Bethany Church news
From Sermon Central:
“As we faithfully serve the Lord through the power of His Spirit, the devil's hosts will begin to attack us with all their might. As a result, we may be called upon to suffer for Christ's sake. The veteran missionary Russell Ebersole was once greatly encouraged by the beloved Bible teacher William Pettingill. After Ebersole told him of the disappointments and trials he had faced on the foreign field, Pettingill exclaimed, 'Brother, that means you're on the right track. If you never experience any opposition or setbacks in the Lord's work, you ought to get down on your knees and ask Him to show you what you're doing wrong!'"
So how are things going with you today? Is everything going well? Why? Now don’t misunderstand; Jesus will give us great times of rest, and he does shower blessings upon us because he loves us! We should not, however, consider this to be the normal situation of a Christian. If the Devil is not after you, it is because you are not doing anything to worry him! I feel sorry for the great evangelists who are leading thousands to the Lord; I know the Devil is working overtime on them, and they remain in my prayers for strength in their work. I encourage you to keep them in your prayers also.
Ephesians 6:12 (KJV); “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Revelation 2:10 (KJV); “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
We don’t WANT trials and tribulations, but we can bear them better if we understand them! Rejoice when the Lord is blessing you with good times, and take heart when things are falling apart – for you have made the devil mad, and that is a VERY good thing!
A huge tree in Colorado fell to the ground with a resounding crash after having stood majestically on a hill for more than 400 years. Just a sapling when Columbus landed in San Salvador, over the centuries it had been struck by lightning 14 times, braved great windstorms, and even defied an earthquake. In the end, however, it was killed by some little beetles. Boring under the bark, they chewed away at its fibers until one day that great king of the forest came thundering down. That’s the way apparently insignificant sins often make their way into our spiritual lives, and if left unchecked may cause our downfall. The idle word spoken, the prayer time omitted, and the occasional fleshly pleasure indulged -- these things "spoil" the vineyard much more than we realize. If Satan gets his toe in the door on inconsistency, he will NOT quit forcing his way on into our lives.
1 Peter 2:11-12 (NRSV);
“Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul. Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that, though they malign you as evildoers, they may see your honorable deeds and glorify God when he comes to judge.”
People can know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and escape the world’s filth. But if they get involved in this filth again and give in to it, they are worse off than they were before. It would have been better for them never to have known the way of life that God approves of than to know it and turn their backs on the holy life God told them to live. These proverbs have come true for them: “A dog goes back to its vomit,” and “A sow that has been washed goes back to roll around in the mud.””
One way to avoid this rot from within is to fellowship with other believers. Holding each other up is a great way to assure that any that stumble do not fall; and IF they fall, there are many to pick them back up and place them on their feet again! One way to assure you are rightly envolved in this is to join yourself with a good Bible believing church where you can both receive from and give support to others.
Stanley Jones wrote this about a crucial moment in his life when he found himself on his way to what could have been a spiritual disaster:
For months after my conversion, I was running under cloudless skies. And then suddenly I tripped, almost fell, pulled back this side of the sin, but was shaken and humiliated that I could come that close to sin. I thought I was emancipated and found I wasn't. I went to the class meeting -- I'm grateful that I didn't stay away -- went, but my music had gone. I had hung my harp on a weeping willow tree. As the others spoke of their joys and victories of the week, I sat there with the tears rolling down my cheeks. I was heartbroken. After the others had spoken, John Zink, the class leader, said: "Now, Stanley, tell us what is the matter." I told them I couldn't, but would they please pray for me? Like one man they fell to their knees, and they lifted me back to the bosom of God by faith and love.
When we got up from our knees, I was reconciled to my heavenly Father, to the group, and to myself. I was reconciled. The universe opened its arms and took me in again. The estrangement was gone. I took my harp from the willow tree and began to sing again -- the Song of Moses and the Lamb, especially the Lamb. The cross was my refuge and my release.
That was a very crucial moment in my Song of Ascents, the moment when I lost my music. My destiny was in the hands of that group. I was a very bruised reed; suppose they had broken me? I was a smoldering wick; suppose they had snuffed me out? Just a criticism: "I told you so. Too good to be true. He was riding for a fall." But they never uttered a criticism, or even thought of one, as far as I could see. The reaction was nothing but redemptive love. That group became redemptive. I saw and experienced the power of redemptive love incarnate in a group.
Galatians 6:1 (NCV);
“Brothers and sisters, if someone in your group does something wrong, you who are spiritual should go to that person and gently help make him right again. But be careful, because you might be tempted to sin, too.”
In a painfully honest look at his own life, W.E. Sangster wrote in his journal that although he was a minister, the spiritual passion in his private life had languished. He made the following observations.
* I am irritable and easily put out.
* I am impatient with my wife and children.
* I am deceitful in that I often express private annoyance when a caller is announced and simulate pleasure when I actually greet them.
* From an examination of my heart, I conclude that most of my study has been crudely ambitious; that I wanted degrees more than knowledge and praise rather than equipment for service.
* Even in my preaching I fear that I am more often wondering what the people think of me, than what they think about my Lord and His word.
* I have long felt in a vague way that something was hindering the effectiveness of my ministry and I must conclude that the "something" is my failure in living the truly Christian life.
* I am driven in pain to conclude that the girl who has lived as a maid in my house for more than three years has not felt drawn to the Christian life because of me.
* I find slight envies in my heart at the greater success of other young ministers. I seem to match myself with them in thought and am vaguely jealous when they attract more notice than I do.
If you kept a journal of your life, and kept it HONESTLY, how would it read? Would it be as critical of you as this? NOW is the time to change!
Corinthians 4:11 (TLB);
“Yes, we live under constant danger to our lives because we serve the Lord, but this gives us constant opportunities to show forth the power of Jesus Christ within our dying bodies.”
“I have been crucified with Christ: and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the real life I now have within this body is a result of my trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
I have always been interested in old laws and customs, especially those that seem VERY outlandish by today’s standards. There is a law on the books that says an automobile cannot drive at night unless it is preceded by a man carrying a lantern. In Memphis, Tennessee, it is illegal for a woman to drive a car unless there is a man either running or walking in front of it waving a red flag to warn approaching motorists and pedestrians. I’m not going to elaborate on that one!
Some time ago I read this, which leads to the point for today’s message:
In 1842 the first bathtub was denounced as a "luxurious and democratic vanity". I have seen pictures of bathtubs with boards blocking the bathers view of their own body, because it was considered sinful! Boston made it unlawful to bathe, except on doctor's prescription. In 1843, Philadelphia made bathing illegal between November 1 and March 15. Now we know when NOT to visit Philadelphia, huh?
These practices sure seem outlandish! We laugh at people that passed such laws, or believed in such customs, don’t we? Yet there are MANY Christians today that have some VERY odd ideas about cleansing – spiritual cleansing, that is. It is tragic, but true. We have adopted some practices which we need to change! In many cases, we would rather put up with the stench of our unconfessed sins than come clean before God!
Jeremiah 4:14 (KJV);
“O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?”
2 Corinthians 7:1 (KJV);
“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
1 John 1:9 (KJV);
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
And – by the way – someday in the future, someone interested in old ridiculous laws will point out that way back in 2012, the legislature in New York made it illegal to sell large soft drinks, and then locked up the baby formula in the hospitals to encourage breast feeding. They will also laugh at a 2018 California law making it a crime to give a restaurant customer a straw for his drink unless they asked for it.
C. Ray Dobbins, Editor of Cumberland Presbyterian, was on a plane and his seatmate told him of riding a plane recently from Miami on which there were 65 psychiatrists traveling home from a convention. During the flight a woman became ill and mentally upset, yet none of the doctors offered to help. The plane had to put down in Nashville so they could take the woman to the hospital. His companion's comment was, "Life is like that." There is a great deal of intelligence and expertise in this world but often it is of no help in the face of human needs.
We hear a great deal today about the difficulty of finding people who are competent! Every one of us has worked with, or dealt with companies, where it seems NO ONE has any idea what is going on! Is there REALLY such a total lack of good sense in the world today? NO! What there is a lack of in the world today is people who CARE!! The indifferent one who sells you the wrong part is NOT stupid; he just does not CARE enough to be sure he has sold you the right one!
The response of most Christians is many times the same. We see great spiritual need. As Christians we have the answer to help. In fact, we go to great lengths to say that we have what this world needs, yet we often continue unresponsive. We move away from the problem and pretend to be guiltless. Where is the courage to care?
James 2:14-17 (NCV);
“My brothers and sisters, if people say they have faith, but do nothing, their faith is worth nothing. Can faith like that save them? A brother or sister in Christ might need clothes or food. If you say to that person, “God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat,” but you do not give what that person needs, your words are worth nothing. In the same way, faith that is alone—that does nothing—is dead.”
James 4:17 (NKJV);
“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
When H. M. Stanley went to Africa in 1871 to find and report on David Livingstone, he spent several months in the missionary's company, carefully observing the man and his work. Livingstone never spoke to Stanley about spiritual matters, but Livingstone's loving and patient compassion for the African people was beyond Stanley's comprehension. He could not understand how the missionary could have such love for and patience with the backward, pagan people among whom he had so long ministered. Livingstone literally spent himself in untiring service for those whom he had no reason to love except for Christ's sake. Stanley wrote in his journal, "When I saw that unwearied patience, that unflagging zeal, and those enlightened sons of Africa, I became a Christian at his side, though he never spoke to me one word."
What does this tell us about – us? It tells us that the most effective witness we can give is to live each day according to the teachings of Jesus Christ. It tells us that people will not be converted according to the eloquence of our words, nor by the power of our persuasive arguments, nor by the might of our powerful testimony! It tells us that people will be converted by the eloquence of our DEEDS, and the power of our righteous living, and the might of our love for God and Man.
Matthew 5:16 (KJV);
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Colossians 3:12-14 (NRSV);
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
In a testimony an evangelist one time described his mother as being love personified. As a boy he found her sitting at the table with an old tramp one day. Apparently she had gone shopping, met the tramp along the way, and invited him home for a warm meal. During the conversation the tramp said, "I wish there were more people like you in the world." Whereupon his mother replied, "Oh, there are. But you must look for them." The old man simply shook his head, saying. "But, lady, I didn't need to look for you. You looked for me." When that mother reflected her Christian kindness toward the tramp she did something more than simply offer him welfare. It was a compassion that went out of its way to love the unlovely.
Matthew 15:30 (KJV);
“And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them:”
Luke 4:18 (KJV);
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,”
Luke 19:10 (KJV);
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
And that's the story of our Savior's life, death and resurrection. He came looking for us in the sick, the maimed, the lame, the bruised, the broken hearted, the wretched wanderer, the poor and forgotten, the prisoner, and the lonely rich. It is here that he finds those that need him most, that seek him without knowing what it is they seek. It is here that he found me. Has he found you? He wants to, you know. He seeks you constantly; he only requires that you receive him.
A man fell into a pit and couldn't get himself out.
A Subjective person came along and said: "I feel for you, down there."
An Objective person came along and said: "It's logical that someone would fall into that pit."
A Christian Scientist came along: "You only think you are in a pit."
A Pharasee said: "Only bad people fall into a pit."
A Mathematician calculated how he fell into the pit.
A News Reporter wanted the exclusive story on his fall into the pit.
A Fundamentalist said: "You deserve your pit."
Confucious said; "If you had listened to me, you wouldn’t be in that pit."
Buddha said: "Your pit is only a state of mind."
A Realist said: "That's a pit."
A Scientist calculated the force required (kg.) to raise him out of the pit.
A Geologist told him to appreciate the rock strata in the pit.
An Evolutionist said: "You are a rejected mutant destined to be removed from the evolutionary cycle." In other words, he is going to die in the pit so that he cannot produce any "pit-falling offspring."
The County Inspector asked if he had a permit to have a pit.
A Professor gave him a lecture on The Elementary Principles of the Pit.
An Evasive person came along and avoided the subject of the pit.
A Self-Pitying person said: "You should have seen the pit I fell into!"
A Charismatic said: "Just confess that you're not in a pit."
An Optimist said: "Things could be worse."
A Pessimist said: "Things will get worse!!"
Jesus, seeing the man, took him by the hand and lifted him out of the pit.
Psalm 40:1-2 (KJV);
“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”
Psalms 68:19 (KJV);
“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation - Selah”
“Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.”
“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.”
How often do we ask God for something, and only receive partial what we asked for! Have you asked for a HEALING, but instead received a lessening of the problem, but it still persisted? How often have you asked God to deal with a situation, and instead he gives you the strength to continue in it yourself? At those times, remember that this could be God’s way of assuring that you keep in touch with him on a DAILY – (or even oftener!) basis!
Speak to your Father at LEAST once a day – and attend a worship service at LEAST once a week!
The Edge Of Adventure said a few words about that old TV show ‘Cheers’.
"The neighborhood bar is a counterfeit of the fellowship Christ wants to give his church. The bar is an imitation dispensing liquor instead of grace, escape rather than reality, but it is permissive, it is accepting and it is an inclusive fellowship. It is unshockable. It is democratic.
You can tell people secrets and they usually don't tell others or even want to. The bar flourishes not because most people are alcoholics, but because God has put into the human heart, the desire to know and be known, to love and be loved. ‘You want to go – where everybody knows – your name’ as the ‘Cheers’ theme song says."
The Word of God tells us about the REAL fellowship of Christ:
Acts 2:42-47 (KJV);
“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
1 Peter 1:22 (KJV);
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently”
Come and join us Sunday! You KNOW you desire fellowship, and the bars are closed on Sunday, so come to church and find the REAL thing.
Openness is essentially the willingness to grow, a distaste for ruts, eagerly standing on tiptoe for a better view of what tomorrow brings. A man once bought a new radio, brought it home, placed it on the refrigerator, plugged it in, turned it to WSM in Nashville, and then pulled all the knobs off! He had already tuned in all he ever wanted or expected to hear. Some marriages are "rutted" and rather dreary because either or both partners have yielded to the tyranny of the inevitable: "What has been will still be." Stay open to newness. Stay open to change. In Engineering, we call this ‘thinking outside the box’, which means NEVER be restricted by what has BEEN done, but look at what MIGHT be done.
Ecclesiastes 9:9 (TLB);
“Live happily with the woman you love through the fleeting days of life, for the wife God gives you is your best reward down here for all your earthly toil.”
1 Peter 3:7 (TLB);
“You husbands must be careful of your wives, being thoughtful of their needs and honoring them as the weaker sex. Remember that you and your wife are partners in receiving God’s blessings, and if you don’t treat her as you should, your prayers will not get ready answers.”
These are GREAT passages for getting along with your spouse, and should be followed. This idea is also true, however, in ANY relationship. It is easy to get into a rut with a friend, co-worker, family member, in such a way that the relationship never develops into the true friendship it could, if we would only be OPEN to new ideas. Listening to WSM is FINE – but don’t remove the knobs from the radio – because sometime you might find that a bit of WKDF, WRVW or WWTN is nice! A bit of Classical, easy listening, even hard rock, is a pleasant change, and may add a whole new dimension to your relationship. Who knows – you may discover that your old fishing buddy also likes to play golf, or bowls, or is a movie buff – and here you have always restricted your conversation to fishing!
Dear Ann Landers:
"Please come home early." This was the most unreasonable request ever made by my wife of almost 40 years.
She didn't make this request often. It came mostly on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, but it seemed that I always had so many things to do that in spite of her gentle urging, I rarely came home early.
I don't want to give the impression that I was never at home. I was at home a lot. We rarely did anything out of the ordinary. We enjoyed the kids and the grandchildren. We listened to music, read the paper, and had meals together. Sometimes we would just talk about how the day had gone.
Now I know why she asked me so often to "Please come home early." She wasn't just lonely, she was lonely for me. When she passed away a short time ago, I learned firsthand what loneliness is all about.
I have a supportive family and many good friends. I'm free now to go places and do things, but I'm lonesome. Lonesome for her.
Now that she's gone, I've found the time to "come home early," but there is nobody to come home to. There is nobody to do those simple little things with, such as watching the evening news, listening to music, and reading the paper. And nobody cares how my day went.
If I should get a call from the good Lord to "Please come home early," I won't fight it.
Lonesome in K.C.
The Word of God tells us to not miss out on the wonderful companionship of our mate -
Proverbs 5:18-19 (KJV);
Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
Don’t miss chances to be with anyone you love – your time with them may end anytime, and you will regret every missed opportunity.
An article in the CPA bulletin involved personnel directors around the country who were asked for the most unusual things that happened during job interviews. These were some of the responses:
* Man wore a jogging suit to an interview for a job as financial VP.
* Applicant offered to have the company's logo tattooed on his arm.
* Applicant interrupted interview to telephone his analyst to talk over the answer to a question.
* Not only did applicant ignore No Smoking sign, but twice lit the wrong end of filter-tip cigarettes.
* Balding candidate excused himself abruptly and returned a few minutes later wearing a hairpiece.
* Job applicant challenged the interviewer to arm wrestle.
Notice the lengths some people go to in order to be BELIEVED! Sometimes, the lengths and nervousness are so great they have the opposite effect, and they blow any chance of being believed. Here is a fellow willing to tattoo the company logo on his arm as an indication of loyalty!
And some folks fall at the opposite end; they don't care in the least. I remember an applicant for a drafting position at work who was qualified and was hired, but when the results from his drug test came in, the boss called him in to his office and told him he had failed. But he was a GOOD drafter, so the boss told him that we know some prescription meds can effect a drug test, so he was going to take it again a month later. The boss asked him if he understood what he was saying, and he said he did. When he took the test the next month, he failed it again.
Matthew 5:33-37 (NLT);
“Again, you have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Do not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ But I say, don’t make any vows! If you say, ‘By heaven!’ it is a sacred vow because heaven is God’s throne. And if you say, ‘By the earth!’ it is a sacred vow because the earth is his footstool. And don’t swear, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. Don’t even swear, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Your word is enough. To strengthen your promise with a vow shows that something is wrong.”