Have you ever ask yourself, where will I be or what will I do tomorrow? How about next week? Do you ever ask that question about next year or maybe even five years from now? For me, the most important time I am looking at, is eternity. All of the above questions we have on what we will do or where will be in our future is up to us, to a large extent. Where I put God and serving Him will answer the last of the questions. As true as it is that I can’t work myself to heaven, it is also true, I can sure miss heaven if I have not served God. In the book of Matthew 7: 13-14. It reads “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and the are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that lead to life, and there are few who find it.” It is a verse in the Bible that I pay attention to. What if I have not put God first in my life and have walk in the broad path. Not a pleasant thought.
It is up to you and I to put God first. Surely one way is to put the activity of the church ahead of things that are in the world. Not saying we can’t do things in the world, but when the church has things that will help you and I live in harmony with God, we should make that a priority. In March we have set aside time for Joe Wells to be with us, to help us grow. It is of importance that each of support this meeting with Brother Joe. I do hope we can count on all of our membership to be a part of this meeting, starting on Friday and going through Sunday afternoon. Can we count on YOU?
It is also important that not only are we there, but also be a part of it. This is a quote that Brother Mike Hite from Bear Valley made, and I hope you will think about this quote.
“Today we each have a choice- to attend church or to worship. God deserves your praise not just your presence.”
Where Will You Be
Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
What does it do for you? Does it help you becomes closer to God? Is it something we can choose to do or not? Do you say my voice is bad and not very pleasing? Let us look into these questions we might have about singing.
What does it do for you? First of all, it helps me to praise God and to focus my mind on loving my Lord. It helps express my thoughts and channel my mind. It thrills my soul; it just makes me feel good. If you are not singing, you are not praising God. I do understand there are times when our voices will not work, but that is not all the time.
Is it something I have a choice to do or not? We all have the right to do or not do what God desires us to do, but to be pleasing to God we must do our best to sing. Why would a person who is a Christian not desire to sing praises to our Lord?
Do you say I have a bad voice or don’t know how? Does God look at the sound or the heart? I believe He looks into our heart. If the heart is right the sound will be sweet.
A short story about me, when I was a young teenager, what was I going to do about singing? My peers, who were around me, were not singing very much. Was I going to be like them, or was I going to be a leader, who was not ashamed of singing to the Lord. I hope you know my answer to that question. I was going to be one who sang to the Lord, and many around me soon started singing out also. What will you do?
“Singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
In the first chapter of the book of Joshua, Joshua has become the leader of God’s people after the death of Moses and they are ready to enter the Promised Land. What a monumental task he had. It is estimated there were well over a million Israelites and possibly as many as three million. Also, even though God had already promised them this was to be their new home, there still must have been some anxiety about going into this new unknown country where they were to displace the inhabitants and take over the land. Four times in this first chapter God tells Joshua, “Be strong and courageous,” and once God even tells him, “Be strong and very courageous.” In Joshua 1:5, God tells Joshua why he is to be strong and courageous; “I will not fail you or forsake you.” The Israelites were victorious over the Canaanites, not because of their own power, but because God is a promise keeper.
Today, our world is different from what we have recently considered normal. Our country, our state, our towns, are all dealing with a virus that has infected thousands and killed many. In some ways, like Joshua, we are entering into uncharted territory. Travel is restricted, touching our faces is warned against, and gathering in groups has been restricted. This has caused concern and anxiety about what we as members of the Lord’s body should be doing. We may not have all the answers, but we are trying to do the best we can to pay homage to our God and obey the laws of our government. We are worshipping God and partaking of the Lord’s supper in our homes, tuning in to bible lessons taught in internet broadcasts, and staying in touch with our brothers and sisters by phone, email, text, and the post office. How long will this continue? We do not yet know the answer to that question. However, we will remain faithful through this crisis. To calm any anxiety you may be having, I would recommend daily reading of God’s word and prayer. One thing I do know, is we can “be strong and very courageous” because He has said He will “never fail us or forsake us”. And remember, He is a promise keeper.
God has given to each of us the ability to make choices in our lives. Along with that ability comes responsibility. We are then accountable for our actions, whatever they are. We can live by the pattern that God has given us or what the world has to offer. How important that decision is when it comes to our eternity.
In most of my prayers to God, I ask to be a light to the world so they may see Christ in how I live daily. It’s my responsibility and no one else’s to do that. I cannot depend on someone to follow me around and guide me, I have the pattern and it’s up to me to live it.
We understand that the lives we live need to be patterned like Christ’s. So, what does that entail? Jesus knew the scriptures and so should we. Jesus knew how to treat people, we should too. Paul writes in Gal 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control: against such things there is no law.” Our responsibility is to put these nine fruits of the Spirit into our lives and to live it daily.
Love, it seeks to do others good and never seeks to do them harm. Joy, this joy does not depend upon outward circumstances but upon, one’s faith and trust in God. Peace, when one has peace, it is easy for him to be a peacemaker and live at peace with all men. Patience, is keeping the right attitude towards those who annoy, oppose or ridicule. Kindness comes out of a loving heart. Goodness, to be good to others means one helps and aids others, he is generous. Faithfulness means loyalty, fidelity and trustworthiness which includes being faithful and true to God. Gentleness, it can be a quiet spirit which suffers wrong without resentment. And Self-control, this is a person who is able to control his life by principles of right instead of by his desires and wants. Let us all make our lights shine in a world of darkness and be responsible for our actions. Live it every day. It’s a wonderful life.
The necessity for deacons to help manage all the needs for service in the church; in Acts 6:1-7 this was recognized and men where appointed. The bible explains the importance and the qualifications of men to serve in the church as deacons. Every congregation has its own needs and is to select qualified men with the talents to fill positions of service. It is important that we do not overlook the needs of anyone because we are too overcome with things to be done to best reach all that have need. In (1Timothy 3:8-13) we see the qualifications for deacons and how these men are to be selected. Once the need is recognized and the elders have selected a nominee they will be put before the congregation.
We are blessed with many wonderful deacons doing so much, seen and unseen, that we could not do without them. They have desired the position and fill it well with much effort and service to our Lord. I cannot say enough about these men and their loving wives that support them in all they do. We have so many members that volunteer to help out with so many tasks anytime the deacons ask them for help. It is up to all of us as members to help the Lord’s church here run smoothly and lovingly so to reach the lost and fill all needs. May we all not only show a desire to join together and serve together with loving wisdom and gratitude.
There may come a time to find more deacons as we grow. We pray that men serving now will desire to someday serve as elders. Thank you all for the giving of yourselves to the Lord to serve His church in Ripon. The hard work of our members encourage us all and is noticed in our community. (Colossians 2:6-7) "Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude."
Thank you all, Chuck
13397 West Ripon Road, Ripon CA 95366