2 Peter 1:3

“as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,”

None of Self And All Of Thee

April 21th 2019

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Title of this article is, of course, the title of a beautiful song in our song book. This song expresses a weakness that we all have, and a goal that every Christian should strive for. Each verse contains a great lesson for us. The first verse vividly expresses a weakness in all humans and that weakness is self-centeredness. This first verse says, “O, the bitter pain and sorrow that a time could ever be, when I proudly said to Jesus, ‘all of self and none of Thee.’ This reminds us of the fact that we often want to be the “captain of our own ship.” We want to do all things according to our own will. Thus we say, “All of self and none of Thee.” This attitude will continue until we get a good look, through God’s Word, at the One who should be guiding our life, because He died for us, and that One is Jesus. At this point, as the second verse indicates, we should realize what a great sacrifice it was for Jesus to die for us and understanding this, brings us to say, ‘Yet He found me; I beheld Him bleeding on that accursed tree, and my wistful heart said faintly, ‘some of self and some of Thee.’ As we continue to read about God and His love for us, and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, the transforming power of God’s Word should cause us to say, “Day by day His tender mercy healing, helping full and free, brought me lower while I whispered, ‘ Less of self, and more of Thee.’ This attitude is express in Paul’s words in Gal.2:20 when he wrote, “Ga 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” The bigger we become spiritually, we are brought lower and more dependant on God and less on ourselves. The fourth verse contains the goal that every Christian should want to reach. That goal is total submission to Christ through our love for God. It is at this in our life that we reach our greatest potential as children of God. His love has conquered us and we realize the blessings that are ours. We realize at this point that we cannot guide our own souls to Heaven. We see what Paul wished for the brethren at Ephesus when he said, “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph.3:14-21) Listen to the beautiful way this song ends. “Higher than the highest heavens, deeper than the deepest sea, Lord, Thou love at last has conquered, None of self and all of Thee.’

The Heart — The Problem

April 14th 2019

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Many articles have been written, many sermons preached, and many Bibleclasses taught to help encourage brethren to be more faithful. Much time is spent showing from Scripture the importance of not forsaking the assemble, giving as God directs, and studying the Bible for ourselves. (Heb.10:25, 2Cor. 9:7, 2Tim 2:15) All of this is needful. However, we are often dealing with a symptom and not the real problem—the heart. The answer to how we get ourselves involved in doing the thing we should as Christians is found on the insidein our heart. Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Isn’t the reason we don’t attend services as we should, give as God directs, study as we should, and fail to try and teach the lost because our hearts are not in it? Also, if our hearts are not in serving God, is it not because our treasures are not in serving God? I’m reminded of an O.T. passage in Deut.8:1-3. God was reminding Israel of all the ways He had blessed them indelivering them from Egypt and sustaining them in the wilderness. Among the things God did was to educate them in the “school of hunger.” Israel constantly had trouble following God because their hearts were not in it. Ex.16:3 says, “ And the children of Israel said to them, "Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger." Deut. 8:1-3 then says, "Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers. 2 "And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 "So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.” Israel’s heart was not in serving God. The N.T. also teaches the Christian that it is only when the church becomes the “pearl of great price” to us individually, that we begin to serve God. The problem of not attending and all these other things will be nonexistent.

Based In Love God said through Paul that, “love...is the perfect bond of unity.” (Col.3:14) If this is all we knew from God then it would be just a sweet sentiment. But the Bible was not written to have us feel good, but to do good. Let His description of love soak in: 1Co 13:4-7, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, think no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (NKJV) It is not a sentimental love that brings unity but a sincere love. ~ Terry Phelps

A Person Who Attends Worship Regularly Has:

April 07th 2019

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“There is nothing better than a man should enjoy his work.” Ecc.3:22 President Eliot of Harvard was 88. Asked how he accounted for his good health and vigorous mind he said, “A calm temperament expectant of good.” Winston Churchill said, “Rational, industrious, useful human beings are divided into two classes: first, those whose work is work and whose pleasure is pleasure; and secondly, those whose work and pleasure are one. Fortune’s favored children belong to the second class. Their life is natural harmony.” Some things make life pleasant; others make it miserable. The following rules are not always easy to follow. But they help me. Maybe they will be of help to you: 1. Make up your mind to be happy. Find pleasure in simple things. 2. Make the best of your circumstances. Everyone has some sorrow. Seek to make the smiles outnumber the tears. 3. You can’t please everyone. Don’t let your critics run and ruin your life. The more you accomplish, the more resistance you will meet. 4. Don’t borrow trouble. Imaginary problems are heavier than the actual ones. 5. Hate poisons the soul. Do not cherish grudges. Avoid people who make you unhappy. 6. Don’t hold postmortems, brooding over sorrows and mistakes. 7. Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself, especially those who have blessed your life. 8. Keep busy. A busy person doesn’t have time to be unhappy. Ec 3:12, “I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives,” ~ Joe R. Barnett

A Person Who Attends Worship Regularly Has: A better chance of being at home with himself and the universe. A better chance of getting along with people. A better chance of fellowship with God now and eternally. A better chance of using his time, talents, and money wisely. A better chance of making his life count for good and right. A better chance of dealing with evil, crushing sorrow and unhappiness. A better chance of keeping mentally healthy. A better chance of receiving mercy and forgiveness. A better chance of becoming thoroughly honest and humble. A better chance of helping his neighbor. A better chance for a full well rounded life. ~ Author Unknown

Do What Needs Doing

March 31st 2019

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When your children were growing up and threw their clothes on the floor and then walked past them, what did you say to them? When they tried to put a piece of trash in the trash can and it fell out, because it was so full, and they walked away without taking the trash out, what did you say to them?

I think I know the answer to both of these questions. You probably said something like, “Pick up those clothes, and don’t just walk by like they are not there, and take the trash out please and empty it.” These things, are something similar, you said to teach them responsibility. Hopefully, they would learn to do whatever needed doing without being told every time to do it.

This is what the writer of Ecclesiastes was saying in chapter nine verse ten. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.”.

This lesson seems to have been learned well and followed when it concerns our own houses and property as adults. However, it seems to be lost when it comes to how some Christians care for the church building and grounds where they are members.

Let me show you what I am saying. At times we plan a “work day” for caring for the church building and grounds. This is a good idea, and I am for it, but if we are responsible Christian people shouldn’t we do whatever needs doing whether there is a day planned to do it or not? Should the preacher, or someone else point out what needs doing before you do it?

If paper needs picking up along the street or leaves needs to be raked, do we need a business meeting or some individual to point this out before we do something about it ourselves? I dare say if your lawn had paper on it or your leaves needed raking you would not have to sit down in a meeting and decide that you would clean itup!

You would not walk by these things but would do these chores just because they needed doing. This is being a responsible person.

Why don’t we do act the same way when it comes to those things that are connected to our spiritual lives? I know that the building hereon E. Howell street is not the church, but it is the place where Christians meet in Hartwell for worship. The building and grounds should at least look as good as our own possessions look.

This same lesson should be applied to ALL we do as Christians. No one should have to constantly remind us that we should be busy about our Father’s business.

Inviting others to worship services, teaching the lost when we have the opportunity, studying our Bibles, and doing good deeds should be a part of who we are as Christians and not something we need to be told to do.

Look around and find something you can do to help. When you find it, whatever it is, do it heartily as to the Lord.

The time for “doing” is now this side of the grave!
~ Aubrey

Child Abuse

March 17th 2019

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One of the greatest tragedies of our nation is that of child abuse. Almost every day on TV, or radio, we hear of a child being abused. These children are being abused by the very people that should provide them with the care they need. Parents, grandparents, or other close relatives are usually the ones who abuse them. It is not uncommon to hear of a child who lost their life because of abuse. It sickens, saddens, and angers us to hear of this abuse. Along with physical abuse there is mental abuse as well. While a child may live through physical abuse, the mental abuse, caused by the physical abuse at the hands of those they loved and trusted, stays with them throughout their lives. This mental abuse often causes them to abuse other children as they were abused. It is a vicious cycle that goes on and on. God will surely deal very severely with those people who don’t know Him, and who have no natural affections for helpless children. (Rom.1:31-32) God’s Word, and obedience to it, is the only thing that can break this cycle of abuse. A person can become “a new creature” (2Cor.5:17) if he/she so desires. However, as bad as physical and mental abuse is, this is not, in my estimate, the worse kind of abuse. The most sever and damning kind of abuse is “spiritual abuse.” It is the kind of abuse that injures, and if not stopped, can result in the death of the souls of our children. Like physical and mental abuse, this spiritual is inflicted by the parents, grandparents, and other close relatives of the child. The abuse of the soul of children can, and often time does, lead to physical and mental abuse of themselves and others. This abuse can happen in a number of ways. The most obvious way is the failure of those responsible for the care of their children to teach and train their children in the “training and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph.6:4-NKJV) Unlike physical and mental abuse, this spiritual abuseis in many cases unintentional. Because of the pressures of making a living and caring for the physical needs of their children, their souls are abused by a lack of spiritual training. Parents don’t encourage their children to read and study God’s Word, and neither do they set the example of this before their children. As a result of this kind of neglect, another form of child abuse, the child’s soul is injured. If not corrected, it leads to death of that soul. Another form of “spiritual child abuse” is teaching a child religious things not in harmony with God’s Word. In other words false doctrines. This is a form of mental abuse. This kind of abuse leads children to believe and practice things not found in “sound doctrine” of the New Testament. (Tit.2:1) It causes them to fail to obey the gospel of Christ, God’s power to save. (Rom.1:16) As a result of not obeying the tryth— that souls is destroyed or lost. (2Thess.1) If most of us were accused of physically, mentally, or through neglect, abusing our children, most of us would not be guilty. Would we, however, be guilty of spiritually abusing our children? Are we teaching and training their precious little souls? Are we giving them the “sincere milk of the Word” that they may grow thereby? Their physical bodies may look well taken care of while their soul on the inside is abused and dying.
~ Aubrey

The Weightier Matters

March 10th 2019

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It is likely the most scathing rebuke ever given from the mouth of our Savior. Seven times in Matthew 23 Jesus says, “Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.” He calls them blind guides, whitewashed tombs, and a brood of vipers. In the midst of these stinging condemnations Jesus says, “Mt 23:23a "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith...” The Scribes and Pharisees were very concerned about some aspects of the Law, but left other things - called the “weightier matters” - undone. Jesus obviously establishes the principle here that there are some things in God’s law that are more IMPORTANT, more FOUNDATIONAL, than other things. That this has tremendous significance for us when it comes to our message and doctrine as God’s people today. Clearly, the Scriptures indicates that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is at the very center of Christianity—as Paul says it is “of first imp o r t a n c e…” ( 1 Cor.15:3-5) We cannot afford to allow anything else to form the core of who we are and what we believe. However, this does not mean that the ONLY doctrine that matters is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus— any more than it meant in Matthew 23 that the only doctrines that matters were justice, mercy, and faithfulness. After making the statement above in Matthew 23:23a, Jesus finished the verse by saying, “These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others,” Even though it was not foundational, tithing mint and dill and cumin was also important to God and should not have been neglected.

So lets make sure we keep first things first and continue to allow the heart of our doctrine to be Jesus Christ and Him crucified. But equally so, let’s not make the mistake of saying that our other doctrines, such as the nature of the church and how it is to worship, can be neglected because they are not as foundational. They may not be as foundational, but they are not irrelevant to God.
~ Mark Littleton - Athens, TN


Aubrey L. Prestridge - Minister

Office Phone: 706.376.9132

Home Phone: 706.282.7188

Office Phone: 706.491.9486