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?

 

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 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 marvelled 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 6:29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Camellia – Graciousness
My grandmother had a lot of favorite flowers and Camellias are right there towards 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 veggies, and that was the sunflowers.  My grandmother always made sure there 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 it’s 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 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 savor.” 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.

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 steel 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 winds is what makes the difference. In Scripture, the Holy Spirit is compared to a “rushing mighty wind”.

So, how are you spinning?