February 28, 2010

Pray, and then pray some more – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by kdkelly

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for Kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Paul is instructing Timothy to pray with the objective of obtaining a particular blessing from God, namely, that we might live a peaceful life. Timothy is to pray that the peaceful life would be one lived in godliness and honesty. The term “honesty” may also be translated  “gravity” or “reverence.” This passage implies that God is able to hear and answer prayer and we know he is. Prayer, after all, is communion with God, a conversation with him.

I marvel at the number of times Paul exhorts the brethren in his letters to pray and to pray fervently. He instructs the Thessalonians to pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) He doesn’t ask them to do something he wouldn’t do. In all his letters he mentions that he gives thanks to God for them or prays for them to obtain blessings from God. Prayer is an important part of the Christian’s life. As we read the words of Paul we realize that his words are as relevant today as they were in the first century. We cannot have a relationship with God if we do not talk to him in prayer on a regular basis. There is great benefit in taking time out of our busy lives to spend some quiet time talking with God.

There is a right way and a wrong way to pray. Jesus taught his disciples not to pray as the hypocrites do, but in the manner that would be pleasing to God. (Matthew 6:5-13) He also set the example for us often praying himself. (Matthew 14:23, 26:36-39, Luke 9:18, Luke 9:29, John 17:1-26)

There are lots of reasons to pray. First of all, we can thank him for his creation. Who can walk around in this world and not see the hand of God.? How magnificent are the hills and valleys, the mountains and the streams, the sky and the birds that fly in it.

We can thank God for his plan of salvation, the gift of his son, his son’s perfect sacrifice, and the heavenly home he has prepared for us. Because he loves us we can trust him and know that he will provide all the things of this life we need. (Matthew 6:31-32)

We can give him thanks, honor and glory for the church that was bought with the blood of his son. As we gather together each Lord’s day to worship, we offer up our prayers in the church. We sing together in the church. We encourage each other in the church. There is strength and comfort in the church. There is help in the time of need in the church.

We can give him thanks for all the blessings we have received in this lifetime. We have friends, family, jobs and brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30) It is truly a rich blessing that we enjoy in the relationship we have with each other. Do you know how often others pray for you? I don’t think there is any way to know, but I know that it happens. We mention in our assembly those who are in need of prayers. Do you think those prayers are answered? I think we have ample evidence that they are. How many of us have recovered more quickly from illness or surgery than we thought possible? How many times has trouble facing us seem to disappear when we didn’t think it possible? The prayers of righteous men avails much. (James 5:16) Mothers and fathers pray for their children and this never changes regardless of how old the children are. Brothers and sisters pray for each other too and so much more as they mature and grow older.

Finally, we pray because the burdens of this life are too much to bear alone. “Cast all your care on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) The creator of the universe is certainly able to help us with our troubles. There is no request too large or too small that he will not consider and answer in the way that is best for us. We are told to ask and we will receive, seek and we will find, knock and the door will be opened to us. (Matthew 7:7) Paul said, “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of god, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

There is no one good time to pray. The time to pray is when we want to. The Psalmist wrote, “Evening, and morning, and at noon will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. (Psalm 55:17)

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February 21, 2010

Encourage one another – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:00 am by kdkelly

It is true that we are to encourage one another. The Hebrew writer tells us that we are to consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works (Hebrews 10:24). We do that by not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25), by teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (Colossians 3:16), by using the scriptures to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

We have the opportunity to demonstrate our desire to encourage one another by showing our new brother in Christ our desire to help him go to heaven and trust that he will do the same for us. We must help him to mature in Christ and grow from the fundamental understanding of the scriptures that led him to confess Christ and be buried with him in baptism. Welcome, Brother Jeffrey, to God’s family.

Encouraging One Another – Larrey Rasberry

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by kdkelly

We are to be edified and lifted up by assembling in God’s presence. We are to be taught from God’s Word in its completeness and purity. God’s word lifts our hearts and spirits to greater heights each time we do this, thus we go from the milk to the meat of the Word, in which we stand. Those who are led by every wind of change and every strange sound coming from the pulpits today will reap a bitter harvest, if they do not examine every word and spirit of preachers, teachers, and themselves, to make sure that they are from and led by the Word of God. Psalms 26:2, Acts 17:10-11, 1John 4:1, 2Cor 13:5.

Our encouragement is a two-sided sword. Heb. 4:11-13. We are to be encouraged, and have an obligation to encourage others. We are taught in Acts 9:31 that the Holy Spirit encourages us. The Church will always prosper in this encouragement. In the Book of Romans we are taught to encourage our neighbor. Romans 15:2. This type of edification will give us opportunity to reach out to the lost in our community and around the world to save those lost in sin. We need the Bible, which is God’s revealed word for us. We are lifted up by it, as we glean from it, the information to save ourselves and others. Romans 15:4. Please take note that from every direction today we are hearing the Bible is full of errors and we cannot take it at face value. Be very wary of these new age teachers. When you search what they teach, it always has its root in the Dollar Bill. These men in this crooked and adulterous generation remind me of the Proverb mentioned in Prov.30:20, regarding the way of an adulterous woman. She eats and wipes her mouth, and says, I have done no wickedness. These men are the same way, in that they are so deluded, that the truth is far from their hearts. Please consider that these people have one thing in mind, and it is to fleece the sheep, and not to feed them. Matt 10:16-17. We profess Christianity thereby placing us in the giving, not taking mode, in our treatment of others. Matt. 25:29, 1Cor.2:12.

Our position in Christ encourages us to climb even higher, in our service to God, and others. Phil 2:1-4. The real service we give and the real encouragement we receive is in the service of others. We must evangelize, whether we want to or not. The assembly is called to encourage each other, to worship, to edify, to teach, to pray, to prod us on to do the work we are commanded to do. We have talents and are required to use them in HIS service. 1Thess. 4:18.

Living in this world today is trying at best, but we are here for a reason and must not grow weary, particularly when the way becomes difficult, because, John 16:33 tells us that in this world we will experience tribulation, and when we do, not to grow weary. God is in charge and he has won the battle, our job is to tie a knot in the end of our rope and hang on. 1Sam.17:47. Please know that this is in the world today, and our battles are not with flesh and blood, but with the powers of darkness, and the rulers of this age. Eph. 6:10-19. We are warned in 1Pet 5:8 to be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about as a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour. Paul stated in 2 Cor 11:14-15, that satan transforms himself into an angel of light. Jesus said in John 8:44 that satan speaks lies, from his own resources, because he is the father of liars. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Today, we see so many who are weak and afraid. I am not speaking of the world, I am speaking of those in the Church. So many congregations of God’s people have been taught watered down religion to the point of spiritual starvation. Generations have been done this way and scriptures are replete with example after example. Do we learn? NO, we do not learn, we repeat, and repeat the same errors. Hosea cried about this same problem. Can we turn the tide, I don’t know, but we can know this, repent and turn, and learn, and pass it on to the next generation. 1Thess.5:12-22.

In 1Tim.5:1-4, we should encourage the elderly among us. Look after them, tend to their needs and lift them up, as they lift up God. Today in our present throw away society, children are murdered under the misguided “right to choose” concept of the world, and our elderly and those unable to fend for themselves are becoming more and more fair game for the same treatment. We should cherish our elderly, learn from their mistakes and provide for them. They have paid a lot of dues and can give us valuable insight as we press on to our goal of Heaven’s reward.

Hebrews 3:7-15 exhorts us as brethern to help each other not to sin. Our daily contact with one another reminds us of our responsibility to assist in every way possible to not become hardened of heart. Those who are partakers of Christ must hold our charge from the beginning until the end to achieve the crown laid up for us. Many today have departed from the way originally delivered to them, and many new names and labels are being applied to brothers who hold to the truth of God’s word and will not subvert it with the doctrines of man. We have been warned long ago, for those that will only read the Bible. It plainly states in 2 Thess. chapter 2, that man will pervert the word for his own self-serving purposes, and thereby be lost.

Lastly please encourage each other with Love. Hebrews 10:19-25 tells us to be firm in our confession of faith. Be made bold by a new and living way. Draw near to God with a true heart in full assurance of faith. Hold fast to our confession of hope without wavering, because He who promised is Faithful. We who are daily working to mature in the faith must no longer have just a world view, but a view to eternity, because with God all things are possible Mark10:23-31. We cannot be channels of blessing if our lives are not free from sin. We will become barriers and a hindrance to those trying to win. Please understand, the choices we make here on earth will determine our eternal destiny. Please choose wisely.

February 14, 2010

Going to Heaven – Ron Boatwright

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:00 am by kdkelly

Our number one priority in this life must be to go to Heaven. Nothing else is as important. Jesus says in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Our soul is the most precious thing we have. There is nothing that can equal its value. We read in Matthew 16:26, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” One certainly does not profit in the tragic loss of his soul.

It is easy in today’s materialistic society to get caught up in the pursuit of materialism if we are not careful. Our Lord says in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But 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 will your heart be also.” Our bank account needs to be in heaven.

Every day we need to tell ourselves that the main thing in this life is to go to Heaven. We read in Colossians 3:2, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” We should regularly think about going to Heaven.

Heaven is a prepared place (John 14:2-3) for a prepared people. It will be such a wonderful place, which is beyond our wildest dreams. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” There is no way that Heaven can be described so we as mortal human beings can understand how wonderful it will be.

A person will not accidentally go to Heaven. Going to Heaven is a lifelong race as we read in Hebrews 12:1, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Going to Heaven requires endurance, patience, and persistence. We must finish the race.

Discover the word of God – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by kdkelly

I surprise myself from time to time when I’m reading my Bible to discover something that I’ve never quite understood before. I know I’ve read a passage several times, but never quite understood the sense of it. I also find that I reread “favorite books” to the neglect of the others. I should know by now that the entire Bible is the word of God and in it are all things pertaining to life and godliness. The New Testament contains the unveiling of the mystery of God’s wisdom that had been hidden for centuries. (1 Corinthians 2:1-10). But to fully understand the unveiling, a knowledge of the Old Testament is essential. You cannot know what the Bible has to say unless you read it—all of it.

Josiah was only eight years old when he became king of Judah. He was eighteen when he called for repair of the temple. During the repair a book of the law was found and its contents read to King Josiah. When Josiah heard the things that were written, he rent his clothes and commanded that the high priest and others pray to the Lord for him and for the people and for all of Judah because their fathers had not listened to the words of the book to do all the things that were written in it. (2 Kings 22:1-13)

In a similar fashion Ezra gathered all the people together in the street and read to them the book of the law of Moses. There were others who helped Ezra to read the book distinctly and give the sense and cause them to understand the reading. (Nehemiah 8:1-8). It is as important to understand what we read as it is to just hurry through the reading. In fact, Peter said of some of Paul’s writings, “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:16)

We also know about the Ethiopian eunuch who was reading Isaiah the prophet, but didn’t understand. It was only after Philip taught him that he was able to understand what he had read and that it spoke of Jesus.

Beloved, from these examples it seems to me that we can see the value of preaching. The Spirit inspired Paul to write, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah saith, ‘Lord, who hath believed our report?’ So faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:13-17)

Let us always read the Bible with understanding. And the things we don’t understand we can ask for help from others. Paul said to Timothy, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” Remember to pray for men like Ardie Brown and others who have devoted their lives to preaching the truth of the Bible and opening our eyes to those things that are hard to be understood. May there always be such men in our midst. For without a clear understanding of the Bible and what it teaches, we will not know how to be pleasing to God. (Hebrews 11:6) Without the Bible we cannot know his will for us and without this knowledge we will surely be lost. May it never be so. Amen.

February 7, 2010

Indestructable Book

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:00 am by kdkelly

Many men have tried to destroy the Bible. In A.D. 303, the Roman Emperor Diocletian issued an edict to destroy Christians and their Bibles. Over a burned Bible, he built a monument on which he wrote these words, “Extincto nomene Christianorum” which mean “the name of Christian is extinguished.” Twenty years later, Diocletian was dead and the new Emperor Constantine commissioned fifty copies of the Bible to be prepared at government expense.

In 1776, the French philosopher Voltaire said, “One hundred years from my day, there will not be a Bible in the earth except one that is looked upon by some antique seeker.” One hundred years from the day of Voltaire’s prediction, the first edition of his works sold for eleven cents in Paris, but the British government paid Russia half a million dollars for an ancient Bible manuscript.

It truly is interesting to read what men have tried to do with God’s Word, which shall stand forever. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35)

Grow – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by kdkelly

The concluding verse of 2 Peter admonishes us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. One of my favorite sayings is “When you grow you’re green and when you’re not, you rot.” We are to stay green and keep growing in grace and in our knowledge of our Lord. Because if we don’t, we will become spiritually stagnant and begin to rot. The problem with being young is that you don’t really know what old is. About 25 years ago I said to myself that I had finally “arrived,” I had fought the good fight, it was time to take my ease and coast the rest of the way enjoying my golden years. How foolish!

Old is only an expression of time and body, not of mind. It’s been said that you are only as old as you think. Peter’s words to us are without time limitation. We are never to stop growing. There’s nothing in his words that imply that when you reach 40, 50, 60 or older that you can lay your Bible  down and stop learning and growing.

Peter also says to us beginning in verse 2 of chapter 1, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.” What does that sound like to you? “Multiplied” seems to me to mean growing, getting larger, more than there was before. The grace and peace that we all seek shall come to us in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. Wait, but there’s more!

The Spirit through Peter goes on to say, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (I underlined a few things just in case you missed them) whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:3-4)

God has given us everything we need to grow. He has given us fertile ground, he has planted. But you can’t just plant and expect growth. You need to supply nutrients. That’s our part. Let’s read on.

“And beside this (or as other later translations say—for this very cause) add to your faith virtue; and virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance (self-control), and to temperance patience (perseverance), and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity (love)”. (2 Peter 1:5-8) We know that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17). To this faith we add the other nutrients so our faith can grow and be pleasing in God’s sight. (Hebrews 11:6)

If we look at these “nutrients” carefully, we see that they describe those things that are essential to building a healthy relationship with God and with each other. God expects us to grow. He expects us to study his word and grow in knowledge, to learn how to keep ourselves under control, to patiently run the race that leads to the heavenly home, to be kind to one another and, above all, to love one another.

It seems simple and maybe even easy, doesn’t it? But it’s not when we realize that the devil is like a roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8); and that there are men in the world who are like wolves speaking perverse things to draw us away from the truth. (Acts 22:29-30). We should follow in the footsteps of Jesus who refuted the perverse things the devil said with scripture saying, “It is written …” (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10)

Turning back now to Peter’s words, we read two very important “if” statements. These are statements that say “if” we do what God would have us to do, “then” certain things will follow. “For if these things be in you (verses 5-7), and abound (i.e. they have grown), they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make you calling and election sure: for if you do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:8-11). We should always strive to grow, from the day we first heard the word until the day we pass from this life. We should not only strive ourselves to grow, but to help others grow. May it ever be so with us. Amen.