Matters of the Heart

by Doc Adkins

Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.”    Psalm 141:4

With such a health conscious craze going on, we hear all the talk of being Heart Smart. Our heart is a valuable organ and we have to take care of it. There are so many things that affect whether our heart will function properly.

I wonder how smart we are with our hearts where our Christian living is concerned. We know we should take care of our hearts but do we consciously do it? The Bible gives us some things that we can do to improve the functioning of our heart.

  1. Believe With Your Heart.
    To begin with we need to have a personal relationship with Christ in order to have our heart pumping correctly. We have to see our need of salvation.

    “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. ” Romans 10:9

  1. Purpose With Your Heart.
    I love the story of Daniel. He was someone who took care of his heart. He decided he wasn’t going to intake the harmful things of the world and he chose to keep his heart pure and working properly.

    “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. ” Daniel 1:8

  1. Serve With Your Heart.
    Serving Christ is one of the best exercises for our heart. It’s like doing a cardiovascular workout! Even Joshua was still doing this exercise when he was well up into years. It says in Joshua 23:2, that he told the people,”…I am old and stricken in age” and yet later in the passage he makes a commitment before the people of Israel that he was going to serve God. Even at his age he was exercising by serving God.

    “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. ”   Joshua 24:15

  1. Sing With Your Heart.
    What a lift to our heart singing can be. When we are joyful and rejoicing in the Lord in our hearts, it’s like giving our hearts a healthy dose of whole grain.

    “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in yourheart to the Lord.”   Ephesians 5:19

  1. Trust With Your Heart.
    Nothing can help us breathe easier than trusting the Lord.   It can make our heart beat in the proper way.

    “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”    Proverbs 3:5

  1. Love With Your Heart.
    There’s something about having love in our hearts that makes that blood pump through our veins a little better. God not only wants us to love Him but love others too.

    “And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbors as thyself. ”    Luke 10:27

If we don’t take care of our heart, it can lead to all kinds of health problems, heart disease and heart failure. There are certain things we need to do in order to maintain a lifestyle in order to take care of our heart. The same is true in the Christian life. Maybe we should make a commitment to do a few things to be Heart Smart.

  • How about living a pure life and keeping out the impurities of the world?
  • How about decreasing your stress by relying on God more?
  • What about increasing your physical activity by serving the Lord more and being active for Him?
  • How about more intake of that heart healthy Word of God?

Christ wants us to have strong and vital lives and we cannot have the lives He intended if we don’t take care of our hearts.

So, are you Heart Smart?

ABW January Update

by Norma Gunter

As we enter a new year I’ve been looking back at some of the things that  happened in 2014. I was thrilled when I saw our ABW Christmas tree on the stage in Fellowship Hall.  It brought back so many memories of the year we collected the purple ornaments.  Sue Jones made a lot of the ornaments, some cloth covered.  My daughter, Marcie, wrote the names of the different  ABW missions, in white, on purple ornaments.  Thanks to those who put the tree up and has protected it all these years.

The ABW White Cross gifts of the heart project was a success.  The final report was in the church bulletin on August 10.  With the help of the children’s Bible School offering twenty school kits were provided to Church World Service for needy children around the world.

The USED STAMP ministry has also been a success.  On January 15 I sent a request to Alliance Stamp Ministry for information about saving used stamps for missions.  The first batch of stamps was mailed on March 12.  Three other mailings have been mailed since with a total of over two pounds of stamps.  I received a thank you note which said, as of November, $36,000 dollars has been sent to the Sunday School Project for Spanish speaking people. Thank you to all those who have helped with this project. Keep saving the used stamps.

The new ABW White Cross projects for 2015 include money for Burundi and South Africa.  We also have Hand Work requests, Home and Overseas Mission projects which I will share later.

Please remember me and my sister in your prayers while we are in Costa Rica later this month.  Our plans with Susan Hegarty, our American Baptist International Missionary, and her daughter Katy have been finalized. They are here in the states for Christmas but will be back in Costa Rica before we get there. It will be great to work with her again.

Music Notes from the Chior

I wish to thank everyone who dedicated themselves to God’s Choir this past year and would like to extend God’s invitation to join his fellow choir members on Sunday evenings at 4:45.  If you need serious stress reduction come and join us and allow the Lord to massage your stress away through the music we sing.

January Choir Selections:  1/4 – “At The Kings Table” / 1/11 – “Above All” / 1/18 – “Battle Belongs To The Lord” / 1/25 – “Call Upon The Name Of The Lord”

Resolving to Open My Bible

by Rev. Robert A. Wendel

Before each New Year, I glance at that year’s daily bible reading plan knowing that disciplining myself by having a regular brush with the scriptures would be an encouragement and deepen me spiritually.  But, life gets busy.  So quiet time and good reading often get forgotten.  Woe is me!

These are the days or weeks when my life just isn’t running smoothly as it’s supposed to.  A sudden crisis, an unexpected call for help from a friend or stranger, a challenge in my own life, over-extending myself trying to meet others’ expectations or trying to crowd too many public obligations into my datebook, any of these can push even that morning’s prayer life into tomorrow’s corner.

Still, I’m aware that it’s spiritual things that keep my life running smoothly and help me handle the sharp turns, the uphills and the downhills.  When I was growing up at home, I remember how our whole family went to church every Sunday and many afternoons in the kitchen Dad would show me how to find bible cross-references, then ask me to play some classic vinyl LP’s to which he would whistle.

The important reason to study scripture is to help each of us define and strive to live a life that reaches beyond and above what is normally expected of us.  We’re reminded how Jesus lived and what he taught as priorities for our time on earth.  As any pastor can tell you, the bible offers us concrete guidance for overcoming our weaknesses while ‘running toward” God’s finish line.

While I was a chaplain at the Beckley VA Medical Center, I was privileged to lead a Thursday afternoon bible study for men who called the facility home.  One day I asked one older vet what was his secret to success? He thought carefully and answered “We need only have two loves in our lives:  for God and for the people who happen to be in front of us at that very moment.  That’s Christianity in a nutshell.

The January ABC Men’s breakfast will again be on the second Saturday morning of the month  beginning at 8AM and usually done before 9:30 AM.  Gentlemen, come, eat well and be physically and spiritually satisfied.   Phil Parvin will offer us his thoughts.

A Wonderful Christmas Season

Our First Baptist kids have enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Season!

On December 6th we participated in Beckley’s annual Christmas parade.  Our thanks to those who participated by decorating, riding along and providing snacks afterwards.  A very special thanks to Mary Stover for her vision and expert decorating skills.  It was a soggy success!

We hosted our first-ever gingerbread house decorating contest on December 7th.  Congratulations to our winners, Caitlyn Daniels and Ryan Vaught.  You can see their masterpiece on our website at beckleyfirstbaptist.org.

On December 21st, a group of us went caroling at Hidden Valley Nursing Home in Oak Hill.  What a blessing!  We ended the evening with great fellowship and pizza.

What’s up next?  Only one of our world-famous lock-ins!  From 6 PM to midnight on January 2nd, you are invited to bring some friends and celebrate with us.  We plan to play in the gym at Crescent Elementary, eat, participate in a scavenger hunt, eat, play games, eat, share devotions, eat, and host a talent show.  Please join us!!!

Happy New Year from the Backpack Ministry

by Joyce Mills

It is a New Year and time to set some new goals in our own lives as well as the things that we work with or have a desire to make better.  There are some things that I would call to your attention about the Backpack Ministry.

Thing 1.  A big Thank You to the wonderful shoppers who helped make  Christmas special for 16 children at Beckley Elementary. You did a fantastic job!  Home Missions done right in our back door.  What could be better?     Thank You!

Thing 2.  Thank you for the 122 cans of Vienna Sausage that you purchased and placed on the back counter in the Church kitchen.

Thing 3.  These individuals serve the Backpack Ministry week after week.  Thank them when YOU see them.  They are faithful, loyal and feel blessed each week as they do their assigned jobs to keep this Ministry running smoothly. Thank you Helen Greene, Mary Gregory, Maria Veid, Charlotte Hutchens, Pam Bishop, Mike and Patty Atterson, Jeff Oakland, Ken Dilley, Connie Neal, Janice Wood, Nancy Moran, Todd Wright,  Brooke Wright, John Quinn,   Debbie Quinn, Sarah Adkins, Linda Allport, Valerie Sellards, Caroline Sellards, Linda Ramsey, Mark Holiday, Suzanne Brown, Clark Mills,  Tim Greene, Johnny Greene, and  Rev. Doc Adkins. YOU are APPRECIATED!

Thing 4.  We are in need of a few more people to help pack backpacks. Each week 22 students receive food through the Backpack Ministry. There are 5 teams with some having only 3 people packing. If you have some time on Wednesday at 5:00pm, you could help one week out of the month.  We also need more help to take the backpacks to the school anytime Thursday or Friday morning. Taking the backpacks to school is done on a monthly rotation. Call me (Joyce) at 304.252.0534, if you can help.

Thing 5.  For the month of January, please bring individual serving packs of APPLESAUCE and put it in the Church kitchen on the back counter. Thanks!

 

New Year Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Blessed be your name.

You are the Father of time, the Creator of seasons.

Giving us the days, months, and years for our good use.

Thank you, Lord, for keeping every moment in your safe-keeping.

A fresh New Year renews the Christian’s heart

The old has passed, it’s an opportunity to restart

We can leave the old things from the past years forgiven and forgotten, tucked away in yesteryear

Let happiness and excitement fill our spirits.

The new day, the New Year we celebrate

Sharing this eve with family and friends

Fills us each with joy and hope.

Future things in this new year need not worry us

Jesus will be the same today & tomorrow as he always was

Nor is there need to scurry and fuss

Our time is His, we’re servants – not his master.

The coming days will occur one by one

Lord, help us to leave no good act undone

You’ve laid out our plans, guided our paths

Shown us your word, empowered us with Spirit

Lord, you promised your Word will never fail

And if we hear and obey we will ultimately prevail

So often we find trouble and beg you to appear

You quietly nudge us to trust and persevere

Jesus, shine your light on this new beginning

Show us your ways, keep us from sinning

Lord, reveal where we can improve

Inspire us to do the things which you approve

Helping the helpless and clothing the needy

Aiding the orphans and feeding the hungry

Loving our neighbors while walking with You

Helps us fulfill your precious Golden Rule.

We loved you last year, and we’ll love you this year

Thank you for loving us first, and always, dear Lord God.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

A New Year

by Doc Adkins

Devotion and prayer are the perfect places to begin any new day, and especially the first new day of a new year.

New Years Devotional

2nd Corinthians 5:17 is the inspirational Bible verse for this New Years prayer: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

This verse isn’t only talking to new believers in Christ, but also referring to long-time Christians who have been struggling with pain, inner turmoil, and sin.

Many people across the world have experienced tough days this past year. God, because of

His mercy, gives us this wonderful opportunity to focus on the future, and to put the past behind us.

Paul stresses that Christians are to “forget the past” (Philippians 3:13-14). Listen, “Dear Brothers and Sisters, I have not achieved perfection, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

My friends, if you’ve sinned and repented, accept God’s forgiveness and move on. If you’ve had hard days, such as personal losses, i.e., losing a job, bank accounts, health, or other great losses… move on, and march ahead. Accept your lot, your circumstances, and your current place in life.

Be strong, be courageous. God gives you opportunity to call upon his strength and drop all your worries at his feet.

Know that the greatest possible possession you have is found in your living, loving relationship with Jesus Christ. He is your ultimate goal, your ultimate destination, your eternal companion.

Get to know him better and better day after day. Constantly read his love letter to you – the Bible.

Pick it up and read. Study it. Apply it. Let it mold your mind, heart, and soul.

Live it every moment. Start today – this New Years Day prayer can be your launching pad to a new life, or even a new start, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Turn from the past years, and your past ways, onto his straight and narrow way. Jesus is there by you, waiting for you to let go of the world that is perishing, and waiting for you to give your entire heart to him.

New Years Day is an excellent time to begin a new life!

May God bless your heart as you make this prayer your own to share with the Lord.

Reigniting Hope at Christmas

by Rev Robert A Wendel

Christmas is coming again!  It’s time for greetings, gifts and glad times.  Christmas is one of those times when our hope is reignited because our heavenly Father sent his Son to earth to offer believers the ‘certain hope’ of a future life in eternity.

Hope, here and now, energizes us for the many conflicts and setbacks which we encounter along earth’s many pathways around us and within us.  Christmas hope is not simply wishful thinking.  The hope we acknowledge during Advent is found only in Christ, grounded in the reality that Jesus came in weakness and meekness and will come again in glory to redeem the world.

So, during this happy season, you and I should have confidence in God’s future.  This Christmas, all of us look forward to remembering the past through the power of memory and the rekindling of the spiritual lights that lead us back to the Bethlehem story of a babe in a manger.

Many of the young Christian fellowships which received letters from Paul lived in fear and collective anxiety.  Yet, they speculated about the day when the Lord would return again and set things right.

Today, like them, we are able to bear the present darkness because, we believe in the coming dawn, a dawn in which doubt and shadows give way to abiding contentment because ‘God is with us’, day and night, giving us more love than our hearts can hold.

We do not live by experience alone but by experience tempered with great expectation.  This is the purpose of Christian hope, to help us contend with this ‘humbug world.’  We have some idea of where we are because we have some idea of where we’re going.  Glory to God ‘for us unspeakable gift’, Jesus!

This month’s ABC Men’s breakfast, as always, will feature great food and fellowship on Saturday, December 13th at 8:00 a.m.   Rev. Frank Miller from Parchment Valley will offer our devotion.    See you guys there!!

December Youth News

Busy.  Busy.  Busy.  Our kids have lots going on at Beckley First Baptist!

November 9th– Debbie Vanaman helped our youth to pack 88 shoeboxes in support of Operation Christmas Child.  Items sent to the mission were donated from our church family.  What a blessing it is to help such a wonderful outreach!

November 16th & 23rd– All ages of youth created ornaments with Maria Veid to decorate the Christmas trees in Fellowship Hall.

November 23rd– Our kids enjoyed basketball and volleyball at Crescent Elementary School.  We celebrated the evening with dinner and ice cream.  What a fun time!

November 30th – We decorated our Christmas tree with all the ornaments we made.  We also worked on our float for the Christmas parade.

Here’s what’s coming up:

December 3rd – We will put the finishing touches on our float for the parade.

December 6th – Our kids will participate in the Beckley Christmas Parade!  After the parade, we will return to the church for cookies and hot cocoa.

The renovations on 4th floor are underway.  Once complete, we hope to celebrate with another legendary lock-in.  Stay tuned!

We look forward to celebrating a wonderful Christmas Season with our kids!