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

Ready or not we are going to die

As I was working on the bulletin Friday morning, I started looking over the birthday/anniversaries list and it shocked me to see the number from the January list who passed away in 2017. John McDougald, Becky Miller, Ruth Shields, and Van Parker are names that were on our list last year but who are no longer with us. Death has no respect for the age of a person as we can see from the names listed.

Friday morning I received word that my dear friend in Andalusia, Margie Thomasson, passed away. We were expecting Margie to go home to be with the Lord because of her lingering illness. We visited her recently and knew the process had begun. Margie was a fine Christian and the wife of Curtis Thomasson, an elder of the Cedar Grove congregation in Andalusia.

Death is sure and certain. It is appointed to each of us to die. It is not to be overlooked or ignored, pretending it won’t happen to us. It will come to us as surely as we take a breath. It is foolish, indeed, for a person to not take death and eternity seriously and to prepare for it. The scripture states, “It is appointed once for man to die and then cometh the judgment.” At death our destination is sealed. Prepared or not, we will be whirled out into eternity.

We used to play a game of hide and seek as children. We would yell out, “Ready or not, here I come.” Ready or not we will go into judgment. It is a serious matter and must be taken seriously.

At the beginning of this new year when people will be making new resolutions, new goals, new dreams, let us take our souls into serious consideration. How is it with our soul? The song states,

Some day you’ll stand at the bar on high, Someday your record you’ll see; Someday you’ll answer the question of life, What will your answer be?

Sadly you’ll stand, if you unprepared, Trembling, you’ll fall on your knees. Facing the sentence of life or of death, What will your answer be?

Now is the time to prepare, my friend, Make your soul spotless and free; Washed in the blood of the crucified One, He will your answer be.

#death, #new-years-resolutions

It’s what’s on the inside that counts

Recently we mailed our granddaughter in college a book she was interested in. We placed a twenty dollar bill inside the book and secured with a paper clip. Last evening she called us, and I asked if she had received the book. She said she had, and it was on her bookshelf. I asked if she found the paper clip inside it. She admitted she had not. I replied, “You need to check the paper clip. She was shocked to find the money inside the book as she said we didn’t have to do that. She joyfully said it would buy a small table she wanted at a discount store for $20.00, and she would pick it up tomorrow. Continue reading

Questions to ask before marrying someone

When I was a girl growing up I thought quite a bit about the boy I would hopefully one day marry. I thought about the qualifications in which I wanted him to meet. During that time I picked up a tract by brother Johnny Ramsey, “What God Hath Joined Together.” Inside the tract he had a section called “Questions to Consider Before Marriage.” Here are the questions and some comments in the tract:

  1. Does this person put spiritual values first?
  2. Will he help me go to heaven?
  3. Will I grow spiritually as a result of living with him?
  4. Is he a member of the church? If so, is he a member in name only?
  5. Does he believe in the power of prayer and the strength found in studying the Bible?
  6. Does he have those characteristics that will make him a proper father (or mother) of our children?
  7. Is he pure in speech, in body, in action and heart?
  8. Can I thank God for this person?

Jesus tells us to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33). It would be impossible to obey this injunction and marry a follower of Satan. Someone has well stated:

“He that married a child of the Devil may expect trouble from his father-in-law.”

That concludes brother Ramsey’s statements pertaining to that subject. I recently found a like-new copy of the tract and it brought back precious memories to me. I well remember the first time I read the tract and said to myself, “Douglas fits every one of those qualifications.” That made things crystal clear in my mind. By the way, he still does after 52 years of marriage and counting! God has blessed us richly.

What does the Bible say about eternal life

“And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46).

“That whoever believe in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:15-16).

“Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:54).

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

“And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life” (1 John 2:25). See 1 John 5:11-13.

The Bible has much to say about that which is eternal or everlasting which means the same thing. God is eternal. “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27). “Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalm 90:2).

The concept of eternity is beyond our full comprehension. Many illustrations have been used, and efforts made to try to help us understand eternity. There is no end to eternity. It is forever and ever. When time, as we know ends, then eternity begins. Since God is eternal, He is not bound by time. “With the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).

The important thing is for us to make preparation for eternity. God has provided for us to have eternal life by His Son and our Savior Jesus Christ. We must believe and obey by repentance, confession, and baptism. When we do this we are forgiven of sin and can live faithfully for Jesus to receive eternal life in heaven.

To think of eternal life is to remind us of eternal death. Jesus said our eternity will either be in heaven or hell (Matthew 7:13-14).

Prepare to meet thy God for eternal life in heaven (Amos 4:12).

Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

I’m not going to teach anybody

“Father forgive them for they know not what they say,” is my thinking on the above disturbing statement and “We’re not going to reach people around here. So many are already established in their own churches and aren’t going to change.”

It chills me to hear members of the church making such bold statements about not trying to win souls for Christ. “Jesus gave us our marching orders,” brother Ira North used to say. Jesus said to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel. He that believeth and is baptized will be saved. He that believeth not will be damned (Mark 16:16). Though that command is old, it is still as young and fresh as it was the day Jesus issued the command. And it will still be fresh on the day of judgment.

Who are we to say, “I’m not going to teach anyone.” Who is so bold? Is it a fear of asking another to study the Bible with us? Is it that we in the church believe that one church is good as another? Is it that we believe everybody is going to heaven, just in different directions? Is it really acceptable for us to attend the church of our choice?

Jesus died for one church, the church He built. The worship pattern is the same as we read about in the Bible, the real “first church.” We don’t have the right living under the blessings of God each day to say, “I’m not going to teach anyone.”

Even Jesus said, “I must be about the Father’s business” (Luke 2:49). He said for us to go and teach others. Dare we do any differently?

#evangelism

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).

#bible-study, #miracles

Sinning Against God

The Lord was with Joseph. He was a prosperous man. When Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand, he made him overseer over his house and all that he had. The Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake. Potiphar left all that he had in Joseph’s hand. Joseph was a good man and well favored.

Potiphar’s wife liked Joseph and set her sights on him. She asked him to “lie with her.” Joseph refused and told her that his master, and her husband, had committed all that he had to his care. He reminded her that he was the greatest in his house, and she was Potiphar’s wife. Then he asked the question: “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”  Continue reading

#bible-study, #sin

What does the Bible say about anger

by Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

“Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil” (Psalm 37:8).

“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32; Colossians 3:8).

“Be angry, and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26). Continue reading

#anger, #bible-study

What does the Bible say about the church

By Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

  • “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).
  • “So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things” (Acts 5:11).
  • “At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem” (Acts 8:1).
  • “Greet the church that is in their house” (Romans 16:5).
  • “To the church of God which is at Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:2).
  • “Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.”
  • And “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:23-25).

As shown in the above verses and others the church is often referred to as “the church.” Since it was the only one that existed, it was not always necessary to identify the church in any other way. Of course, the church belonged to Christ as He promised to build it, and He bought it with His blood (Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28). Then at Romans 16:16 it is identified as the church of Christ.

The word is from the Greek language, and the English spelling is ‘ekklesia.’ It means, “Called out.” So those who are called by the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14), from the world by their obedience to the gospel of Christ, are those people who make up the church. They are sanctified or set apart as written in the article last week.

Please notice that the church is singular as the spiritual body of Christ. Jesus said He would build one church (Matthew 16:18), and at John 10:16 He said, “there will be one flock and one shepherd.” Jesus is the shepherd and the church is the flock (Acts 20:28).

Among the seven things that Paul mentions of which there was only one, was the church or spiritual body of Christ (Ephesians 4:4-6). The one body is the church as stated in Ephesians 1:22-23.

“The churches of Christ greet you” (Romans 16:16).

 

#bible-study, #church

An old poem based on James 2:1-4

When I was a little girl mother taught me a poem that she had stood and quoted at the front during her school chapel program. She told how she made hand movements to emphasize certain parts of the poem. It is well over 100 years old since not only did mother quote the poem but her mother quoted it in her chapel service when she was a little girl. I think it is beautiful and share it for your enjoyment. No doubt it is based on the scripture James 2:1-4. After reading the poem, please read the scripture reference. I will preface the poem with this: Imagine an old man has gone to the church service on Sunday morning. His wife couldn’t go because she was homebound in bed. He goes into her bedroom and says…

Well, wife, I’ve been to church today,
And to a stylish one;
Being you couldn’t go from home,
I will tell you what was done.

The people were so finely dressed,
they could hardly bow to pray,
And me with these stiff clothes of mine,
All worn and torn, and almost worn out.

They took me to a seat,
Way back by the door;
All bookless and uncushioned,
A reserved seat for the poor.

But pretty soon in came a stranger,
with golden rings and clothes so fine.
They took him to a seat,
Far in advance of mine.

I didn’t think it was exactly right,
To seat him up so near,
When he was young, and I was old,
And very hard to hear.

Our heads are growing gray, dear wife,
Our hearts are beating slow,
But when the Master calls for us,
Then we’ll have to go.

And when we reach those pearly gates,
All-undefiled by sin,
We’ll see wealth waiting at that gate,
While poverty goes in.