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?

Under His Wings

by Pastor Doc Adkins

  “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust…”   Psalm 91:4

Psalm 91 has always been one of my refuge passages. Do you have any of those? You know, those places in Scripture where we run when we need to feel loved and protected? I love the illustration of the hen covering it’s chicks with it’s feathers in verse 4 of that chapter.

When I lived with my grandparents we had chickens and I used to love to watch the little chicks run after the bigger chickens.  In a small way it was always a good sign of Spring.  Sometimes though the coolest thing would happen, if the cool winds were blowing or they felt threatened, they’d be all hidden under the hen’s wings. It was always hard for me to believe that those chicks were really under there. The hens were keeping those chicks safe and warm under all those feathers.

I’m so glad the Lord keeps us under His wings. It’s a wonderful place to be.

  • There is Closeness Under His Wings.
    I sure do love that I can keep close to my Lord under His wings. Of course it is a choice we make as to how close to the Lord we want to be. We have to make the effort to spend time in His Word and in prayer. We can’t go running off or we are going to miss the benefits of those wonderful wings.

    My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me. Psalm 63:8

  • There is Protection Under His Wings.
    Being under God’s wings provides such a picture of His protection to us. When David was having such difficulties in his life, where did he go? Straight to pour his heart out to the Lord. Here he was being chased by Saul who intended on killing David. He was scared and needed to find his refuge in God.

    Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. Psalm 57:1

  • There is Comfort Under His Wings.
    When a hen gathers her chicks under her wings when it is storming or there is something that has scared the chicks, they will eventually all calm down under those wings. Being under there comforts and settles those chicks when life gets scary for them.

    Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 2 Corinthians 1:3,4

    Even as adults we go through times when something scares us, we deal with sorrow, or we even still get those emotional boo-boos that we want to be comforted about. We need to get up there closer under the Lord’s wings and let Him comfort us. There’s ways He’ll gently talk to us.

Ever had your mom or someone who loved you say to you.  “It’s okay”, “It’s alright”, “Tell me about it”, “Well, why don’t you sleep on it”, or even “Things will look better in the morning”. If we look in His Word, it’s full of tidbits of comfort for us.

  • There is Trust Under His Wings.
    We know that under the Lord’s wings we are able to trust Him. He’s not going to fail us. He might not always provide and protect in the way that we’d choose but He has our best interests at heart.

    Have you read through the book of Ruth and looked at her life? She lost her husband and ended up going to a land she wasn’t familiar with. It wasn’t easy for her, but the Lord had a unique way of taking care of her, and Ruth trusted Him. Boaz, who Ruth ends up marrying, recognized her trust in the Lord in Ruth chapter 2.

    And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust. Ruth 2:11,12

  • There is Satisfaction Under His Wings.
    A good parent longs to satisfy the needs of their children, whether it be for food, clothing, health, or what have you. Being under God’s wings satisfies us. He not only satisfies our physical needs but also our spiritual needs. He satisfies our very souls.

    How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. Psalm 36:7,8

  • There is Rejoicing Under His Wings.
    Ever notice we are happier when we are walking in tune with the Lord? When we are resting right up there under His wings, we get our joy revitalized.

    Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. Psalm 63: 7

Conclusion: that picture of a hen loving and protecting its chicks under its wings is such a powerful example. All those things we find under those wings are things we should strive to give one another as God’s family. There’s closeness, protection, comfort, trust, love, satisfaction, and rejoicing.

I’m so glad that I have a God who cares so much about me that He keeps me up Under His Wings. I know there are times that I get like David running from Saul and need to go sliding under those feathers and into that safe place. And boy sometimes I feel like I just get too many spiritual boo-boos to count and I long for that comfort that only God can give. There’s been times when I’ve been so sad that I can’t even speak to the Lord when I get up under there but I know He understands and He makes me feel better.
I love benefiting from all those things I find when I get up under those wings. All those things I find there only makes me stronger so that I can grow in the Lord..

So, what are you finding Under His Wings?

Just My Reminder to You: You are Loved!

by Pastor Doc Adkins

I enjoy reminding folk of this truth:  You are loved!

This month is Valentine’s Day month.  SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14TH.   (Just a reminder to all the guys who might read this.)   It’s a day that creates different feelings for different reasons.

I want to remind you that you are loved today and every day.

A day like Valentine’s Day can bring up feelings of lovelessness.  Perhaps others in your life forgot to remember you today.  Maybe you feel left out because this is a Valentine’s without your spouse, or you have no romantic interest in your life.

The One Who Is Love has a special message for you today.

This is what God says about you!
You are My possession.
You are chosen by Me.
You were wonderfully made.
I chose you long ago.
I created you to do good works.
You are made in My image.
You can call Me Daddy.
You have been bought with My Son’s blood.
My Son Jesus loves you so much He died for you.
You are without fault through Christ.
You are sealed by My Holy Spirit.
I want to lavish My grace on you.
You are forgiven.
You are accepted.
There is no condemnation toward you.
I will never leave you.
I love you!

Sound too good to be true?  I’m not making it up.  Everything I just wrote is told you in God’s Word.  Look for yourself in 1 Peter 2:9; Psalms 139:14; Ephesians 1:5 and 2:10; Genesis 1:27; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 2:13; Philippians 2:8; Colossians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 1:7-8; Colossians 3:13; Romans 15:7 and 8:1; Joshua 1:5; and Revelation 1:5.

If we can only let the reality of God’s love for us flow deeply to the core of our being we would be much better suited to handle anything that comes our way on Valentine’s Day and every day.  It’s only when you fully receive God’s love for you that you become free to love others.

Make it a great Valentine’s Day by looking for all the ways God shows His love for you.  You may start by reading the passages above and underlining them in your Bible.

Remember…there’s no question about it: You are loved!

Here’s an extra thought not original with me!
“For God so loVed the world,
That He gAve
His onLy
BegottEn
SoN
That whosoever
Believeth In Him
Should Not perish,
But have Everlasting life.”
John 3:16

Just a Closer Walk with Thee

by Pastor Doc Adkins

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.  Psalm 68:19

It’s the start of a New Year so we all begin thinking towards those resolutions. Actually I am not a big fan of them. I think that we generally don’t follow them anyway. When we really resolve to do something to change our lives, it is usually at a time in our life when we are to the point that we see the need for change. Of course if a resolution works for you, then great!

A resolution usually means that we want to resolve to improve or better ourselves and that’s always good, especially in the spiritual areas of our lives. I’m always for anything to improve our lives and relationships with our Lord. When it boils down to it, bettering ourselves as Christians involves bettering our relationships with God. We have to draw closer to Him before we can improve our Christian lives. Sure we can make a New Year’s resolution to do that but I think just resolving, day by day, gets the job done in a better way.

Do you remember the old hymn? “Just a Closer Walk With Thee.” I can remember that playing off a record when I was little. Okay, some of you don’t know what those are? Round things us ancient people used to play on machines that went round and round called record players. An old form of a cd:) We had a record in our family, I think by Tennessee Ernie Ford with that old song on it and I can remember learning the words when I was younger.

I am weak but Thou art strong, Jesus keep me from all wrong;
I’ll be satisfied as long, As I walk let me walk close to Thee !
Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be dear Lord, Let it be.

Whenever I think of that song it always turns my thoughts toward David. There are several passages in Scripture where we can see that David lived the day-by-day way to be closer to God. Yes, he was human and had his faults but he had some good practices in his life.

First of all David prayed daily.
Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” Psalm 55:17

Secondly, David realized the benefit of God’s daily blessings. 

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.”  Psalm 68:19

Thirdly, He praised God daily.
“And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised.” Psalm 72:15

The second verse of “Just a Closer Walk” is as follows:
Thru this world of toil and snares, If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares? None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.
Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it Jesus is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Fourthly, David learned that he needed to rely on God daily.
David sure went through some “snares” in his life and he too knew that when all else went out the window the only one left who cared was God. None but Thee as in the song.

“Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High. What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” Psalm 56:1-4

In conclusion, the last verse of the song talks about when this day by day life is over.

When my feeble life is o’er, Time for me will be no more; Guide me gently, safely o’er, To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.  Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it Jesus is my plea, Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Conclusion:
We’ve all got to live the Christian life just one day at a time. That in turn will cause us to have that improvement in our Christian life that we all so greatly need. Just resolve to live better for God, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment and that will add up to our best for Him not only for this new year but for our entire lives as well.

So, how close have you walked with the Lord today?

 

Peace On Earth! Yeah, Right!

by Doc Adkins

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

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

“Come on kids. Help me unload these groceries right now.   I’ve got to get a lot of stuff done before bedtime.”

“Who stocks this stupid store, anyway?”

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

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

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

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

I wonder if the participants in the original Christmas story ever dreamed that the celebration of Christ’s birth would become so hassled and hurried. The shepherds? The angels? The wise men? Mary and Joseph too? Was hurriedness present the night Jesus was born? We might think that it was not. But actually, there was hurry present that night. However, it wasn’t to the mall or grocery store that people were rushing.

The shepherds were working in the fields when suddenly an ensemble of angels told them the Christ Child had been born. Luke 2:16 says they hurried off to find Him lying in a manger. If I had been one of those shepherds, I would have been quiet and amazed once I got there. Being around a newborn baby makes me speak in a hushed tone and feel such awe as I see new life. In the presence of Jesus I wonder if those men too were settled and silent.

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

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

How about it? Will we pause to enter into His presence instead of rushing from task to task? Would we linger long enough to be refreshed by the company of the One whom the holiday is really about?  The tasks will wait while we do. Here’s to more “white space” this Christmas; space that creates more room in our days for meeting with Jesus!

What activities and responsibilities threaten to make you rushed and stressed at the holidays?

Pull away from the holiday hustle and spend time with Jesus is to many unthinkable, but it is so very necessary.

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

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

That Stuff On Our Plate

by Doc Adkins

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among  the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.  Psalm 46:10 

There’s an old saying that says, “eat what you want but want what you eat.”  The whole idea is that you’re welcome to take as much as you want but don’t waste it.  My grandmother always told us this, “We should never waste food, because there are hungry people in the world who wish they had what we have.

The one thing that was always abundant at my grandparents house was just “good ole country cookin’. “

Have you ever uttered that phrase, “I’ve got too much stuff on my plate!”? What we mean is that our lives have become too busy. Isn’t it funny that we teach our children not to take too much food other than what they will eat and not put too much “stuff” on their plates. Yet, here many of us are as adults with way too much stuff on our own plates. We’ve allowed ourselves to be involved with so many things that it has the potential to hinder our well-being.

Personally, I enjoy being busy. I can’t stand laziness but sometimes we can become so busy that life seems to consume us. I don’t think Christ intended us to live that way. When we do get in that busy, busy mode of running, running, and running, we tend to let those nutritional things that should be on our plate slide off the side, like our prayer time and bible study. Sometimes if we do keep those things on our plate, we tend to treat them like salt and pepper and only flavor our lives with them and not really have a full course meal of the things that can give us strength and help us survive the “rat race” of life.

Sometimes our worship time slides off the side of our plate like runny gravy. It just starts dripping off and we barely even notice how far away from those around us we’ve become. When we’re in that busy mode, we tend to push aside those things that should be important. We don’t mean too. We just start playing with our fork and it just happens.

I think it is a challenge to make ourselves have a balanced plate as a Christian, but I do think it is something we should strive for. It may be we need to just re-calculate our lives at times, slow down and see what we’re actually spending time on. It may be we need to choose what are priorities and what are not. I’m sure for everybody there’s a different way to go about it but the need to keep Christ at the center of our lives is the key.

There are some things that I like to check up on once in awhile just to be sure I’m on track.

  1. Time – Where am I spending my time?
  2. Activities – What all am I involved in? Is there too much?
  3. Priorities – What are my priorities? Do I keep the important things where they should be?

Don’t you just love that “Be still” part of Psalm 46:10?   Wow!  That requires slowing down, doesn’t it?   Look at the benefits.  “Be still and know that I am God”.   Taking a much-needed break to reflect on God and His greatness, His love, His power will help us know Him.   Even in the midst of all that is going on around us we need to take that time to spend time with the Lord.

So, what’s on your plate?  Is there room for thanksgiving, intercession, devotions, prayer, and most of all our wonderful God.  Is there room for a grateful spirit or is gratefulness covered with obligations that keep overrunning our lives.

The Sense of a Goose

This was shared by Pastor Doc during a Wednesday evening service and it’s something to think about.

Written  by Roger Darlington

This autumn, when you see geese heading south for the winter, flying in a “V” formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily, because they are travelling on the thrust of one another.

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front. 
If we have the sense of a goose, we will stay in formation with those people who are heading the same way we are.

When the head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point. 
It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs, whether with people or with geese flying south.

Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. 
What message do we give when we honk from behind?

Finally – and this is important – when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out of the formation, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies; and only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their own group.

If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.

I Like my Coffee

by Doc Adkins

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

I love my morning coffee!  Now that the fall season is upon us and the temperature is cooler I like it even more.  Nothing is better on a brisk morning than a good cup of coffee.

I think everyone disagrees on what makes a good cup of coffee. With today’s hot coffee trend, we try all kinds of flavorings and different ways of experiencing coffee. It used to be basically served black or with cream and sugar. There wasn’t much variety. At the farmhouse, my grandmother “perked” our coffee in the percolator. Do you remember what a percolator was? It made coffee hot, hot , hot!

Nowadays, people like coffee served and brewed a lot of different ways. We tend to disagree on what’s good.  Drip-makers, Keurig, Starbucks (actually it should be called FIVE BUCKS) and on the list goes. What we usually agree on is the basics of what makes a bad cup of coffee. It can be weak, bitter, stale, cold, or soured by something we put in it and we’d probably all agree that it tastes bad. Face it. No one likes to drink a bad cup of coffee.

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

Weak.

When we are weak Christians, we don’t have much faith. Sometimes when we are weak we don’t know God’s Word enough to know what we stand on. The way to remedy our weakness is to add some grounds.  Dig into God’s Word and get grounded on the principles found in the bible. Study the attributes of God. Learn what you believe concerning doctrine and bone up on the basics of living the Christian life. Enrich yourself with a vibrant prayer life and rely on God’s strength and not your own.

Bitter.

I’ve known my share of bitter Christians and I’ve been there at a few times in my own life but if bitterness isn’t dealt with, it starts growing and eating up your life. Bitterness doesn’t leave a pleasant aroma. You can’t do much with a bitter cup of coffee. No matter how much cream or sugar, or even how much whip cream you want to plop on top, the bitter taste is still there. You have to dump it out and refill the cup with a new fresh brewed pot of coffee.

Isn’t that just so like in the Christian life? No matter how much we add to our Christian lives, no matter how many good deeds we do, how many church programs we become involved with, if our bitterness is still there, we are still bitter and it hinders us in our Christian walk. What we need to do is empty all our bitterness and ourselves of self and then allow the filling of the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives.

Stale.

The dictionary describes, stale as “tasteless or unpalatable from age”. Do you ever get complacent about your Christianity? Just have lost that first love? It’s easy to do, especially for those of us who’ve known the Lord for a very long time. We kind of get weary in well doing.
I know we don’t want to just sit as Christians and not do anything but we do. “Unpalatable” doesn’t go far enough to describe us sometimes. I guess we need to freshen up. There’s a worship chorus that says, “Holy Spirit fall fresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.” I think that’s what we all need so that we will get busy for the Lord. We don’t want to be Christians that just sit and get stale and tasteless.

Cold.

You may have brought a cup of coffee to your lips that you hadn’t realized had gotten cold. You think it’s going to be warm and good and then you realize that it’s cold. We get that way in our desire to serve Christ. We grow cold as a Christian. There are probably a lot of reasons. We get away from Christ, slow down in our bible reading and prayer life, stop going to church on Sunday evening or Prayer meeting on Wednesday and pretty soon we are cold.

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

Sour.

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

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

Conclusion:
I hope I don’t prove to be a bad cup of coffee. This past Sunday our pastor spoke about being in the presence of the Lord. He used the verse, “…Be ye holy; for I am holy”, 1 Peter 1:16 and was talking about how spending time with the Lord brings that sweet aroma. I think that’s what this is all about. In order to avoid being weak, bitter, stale, cold, and sour as Christians, we have to learn to be in the presence of God more.

Spending time with the Lord through prayer, bible reading and study is what’s going to make us into those strong cups of coffee. It will allow us to let the Holy Spirit stir us. I know I need to work on spending more time with Christ. I think we sometimes take our time with the Lord lightly. I know perhaps I do. We think of it as just a devotional time or bible reading time but when we realize that we are spending time in the “presence of the Lord” it really puts things into perspective. He’s a great and holy God and we have the opportunity to spend time with Him each day. He’ll blend us to perfection if we’ll just spend time with Him.

So, what type of coffee are you?