On Saturday, October 21, Club 456 will have a service project and devo. We will meet at the church building at 2 p.m. Questions, see Merett Lykins or Abbi Thomson.
PrimeTimers will have a chili/hot dog weenie roast dinner on Sunday, October 15, after Bible classes. Sign-up sheet posted on PrimeTimers’ board in EDW. Questions, see Ruth Anne Estes.
by Justin Morton
No matter what our age may be, most of us probably do not enjoy being corrected. In fact, one of the hardest things to do is to stop and listen when someone is trying to correct us or our behavior. We see this play out time and time again when we discipline our children. When our young children try to touch a hot stove, we correct them. When they run out toward the street while playing, we correct them. When they disobey us, we correct them. And guess what we discover? Often our children do not like to be corrected! Honestly, who does?
However, just because we do not like to be corrected does not mean we do not need to be corrected. We all have moments in our lives where we find ourselves saying or doing things that make us or our family look bad. We have been guilty of behaving or speaking in ways that brought shame and reproach upon the church. The Bible has a great deal to say about the need to rebuke those living and acting in sin (Lk. 17:3-4; Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim. 4:2). Friends, when such moments happen in our lives, we need a brother or sister to reach out to us with a gentle and loving hand of correction, not to be the Christian police, but to help us in our walk with God.
The wise man said, “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid” (Prov. 12:1). Wow, what strong language! My guess: because it gets the point across. When someone is trying to correct us, our typical response may be to start offering excuses. Just as our children try to justify their behavior, sadly, sometimes we do also. Instead, we need to stop and listen. These caring Christian family members just might be saying something we need to hear.
Brothers and sisters, we all will find ourselves in need of a gentle hand of correction at some point. When that time comes, how will we respond? Will we offer up a variety of excuses? Will we accuse the person trying to correct us of being judgmental? Or will we stop and listen to what we are being told? The correction these individuals are offering just might change the course of our eternity.
Sunday, October 22, at 5 p.m.
Chili, Hot Dogs, Desserts (sign up please)
Hayride, Pumpkin Contest, Trunk or Treat (Contest), Games, & Fellowship
NOTE: Sunday evening Bible Classes will begin at 4 p.m.
God often takes on human characteristics in the Old Testament. For example, He walks in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:8. Isaiah 5:25 indicates He has a hand while Daniel 9:18 makes it clear that God has eyes and ears. These attributions of human characteristics to the Lord are known as “anthropomorphisms.” The on-line Cambridge Dictionary defines anthropomorphism as “the showing or treating of animals, gods, and objects as if they are human in appearance, character, or behavior.” Anthropomorphisms help us (humans) better understand the divine Spirit who created the heavens and the earth and everything in them.
The incarnation – when “the Word became flesh and dwelt among” men (John 1:14) – temporarily removed this need for anthropomorphisms. The apostle John opened his first epistle with his testimony to the physical manifestation of the Word (1 John 1:1-2). Our faith is based on these eyewitnesses of the resurrected Jesus. We tend to rely less on the physical characteristics of “God in the flesh” and more on the fact that He “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Therefore, I know that God Himself can sympathize with my weaknesses (which are too numerous to mention)!
But there is one anthropomorphism which we need to retain and emulate – and that is the heart of God. Remember the words of Samuel in 1 Samuel 13:14 – as he informed Saul that his kingdom was going to end? “The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart.” As John Willis suggests in his commentary, the context suggests that David, unlike Saul, “would submit his will to God’s will and not take matters into his own hand.” The Lord still seeks such today which begs the question, “Are we people after God’s own heart?”
In addition to being submissive to God’s will, do we love like God – seeking what is best for others without expecting anything in return (1 John 4:7-11)? Are we merciful (Matthew 5:7)? Are we compassionate like Jesus (Matthew 9:36)? Are we forgiving (Matthew 6:14-15)? To have a heart like God’s requires constant effort. David failed in so many ways and we will too. However, we can change as the prayer in this song suggests:
My eyes are dry, My faith is old,
My heart is hard, My pray’rs are cold.
And I know how I ought to be,
Alive to You and dead to me.
What can be done to an old heart like mine?
Soften it up with oil and wine.
The oil is You, Your spirit of love.
Please wash me anew in the wine of your blood.
by Justin Morton
Every day of our lives we are involved in many different things. Most of the time, we probably consider the majority of what we do to be rather small, at least in the grand scheme of life. We wake up, get ready, go to work or run our errands and involve ourselves in various other activities. Eventually we come home, spend time with our family and read or watch TV before we wind down and go to bed. We do all this only to get up and do it all over the very next day, Lord willing.
In 2 Kings 5, we read about Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army. This man had a pretty serious problem; he was a leper. Leprosy involved various forms of skin disease, with the worst kind of leprosy bringing about an unwanted life and fate. We can only imagine the thoughts and fears Naaman must have felt. Perhaps with very little hope, he woke up day after day to the reality of his life. Until one day, everything changed.
A little girl, who was captured from Israel during one of the Syrian raids, told her master, Naaman’s wife, about a prophet in Israel who could cure his leprosy if only Naaman were with him. Eventually, Naaman found himself at the door of Elisha’s house where he was told what he needed to do in order to be cured of his leprosy (2 Kgs. 5:9-10). Although he wanted to ignore Elisha’s words at first (2 Kgs. 5:11-12), he eventually followed through by dipping in the river Jordan seven times. His flesh became like that of a little child (2 Kings 5:13-14).
Naaman’s health and life were restored all because a little girl did something rather minor. She simply shared what she knew about the prophet of God. While she may have considered her actions to be small, what the servant girl did was actually really big. She shared certain news that saved Naaman’s life.
It’s easy for us to consider the things we do throughout our day as minor or of very little importance. Yet those very small things can sometimes make a huge difference. As we go about our daily lives, may we look for those seemingly small windows of opportunity where we can say a good word for Jesus. You never know, those small actions might end up making a really big difference eternally.
The first day of Fall is Saturday, September 23. It’s hard to believe the Summer is almost over and before long we will feel the crisp air of Autumn and will be able to enjoy all the things associated with the season. Football, firepits, hayrides, and holidays are things that come to mind. My hope is that you will take the opportunity to enjoy the season. Often, we get so wrapped up in our “busyness”, that we miss the opportunities and blessings that God has given us.
The Fall is also a great time to fellowship with each other. Today, we have several that are at the Fall Camping Trip, and several of our ladies are at the Transform Ladies’ Conference. Our annual Gospel Singing is November 10th, so please make plans to attend that evening. It is always a special blessing to spend an evening with brothers and sisters in singing praise to God. The Fall season is full of youth events as well, so please keep a close watch on the bulletin and News and Notes to stay updated on activities.
The Fall also reminds us of the Harvest. Jesus says in Luke 10:2 “And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (ESV). As we look forward to the change in seasons, let’s remember that our mission is to make disciples. We are all commanded to be laborers in the Lord’s harvest and bring the Gospel of Christ to those that are lost.
by Justin Morton
Growing up, my friends and I would sometimes play the “What if?” game. Maybe you’ve played this before with friends or family. During the “What if?” game you ask each other different questions about how you would react or choose or respond if you were in various situations. Playing “What if?” was always fun because some of the questions we asked were very intriguing.
One of the most interesting questions I was ever asked was, “What if today were your last day to live; how would you spend your time?” That question made me stop and think for a moment before I gave my answer. Perhaps like some of you, I answered with, “I would spend the whole day with my loved ones doing our favorite things together.”
Looking back, this was not a bad answer. In fact, I would probably say something similar now. But here’s what I want you to consider for just a moment. Why does it take a silly kids’ game to make us stop and think about how we would spend our time if we knew it was limited?
Honestly it shouldn’t take a game question to make us reflect on this idea. We clearly know at some point our life on earth will end. Death is an appointment we must keep (Heb. 9:27). James even tells us our life is but a mist that only appears for a little time (Jam. 4:14). That’s why it is so important we make the best use of our time every day for things that really matter (Eph. 5:16).
Our congregation has experienced 3 funerals in the last 14 days. Friends, today could be our last day to live, so we’d better make it count. Let’s not waste what little time we have on things that will not matter in the end. Instead let’s demonstrate our love for others in our lives. Let’s show our family, friends and neighbors how people who love Jesus really live. We will change our lives and theirs. I challenge you: live today, and every day as if it were your last day… because it just might be.
There’s an interesting account in 1 Samuel 14 where Saul and his 600-man army in Gibeah are facing a more numerous Philistine army on the far side of a valley to the north. The Philistines have posted a lookout on a rocky crag named Bozez (“shining”). Jonathan decides to take action against the lookout post with his armorbearer – subject to the Lord’s approval. These two brave Israelites scaled the rocky cliff and slew twenty Philistines – throwing the entire Philistine contingent into a panic.
When Saul heard all the noise from the Philistine camp, he directed his ephod-bearing priest Ahijah (Eli’s great-grandson) to bring the ark of God before them so the priest could seek the Lord’s guidance before it. (You may recall Eli’s sons foolishly took the ark into battle against the Philistines at Ebenezer where it was captured. Subsequently, Eli died upon receiving news of this great loss. See 1 Samuel 4:4-18.) The ark had been in safekeeping at Kirjath Jearim since its return by the Philistines and we would think the Israelites would have learned their lesson not to bring the ark near the battlefield.
But what I want us to notice is in verse 19. In the middle of seeking the Lord’s guidance, Saul interrupts the priest (“Withdraw your hand from the ephod”) and decides to go into battle on his own. Yes, he had correctly assessed the panic of the Philistines and seized the opportunity to enter the battle fray – but shouldn’t he have waited to hear from the Lord? This seems like such an insignificant incident – especially since the Lord saved Israel that day anyway (verse 23). However, failure to completely follow the Lord is why Saul lost the kingdom to David (1 Samuel 13:13-14).
Is it possible for us to do the same thing as Saul and fail to wait for God’s answers to our prayers? Is it possible for us to assess the noises of the world and lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)? I know we live in a fast-paced world and want immediate answers to everything, but sometimes we need to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). Unlike Saul, we need to be patient and give God time to answer!
by Justin Morton
This weekend my family and I are in Pigeon Forge for the annual Polishing the Pulpit (PTP) conference. If you are unfamiliar with PTP, it’s an event held every August in east Tennessee by members of the Lord’s church. Over the course of the week, around 5,000 other Christians will gather for Bible classes on various topics, Bible studies and worship. Our family really enjoys attending PTP and believe it is one of the best events available each year to members of the Lord’s body.
The apostle Paul, in writing to the Christians in Rome, said, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). According to this passage, our faith is developed by us hearing the word of God.
As disciples of Jesus, we need to be open to listening and hearing what He has to say to us through His word. You and I are very blessed and privileged. We have so many different means of “hearing” the Word of Christ on a daily basis. We can hear the Word while in our Bible classes, during sermons that are preached, while riding down the road in our cars or exercising at the gym. We can hear the Word while waiting for appointments or during events like PTP and Gospel meetings.
Friends, the more we listen to, read and study from the Word, the more our faith will develop and grow. We have plenty of access to the Word. The question is, “Are you taking advantage of hearing the Word of God and growing your faith?”