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LEFT BEHIND

What is the greatest thing you could leave behind when you die? Some will say it is the gift of love. Showing your family members what it means to love and encourage them to show that love to one another.  Others might say that the greatest thing we can leave behind is faith. Demonstrating to your family what it means to trust in God and encouraging them to also live by faith also.

Love and faith are certainly important things to leave behind but I think there is something else of equal perhaps greater value that we can leave behind and that is hope.

When you depart from this life you will be separated from those you love. You will not see them anymore in this life and they will not see you. During that period of absence brought on by death is there anything more wonderful to give your love ones than hope? The hope to see each other again. The expectation that because you live your life by faith and love in God you will see those you left behind again.

This was the point of Paul’s message to the Thessalonians in 1 Thess 4.13-18, “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

Paul tells the saints of Thessalonica that they don’t have to leave with the absence of hope. But with the expectation that we will see those who have died and went on before us again. That we will be united in eternal spiritual bodies and never be separated again.

Can you think of people you have loss wherein you anticipate that great day of reunion with hope? I sure can.                                                  Buc                                                                                                 

SHIPWRECKED FAITH


On April 10, 1912 the R.M.S. Titanic left Southampton, England on her maiden voyage across the Atlantic, destination New York City.  On board were 2,228 passages and crew. Many of the passengers had paid thousands of dollars to sail on this great luxury liner billed as “unsinkable.”

Four days into the voyage, the captain received severe ice warnings for the area through which the Titanic was sailing. These warnings were ignored and the ship continued her course. At 11:40 PM on April 14th, the Titanic struck an iceberg. Immediately she began to take on water at a rapid rate and within three hours the great liner and 1,523 of her passengers were at the bottom of the frigid Atlantic Ocean. 

Since 1912, people have tried to figure out what happened to bring about the demise of this “unsinkable” ship. Many have concluded that the tragedy was a mixture of many things including carelessness, apathy, greed, pride and incompetence. In other words, this tragedy could have been avoided had all the proper steps been taken by the captain and crew. 

The facts behind the shipwreck of the Titanic makes for a fascinating study, but did you know that not all shipwrecks happen at sea?  Most shipwrecks occur on dry ground and sometimes they happen amongst the people of God.

In 1 Timothy 1.19-20 Paul wrote about two saints, Hymenaeus and Alexander who had experienced “spiritual shipwreck.” We may not know exactly what caused their shipwreck of faith, was it one thing or a combination of several things? Whatever it was, their faith became shipwrecked and they were heading to the bottom of the abys. 

I believe Paul wrote about these two men as a warning to every child of God. That we must constantly be on guard that we too are not lost in a sea of doubts and fears. That we continue our course with faith in God that we might reach the safe harbor of heaven.                                                     Buc 


Are you prepared? 


 Typically when you see a title such as this we are talking about being prepared for eternity, this is not the case here. I want you to ask yourself the question, are you prepared to survive as a Christian in a morally declining nation?

 Think back to the story of Noah, how was the world described? Well in Genesis 6:5 it say “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Sounds familiar doesn’t it, look around and we see all sorts of evil being thrown in our faces. Now in Genesis God decided to send a flood to wipe out the earth and start over, but he left a way for Noah and his family to be saved.

 Now here is the big point I want you to see, Noah had to do something, God didn’t just save him, He offered him a way. He told him to build an ark, and Noah built it and he and his family were saved.

 But how was he saved? Think about these points:

1.        Noah didn’t wait for a boat to show up, he built it (just like God commanded)

2.        He planned ahead, he didn’t wait for it to start raining to start building the ark

3.        He didn’t miss the boat, when it was time to leave he was there.

 Now our world is spiraling downwards morally, we see people living and acting in abominable ways in public and with pride. How do we save ourselves from such an immoral world?

 1.        We build ourselves up to face the on coming floods of sin we must face, with much study and prayer.

2.        We prepare for the issues that we see coming. What issues are creeping in on us?

3.        We make sure we are always ready to “go”, we don’t fall into the old cliché of “I have plenty of time”

 Rom 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” The Lord has given us a way to survive in this world, let’s use it, and see who we can bring with us.

                                                                                                     Jeff Ferry


Day and Night

     Genesis 8:20-22 - Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the LORD smelled the easing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

     Here is an example of the many promises God has made in his Word. We learn many lessons from this passage. We see that the earth will not remain forever, supported by 2 Peter 3:10. We also understand that there will never again be a world-wide flood. It is also interesting that part of the reason for His relent is the same reason he decided to flood the earth to begin with, Genesis 6:5-7, the evil of man’s heart. Lastly, God make’s a promise of a continual sign, the seasons and times.

     God does something very interesting here. He makes a covenant with man involving the nature of time and seasons. He demonstrates consistency in something inconsistent. While the seasons continue to change, God holds each season in its place. While every 24hr period has day and night, light and dark, it is constrained by the framework God has set. Ecclesiastes 3 describes this well as it starts out by saying, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.” With times and seasons there are good and evil that result. We must gain wisdom and knowledge from both to bring us closer to Him.

Matthew Henry describes it like this. These seasons have never ceased, nor shall cease, while the sun continued such a steady measurer of time and the moon such a faithful witness in heaven. This is God's covenant of the day and of the night, the stability of which is mentioned for the confirming of our faith in the covenant of grace, which is no less inviolable, Jer. 33:20, 21. We see God's promises to the creatures made good, and thence may infer that his promises to all believers shall be so.

     While we see the value in the way these processes were designed, eternity is totally different than this. This produces hope of another covenant promise……Heaven. Heaven is described as having no night, where things do not change.      

         Greg Odom 


FIVE CENTS

WHEN I WAS VERY YOUNG (10-11-12)  MY MOTHER DID NOT WANT HER CHILDREN GOING TO THE MOVIES, AT ALL! SHE WOULD HARDLY EVER GIVE ME MONEY TO GO ON SATURDAY TO SEE ROY ROGERS OR GENE AUTRY IN A WESTERN. NOW WESTERNS ARE ALRIGHT IF YOU ARE OK WITH DRINKING, DANCE-HALL GIRLS, AND KILLING. (O-K?)

BUT ONE DAY I HIT IT LUCKY AND FOUND A TCI ,U S STEEL, (FOR YOU YOUNGER FOLKS) COMMISSARY (COMPANY STORE) COUPION BOOK WITH 5 CENT COUPONS STILL IN IT. THERE WAS NO WAY OF KNOWING WHOSE COUPON BOOK IT WAS, SO IT NOW BELONGED TO ME. I USED THE BOOK SPENDING A COUPON AT A TIME, UNTIL I GOT ENOUGH PENNIES IN CHANGE SO I COULD GO TO THE MOVIES.

BACK ABOUT THAT TIME, "GONE WITH THE WIND" CAME OUT. IT RAISED A STORM. THE MOVIE HAD ONE THREE LETTER WORD IN IT. I WILL LEAVE IT TO YOU TO GUESS THE WORD. TODAY YOU CAN HARDLY GET BY THE OPENING SCENE WITH OUT CURSING, NUDITY OR. KILLING, BUT, YOU SEE, WE HAVE GOTTEN COMFORTABLE WITH THAT ON T V, NEWSPAPERS, RADIO, MAGAZINES ON AND ON. SPEAKING OF T.V.

THERE IS NOW A COMMERCIAL SHOWING HOW A SMALL DRAFT IN YOUR WINDOWS CAN EQUAL ONE COMPLETELY LEFT OPEN. SO WHAT'S MY POINT? WHAT ARE WE ACCEPTING AS JUST FINE OR MAYBE A LITTLE QUESTIONABLE? BUT IT WON'T EFFECT ME OR MY CHILDREN. I DON'T KNOW THE  DATES FOR ALL OF THE BEGINNINGS OF WHEN CURSING BECAME O K OR NUDITY IN MOVIES AND ON T V, OR MAGAZINES. OR ON THE BEACH, BUT WE ALL KNOW THAT IT IS ACCEPTED BY THE WORLD. MAYBE LIKE HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGES ARE BEGINNING TO BE APPROVED OF.

WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT A FEW YEARS AGO THAT WOMEN PREACHERS WOULD BECOME OK OR CHOIRS OR SPRINKLING FOR BAPTISM? ORGANS, PIANOS, ROBES AND REVERSE COLLARS, REVEREND OR PASTOR FOR A PREACHER? DAYCARE, JESUS KITCHENS. BALL TEAMS HAVING SALES TO RAISE MONEY FOR THE CHURCH. CHURCHES POOLING THEIR FUNDS TO SPONSOR A WORK. SHOW WHERE IN THE BIBLE ANY OF THESE TYPE THING ARE FOUND AND GOD'S PEOPLE NEED TO DO THEM?

 JUST DON'T TAKE 5 CENTS WORTH WITHOUT BIBLE AUTHORITY. WHEN ISRAEL LEFT GOD'S COMMANDS BEHIND, I IMAGINE IT WAS SOMEWHAT LIKE MY 5 CENT BUY AND THE ONE LITTLE THREE LETTER WORD, IT WASN'T A BIG STEP  JUST A LITTLE STEP AT A TIME.

HOW MUCH HAVE WE OR ARE WE JUST BUYING INTO A LITTLE AT A TIME IN OUR EVERY DAY LIVES. IT IS EASY TO JUST GO WITH THE FLOW. WILL WE JUST TAKE 5 CENTS WORTH OR LET JUST A LITTLE DRAFT COME IN OUR WINDOWS? HOPEFULLY WE WILL STOP THE DRAFT AND NOT SPEND OUR 5 CENTS ON WRONG! Please see 2nd John 9, 2nd Tim. 4:3 & compare Gal 1:6-10

MACON HORNE 

A STICK IN THE WATER

 

For centuries God has worked many various things in many different ways through His earthly servants. 2 Kings 6.1-6 records one of His many wonders done by the hand of His servant Elisha.

     While Elisha was with other servants who were cutting timbers to make dwellings for themselves, he came upon one who was “distraught” because the head of a borrowed axe and flew off its handle and landed in a nearby water. This man was seeking help.

     Elisha listened to the man’s complaint, then cut a stick and threw it into the water where the man said the axe head had  sunk. God did the rest. He made the iron float to the surface so the now “happy” man could retrieve it.

     Observe a few things that happened and some which did not upon Elisha finding this man with a problem.

1. Elisha listened to the man’s concerns. He didn’t say “Sorry, I can’t help you” or “that’s your problem, not mine.” He did not ignore the man at all.

2. Elisha did what he could.

3. God did what Elisha could not do.

     What can we take away from these observations?

     We need to remember that God still works through His servants today. So before we find someone who admits he needs spiritual help, we must first equip ourselves to be able to help.

1. We need to listen to determine the individual’s needs. Do not say, “I can’t do anything.” Can you pick up a stick? God has one made of 66 books! Saying, “That’s your problem, not mine,” does not help. It only makes things worse. Ignoring this kind of problem will not make it go away, but it will create another!

2. We need to do what we can under the circumstances.

3. God’s word will do what we cannot do.

     Whether God raises that soul drowned in sin to life again, might just depend upon whether you or I throw a stick into the water.

 

Tom McLane 


DRY BONES

 

A new year brings with it a new opportunity, a new vigor for success, and a new challenge to work in the Kingdom of God. As 2014 comes to a screeching halt, it is now time to take inventory of our stock and see where we could have been more productive, where we were able to find a new challenge or where we might have left one. But to many the challenge has grown cold. As we take stock of our work in 2014 and began to plan for this New Year, let’s remember our purpose and do not allow ourselves to become cold dry bones.

 

In Ezekiel 37:11, the prophet wrote, “Then He said unto me, these bones are the whole house of Israel; Behold they say, our bones are dried, and our hope is lost; we are cut off from our parts”. The nation of Israel was too often willing to turn their back on God simply because thought they had found a better way. They fell into idolatry and sinfulness simply due to a lack of wisdom and faith; all the while God was there, willing to give them chance after chance. They were dry bones. Ezekiel was led in the Spirit to a valley full of dry bones, where no life had been for many decades. God told him to prophesy and behold the bones began to come together, put on skin and armor and a mighty army stood before him. Then God told the prophet to once again prophesy to the wind and the gained breath in their body. (Ezekiel 37:1-10) Sounds like a story right out of a horror movie, but on the contrary it is AWE inspiring.

 

To see what God can do through man is amazing. Too many times we are like Israel, and feel like we have no purpose. If we leave God out of our lives, we have proven ourselves correct. 

If we will include God and put Him first and foremost, then we can feel invigorated, recharged and ready to stand at a moment’s notice.

 

Please visit 3 very simple verses with me to help us remember we are not alone, we do not have to face life like dry bones.

Philippians 4:13- “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. So, where does our strength come from other can Christ?

Mark 16:15- “ Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” The command is to go. But we are not alone, for Jesus will be with us.

Matthew 28:20- “I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.” When we say we can’t, we are telling God, “I am nothing but dry bones”. Put your faith to work and allow God to put breath back into your life.

 

 Don Burleson


WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO LEAVE BEHIND?

 

 

Many people stress the importance of making a Will.  To be able to leave your children and/or grandchildren some material gift is highly regarded in today’s society. Some people have found however that fighting and bickering is more often accomplished than actual benefit.

 

The Christian however is more concerned with the spiritual things that he/she leaves behind. I like to call it, your “Spiritual Legacy”.  There are many people that I knew that left a great legacy. The fruits of the Spirit were evident in their life and they live on after they died. Their acts of faith and kindness are remembered and treasured. Most of these people whom I am remembering were not materially rich at all. As a matter of fact, I don’t even know what their careers were or how they made a living. I do know however they were spiritually rich. I know that they had great character. They worked hard to support families in tough times. They studied their bibles with their families developing good habits and a love for God’s Word. Their bible study developed in them a great knowledge of God’s word that often gave them the appearance of knowledge surpassing their level of formal education. They sometimes were called to fight in wars a long ways from home for long periods of time. When they returned they had gained an attitude of thanksgiving and a perspective of how great “home” really was. They were strong and courageous people who were able and willing to defend God’s truth. They were hospitable and friendly toward others and always had something to give to the less fortunate, when today they would be considered less fortunate. They developed in their children a work ethic that carried with them through school and their careers. due to women and men. They taught their children to respect the elderly and to help the sick. They taught their kids not to be selfish.

They wanted a better life and education for their children and were willing to sacrifice and go without to accomplish that goal. They assembled to worship always. Going to church was a high priority in their life. God was first and everything else followed…..at a distance. If they missed church, people came to look for them because they probably fell down a well or something. They were punctual. They showed the respect.

They were servants and glad to be such as Jesus was their example. They spent time with others for the sake of others, being selfless. They were quiet natured, but spoke boldly in actions. They studied the principles and laws of the bible and lived them out daily. Although passionate about their beliefs, their tempers and mouth were controlled by their wisdom, not their emotions. 

 

The application is simple. What kind of legacy are you building for your children and grandchildren? What foundation have you begun for them to build off of? If the only thing you leave your family when you die is a check, when the money runs out so will your memory.  Psalms 78:5-7

 

 Greg S. Odom 

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