. You can read more about it on the website.

This CD would make a great gift for any Bible student. The CD will be shipped to anyone in the United States free of charge. After December 31st the price will return to $25.00.