What does the Bible say about preparing for eternity

by Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

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

Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe
in God, believe also in Me. 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 go 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 14:1-3).

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

The above verses with others and the entire tenor of God’s word tells us of the necessity of making preparation to meet the Lord in heaven and to escape hell. God has made every necessary provision for the salvation of everyone through the gift of His Son. And Jesus was willing to sacrifice in His dying upon that old rugged cross that we might be forgiven of our sins.

Even though God has provided the gift of salvation to everyone as the Bible states, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:14), God requires our faith and obedience.

Jesus stated the necessity of obedience when He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Jesus also encourages us to follow the narrow way that leads to life because there are few that do so. But He says there are many who travel the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).

It is so true that “Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people,” and that “not everyone talking about heaven will necessarily go there.”

#bible-study, #eternity

I’m not saved. I’ve been lied to all these years.

“I am not saved. I’ve been lied to all
these years.”

Those were the comments Kay Smith
made when she called me to say she had finished reading Muscle and a Shovel recently. I had given her a copy of the book Sunday evening after worship and she called Tuesday evening to say she had finished reading the book. Then she said, “I am not saved. I’ve been lied to all these years. I’m not saved.”

That had to be a stunning revelation for Kay when she read what the Bible teaches a person has to do to become a Christian and she knew she had not done it. I told her we could baptize her if she wanted to do it then. She said she wanted to study more and have some questions answered. She said, “I have pages marked and turned down in this book and I want to talk to you further.” We made an appointment to study with her the next day. After the study, Douglas left her with a list of Bible verses to study and read for herself straight from the word of God.

Sunday came around and I went to pick Kay up for Bible study. Immediately upon getting into the car, she pulled out pages torn from a small yellow pad filled with writing. She said, “I’ve written out each one of those scriptures you left with me.” Wow! I was impressed with her interest in studying the Bible. I asked if she was ready to be baptized and she said, “Yes.” Later when the invitation was extended at the end of the morning worship service Kay went forward and was baptized correctly for the remission of her sins. She said, “I’m going to live the rest of my life for Jesus Christ to the best I know how.”

Do you know what the Bible teaches about how to be saved? “Father, send us more people who are receptive to the truth of Thy Word.”

#bible-study, #faith, #truth

Fighting to save her babies

We walked silently to the city of the dead Tuesday afternoon to pay our final respects to a loved one. I heard a shrill scream in the stillness. It stopped and started over and over. I searched the area to see what was making the sound and then I spotted her. Right near the funeral home tent and near the velvet covered chairs standing on a small grave-stone was a little mother, a little bird. She was standing alert and any rapid movement near made her scream a warning. Different people were getting too close and she was giving a piercing warning to stay away from her guard. The wind was blowing, a plane was flying overhead, and with the little mother’s piercing scream I didn’t hear much of Doug’s final comments or prayer at the gravesite. But I fell in love with the little mother, the little bird that could have easily blended in with the area. I moved closer and she screamed and fluffed up her feathers. I wanted to see what it was she was so protective of, what it was she would have fought a human being over, what it was she would have given her life to protect. And then I saw her prized possessions, her eggs. Those eggs were hers. She had produced them and she was protecting them at all cost. No one was going to destroy her babies under her watch. Why she would have fought and given her very life to protect those four eggs. Ah, how wonderful it would be if young girls were this protective of the unborn babies they carry in their wombs. Nature teaches us the best way. If little birds have the protective nature such as exhibited by this little mother, how much more should we as God’s highest creation exemplify the same? “I will fight to save my baby” should be the battle cry of all potential mothers. Let no one destroy what you have helped create.

What does the Bible say about showing our faith

By: Douglas M. Williams Sr.

“There is a God in heaven” (Daniel 2:28).

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

“Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:17-18).

One way to show our faith is by defending God and His word. We show our faith each time we express enjoyment or wonder about the beauty of the seasons (Genesis 8:22), or God’s promise of the rainbow (Genesis 9:8-17). Or, talk about the innocence and wonder of a newborn child, or when we give God the credit for some aspect of how the cycle of life works on earth. Also, when we speak of some scientific truth, foreknown by the Bible, before being discovered by mankind such as the circle of the earth (Isaiah 40:22), the paths of the sea (Psalm 8:8), or the fact that the stars cannot be numbered.

These things may seem minor or of no great importance and out of mind when dealing with the struggles of every day living—work, school, health, or just making ends meet at the end of the month. Indeed, life is so full of many things that demand our time, talents, and money. But the truth about God and His word is so important to our daily lives that such thoughts should never be far from our mind (Matthew 6:33).

It is not difficult to defend God when we think of His many benefits in our lives each day, and that all good things come from Him (James 1:17; Psalm 68:19; 103:2).

Do you pray? And when good things happen in answer to your prayers, do you thank God and give Him the glory? These and other things will let everyone know that you know someone other than yourself is in control.

She gave the best she had to give

We visited our daughter and her family in Houston several years ago. Sierra, our granddaughter, was just a little girl. She had given up her bedroom for us to sleep in while there and she moved to a pallet in her sister’s room. When the time came for us to leave we decided to pay Sierra for the use of her room. We were packed and almost ready to go. My Bible was laying on the bed. We called Sierra into the bedroom, thanked her for allowing us to sleep in her room, and told her we wanted to give her some money to express our appreciation for her kindness. She looked at the bills we gave her and hurriedly dashed from the room with her blonde curls bouncing. Soon she came rushing back to our room and slapped something down firmly on my Bible. It was two stickers. She gave us the best she had to give and she gave it freely and gladly. Those two stickers remain on my Bible today. Every time I see them I remember the little girl that gave the best she had to give. Oh, but that we could give so freely of that in which God has richly blessed us.

Would You?

I read with interest a post by docmgphillips on 2018-02-17 in regard to baptizing a young couple living together but not married. Be sure to read it below. It reminded me of a young couple that came to us to rent mother’s house. I asked if they were married. He said they were not but they planned to live together for a while until they got on their feet and marry later. Immediately I said, “No, I can’t provide you a place to live together unmarried. Now if you two go ahead and marry, or you plan to live separately, you may rent this house. In fact, we would be happy to have you as renters, but living together outside of marriage is not according to God’s plan and we can’t support it.” Long story short, they got married right away and were good renters. Today they have a little daughter.

Jerry Davidson, long-time missionary to Guyana, deals a lot with couples in Guyana who are living together outside of marriage and after studying and learning the truth want to become Christians. Jerry says, “We have a wedding and then we baptize them.” Someone might add, “otherwise it would be getting the cart ahead of the horse.”

There’s nothing like following God’s plan.

Deteriorating houses, barns, bodies, and souls

I have been noticing lately old barns and houses that are no longer being used and how they are deteriorating. It’s sad seeing an empty house that reminds me of an aunt and uncle who used to live in a house just like it and to see it falling apart. Or to see an empty barn no longer being used that reminds me of the times I shucked corn to be taken to the mill. These things will finally fall, the area will be cleaned up, and something new and more up-to-date will stand in its place. The old will soon be forgotten as if they were never even there. If no one lives there to care for these places they will soon be gone. They have to be restored or repaired regularly to continue to be useful. Continue reading

#christian-living, #practical-lessons

What does the Bible say about religious authority?

By: Douglas M. Williams Sr.

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth’” (Matthew 20:18).“For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted

“For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also because He is the son of man” (John 5:26-27).

“For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out” (Luke 4:36).“And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings (the sermon on the mount), that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:29).

“And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings (the sermon on the mount), that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:29).

God, our heavenly Father, originally had all authority because He created all things, and all things belong to Him. But, as the above verses show, God gave all authority to Jesus, His Son. Then Jesus gave authority to the apostles and other Bible writers, as they were to be guided by the Holy Spirit in what they said and wrote (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21; John 14:26; 16:13).

The Bible is complete and is to be our only authority in religion. Peter tells us, “According as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3). Thus, the Bible reveals a common salvation that has once for all been delivered to us (Jude 3). No one has the authority to change God’s word in any way by adding to it, or taking anything from it (2 John 9; Galatians 1:8-9); Revelation 22:18-19). Furthermore, it will stand forever and will be the standard by which all will be judged on the last great day (John 12:48; Matthew 12:35).
At least, to a large extent, division, and most problems in religion are because people appeal to different rules of authority. Some of these are creeds of man, one’s own conscience or feelings, convention decrees, majority rule, human head of the church, etc.

The Bible teaches that the final authority in religion is Jesus Christ and His word as revealed in our Bibles. We read, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). We are told to hear Christ and not the law of Moses and the prophets (Matthew 17:5).

Christ and His word in our Bibles is our authority and will be until His second coming (1 Corinthians 15:24). Will you accept and obey the Word of God as the authority in your life? We must not follow our feelings or anything else that is not in harmony with the scriptures.

#bible-study, #religion

Who kept secrets in the Bible?

Let’s think about secrets. Gabriel went to Joseph when he was engaged to be married to Mary and told him a secret. Joseph was planning to put Mary away privately so as to not embarrass her due to her being pregnant outside of marriage. The angel Gabriel told Joseph to go ahead and take Mary as his wife as she was pregnant by the Holy Ghost. I am sure Joseph was thrilled to learn Gabriel’s news and he kept the secret. Continue reading

#bible-study, #practical-lessons

Jezebel

Jezebel. We don’t like her, do we? Jezebel was an evil woman. She was downright mean. And, she came to a bad, bad, end. The Lord saw and knew what Jezebel was doing. I guess the final straw was her plans to have Naboth killed so her husband, King Ahab, could have Naboth’s vineyard which just happened to be close or next door to their land. Naboth didn’t want to sell his vineyard because it had been in his family and it meant more to him than anything he could get for it. Jezebel figured out a way to get it for her husband and she had Naboth killed. The Lord spoke, saying, “The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.”

It doesn’t matter how much we love a person, there comes a time when we should NOT LISTEN to their plans. It doesn’t matter how much we, as women, want to fix things for our husbands, there comes a time when we need to not get involved. Naturally, we refer to times when things are evil or go against the will of God.

We serve a mighty God, a loving heavenly Father, who loves us and wants to bless our efforts for good. He can’t do that when we have our mind, thoughts, and actions on evil things. We may not realize punishment in this life for doing things that are wrong but let us be certain our payday will come in eternity.

And then I wonder about King Ahab? Why in the world did he go along with Jezebel’s plans? Did that vineyard mean so much to him that he would agree to kill the owner of it? The Bible says, “There was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord because Jezebel his wife had stirred him up. (1 Kgs. 21). As women, we better not be stirring up our husbands to do evil, and as men, you had better not let your wife, or anyone, stir you up to do evil and you shouldn’t be guilty of it either! That is serious stuff!

Now thankfully, King Ahab was very sad and repented. The Bible says “he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his body, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about mourning.” God saw that he had humbled himself and He did not bring the calamity in his days. But, notice, that in the days of his son God said he would bring the calamity on his house (v. 29). God will ultimately see justice served. We can’t live without consequences. God sees all we do. There is indeed an all-seeing eye watching us.

#bible-study

What does the Bible say about the Inspiration of the Scripture?

By: Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16).

“For prophecy never came by the will of men, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).

“But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to men. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12). Continue reading

#bible-study

What does the Bible say about faith and obedience

By Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

“But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Jesus said, “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sin” (John 8:24).

“Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice” (I Samuel 15:22).

The Lord will take “vengeance on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). Continue reading

#bible-study, #faith, #obedience

What does the Bible say about feeding our souls?

by Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God and you have come to need milk and not solid food” (Hebrews 5:12).

“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:1-2).

We not only need food for our physical bodies, but also food for our spiritual souls. Without food, living things die. Without food, your physical body will die. If you have pets, without feeding them, they will die.

All people need to feed their hearts and minds with the Word of God. God’s Word is the food for a person’s soul, and if people do not read and study God’s Word, then their souls will die.

Some of the things we buy come with an owner’s manual. In a similar way, the Bible is like an owner’s manual for us. God created us and knows exactly what we need to do and how we should live in order to be happy.

Wouldn’t it be good for all of us to read and study the Bible more than we have in the past? Now, at the beginning of this New Year let each of us resolve that we will do this.

Remember, if we love God we will keep His commandments (John 14:15). The Bible may be referred to as our “roadmap,” to tell us how to live and get to heaven. Also, God’s Word will judge us in the last day (John 12:48).

Happy New Year!

#bible-reading, #bible-study, #souls

Going home for the holidays

There’s nothing like going home or going to visit loved ones during the holidays. There’s something about going to a place you are invited, where you are welcomed, and where you will enjoy spending time with loved ones and friends. The only downside is a day of departure is always set. It can’t go on forever.

We visited our daughter, husband, and children in Mississippi during the holiday season. Our son went with us so our whole family was together. What a joyful time we had. There were lots of hugs, laughter, late night and early morning talks, and good times shared with each other. Also, it was a restful time to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and to finally sit down and totally relax. What a joyful time this was for all of us. I just imagine in a small way it will be that way when we all get to heaven. Let’s think about that.

First of all, we are invited to heaven. No greater invitation has ever been issued. The invitation was set long ago when Jesus said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

Secondly, we are wanted. We don’t like to go places where we feel we are unwanted and uncomfortable. Jesus has prepared a place for us. He said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions if it were not so I would have told you.” Jesus wants us to be with Him. He said, “I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place I will come again and receive you unto Myself that where I am there you may be also.”

Thirdly, in heaven, we will be meeting loved ones and friends and talking and sharing stories. Who is it that you most want to meet in heaven beyond family members? What Bible character? How wonderful it will be to sit down and hear them tell of their work on earth.

Fourthly, we will not have a time limit on how long we can stay. We can stay forever in the most wonderful place we have ever seen or visited. In our world, we see many beautiful sites, but our eyes have never seen anything to compare with the beauties of this wonderful place prepared for us.

Finally, we will be singing and praising our Savior, thanking Him for laying down His life for us that we might have the hope of living in heaven with Him one sweet day. What a joy it will be to be in His presence.

Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. Now is the time to prepare, my friend.

#heaven, #home

What does the Bible say about the new year

by Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

“This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Exodus 12:2).

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

We are in a new year, and we should have the attitude of the apostle Paul in the above verses. The past year of 2017 is gone. We cannot change the past. We have the present. We should look forward to the future with positive anticipation to do the best we can and with God’s blessings to make our lives what God would have them to be.

There is a sense in which it is good to have left another “long, weary mile” behind, as we pass another milestone on our journey to an eternity with God. As we approach another New Year, people are often heard to greet each other with a warmth of feeling “Happy New Year!” This is a beautiful and lovely spirit and a wonderful wish. John stated, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 2). Certainly, we extend such good and pleasant things for each of you, and that you have the best year ever. It will be a wonderful year and blessings for eternity if you live for God.

At the beginning of a year, we usually think of resolutions, even though we can resolve to improve our lives at any time. What better time than the beginning of a new year to make new resolves? Hopefully, each of us will make some good resolutions and try our best to live up to them; never becoming impatient and quitting, even if we seem to slip, but try again.

God bless thy year,

Thy coming in, thy going out,

Thy rest, thy traveling about,

The rough, the smooth,

The bright, the drear:

God bless thy year.

#bible, #new-year