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.

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.

Pretty Flowers All in a Row

by Pastor Doc Adkins

“And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Matthew 6:29

If you take a look around our area, we see that the signs of spring and summer are all around. Grass is greener, trees have their leaves now, birds are singing, and folks are planting gardens and flowers.

Again, I remember growing up days on my grandparents’ farm and one of the things my grandmother always did was plant her flowers. You name it, she’d plant it. Ladies at church would swap flowers “starts” and at times get into a “budding feud” about who’s were the prettiest. Funny old women!

Flowers are one of the most beautiful things I think God created. Sometimes I think He created them just for to add some kind of beauty in an otherwise dirty world. They give us happier, peaceful views of life.. When I see how simple but yet how fantastic flowers are, I can’t help thinking that God is still in control and all is right with the world.

People have loved flowers back from the beginning of time and there are different meanings that have been associated with specific ones over the years. Many flowers have come to have several different meanings. We will take a look at just four of them to see what we can learn.

Aster – Contentment

Asters are those pretty little dainty white flowers that have a yellow center. I think they look like wild daisies. We have them growing along the roads here in WV.

One of the meanings associated with the aster flower is contentment. I kind of like that. They are simple yet pretty flowers and they do give me that sense of contentment. Those words in Philippians come to mind.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11

Contentment sure is a nice place to be in our lives. Isn’t it? No matter what the circumstances, we have that ease of satisfaction. The problem I think that people have with contentment is that they get it confused with being complacent. Complacent means we don’t care about things or are unconcerned, but being content is not that. When we are content, we end up caring more because we don’t allow things around us to get us off track. It’s being able to push forward and have that peace no matter what the circumstances.

Camellia – Graciousness

My grandmother had a lot of favorite flowers and Camellias are right there toward the top of her list. She had a large Camellia bush beside the front porch.

The meaning associated with the camellia is graciousness. I think that’s a word we don’t hear used much anymore and we certainly don’t see it displayed much.

It means excellence of manners or social conduct. Shouldn’t we as Christians embody that? The world sure doesn’t. I think if we want to be in full bloom as Christian people we really need to concentrate on being gracious. I have known a few very gracious Christian people in my life and to me that makes them quite breathtakingly beautiful.

A gracious woman retaineth honour… Proverbs 11:16

Larkspur – Beautiful Spirit

The Larkspur is a pretty flower. I’ve mostly seen them in purple but they can be other colors as well. One of the meanings associated with the

Larkspur is a “beautiful spirit”. Wow. That’s something to strive for. I’ve always loved that verse in 1 Peter where it is talking about a “meek and quiet spirit”.

One thing I read about the Larkspur is that some of them have become endangered and that you don’t find as many anymore except for those grown specifically for flower arranging. Kind of like those “meek and quiet spirit” people. There doesn’t seem to be an abundance of them either.

Black Eyed Susan – Encouragement

I’ve always admired the Black Eyed Susan. They are so bright and striking that I think they normally contrast everything around them. The meaning of the Black Eyed Susan is encouragement.

I sure love to be around encouraging people. Don’t you? People that give you that special word you need just at that moment or are there to cheer you on in whatever you are doing at the time. Those bright people definitely contrast with those around them.

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:29

Conclusion:
I think there are things in our Christian lives that we have to have like pretty flowers all lined up in a row. Things like these four- contentment, graciousness, meek spirits, and encouragement. There are other things too all involved in our Christian living such as love, compassion, and all those other things Christ taught us. When we have these things in order, we have a tendency to live our Christian lives in a more beautiful way.

No one ever said that the Christian life was easy and when it comes to some of these, it requires a little work. We can’t just put up our little place markers with our flower names on them and expect them to flourish if we leave them alone. They require us to put some energy into them by using those tools of Bible study, prayer, and righteous living.

So, are your flowers all in a row?

“And sitting down they watched him there”

by Pastor Doc Adkins

This week I read the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection again. Each gospel gives a few details that the other three don’t give. I noticed that Matthew gives the only account of the four centurion soldiers sitting at the foot of the cross.

In Mark 15:24, the soldiers cast lots for his garments, but it doesn’t speak of them sitting and watching. Luke’s account of the crucifixion tells that the people stood beholding. John’s account speaks of those who crucified him casting lots for His coat, with the next verse speaking of Mary the mother of Jesus standing at the cross.

I know the soldiers were ordered to guard Jesus carefully because that was the custom of the day. Anyone who was crucified was guarded by soldiers because there was the fear someone might remove them from the cross. Also, the guards had to make sure the crucified actually died. In the case of Jesus, even though they doubted Jesus being who He said He was, they still thought it was possible Jesus might come down off the cross by His own miraculous power.

Even though I understood the why of Jesus being guarded, I wondered, what was the significance of the soldiers sitting and keeping their watch.

Those soldiers who sat and kept guard had more time to not only observe Jesus hanging on the cross, but also to think about what they had done to put Him there. As it turned out those who had driven the nails and sat and guarded Him were the ones who gave the best testimony in their world as to who Jesus Christ was.

Matthew 27:54
Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God”.

The soldiers who sat still and watched Jesus experienced His power first hand. Whatever doubt had been with them as to who Jesus was, ceased to exist when they felt the earth move.

They realized the magnitude of what they had done, driving nails into His hands and feet. I believe they were not only frightened as the verse says, but I believe they were sorrowful for the part they played in His death as well.

All those who simply stood awhile in the crowd and moved on didn’t experience a powerful movement up close and personal like the soldiers who had sat and observed Jesus at the foot of the cross.

Those who simply stood and moved on didn’t realize their part in driving the nails.

They may never have realized that Jesus truly was the Son of God.

They may never have been sorrowful for the part they played in His death.

In our world today there are still those who follow Jesus when it is the convenient and popular thing to do, when things are going good crowds are shouting praise. When things aren’t as exciting they turn their backs on Jesus.

If there is a big Spiritual movement “event” the crowds stand and watch. When they see what they have come to see they go back home.

However, there are Christians who sit and observe Jesus every day. They experience His awesome power first hand and know without a doubt He truly is the Son Of God. They realize the part they played in His death. They know He died for them. They are truly sorrowful and ask Him for His forgiveness.

Today are you sitting at the foot of the cross, or are you simply standing in the crowd?

The very best witnesses for Jesus Christ spend time sitting and observing Him.

JUST A REMINDER
Until at least April 5th, we will not be gathering at the church for services but we will join together for Sunday morning Sunday School and worship by way of our outreach ministries: The radio ministry at 560AM WJLS and the sermon on the web site Facebook page at Facebook.com/ beckleyfirstbaptist.

All Wednesday and Sunday evening services are cancelled through April 5th with a targeted date of Easter Sunday as a new beginning in our church. What a wonderful day to look forward to. We will keep you posted if this date changes.

Please join me in an act of faith. I ask that we faithfully continue to support the church in giving. You may bring your offering by the church office or mail it to First Baptist Church, 422 Neville, St., Beckley, WV 25801 .

Should you need assistance or help with anything: food, transportation, medicine pick ups, etc., please call the church office at 304-253-4252. One of our Deacons or Trustees will be glad to assist you. If there’s someone that you can think of that may not have email or access to the internet, please call them and share this information.

Higher Lord!

by Pastor Doc Adkins

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Back on the farm in Summers County there was a huge pasture field beside the old farm house. It gradually got steeper the further out you went and after a time you’d come to a huge knoll near the backside of the field. From there it was a long hill that went downward for a hundred yards or so. You get the picture? The great thing about this knoll was that it was a perfect place to fly a kite. March is kite flying weather because of the wind. March is also unpredictable. It can be sunny, raining, snowing and lots of wind all in the same day if not in a same hour.

Wind is a powerful thing and a must for kite flying. Without a good strong blowing wind you’re just wasting your time. Prayer is a lot like an amazing wind. To know that we as Christians can tap into the almighty power of God just because we are His children is such a wonderful thing. Think about God’s power for a few moments.

We see it in creation, in the plagues of Egypt, in Daniel in the lion’s den, in Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego walking in the fiery furnace, in the miraculous story of Joseph’s safety, and in Noah and the flood. We pray to the same God and that should be exciting to us as Christians.

The power of prayer can lift us to new heights and we begin to fly like kites. We can sail along because we know we can bring our petitions and situations to an Almighty God who loves and cares for us, yet has the power to change things.

We can fly because God has the power to change our lives.

Think about Paul. Before he met Christ his name was Saul, and he went around persecuting Christians, but God changed him. Paul’s whole life was changed. His thoughts, attitudes, his whole mission in life changed for God’s glory. It’s the same God that has power to change us as well.

We can fly because God has the power to change those around us.

Is there someone you know whom you are concerned about in the area of salvation? Keep praying. Is there someone around you such as a family member or maybe even co-worker who seems to constantly bug you and get you down? Make them a matter of prayer. God can change the people around us.

We can fly because God has the power to change our circumstances.

Ever felt like your kite of life has hit a tree? I’ve been through my share of circumstances and I know first-hand that circumstances can knock the wind right out of your sails. With a few bad circumstances your kite can come tumbling down. You might not be able to do anything about those circumstances on your own but God can do something about them.

Look at how the circumstances changed in Joseph’s life. Remember how Joseph was put into a pit by his brothers and sold into slavery? He even ended up in prison, but God had a way of changing the circumstances for Joseph till he became the ruler over all that Pharaoh had.

That’s our God that did that. The same one we pray to is able to change the circumstances we face.

We can fly because God has the power to heal.

We have several examples in the bible of how Jesus healed the sick and lame. We have that same power available to us through prayer. Not only can Christ heal physically but He has the power to heal our hurts and feelings as well.

Maybe you feel like your kite has a big hole in it where someone wronged you or you’re going through a situation that is leaving you just torn apart and a little ragged inside. Your life may seem to be heading down in a spiral motion. Make it a matter of prayer and let that wonderful healing power of Christ lift you back up into the air again.

We can fly because God has the power to sustain.

Maybe you feel like your kite of life got stuck in the telephone wires somewhere along the way and you’re absorbing just a little bit too much shock. God has the power to lift you above that and sustain you. I think of Joseph again. He endured a lot but God brought him through it.

Look how David relied on God’s strength when Saul was seeking to kill him. David prayed and cried out continuously to God and God brought him through all of that. We still have the same God to sustain us as we fly through life. He gives us the strength and courage to keep flying along.

Look at Paul and his ailment that seemed to just be a continual bother to him. What did God show him?

And he said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Conclusion: It really encourages me to think about these things that God has the power to do in our lives, in our circumstances, and in the lives of others around us.

When we think all we can do is float down, down, down, we need to tap into that awesome power of God by way of prayer. With prayer we can be lifted to new heights. BUT! The only way to reach these heights is to loosen the strings that binds us and let God take us where His wind leads us.

So, how’s your prayer life flying?

It’s All About “Me”

by Rev Doc Adkins

Social media phrases have always reminded me of those Conversation Hearts Candy. You know, they say those little phrases that represent what we want to tell someone at Valentine’s Day such as “love me”, “kiss me”, or “hug me”. In social media the phrases are things like “follow me”, “friend me”, “text me” and so on.

I kind of see a theme here. It’s all about wanting someone to respond to “me”. Those phrases are how others reach out to us and want us to respond.

The Lord reaches out to us in so many ways. How do we answer His requests?

Friend Me
We all want friends, whether online or offline and Jesus is the greatest friend we will ever have. One thing we have to do as Christians is to act and behave like we are His friends.

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. John 15:14

Text Me
It seems like everyone is texting on their phones these days, especially young people. People are staying in contact with each other. They are just chatting, asking questions, and answering questions.

How much more we should stay in contact with Christ and fill the Lord in with what’s going on in our lives. No one is afraid to pick up a phone and text a question to a friend but we fail sometimes to pray to the Lord as easily.

Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Philippians 4:6

Repost Me
People with blogs and Facebook or any kind of social media want what they’ve posted to be reposted by other people, whether it’s a blog post, photo, or video. We want what we’ve posted reposted so it gets shared over and over.

We post things online that are important to us or even what makes us laugh or what we enjoy. We send along links to our friends of things we think they would enjoy or that we think could help them.

Do we enjoy God’s Word enough to share it? Are we passing it along to our friends for their benefit?

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16

Follow Me
Most people that use social media want followers. They want to know what they are posting is getting read and that people enjoy it. Many of us follow blogs or the Facebook posts of our friends to see what they are up to or we may even follow people or things we are just interested in.

How interested are we in following Christ closely? Have we missed anything He has shared with us? How caught up are we on following His teachings?

Have you ever noticed that sometimes people follow other people online because they’ve seen someone else following that particular website or person? The more we follow Christ, the more we’ll be those “fishers of men” He talks about.

And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Matthew 4:19

Add Me
Website and blog owners usually make a way for people to be added to their mailing lists or a way to be added so their visitors can get updates. Many of you have probably added yourselves to mailing lists or updates at places you shop or frequent online.

How often do we think about adding the Lord into the things we do and making it so He is included in everything we do?

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Colossians 3:23

Share Me
Sharing what we find on social media is what makes the social media world go round. If it weren’t for people constantly sharing the things they find, it wouldn’t work.

Sharing Christ and His love is what furthers Christianity. How else will people know about the Lord if we don’t share His love?

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:35

Conclusion: All of social media revolves around how people respond to the different aspects of it but in the end that has no lasting value. How we respond to Christ does matter. It’s the difference of eternal things.

So, have you responded to Christ?

New Year…New Beginnings

by Pastor Doc Adkins

God can make the impossible possible. When God told 100-year-old Abraham that he and his 90-year-old wife Sarah would have a child, Abraham dropped to the ground in unbelieving laughter at such a ridiculous idea, and Sarah joined him in the laughter (Genesis 17:15-17; 18:10-12). But it happened.

When an angel told the young Virgin Mary she would have a baby to be named Jesus, she asked how that was possible. The angel’s answer: “With God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:26-37). And it happened, Jesus was born just like God said.

He is saying that to you, too. Do you remember the time when a man brought to Jesus a little boy who often foamed at the mouth and fell down, sometimes into water or fire? This distraught father told Jesus, in effect, “I brought the boy to your disciples, but they couldn’t help us.” But Jesus could!

When the man said to the Lord, “If you can do anything…help us!” Jesus replied, “Everything is possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:17-23).

Our Lord said almost the same thing to his disciples at other times (Matthew 19:26 and Luke 18:27). And everyone who believes in Christ is his disciple and can trust him to help in seemingly impossible situations. Faith and prayer are the keys to making the impossible possible—even though the process can be very slow and even if our faith is very small. Jesus said that faith as tiny as a mustard seed—one of the tiniest seeds on earth—can move mountains (Matthew 17:20).

When you face an impossible situation, remember: “God is my strength and power” (2 Samuel 22:33). “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). “We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:37). “God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

As we begin a New Year together maybe it’s time to break old habits, barriers and busyness that seem always to slow down our spiritual progress and journey. Maybe a “New Start” is the right thing for you and me. Let me suggest….
-the need for better Bible understand: Sunday School.
-the need to more worship: why not Sunday evening or Wednesday night Bible study?
-the need to trust God more: try Tithing.
-the need for broader circle of friends: Men’s fellowship or Ladies Aide Circles.
-the need for more family time: Church brings families together under one roof.

The Season of Winter

by Pastor Doc Adkins

Song of Songs 2:11-12 “See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. New International Version

Winter has always held a magical place in my heart. I enjoy winter most of the time. Oh, I know the hardship of slick roads, winter illnesses from being “cooped up” most of the time. Yet I don’t mind the snow. I do mind the cold but not the snow. Have you ever noticed how much quieter and cleaner the world looks after snow?

Again, I am reminded of the farm house and those early days of my life. It doesn’t snow as much in Hinton as it does here in Beckley, but when it does it can be a “doosy”. Yet the farm was always picturesque. Everything was white and beautiful, and the whole of nature seems to be in deep peace.

Changes come suddenly in the snow. I knew what the garden looked like a few weeks prior, and I knew that the white flakes have covered fallen brown leaves and withered grass and plants. It’s was all there, but it wouldn’t be seen now as long as winter lasts.

The winter may seem unpleasant to many, but frost and snow in our country are an indispensable part of life. Without winter, spring and summer wouldn’t be what they are.

There are seasons in our lives too. And we often have difficulties in understanding why they are there. Why do we have to pass through winters with barren branches and frozen ground, times without flowers and fruit, without singing and joy? Why?

It’s good to learn from the way nature works, because He who created us also created nature, and through His works we can better understand Him, and His ways.

Winter may seem a time of death, but in reality it’s a time of rest. When harvest is over, trees aren’t ready to bear new fruit immediately. They need a rest, and winter gives them time to do that.

Many of us get so easily caught up in a treadmill of producing all the time. ‘God can’t be satisfied with me if I don’t produce anything for Him, can He?’ is the way we think. But in His grace God allows a winter season in our lives to give us rest. He doesn’t expect us to bear fruit when it’s winter, and we would do well if we could learn not to expect fruit when we should be having a rest.

At the same time winter is preparation for new flowers and new fruit. Under the snow, in the unseen depths, something is going on. It’s only on the surface that it looks like death. Under the surface life is active and stirring! Roots are filling up with nourishment, and buds are bracing themselves for spring. In late winter it only takes a sunny day, and you see how the buds begin to break forth! They were ready for it.

When you inwardly go through a time of winter, you may well withdraw from many expressions of life, but that doesn’t mean your spirit is dying. It only means that for a time you are resting and preparing for a new season, a season of flowers and growth. God takes you aside to prepare you for what is to come, and without that thorough preparation, you won’t be ready for a new season!

So, if you’re in a winter season in your life right now, it’s not the end! After winter, comes spring. All part of God’s plans for His children. Be prepared. One day you’ll suddenly become aware of an irresistible pull in your spirit that tells you winter is past, and the time for singing is upon you again.

Thanksgiving

by Pastor Doc Adkins

I am sure that if in a church service we took the time to share blessings of life that we have encountered the list would be tremendous. I love holidays. I always have. There seems to be something wonderful and phenomenal that takes place during this time. Holidays bring out the best in most folk or the very worse of a few others.

Thanksgiving is my pet peeve. It seems that we go straight from Halloween to Christmas and not much emphasis is placed on Thanksgiving. Yet, the other day I found this little Bible study and as I did some research on my own, this is the conclusion: there is more said in the Bible about Thanksgiving than Christmas and Easter combined not discounting the absolute relevance of each of them. The Birth of Christ and the Resurrection of Christ are the foundation of our faith and Gospel. Yet from day to day living, thanksgiving is a daily condition of our heart. I live in light of the Resurrection and always celebrate Christmas but Thanksgiving is an everyday business.

So let’s do the study. By it, we all might just be blessed.

THANKSGIVING – PRAISE BIBLE STUDY
This is just a simple search through the Scriptures for different ways and things to give thanks and praise for. It is intended to help you get motivated to improve your praise life.
Just look up the Bible verses in each one and complete the answers.

Psalm 95:2 says to come before the presence of the Lord with what? _____

When giving thanks to God, we should make known what? 1 Chronicles16:8 His ____________________________.

According to I Chronicles 16:34 we should give thanks to the Lord because He is ____________________________ and His ____________________________ endures forever.

I Chronicles 16:35 says give thanks to ____________________________ .

Psalm 30:4 says to give thanks to the Lord at the remembrance of His what? ____________________________ .

1 Corinthians 15:57 says “But thanks be to God, which gives us what? ____________________________

2 Corinthians 2:14 says we should give thanks to God because He always causes us to do what? ____________________________

Psalm 42:11 says, “I shall praise him, who is the health of” what?____________________________ .

In Psalm 63:3 why does it say “my lips shall praise thee”? Because ____________________________

What kind of lips should we praise with? Psalm 63:5 ____________________________

What does Psalm 9:1 tell us to praise God with? ____________________________ ____________________________

According to I Thessalonians 5:18, we should give thanks because it is the ____________________________ of God.

In Hebrews 13:15 how often should praise be given to God? ____________________________

Psalm 148:13 says to praise the Lord because His name is what? ____________________________

2 Corinthians 9:15 says, “Thanks be to God for His ____________________________ Gift.

Growing up in the simple life of Summers County, my grandmother planned out our Thanksgiving meal with lots and lots of love and devotion. Turkey and the trimmings, sugar cured Country Ham and pies! Lots and lots of them. Apple, pumpkin, cherry and lemon. Why lemon, I have no clue just momma wanted it. It was my brother Arthur’s favorite I guess.

Looking back on it all, it was the planning that was most important. So let me leave us with this one thought. Plan your Thanksgiving….daily!

Master Creator

by Pastor Doc Adkins

Here we are and it’s fall again in West Virginia. Also, in a while it will be just beginning to cool off from the summer heat. Some of the trees are just beginning to lose a few leaves but eventually the fall weather will be here and the leaves will turn to their beauty and fall completely from the trees.

Fall is one of the most glorious times of the year. It’s filled with the chill of the air in sharp contradiction to the warmth of the colors of the leaves, making it just breathtaking. It leaves us just in awe of how wonderful God is and how so perfect each of His creations are.

As I look at the fall leaves and enjoy being out in a tree stand hunting or taking a drive with Sarah, I think about how beautiful a creation of God those are and I wonder how and what kind of a change God has for me. Think about how leaves change color can be such a lesson to us.

Did you know that the yellow to orange pigments are there inside the leaf the whole time but we only see them in the fall because they are masked by so much green pigment? During the summer the growth of the tree is making food inside cells in the leaves, which contain chlorophyll, which gives the leaf its green color.

In the fall the chlorophyll breaks down because of certain elements, which cause the other pigments to break out, and we see what becomes our beautiful fall leaves. There are three basic elements that affect that chlorophyll breaking down. Those are temperature, light, and water. During the fall the temperature drops having an effect. The days are shorter so there is less sunlight, and there is less water because of the rain level.

Considering all this set me to thinking how that is how we are as Christians. When we are sailing along without any problems we stay green and in the comfortable zone, but if it weren’t for the little less sunlight of a few bumps in the road in the way of trials, a few cold days of heartaches, and a little less water when we feel we can’t handle the burdens, then all of a sudden we become beautiful as a Christian.

God uses all those bumps, heartaches, and burdens to bring out our color and brilliance so that we can be a reflection for Him. He is the Master Creator. He knows what He is doing.

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. Job 23:10

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

When we get back to realizing that God is the Master Creator and begin taking in how awesome and powerful He is, just like we take in the beauty of the fall, it will cause us to be a little more vibrant in our color. Perhaps a little more vibrant in witnessing, reading our Bibles, our prayer life.

God knows us in such a personal way. He knows each situation, each thing that becomes important for us, and each thing that we have weighing on our heart. He knows every one of our joys, burdens, and sorrows. We forget sometimes that He gives us our color in only ways that He can. We sometimes in a sense forget that He is God.

Be still, and know that I am God… Psalm 46:10