Bible Lessons in the Kitchen: Leaning on the Word

by Rev Robert A Wendel

God is our refuse and strength. If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me. A river of streams make glad the city of God, welling up to eternal life. Christ is an over-flowing fountain, supplying his people. Blessed is the one whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on the law, day and night. Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46).

There is a process which every Christian must experience to arrive at a good level of maturity. This is spiritual growth developed over the span of a whole lifetime by Bible reading, prayer and regular community worship.

My family all gladly attended Sunday worship and ate dinner together at 1:00 p.m. Dad often showed me how to understand portions of the Bible while we two sat at the post dinner kitchen table. We often looked at the scriptures mentioned in the Sunday sermon. I remember during the meal each of us six kids was asked “What did the preacher preach about this morning?”

I am deeply saddened to know that too many of today’s folks don’t take time to increase their understanding of the Bible within the family circle. The Christian scripture forms the basis of our personal morality and community living. In every disruption, daily frustration or uncomfortable situation God is our strength and a very present help. He never leaves us. In fact, He keeps us going. When our lives seem to fall, He lifts us up!

God desires a personal relationship with each of us. And so, I sincerely seek Him in prayer, by reading the Bible and being present in regular worship and congregational business sessions, listening for the Lord’s voice.

On the morning of his funeral New York Times published a message from U.S. Rep. John Lewis. He wrote that “When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and power of everlasting love be your guide.”

News from the ABW Virtual Conference

by Nancy Moran

By now I hope many of you have watched the ABWM Virtual Conference. If you haven’t had a chance yet to see this, go to the WV Baptist Women’s Ministries Facebook page. I was so impressed with the presentation by our last year’s scholarship recipient, Samantha Wagoner, that I immediately wrote to her to convey my thoughts. Here is the reply I received from her.

Nancy – This message meant so much to me! Thank you. It was such an honor to get to be a part of the women’s conference. I absolutely love the Lord and all he does for me! I am so grateful he loves me and works on me daily. His love keeps me going. I love the Women in our state so so so much! They inspire me to be the best Woman of God I can be! I am so grateful to be involved. I could never repay or give enough thank yous to the women who pray and think of me! Anytime I am asked to do something for our women or for the Lord, If I can do it, I do!

My plans for school are a little back tracked right now due to all of this craziness. God has put me on some amazing paths rights now and I’m working towards finding out which one is the best fit. I am currently working in a dental office as an assistant and trying to finish my degree up. I applied to pharmacy school actually and got in! I deferred for a year to think about it and to make a decision. I have been really torn on pharmacy and dentistry this past year. I am praying and listening to see where God leads me. Please pray for me and my journey and my new marriage.

Samantha

Looking Ahead

by Howard Mollohan

As I mentioned in church on August 9, Helping Hands is hoping to participate in the Macs Toy Fund program this year. Macs will not operate as normal because of the COVID-19. However, in cooperation with Beckley Area Foundation and other agencies such as Helping Hands they will be distributing toys to needy children in Raleigh County. We will accept older toys in “very good” condition and of course we would request cash donations. More information will follow as it becomes available.

CliffsNotes Living

by Pastor Doc Adkins

“Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.” Psalm 25:5

Do you know what CliffsNotes are? You may remember them from high school or especially in college. I probably should have given them credit somewhere on my degree. Perhaps you used them yourself or you may remember your teachers discouraging you from using them. They are those little study guides for books. Kind of condensed highlights for a book. They’ll tell you things like who the main characters are in a story, the highlights of the plot, and things like that, but they don’t give you the whole story. They give you just some of the details, not all of them.

I think sometimes we rely too much on what we’ve made into our own Christian living CliffsNotes. We develop our own condensed highlights when it comes to the Christian walk. We have a page that tells us Who Jesus is, why He came, how important He is. We’ve got a page set up for some of the main Biblical characters that we learned about perhaps when we were younger in Sunday School, but we don’t know really any more than that. We have a page in our CliffsNotes that highlights what doctrine we believe. We may even have a page of several Bible verses that we’ve memorized and have under our belt.

I think it’s great that we may know all those things and have them handy to refer to, but the problem comes when we never continue learning. If we don’t continue to learn, we miss out on the meat. We miss out on all those little intricate details that God put in His Word for us to find. Our CliffsNotes are not going to carry us through. Sure, it might be great for a guide, but we have to dig into the Word and really allow ourselves to be taught on a deeper level. I think that asking the Lord to teach us can help us get started on the road to learning more.

Teach Me Your Way.

“Show me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.” Psalm 25:4
“Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.” Psalm 86:11

Teach Me Good Judgment And Knowledge.

“Teach me good judgment and knowledge.” Psalm 119:66
” For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6

Teach Me Your Will.

“Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.” Psalm 143:10

Teach Me Your Law.

“Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.” Psalm 119:12
“…teach me thy judgments. Psalm 119:108
“Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.” Psalm 119:34

Teach Me What To Say.

Remember how God helped Moses in this area?

“Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” Exodus 4:12

“The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.” Proverbs 16:23

Teach Me To Number My Days.

“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

Teach Me Right From Wrong.

“And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” Ezekiel 44:23

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” Titus 2:11, 12

Conclusion:
The Christian life is more than living on our own CliffsNotes but I know it’s sometimes what we end up relying on. Some of us have even allowed others to help write our CliffsNotes for us. We rely on what they say completely, sometimes without checking it with God’s Word.

It’s great to learn from others, such as preachers and good teachers, and read good Christian books, but relying on that alone gets us into that CliffsNotes living realm. We’ve got to study the Word of God for ourselves and learn from it ourselves.

All those things are great that we’ve learned, like the 12 Disciples, the 10 Commandments, points on doctrine, and all those Bible verses we’ve committed to memory. It’s just that we need to keep digging and be willing to learn more. We don’t want to miss out on any of the details that the Lord has for us.

With the Summer ending, vacation time running out, school and college beginning (or at least this is the plan), We see the rise of a new season coming on. A season that is going to challenge us mentally, physically and spiritually. Let’s move from Cliffnote Christianity and into a truly growing season with the Lord. “teach me”, Psalm 25:5

So, are you ready to learn more.

Helping Hands Continues to Serve

Helping Hands will be taking food donations only until further notice. They can be left in the black container outside the church office. We are open Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 until noon to serve the people of Beckley and Raleigh County. Please keep us in your prayers as we continue this ministry.

The children of the world need to hear the name of Jesus.

Children all over the world need to hear the name of Jesus and Operation Christmas Child has been doing just that for over 25 years and this year is no exception. A nation-wide goal has been set at 11 million shoeboxes and while that may seem like an outrageous number in these epidemic times, nevertheless if we don’t reach for what seems like impossible, we will never know what we can do once God’s people take control of a situation.

I want to thank you for your prayers and support of this ministry over the 20 plus years that First Baptist has been involved. Thousands and thousands of boxes have been received during those collection weeks and without your support, this task would not have been accomplished.

Summertime is usually when the school supply sales start and this is why I always ask for school supply donations during July and August. With these uncertain times even as far as starting school in the fall, I am still asking you to browse through the school supply sale ads for pencils, pens, crayons, erasers, and small note pads for our shoeboxes. If you feel uncomfortable going into the stores, which I totally understand, I will be glad to do your shopping for you. Just mail or drop a check by the church and be sure to make a note that it is for shoeboxes in the memo line and I will take it from there.

These are trying times and even Samaritan’s Purse has had to make adjustments in our collection efforts to try and keep everything safe for our volunteers. As always, please keep this ministry in your prayers as they continue to spread the name of Jesus to children around the world one shoebox at a time.

Camp Alpha

Camp Alpha is a church camp located in Ryazan, Russia who hosted their first campers in 2017. The camp currently consists of two picnic shelters, two large metal storage containers repurposed into cabins and outhouses for restroom facilities. Tents provide additional housing for the campers. Meals must either be brought in from local churches or cooked on-site over an open campfire. Taking into account the rustic nature of the camp, it’s amazing that 65 kids were in attendance in 2019!

The WVBC partnership with the Russian churches has helped them to create the camp in resemblance to our very own Camp Cowen and Parchment Valley. The American Baptist Women’s Ministries of West Virginia have adopted Camp Alpha for their MOP 2020 project. We hope our goal of $6,000 will help make improvements to the camp that will encourage more children to come meet Jesus at Camp Alpha!

Donations can be sent through your ABW Associations

Good Deeds Can Defeat an Epidemic

by Rev Robert A Wendel

The Kingdom of God is within you. I will gather all the survivors. I will set them together like sheep in a fold. The Lord is at their head. “My People have been lost sheep. The Lord was the hope of their ancestors. (Luke 17:21, Micah 2:12-13, Jeremiah 50:5-6)

Across dozens of countries coping with the virus, people are acting unselfishly or accepting lifestyle changes required by state and national governments. Schools at all levels, holiday events and sporting contests have been cancelled. Since early spring, it has been a season of shared sacrifice and stay home time. The world has also witnessed a burst of good will.

People are giving up daily activities in favor of protecting the safety of their neighbors. Such acts and folks looking after their friends and co-workers are a form of love which sends a clear message of healing to those struck by the virus or anyone afraid of it. The most often used catch-phrase of these days is “We’re all in this together!”
Scripture tells us “Do not throw away your confidence, it will be richly rewarded.” (Hebrews 10:35). No matter where we are in life, good things will outweigh the bad. Still, by June over 100,000 Americans have died by contracting the virus.

When doubt has surfaced in my thinking, I am reminded of a verse from Isaiah, “Quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (30:15). Our confidence can be challenged. But we have whatever it takes to carry on, no matter what is happening in the world around us.
Bishop Tutu (1931) wrote “We humans can tolerate suffering, knowing that God can transform it and allow us to fulfill our role in His plan.”

Planning is Tricky

Planning for the upcoming school term is tricky. Will students attend classes in school buildings with their friends or will they continue to have classes in their homes with parents acting as teachers? No one knows yet. Whatever is decided we will continue to send them meals for the weekends.

We have decided not to purchase backpacks this year. Instead we will purchase grocery tote bags from ALDI’S for 10 cents each. These bags will hold the food very nicely and eliminate the need to pick up backpacks each week from the school. Every week each child will get a new bag eliminating the chance of contamination of germs between the students and the Backpack team.

Our Backpack teams will start packing food as soon as the school officials notify us that food is needed. Please pray for our Backpack Kids to be healthy and happy. Prayers are also needed for our Backpack Ministry to be able to continue providing nourishment for needy children. May God bless each person who has donated food or money and those who have prayed for our ministry.

For the months of July and August please donate pudding cups.

Eyes Wide Open

by Pastor Doc Adkins

Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net. Psalm 25:15

It is finally warming up around here and I’ve been noticing all the little bugs and insects around. I also noticed some days ago when I was at our camp in Hinton that a summer creature you see a lot around the river is the “dragon fly”. That peculiar looking thing with two sets of wings, a long skinny body and BIG EYES! REALLY BIG EYES! They are funny looking creatures to say the least. I am not sure what purpose they have except when they land on the water in the river…fish love them.

I’ve read that their sight encompasses basically 360 degrees and that they can see everything at most angles.

I wish I could see like that, especially those things that seem to sneak up on me and sideswipe me.

There are things I wish I could have seen coming. I know there are things that as Christians we should watch out for so we don’t get off track in our daily living. We need to have our eyes wide open like a dragonfly.

Eyes Open to Understanding.
If we would keep our eyes open to understanding the Lord, just think how much better we would get to know Him.

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. Ephesians 1:17, 18

Eyes Open to the Word.
I guess if we had our eyes wide open to what God’s Word says, we’d learn more and be better to handle those things that get into our view.

Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word. Psalm 119:148

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. Psalm 119:18

Eyes Open to Temptation.
Just think how much smoother our lives would be if we were constantly on guard for this one. We know we are supposed to be on our toes for it to come sneaking in but sometimes it’s there right in front of us before we see it.

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41

Eyes Open to God’s Help.
We get into these situations and our eyes are bugging out because here comes trouble. How much better we could handle it if we constantly had our eyes on God and were really relying on the Lord.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. Psalms 121:1

Without that 360 degree sight, dragonflies wouldn’t be able to be ready to make the quick maneuvers that they need to make in midair. I think that when we keep our eyes wide open to certain things, we are better able to maneuver too. We are better able to handle all those things that come sailing into our view.

All in all, I think we need to keep our eyes on the Lord because He’s the One who sees all. The Lord can see up ahead where we can’t and that’s a nice fact to rest in. He can see behind us where we may have missed something. He can also help us handle those things that come whizzing past us.

So, maybe God created these little strange creatures like the ‘dragon fly ’just to teach us to keep our eyes wide open for Him to show us our way in life, too.