June 26, 2010

Real Minutes Don’t Roll Over – Dick Melear

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:00 am by kdkelly

When marketing a product or service, companies have to consider what their competitors offer, and then meet the challenge to provide “more” or “better” in one way or another. Because of this, recent marketing strategies for mobile phone service providers include what have been called “rollover minutes.” Of course, this refers to the accumulation of minutes of service which have been purchased but not used within the month of service. It is an attractive concept, especially in contrast to those plans with a set fee for “up to” so many minutes per month, and if you do not use them, you lose them.

Wouldn’t it be great if real minutes did the same thing—if they would “rollover?” That way, if you did not use your time, you could save it until you really needed it! Then, you could relax, enjoy the luxury of more idle time, and nothing would really be lost. Time would not be wasted, nor would it have to “fly,” but it could be saved until you were ready to make good use of it.

Of course, we all know this is fantasy. Time cannot be saved! Even though we speak of “saving time,” we do not mean it like this. Time is a continuous measure from one point or event to another. While we are “in between” events, time continues to pass by. It is what we do during that time, whether productive or unproductive, that decides the difference between time “well spent” and time “wasted.” Thus unlike money that can be stored in a safe place until needed, time cannot be saved, neither does it stand still!

Further, once time has passed, it is irretrievable. We have all experienced nostalgia, wishing we could go back and experience “yesterday” again. We have all even experienced occasions when we wished we could go back to do better than we have previously done. But, we know we cannot. We just cannot roll those minutes over!

The lesson is for us to make the best use of our time while we have it. Yet, we have not been given a “block” of time to budget and spend as we decide. We get it a moment at a time—we call it now! And NOW is the only time we can use! Consider this old Sanskrit proverb:

Yesterday is but a dream, tomorrow but a vision. But today well-lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day!

Paul instructed the Christians at Ephesus saying, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17) Some translate “redeeming the time” as “making the most of every opportunity.” The way to make the most of this time we have, or to walk carefully and wisely, is through an understanding of God’s will.

God’s will has been revealed to man through His scriptures, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. By coming to know what has been revealed, we can know what God expects of us, and how to live in accordance with those expectations and desires. By following those teachings, we can truly please our God and Creator.

There is no better use of our time than to spend it in the fulfillment of God’s will and live in harmony with His teachings—right now! We cannot wait until another time. We cannot spend all our time today doing other things, expecting to “some day” serve God. All our time will one day be gone, and we might still be “waiting.” The only time we have is NOW. Won’t you use it to serve God TODAY?

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School’s Not Out – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by kdkelly

Ah, summertime and the living is easy. School’s out and as the old saying goes, “No more pencils, no more books, and no more teacher’s dirty looks.” As children we looked forward to that time when we didn’t have to go to school. We could spend our time in play, watching TV, traveling with our parents to see America, and visiting relatives. Ah summertime!

But, as we grew older we realized that the time for learning never really stopped. It may not have been by way of formal education, but we learned to watch those who were wise among us. If we were wise, we would mimic them. This is especially true for Christians. Paul wrote to Timothy, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in manner of life, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” (1 Timothy 4:12-13) From this scripture we learn that one does not have to be “old” to be wise and to serve as an example to others.

A poem by Edward Guest has these words, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day; I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way. The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear, fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear; and the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds, for to see good put in action is what everybody needs.”

This poem reflects the first part of Paul’s exhortation to Timothy – to be an example to others. The second part of the exhortation was to read, teach others and study the doctrine in which he had been instructed. Paul realized that watching others and being an example to others is not all there is to the Christian life. One must continue to study. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of God.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

June 19, 2010

Our Conviction And Commitment To The Lord – Ron Boatwright

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:00 am by kdkelly

We must first be convicted to God and Christ and Their word before we will be committed to Them. To be convicted is to be persuaded and convinced of the truth of God’s word. Our conviction comes from a study and belief of God’s word. To be committed is to trust God with total confidence. If we are not convicted there will be no commitment. Our conviction and commitment are not “what is the least we can do to get by?” We can never do too much for the Lord, but we can certainly do too little.

Jesus says, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). Jesus also says, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.  And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37-38). Does the life we are living show we are worthy of Christ? Do we love other people or things more than we love Jesus? Had we rather be with someone else at a ballgame or some other entertainment than to assemble to worship God? Where are our priorities? If we offer Christ second place in our lives, we offer Him nothing, because He will not accept second place. He must always come first in our lives. If we are committed to Christ we will always give him our very best and not our leftovers. Christ must be the total Lord and Master of our lives.

In our conviction and commitment to the Lord, we must always do all He says, only what He says, and for the reason He says.  We must “keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27) and “live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:12).  We must “be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).  We are to “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). And we are to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33) if we are really committed to the Lord. Only if we are totally convicted and committed to the Lord can we go to Heaven.

The Harvest Is Plentiful, a personal work self questionnaire

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by kdkelly

“Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2) Jesus spoke these words to the 70 disciples as he sent them out on what has been called the limited commission. In John 4:35 Jesus said to his disciples, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” Ardie used these scriptures as a basis for a lesson on personal work that challenged us all. This week’s bulletin provides you with a Personal Work Self Questionnaire from that lesson.

VISITORS

  • Did I attempt to meet and welcome each visitor?
  • Did I invite anyone to dinner to get to know them better, especially those of the community?
  • Did I call or write notes to thank them for coming and to encourage their return, especially those of the community?
  • Did I visit any of them?

WEAK OR DISCOURAGED MEMBERS

  • How many have I called?
  • How many have I visited?
  • How many have I invited into my home or out to dinner to get to know them better?
  • How many have I tried to help overcome their obstacles, fears, or doubts?

THE LOST

  • How many of my family members did I talk to about the Bible?
  • How many of my family members did I invite to services?
  • How many of my family did I show special concern for?
  • How many of my friends or acquaintances did I talk with about their souls’ needs?
  • How many of my friends or acquaintances who are struggling with the trials of life did I try to assist or encourage?

Paul wrote to the Galatians, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:1-10 )

Use the list to help stay focused on what God would have us to do. Let us plant and water. He will give the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6)

June 13, 2010

We Must Give The More Earnest Heed – Ron Boatwright

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:00 am by kdkelly

We are instructed in God’s word, “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away” (Hebrews 2:1). We must pay close attention to the things written in God’s word, the Bible; because if we don’t we will drift away, fall from God’s grace, and be eternally lost. Jesus says there are those, “who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away” (Luke 8:13).

Why do Christians, who were once saved, fall away? Because they didn’t give the more earnest heed to diligently study God’s word and make it a part of their lives. God says, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). God’s word is the spiritual food that all Christians need. If we don’t partake of it and apply it to our lives we will spiritually starve ourselves to death, which is what Satan wants.

A number of times Jesus would say while teaching others, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15). Jesus is saying to listen up and pay attention to His word. Jesus also says to those who He is teaching, “Let these words sink down into your ears” (Luke 9:44). In other words Jesus was saying to take heed and give serious thought to everything He was saying. But there are those who “turn their ears away from the truth” (2 Timothy 4:4). They are not interested in hearing the truth of God’s word, which is able to save their soul. These are given warning, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Even though the lie of Satan says that one cannot fall from God’s grace and be lost, God says we can (Galatians 5:4). Sadly many people in the Lord’s church have believed this lie of Satan and will be lost because they have drifted away and are unfaithful.

In order to “give the more earnest heed to the things” written in God’s word we must first know what it says. We must do as the brethern in Berea did as they “searched the scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11). We need to spend time every day feasting on God’s word. We should also take advantage of every opportunity we have of studying God’s word such as Sunday morning and Wednesday evening Bible study, Sunday morning and evening worship, and gospel meetings. If we take advantage of these and other opportunities and apply the things we learn to our lives, only then will we be giving “the more earnest heed” to the things written in God’s word, so we can go to Heaven when this short life is over.

Longsuffering – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by kdkelly

In last week’s article we discussed the unity we should endeavor to keep in the church as described by the seven ones of Ephesians Chapter 4: one body, one spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God. (Ephesians 4:4-5) We also noted what Paul wrote to the Ephesians about unity. “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

The word “longsuffering” is an interesting one and is akin to “patience.” However, longsuffering carries with it the notion of self-restraint even when provoked. Certainly man with his sinful behavior has provoked God over the ages. Yet God has been shown to be longsuffering. The psalmist wrote of God, “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” (Psalms 86:15-16) To be longsuffering is to be merciful and is the opposite of anger. I am thankful that God is longsuffering. The reason he is longsuffering  is clearly stated in 2 Peter 3:9, “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.” 

God’s unwillingness for any to perish shows another of the notions contained in “longsuffering,” and that is not hastily retaliating or punishing. We know that the time will come when God will take his vengeance on them that do not know him or who will not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:8). But until that times comes, he remains longsuffering.

Jesus was longsuffering to Paul. “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; … This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” (1 Timothy 1;12, 15-16) Paul pointed out that no matter how sinful a man may think himself to be or has actually been, mercy and everlasting life is available to all who will believe in Jesus. If we believe in Jesus, we will love him. If we love him, we will keep his commandments. (John 14:15).

Paul followed the pattern and was longsuffering toward others. Writing to Timothy he said, “But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.” (2 Timothy 3:10-12 )

Let us also be longsuffering and follow the pattern. It was pointed out last week that we should be longsuffering toward each other, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit  The fruits of the Spirit are love, peace, joy, longsuffering, faith, gentleness, goodness, meekness, and temperance. (Galatians 5:22-23). We are instructed that whatsoever things are honorable, just, pure, lovely and good, to think or meditate on those things. (Philippians 4:8) We should all think about the ways we can be long suffering toward each other. Amen.

June 6, 2010

There Is But One – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by kdkelly

Early in the life of our country, Benjamin Franklin once said, “United we stand and divided we fall.” As the Declaration of Independence was being drawn up, he also said, “We must all hang together, or most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” There is strength in unity. We see this principle in our country, in successful businesses, and in strong and happy families.

This is not a new principle, however. The Psalmist wrote, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” (Psalms 133:1) In describing the benefits of unity, Peter wrote, “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9).

Another principle we all understand from warfare is “Divide and Conquer.” We certainly are in a war with the Devil and his desire is that we be divided and easily conquered. First he tried to separate Jesus from God by tempting him in the wilderness. (Matthew 4:1-12). That didn’t work. Then he thought if he could get men to kill Jesus, he would win a major victory. If the head were dead, surely the body would die. Men did crucify Jesus, but the grave could not hold him (Matthew 28:1-6) and the body grew stronger. (Acts 1:1-2:47) Then, at the Devil’s bidding, men thought that if they would kill the apostles one by one, the body would die. Tradition has it that they were successful in killing all of them except John. But, the body grew stronger. He also had men persecute individual Christians, but that didn’t work either as the body grew stronger and the gospel of Jesus Christ spread over all the region around Jerusalem. (Acts 8:1)

Is it any wonder then that unity is one of the major themes to be found in the scriptures? There is strength in unity. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1:10) He knew that if the Corinthian brethren began to have issues with each other, it would not be long before the church would grow weak and the devil would have gained a victory.

 It is clear that unity does not come without a price. It’s a price that each of us has to pay. That price involves putting away our own personal interests in deference to those of others. The Corinthian brethren needed to put away the contentions that had developed among them. Some claimed to be followers of Peter, others Apollos, and still others Paul as if there was some value in being a follower of one more that the other. Paul let them know in no uncertain terms that Christ cannot be divided into “schools” with different leaders. The value is in the gospel, not in the one who preaches it.

Paul also wrote to the Ephesians about unity. “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3) Keeping the unity of the Spirit is an endeavor. It takes work. Each of us needs to work at keeping peace among ourselves. Endeavor originally carried with it the sense of giving diligence or making haste. Keeping peace is not something that comes naturally to us. We have to concentrate on it and work at it. We need to be longsuffering toward one another. This implies that keeping the unity of the Spirit is not something that will happen quickly. We may have to humble ourselves before others in order to do what God would have us to do. Christ humbled himself by obediently going to the cross to die for our sins. Is it too much to ask that we humble ourselves to keep unity in the church?

The scriptures tell us that there is one body, and one Spirit, even as we are called in one hope of our calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all. (Ephesians 4:4-6) We also know from the scriptures that as many of us who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ and we are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:27-28) It should be obvious to us that there is but one body (the church), one Spirit, one faith, one Lord and one God. Why do we allow ourselves to be drawn into situations that result in divisions among us over issues about the church, the workings of the Spirit, faith, baptism, and worship.

We must endeavor, give diligence, hasten, and do our very best to maintain the unity that should be. God would have it no other way. In the words of the Psalmist, “Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. (Psalms 34:13-14)