November 26, 2009

This World Is Not My Home – Ron Boatwright

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:20 pm by kdkelly

     As the words of the song say, “This world is not my home; I’m just a passing thru.  My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue”.  Jesus says, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:20-21).  We must lay up our treasures in heaven, not here on the earth.  The Bible says, “And as it is appointed for man to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).  When we draw our last breath, what we have accumulated here on the earth belongs to someone else.  After we die our fate is sealed and we will be judged.  

     Life here on earth is so temporary and short.  Life passes so quickly.  James 4:14 says, “Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”  Many people are living their lives as though they will live forever here on the earth.  One day this earth and all of its possessions will be burned up.  No one knows when this will be.  “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.  Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness” (2 Peter 3:10-11).  

     As the words of the song continue to say, “If heaven is not my home, then Lord what will I do?”  For the vast majority of people, heaven will not be their home (Matthew 7:13-14).  Their home will be a real and living hell in which they will be tormented day and night forever and ever in burning fire and brimstone (Revelation 20:10, 15).  But for the few whose home is heaven, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).  

     The apostle Paul was longing to leave this world and go home to heaven.  He says, “For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.  Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you…For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:23-24, 3:20).  

     As mortal human beings we cannot begin to imagine how great and wonderful heaven will be.  We cannot comprehend its glory.  We have, “an inheritance incorruptible and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4), “knowing that you have a better and enduring possession for yourselves in heaven” (Hebrews 10:34).  As human beings we are eternal in that we live forever and ever in one of two places.  Our home will be either heaven or hell.  We make the choice as to where we will go.  If one is not preparing to go to heaven he will end up in hell.  Our number one goal in this life must be for heaven to be our home.  No one will accidentally go to heaven.



November 15, 2009

Well Done – By Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:52 pm by kdkelly

Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21) These words of Jesus taken from the parable of the talents are words that we all want to hear from the righteous judge at the end of our days here. The fact that the statement “well done” was made implies a judgment has been made. So how shall we be judged? Jesus said, “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” (John 12:47-50) So it is that if we listen to his words and follow his commandments, we can be assured that we are doing well. But what are the commandments? Some are directed to God, some to each other and others to the rest of the world.

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus a question tempting him. “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all they soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” (Matthew 22:36-38) There are many ways we can do this. We give him the preeminence in all things to show our love for him. There are things in this world that would distract us from serving the Lord, but we do not let them get in the way. We assemble on the first day of the week to worship him when there are other things that we could be doing. When we assemble we give him thanks for his creation, for the plan of salvation, for sending us his son and for answering our prayers. The psalmists said, “I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.” (Psalms 116:1) We love the Lord because we can cast our troubles on him, and he is faithful to hear us. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty and of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your care upon him, for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7) What a comfort it is to have a Father that is so powerful that he created the world we live in, could foresee that we would sin and alienate ourselves from him, disappoint him in the things we do and do not do, yet love us with all our short comings. We would even crucify his son whom he sent to save us from our sins. He is patiently waiting for us to come to an understanding of his love for us and his will for us and turn to him. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) How could we not love such a God? If we do, we do well.

We have noted the first and great commandment. Jesus also said that there was another like it. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22:39) We do well when we look to our neighbors with love. When we keep in mind that we should treat others as we would like to be treated (Matthew 7:12), it gives us a view to the world that many do not share. The world tends to look to itself first. You only need to think back to all the greed that plunged our country into its current economic difficulties to understand that. But it should not be so with Christians. We are not to take unfair advantage of others. We are to do good. “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.” (Psalms 34:14-15) Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45)  We know that we are to do good to all men, especially them of the household faith. (Galatians 6:10). It’s not always easy to do that, but if we follow Christ’s example, we will do it. We will not return evil for evil (1 Thessalonians 5:15) nor take revenge (Romans 12:19). We must not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)

We noted earlier that if we love Jesus, we will keep his commandments. (John 14:15) Paul summarizes those commandments when he wrote, “Render to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Owe no man anything, save to love one another: for he that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other commandment, it is summed up in this word, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:7-10)

We can do good by bearing one another’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2) The saints here at our congregation do a very good job of that. We look out for one another, care for the sick, help the troubled and tend to the elderly. It becomes easier as we keep on doing it. Others notice our behavior and mimic it. This is how our children learn—by watching us and doing as we do. There is nothing better than learning by doing.

The best thing we can do for others is to teach them the gospel, to teach them to do whatsoever God has commanded and to baptize them into Christ. May it ever be so with us.


November 10, 2009

Is it possible to identify the church of the new testament? – By Todd Clippard

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:51 pm by kdkelly

With so many forms of “Christianity today, one may ask, “How can I know I’ve found the church of the New Testament?” This is a valid question, and we can see why some are confused with over 2,000 individual religious groups all claiming to be a form of Christianity. However, we can say with absolute certainty that it is possible to find the church revealed in the New Testament. As an illustration to show our certainty, consider the following:

As of August 15, 2009, I have been married to my beautiful wife for 22 years. Let’s suppose I decide to take her on a cruise to celebrate our anniversary. Shortly after boarding a ship filled with more than 2,000 passengers, we become separated. My wife is a petite brunette. Suppose every other woman of the ship is a petite brunette; am I to despair that I should never find her among so many others? Of course not. Even though many on board are similar, I can easily find her because she is unique among all others. She has specific characteristics that allow me to easily distinguish between her and all others.

The same can be said for the Lord’s church. Jesus promised: “I will build My church.” (Matthew 16:18) Note that Jesus did not promise to build “churches” but “church” (singular). In Ephesians 5:22-32, Paul parallels the husband and wife relationship with that of Jesus and His church. As a husband is to have only one wife, and a wife only one husband; Jesus only has one church. In fact, throughout this text, there are twelve references to the church, all of which singular in nature.

In verse 23, we find “the church” and “the body”

In verse 24, we find “the church”

In verse 25, we find “the church” and “it”

In verse 26, we again see “it” referring to the church

In verse 27, we find “the church” and “it” twice

In verse 29, we find “the church”

In verse 30, we find “His body”

In verse 32, we find “the church”

If it is possible for me to identify my wife among thousands of other women, though they share some of her characteristics, then it is equally possible for me to find the church Jesus built though there be thousands sharing some of its characteristics.

“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)The light that is in the world is there for everyone, but will not shine on everyone. It shines only on those who will follow. If you choose to walk in darkness, God will allow you to do it.

He will allow you to reject him. “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” (John 12:46-50)

If we come to the light, we can reflect that light into the world so that we too can light the way for others. “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

Light of the world – By Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:50 pm by kdkelly

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (John 1:1-9)

Thus begins the book of John telling us that the light has come into the world. Although the light is not named here, we know it can be none other than Jesus Christ. We can understand why God has chosen to use light as the way to describe the coming of his son into the world. We associate light with truth, honesty, morality and all things good. Darkness on the other hand is associated with all forms of evil. The light drives the darkness away. Darkness is really the absence of light. So where there is light there is no darkness. The word is also associated with light. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid.” (Psalm 27:2)

November 3, 2009

Prayer – By Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:28 am by kdkelly

The psalmist wrote, “Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.” We can infer many things from this first verse from Psalm 55. It tells us that the psalmist acknowledges that God exists and that he hears prayer. We can also infer from this that he expects God to answer his prayer. The Hebrew writer states, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Not every prayer is answered with a “yes” but that is also for our good. Not everything we pray for is the best thing for us. God knows what is best for us and sometimes will answer “no” or perhaps he answers “wait.” “…Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” (Matthew 6:8)Whatever he answers, we trust that it is for our own good. (Romans 8:28)

Prayer is an intimate communication with God and we commune with him through prayer. But prayer is not something that comes naturally to us. “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1) What followed was the model prayer. It is not a prayer recited without any thought as many in the religious world do as part of their worship.

“And when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much repetition. (Matthew 6:7) The model prayer does show us the proper attitude we should have toward the Father and the type of things we should pray for. It is not an exclusive list nor is it all inclusive for we can think of many things to pray for and about that are not specifically mentioned. Nevertheless, these things are in keeping with his will.

There are times that we pray publicly. Such is the prayers that are offered in our worship service each Lord’s day. Other public prayers are the prayers we offer together before we eat a meal. Sometimes we can even pray before we begin a public meeting although the forces of the devil are making that less frequent or not allowed altogether. There is a right way to pray publicly too. “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” (Matthew 6:5)

There are times when we pray alone. “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:6).

Prayer is the way we obtain our spiritual blessings from the hand of God. Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, who, if his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone; or if he shall ask for a fish, will give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matthew 7:7-11).

We are taught also how to ask. When Jesus was telling his disciples that the time was coming when he would go away and send the Comforter to them, he said “And ye therefore now have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one taketh away from you. And in that day ye shall ask me no question. Verily, verily, I say unto you, if ye shall ask anything of the Father, he will give it you in my name. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be made full.” (John 16:22-24)

And when we go to God in prayer, we must ask for things with a good and sincere heart. “But let him ask in faith, nothing doubting: for he that doubteth is like the surge of the sea driven by the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord; a doubleminded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:6-8)

The psalmist also wrote, “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Psalm 55:17) It is not enough to pray once and forget it. We need to pray often looking deep into our hearts for the sincere desires that reside there. I’m sure you have seen prayer work in your lives. It has worked in mine. Let us all continue to go to God in prayer not only for ourselves, but for others also. We know that “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16) And let us heed the words of Jesus, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) Amen.

Matt 26:41 (KJV)