Upsy Daisy

by Pastor Doc Adkins

Psalm 30:1 “I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up…”

I’m sure you are familiar with the expression “upsy daisy”. It’s a phrase I have heard most of my life and yet for whatever the reason it seems forever ago since I actually have heard it. But, the other day, I saw a grandmother with her little granddaughter or maybe even great granddaughter and the beautiful little gal evidently had just learned to walk. Actually, she was doing pretty well but, it wasn’t the walking that seem to be the challenging thing…it was the stopping. As soon as she  stopped …down on her little bottom she went and immediately Grandma, in that Grandma assuring voice proclaimed, “upsy daisy”. And you know what?  The beautiful little girl laughed out loud. You see “upsy daisy” is the phrase we use when we want to give encouragement to our children when they are learning to walk or when they’ve had a fall.  It means “up you go”.

I think that God does the same with us.  We go walking along in our Christian life and hit some bumps in the sidewalk or maybe we even fall into a big hole and God helps us up and says, “upsy daisy”.

He brushes us off and tells us everything is going to be okay.

It’s not fun when we are down and we find our lives turned upside down.  It’s sometimes hard to see everything in the right perspective when we aren’t standing upright.  But we have a God who cares about us and is there when we get down and He helps us up.

There are some great examples in the bible of some people who had some “upsy daisy” moments.

I think of Job first and foremost. I guess because when he went down, it was with such a sudden force and a big thud.  Here he was, going through life so blessed by God and all of a sudden, Job was laid low.

So much happened to Job in such a short time but God was with him all the way and in the end said, “upsy daisy, Job”.

Job is such a great example to show that when we don’t see God, God still sees us.

It’s like when a toddler falls down and doesn’t see his mother because she’s out of site for a little bit while he’s lying on the ground after he’s fallen.  It’s kind of scary.  But then after a few moments when he sees the face of his mother and knows she’s there to help him up, he’s okay again.

Job might not have been able to see God but God could see Job and Job knew God was still there within reach.  What’s worth remembering is that even though he couldn’t see God, Job still obeyed God.

Job 23:8-12  Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him
On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:

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

My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.

Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

It’s so exciting to see how God said, “upsy daisy” to Job.  The Lord had a way of showing Job that all was okay.  God lifted up Job and put him upright on his feet once again and “the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10).

And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and everyone an earring of gold.

Job 42:10-12a  So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning.

Conclusion:

Maybe you feel like your life has been turned over on its head and you are feeling the pressure of an “upsy daisy” moment.  Just hold on. God knows you are down.  He’s not far from you.

I know it’s hard to be thankful for those “upsy daisy” moments in our lives but don’t you just love the fact that it is God that does the “upsy” part.  It is Him that lifts us up.  It may be through several circumstances that work together but God has His hand working in all of it.

There has been many a moment that I’ve wondered why I’d been brought so low but those are the moments that I’ve seen God the closest and had to rely on His encouragement the most.

If I just look around for Him and listen to His voice I know He’s there even when I’m down and I know I can get through anything when I have Him with me.

God has that way of giving us His presence and saying, “upsy daisy”. It’s all going to be okay.  You’ll get back on your feet again.  Up you go!

So, are you thankful for your “upsy daisy” moments?

The Flowers of God’s Garden

Julia Johnston, 1908 (Edited and Adapted by Doc Adkins)

“The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11

Have you ever seen a garden in full bloom?  Do you remember it?  I remember my Grandmother’s flower garden. Actually, she had them everywhere. Some were by the front porch of the farmhouse, some huge sunflowers at the end of the garden, and some flowers planted in pots she kept and accumulated from year to year. Each flower there was carefully arranged, carefully spaced, carefully pruned, and tenderly cared for.

I learned a lot about planting and caring for what you plant from my Grandmother and it in a small way reminds me of our relationship with God.

Despite the weather, the garden is always tended, the gardener never taking a break from his labors. Do you see it? Smell the air, with the odors of hundreds, thousands, billions of flowers, each one separate, and each one contributing to the bouquet. Feel the breeze, changing directions and bringing new petals to lie at your feet. You see this garden? This is the garden of God. Each flower and each plant is a life, a person, a soul.

Some of the flowers bloom fully and mightily, giving their all for their short span in the garden while some sulk and refuse to blossom.  Some flowers hold back their distinctive smells and colors while others refuse to be dragged down to the mundane. In every case, each flower is tended by the great gardener Himself. Each flower, each shrub, tree, bush, and plant is pruned so that it will have the maximum growth possible and will be displayed to its fullest potential.

Each plant is carefully planted and watered, from the seed to full maturity because the Gardener knows what is best for that plant. The Gardener also knows where He wants that plant and how He desires to show off and display the plant that each plant is the most beautiful to be seen. The Gardener has a plan for His garden and nothing will get in the way.

Each arrangement shows off every flower to its best potential, each skilled grouping takes every flower to its utmost. In every case the Gardener knows what is best, encouraging, cajoling, challenging, pruning, or just letting it go. Every flower is different, every plant is unique, and the Gardener knows each one by name. It is the most beautiful garden in the universe. Do you see it?

You are part of it. You are an integral part of it, not just a sideline attraction. You are the main show, the primary exhibition in God’s great garden of Life!

Don’t be ashamed of what you are in God’s sight but rather be glad for that is how God, our Gardener sees you. Glorious, filled, and given every chance to exceed! You are His prized selection! There is no pressure to perform, just be! Just by existing you make Him so proud! Don’t be ashamed if you are a petunia, a daisy, or lily. The orchids and roses display you to your best! He is pleased with you no matter what the beauty of the others may be, no matter the size of their petals or the depth of their roots. You are unique and only you can do and be where He wants you to be or to do.

 

Easter is for Second Chances

by Pastor Doc Adkins

But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” Mark 16:6-7

Do you need a second chance today? On the first Easter morning, Peter needed one. There in the Upper Room, he had insisted that he would never deny Christ. But just as Jesus had predicted, Peter not only denied the Lord, but he denied Him three times.

The last glimpse Peter had of Jesus before His crucifixion was in the glow of the fire in the high priest’s courtyard, where he actually made eye contact with Jesus. And then he went out and wept bitterly.

What kind of look do you think Jesus gave Peter when their eyes met?

Do you think it was one of those I-told-you-so looks?

Do you think it was one of scorn, as if to say, “How could you betray Me?”

I don’t think it was either one.

I think it was a look of love, a look of compassion that said, “I still love you, Peter.”

And I believe that is why Peter went out and wept bitterly. He had failed the Lord so miserably. He probably thought there was no hope for him.

But then a message went out from the empty tomb that Jesus had risen, followed by these instructions, “Go, tell His disciples—and Peter. . . .”

It was not, “Go tell the disciples, including Peter, James, and John. . . .” It was just Peter, because Peter needed a special word of encouragement.

Do you need encouragement today? Maybe you have come on difficult times. Personally.  Spiritually.  You didn’t plan on it, but it happened. And like Peter, maybe you ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time, ultimately finding things going wrong. Way wrong!

God gave Peter a second chance. And He will give you one, too—because Easter is for the person who needs a second chance.

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 yard 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 Pastor 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?

Are You Winterized?

by Pastor Doc Adkins

...in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.   Philippians 4:11-13

Growing up in WV, we’ve learned the meaning of cold and winter.   When I was younger living in Hinton, my whole world was WV and I actually thought it was normal to wear several layers of clothing and be bundled up so much you couldn’t move, dig out sidewalks of snow, scrape ice off your car, and do all the other things that go along with snow, ice, and winter.

In our spiritual lives, we all have “winters” too and we have to winterize them in order to face them.  When winter comes it is a time of bleak and dark dreary days.  We must face the fact that winter can be hard and trials are hard.  Just like the season of winter, our spiritual “winters” can leave us discouraged, lonely, and depressed.

There are some things that can make the cold of our winter very intense. We need to winterize and guard against them.

1   The Cold Air Culprit of the World.
When we are going through trials and hardships, we sometimes tend to let our guard down and it’s so easy for worldly influences to take over in our lives.  It seeps through the cracks around the doors and windows just like the winter air.  It may be the influence of world’s unscriptural thinking.

It all can work overtime on us as we face trials in our lives.  We’ve got to dig out the caulk and weather stripping and block those cracks and holes.  Using God’s Word is the best way to do this.  If we have it in our hearts, it can help stop the winter air of the world from seeping into our lives.

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.  Psalm 119:11

2   The Icicles of Cold Attitudes.
During the winter it is easy to develop a bad attitude.  It doesn’t take much at all for some of us.  In comes the dreary days, the cold and chill, and drip…drip…we have formed those icicle attitudes.

We become cranky and out of sorts with our family and anyone who we come in contact with.  We also tend to complain more about anyone and anything.

When we are in the midst of a trial we sometimes automatically go into icicle attitude mode.  We don’t have any fellowship with anyone to help encourage us through our trial because who wants to be around us?

We have to remember that no one else can fix our bad attitudes.  Only we can do that.  It’s not easy either to adjust your attitude during a “winter” because the weight of that ice is bearing down on us.

I’ve found that the simplest way to start working on adjusting a bad attitude is to take a step back and just remember who God is and who we are not.

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

3   The Blizzards of Circumstances.
Winter can bring so many things along with it.  Blizzards being one of the worst as the effects it leaves is so devastating.  Circumstances in our lives can also be devastating.  Bills mount up.  Family members get sick or even die. Relationships get sour, and many other circumstances weigh down on us until we think we can’t go on because we can’t see what’s down the road.

I think that during these times we need to remember that God sees the outcome. He’s our Potter and we are the clay.

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

4   The Jack Frost of Depression.
Better bundle up because if you are going through a trial, then depression is going to come nipping at your heels sooner or later.  Just like the dark and bleak days of winter have a depressing effect on us, trials seem to frost our lives with depression. The problem is that when we are in the midst of a “winter”, it is so easy to just let it nip away at us. I think depression is one of the worst things of a “winter” because I’ve had my problems with it and it still seems like it is always there looming and wanting to nip…nip away.

There’s no easy way out of depression but keeping our lives in tune with God can help guard against it.  Regular personal devotions and a time with God each day can go a long way in dealing with it.

Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.  Psalm 55:17

Now Listen:  Prepare Your Winter Emergency Kit. When you live where you have severe cold you know that there are things needed in order to prepare to endure the winter.  As Christians, when our “winters” and trials come into our lives we must learn to prepare for them as well.

Here are a few basic things we should have on hand.

 1   Non Perishable Food—Scripture Have some things on hand to sustain you through. Memorized scriptures can help more than anything.  Just a phrase of Scripture to grasp in the dead of our “winter” can be a great comfort to us.

2   Extra Blankets and Warm Clothing—Fellowship During a “winter” some people forget about attending church and fellowshipping with other Christians.  How much more it is needed when trials come into our lives. Having fellowship with other believers strengthens us.  We need their love, support, and prayers.  It becomes a real warmth to us.

3   Drinking Water–Christ the Living Water Bottled water in a winter emergency is a must.  We need it to survive just like we need the Living Water.  We need Christ and His Word to live. Relying on Him will keep us from a parched existence.  Drink in His love, His promises, His blessings, and His strength.  Looking to Him in the face of our trials and circumstances will help see us through our “winter”.

4   Emergency Candles or Flashlights–God’s Guidance The electricity may go out because of the weight of snow and ice on the power lines so we always need a light source to have on hand.  God’s guidance is our light source.  We can’t get through our daily lives, let alone our “winters” without following God’s direction and leading.  Staying sensitive to God’s leading will keep us going in the right direction and will help us to see a little more clearly.

Conclusion: We will all have “winters” in our lives, but choosing how we deal and prepare for them can make all the difference in the world.

So, are you winterized?

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 “dose”.  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, withered grass and plants. It’s 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 me 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.

  1. Psalm 95:2 says to come before the presence of the Lord with what? ___________________________
  2. When giving thanks to God, we should make known what? 1 Chronicles16:8 His ___________________________
  3. According to I Chronicles 16:34 we should give thanks to the Lord because He is ___________________________and His ___________________________endures forever.
  4. I Chronicles 16:35 says give thanks to ___________________________.
  5. Psalm 30:4 says to give thanks to the Lord at the remembrance of His what? ___________________________.
  6. 1 Corinthians 15:57 says “But thanks be to God, which gives us what? ___________________________
  7. 2 Corinthians 2:14 says we should give thanks to God because He always causes us to do what? ___________________________
  8. Psalm 42:11 says, “I shall praise him, who is the health of” what? ___________________________
  9. In Psalm 63:3 why does it say “my lips shall praise thee”? Because ___________________________
  10. What kind of lips should we praise with? Psalm 63:5 ___________________________
  11. What does Psalm 9:1 tell us to praise God with? ___________________________
  12. According to I Thessalonians 5:18, we should give thanks because it is the ___________________________ of God.
  13. In Hebrews 13:15 how often should praise be given to God? ___________________________
  14. Psalm 148:13 says to praise the Lord because His name is what? ___________________________
  15. 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.

Thanksgiving….daily.

Waking Up to the Good Stuff

by Pastor Doc Adkins

“Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.”   Psalm 143:8

“The morning is just the most important part of the day”, my Grandmother use to say. Life in my grandparent’s house started early. When you think of the morning, they are clean slates on the day and you get to choose what you do with it. By evening it is just a little too late to start planning your day so why not start it out right at the beginning to get things accomplished and spend time with God before we get bogged down with life?

I can remember how my grandma used to fix breakfast in the mornings, most every morning. She didn’t just pour a bowl of cereal or throw a pop tart in the toaster. She probably didn’t even know what a pop tart was. My grandmother fixed real breakfast food—the good stuff!

I have such memories of my grandma’s country farm kitchen and her frying bacon, sausage and eggs too. Never scrambled ones. They were always over-easy, sunny side up ones. Next came the biscuits. Homemade of course. Not those kind many of us pop out of cans. Then came the gravy. White, country style.  Of course when I was a kid I loved white country style gravy. I still do! I guess because it was all my family ever fixed with anything.  Then, after all this, when good ones were available, my grandma would get a few tomatoes and slice some on a plate to put on the table. In our family it seemed like no meal was complete until there was a plate of freshly sliced tomatoes on the table. The table would always be full. My grandma believed in fixin’ the good stuff. All this topped off with really cold milk, hot…hot coffee and water. You had to drink at least a glass of water.  Just ‘cause mama said so, that’s why.

God also fixes the ‘good stuff’’. He has so much planned for our days but do we miss it because we don’t get up early and spend time with Him? Do we anticipate His goodness and kindness to us each day? Do we seek Him early like David did?

“Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.”   Psalm 143:8

“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”   Psalm 5:3

I do have days that I don’t start it off right. We all do, but if we don’t try to spend time with God by reading His Word and communing with Him in prayer at the start of our day then how will we ever be conscious of Him when the afternoon hits or when evening rolls around?

My! How much ‘good stuff’ He offers us. We are given blessings, promises, love, guidance, strength, and protection. We need all of God’s ‘good stuff’ to make it through the whole day.

“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because of his compassion fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”   Lamentations 3:22

Hope you’ll keep your alarm set and wake up to The Good Stuff!

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, we see the rise of a new season coming on.  Let’s settle back into church mode, Sunday School, youth meetings, prayer meeting and Bible Study, and most important Worship Services. Let’s move from Cliffsnote Christianity and into a truly growing season with the Lord. “teach me”, Psalm 25:5

So, are you ready to learn more?