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, Meshach, 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?

Loved

by Pastor Doc Adkins

“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.’” Acts 10:34-35 (NIV)

Think for a minute about some of
your favorite things: your favorite food, your favorite show, your favorite
outfit, your favorite hobby. We all have things in life that we just enjoy.
Mine are hunting and football. Oh! Opps! And my Church family.  We may even have a few people that we like
more than others. I’m just going to let you guess if I’m talking about you and
thinking about you.  We tend to gravitate
toward people who are kind, compassionate, loyal, and selfless. It’s hard not
to have a few favorite people in your life that you are drawn to more than
others.

But God isn’t like that. Boy! Am I
glad! He “does not show favoritism.” We are all incredibly and equally special
to Him! Even when we become “spiritually crazy’ and let our sin nature get the
best of us, He does not love us any less. He never picks favorites, and nothing
we do can ever diminish His all-consuming love for us. He loves each one of us
individually, and we are all complete in Him. There is no favoritism with our
Father.

Yet at the same time, He does show
us his favor by lavishing His love on each and every one of us! Just take a
minute to think about the fact that, as Psalm 30:5 (NIV) says, “… his favor
lasts a lifetime… ” God favors me? Yep. And he does so throughout your entire
life. Wow.

What does this mean for us? It means
that we can rejoice in God’s favor! But it also means that we need to show
favor to the people around us, recognizing that they are all loved by God just
as much as we are. Maybe it’s that person who just rubs you the wrong way.
Maybe it’s that person you’re harboring a grudge against. Let’s follow God’s
example today and show love to everyone!

“God has no favorite children.”

 In Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV) we
read,  “The Lord your God is in your
midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He
will quiet you with His love,  He will
rejoice over you with singing.”

Over the years, I have talked with
folk who have a blind spot when it comes to God’s love. Oh, they believe that
God is love, that He loves the world and the sinner and their neighbor. Yet it
is difficult for them to let the reality sink in that God loves them—personally.
God really loves you. Deeply, passionately, individually—God loves you.

There are several factors that
contribute to our difficulty in understanding and accepting that we are loved.
Perhaps it is a painful past or deep insecurity. There may be an old sin or
unfulfilled longing. Once a seed of doubt is sown (“Does God really love me?”)
we can allow circumstances and fears to push us further down the path of
disbelief in God’s love for us.

Part of what makes it so sad to see
folk doubting God’s love for them is the sheer magnitude of His love. Scripture
tells us that not only does God love us, He delights in us. I love that thought
and image of my Father in heaven delighting in me. He is not just tolerating or
putting up with me!  And, there are many
times I would just deserve it all!

Although we may feel unloved, that
is simply untrue. The truth is that you are the object of His affection, day in
and day out. He wants you, He likes you, He pursues you, and He enjoys being
with you and He chooses you. You are as much His favorite as anyone.  The state of your house, car, bank account,
or even your “dirty laundry” in no way affects His love for you. Nothing in
this world can hinder, not even in the slightest, His great love for you and
me.

“It’s not about finding ways to
avoid God’s judgment and feeling like a failure if you don’t do everything
perfectly. It’s about fully experiencing God’s love and letting it perfect you.
It’s not about being somebody you are not. It’s about becoming who you really
are.”
– Stormie Omartian

SO:   Be fearless: We are His, and that is
enough. He welcomes us, period. You are favored by Him, and nothing you can do
will change that fact!  He loves you!

Starting New

by Pastor Doc Adkins

We rang in the New Year. Some may have gotten out a clean piece of paper and written down their intentions for this year.  Well, I didn’t. You see, I decided not to jot down anything, but to make a commitment to increase my prayer time with the Lord and to continue with finding contentment in what God is doing, whether I understand it or not.  Most times it takes a while to find out what those things are.

I believe it is the spiritual condition in my life that the Lord is the most interested in. He says in His Word that my body is a temple for the Holy Spirit.

I found out long ago, those long lists of dos and don’ts either get lost or forgotten. The things that really matter to us, we usually work on, so I find it best to limit any desires each year to a few things and concentrate on the really important ones — whatever they might be.

Most people want a fresh start in life. Those who are sick want a clean bill of health. Those in financial trouble want to be out of debt. We can do these things, but we need to work on them one day at a time.  Try not to overwhelm yourself with too many good intentions. Just pray and ask the Lord what you might need to work on in your life, spiritually, financially, and maybe even how to improve relationships or your health, but don’t get bogged down with so many resolutions.

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17 NIV

The Bible says to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. What is the Kingdom of God? It is righteousness, peace, and joy. If we have those three things most everything else will fall into place. If we seek to please the Lord and find out what He wants us to do, then it will all work out. I know He tells us to seek wisdom, so if we do that our health issues and financial priorities will change.

The Bible tells us His mercies are new every morning, so I will daily ask Him what He wants me to do. There is nothing wrong with accomplishing some short-term goals, but never let them consume your entire energy by making them so hard they are beyond your reach. Simply trust God to help you each step of the way!  Get a fresh start each year, but plan for a wise one too.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

Can God change your life?   God has made it possible for you to know Him and experience an amazing change in your own life. Discover how you can find peace with God.

The Bustle vs The Baby

by Pastor Doc Adkins

“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.”  Luke 2:16 (NIV)

“Hurry up! We’re going to be late to the choir concert!”

“Come on kids. Help dad unload these groceries right now. I’ve got to get these cookies baked before bedtime.”

“Is it 6 a.m. already? I gotta get to that door buster sale as soon as it opens so I don’t miss out on the deals!”

With the holiday season upon us, the music at the mall announces that folks are dreaming of a white Christmas. That may be true. But in reality, many folks are dreaming of something else white: a little more white space on our December calendars!

Pageants. Parties. Shopping trips. Baking days. Wrapping nights. At every turn there are people to see, things to do, stuff to buy. The hustle and bustle of this supposed-to-be-happy season can knock the holly-jolly right out of our holidays and replace it with hurried-up headaches instead.

As a result, our calendars become overloaded, crowding out the spiritual significance of the season.

I wonder if the participants in the original Christmas story ever dreamed that the celebration of Christ’s birth would become so hassled and hurried. The shepherds? The angels? The wise men? Mary and Joseph too?

Was hurriedness present the night Jesus was born? We might think that it was not. But actually, there was hurry present that night. However, it wasn’t to the mall or grocery store that people were rushing.

The shepherds were working in the fields when suddenly an ensemble of angels told them the Christ Child had been born. Luke 2:16 says they hurried off to find Him lying in a manger.

If I had been one of those shepherds, I would have been quiet and amazed once I got there. Being around a newborn baby makes me speak in a hushed tone and feel such awe as I see new life. In the presence of Jesus, I wonder if those men too were settled and silent.

Maybe we could do the same today. In the midst of our holiday hustle and tasks, we could stop; leave our work. We could slow down long enough to hurry in another direction. We could put our activities on hold so we might quietly meet with our Lord. We could be settled and silent in the presence of Jesus.

As a result, we just might discover an unhurried holiday: a season that will strengthen us spiritually instead of sapping our energy and joy.

How about it? Will we pause and purpose to hurry into His presence instead of rushing from task to task? Dare we linger long enough to be refreshed by the company of the One whom the holiday is really about? The tasks will wait while we do.

Here’s to more “white space” this Christmas; space that creates more room in our days for meeting with Jesus!

Dear Lord, remind me daily that it’s You I should rush to during the holiday hustle. Not things. Not activities. I want to seek and find only You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Pondering Verses
Luke 2:15, “When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.'” (NIV)

Proverbs 8:17, “I love those who love me, and those who search for me find me.” (HCSB)

Autumn Reflections 

by Pastor Doc Adkins

Each day, as I drive through our town, I notice that change is happening all around me! The air is getting a little crisper…The leaves are transforming from deep summery shades of green into a rich rainbow of gold, yellow and red…Night is falling upon us a little faster…Summer is fading and autumn is arriving!

Autumn has always been one of my favorite seasons of the year.

Autumn is a season of change, a season of transition, a season of renewal.

It’s also a season filled with hustle and bustle. It’s the time when children go back to school, young adults go away to college, and parents are pulled in a thousand directions! Autumn is an exciting time – but in the midst of all of our activities, it’s important to stay focused on God and make the most of every precious moment.

Autumn Is The Season To Set Godly Priorities   “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

We all have busy schedules, but even on our most hectic days, just as we make time to feed our bodies, it’s also important to nourish our souls. Take time to listen for the still, quiet voice of God to see where He is leading.

Autumn is a time when lots of interruptions may come your way – but not every one of them is from God. As you reflect upon the opportunities before you, ask God for His wisdom as you plan your days. When in doubt, apply Scriptural principles to your decision-making.

Autumn is the season to set our priorities in accordance with God’s Word.  Fall. It is a season that reminds us of endings. Once thriving leaves now drop from their branches bursting with color, but dying. Beautiful summer flowers have lost their grandeur and now succumb to hues of brown and gray. Colder temperatures flow in and bright, long days full of sunshine move out. We are inundated with change. We are regularly reminded of our helplessness to stop the flow of God’s creation. We are caught between summer and winter in the fleeting uniqueness of autumn. Though the season brings its own joy with fabulous scents and colors of orange, yellow, and red; we know it is the end of summer and the start of a period of dormancy and cold.

As we enjoy the changes of fall, let it remind us of a vital truth. I believe God intends for us to see with physical eyes something that points to a lasting, spiritual truth. When you look at a fallen leaf or disintegrating, summer flower; think this thought:  “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” (I Peter 1:24, NIV)

Autumn Is The Season To Make Every Moment Count.  ”There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

As our children go back to school and our families adjust to their new fall routines, it’s more important than ever to ensure that our families spend quality time with God and one other! This is just another reason why attending church is so important.  It’s all about time.

Autumn Is The Season To Thank God For His Many Blessings…”The land yields its harvest; God, our God,  blesses us.” – Psalm 67:6

Autumn is also a season of thanksgiving. It’s a season of praise. It’s a season to gather with family and friends to thank God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us. It’s a season to share the love of Jesus with others by blessing them with the gifts that He has so generously shared with us.

God blesses us in so many ways – both material and spiritual. As you reflect upon the gifts of the season, what are you particularly grateful for during this time in your life? In what ways is God providing for your need.

Letting Your Leaves Fall

by Pastor Doc Adkins

In just a few weeks I will have leaves from in the front yard dance across the porch and our driveway. My question about them is this, “where did they come from since we only have a little tree in our front yard and the leaves won’t match the ones on my yard”.  Obliviously, I have neighbors. Yet, as their bright green color fades, it seems they fall almost as quickly as they change. We all know that in order to flourish in the new season, the tree must let go of its decayed leaves. They have performed well for the term, but their time has drawn to a close.

Autumn is a wonderful time to observe God’s nature. As I watch the swirling leaves stirred by the wind, I am reminded that they display an important lesson for all of us to follow suit in a way. Just as the trees don’t stubbornly hold on to their dead leaves, so we shouldn’t hold on to any unnecessary weight in our lives. When we long to enter a new season, the old can easily inhibit the new if we allow it. God’s Word reminds us to:

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31,32 (NIV)

To get rid of negativity in our lives, we must first identify it. How can we do this?

  • By reading God’s Word.
  • By allowing His Spirit to show us the necessary heart changes we need.
  • By being willing to shun practices such as bitterness and anger.
  • By asking God to help us let go of the guilt from the past.

How the Lord longs to empower and strengthen us for the new season ahead! If we’re not sure of the issues detaining a kind and compassionate spirit, He will show us when we ask. And if guilt from the past is preventing this beautiful new season, we have His promises like this one to remember:

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18,19 (NIV)

What are you holding on to that is preventing a freshness to the season ahead? Could it be that the decayed leaves are piling up and your heart needs to discard them for good? If so, why not reach out to the Lord in prayer? He longs to hear from you. Ask Him to shine light on any thoughts, circumstances, habits or other “decayed leaves” you might be clinging to. As you watch the leaves fall this season, our prayer is that you are reminded to let go of anything that would hinder a fresh relationship with God.

My Favorite Season

by Pastor Doc Adkins

My childhood autumns in Hinton hold precious memories—the fall revival at church, unpacking warmer clothing, hot cocoa, harvest moons, fires in the hearth, a well-stocked pantry, and best of all—FOOTBALL!  I loved it, playing it and watching my Steelers in their heyday.

Of course then, there was and still is the endless desire to go hunting if only just to watch and see God in our beautiful mountains.

You know…sometimes when I think about all the “life” experiences I had growing up in that old farm house…man, it does at times seem so very long ago.  In reality, it was a long time ago.

Life has it seasons:  The autumn of life is a strange mixture of nostalgia, blessings, and potential. It yields the harvest of seeds we’ve sown throughout life and braces us for colder days to come.

When life’s autumn arrives, we look back and better understand the way God led us; but we still have work to do—the best and fullest. It’s a good transition time.

“Autumn” only occurs once in the Bible. In Jude 1:12, false teachers are compared to “autumn trees without fruit,” implying that autumn should be a fruitful season, the most abundant of the year. How can we take advantage of the “autumn of life”?

The Unchanging Nature of God

The seasons come and go, so focus on the God who remains unchanged and unchanging. “LORD, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or even You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalm 90:1-2).

There’s a lot of unwelcome change in our world. Moral and societal changes bother us most when we turn on our television or glance at the magazines. We’re painfully aware our kids are growing up in a world far different from the one we knew as children.

And personal changes—children leaving home, the passing of dear friends, and the slow, or possible steady decline in vitality and health. Sometimes we feel outdated at work.

But amid all the changes, one thing, one person, never changes—our eternal God. Remember this verse from John 15, “Abide with Me”?

JI Packer points out that God does not change. His life is always the same. His character is always dependable. His truth, ways, and purposes do not change. His Son does not change. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

His children will enjoy His fellowship a million years from now. The world may fade, the stars may fall, the seasons may change, and winter may come. But the God who has been our help in ages past is our hope for years to come. In Him we have permanence, stability, joy unshakable, and life unending.

The Divine Foresight of God

We’ve all suffered setbacks along the way. But God promised, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten. . . . You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God” (Joel 2:25-26). His divine forethought knew it all in advance, and He can be trusted with what has happened to us in years past.

Our omniscient Savior knows the end from the beginning, and He will bless whatever is yielded to Him. Focus on His foreknowledge, providence, and sovereignty.

The Wonderful Blessings of God

The autumn of life is a great time to focus on God’s wonderful blessings—family, friends, strength, shelter, provision, guidance, care, fruitful ministry, opportunities to serve, more time to pray and study His Word, and eternal life still to come.

During life’s autumn, we have a richer perspective and can count more blessings than ever before.

A Renewed Commitment to God

Autumn is a good time to focus on your commitment to God. Some of the saddest words in the Bible are in Jeremiah 8:20, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” If you’ve never made a commitment to Jesus Christ, do it now, while there is still time.

If you are a follower of Christ, remember to remain close to Him during the shifting seasons of life.

During autumn, we all know that winter lies ahead, but if winter comes, can spring be far behind?

Life Lesson #10,000

by Pastor Doc Adkins

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  Matthew 5:13 

I am not quite sure why, but the other day I say a little girl having the time of her life evidently, with her own pack of chewing gum.  First it was one piece and another and so on, until I heard her mother say, “you chew it all now there’ll be nothing left for later.”  I nearly laughed out loud when I saw her reach in and stretch it out of her mouth as far as it would go. And then it happened! Smack!  It broke into and now gum is in her hair, on her chin, and stuck to her fingers.  Bummer!

Maybe I was just at the right place to see it all but maybe it was where I needed to be.  Kids are God’s living illustrations to life.

Here are a few random thoughts that came out of the moment.

Don’t Get Stuck.

Sometimes we get stuck in our spiritual walk. We have times where we just get in a rut. We kind of get stalled and it seems like nothing is going to work to fix it. We may not be spending time in God’s Word or we may be reading our Bible on a regular basis but we aren’t getting anything out of it. It’s like stretching out chewing gum.  Why do kids do it?  Chewing gum is meant for one thing only.  Chewing!!  Our walk with the Lord is for one thing only, to bring us closer to Him

Don’t Lose Your Flavor.

Gum is only tasty those first few seconds that you put it in your mouth.  It loses its flavor really quickly. How about you?  Do you feel like life has chewed you up and made you lose your desire to serve the Lord?  Infuse some flavor into your life by getting back to walking and talking with the One who can sustain you.  Read your Bible more.  Pray more.  Draw closer to the Lord and allow Him to encourage you and breathe new life into you.

We have to make a difference in this world.  Remember what Jesus said about being the salt of the earth in Matthew 5:13.…but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?…

Don’t Pop!

Have you ever been going along in your walk with the Lord and all of a sudden someone or outside forces brings you down?  The air goes out and you deflate.

I’ve had that happen to me and it can really bring you low.  I think that’s when we have to learn to keep our eyes on eternal values.  We can’t allow other people or circumstances to pop our bubbles.  We have to just keep on doing what we know is right and serving the Lord to the best of our ability.

We can also pop when we get too busy with life and forget to slow down.  There is so much wisdom in that old phrase, “learn to take life one day at a time”.

Don’t be Distracting.

Gum in someone’s mouth can be the most distracting thing.  It can annoy us.  It can throw us off focus. How about us?  Are we living in such a way that we distract the cause of Christ?  Do we bicker, gossip, and act unbecoming as a Christian?

Don’t be a stumbling block for others to reject Christ or for other Christians to falter in their Christian life. We have to keep our attitudes in check.  We have to keep our tongues in check.  We have to show the love of Christ.

Don’t Get Stuck to the Bottom of Someone’s Shoe.

Recently I got out of the car at Walmart and stepped in some gum.  It was a little warm and that gum stuck to my shoe big time.  I tried wiping it off by rubbing my foot in the little grassy area by the car and scraping my shoe on the cement but it just wouldn’t come off.

As I went on my way my foot kept sticking to the floor everywhere I went.  I have to tell you that that sticky gum put me in a bad mood.  I hate going to Walmart anyway but I just needed a couple things so I stopped there while I was out.  By the time I left I was pretty cranky and out of sorts.

As I pulled out of the parking lot, I realized that I had just let a little wad of gum spoil my day and cause my whole outlook to change.  I was in such a good mood when I pulled into the parking space.

I had allowed that insignificant sticky gum on the bottom of my shoe to determine the direction for my day—that direction being a pretty miserable attitude.

I know I need to not allow circumstances or other people to control how I act.  That day with the gum on my shoe, I had to stop right there and ask the Lord to forgive me and my attitude.

I think when we become that person with the bad attitude and the grumbling spirit; we end up being the gum stuck to someone else’s shoe.  We start annoying them.  We start being the thing that makes other people cranky and out of sorts.

Don’t Become Ugly.

Chewing gum comes out of the package all fresh and new.  It looks nice.  It smells nice.  Look what happens when it gets chewed though.  Chewed gum is just plain ugly.

It actually becomes little wads of ugly.  We have the potential to become little wads of ugly too.  As Christians, we have to continually allow the filling of the Holy Spirit and be sensitive to God’s leading or we will become dried out, ugly, and stuck to the bottom of a chair somewhere.

Don’t you love being around new Christians?  They are full of life and eager to learn and serve the Lord.  They are fresh and new and just out of the package

Conclusion:  I hope I can avoid some of the pitfalls of being gummed up in my life.  I don’t want someone to look under a desk someday and find me in a wad, dried out, and stuck fast.  I know I need to start by drawing closer to the Lord.  Ever soaked a jar to remove a stuck label?  That is what soaking in God’s Word can do for us.  It can break us free.

God’s Word is like that Goo Be Gone stuff.  It has the power to release us.  It can help scrape us off of the ledge.  It has the power to move us and get us unstuck.

When we are stuck and gummed up it clogs up the wheels of the cause of Christ.  I want my life to count for the Lord.  I want to make a difference.  In order to do that I have to remember that the Christian life is all about being that salt and light of the earth.

Hey, Preacher! Wanna get a cup?    

by Pastor Doc Adkins

…Be ye holy; for I am holy.  1 Peter 1:16

Many years ago while living in Pineville, WV, I had a great buddy in the church who every time he saw me in town would yell to me, “hey Preacher, wanna go get a cup”?  I must say most times, if time permitted I would.  We would go to the Pineville Restaurant and share a cup of coffee.  Most times the coffee was pretty good but there were a few times that it couldn’t have been worse.

I think everyone disagrees on what makes a good cup of coffee. With today’s hot coffee trend, we try all kinds of flavorings and different ways of experiencing coffee. It used to be basically served black or with cream and sugar. There wasn’t much variety.

Nowadays, people like coffee served and brewed a lot of different ways. We tend to disagree on what’s good. What we usually agree on is the basics on what makes a bad cup of coffee.

It can be weak, bitter, stale, cold, or soured by something we put in it and we’d probably all agree that it tastes bad. Face it. No one likes to drink a bad cup of coffee.

I don’t suppose people like those bad tasting Christians they come across either. I wonder what type of coffee we’d be.

Weak

When we are weak Christians, we don’t have much faith. Sometimes when we are weak we don’t know God’s Word enough to know what we stand on. The way to remedy our weakness is to add some grounds.

Dig into God’s Word and get grounded on the principles found in the bible. Study the attributes of God. Learn what you believe concerning doctrine and bone up on the basics of living the Christian life. Enrich yourself with a vibrant prayer life and rely on God’s strength and not your own.

Bitter

I’ve known my share of bitter Christians and I’ve been there at a few points in my own life but if bitterness isn’t dealt with, it starts growing and eating up your life. Bitterness doesn’t leave a pleasant aroma.

You can’t do much with a bitter cup of coffee. No matter how much cream or sugar, or even how much whip cream you want to plop on top, the bitter taste is still there. You have to dump it out and refill the cup with a new fresh brewed pot of coffee. Isn’t that just so like in the Christian life? No matter how much we add to our Christian lives, no matter how many good deeds we do, how many church programs we become involved with, if our bitterness is still there, we are still bitter and it hinders us in our Christian walk.

What we need to do is empty all our bitterness and ourselves of self and then allow the filling of the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives.

Stale

The dictionary describes, stale as “tasteless or unpalatable from age”. Do you ever get complacent about your Christianity? Just have lost that first love? It’s easy to do, especially for those of us who’ve known the Lord for a very long time. We kind of get weary in well doing.

I know we don’t want to just sit as Christians and not do anything but we do. “Unpalatable” doesn’t go far enough to describe us sometimes. I guess we need to freshen up.

There’s a worship chorus that says, “Holy Spirit fall fresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.” I think that’s what we all need so that we will get busy for the Lord. We don’t want to be Christians that just sit and get stale and tasteless.

Cold

You may have brought a cup of coffee to your lips that you hadn’t realized had gotten cold. You think it’s going to be warm and good and then you realize that it’s cold. We get that way in our desire to serve Christ. We grow cold as a Christian.

There are probably a lot of reasons. We get away from Christ, slowdown in our bible reading and prayer life, stop going to church and pretty soon we are cold.

What do you do to a cold cup of coffee? Most of us just add a little bit of hot stuff from the coffee pot. We go to the source of the heat. That’s how we should do as Christians. Go to the Source. Get on our knees and talk to the Lord. Draw closer to Him and then we’ll get warmed up in our Christian walk.

Sour

Have you ever tried something new in your coffee? With all those new flavorings and things out there, I’m sure some have. Ever tried something in your coffee that just left a sour taste in your mouth and that didn’t agree with you? Or maybe you’ve put some cream that had gone bad into your coffee. That’s a sure fire way to ruin a perfectly good cup of coffee.

It’s the same thing when we allow worldly and ungodly things into our lives as Christians. It doesn’t agree with us because we are in the world but not of it. As Christians, those things sour us and basically make us rotten. We become ineffective in our Christian lives when we allow the things of the world to come spilling in.

Conclusion:

I hope I don’t prove to be a bad cup of coffee. The verse, “…Be ye holy; for I am holy”,  1 Peter 1:16 is a powerful verse. One way of preaching it is talking about how spending time with the Lord brings that sweet aroma.

I think that’s what this is all about. In order to avoid being weak, bitter, stale, cold, and sour as Christians, we have to learn to be in the presence of God more.

Spending time with the Lord through prayer, bible reading and study is what’s going to make us into those strong cups of coffee. It will allow us to let the Holy Spirit stir us. I know I need to work on spending more time with Christ. I think we sometimes take our time with the Lord lightly. I know, perhaps, I do.

The Power that Keeps Us Turning in the Right Direction

by Pastor Doc Adkins

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.    Ephesians 4:30

Just some weeks ago I was traveling on I-64 E coming back into Beckley and as I passed the Erma Byrd Center I notice that the big windmill beside it was spinning around like crazy. The wind was just “whipping“ through the air that day and boy did the windmill cut a shine!

Then not long ago I saw a little girl with a colorful pinwheel. She seemed intrigued at watching it and waving it around to get the blades to turn. I amused myself at watching her get it going really good and the use her finger to stop it. It surely did keep her attention. You remember the pinwheel from our youth.  We all had one and how much fun it would be watching the colors fly by as the wind blew the blades and we used every imaginable thing we could to stop the blades and then start over again.

Most of us know that pinwheels or windmills don’t just spin around on their own volition. There has to be a wind source of some kind. You have to blow on it with your own breath or take it outside and allow the wind to move it. (Just a thought of from days gone by, “don’t stick your pinwheel out of the car window unless you hang on to it really tightly”…just a lesson learned).

Of course pinwheels and windmills won’t spin around on their own strength. That’s just like us as Christians. We can’t spin around on our own either. We need God’s strength and power.

Sadly, some of us try to spin around in our own strength anyway but we are not getting very far. Some of us have got some things stuck in our blades that are blocking our wind.

Our power source is the Holy Spirit, and that is a powerful wind. So much can be accomplished for Christ when we allow the leading of the Holy Spirit in us. Just think about the disciples. They turned the world upside down.

We’ve all got things that get stuck in our blades and slow us down or even make our effectiveness for Christ come to a complete standstill. Here are a few that came to my mind.

Power Blockers:

Bitterness
Whew! This one can really be a clog in your wheels. If you have bitterness in your life, you have to deal with it in order to have the power you need to keep spinning. Bitterness can rob you of your joy and eat away at you until you’re not useful to anyone, let alone God.

Let all bitterness…be put away from you. Ephesians 4:31

Unforgiveness
If there is a rift between you and someone else and you don’t deal with it, it’s like running a rod right through your blades. You are not going to keep spinning with something like that stuck in your life. You’ll find yourself not doing anything for Christ.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

Our Own Will
Trying to spin around all by ourselves and in our own direction isn’t going to work. We have to give ourselves over to what God wants for us, which at times may not be exactly what we might want. Living with our lives in tune with Christ daily is the only way we’ll be sensitive to His will and not our own.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2

Unconfessed Sin
Of course if we have unconfessed sin in our lives, it’s going to affect how the Holy Spirit works in us. We can’t have something between God and us or there’s not going to be any wind flow.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Conclusion:
We often block the “turning of God” in our lives. We keep our guards up and don’t let the Holy Spirit get to us even when we need to be refreshed. We steal ourselves from being touched by a special song in church, or by a sermon, Sunday School lesson, and worship service because we’re too inward focused and not Godward focused. We go into defense mode at invitation time because we don’t want to go forward and deal with our issues even when we feel the Holy Spirit trying to work in us. We miss out on so much power that way and by keeping those power blockers stuck in our blades. Those things grieve the Holy Spirit which we are told not to do in Ephesians 4:30. We need to allow the breath of the Holy Spirit to go all the way through us so we can spin round and round doing the things Christ would have us to do.

If we are Christians, the Holy Spirit comes to reside in us. We have to be sensitive in order to allow His working.  Remember that the wind is what makes the difference. In Scripture, the Holy Spirit is compared to a “rushing mighty wind”.

So, how are you spinning?