It’s the right thing to do

When mother passed away on a Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m., 2014, my brother Hoyt and his wife came the next day. I said, ‘Oh, you came today?” He replied, “It was the right thing to do.” They lived 60 miles or so away, and I thought they might wait to come to the viewing the next day, but they came earlier and it surprised me. But, as he said for them it was the right thing to do. I was thinking of that earlier and how we are confronted with choices in life whether we can choose the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do. For example:

If a person drops some money in front of you at the grocery store, would it be the right thing to grab it fast and say, “Finders keepers, losers weepers…it’s mine now,” or hand it back to them?

If a shopping cart is left out in the open at Walmart or the grocery store, etc., would it be the right thing to do to pass it by or stop and roll it into the store with you placing it in the proper place or using it?

If you find a person’s personal belongings in a shopping cart, would it be the right thing to do to turn it into the store’s lost and found department or find the proper owner if it is identifiable?

If trash has been dropped on the ground and you have to walk past or over it, would it be the right thing to do to pick it up and place it in a garbage container nearer the store or just leave it alone?

If a person at a checkout lacks a bit of change having the amount needed to pay for her items and you know you have it in your pocket/purse, would it be the right thing to do to offer to make up the difference or just say “that’s her problem?”

We make lots of choices in this life. Many have been hurt by people not doing the right thing in certain situations. Dr. Johnny Long told the Troy University band members, “The successful person picks up the paper on the sidewalk.” I suggest the successful person is the one who does the right thing always! We learned it in elementary school as, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That’s Bible teaching.

Lord, help us always to do the right thing. In Christ name, Amen.

#christian-living

What does the Bible say about being in Christ

By: Douglas M. Williams Sr.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, butaccording to the Spirit” (Romans 8:2).

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27).

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

The word “in” is a little word, but very important and meaningful. The Bible speaks so many times about being “in Christ” as shown in the above verses. So, we can see the importance and necessity of being “in Christ” if we are to be saved and enjoy all spiritual blessings.

Redemption is “in Christ” (Romans 3:24); Paul writes to “those who are sanctified in ‘Christ’,” (1 Corinthians 1:2); and Paul writes to the “saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful ‘in Christ'” (Ephesians 1:1). In addition to Christians being new creatures “in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17), the Bible says that all Christians are “one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

How are Christians in Christ, and how are all spiritual blessings in Christ? At John 15:1-6, Jesus uses the illustration of the vine and branches, Christ is the true vine, and His disciples are the branches. As the branches receive life-sustaining nutrients from the vine, Christians receive life and all spiritual blessings from Christ. If one is not “in Christ” they are not saved and do not enjoy spiritual blessings. But when one is “in Christ” it is like a branch attached to a life supporting vine, and they receive salvation, spiritual life and blessings, peace, fellowship, hope, etc.

How does one get “in Christ”? The Bible says that only baptism puts one “in Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 6:3-4). But baptism must be preceded by faith, repentance, and confession (Mark 16:16; Luke 13:3;Matthew 10:32-33). The last thing one must do to be “in Christ” is to be baptized.

Are you in Christ?                                                  

#bible-study, #in-christ

What does the Bible say about preparation

By Douglas M. Williams Sr

“Prepare to meet your God” (Amos 4:12).

Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I got and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3).

Remember the rich farmer that the Lord said was a fool, because he was selfish and left God out of his plans. He was indeed unprepared to meet God!

God’s word exhorts us to prepare to meet God, and that heaven is a prepared place for Christians that live for God.

The Bible has much to say about preparation. David prepared for building the temple before his death. Noah prepared the ark for salvation. Ezra prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord. John prepared the way for the coming of Jesus. The Jews made preparations for the Sabbath day. Jesus taught the need for preparations in His parables as in the Ten Virgins. The Bible speaks about the things God has prepared for those who love Him, but that hell is everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

As noted above our greatest concern should be to prepare to meet God and receive an eternal mansion in heaven. This preparation is made by faith in Jesus that leads to repentance, confession, and baptism for the remission of sins. Then living faithfully for Jesus until the end of life (Matthew 10:22; Revelation 2:10).

The song, “Prepare to Meet Thy God” encourages our preparation by stating, “Careless soul, O heed the warning, for your life will soon be gone; O how sad to face the judgment, unprepared to meet thy God.”

Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people!

 

#bible-study, #spiritual-preparation

Preparing for winter

This week will mark the beginning of September, a new month which is one month closer to winter. When I think of winter I always think of the Apostle Paul when he was in Ephesus. Paul knew winter was coming. Paul assumes Timothy will come to him immediately and he sends Timothy this message, found in 2 Timothy 4:13:

2 Timothy 4:13, ESV: “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.”

Paul knew winter was coming and he would need his cloak, or to us, his coat. He was making preparations for the cold weather (2 Timothy 4:21). He wanted to stay warm.

In addition to the cloak, Paul had left two other items in the possession of Carpus: scrolls and parchments. The scrolls may have been Old Testament scrolls or the Torah or other books, though this is uncertain. The parchments were flat, book-like materials, used for writing. These were either parchments already written upon or perhaps referred to blank parchment Paul wanted for writing new materials. Even during imprisonment, and facing the end of his own life, Paul is still emphasizing the importance of reading and studying the Word of God. (www.bibleref.com)

Winter is coming! How are we preparing for the cooler weather coming on? What about the winter of our life? How are we preparing for it?

In the wintertime many of us naturally stay inside more. We know what staying inside really means now after the Covid virus scare, but what do we want to have with us during the winter of our life?  Think about the things you would want compared to Paul.

Paul wanted his cloak. He couldn’t function well being cold.

Paul wanted the scrolls. This could have been the O.T. scrolls, the Torah or other books. He wanted the best reading material available to him.

Paul wanted above all the parchments to be brought to him. He wanted to stay busy writing and teaching from where he was in prison.

Winter is coming. How are we preparing?

#spiritual-preparation, #winter

She wasn’t friendly

I wish mama had told me that everybody is not going to like me. I wish she had said everybody is not going to talk to me. I wish she had told me that everyone wouldn’t be kind to me. Somehow she missed telling me, and though I certainly am not blaming her, I had a rude awakening one day this past week.

We had taken some extra printers to donate at a thrift store for my cousin. I was standing outside the back door on the dirt ground waiting for Doug to finish signing papers and finishing the deal. This nice looking young blonde haired lady drove up and came and stood by me. She had a tiny bowl with what looked like a bank bag in her hand. She waited. I thought she might be an employee. I motioned to the door with my arm and hand and said, “Would you like to go inside?” She stepped forward, looked inside, and said, “No, I wouldn’t.” Okay. Nothing was being said so soon I looked up at the clouds and said, “That cloud looks as if it might be a rain cloud.” Nothing!!! Okay. She shifted from one foot to the other and I felt uncomfortable. Finally, when I realized Doug and the man were almost finished, I leaned forward toward him (their backs were sideways to us) and said, “Sir, there is a nice young lady waiting out here to speak with you.” “Oh, okay,” he said and turned to take her things. She turned and walked away leaving a bad impression on me. I watched to see what she was driving. A Mercedes. A white Mercedes. A white Mercedes sports coupe. I watched as she drove away and wondered what was going on in her life to make her shun me the way she did. It was hard to get it off my mind as we came home, and somehow I knew I would write about it.

She thought I was not in her league possibly, but she could have shown herself friendly. Jesus talked to the lowly, and I can hear brother Ira North’s strong voice saying loudly, “Condescend to men of low estate.” 

The Bible says if we want to have friends we must show ourselves friendly. And then there is the scripture that says, “Take heed when you think you stand, lest you fall.”

Jesus died on the cross for me. He loved me when I was not even lovable. He died for her even when she was not friendly. I forgive her for being unkind to me.

#friendliness, #kindness

What does the Bible say about the sinner’s prayer

By: Douglas M. Williams Sr

The Bible does not say anything about “The Sinner’s Prayer” as is taught by so many today, which they teach will save a person who is outside of Christ.

The Bible teaches that a believer (Mark 16:16; Hebrews 11:6) must repent of sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38); confess faith in Christ (Matthew 10:32-33; Romans 10:10; Acts 8:37); and be baptized to be forgiven as sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Revelation 1:5).

As we hear people talk of “the sinner’s prayer” or read it, the wording is different but the message is about the same as copied here:

“Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I know you died on the cross for me. I now turn from my sins and ask you to forgive me. I now invite you into my heart and life. I now trust you as Savior and follow You as Lord. Thank you for saving me. Amen.”

As noted above this idea cannot be found in the Bible to save a person outside of Christ. But the Bible says one must obey Jesus as also noted above. The Bible teaches that salvation is in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Timothy 2:10), and the only way to get in Christ is to obey the gospel that is completed by baptism (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:26-27).

The Bible shows us that when believers asked what to do to be saved, they were told to “repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16). Thus, the disciples were carrying out the Lord’s instructions (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16).

The Bible does teach that a Christian, who is in Christ, is to confess sins, repent, and pray to God for forgiveness (Acts 8:13-24; James 5:16).

It would seem that there is misunderstanding about what one outside of Christ and one who is in Christ, as a child of God, must do to be forgiven. This is a good example to “Study…rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

God bless you in your study of God’s word and obedience to it. If I can help you, please let me know.

 

#bible-study, #prayer

Roger Jackson, Gospel Preacher, Needs Help

Roger Jackson, 74, has preached the gospel of Christ 50 years, often too sick to preach but pressing on. He is a 1970 graduate of the Memphis School of Preaching. Roger and the former Judy Vinson, pictured here in younger years, will be married 56 years on October 3. Today Roger is a very sick man, and he and Judy are struggling financially and need help.

Roger’s preaching career ended in 2019 when he became sick with what they thought was heart problems. He had breathing problems which concerned members of the church where he worked, but he kept trying to do the work he loved.

In October 2019 Roger spent a week in Madison, AL hospital, but was able to continue trying to preach. He only grew worse physically.

December 22, 2019, Roger preached his last sermon. On the following Monday he was taken to Huntsville Hospital where he stayed until January 4. A bone marrow test was performed on him where it was discovered he had pre-leukemia or MDS. Doctors also found his aorta value had stenosis in it, and his diabetes was out of control. Added to that, he had an enlarged prostate. Doctors exclaimed, “He is complicated.”

Roger began chemo treatments in January 2020 by a series of shots once a month, blood test, transfusion for low blood cell, and platelets. Insulin needed for his diabetes is very costly and insurance only covers a small portion of it.

In March 2020, Roger spent 12 days in the hospital with type B flu and pneumonia. Again from June 8-22, Roger suffered with aspiration pneumonia, histoplasmosis pneumonia, UTI, and breathing issues. Though he has been under home health care, his lungs appear almost clear now.

Roger is weak all the time. He is scheduled for another bone marrow test and prostrate procedure this month. Doctors then hope to replace his heart valve.

The Jacksons only income is two small social security checks. Their sicknesses necessitated them starting to draw Social Security at the age of 62. Neither Roger or Judy are able to work now due to their health issues, plus Roger needs Judy to help with his care. They have depended on the goodness of others from time to time, but credit cards have been relied on heavily just to get by. They are struggling financially and need the help of their fellow Christians.

Churches or individuals who are moved to help this deserving family may send checks earmarked for Roger Jackson to the Elkmont church of Christ, 18955 Upper Fork Hampton Road, Elkmont, Alabama 35620, where Steve Ferguson is the Minister. A PayPal account can be accessed by the name: JudyVJackson@yahoo.com, or gifts may be sent directly to their home address: 1802 1/2 W. Market Street, Athens, AL 35611.

God bless you all.

#christian-living, #christianity, #news

What does the Bible say about what happens when we die

By Douglas M. Williams Sr.

Death is a subject about which we do not like to think, and especially our own. We know, as the Bible teaches, that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Thus, we need to consider death seriously to make preparation for it. Amos 4:12 tells us to “prepare to meet thy God.”

Continue reading

#afterlife, #bible-study, #death, #judgement, #soul

They named him Ezra

I don’t know why it even bothered me. It certainly was none of my business, but somehow I couldn’t get past the fact that this young couple named their little baby boy Ezra. It sounded so antiquated to me, so out-of-date. I thought of how he would hate his name when he grew up. It reminded me of when as a young girl I told Raymond Elliott, our preacher, of how when I married and had a baby boy I wanted to name him Ishmael. Raymond immediately came back reminding me I should check out the name before labeling a child with that name for life. I never forgot his suggestion and never named our son Ishmael. Well, some would say, “There’s nothing in a name. It doesn’t matter.” Doesn’t it?

Ezra has a book in our Bibles named after him. I’ve read it more than one time…lately because this is still on my mind. But you know what I’ve found? Ezra was a fine man. Read what the Today’s English Version records in Ezra 7:6-10:

“Ezra was a scholar with a thorough knowledge of the Law which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given to Moses. Because Ezra had the blessing of the Lord his God, the emperor gave him everything he asked for. In the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes, Ezra set out from Babylonia for Jerusalem with a group of Israelites which included priests, Levites, Temple musicians, Temple guards, and workmen. They left Babylonia on the first day of the first month, and with God’s help they arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month. Ezra had devoted his life to studying the Law of the Lord, to practicing it, and to teaching all its laws and regulations to the people of Israel.”

Notice:

  1. Ezra had devoted his life to studying the Law of the Lord.
  2. Ezra had devoted his life to practicing the Law of the Lord.
  3. Ezra had devoted his life to teaching all the Law of the Lord’s laws and regulations to the people of Israel.

I imagine with the fine Bible training this little fellow is getting, one day he will want to read the book of Ezra for himself. And when he does without doubt he’s going to be mighty pleased with his name. I know I am. There’s something important in a name.

#bible-study

I think I made a mistake. I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not.

The editorial in the local paper said he was 30 years old, lived in Texas, and went to a “Covid party.” He died after being infected with the virus. The article continued with “Just before he died, he told his nurse: ‘I think I made a mistake. I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not.’” The editor continued as he encouraged people to be safe, wear a mask and wash hands…regularly!

“I think I made a mistake. I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not.” There’s a lesson to be gained by the young man’s statement both physically and spiritually. I wonder when we are standing at the entrance of death’s door if we will be faced with the same thought. Imagine with me…

I think I made a mistake. I thought the idea of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were a hoax.

I think I made a mistake. I thought the idea of an antiquated book called the Bible was out-of-date. I scoffed at the idea and thought it was a hoax.

I think I made a mistake. I thought the idea of being baptized for the remission of sins was a hoax, and flipped the idea away.

I think I made a mistake. I thought the idea of attending the services of the church faithfully was a hoax.

I think I made a mistake. I thought the idea of serving the Lord while I was young was a hoax.” I thought I had plenty of time and would sow my wild oats before giving my life to the Lord.

I think I made a mistake. I thought the Lord’s example of taking the Lord’s supper every first day of the week was not something He meant EVERY week and necessary.

I think I made a mistake. I thought giving on the first day of the week as I had been prospered was a hoax, and just so I dropped in a dollar on Easter Sunday or Christmas when visiting my family would be enough.

I think I made a mistake. I thought His teaching about going into all the world and teaching others was a hoax and meant for preachers and others but not for me.

I think I made a mistake. I thought His example of loving your neighbor was a hoax and meant for my neighbors but not for me.

I think I made a mistake. I thought His teaching on praying all the time was a hoax but just for times when I was really in desperate need.

I think I made a mistake. I thought His teaching on Bible study was a hoax and just for preachers but not for me.

At death our history is written. All that we can do has been done. It is finished. The saddest thought we could ever have at that time is to say, “I think I made a mistake. I thought the Bible was a hoax, but it’s not.” It would be great if wearing a mask and washing our hands regularly could right the mistake but only the blood of Jesus can do that. Now is the time to make sure our life is not a mistake when our last breath is about to be taken. Christianity is not a hoax

#christian-living, #faith

What does the Bible say about hope

By: Douglas M. Williams Sr

“That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments” (Psalm 78:7).

“Happy is he that has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 146:5).

“For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Romans 8:24-25).

“And now abides faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19).

“Lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:18-19).

Hope is defined as “Desire with expectation of obtaining that which is desired,” and is so important in our lives on this earth and ‘to the hope of eternal life’” (Titus 1:2; 3:7).

Hope is one of the three greatest things that Paul mentions in the last verse of his great chapter on love. In that familiar verse Paul mentions faith, hope, and love, and it is interesting that Paul mentions these three things again in Colossians 1:4-5, where he says, “we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all saints, because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven.” These are certainly three graces that should always be conspicuous in the life of every Christian.

We should be rich in faith; full of love; and abound in hope as we prepare ourselves for our inheritance in heaven. Let not these three kindred spirits be strangers to your souls, but let faith, hope, and love always abide in your heart.

Of the things we know about hope, have we given proper consideration to the fact that hope is one of the things whereby we are saved (Romans 8:24)? Since the Bible points out that all are guilty of sin (Romans 3:23), our great need is salvation. God in his love and grace has done His part, and Jesus died for us that we might be forgiven.

Our part is to obey by believing, repenting of sins, confessing our faith in Christ as God’s son, and being baptized for the remission of our sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). Then with the Lord’s help we are to live faithfully for Jesus (Revelation 2:10), and He will save us eternally in heaven.

 

#bible-study, #christian-hope

Lesson from shelled peas

Summertime is here and it is time to freeze vegetables. I was washing little white peas earlier last week and couldn’t help but think of the Judgement Day. I thought of the peas as people who will be gathered on the day of judgment.

Just as the peas were all on one side of the sink, I thought of how every person will be gathered in one place on the Judgement Day. We will all be standing in front of the greatest judge ever. Everyone will be there.

The peas had all colors in them. There were light and dark peas, good and bad. On the Judgement Day all kinds of people will be there. No one will be able to skip out on attending this great day.

The peas were covering the bottom of the sink. Some were underneath others but with a little stirring on my part, all were visible. All people will be visible on the day of judgement. There will be no hiding behind the rocks on that day.

Each pea stood for itself. I looked them over and decided if they were good enough to be saved. On the Judgement Day the books of life will be opened and every person will be inspected (judged) by the great Judge according to the way they have lived and performed on earth. 

As I worked in the peas I divided the good peas from the bad. The good peas I put on one side and the bad on the trash side. The Great Judge will be dividing the people on the Judgement Day. He will separate the sheep (good people) from the goats (evil people).

Trash will be weeded out on that day. Just as I weeded out the trash from the peas, our Lord will make sure there are no mistakes made on that great day. He is an honest and good judge and will make no mistakes.

Only the best peas were saved. On the day of Judgement only those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb and who have grown as they should in words and deeds will saved.

#judgement-day

What does the Bible say about afflictions

By Douglas M. Williams Sr

“Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1).

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

Affliction is trouble, hardship, difficulty, adversity, tribulation, and grievous distress. It causes pain, grief, sorrow and suffering.

Afflictions come in different ways, and everyone has them from time to time. How grateful we should be to know that we have a loving heavenly Father who knows and understands our afflictions and that the Bible offers comfort, help, and salvation as we trust the Lord in faith and obedience. In our afflictions it might be of help to think about the woman in her troubles that said she liked to think of her favorite verse. When asked what it was, she replied, “And it came to pass,” and explained she was glad the Bible didn’t say, “that it came to stay.”

The Bible says, “Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). “O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction” (Jeremiah 16:19).

In Acts 7:10 we read that God was with Joseph and delivered him out of afflictions. In Hebrews 11:24-25 we read, “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.”

God has not promised us a life free of affliction, but he has promised He “will never leave nor forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5). God bless you, and may He always help us look to Him in faith and obedience that we may enjoy all of God’s blessings, and especially His spiritual blessings in Christ and salvation in heaven.

 

#afflictions, #bible-study

Jesus is always there

 It never occurred to me when I married Doug and moved away from home how I would never be able to call home without it being long distance again. Of course, today we don’t even think about long distance calling or how much it costs. But back in the 70’s I was very conscious of it .

We were just starting out in marriage and Doug was in Harding Graduate School of Religion in Memphis working on a Master’s degree. I enjoyed talking to mother and writing her letters as we tried to stay in touch often. I’m sure she missed me as much as I missed her.

I can no longer call that familiar 897-2788 telephone number and hear her sweet voice on the other end. Today I dialed it once again and though I expected to get another voice, the recorded voice said, “I’m sorry the number you have reached has been disconnected or is no longer in service.” I can’t call mama anymore but there is someone who knows where she is, what she is doing, and how she is doing. I can call Him anytime.

I remember in January 2014 the morning after mother went to heaven I woke up and said, “Well Lord, how is mother doing this morning? I know she is fine and that you are taking care of her now.” How comforting to know that she is in His care and no longer in mine after ten years of loving her in our home.

It gives me great joy to know that I can call my Lord at anytime and He will see and answer my prayer. He is:

Waiting – “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20).

Watching –  Watch and pray, that you do not enter into temptation” (Matthew 26:41).

Longing – “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy ladened

and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).

Listening – “Ask and it shall be given unto you” (Matthew 7:7).

Concerned – “He cares” (1 Peter 5:7).

Happy to hear from me – “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). 

#jesus, #jesus-christ

What does the Bible say about the religion of Christ

By Douglas M. Williams, Sr

“If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:26-27).

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

Jesus said, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13:24).

The above scriptures and others indicate the urgency and seriousness of the religion of Christ. At Acts 15:25-27, the Bible speaks of those “who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Yet, today, many times people do not feel that religion is anything about which to get excited. Like some modern clothing, religion has become casual and, in some cases, slovenly. But God doesn’t accept such easy religion that costs nothing. “Again,” Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

God has blessed us with a time of affluence, and a good life in so many ways. Compared to former generations, for example, we have air-conditioned homes and automobiles, and even farmers have air-conditioned tractors. Let us never take these blessings for granted, but always be thankful and use our blessings in service to others as we glorify God.

Remember, Jesus, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). Also, the following passage is so much needed by our materialistic society: “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city” (of heaven) (Revelation 22:14).

 

#bible-study, #religion