Saturday, December 24, 2016

How We Should Walk

On Tuesday, December 20, 2016, Carrol R. Sutton was tragically killed in an automobile accident at the age of 84. He preached the gospel of Christ for over 50 years with the East Albertville church of Christ in Albertville, Alabama. He will be greatly missed by those of his immediate family along with many, many faithful brothers and sisters in Christ who loved him so much. Brother Sutton lived his life devoted to Christ, living each day striving to be with Him in eternity. He published so many great articles over the years and I have chosen to borrow this one that was recently posted by the brethren at the New Georgia church of Christ in Rogersville, Alabama this past week. My blog is called "Walking in the Light" and these 13 points truly show us how we should walk in the ways of God.

How We Should Walk
Carrol R. Sutton

As we travel the journey from time to eternity, we have access to the Scriptures in which we have directions provided for us (in the Scriptures) as to how we should walk that we may be saved eternally. (See 2 Timothy 3:16-17; James 1:25; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 11:6: Romans 10:17; 2 John 9-11; James 2:12).


BY FAITH! In 2 Corinthians 5:7 Paul said: "(For we walk by faith, not by sight.)" One cannot walk by faith unless he listens to and learns the Word of God because "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17). One cannot walk by faith unless he walks according to the teaching of God's word.

IN THE LIGHT. John said: "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7). To walk in the light is to walk according to God's Word. (See Psalms 119:105, 130; Acts 26:18; John 8:12; 2 Corinthians 4:4)

IN TRUTH. John said: "I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father." (2 John 4). Since God's Word is truth, to walk in truth is to walk according to God's Word, (see John 17:17)

AFTER HIS COMMANDMENTS. John said: "And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it" (2 John 2). To walk after them, one must know them. Study to learn them.

WALK AFTER THE SPIRIT. We learn from Romans 8:1-6 that "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit...who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." In Galatians 5:16 Paul said: "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." To walk after the Spirit is to walk according to the revelation of the Holy Spirit as written in the Scriptures. When one engages in the works of the flesh, he is walking after the flesh and not after the Spirit. When a person follows the teaching of the Holy Spirit as revealed in the Scriptures, he is walking after the Spirit and not the flesh.

BY THE SAME RULE. Since we are following the same God, we should be walking by the same standard or rule of authority. Jesus Christ is our Lord and His Word should be our rule of faith and practice. Most denominational churches have their own rule of faith and practice. All who are a part of them are expected to accept and follow them. The apostle Paul said: "...let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing." (Philippians 3:16). As Christians we must all follow the same standard and rule of faith and practice if we expect to please God.

IN NEWNESS OF LIFE. We learn from Romans 6:1-5 that one must die to sin in repentance and be buried with Christ by baptism and be raised to "walk in newness of life". We must "put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit" of our mind and "put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24). As new creatures we must live lives of "newness". (See 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15).

IN GOOD WORKS. Paul says: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10). We are "to be ready to every good work" and "always abounding in the work of the Lord" because we know our labour is not in vain in the Lord." Faith without works is dead. (See James 2:14-26).

CIRCUMSPECTLY. Paul said: "See that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:15-16). The word circumspectly means carefully.

HONESTLY. "Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying." (Romans 13:13). (See Romans 12:17; 2 Corinthians 8:21)

TO WALK IN CHRIST AND TO WALK AS HE WALKED. John said: "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." (1 John 2:6). Paul said: "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him..." (Colossians 2:6). Also see Colossians 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 4:1; Colossians 1:10; Ephesians 5:8; Romans 4:12).

IN LOVE. Paul said: "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us..." (Ephesians 5:2) 2 John 2:6 says: "And this is love, that we walk after his commandments..." To walk in love, we must agree with God. Amos 3:3 says: "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?"

IN THE LIGHT. According to Paul in Colossians 1:13 and Ephesians 6:12 the world is in darkness. Darkness represents wickedness. Colossians 3:5-7 teaches that we live in wickedness as we walk in it. Instead of walking in darkness, we should walk in the light. (See John 12:35; 8:12; I John 1:6-7; 2:11).

To walk acceptably in the sight of God it is essential that we give diligence to learn His will, believe and obey it from the heart! Are you walking with God? Is He pleased with your walk? Is your walk a good influence on others? It should be.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Finding Happiness

Everyone wants a life that is filled with joy and happiness. While some manage to find this kind of life, most people don’t. One of the major reasons people fail to find the happiness they seek is because they try to find it through social approval. They are dedicated servants of humanity, working tirelessly day and night for others while neglecting God and their own families. They work furiously on some project and appear to be the epitome of human dedication. 

Could it be they are doing this to compensate for a personal insecurity they’re feeling? Or, is it a sense of something missing in their life? Businessmen frequently work day and night to amass a fortune while neglecting God and their families. Are they trying to find happiness through power, prestige and social approval? 

Don't get me wrong. The approval of society is acceptable to a certain extent. However, it can never bring lasting happiness, and should never be placed ahead of one's relationship with God and family. 

Where can we find happiness? Psalms 128:1-2 tells us, “Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.” Again, Psalms 146:5 says, “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God...” 

How about you? Do you fear God? Are you happy because God is your hope and salvation? Living for God in all aspects of life will bring the greatest happiness of all!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Why Should We Pray?

Some might ask “Why should I pray?” A Christian knows that talking to God is important in drawing them closer to God. God listens to the saints (His children), and when we understand that, then it gives us a closeness to our Father. We need God and we need to ask God to intervene on our behalf. When we pray, we recognize that God is in charge and we need His help to direct our steps in life (Jeremiah 10:23). 

A Fundamental Point
In James 1:5-7 it says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.” We need to understand that when we are lacking in something, in this case wisdom, then we should pray to God and ask for it. But when we ask, make sure that we are asking in faith, fully expecting God to make the change in our life. A prayer without faith is a prayer offered in vain. A Christian that prays constantly to God is a Christian devoted on serving God. Are you praying to God in faith, fully expecting Him to change your life? Many times our lives are made miserable because we do not take the time to pray to God and allow Him to intervene and help us. How frustrating it must be to God to know that we need His help, but simply refuse to ask!

Consistency is the Key
Please take a moment and read the following scriptures in your Bible: Matthew 15:21-28; Luke 18:1-8; 11:5-8. What do you see in these verses? In each case, what is the one clear message that we can learn about persistency in praying? We must pray to God knowing that He WILL provide for us IF we ask in faith, and if we ask in a persistent manner, expecting Him to deliver. That is what Jesus was trying to teach concerning an individual’s prayer life. When our children want something, don’t they usually ask us for it? And if they REALLY want it, don’t they ask over and over -- even to the point of “wearing us out?” We need faith, a faith that knows God is listening and He will provide for our needs, we’ve just got to ask Him and be consistent about it. Sometimes we just need to stop and look around at life itself. Life is teaching us something whether we recognize it or not. Life says, I need help. God says, “ask and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7).

Learning From The Old
The context of James 5:13-16 is prayer. Then in verses 17-18 it says: “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” Here we have a message about Elijah. Sometimes the praying of Old Testament characters are put in front of us in the New Testament to teach us lessons concerning our prayer life. What lesson do you understand James to be teaching here about prayer? First of all we should pray at all times, whether sick or glad. An effective prayer life can heal wounds, forgive others, and gladden our hearts beyond comprehension! We can also learn that God will listen to the prayers of the righteous and answer them. All we need to do is ask God to help us and He will. Elijah was a man of faith and the example before us is that he was sincere and “prayed earnestly.” Again, we are sometimes our own worst enemy because we don’t take the time to pray to God and allow Him to direct our steps. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray without ceasing.” Why? Because when we have an active prayer life, communicating with God, then our lives will be enriched with all the spiritual blessings. Are you happy? Pray. Are you sad? Pray. Are you thankful? Pray. Pray all the time!