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

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 ever 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 changes in our world. Moral and societal changes brother 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 possibly 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”?

J. I. 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?

Teachable Spirits

by Pastor Doc Adkins

“…when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.” Proverbs 21:11

I was studying some Bible passages recently that say, “teach me”. There are several of them in the Psalms, such as “Teach me thy way” (Psalm 25:4), “Teach me thy statutes” (Psalm 119:12), “Teach me to do thy will” (Psalm 143:10), and there’s other “teach me’s” in the Scripture. It struck me as I was studying through those that in order to do all those things, I have to be “teachable” to begin with or I’m not going to learn how to do those things.

Having a teachable spirit is such a good trait to have. It means we are able to receive instruction. Proverbs 21:11 says, “When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.”

When we learn something new or even are reminded of something we already know, it makes us more knowledgeable. It helps us live more wisely. I doubt if any of us have a teachable spirit all of the time, and I was thinking about some of the things that hinder us from being teachable.

We think we know it all.

Thinking we know it all can really hinder our learning. When we are in that mode, we don’t allow anything to soak in. It’s like we have this coating on us that blocks out everything we should be absorbing.

We can never learn enough about Christ or know our Bible as good as we need to in order to serve the Lord the way we should. How can we ever know it all when it comes to Christ?

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” Romans 11:33

We don’t listen closely.

Do you ever do that? Half listen? I know I do sometimes. If we are not careful, we may just miss some very important points that we’ll need down the road.

When dealing with the Christian life, we have to listen closely to the Lord too.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” John 10:27

We are too busy talking ourselves.

When we are rattling on ourselves, we miss out on some learning experiences. Sometimes we have to just stop and listen.

“Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” Psalms 141:3

We don’t see the need to learn.

Ever in that situation? We probably all felt that way when we were young and in school. Why will I ever need to know this? How will this ever help me down the road?

When it comes to learning more about the Lord and His Word, look at all the benefits we can reap. Look at how we can increase our faith alone.

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17

We think we can’t learn the material.

I know there were times in college classes that I felt like I’d never be able to learn the material. Sometimes it’s like that in life too. I know some new Christians feel that way about the Bible too. It doesn’t matter what the material is, when we start with the attitude that we will never learn, it hinders us from the beginning.

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” Psalms 119:130

We allow distractions to slow down us down.

A lot of things get in the way of our learning, especially when we are trying to learn to be more like Christ and we are saying, “Teach me”. Those little things just keep us from opening our Bibles, from praying, and from really trying to learn from the Lord. We have to be so diligent not to allow things to creep in that will throw us off track.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

We don’t like our teacher.

I have to admit, I’ve been there. You get in a room full of people and look around for the teacher, and when you spot them, your jaw drops. Maybe they are way younger than you. Maybe they look a little unorganized, or a little disheveled, and you start blocking out everything they are trying to teach you. Whether they are a great teacher and know their field of knowledge, you just refuse to learn from them.

Look at Who is teaching us to live the Christian life. Christ. He’s the Great Teacher. It’s what He did the whole time He was here on earth. He went about teaching.

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” Matthew 4:23

“And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.” Mark 6:6

“I was daily with you in the temple teaching…” Mark 14:49

Christ uses all kinds of things to teach us today. He uses His Word directly. He uses other people. Sometimes, yes, He even uses other people we may not like. He uses small and large things in our lives to teach us lessons. We just have to be open to what He has for us.

Conclusion:
I hope I can develop a teachable spirit, especially when it comes to the things of the Lord. There’s so much to learn that I need to live my Christian life to the fullest.

I think of Mary and how she sat at the feet of Jesus to learn. (Luke 10:38-42) Remember the Lord’s response to Martha when she wanted Mary to help her serve?

“But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42

I want to choose that “good part” of learning from the Lord. I know to do that I need to work on keeping out those things that hinder me and slow me down when it comes to listening to Him.

So, how teachable are you?

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 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 whose 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 Christian 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?

Plantin’ Season

by Pastor Doc Adkins

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. ” Psalm 84:11 I like this time of the year. Grass is green again, the birds welcome us to the mornings, flowers and trees give way to new life. Growing up on the farm, this time of the year became known as “plantin ’time”. The garden was starting to take on shape, my grandfather was busy making ready the fields and such. Plantin’ time was a very busy time.

There was an annual addition in our garden along with all the vegies, and that was the sunflowers. My grandmother always made sure they were some of these along each end of the garden. I don’t know why, just remember they always were there.

I think sunflowers are pretty cool. I love their yellow and gold tones in their coloring, but they also stand so tall and majestic looking too.

Sunflowers are one of those things you see everywhere such as on dishes, tablecloths, pillows, and other things for the home. They are right up there with roses when it comes to popularity. Did you know that even Picasso and Van Gogh painted sunflowers? Probably because they are such a beautiful and distinctive flower. (Don’t be impressed with this tid-bit of knowledge because I googled it.)

The following lessons were lessons my grandmother taught me.

Sunflowers Track The Sun. Most plants are attracted to light but the flowering head of the sunflower actually tracks the sun following its path and moving toward where it is in the sky all during the day. I read somewhere that sunflowers track the sun when they are in bud stage. Isn’t that how it usually goes for us as Christians? When we first come to know the Lord, we get excited about knowing all about Him and living for Him, but after awhile we sometimes grow a little preoccupied with other things and get our eyes off of the Lord. Wouldn’t it be great if as a Christian we’d track the Son of God and follow Him all day long? No matter what was going on in our lives and throughout our day, we wouldn’t take our eyes off of the Son.

Sunflowers Need to be Stabilized. The second thing I’ve learned about the sunflower is that it that it needs to be firmly planted in the soil in order to grow. Sunflowers grow so tall and their stems become so heavy that they will topple over if they aren’t stabilized in the ground. I know as a Christian it’s very easy to topple over if we are not grounded in the Word of God. We need to know what and why we believe what we do so our feet are firmly planted and we won’t falter in our Christian growth.

Sunflowers Produce Seeds. Did you know that a single sunflower can have up to 2,000 seeds? When we think about sowing seeds as a Christian, just think of the potential reach that each of us can have to spread the Gospel. It could be limitless if we would just sow those seeds.

Sunflowers Produce Oil. The oil that the sunflower produces is considered a good oil with healthy benefits. As Christians we should be producing the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith). All of those have some healthy benefits on us as Christians and on others that we meet.

Sunflowers Resemble The Sun. Sunflowers not only follow the sun but when you look at them, they resemble the sun too. Resembling the Son should be one of those things we do as a Christian. Being Christ-like is an essential part of being a Christian.

Conclusion: When I think about the lessons from the sunflower, I remember Ephesians 5 where it’s talking about following God and all the ways we are to act as Christians. It starts out in the first couple verses by saying, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.” Ephesians 5:1,2 The chapter goes on in detail on various topics of Christian living and mentions all those bad things we are to avoid, starting with “fornication” and it goes on from there. In verses 15,16 it says, ” See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

It’s what getting up and following the Son all day and being a SON flower is all about. It boils down to walking in the spirit, following God, and living Christ-like as a Christian should. So, what’s God ‘plantin’ in your life.