My father-in-law used to plant a huge garden every year and never even thought about watering it. That’s because he lived in an area where he depended upon the regular rains to irrigate it during the growing season. It was quite a shock for my wife to discover that one must continually water the lawn and plants here in this drier climate.
Sometimes rain comes in gentle showers and at other times in pounding downpours. God controls the rain and decides when and where it will fall ( Job 5:10) ( Gen 7:a4) (1ki 18:1) (Lev 26:4). He causes it to rain on one city and not on another( Amos 4:7). He also makes it rain on the just and the unjust alike (Mt 5: 45).
Rain is used in several metaphors throughout the Bible. God will rain righteousness on those who seek Him ( Hos 10:12). However, He will rain snares fire and brimstone upon the wicked ( Ps 11: 6). He promised to rain blessings upon the obedient ( Mal 3:10) ( Ez 34:26). He literally rained bread ( manna) from heaven on the Israelites during the wilderness wanderings. ( Ex 16:4). His doctrine shall drop as the rain then as well as now ( De 32:2).
When Christians deal with brethren or outsiders, our words should be like gentle raindrops not destructive hailstones ( 2 Sam 23:4) ( 1Tim 3:3) ( Eph 4:2) ( Col 4: 5). Jesus himself said, “…for I am gentle and humble in heart…” ( Mt 11: 29).
Those who live in a rainy place soon learn to carry an umbrella top avoid getting soaked. Christians need to protect themselves from the constant attacks of the devil and the evil that exists in this world. They have the indwelling Holy Spirit who acts as a spiritual umbrella to shield them from the constant downpours of temptation and false doctrine.
Submitted by Jery Bailey, Elder
Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
Light dispels darkness. It removes darkness, immediately, completely. (Remember this concept)
John 3:20 (NKJV)20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. (Remember, Light exposes and removes Darkness)
Sounds like the “light” will expose the darkness or evil in our lives. If you are in or experiencing any kind of darkness in your life, get into the “light” or into the “Word of God”.
Luke 11:33-34 (NKJV)33 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. 34 The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness.
This is saying that the eyes are the lamp of the body. The eyes are what bring in data or information into our minds. Our eyes can be used to fill our minds with good thing or evil things. If our eyes are focused on helping others and looking into the Word of God or the Bible, this is good. But, if our eyes are focused on self image, evil behavior, dirty magazines, or even too much social media and TV, we can be filling our minds with darkness and evil. Our eyes are “sucking it in”. So, I opened up my home page and evaluated the first 20 articles. They ranged from Mothers Day Flowers all the way to Nuclear War talks. 85% were negative, evil, and darkness while only 15% were of the positive nature and could be considered good. Is this the ratio of evil verses good that we are filling our minds with??? If it is, then we have a problem. How many hours a day are we introducing “Darkness” into our minds? We need to be in the “Word”, the Bible, on a regular, steady, consistent basis allowing the “Word” to change our lives. And it will if that becomes our focus.
Psalm 100:4 (NKJV) 4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.We need to be in the Bible. The light will help us with “being Thankful”, “Praising God”, and “Blessing His Holy Name”.
Chet Wiswell, Elder
All of us no doubt hear the question, “How are you?” several times each day. Instead of responding with the expected “Fine” or “Good”, what if more peop0le replied, B. B. B.? That has nothing to do with the Better Business Bureau, rather it is an acronym for Blessed Beyond Belief. I’m going to try using it as a conversation starter and a declaration of my faith
Surely all Christians can truthfully claim the many blessings God pours out on us continually. We can access the very throne room of the Godhead with confidence ( Heb 4:16) any time and any place without ritual, preamble or fanfare. Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit intercede and advocate for us in our prayers ( 1 Jo 2:1) ( Heb 4: 15-16) ( Rom 8:34 ( Rom 8: 14-16) ( Rom 8: 26-27) ( Heb 7:24-25). All these verses tell us how blessed we are to be children of God and fellow heirs with Christ Jesus ( Rom 8: 14-17). Unbelievable!
All have sinned ( Rom 3:23) and continue to sin ( 1 Jo 1 : 8-10) but when one becomes an immersed believer in Christ our sins are washed away ( Acts 22:16) ( Heb 8: 12) ( Acts 2:38). Only the one who was without sin is able to sympathize with our weaknesses having been tempted in every way just as we are ( Heb 4: 14-16). What a blessing!
Our material blessings are almost numberless. In our country we enjoy freedom, affluence, good health care and a myriad of other things. We are virtually without persecution when teaching our beliefs. Incredible!
We can assemble with our brethren any time to glorify God ( Heb 10:25) and to enjoy the love, concern and forgiveness of our fellow Christians ( Gal 5:13) ( Rom 13: 8) ( Col 3: 13). My hope is that some of you will join me in the B. B. B. campaign and perhaps it will catch on and be a real motivation for our friends to think deeper about their own soul. That would be a blessing beyond belief.
My old Sears lawnmower refused to start even after I checked the filter, the gas lines and the spark plug. Who could blame the 25 year workhorse? Nevertheless, I kept pulling the starter cord persistently for over 50 times. It would cough and sputter but not keep running until finally it did. The main reason I was so persistent was that the alternative was to buy a new mower for around 350 dollars. Some synonyms for persistent might be unrelenting, repetitious, or hardheaded. I plead guilty to the last one.
Persistence can be a positive or negative trait. It is described as continuing steadily or firmly in some state, purpose, or course of action in spite of opposition or criticism. When learning a new skill or language it is certainly needed. However, when one is persistent in the use of drugs or alcohol, it can lead to addiction or even death.
Christ’s love for His creation is persistent, relentless and wonderful. He constantly stands at the door of one’s heart asking to come in ( Rev 3:20). Even His last words on the cross expressed this love and persistence ( Lk 23: 34) ( Lk 23: 40-43).
Christians are told to be persistent in: prayer, ( 1 Th 5:17) ( Php 4:6) ( Rom 12:12) attendance, ( Heb 10:25) good deeds, ( Gal 6:9) thankfulness, ( 1Th 5:18) ( Col 2:7) love, ( Php 1:9) and several other Christian graces. Some versions use the word abounding which connotes an over-whelming persistence. Sadly, the scriptures also mention those who, “…deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the truth…” and will have, “…only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire…” ( Heb 10: 26-27). Therefore our task is continue on with loving persistence.
Submitted by Jery Bailey, Elder
This word is not used much anymore expect by those who work with metal and jewelry. It deals with the waste matter taken off the molten metal during smelting. I couldn’t find the word in the New Testament, but God uses it in the Old Testament to make a strong spiritual metaphor. “All the wicked of the earth you ( God)( v 115) discard like dross…” ( Ps 119:119). “the house of Israel has become dross to me;…so I will gather you in my anger…and you will be melted.” ( Ezk 22: 18:22). “ …I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities.” ( Isa 1: 24-25).
The Holy Spirit writer and Apostle, Paul, uses a different metaphor for the useless material to be discarded ---circumcision. The physical act that meant so much in the Old Law is now unnecessary. “…the uncircumcised who obey the law will condemn those circumcised who are lawbreakers…” ( Rom 2:25). “…neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything (spiritually), what counts is a new creation ( Gal 6:15).
He further explains why this action is like the dross of metal. “…For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh.” ( Php 3:3). Paul seals the deal with this statement, “…and circumcision is circumcision of the HEART, by the Spirit, not by the written code…” ( Rom 2:29).
It is necessary then for all who have put on Christ in immersion ( Gal 3:26-28), both male and female, to rid themselves of the dross of the heart ( 1 Cor 5:8). Some of the 1st Century Christians still dealt with jealousy, anger, gossip and arrogance ( 2 Cor 12: 20). These and several other behaviors are the dross that God wants us to remove from our hearts as He refines us like silver or gold, so that we can become pure and valuable in His eyes ( Zes 13:9).
Submitted by Jery Bailey, Elder
Suppose you were to receive an envelope in which there was a check made out to you for one million dollars tax-free. You didn’t earn it by hard work or even clever investments. It was a totally free gift that was unearned and unexpected. However, it is not unconditional if one wants to use it. There are some steps required with which you must comply to make it usable. First you must believe in the validity of the check itself or you might just tear it up or frame it and put it on the wall as a joke. Next you must prove your identity, then endorse it. Now it is finally viable to cash or deposit. Compliance is the act of conforming, yielding and cooperating. It is taking or receiving something offered by obeying the conditions requested.
Many kind and decent people have been led to believe that salvation is totally unconditional and universal because it can’t be earned by works of merit ( Eph 2:8-9) Since the beginning of time the Godhead has laid out conditions to be accepted and obeyed (Gen 2:16-17). The promise to the Israelites on Mount Sinai was that, “…IF you obey me fully and keep my covenant…you will be for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation ( Ex 19:5-6) The people promised that they would ( v8) but continually reneged and most of them died in the desert without reaching the promised land ( Heb 3:16-18) It was a free gift that they hadn’t earned but they never received it.
Jesus Himself told us that, “If anyone loves me he will obey my teachings…( Jo 14:23) His teachings continued on throughout the New Testament in words given the Apostles by inspiration of the Holy Spirit ( 2 Pe 1:21). The Spirit taught only what Jesus wanted known ( Jo 16: 13-15). It is not total compliance to simple pray for Christ to some into one’s heart (Mt 7:21) Jesus’ teaching here is that calling Him Lord, Lord, does not get one into heaven, rather it is by doing the will of God the Father who is in heaven.
It is the Godhead’s will that a person who believes, (Mk 16:16) confesses Christ publically, repents from the heart, (Lk 13:3) and is immersed INTO Christ Jesus for forgiveness of sins, will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit ( Rom 6:3-6) ( Gal 3:26-27) ( Act 2:38) Also one is then given salvation and assurance of safety from condemnation ( Rom 8:1).
These are all available to everyone not by works of merit, but rather by a humble, obedient compliance to God’s conditions. Much like the secular check, one must take hold of the free gift and take possession of it by fulfilling God’s teachings and commandments. The gift cannot be earned, it must be received and appreciated.
Submitted by Jery Bailey, Elder
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Have you ever considered doing a FRUIT check of your life? We should be doing this from time to time. As Christians we have these characteristics found in verse 22, but, are we allowing them to be expressed outwardly in our lives. Can others see this fruit in our conduct? If we are allowing our flesh to be controlled by the Holy Spirit then these characteristics will be expressed on an increasingly greater frequency. Each day as we are interacting with people we should be mindful of this fruit of the Spirit and we should strive, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to conduct ourselves with these fruits. We should do as verse 16 says and “walk by the Spirit” and then the desires of the flesh will diminish and the fruit of the Spirit will begin to be who we are becoming in Jesus. Is it time for a fruit check in your life?
Blessings to you all.
Chet Wiswell, Elder.
The total expenditure each year on cosmetics, hair care, jewelry, clothes and shoes to make women more beautiful must challenge the national defense budget. This biggest part of this is probably in an attempt to please the men in their lives. However, surely some it is spent to outdo one’s peers with the newest and most expensive fashion available. Without a doubt people do notice, admire and envy a woman who has outside beauty.
The problem is that, “ Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting ( Pr 31:30). Few things are as sad as a woman (or man) who desperately cling to the outward appearance of youth as they age. To deny to oneself what is so apparent to everyone else is futile and even pitiful at times.
What a contrast to God’s Beauty Shop. He adorns the hidden person of the heart ( 1 Pe 3:1-6) with a meek (KJV) gentle and quiet spirit with an unfading beauty ( v 4) which is precious and of great worth in His sight. We find that the Holy Spirit is also present in this interior make-over. He can live within the hidden person ( inner being) of Christians ( Eph 3: 16-19). He not only endows them with beauty, He strengthens them with power and fills them with an imperishable love of Christ. Truly, “…mankind looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart ( hidden person) ( 1 Sam 16: 7). “…though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly (hidden person) we are being renewed day by day” ( 2 Cor 4:16) How much happier and useful would Christians be if we would look into our hidden person and see what God has put there! Nearly everyone wants to look his/her best physically but often feels that it is not enough and struggle to try any new panacea that comes around. What if we were to try even harder to beautify our hidden person?
We can start by renewing our minds (Rom 12:2). We can then move on to purifying our hearts ( 2 Cor 7:1) ( Jas 4:8). Praying, forgiving and loving others might also be important contributors to the make-over. After all, Christians are metaphorically called the Bride of Christ and must be pure and beautiful in their “hidden person.”
Submitted by Jery Bailey, Elder
Many of the things that mankind once considered impossible have been done within the last few decades. A human was never supposed to run a mile in less than four minutes---Roger Bannister, May 6th, 1954. For most of history it was said that mankind would never walk on the moon---Neil Armstrong, July 20, 1969. These and many other “impossible” feats have been accomplished and surpassed many times since then. Nevertheless, there are other things that remain impossible due to physical limitations. Asking a newborn to write or tie a shoe, jumping over the Grand Canyon in a single leap, trying to teach a fish to ride a motorcycle are just a few examples which come to mind.
There are some things that are impossible for humans in a spiritual sense. Without faith it is impossible to please God ( Heb 11:6). It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins ( Heb 10:4) It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened…who have shared the Holy Spirit…if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance…( Heb 6:4-6). It is impossible to claim lack of sin in one’s life ( 1 Jo 1: 8-10).
There is said to be at least one thing that is impossible for God. He will not lie ( Heb 6:18). Another verse says that nothing is impossible for God ( Lk 1:37) God could do anything, but will not because He must remain true to who He is. It was impossible for death to keep its hold on Jesus because God raised Him from the dead ( Acts 2:24).
There are many things that Christians cannot do on our own. We cannot pray as we should but the Holy Spirit Himself intercedes for us ( Rom 8: 26-27). We cannot force people to obey the gospel, but we can teach them what God demands of them (Mt 28:19-20) ( 2 Tim 2:2) ( 2 Tim 3:16-17). There is really not much we can do without divine help, but many things are given to us by the grace and promise of God ( Jo 15:7). We can pray for others ( Mt 5:44) ( Eph 6: 18) ( Php 4: 6). We can forgive others because the Lord forgives us ( Col 3:13). We can trust and obey ( Jo 15:10). We should focus not on what is impossible, rather on all the things that are now possible because of Jesus Christ.
Submitted by Jery Bailey, Elder
Every year many tourists and locals make their way to the top of Pikes, Longs, Evans and other peaks to overlook the beautiful scenery below. However, the topic for today’s article will be about a different type of overlook. The first means to gaze out over. The second means to ignore, disregard or fail to consider. Our family has a saying when one seems overly concerned about one’s personal appearance, “No one looks at old men/women anyway.” Humorous, but it is based on at least a kernel of truth. Yet one does not have to be old to be overlooked in our society today. Nearly all of us have felt the sting of being forgotten, ignored or overlooked. With the advent of personal, portable electronic gadgets, it has become even easier to look through someone rather than at them. How rare, yet how pleasant it is to see people of any age engaging those who might otherwise be overlooked, in a genuine conversation about their lives, needs and concerns.
Most of these cases are due to self-absorption, but occasionally they can be premeditated. It is especially incumbent on Christians to notice and visit with outsiders, especially those who often seem to blend into the background ( Col 4:5) ( 1 Th 4:12) ( 1 Tim 3:7). The religious leaders of Jesus’ day wanted badly to overlook His teaching and miracles but just couldn’t ( 2 Cor 3: 14-15) ( Mt 15:14) ( Jo 12:42-43) ( Mt 23: 13-16). These leaders somehow overlooked every miracle and teaching of Jesus,and even hatched the absurd plot to kill Lazarus whom Jesus had raised from the dead ( Jo 12: 9-11).
King David researched and found a crippled grandson of King Saul, Mephibosheth, who must have been overlooked for years. David greatly honored him and gave him land and servants and let him eat at the King’s table ( 2 Sam 8: 7-12). Jesus, the descendant of David, was always on the lookout for the overlooked in every area in which He preached ( Mk 8:1-3) ( Mt 9: 6-7) (Mk 1:30-31) ( Mk 6:34-44). Christ never overlooked anyone then or now. He is aware of and cares deeply for everyone. In the OUR DAILY BREAD devotional booklet, Ruth O’Reilly-Smith tells of a way to deal with rejection and disregard from others. “Learn what you can from criticism…then shelve it and humbly move on in God’s grace and power” In other words, overlook being overlooked.
Submitted by Jery Bailey, Elder
Here you will find Spiritual Nuggets from your eldership.