From the minister's desk
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. He created man in his image and likeness.” He gave the man some basic needs that would lead to fulfillment or happiness. He gave man ‘Something to Do, Someone to Love and Something to Look forward to.’ Read Genesis 2 to see what that looks like.
I try to teach as the Lord has taught me in how to achieve happiness, fulfillment and “a peace which surpasses all understanding.” Also, to enjoy “all the spiritual blessings that are in Christ Jesus.” I do seek to get the most out of life, but what is that really? I believe it varies for each person. For me, I find contentment in Christ Jesus. This is what that looks like to me; ‘My first love is God and all His being. I seek first to do the things He has told me to do. I am looking forward to being with Him one day. I am content with following the steps He has ordered for me and allowing Him to guide me, bless me, protect me and deliver me. I want the same for each of you as well. I want to continue to ‘love, praise and worship God, have favor with all people as the Lord adds to the Church daily.’ Yes, I look forward to every day, especially Sunday. ‘I love the thrill that I feel when I get together with God’s wonderful people.’ He has brought me this far. I’d be foolish to leave Him now. I am happy, content and filled full of God’s love and mercy.
Please don’t mistake this to mean I don’t love my wife, my family, my friends and you all. Just know that we must all know our place in each other’s life in relation to God. God tells us that these things, including people, are temporal and will pass away. So, the ultimate goal must be Heaven which, we will have to strive to reach until death. This will keep God and Heaven in their rightful places, first.
When we set goals and achieve them, it may give us temporary gratification and happiness. But there is a higher, longer lasting happiness and peace available to us as God’s children. Yes, it is available, but we must obtain, secure or achieve them! We must work and “walk in the works ordained by God.”
To get the most out of life, give your life to Christ. What does that look like? Trust that “He has given us all that we need that pertain to life and godliness.” So, our daily life and issues start with listening to His voice, His words. Looking at three categories of basic needs will help a lot; ‘someone to love, (Him) something to do (His Will) and something to look forward to’ (Heaven) keeps me happy, content and fulfilled. Most people will not understand this, mainly because they don’t believe it or haven’t even tried it, though it is God’s plan for man. How about you? Are you happy? Do you have God’s peace? Is Heaven your goal? I pray that your answer is yes! If not, come, let us teach you how from God’s word.
If the Lord returned today, would you go back with Him or will you be left behind? Have you prepared yourself to be in eternity with Him? Are you seeking to make your calling and election sure? What is your understanding of the Church and why you must be a member to be saved? How much time do you think you really have before your life ends? Will you accept the Savior’s invitation to come to Him, obey Him and be saved? If you will accept the Word of God as truth, here are a few scriptural references to consider to ‘prepare yourself to meet Jesus.’
It is clear that “Not everyone that says Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Mt.7:21-23 Are you doing the will of God?
If you are not in the Church, the body of Christ you cannot be saved. But even those in the Church must be doing the will of God, because “The Son of man (Christ Jesus) shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them that do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire:…” Mt.13:41-42 Are you doing the will of God?
There is a grave danger in thinking you have time to prepare later. “Beware brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ IF we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said; “Today,” if you will hear my voice, harden not your hearts…” Heb.3:12-15 We are told in scripture to “Redeem the time for the days are evil.” Eph.5:16 Are you prepared to meet Jesus?
You must know that preparation includes hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ. “That Jesus suffered, hung on the cross, bleed, died and rose again on the third day, ascended back into heaven and is now sitting on the right hand of God, interceding for you and I.” Have you heard the good news about Jesus and what He has done for you? Now you can prepare to meet Him face to face and spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
You must believe this gospel in faith which results in your loving God for the gift of His only begotten Son to take your place in death. Loving and obeying Jesus as your Lord and Savior. “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believes not shall be damned.” Mk.16-16 Are you prepared to meet Jesus?
You must repent of your past sins. You could never fully account for every sin you have committed, nor do you have to, but you trust that God will forgive you for all of them as He has promised. Repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of behavior. This change comes as a result of you renewing your mind with the word of God. “I tell you nay, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” Lk.13:5 Are you prepared to meet Jesus?
You must confess with your heart and mouth that Jesus is the Son of God. “He that confesses me before men, him will I confess before my Father which is in heaven, but he that deny me before men, him will I deny before my Father which is in heaven.” Mt.10:32-33 Are you prepared to meet Jesus?
Then you must be baptized in water for the forgiveness of all your past sins. You get a new beginning, born again in Christ. Baptism puts you in Christ, where salvation is and if you be faithful, even unto death, God promised to give you eternal life with Him in Heaven. Are you prepared to meet Jesus? If not, you can get prepared right now by giving your life to Christ as scripture commands.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, our Lord has provided us good instructions and examples by which to follow as we journey here below. Remember, this world is not our home, we’re just passing through. But while we are here, we do have a mission and an expectation which we must stay focused on and complete. We are here to gain souls to Christ, ground them and ourselves in Christ, grow together in Christ and Glorify God the Father in Christ. It should never be our desire to ‘turn anyone over to Satan,’ but if we are to obey God, it must be done as He has so ordained. When one is continually walking disorderly and disobedient to the will of God, eventually He will turn them over and He tells us when we should also. If we are focused on our mission and living up to God’s expectations, we don’t have to worry about being given into Satan’s hands.
Gaining: “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Mk.16:15-16 When do you share the gospel with those who are not in Christ? That’s your mission. Jesus said, “he that gathers not with me, scatters abroad.” Mt.12:30 Our mission is the opposite of scattering. We must be gathering for Jesus. How many souls have you gathered lately? Make an effort to save a soul before the year is gone.
Grounding: “He gave evangelists, pastors, and teachers for the perfecting of the saints, and the edifying of the body of Christ.” Eph.4:11-12 Jesus provided us someone to help ground us in truth. He also told us through Paul that we must “study to show ourselves approved unto God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2Tim.2:15 We must study for ourselves also that we may be ground in the word and to help one another. Are we?
Growing: This is not a suggestion, but a command. From our new birth, baptism on, we are to feed on the word of God. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that you may grow thereby.” 1Pet.2:2 As we begin to grow, we will develop a hunger for the word. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Mt.5:6 We will not want for there will be plenty to nourish our souls. “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” Eph.4:15 Our focus will also be on our spirit man being developed and strengthened in the word. We will seek that spiritual knowledge.
“Grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2Pet.18
Glorifying God: “I am the Lord: that is my name: I will not give my glory to another.” Isa.42:8
We must glorify God in everything we do. “Whether therefore you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1Cor 10:31 We see how specific God’s word is, yet many are led to believe it is not saying what it is saying. Wow! Glorifying God is not a suggestion either.
We all must gain souls as we were gained. We all must ground ourselves and help to ground others in the word that none be lost. We all must grow in the knowledge and likeness of Christ and we must all work to glorify God in all that we do. Knowing this, let’s examine ourselves, our motives and our efforts to see if they are according to the faith and teachings of Christ our Lord.
With all that is going on in our world and in our lives, it is easy to lose our focus and remember what our purpose in this life is. Though once learned in “first principles” class and even later, Satan never gives up and many get weary and give in. We were taught that “our faith is the end of our salvation” and “our works do follow us.” We will be “rewarded according to what we have done in this body, whether it be good or bad.” Usually this manifests itself in the zeal and actions of new Christians at first, then it seems that after being around other Christians awhile, they begin to slack off, lose their zeal and blend in with the rest. It seems that the works taught them somehow dissipates. Work is an action or actions, both physical and mental.
One of the first works that Jesus taught was to “seek first the kingdom God and His righteousness…” Mt.6:33 In seeking God first, we learn of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We learn that we are to love and obey Jesus and to submit to and not blaspheme the Holy Spirit. We learn that “we are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus and not of our works or ourselves, it is a gift of God. We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God had before ordained that we should walk in them.” Eph.2:8-10 Along the way we are taught more about Jesus and to be like Jesus, which will find us doing as Jesus did, caring as Jesus cared, forgiving as Jesus forgave, etc. These are foreordained of God.
These are some of the works every Christian ought to be engaged in as “God has foreordained;” To do the works of God- Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent.” Jo.6:29
Love one another- Jesus said, “a new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Jo.13:34
Help the poor- “God blesses those who are kind to the poor and helps them out of their troubles.” Psa.41:1 “To despise the poor is to sin, blessed are those who help them.” Pro.14:21
Endure afflictions- Jesus said, “In your patience possess ye your souls.” Lk.21:19 Peter said, “… if when you do well and suffer for it, take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.’ 1Pt.2:20 ‘Being good examples to other Christians.’
Visit the widows- “Pure religion and undefiled before God is this; to visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Jas.1:27
Be hospitable - “Let love be without dissimulation;… distributing to the necessity of the saints; given to hospitality.” Rom.12:9-13
Teach all nations the gospel- This is a work, a commission, a charge, a responsibility given to all who believe on Jesus and have given their lives to Him to do His will which is ordained by God.
These are things we can do to help save souls and keep souls saved; Call, write, visit, encourage and provoke one another to love and good works.
“Faith without works is dead, being alone.” Jas.2:17-18…
“Write, blessed are the dead that die in the Lord from henceforth; … that they rest from their labors and their works do follow them.” Rev.14:13
One way to avoid being an abomination to God is to learn what is and live to not be.
Abomination means ‘detestable, abhorrence, repulsive, unnatural, perverted, etc.’
Just as we wouldn’t want to view our children or have them view us in these terms, neither does God of His. These are words from the Lord.
We must always remind ourselves that we have a new life with new rules to live by.
Look at a few of the things that are an abomination to God; idolatry, unjust weights and measures, uncleanness, incest, lying with a woman during her menses, adultery, sodomy, offering children as a sacrifice, sorcery and necromancy, the hire of whore, men wearing women clothing and women wearing men clothing, a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, feet that are swift to run to mischief, a heart that devises wicked imaginations, a false witness that speak lies and he that sow discord among the brethren to name a few. How many of these are you or have you been guilty of? _______________________________________
Church we must learn what pleases and displease our Father if we are to make godly decisions in our lives. For those who want to know if there is a word from the Lord for their problems and issues in life, yes there is, and it is found in His word. Why not read it if you are really concerned and wants to know? It is also a sin for one not to seek the Lord.
As we study ‘pride,’ let’s not overlook slothfulness, laziness, and ignorance of God’s word. These are abominations also. Know that ‘boasting’ can be committed only in the presence of other persons. ‘Haughtiness’ or ‘arrogance’ measures self as above others. These are attitudes of the heart. Jesus said that “things which men hold in esteem is an abomination to God.” This should cause us to check ourselves to see and know if we are doing such and if so, stop being an abomination to God. Pride often hinders us from doing what God says or wants us to do. We must teach and learn these things if we are to; ‘have an abundant life’ here and make heaven our home.