What does the Bible say about being ready when Jesus comes

By: Douglas M. Williams, Sr. 

“He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11).

Jesus is preparing mansion in heaven for His faithful people and is coming back to take us there (John 14:1-3). But when He returns He will come as our judge, and not as our Savior as He was when He came the first time (Matthew 25:31-46).

When Jesus comes again it will be unexpected as a thief in the night, and the earth will be burned up (2 Peter 3:10-11). The resurrection will take place (John 5:28-29), and the Christians, with those still living, will be changed and receive an incorruptible body (1 Corinthians 15:51-54). Then all Christians shall be caught up together “in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

We must realize the necessity of preparing for eternity in this life because there will not be a second chance when Jesus comes again. As the Bible teaches, we must be obedient now because we are told, “now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

To be forgiven of sins we must obey Jesus by faith, repentance, confession, and baptism, and then live the life of a Christian as a follower of Jesus. The only way we can be blessed eternally is to “die in the Lord” (Revelation 14:13). The only way to be in the Lord is to be baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3-6; Galatians 3:26-27).

When Jesus comes again suddenly we shall be judged and rewarded according to the life we have lived (Hebrews 9:27). We dare not delay obedience to the gospel of Christ.

“The clock of life is wound but once, and no one has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour. Now is the only time you own; live, love, toil with a will. Place no trust in the morrow, for the clock may then be still.”

The tragedy of waiting for tomorrow to obey Jesus is seen when we realize that Christ may come today!

#jesus-christ, #jesus-2nd-coming

I love you more

For some time we have been trying to help a homeless young man get his life on the right track. Recently he was about to leave our home and as he gathered up his things from the front porch, I was standing at the door watching him and said, “I love you.” Immediately he said in return, “I love you more.” I’ve never had that said to me before and it took me by surprise because I truly believe he does love me. He just doesn’t know how to show it, probably never had anyone to tell him they love him…maybe ever, but he said he loves me more than I love him. 

I couldn’t help but think that no matter how much we love a person, Jesus is the one who can truly say, “I love you more.” He said he loved us more by…

…leaving the beauties of heaven to come to this earth to live as a mortal man,

…coming to this earth and facing the hardships of man

…having no place to lay His head

…being spit upon

…being whipped or scourged by sinful man

…being commanded to carry his own cross up the hill of Golgatha

…being nailed to the old cross

…suffering the pain associated with the nails, the ridicule, the hate, the disgust of those who wanted nothing more than to watch Him die.

…enduring the humiliation of the cross.

…enduring the six agonizing hours hanging suspended between heaven and earth.

…seeing his accusers wagging their tongues at him and yet being able to say, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

We stand in awe of our Savior. We love Him because He first loved us and gave Himself for us. Yes, he truly “loved us more.” May we never forget it was He who loved us first before we were ever formed in our mother’s womb. It is He who blesses us with unlimited blessings days without end and it is He who stands at the door ready to welcome us home and back into His fold when we are ready. May we always stand ready to show the world that we indeed “love Him more.”

#jesus-christ, #love-of-christ

What does the Bible say about Christ coming again?

By: Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

“Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men ofGalilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven’” (Acts 1:9-11).

“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him” (Revelation 1:7).

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32).

Jesus will come unexpectedly as a thief in the night (Matthew 24:43; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10).

When Jesus came the first time, He came as our Savior, but when He comes again He will be our judge (John 5:22; Acts 17:31). When Jesus comes again all will be raised in the resurrection (John 5:28-29). There will not be a long span of time between the resurrection of righteous and wicked. At Matthew 25:31-36, Jesus describes His coming again; His separating the righteous and wicked; and the Judgement Day.

2 Peter chapter 3 tells us, “the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).

Nothing is more reasonable than the coming of the end of time, and nothing is more clearly taught in the scriptures. Yet there are people who live as though Jesus never came to provide salvation from sin for us, and that things discussed in this article will never take place. But it is a subject that we need to think about seriously, and make preparation for heaven as we obey and live for Jesus.

2 Peter 3 also tells us of scoffers who will not believe that Jesus is coming again. They say things have continued the same, but Peter reminds them that this is not true because of the flood during Noah’s day. Are you ready for the Judgement Day? We can help you if you are not. God bless you all.

#bible-study, #jesus-christ

Remembering Daddy on Father’s Day

Let me tell you about my daddy. Today is Father’s Day and naturally, I am thinking of him.

A year before Douglas and I married, Daddy was restored to the church asking for forgiveness. He stated he had lived in sin for 30 years. I was 21 or so at the time, so this decision really made our house a home. (Thanks, Raymond Elliott for your part in this decision.)

Daddy stopped drinking, smoking and cursing at that time. He laid it all down. I know it can be done because my Daddy did it. He later became a Deacon in the Elba Church of Christ.

Mother worked at the Kinston Sewing Factory and on her meager salary of about $75 every two weeks, she purchased suits, ties, and white shirts for her man. Mama bought Daddy those pre-tied ties. She was a smart shopper.

Daddy loved to dress up and go to church. They were always early. Mama all but begged Daddy to change his clothes on Sundays when they got home from worship so he wouldn’t “mess his best clothes up,” but Daddy wouldn’t do it. He wanted to stay dressed up. That way he would be ready to go back for the evening service.

During the week Daddy wore a cap with overalls. You see, he was a carpenter by trade, but on Sunday it was a different story. Daddy liked to “dress up” and go to worship. Daddy was faithful as long as he lived after making that important decision in his life. Oh what a joyful peace that gives me. I love to think of Daddy and look forward to seeing him again one day. What a day of rejoicing that will be.

#christian-living, #obedience

What does the Bible say about the church as the spiritual body of Christ

by Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

“And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body” (Ephesians 1:22-23).

“There is one body” (Ephesians 4:4).

“For as we have many members in one body…so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another” (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14).

These verses tell us that the church is the body of Christ and that there is one body. So the Bible tells us there is one church.

A logical question should be which church is the Bible speaking of since there are many different churches in the world today. These churches are different because of the different people who started them at different times and places; they wear different names; worship in different ways; teach different doctrines; teach different ways to be saved. We must go to the Bible to learn of the one church which is the body of Christ.

Jesus promised to build one church (Matthew 16:18). He died for His church and purchased it with His own blood (Ephesians 5:25; Acts 20:28). The church belongs to Christ; He is the foundation of the church (1 Corinthians 3:11); “Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:23). To be saved we must be a member of His body because salvation is not in the many denominational churches in our world today.

With these thoughts in mind we should have a greater appreciation for what the Bible says:

“The churches of Christ greet you” (Romans 16:16), and “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Jesus prayed for unity “that all may be one” (John 17:21), and the Scripture teaches us how to be united.

#bible-study, #church-of-christ

What does the Bible say about Hope

by Douglas M. Williams Sr.

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

Colossians 1:27 “…Christ is in you, the hope of glory.”

The Bible speaks of the “hope of eternal life” (Titus 1:2; 3:7).

We can look “for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

Our hope is “an anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19). And 2 Peter 1:3-4 reads, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.”

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

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

Hope is the moving force behind our activities. Sophocles stated, “It is hope which maintains most of mankind.” Our world is one of hope!

Martin Luther said, “Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.”

The Bible says, “he that ploweth should plow in hope; and he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope: (1 Corinthians 9:10). 

The hope of a crop encourages the farmer to drive the plow; the hope of victory urges the soldier to fight; the hope of winning makes the athlete run; and hope of the incorruptible crown inspires the child of God to run in the race of life (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

Our hope is in God, and it is powerful! Our hope is obtained from the scriptures (Romans 15:4), and as long as there is life, there is hope. Our greatest hope is for eternal life in heaven. No matter how many times we lose in this life, we can look forward to eternal life where we win and never lose.

#bible-study

Changing One’s Life

This past week our son Art spoke to the students in a ministry outreach program designed to help them overcome their troubled past. During the course of his visit, one of the program directors told him an unforgettable story about one of the current students in the program:

He must have been approaching 40 years of age but had led a troubled life. He found himself in a program to help people to give them another chance at life.

The story goes that he was standing outside the facility with another person in the program. It was lunchtime. The other fellow said, “Come on. Let’s go break into some cars.” At that moment the young man took a stand. He said, “No. I’m going to change my life,” and he turned and walked back inside through the door.

Changing one’s life takes making a change or transforming for the better. Repenting is what the Bible calls it. Changing the direction you are going from one bad way to a better way.

Changing one’s life takes making a commitment. It can be made quickly or over a period of time but it takes hanging in there until the goal is reached. It is possible to change by being committed to the plan and by taking a stand.

Changing one’s life takes determination. Determination drives the world. People who are determined to make adjustments and work through the changes that need to be made to better their lives.

The young man who left at the lunch hour to “go break into some cars” lost his place in the program and was not allowed to come back. He missed that opportunity to change his life for the better. On the other hand, the young man who stayed pressed on toward his goal of changing his life.

Each day we have to make a commitment whether to do right or wrong in the things we face. It may be whether or not to join in gossip we hear, tell a “little white lie,” go somewhere we shouldn’t go, partake in some sinful habit, associating with the wrong people, say something we shouldn’t say, or countless other things. We must take a stand with Joshua of old who said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

Every day we can start anew as Christians, children of God. We can change our life for the better like the young man above. We must do it if we hope to live in heaven one day.

#christian-living

What does the Bible say about Springtime

by Douglas M. Williams Sr.

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).

“For the open pastures are springing up, and the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their strength” (Joel 2:22).

God asked Job who causes “to spring forth the growth of tender grass?” (Job 38:27).

The above verses certainly remind us of the changing seasons, and the blessings God provides during each season of the year.

Spring is the season between winter and summer and is a favorite time of the year for many people. We have more daylight hours, and the temperature is warmer and more pleasant than it has been during some of the colder, dreary, days of winter.

It is as if nature awakens in the spring, bringing newness of life as plants begin to put on new growth. Flowers bloom; trees bud with new growth and leaves; the grass becomes green and begins to grow. Hibernating animals leave their winter sleeping homes; birds are singing, and in various ways, spring is celebrated.

Fruitful trees and gardens that we plant in springtime describe prosperity in the Bible (Numbers 24:6; Isaiah 51:3; 61:11). But the destruction of gardens typifies desolation (Amos 4:9).

Jesus referred to springtime as He talked about planting, sowing, and harvesting in His teachings and especially His parables (Mathew 13; 9:37-38; John 4:35).

We are reminded of the rains in the spring when the Bible speaks of the early and latter rain (Deuteronomy 11:14; Hosea 6:3; Zechariah 10:1; James 5:7).

I hope you are enjoying the blessings of springtime as God bestows His blessings in the beauty of nature.

#Springtime #Seasons #Bible study

Jesus sent you today

She was a tiny and elderly lady when he spotted her struggling to get her cart out to her car. She had parked close to the store and in an awkward position. “Mam, may I help you?” he asked. “Oh yes, thank you. I thought I would never get my cart out the door.” He walked closer to her and said, “I’ll be happy to help you.” At her direction, he started placing the items in the back seat of her car. When finished he turned to say goodbye. She simply said, “Jesus sent you today.”

Do we go about doing good? Do we respond when we see someone in need? I feel certain that most of us take the time to help when we are given an opportunity. Jesus sends each of us. Our marching orders are in Mark 16:15. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” The Bible says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity let us do good to all men especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

Someone has said, “I don’t care how much you know until I see how much you care.” The opportunity to teach someone the gospel of Christ is so much easier when they have seen what we have to offer in action.

Annie Johnston Flint wrote the following poem that is worthy of memorizing.

Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work today

He has no feet but our feet to lead men in the way

He has no tongue but our tongue to tell men how He died

He has no help but our help to bring them to His side.

We are the only Bible the careless world will read,

We are the sinner’s gospel; we are the scoffer’s creed;

We are the Lord’s last message, given in word or deed;

What if the type is crooked? What if the print is blurred?

What if our hands are busy with other work than His?

What if our feet are walking where sin’s allurement is?

What if our tongue is speaking of things His lips would spurn?

How can we hope to help Him or welcome His return?

Do we allow Jesus to send us every day?

#Good deeds #helping

 

What does the Bible say about the miracles of Jesus?

By Douglas M. Williams Sr.

“And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31).

“And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. “ (John 21:25).

John sent disciples to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah, and Jesus told them, “Tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Luke 7:22).

People marveled when they saw the miracles of Jesus saying, “even the winds and the sea obey Him” (Matthew 8:27). They were amazed and said, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2:12).The Bible says, “they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!” (Luke 5:26).

What is usually referred to as miracles, are also called signs, wonders, and mighty works. The Old Testament tells of miracles, as well as miracles performed by followers of Jesus, but more were done by Jesus than others. Jesus performed miracles to show that He was the Son of God. His disciples performed miracles to confirm their teachings, and that they were doing God’s will (Mark 16:20).

As noted in the verses above, Jesus did miracles to convince us to have obedient faith in Him that we might be saved from sin and have eternal life in heaven. As Jesus stated, “I have come that they might have life and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

#miracles of Jesus, #Bible study

Holding a newborn baby

Have you held a newborn baby lately

In your arms so gentle and safe?

Have you heard the little sigh it makes

in the security of your embrace?

 

Have you smelled the precious baby

as you lean down to kiss its little face?

Did you feel its little stretch

as it snuggled in place?

 

A soul was brought into your world,

A soul which God placed in your care.

From the moment of its conception,

God knew the number of its hairs.

 

God has plans for each little soul

In His Holy Word we are told;

He chose you to love and nurture it

Directing it to the city of Gold.

 

Now it is your responsibility

to love and care for your own.

To nurture and direct it daily

to its final heavenly home.

 

Jesus said, “let the little children come unto Me”

in the Good book we are told.

You were chosen especially by God

for this blessing so great and bold.

 

So hold your newborn baby

in your arms so gentle and safe.

Listen to the little sigh it makes

in the security of your embrace.

 

Love your precious baby

God’s special gift to you.

Thank Him every day;

And to Him be forever true.

                                                                                             – Glenda Williams Williams

#babies #bulletin poem #thankful

Eight “Nots” to offer the body a living sacrifice

Have you ever thought if someone would just tell you what you should not do, or avoid, to be able to live the Christian life, you would do it and then you could be a living sacrifice for Jesus? I imagine we all have thought of that at one time or another. Let’s look at Romans chapter 12 and see what Paul told the brethren there.

   – Eight “Nots” to offer the body a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God –

  1. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of your mind but be transformed by the renewing of your mind- v.2
  2. Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment… v. 3; 1 Corinthians 12:12
  3. Do not be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord… v.11. When we lose our zeal we invite the devil into our life.
  4. Do not be proud (Lk. 17:7-10) but be willing to associate with people of low position v. 16
  5. Do not be conceited (wise in your own opinion) v. 16
  6. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. v. 17
  7. Do not take revenge, but leave room for God’s wrath. v.19 (Remember we are not in the business of taking vengeance.)
  8. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.v. 21.                                                   

Please take time to read this wonderful chapter for a further study of the Word of God.

I must admit that the above notes were taken from my NIV Bible, where I had taken notes on Doug’s sermon preached at Geneva on March 27, 2011. I now use the NKJV Bible since it is the one Doug uses in his preaching. But, the lesson was special to me back in March of 2011, and I hope it will be a blessing to you once again.

#Living Sacrifice #Body #Pleasing God

What does the Bible say about Lent, Ash Wednesday, etc.

By Douglas M. Williams Sr.

“You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2). 

“Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:6). See also Galatians 1:6-9 and Revelation 22:18-19). 

This time of the year we begin to hear and read about Ash Wednesday, Lent, Palm Sunday, and Easter. People in many churches celebrate these times, but to learn of these you have to search the history in encyclopedias and the writings of men. The Bible does not teach us to celebrate these things as done today. As the above scriptures show we are not to add to, or take away, or change God’s word in any way. 1 Peter 4:11 states, “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” and thus we should speak as the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent.

The word “lent” means springtime, and the subject of this article refers to events that took place and things the Bible says. But the Bible does not teach us to celebrate these things as is done today. We need to realize our mortality as the Bible says we are dust or ashes and will return to that after life on this earth (Genesis 3:19). John 12:13 tells of Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem when, among other things, people had branches of palm trees. And after Jesus death on the cross and burial, He was raised on the third day (Matthew 28:1-6). In connection with these things, many people celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on a special day each year known as Easter. As mentioned, the way these things are celebrated is not taught in the Bible. Even though the word “Easter” is in Acts 12:4 in the King James Bible, as an unfortunate translation, however, later translations use the word “Passover.” 

We should always be thankful for Jesus sacrifice and resurrection. The Bible teaches we are to celebrate His resurrection each first day of the week as we partake of the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7), and not just on one day of the year.

#Lent, #Ash Wednesday, #Easter, Palm Sunday

What does the Bible say about God’s goodness?

By: Douglas M. Williams Sr.

“The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth”        (Exodus 34:6).

“The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” (Psalm 33:5).

“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)

“Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God; on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off (Romans 11:22).

The goodness of God means His kindness, benevolence, generosity, grace, mercy, compassion, etc.

The goodness of God is seen in the wonderful ways He provides for us. God “makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). God’s goodness is stated at James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.” God provided for our salvation in the gift of His Son Jesus and in Him, we enjoy all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3).

Psalm 31:19 refers to God’s goodness by stating, “Oh, how great is your goodness.” In repetition, the song states, “God is so good…He’s so good to me. He answers prayer…he’s so good to me. He cares for me…He’s so good to me. I love Him so…He’s so good to me.” Surely we can all express our appreciation for the goodness of God by stating, “I know that God is good because He has been so good to me.” God is good in His greatness, and great in His goodness all the time.

As Romans 2:4 states, the goodness of God should lead us to repent and obey God. But let us not forget the severity of God in that He is strict in His requirement of obedience.

You can lead a horse to the water…

You’ve all heard the saying, “You can lead a horse to the water but you can’t make him drink,” right? I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately and know it to be true. Experiences of life teach older people lots of good lessons and the Bible teaches us that we as older people are to train the younger ones. So often the younger set doesn’t want to hear anything the older ones have to say in regard to certain things. It doesn’t matter how good you know something would be for another person, you can’t make them listen and do it. I’ve seen it happen so many times in my lifetime. Unwanted advice is not appreciated. It’s sad but it’s true. You can lead a horse to the water but you can’t make him drink. You can share your good, well-known and experienced ideas but you certainly can’t make a person take advantage of them. And so, as my beloved sister-in-law used to say, “Young people often have to go up ‘fool’s hill,'” or as someone else said, “buy them some experience.” It’s sad.

As disappointing as the above scenario is, it is even sadder when we spend our time teaching a person the gospel and rather than listening to the teachings of the Word of God and accepting it, they make their own decision to not accept it. On one occasion we taught a man who had been sprinkled as a child. We showed him what the Bible taught about the church, baptism and eternity. When we boldly asked him about being baptized for the remission of his sins since sprinkling is not taught in the Word of God, he looked at us and smiled and never said a word. You can lead a person to the truth of God’s Word but you can’t make them accept it no matter how good it would be for them and their souls. It’s sad.

Each Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday evening we are given the opportunity to come together to study the Word of God and to worship God. It is available for all to come and learn. Yet as wonderful as it is that we are free to worship and study openly, many carelessly go about their own pursuits and don’t take advantage of the periods of study, no matter how good we know it would be for them to do so. If everyone who claims to be a member of the church attended regularly the pews would not be as empty, others would be uplifted and encouraged by being with fellow Christians, and the singing would be so much prettier. The preacher would be encouraged to new heights and the community would see a strong congregation of the Lord’s church. New ideas would spring forth from sharing a love for the Lord and most of all, God would be pleased. 

#advice, #church-bulletin-articles