WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN EATING LATELY?
David Register / May 22, 2022
There once was a miserly farmer who was always trying to save money. One day he decided to add a little sawdust to the donkey’s feed to make it go a little further. The donkey didn’t seem to notice and ate it up. The next day he added a little more sawdust to the feed and the donkey quickly ate it all. He continued increasing the amount of sawdust in the donkey’s feed every day. Because the process was gradual, the donkey didn’t notice any difference as he cleaned up the feed daily. The plan was working well until… the donkey suddenly died of malnutrition. The farmer learned the donkey couldn’t live on sawdust. He learned a valuable lesson, but too late.
Similarly, spiritual food that contains the pure word of God is very nourishing for a Christian. But once His word is mixed with worldly sawdust (a social or watered-down gospel), it is no longer pure and will lead to spiritual sickness and eventually to spiritual death (2 Peter 2). Romans 8: 6-8 tells us: "6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God."
It is indeed sad when Christians become spiritually malnourished and eventually succumb to the world. If there is any sawdust in our spiritual diet, we need to dump that contaminated food and once again begin feeding on the pure milk of God’s word. 1 Peter 2:2: "2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby".
And as we grow and begin to build back our spiritual strength, we must move on to the strong food of the Word. Hebrews 5:14: "13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 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."
We should continue to consume the entire word of God before we learn a valuable lesson too late. Let’s all grow into spiritually mature workers for the Lord and His church. 2 Peter 3:18: "18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen."
TRUST ONLY IN THE LORD Raymond Copeland / May 15, 2022
"It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man." Psalm 118:8 KJV
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; And lean not unto thine own understanding." Proverbs 3:5 KJV
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;". Ephesians 6:10-18 KJV
Always look to the Lord and study His Word so you can strive to be as He would have us to be. Man will always disappoint you no matter who they may be. Family, friends, and even brothers in Christ will disappoint you at times but the Lord will never fail you.Always look to Him and strive to live a Christlike life, so you will have eternal life.
TAMING THE TONGUE Bennie Carr / May 08, 2022
A couple of weeks ago, in our Sunday morning bible class, we studied the aspects of what damage the tongue can do. It was a great study, and I so appreciate the input from many of you that participated. Studying that lesson, which we took 3 weeks to cover, made me more aware of what God expects from each and every one of us regarding the use of our tongues.
Since it was my week to supply the Elder’s Corner message, I decided that I would take this opportunity to reiterate some of the key things to remember about that lesson. The main reason for doing so is that the tongue is the most damaging aspects of our bodies. It can also be the greatest tool that mankind received from God if we use it to spread God’s word, and to build up and edify one another. “Therefore, let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another” (Romans 14:19). “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (I Thessalonians 5:11).
As Christians, we are reminded that we must keep control of our tongues. As James said, “But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). We should always think before we speak.
The Proverbs writer said, in Proverbs 10:19, “In the multitude of words, sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise”. We can sin against our brother with the tongue, and not even realize it before it is too late. We have to be careful.
When we repeat something that is heard without full knowledge of the truth, before we know it, we could be gossiping and becoming busybodies (I Timothy 5:13). As Christians, we need to be careful with what we repeat. Remember, there are always two sides to the story. “The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17).
We have the ability to tame our tongues. We should remember that we are stewards of our own tongues and that we will give an account for “What we say, how we say it, and to whom we say it”.
Let us all work diligently to please God in the use of our tongues!!!
TIME FOR REFLECTION David Register / May 01, 2022
First of all, I want say Thank You! I really appreciate all the calls, texts, cards and prayers during my illness. It’s great to know I’m part of a family who cares for each other.
During my illness I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on different things in life. One thing, is how I respond to difficult times. I thought about the pain I was in and how I could best deal with it. The apostle Paul came to mind in how he dealt with pain and suffering, specifically his and Silas’ reaction in Acts 16 when they were thrown into prison after having been severely beaten:
22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. 23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
Their reaction is astounding:
25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
Could I react to the pain I was in the same way Paul and Silas did? I began to try my best to focus on Jesus when the cramps and pain hit. I spared the nurses and those around me the agony of listening to me sing, but I did pray hard during those times and thanked God for Paul’s examples and for Jesus and the pain and suffering he also endured for me.
Hebrews 12:2-3 tells us Jesus considered it a joy to suffer on the cross for us:
2 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. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
Now that I’m feeling much better, I pray that I can continue to have this same attitude when life becomes challenging. I pray that I focus on praising and thanking God, knowing that the challenges I face in this life will never compare to what Jesus went through for me.
JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS David Stevenson / April 24, 2022
The other day I read the following statement: "The only exercise some get is jumping at conclusions, running down friends, sidestepping responsibilities, and pushing their luck." Unfortunately, this is true of many people today. Maybe they do not see the dangers in such things.
When we speak of "jumping to conclusions" we speak of someone who knows a little something about a matter, but does not know all the facts, but they draw a conclusion from what little facts they have, and could care less whether they have all the information or not. Too many times, it seems, people want to think the worst of another, and thus, when they hear something, they draw a wrong conclusion without knowing all the facts (and have no desire to know all the facts). Is this really doing unto others as you would have them do unto you (Matthew 7:12)? To help show you what I mean, please consider the following examples carefully and humbly:
"A farmer was driving along a winding road and had to stop short to avoid being hit by a woman who was coming around a curve on the wrong side of the road. Before he could yell at her, she stuck her head out of the window and shouted, 'Pig!'. Furious, he yelled back, 'Old Sow!' and began driving on. Rounding the curve, he slammed on his brakes. There, in the middle of the road, stood the largest pig he'd ever seen."
"Some time ago there was a faithful dog who was a constant companion of a small child. One day, both dog and child disappeared. A diligent search by parents, friends, and neighbors proved to be fruitless. The child could not be found. After several hours the dog returned home, but he was covered with blood. Naturally, the father jumped to the conclusion that the dog had become vicious and killed the child. The dog must be destroyed, so he got his gun and killed the dog. A little later, the child was found in the woods unharmed. Nearby was the body of a panther that the dog had killed in his struggle to protect the child."
"A lady invited friends to a mushroom and steak dinner. When the mushrooms were opened, a slight scum was on top. Since the guests were expected shortly, the lady suggested to the maid, 'Give the dog a little, and if he eats it, it is probably alright.' The dog liked it and begged for more, so the dinner was completed and then served to the guests. After the main course, the maid hurriedly whispered to the mistress, 'Ma'am, the dog is dead.' There was no time to lose. There was only one thing to do. Sometime later the guests were reclining after the use of the stomach pump. The lady asked the maid, 'Where is the dog now?' 'Out on the front steps, ma'am, where he fell when the car hit him.'"
Yes, my friends, let us not become guilty of "jumping to conclusions." Let us not be eager to jump to conclusions when we only have part of the information presented to us. Let us be careful and cautious of rumors.
Often, when one hears and participates in rumors, only partial facts are spoken, and much of the time the facts that are presented are distorted terribly and are nowhere even close to the truth. Thus, let us be patient and loving and seek to know the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Too many times, people take action or speak their opinions before considering all the facts. Many times, the result is great harm to another and the damage that is inflicted is often hard to repair (and sometimes impossible)!
Is it no wonder then that James said, "let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath" (James 1:19)? So, my brethren, let us be careful about what we think, say and do!
May God bless you and have a great week!
TAX TIME: AREN'T WE LUCKY!? David Stevenson / April 17, 2022
Some people may think by reading the title of this article that, “David, you’ve lost your mind – I hate taxes.” And for most of us this is true. I don’t know very many people that enjoy paying their taxes every year, but we know it has to be done. So, when April 15th comes along every year, we usually don’t like that date. However, what the title of the article has reference to, is the fact that the government has given us a few more days to file our taxes on time or to get those extensions (which has its own interesting aspects).
You see, Tax Day, April 15th, falls on April 18th this year because Emancipation Day, a holiday in Washington marking the end of slavery in the District of Columbia, will be observed on April 15th this year. Therefore, the Internal Revenue Service's District of Columbia offices will be closed on Friday, April 15th, in observance of the locally recognized Emancipation Day, which gives everyone until April 18th to get those taxes filed orextens ions recorded by the IRS.
Now aren’t you excited?! I am sure that whether you anticipate a refund or whether you owe more taxes to the government will make a difference as to your outlook of this time of year. So, with "tax time" just around the corner (tomorrow in fact) and many thoughts go to the unhappy job of filing those form 1040 (and/or other related forms) to pay your federal income taxes (and even have state income taxes to file), I thought we could use a bit of humor and encouragement during this time of year.
As you read the following article (whose author is not known to me), let us all be glad that the IRS cannot tax the many priceless possessions we have in Christ Jesus:
A tax auditor came many years ago to a poor servant of the Lord to determine the amount of taxes he would have to pay.
"What property do you possess?" asked the auditor.
"I am very wealthy," replied the Christian.
"List your possessions, please," the auditor instructed.
"First, I have everlasting life (John 3:16). Second, I have a mansion in heaven (John 14:2,3). Third, I have peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:7). Fourth, I have joy unspeakable (1 Peter 1:8). Fifth, I have divine love that never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8). Sixth, I have a faithful wife (Proverbs 31:10). Seventh, I have healthy, happy, obedient children (Exodus 20:12). Eighth,I have true, loyal friends (Proverbs 18:24). Ninth, I have songs in the night (Psalms 42:8). Tenth, I have a crown of life (James 1:12). Eleventh, I have a God who supplies all my need (Philippians 4:19). Lastly, I have been blessed with all spiritual blessings inheavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3)."
The tax auditor closed his book and said, "Truly you are a very rich man, but your property is not subject to taxation!"
As Christians, we are to submit ourselves to the powers that be and obey the laws of the land as long as they do not contradict God's law (see Romans 13:1-2 and Acts 5:28). And although, to many of us, taxes are a task which we dread and do not like very much, it is still a process of life in America. In fact, you might recall that even Jesus paid "taxes" Himself (see Matthew 22:21). Let us also remember that as Christians we must submit to do the will of God. In doing so we need to be laying up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). And let us ever be thankful to the Lord for all His bounty (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Have a great week, and God bless you all!
THE SIMPLICITY OF THE WORD OF GOD
Raymond Copeland / April 10, 2022
“And one of the scribes came, and heard them questioning together, and knowing that he had answered them well, asked him, What commandment is the first of all? Jesus answered, The first is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is one: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. The second is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Of a truth, Teacher, thou hast well said that he is one; and there is none other but he: and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is much more than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices.” Mark 12:28-33 ASV
The simplicity of the Word of God. If we would only truly desire to do as the Lord wills, then it is simple. We are warned of following traditions of men over God's Word. Satan is always providing obstacles but we make the choice.
If we take these two commands and look at all other instructions from God, we can see that each one fits into one the these two categories. True love for man truly as our own selves means to care for the spiritual condition of everyone, before ourselves, and loving God above all else.
Do as Joshua of old and " choose you this day who you will serve, whether self or the Lord thy God. "
GOOD MORNING, SPRING! Bennie Carr / April 3, 2022
When I walked outside this morning, it was a breath of fresh air after the wind and rain we had just had the day before. I looked and saw the new growth bursting out with new leaves on the old live oak trees standing in the yard, and saw the flowers blooming all around. The blooms from the live oaks lay as a carpet on the grass, which signifies new leaves had come.
Springtime reminds me of God’s majestic power to create living things, plants, flowers, etc., for our enjoyment, as well as nutritional value for our bodies. We plant the little seeds for our gardens and we fertilize, water, and care for them as they begin to grow and bring forth fruits. An amazing process!
God’s words in Matthew 13 regarding the Parable of the Sower is like the farmer who goes out to sow his seeds. He has four options or types of soil that the seeds are sown upon. They are: the path (no soil), rocky ground (little soil), among thorns, and good soil.
When he sowed them on the path, the birds came along and ate them because there was no soil. When he sowed them on rocky ground, which had little soil, they sprang up quickly; however, because the soil was shallow, once the sun came out, they withered because they had no root. When he sowed among the thorns, they grew, but were soon smothered out. When he sowed the seeds and they fell on good soil, the plants began to grow and produced a massive crop.
Jesus told this parable to liken it in comparison to us planting the seeds (His message) of The Gospel of Jesus Christ. The soils are the types of people who receive this message. Some hear what the message is, but do not understand it, therefore the evil one snatches it away. Some hear and receive the message with joy, but because they have no root, when trouble or persecution comes (like on rocky ground), they quickly fall away. As with the seeds that fell among the thorns, the person who hears The Word, but lets the worries of life or the deceitfulness of wealth choke it out, becomes unfruitful. The seeds that fell on good soil represent those who hear The Word and understand it, and therefore produce a crop many times what was sown.
This parable is so important to the teaching of Jesus Christ. We have to make the effort to plant the seeds of His Word if we are to grow. Are you planting the seeds? It’s planting time...Let’s get busy!!!
ONE LOVE Raymond Copeland / March 6, 2022
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV
How simple does our Heavenly Father make it for us to be with him in heaven? Read the passage again, slowly and carefully. Love... the Lord your God with... your heart, your soul, and your mind. This is not an emotional, worldly love, but a spiritual, eternal love. Then...love your neighbor as yourself. Do what? Read it again and let it really soak in. If you loved your neighbor as yourself, what a different world we would have. The Law and the prophets depend on these two commands. In fact, EVERYTHING hinges on these two commands.
Faith, Hope, and Love abide but the greatest is LOVE. Why?
On judgement, faith and hope will be useless but LOVE will follow us into eternity. If we obeyed these two commands, there would be no divisions among us. We would willingly obey God's law, and we would be one. One church, one faith, one God, one Love, one Lord, one baptism. ONE PEOPLE.
Will we obey His commands today? Do we truly LOVE the way the Lord expects us to? If not, then why not?
A RECONCILIATION OF FAITH AND WORKS
David Stevenson / March 6, 2022
There are those who teach that Paul and James were not in agreement on the subject of faith. They would tell us Paul negates the importance of works of faith, while James emphasizes the essentiality of the faith that works. However, we must recognize that Paul and James were both inspired writers, and because of that they cannot and will not contradict each other. To say they did, is to say that God contradicted Himself, because it is God’s word that these two men were writing. And to say that God contradicted Himself is wrong indeed. So let us examine these two writers, Holy Spirit inspired men, and how they are not contradictory, but are in harmony in their teachings.
Paul, in Romans chapter four, shows that works without faith would not justify and thus lays his emphasis on faith. It is true that man does not gain justification by meritorious works (works by which we “earn” our salvation). This is the very point Paul is making. Paul also spoke of this in Titus 3:5, where he said, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Again, Paul declares salvation is not of personal meritorious works, in Ephesians 2:8,9 when he said, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” So, Paul was speaking of the importance of faith separate from a man thinking that he can earn his salvation by meritorious works.
Now James, in James chapter two, deals with the topic that faith without works will not justify, thus James lays the emphasis on the work of faith. However, these works that James speaks of is not the meritorious works that Paul was speaking of in Romans chapter four. James is speaking of works of righteousness (works of obedience). Jesus Himself was asked a question along these lines, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” Peter showed that it is by works of righteousness one is acceptable to God. “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:34,35). So, James spoke of the importance of righteous works and that should accompany our faith.
We should bring out that neither Paul nor James teaches that you could be saved by faith alone, nor works alone. Paul himself realized the worthlessness of faith alone, “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2). When people say that Paul and James contradicted each other it shows that they want to hold to a false teaching as faith only or works only. In order for one to see that Paul and James did not contradict each other, one must understand the context of what the writers were speaking about. Paul, in Romans chapter four is writing to correct the misconception that those people had that works alone justify a man. James, on the other hand, in James chapter two, was writing to correct the misconception that those people had that faith without works of righteousness will justify.
One must recognize that neither Paul nor James is saying that a man can earn his salvation. They are both saying, however, that faith is necessary as well as obedience (works of righteousness), and one without the other is dead. One must also recognize that both Paul and James understood the importance of obedience (which is a work of righteousness). Both Paul and James use Abraham as an example to prove that one must have the works of obedience in their life if they wish to be acceptable in the sight of God (James 2:21-24 and Hebrews 11:8-19). Yes, Abraham had an obedient faith. Abraham had a working faith, for he did as God commanded. Abraham had the right kind of faith, and because of that he obeyed God in his work and his faith was then made perfect (James 2:22).
We must also have faith as well as obedience to be pleasing to God (Romans 4:12 and 5:1). But let us never think we can earn our salvation, because salvation is the gift of God (Romans 6:23). It is entirely because of God’s grace, that we have the opportunity to obey Him and have the hope of heaven and eternal life as our reward for our labors (Revelation 14:13 and 1 Corinthians 15:58). Let us remember our responsibility of “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) and seek to search the scriptures and allow God’s word to direct our lives in the proper understanding of God’s will.
May God bless us as we study His word and let’s remember to pray for wisdom so we might properly discern His will for our lives!