Wednesday, September 15, 2021

My Father's Businss

Jesus, as a child of twelve years, was rebuked by Mary for remaining in Jerusalem after His family and acquaintances had left. He replied, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?” (Luke 2:49). Our Father’s business should take priority over everything else in this world. 

Jesus knew and understood the importance of obeying God. Our Father’s business should be attended with wisdom and care. If some of those who call themselves Christians operated their own affairs in the sloppy way that they attend to the Lord’s work, they would soon go bankrupt. The children of this world are storing up material goods to be used tomorrow, whereas the child of God should be storing up treasures in heaven.

Our Father’s business calls for devotion, dedication, and duty. All work is done on a voluntary basis. In secular work, some do only what the boss absolutely requires. In our Father’s work, we need to do all that we can. Jesus said, “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’” (Luke 17:10).

Our Father’s business demands a positive, loving attitude. A critical, judgmental, harsh, negative tone is not characteristic of God’s children.

Let us make sure that we are going about our Father’s business with an attitude that He is pleased with.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

God's Word

Have you ever had something you valued very highly and were afraid that you might lose it? Most of us take great care in protecting what we highly treasure, and try to learn the best way to protect it. Sometimes our efforts to preserve and keep our treasures are useless due to ignorance or neglect of the correct measures to be taken. Therefore, that which provided great benefit and was of much value is lost and can't be recovered no matter how hard we try.

Atheists, secular humanists, and others who don’t want to hear anything about God or His standard for living, enjoy all the benefits that come from a society that mostly practices the teachings of the Bible. These people are willfully ignorant of the knowledge that the Bible and its teachings restrain evil and bring order to society. They’re ignorant that the Bible sets forth the individual as being very valuable. This country was based upon this very idea, and its laws were constituted to protect the individual.

If, as the Atheists and others in ignorance desire, Bible teaching is removed from the great majority of our society, that removal will eventually destroy the value of the individual. When the value of the individual is destroyed, our orderly society and freedoms will be gone. Anarchy, violence and lawlessness will replace order and freedom, and a dictatorship or other type of oppressive government will take over.

Do you value God's word? Do you want your children, and grandchildren to grow up with the freedom to practice what the Bible teaches? If you do, store up the word of God in your heart, and teach your children God’s word, morning, noon and night (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). It all begins with each one of us. Before our homes can function properly, we must first function properly in the ways and teachings of God. When we are practicing godliness and are truly loyal to Christ, then our homes will reflect that. When our homes reflect Christ, then our local congregations will also reflect Him. It all starts with “ME.”

God’s people long ago were instructed to put Him first above others and all things (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). In the New Testament, Jesus said “And you shall love the lord your god with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' this is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ there is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31). If we will truly value God’s precious word in all aspects of our lives, we will never regret it. Let us all strive to keep God's Word sacred in our heart so that our children and grandchildren will learn of God and value His word!

For Your Information

The following things may be something that you are interested in:

Walking in the Light -- Weekly Bulletin

I have been editing and publishing a bulletin entitled "Walking in the Light" since 2001. The bulletin articles are emailed to more than 800 people each week. If you want to be included on the bulletin mailing list please go to the Poudre Valley church of Christ web site at www.poudrevalleychurchofchrist.org and complete the "contact us" box. In the message section just put "please send me the weekly bulletin." I will receive your information within a few minutes after you submit it and will add your name and email address to my electronic mailing list. You should receive the bulletin in your email box every Saturday.

Churches Looking for Preachers

Non-institutional churches of Christ are welcome to post an ad on my web site if you are looking for a preacher. To post an ad for "Churches Looking for Preachers" and also "Preachers Looking for Churches" please go to the two new pages of the web site designed especially for this purpose. Churches who are looking for preachers can now go to www.thetfordcountry.com and click on the "Churches Looking for Preachers" link and fill out the easy form to submit your information. The listing will be updated on the web site within 24 hours (usually the same day). This information will be kept current so that churches and preachers can have confidence that these listings are accurate and up to date. I would appreciate it if you would let any churches who are looking for a preacher know that this site is available for them to place their posting. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Truth and Freedom

Freedom is a most precious possession. Every creature desires and enjoys its freedom. Place an insect in a jar and it will work to get free. Put a dog on a leash and restrain him in one place and he will howl and bark to be set free. We humans are no different. We do not want our liberties tampered with – we want freedom.

On one occasion, Jesus said to the Jews who believed in Him, “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” John 8:31-32. The key to genuine freedom is found in the phrase; “continue in my word.” Jesus says we come to know the truth by continuing in His teachings, and truth is that which will liberate us or make us free. When we live by the principles of truth we are not bound by Satan. The application of truth will eliminate social as well as moral evils. Sin is what leads to drunkenness, fornication, adultery, idolatry, homosexuality, lasciviousness, and all other forms of immorality.

Truth will lead men and women, boys and girls to love one another. To the extent that we love one another, we shall also respect each other’s rights and privileges. Jesus said when asked about the first commandment, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘hear, o Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ this is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ there is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).

When we have love for God and our neighbor, it will necessitate living by the principle found in the Golden Rule, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12). Or as we have coined the thought: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Such behavior will contribute to peaceful relationships. It will also demand honest dealings. The Bible says, “Provide things honest in the sight of all men” (Romans 12:17). The application of the Golden Rule will cause us to have respect for law and order. This style and quality of living will always lead to the blessings of the Lord. We must understand that freedom is not something that can be legislated. It cannot be guaranteed by maintaining large armies or police forces. It comes when men and women submit to the will of the Lord.

We are reminded of the words of Paul, when he asked, “If God be  for us, who can be against us” (Romans 8:31)? If we walk in truth and worship in truth, we have nothing to fear. We shall be free people in the Lord. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Different from the World

The life of a Christian should be obviously different than those of the world. The apostle Paul wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). This instruction given to the saints at Rome is sorely needed by Christians today. We live in a world in which subjects us to various pressures, calling upon us to “conform.” Just because “everyone else” dresses immodestly, uses vulgar language, is involved in the mad pursuit of material things, is intent on the things of this life that are pleasurable, etc. etc., Christians are under heavy temptation to do likewise. The word “transformed” is the Greek word “metamorphose” which means “to change into another form, transfigure, transform.” The metamorphoses is often illustrated in high school biology by the changing of a green worm into a butterfly. As Christ was transformed into a divine radiance, Christians are to be transformed into the image of Him who created him. “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:8-11). It is a transformation from within, which exemplifies itself from without.

No matter how popular and widespread sin and ungodliness may be, it doesn’t excuse it or make it more acceptable (Exodus 23:2). “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13). Thus, Christians are called upon to deny ungodliness and worldly lust and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. This we must do, regardless of what those around us do. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

The life of the Christian is to be different – a pure, clean, wholesome kind of difference that others should be able to see. It’s sad, indeed, when our conduct can’t be distinguished from that of the worldly people around us. Are we careful to conduct ourselves correctly in all of our relationships in this life? Do we strive to keep our lives clean and pure? Let us not be conformed to this world, but be transformed into the very image of almighty God (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

A Sower Went Out to Sow

Great multitudes were gathered to hear the words of Jesus, so many in fact, that the scriptures tell us that He got into a boat and sat while the multitude of people stood on the nearby sea shore. Then in Matthew 13:3 it says: “Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: Behold, a sower went out to sow.” Most of us recognize this setting as the one in which Jesus told the parable of the sower. You may recall how some seed fell by the wayside, some fell on stony places, some fell among thorns, and some fell on good ground. We have heard this parable many times, from many different angles. But I believe the key to this parable is in that third verse which says: “a sower went out to sow.”

Why is this the key? Because if the sower had not attempted to sow any seed, then there would not have been any chance for a crop! Before God can give the increase, there must be something started to give the increase to. Paul wrote: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” (1 Cor 3:6). If Paul had never planted, Apollos could not have watered, and God would not have had the opportunity to give the increase. Sometimes we may be asking: “why aren’t we converting more souls to Christ?” The answer is simply because we are not “sowing the seed!” Before we can convert souls, there must be some planting going on. The church can grow, IF we plant the seed (the Word of God) in the hearts of man. While it is true that most will reject the Word, we’ll never convert a soul if we don’t give God the opportunity to provide the increase.

 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Obtaining Salvation in Christ

In the book of Acts we read, “Repent you therefore, and be converted that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3: 19). The change in a person’s life resulting in his becoming a Christian is called in the Bible, conversion, and the Bible teaches that conversion is necessary for a person to be saved. Christ likened this change to a birth and taught Nicodemus, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Of the 27 books comprising the New Testament, there is one book which is particularly helpful in understanding the nature of conversion. This book is Acts of the Apostles which tells of the conversions of many different people. In Chapters 2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, 18, and 22 are 8 key examples of conversion and from these examples certain universal principles of conversion can be understood. Conversion is  dependent upon the acceptance of the Word of God by the sinner. Jesus said, “The seed is the Word”, and conversions mentioned in the book of Acts bear out the necessity of both the presentation of God’s word to the sinner and his acceptance of it (Romans 1:16). The presentation can be either public or private; through words either spoken or written, but their acceptance always results in belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (Romans 10:17). We also read, “They believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 8:12), and in Acts 18:8, “And many of the Corinthians hearing, believed and were baptized.”

Faith in Jesus Christ, produced by the testimony of the Word of God leads to a change in a sinner’s attitude toward his own transgressions. With faith comes an understanding of God’s love to man. This, in turn, leads the sinner to determine to turn away from sin, for we read, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance” (Romans 2:4)? An example of this part of conversion is found in Acts 2 in response to Peter’s preaching of Christ. The Bible says, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:36-38). This change in a person’s heart must lead to certain actions before conversion is complete. One of these actions is confession that Jesus is the Christ, for we read, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).

Finally, a person must be baptized in the likeness of Christ’s death and burial (Romans 6:4), in order for God to forgive him of past sins. The Bible says, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). And we also must remember that in Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, he said that both repentance and baptism are necessary in order to receive the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Later, Peter echoed this same thought again when he said that “baptism doth also now save us” (1 Peter 3:21). When a person believes in Christ, repents of sin, confesses Christ, and is baptized into Christ for the remission of sins, he is converted. Only then has he been born of the water and of the Spirit as referred to in John 3:3-5. The Lord then adds him to the body, the Church, the Kingdom of God (Acts 2:47).

The Bible plainly teaches us that there are steps that we must take in order to obtain salvation in Jesus Christ. Hearing the word, believing in Christ, repenting of our sins, confessing Christ as being the Son of God, and being baptized for the forgiveness of our sins are the steps in which every accountable person must do in order to receive salvation. We then must be determined to live a life that is faithful to Christ, according to His teaching (Revelation 2:10; John 12:48).

 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Getting Rid of Sin

We know from the Bible that God truly hates sin. In fact, God hates sin so much that He was willing to let His Son die on the cross in order to get rid of sin. This is the love, or the mercy of God. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Without man’s faith and obedience one could never be saved. The Bible says, “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews5:8-9). We need to listen and understand that Jesus is the author of salvation TO THOSE WHO OBEY HIM. Without obedience, one cannot be saved.

If a worker comes home with dirty hands, there are several things that are needed in order to get them clean. First, he must recognize they are dirty. Without this realization he would not wash his hands. Secondly, he must have a cleansing agent. This probably is soap and water. Without this, he may never get the grease and dirt off. But then he must apply the cleansing agent. Having a whole bottle of soap, without application, he would never get his hands clean.

Christ shed His blood for sinful man. But first man must realize he is a sinner. This is the hard thing in preaching the gospel. Most people are defensive about it, saying they are pretty good folks. But in reality they know they are sinners. Next, they must have a cleansing agent, the blood of Christ. This has been provided for the taking. But without application of the blood, there is no cleansing that can take place. Wishing will not make it so. Listen to the word of God: “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3). Baptism is the means of application.

How does one take advantage of the sacrifice of Christ? Most Bible believers admit that it takes the blood of Christ to wash away sins, but how is this blood applied to the human heart? “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). What does it mean to be baptized into Christ? One is baptized into the benefits of the death of Christ. What are the benefits? SALVATION. Christ died for our sins. To benefit from the blood, we must get into Christ, which means getting into a right relationship with Christ. Peter said, “Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). These individuals obtained forgiveness of their sins by repenting and being baptized into Christ. The same act that saves you also puts you into Christ. Baptism brings salvation, remission of sins, and puts one into Christ! Have you been baptized into Christ for the remission of sins?

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The Blood of Christ

The Hebrew writer in the New Testament said “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission” Hebrews 9:22). God said early on that the one who sheds blood must shed his own blood – that is to give his own life. But as God looked forward to the time when the blood of Christ would be substituted for the sinner’s, the blood of animals became a type of the blood of Christ who could really take away sins. So animal sacrifices were required to take away sins under the Old Testament law of Moses.

All men sin and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Since God has said that sin demands death, and since God was not willing that all should die – He sent Christ into the world to take our place. The Hebrew writer said “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12). Later, in the same chapter, he said “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Hebrews 9:24). Christ shed His own blood so that you and I might not have to shed our blood when we sin. Remember, God said “The soul who sins shall die....” (Ezekiel 18:20). If I sin, then God requires my life – that is a separation from God. But Jesus was willing to die in my place and yours. That is the greatest love of all.

At this point one might ask “how could the blood of the Lord which was shed over 2,000 years ago have anything to do with salvation from sin?” Christ died for us. He paid the price of sin – which was death. To shed blood is to die. To die is to shed blood in a figure of speech. Jesus died so that we would not have to do so spiritually. This is stated clearly in Romans 6:3-4. “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Many people today say that baptism is not essential. The word of God clearly tells us that we appropriate the blood of Christ through baptism.

All men will die a physical death, but those who are washed in the blood of Christ by being baptized for the forgiveness of their sins and live faithfully for God in the remaining days on this earth will not die a spiritual death. By being obedient to God we can have the assurance of being able to live eternally with Him. “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9). I encourage you to obey God so that you can have the peace of mind knowing that physical death is the gateway to eternal life in Christ Jesus!

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Knowledge

Knowledge is a very important aspect of life itself. Knowledge of life makes it easier to make the right choices. Knowledge of our jobs will allow us to progress. Knowledge of the Word of God will help us gain eternity with Him. As we live day by day we are ever learning and gaining more knowledge. In the religious realm, if we reject knowledge then we too will be rejected. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children" (Hosea 4:6). Those who do not retain God in their knowledge will be rejected and will pursue worldly things. The apostle Paul wrote, "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them" (Romans 1:28-32). Knowledge must be gained, applied, and passed on. Jesus said, "Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered" (Luke 11:52).

It is so very important that we increase in the knowledge of God and be able to translate that knowledge into the wisdom we need to please Him. "For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1:9-10). Keep studying God’s Word on a daily basis because knowledge is vitally important!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Forgiveness

Have you ever noticed how miserable some people are and wondered why they were that way? Sometimes it's caused by being long on memory and short on forgiveness. If a person remembers every unkind thing anybody has ever said or done to them, they'll be miserable. Forgiveness is one of the great spiritual medicines and if used, will result in peace of mind.

To harbor grudges, to cultivate malice toward others, or to refuse to forgive, will hurt us far more than the one our ill feelings are directed toward. Colossians 3:13 says, "Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye." Under the law of Moses, they were commanded, "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD." (Leviticus 19:18).

We demonstrate love when we willingly and readily forgive. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says, "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails."

To be true disciples of the Lord, we must forgive "from the heart." Jesus said, "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses." (Matthew 18:35). So, when someone asks you for forgiveness, forgive them. We fully expect God to forgive us of our sins and shortcomings when we prayerfully ask Him. Therefore as we expect God to forgive us when we seek His forgiveness, let us also willingly forgive others when they seek our forgiveness. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Bible Study

When Paul was on the European continent, he traveled from Thessalonica to Berea and found some of the Bereans to be more noble-minded than many he had encountered in Thessalonica.

In Acts 17:10-11, Luke says, “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.”

I wonder, if the determining factor was our eagerness in receiving the word of God and daily searching of the Scriptures, would Luke think you or I to be fair-minded?

2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Hebrews 5:14 says, “But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” 1 Peter 2:2 says, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby…” 2 Peter 3:18 says, “...But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Bible study is important and essential for those who wish to receive God’s approval. It is through the revelation we call the Bible that we learn of Christ and how we can receive eternal life. Let us examine the Scriptures daily so that we can grow in the grace and knowledge of God, making sure we are doing His will and not the will of man.

 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Where Is Your Love Directed?

In 2 Timothy 3:1-5 “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

Paul refers to people who have misdirected love. He uses love in four ways in the passage, and only one is in harmony with God’s will. In verse 2, he mentions, “lovers of themselves.” Love most certainly can be given to wrong things. Love can destroy us when it isn’t properly channeled.

Again, in verse 2, he lists, “lovers of money.” Jesus taught about money and the proper attitude toward it. The rich young ruler of Matthew chapter 19 failed miserably. If we allow money to become too important in our lives, we too can be destroyed.

Furthermore, Paul mentioned, “lovers of pleasure.” We live a “partying,” “fun loving” world. People are always looking forward to the weekend. However, there is more to life than fun and games. “Weekending” is killing Christians. Many are spending more time and money on recreation and sports than on the Lord and His cause.

Finally, Paul speaks of “lovers of God.” The first three types of love destroy real love for God. Idolatry is simply misdirected love, the love of the wrong thing. We should develop a strong lasting love of God above all others and all things. We should possess the love of Mark 12:30 where it says “and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength...” Where is your love directed today? Is it toward God and His work, or toward the things of this world?

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Longing for Heaven

Bible Christians are truly blessed by God. We enjoy the time that we have been given to live here on earth to serve and honor God, while at the same time sharing His refreshing plan of salvation to everyone we can. We do this because we know that when we die, we have so much more to live for at the resurrection. The longing that we as Christians have for heaven motivates us to be pleasing to our heavenly Father while living on earth. Let’s take a moment to consider some facts concerning heaven.

What Is Heaven?
Heaven is God’s throne. “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest” (Acts 7:49). “But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne” (Matthew 5:34). Christians look forward to the day that we can inherit an eternity with God in heaven where His throne is. Unlike this earth where we now live, we realize that heaven is a very secure place. Jesus said, “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20). It certainly is going to be a much better place (Hebrews 11:16).

What Are We Going to Have There?
While we live here on earth it is important for us to invest in our eternal home. We do that by laying up treasures in heaven (Matthew 19:21). When we practice righteousness, obey, love, and honor God here on earth we are going to have our names written in the Lamb’s book of life. “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20, see also Revelation 20:12).

When we stay the course here on earth, even when we are persecuted and treated unjustly until the very end of our life, then we can be assured that a great reward awaits us there. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12). What a great and tremendous day that will be to know that we have gained an inheritance in heaven that is kept for us with our Lord (1 Peter 1:4)! What a peaceful thought it truly is to know that we will be living in heaven for evermore with our Father (Matthew 6:9) and Jesus Christ His Son (Mark 16:19; Hebrews 9:24). These are the reasons why the Christian can and should stay motivated to work and serve God faithfully and diligently while living on earth – knowing that we are going to enjoy the beauty and joy of heaven for eternity!

Who Will Be Able to Enter Heaven?
The Bible (the word of God) clearly teaches who will be able to enter into the beauty of heaven. Bible Christians, those individuals who have become Christians based on the teaching of God, not man, will be able to enter heaven. These are the ones who have heard the word of God (Romans 10:17), believed the word and in Christ (John 8:24; Hebrews 11:6), repented (turned) from sin (Acts 17:30; Luke 13:3); confessed Christ as the son of God (Acts 8:37; Matthew 10:32); and have been baptized for the remission (forgiveness) of sins (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21). Once one has had their sins forgiven by being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, then one is considered to be a Bible Christian (Acts 11:26). The Christian must then be faithful to God until death to be able to receive the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).

Conclusion
We, as Christians, are able to live here on earth, enduring all the persecution, pain, and suffering that may come our way because we know there is something much better awaiting us. The Hebrew writer penned these words, “but now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:16). Satan is alive and well, seeking to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). Therefore we must remain “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Jesus said only those who do His will be allowed to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 7:21-23). I encourage every Christian to stay the course, be faithful until the very end of life so that we can hear the words of Jesus say to us at the judgment day “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Is My Love for Christ Obvious?

If you are like me you may have a Facebook account and enjoy staying in touch with family and friends while also sharing photos back and forth to one another. Facebook has become a very popular avenue in which to express just about anything that is on our mind and even share postings from others that we find interesting or insightful. This medium is a wonderful way to keep in touch with many people, but I must say that more often than not, I find many posts and photos offensive and discouraging to me. Please allow me to explain my personal thoughts concerning this matter as a Christian who’s first priority is to serve and obey God above all others and anything else.

Christians are posting pictures, or sharing posts, of themselves, family members, friends, or others who are absolutely dressed immodestly. When someone posts a picture of anyone that is not dressed properly, it presents a negative effect to the Christian. The first thing I notice is that it is not an appropriate picture and I immediately delete the image from my news feed. I certainly do not hit the “like” or “love” button because that would give my approval of the photo. My first thought is why did this Christian send this photo for many other Christians to see? My second thought is that I don’t believe that this Christian has the proper love and obedience for Christ. Have we become numb to what God’s word clearly teaches in regard to modesty. And by the way, it does not matter if the individual is dressed in the commonly accepted attire for a sporting event, if their clothing for that event is immodest in God’s sight. Before a Christian steps foot outside the door of their own house they should make sure that they are properly clothed, in God’s sight, before anyone else sees them in any given place or situation.

Christians are posting or sharing posts which contain bad language. We may see a video or post which reflects something that we are passionate about and we know of some others who may appreciate it. We then click the “share” button and off it goes to our many friends on our news feed. Then I see a post and immediately notice a curse word in the caption! What do I do? Do I continue to watch it? No. I immediately delete the post and wonder why would this Christian send something like this? “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:37). Again, I certainly would not hit the “like” or “love” button because I don’t give approval for such things as a Christian.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we must think about who we are. We also must be mindful that everything we do, what we say, where we go, what we wear, etc., also reflects upon others who we are. God knows our thoughts and actions and as soon as we hit the “post” button other Christians also know our actions! The title of this article is “Is My Love for Christ Obvious?” Is it? The apostle Paul when writing to Timothy told him: “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all” (1 Timothy 4:12-15). When Christians post only those things which are good and acceptable to God, then we can see their progress in Christ, striving to do all things which are pleasing to God and other Christians.

When Christians hit that “like” or “love” button when something is posted that is not acceptable to God (unrighteousness), then one is giving approval for the sin. “who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:32). We need more Christians to have the kind of mindset that the apostle Paul was writing about in Romans and Philippians. ”I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8). I urge you to read these passages and ask “am I honestly proving my service to God as a Christian by posting or liking the things I do?” We need to understand that we are to be a “living sacrifice” and acceptable to God in all that we do.

When our true love for God motivates us, then we will ensure that we are conducting ourselves in every way that is pleasing to Him. Jesus said that we must “....love the lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength....” (Mark 12:30). With that kind of sincere love for God, then we will stay focused on making sure that we please our Lord in all aspects of our lives. When Paul wrote to Timothy, he instructed him to be an example to the believers in “purity”. When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he told them to meditate on those things that are “pure.” The apostle John wrote “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure (1 John 3:1-3). I believe that every Christian understands the purity of Christ. He was without sin, the perfect sacrifice for our sins. He gave Himself freely to die on the cross so that we can have forgiveness of sins and to be with Him in eternity if we will obey His word (John 12:48), and be faithful until death (Revelation 2:10). Therefore, before we ever post or share a post on Facebook, think about our love for God and the purity of Christ. A Christian that truly loves God and strives to be pure as Christ is pure, will always make sure that everything that is posted or shared will not only be pleasing to God, but also to all His children who have a desire to be with Him one day. Let us make sure that others will truly be able to see that our progress in Christ is “evident to all.”

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Salvation

Most everyone wants to go to heaven. Most everyone thinks they are going to heaven. But the reality, based on the Bible, is that most people will NOT go to heaven and will be lost eternally. Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." The word of God clearly says that only a few will gain eternal life with God. Therefore, we should be asking "what shall I do to be saved?" With that question we should also seek a truthful answer and be prepared to do God's will in response to that question according to His truth.

When we honestly consider this question, we need to understand that it is not a matter of what God, Christ, or the Holy Spirit must do. It is not a question of what others have done, what I feel, what experience must I have, what I think, or what do other religions think. Dear friend, it is a question of "what must I do?" Jesus said these words in Matthew 7:21: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (See also Revelation 22:14; James 1:21-25). We can see from the Bible that there are certain things that must be done if we want to enjoy the salvation in Christ -- to be able to be among those "few" who really will go to heaven. Yes, the Bible clearly teaches there is something to do; and this must be done.

To Be Saved We Must.....

To be saved we must believe the gospel; we must believe in Christ (John 8:24). After believing, we must repent of all of our sins, which is a turning from the sinful things we have done in our past and be determined to live a life of godliness. “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins....” (Acts 2:38). We must then confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God as stated in Romans 10:9-10. Then we must be buried in baptism to have our sins forgiven (Acts 2:38) and to get INTO Christ (Galatians 3:26-27), where all spiritual blessings reside (see also Romans 6:1-5). Finally, we must live a life faithfully being obedient to God, making Him our first priority as we live our lives on earth. We must show others (and God) that we truly are devoted to Christ in order to receive the eternal reward (Revelation 2:10).

Simply having a knowledge of God’s Word does us absolutely no good unless we act upon that knowledge. Do we really want to go to heaven? Is it something we just talk about or are we really serious about wanting to go there? When one really is serious and has a desire to spend an eternity in comfort and joy with the Lord in heaven rather than suffer the consequences of hell's eternal fire, then one will make sure that they obey God's inspired teaching in the Bible and do what He says is required for salvation -- not what man says. The bottom line is this: When we are faced with taking our last breath on this earth -- all that matters is if we are in the right relationship with God. Today is the day we have to make sure we are ready -- we may not have a tomorrow. "For He says: "IN AN ACCEPTABLE TIME I HAVE HEARD YOU, AND IN THE DAY OF SALVATION I HAVE HELPED YOU." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2). God wants us to go to heaven. But whether we do or not is our choice. We must obey Christ now before it is everlastingly too late (Hebrews 5:9; 9:27).


 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

A Worker for the Lord

There is a song that we sing from time to time entitled “I want to be a worker for the Lord.” It is a song that most everyone knows and as a result we really sing out. But have we really paid much attention to the words of that song? Verse one goes like this; “I want to be a worker for the Lord, I want to love and trust His holy word; I want to sing and pray and be busy every day, In the kingdom of the Lord. I will work, I will pray, I will labor every day in the vineyard of the Lord.” Every Christian should love to sing this song because they are living this kind of life on a day to day basis. However, such is not the case. Many, far too many, Christians are singing the words to this song and others without thinking about what they are saying to God. How can one sing “I want to be a worker for the Lord” and seldom attend the services of the Lord? Or how can one sing “I want to sing and pray and be busy every day” when God is not their priority in life? There are many things that are involved in the Lord’s work in which we should be active workers in His vineyard.

The Lord’s Work is More Than Singing

The Lord’s work consists of several areas of our life as a Christian. Before we can get motivated to do His work we must first believe totally in Him (John 6:28-29). When we believe in the Lord we should be moved to constantly want to do good. Paul wrote: “comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work” (2 Thessalonians 2:17). Wanting to do good and to practice righteousness in the Lord is something that each one of us should WANT to do (Ephesians 2:10; Acts 10:35). A worker for the Lord is one that takes every opportunity to teach someone about the wonderful Christ (1 Corinthians 16:10). However, we can’t teach anyone the word of God if we do not take the time to study the word ourselves (2 Timothy 2:15).

The Lord’s work also consists of keeping ALL of the commandments in which He has given to us (Luke 17:10; Philippians 2:12-14). It does not do us any good to profess to be a Christian, a disciple, if we are not making every attempt to DO all of the things in which Christ has asked us to do. 

How Should We Do His Work?

When we do the Lord’s work we should not do it to be seen of men (Matthew 6:1; 23:5). We should be workers for the Lord because we want to please Him, not because we want to be seen of men to please them. If we are pleasing to the Lord, then we will be pleasing to men. We should desire to do His work because we want to give God the glory (Matthew 5:16; 1 Corinthians 10:31). When we set our minds to do His work willingly (1 Corinthians 9:17), and heartily (Colossians 3:23), then we will ensure that everything we do in word or deed will be in Christ’s name (by His authority, Colossians 3:17).

Why Should We Have a Desire to Do His Work?

There are at least four reasons I can think of why we should have a sincere desire to do the Lord’s work. 1) In order to be saved. Paul wrote: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). Eternal salvation with Christ will only come to those that obey him (Hebrews 5:9). 2) In order to be acceptable to Him. “But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:35). When we fear God we will keep His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13) and do the right thing in His sight (James 4:17). Are you working righteousness in all aspects of your life before the eyes of Christ today? 3) To be blessed. We are blessed when we perform up to Christ’s standards, not ours or our friends (Matthew 5:3-11). 4) To be rewarded. In the book of Revelation 22:12 we read: “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” Since our reward is based upon our work (2 Corinthians 5:10), then what manner of persons ought we to be (2 Peter 3:11). 

Conclusion

May we all be “workers for the Lord” not in word only but in action! A true worker for the Lord will be evident to all. Paul wrote to young Timothy: “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all” (1 Timothy 4:15). May we all be determined to work for the Lord to the very end (Revelation 2:26). Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). How sad it will be at the judgment to know that we wore the name “Christian,” and sang the song to God “I want to be a worker for the Lord,” but never put into practice what we said to Him (Matthew 15:8-9)!

 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Where's the Bible?

Have you ever found yourself asking at the conclusion of a church service “where’s the Bible?” Have you gone to church services, taken your Bible with you, and then realized after leaving that you never were asked to open it? In many churches today, sermons are given with little to no scripture included. Many times lessons are developed and presented around the events of the day. This can help us to learn to deal with life, but it does not teach us, from the Bible, how to live our life.


In our society, many churches have tried all kinds of things in an effort to bring people to church services. The one thing that is usually missing in most of these efforts is an appeal for people to come and learn more about the Bible. You may have even felt that churches seem to emphasize how the Bible should be made to fit our lives, rather than how our lives should be made to fit the Bible. Many churches today practice various doctrines and traditions that are not found anywhere in the Bible (Matthew 15:8-9). It would seem that if one is trying to please God in all aspects of their life, then one would want to make sure that everything that they are doing religiously is in accordance with the Bible — the Word of God (Matthew 7:21).

If you are interested in knowing this wonderful book of God, the Bible, we encourage you to visit the Poudre Valley church of Christ where only the Bible is preached, taught, and practiced. Many people today are interested in church sponsored entertainment to fulfill their needs. We, however, emphasize the necessity of learning and knowing the Bible; we emphasize the need for Christ in our life based upon His Word. We teach only the Bible because we understand the importance of what Jesus said in John 12:48: “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.”

The Poudre Valley church of Christ is a place where you can attend and learn the Bible. In our Bible classes, we study the words of Jesus and the inspired apostles. In this way, we can learn what individuals had to do back in the first century in order to be saved and then make those same applications to our lives. Today, most denominations trace the establishment of their church to a specific person on a specific date: anywhere from 600 A.D. to present time. However, Christ promised to build His church (Matthew 16:18), and we learn from the Bible that His church was established on the first Pentecost after His resurrection (Acts 2). The church of Christ is the church in which we belong; therefore, we strive diligently to practice only that which is authorized by God in His Holy inspired Word, the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

We want to encourage you to come and visit the Poudre Valley church of Christ where you will quickly realize that the Bible is emphasized above all else. You will leave feeling loved and appreciated, not having to ask yourself “where’s the Bible? 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Purpose of the Law

"What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor" (Galatians 3:19-25). We can see in this text that the law was simply a tutor to bring us to Christ and that we are now justified by faith. The word "justified" means that we are free from sin or guilt. It is through faith then that we are sons of God (Romans 5:1; Galatians 3:26-27).

True faith is demonstrated by our obedience to God’s Word. Notice if you will what is stated in the book of James: "But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe — and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only" (James 2:18-24). The Word of God further says, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).

We must be determined to put our faith in God, being obedient to Jesus each and every day that we live. Study daily in order to gain faith in Him, and then put your faith to work each day by living for Him in all that you say and do.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Opportunities That Felix Had

Felix’s problem was sin; thus, his greatest need was the forgiveness of sin. Yet, he neglected God’s offer. When Felix died I am sure that he wished that he had taken his conversations with the Apostle Paul more seriously and did what was necessary in order for him to be saved. There are several things in which Felix neglected that caused him to be in a lost condition. Let's look at some.

Felix was in the right place at the right time, yet he still was not obedient to the word of God presented by Paul (Acts 24:24a).

Felix heard the Apostle Paul preach, yet he did not respond to the words that could have saved him if he would have truly listened and obeyed them (Acts 24:24b).

Felix heard a sermon adapted specifically to him, yet he did not give it the urgent need that was needed for him to gain salvation (Acts 24:25).

Felix had an emotional response to the gospel, yet as he heard Paul reason about about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, he became emotional (he was afraid). He then told Paul to "Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you." We don't have any indication that his "convenient time" ever came (Acts 24:25).

Felix had a second chance, yet still he did not obey the gospel message. Felix sent for Paul numerous times and conversed with him and did not become a Christian (Acts 24:26).

Felix neglected so many wonderful opportunities to be saved; he neglected them to remain lost. Dear friends, let that NEVER be said of us! "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him (Hebrews 2:3).

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Defense of our Faith

In Acts 26:18, we find the Apostle Paul before Agrippa, defending his faith. He explains to Agrippa what happened to him on his journey to Damascus. He then explains the words of Jesus and that he is to tell others about Jesus so that others can be saved through Him. “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18).

We too can have life if we live up to what Jesus told Paul. We must first turn from darkness (sin) to the light (walking with God). “for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13). We must then set our sights on having our domain with God and not with Satan. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, {even} to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). Through our obedience to the Word of God we will be moved to turn around so that our sins can be forgiven. Only those who determine to follow God, not Satan, can have forgiveness of sins. “and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). The Apostle Peter wrote, “....repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

Once we have been forgiven of our sins and continue to follow God, then we will receive an inheritance! “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build {you} up and to give {you} the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). That inheritance is everlasting life with God our Father to those who are sanctified (which is set apart from sin and drawn near to Jesus)! Paul understood that for someone to do those things, they would have to have faith in Jesus. We will not put aside the world and draw near to Christ unless we have a true faith in Him. “But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6). Thomas would not believe in Jesus until he felt the scars of His wounds and realized that he really was looking at Jesus! We must believe in Jesus with a true faith - even though we have not personally seen Him. “Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed {are} they who did not see, and {yet} believed. Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:29-31). Are we really defending Jesus to others as Paul did in his day? If so, we can proudly praise God.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Preparing for Eternity

There are many people who only live for today and never make any plans for their future. Spiritually, every one of us should be concerned about our future and as a result should be busy preparing ourselves for the eternity that awaits us after our earthly life comes to an end. In Luke 9:57-62, Jesus teaches us a valuable lesson about looking ahead – making sure that we are focused on what really matters. “Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, Lord, I will follow You wherever You go. And Jesus said to him, Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. Then He said to another, Follow Me. But he said, Lord, let me first go and bury my father. Jesus said to him, Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house. But Jesus said to him, No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” We should be making a commitment to follow the Lord and being obedient to His teaching so that we can gain an entrance into the eternal kingdom of God.

This Earth Will Be Dissolved
One of two things will happen during our lifetime. We will die a physical death, or the Lord will return before we do. The scriptures teach us that this earth will be dissolved when the Lord returns (2 Peter 3:9-10). Since these things will be dissolved, Peter goes on to ask a very important question, “what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness” (2 Peter 3:11)? Once we die, or if Jesus returns before, we do not have a chance of changing our life’s thoughts and actions. The Christian has made preparations for death or the second coming of Christ and is looking forward to God’s promise of “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). The child of God does not want to fall short of the grace of God, therefore the Christian looks carefully into God’s word to ensure that they are living a life that is pleasing to Him (Hebrews 12:14-15).

Motivated to Look Ahead
God’s dedicated saints stay motivated in our daily walk because we understand that we must be ready at all times for the coming of the Lord. “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Luke 12:40). It is a true blessing to live a Christian life because we know that heaven awaits us. Therefore we continue to stay “fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62) understanding that when one “looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25). Our motivation is easy if we are “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). May we all strive to run the race assuming that each day may be the last day we live upon this earth. The Hebrew writer said, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2). We must stay focused on the great crown of righteousness that awaits every Christian who doesn’t look back, but rather remains faithful (Revelation 2:10), and prepares daily for the eternity that awaits us with the Lord!


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Fellowship


The book of 1 John, chapter one has some valuable information that is important to us. Sometimes we use the term "fellowship with one another" too lightly. We can only have fellowship with one another if we are walking in the light as Jesus "Himself is in the light" (v. 7). We know from verse 5 that "God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all." Therefore, how can we say "we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness?" If we do "we lie and do not practice the truth" (v 6). Jesus said "I am the way, and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6). Most everyone that is a Christian realizes that Jesus is the light and that He is without sin. The emphasis in this chapter is that God does not associate with evil and darkness is not in Him -- He is only light. Therefore, if we are following Christ we must do so on His terms and that is to not associate with darkness but to walk in the light as "He is the light".

If we walk in the light we are told that "the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin" (v. 7). Aren't we all striving to do the best we can so that we can someday be with our savior in heaven? We need to be free of pride so that we can "confess our sins" (v. 9) so that we can be "cleansed from all unrighteousness." Yes, we all sin (Romans 3:23), but what we have as Christians is the avenue of prayer to ask God for forgiveness, knowing that He will "forgive our sins" (v. 9) if we are walking in the light. In the right relationship with God, we have "fellowship with one another!"

Monday, March 1, 2021

When Nobody Notices

Perhaps you’ve seen the sign that reads, “Housework is something you do that nobody notices unless you don’t do it.” The truth behind that statement applies to more than just housework. People seem to have no trouble noticing our failures -- anger, impatience, criticism, or imperfections. Who notices when we “sometimes” get it right? Sometimes we feel that nobody sees or appreciates what we may do. This may be true except for one reassuring reality: God sees and He appreciates.

There are many great and beautiful things in this world that may go unnoticed: A beautiful sunrise that we are not awake to see, the many beauties that lie underwater, etc. These magnificent things are there and those immense things happen, whether we see them or not. God sees. That reality can also be a source of security or comfort for us.

According to the apostle Paul, we are ultimately serving Jesus Christ. “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17). “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Colossians 3:23-24).

We are to serve Him with an attitude of thanksgiving and from the heart. The Lord not only sees and values what we do, but He also will reward us. “And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9).

Written By: Shane Williams

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Parable of the Talents

In the book of Matthew, chapter 25, verses 14-24, we can read the parable of the talents. In this parable one individual received five talents, another two and another one. Some may question whether the distribution of the talents given these individuals was just since there was unequal distribution. In this parable, verse 15 says “to every man according to his ability.” This was an exhibition of divine economy. Each man received all that he was competent to use. In other words, they only got what they could handle.

How did the servants use the talents that were given them? We read where the one that had five gained five more. The one that had two gained two more and the one that had one buried it and gained nothing more. When the man returned to find how his servants used their talents we read where the five and two talent men were blessed because they put their talents to use and gained more. But the man who buried his only talent was cursed. 

What lessons can we learn from this parable? First of all the Lord fully expects every man to act in His service according to his ability. God never expects us to do more than we can do, but He certainly expects us to do the best we can with what we have. Secondly, limited talent is no excuse for not doing the Lord’s service. Each of us has some talent and that talent should be used for the Lord. Finally, we will be rewarded according to our faithfulness and not according to the results. God expects Christians to plant the seed and do the watering. When we do that, then we give God the opportunity to increase.