Words That Challenge And Change
Many times it is very simple words that challenge the best that is within us and helps us to change our life; especially when those words come from God. Words can be powerful; this is certainly true concerning God’s word. God said, “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29) Most of us grew up hearing and saying such things as “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But then we learn that words do hurt. The truth is words have incredible power to build us up or tear us down. Words carry immeasurable significance. Near the close of the first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul wrote some simple words that can change our life forever. These words are just as important to 21st century Christians as they were to 1st century Christians who first read them. Paul wrote, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14) Use your words to speak life instead of death and allow God’s words to change you forever!
The word “Watch” is a word that will challenge and change us. The word “watch” is God’s spiritual encouragement for us to be keep awake, to be vigilant and to be attentive about spiritual things. Constant watchfulness is the price of safety both physically and spiritually. In 1 Peter 5:8 we read, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” You have many spiritual enemies; be continually on guard spiritually, especially guard against false prophets. There are many false teachers gone out into the world. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1) We must be ever watchful against any and all evil that might cross our path. Our culture does not want to admit that evil exists, especially in people. Somehow society wants us to ignore the fact that God hates evil. We should watch for good to come to our life. (James 1:7) There are also many opportunities to do good that everyone should see. Our goodness is not a response to the world, but a response to the grace of God that we have received. Watch for opportunities to serve and love others. Watch for opportunities to fortify ourselves and our brethren against temptation.
The expression “stand fast in the faith” is an expression that will challenge and change us. God’s people “must stand fast in the faith.” As we stand fast for the Lord we are prepared both to live and to dies. The faith is that system of faith that once and for all has been delivered to the saints. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 1:3) Christians must hold on to their personal faith in a conscientious way and they must hold on to the system of faith with that same tenacity. To stand fast in the faith is to be settled in matters pertaining to God's revealed plan and not to be moved away from it by anything or anybody. “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised.” (Hebrews 10:23) Let us stand fast in the faith that Jesus Christ is the all-sufficient Savior and that the Scriptures are the only and all-sufficient rule of faith.
The expression “quit you like men” is an expression that will challenge and change us. God’s desire is that we stand up and be a godly and righteous person. We are not to be like children tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine. “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” (Ephesians 4:14) With our understanding we must receive the truth. With our judgment we must determine to obey the truth and to never turn from it. Let us grow to that point of spiritual maturity where we would give up life rather than give up our faith. “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:12-14) Let us be men: Men of faith, Men of conviction, Men of courage, Men of hope and Men of service to Christ and His cause.
The expression “be strong” is an expression that will challenge and change us. Our cause is good. We are standing with God. Summon up all your courage and stand strong. Fear not! “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) Fear not because even if you die for Jesus victory is yours. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4) Great spiritual strength is possible to all true Christians. “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 2:1) Be strong in convictions and in love for God and man.
The expression “Let all your things be done with charity or love” is an expression that will challenge and change us. Let love for God and love for others be the motivation for all your actions. Love is a great motivation for proper living. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) Every work performed, every word spoken and every action taken must be motivated by love. “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
Paul's admonition for Corinth and for us is simple, persuasive and motivating. “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14) When we heeded these admonitions they will guide to spiritual strength and joy in serving the Lord. The person who is not a Christian should be converted now! To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus as the Christ (John 8:24), repent of all sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Matthew 10:32) and be baptized to be saved. (Mark16:16) After baptism remain faithful to God. (Revelation 2:10) Let us never forget that, “The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” (1 Peter 3:12)
- - - - Charles Box
News & Notes
1. Prayer List: In Need of Prayer: Jordyn Bagents, Holley Box, LeRoy Boutwell, Mary Ann Bozeman, Willie Frank Burnett, Brenda Burkett, Terry Claunch, Camren Coleman, Tim Croley, Trina Croley (surgery), Debbie Cunningham, Sybel Farmer, Marietta Faulkenberry, Christie Hartin, Ann Jackson, Patricia Kennemore, Peggy Lassiter, Arthur Little, Callie Lowe, Annie McKee, Jeff Miller, Patsy Nall, Peggy Olive, Jane Owen, Candice Parker, Elizabeth Perdue, Tina Pouncey, Brian Queener, Lanigah Ray, Dan Raybon, Lydia Ann Raybon, Denver Reynolds (surgery), John Reynolds, Billy Rodgers, Rosie Rudolph, Caleb Sams, L.D. Sessions (surgery), Nathan Simmons, Valeria Stacey, Vickie Starkie, Sarah Stidham, McArthur Taylor, Mary Lou Terrell, Cindy Thomas, John Tindoll, Tonia Vickers, Bobbie Walker, Danny Waller, Leroy Waller, and William Ward. Crowne Health Care: Helen Autrey, Dorothy Buck, Jewel Cauthen, Gladys Childs, Arlene Coletrane, Betty Findley, Davis Hester, Kathy Johnson, Sarah Knight, Nelda Sanders, Annie Ruth Tetter, and Alice Thompson.
2. Baptized Into Christ: Matthew Jackson was baptized into Christ a few days ago. Please love and encourage him. Matthew is doing so very good with his life and his service to God. We rejoice with Matthew and with Allan and Ann.
3. Wayne Garlock as a Deacon: Our Elders set before the church Wayne Garlock to be a Deacon. You have 2 weeks to pray and talk to Wayne or our Elders. Barring any problems he will be appointed March 17th.
4. Special Prayer Request: A Christian lady from Guyana, Samantha Joseph, is struggling with cancer. She is going to Maryland on March 4th for possible treatment. Please pray for her and her family.
5. Birthdays: Celebrating birthdays this week: March 3rd Emily Harrell, March 4th Matthew Jackson and Marty Sexton, March 6th Kenneth Smith, and March 7th Jason Owens.
6. Anniversary: Celebrating an anniversary this week: March 9th Donald and Nell Davis.
7. Jason Godwin Deployed: Jason will be leaving March 16th for some training in Texas then he will be deployed to Kosovo for 1 year.
8. Youth Attend “YES Weekend”: The youth group had a spiritually uplifting and fun trip to YES Weekend at the Forest Park Church of Christ in Valdosta, Georgia last weekend. A special thanks to Marty and Alicia Sext, Blake Bagents, Andrew Cauthen, and Brittany Till for making the trip possible by serving as chaperons. Also, thanks to our youth for participating.
9. Sign-Up Sheets for Vacation Bible School: Mark your calendar for June 23rd – 27th for Vacation Bible School. Let’s get an early start by signing up to help now. Check the sign-up sheets on the small bulletin board in the foyer. Your help is greatly appreciated.
10. Budget for 2013: Our budget for 2013 is $363,205.96. The weekly budget is $6,984.73. Please give as God has prospered you.
11. Pray for Our Elders: It is God’s will that the church have godly Elders. (1 Timothy 3) Our Elders deserve and need our loving support and prayers. Lift Mike Bagents and Bobby Terrell up before God daily. Pray also for other men to step up and serve as Elders.
12. Need Clear Bottles: Darrell Powell needs clear plastic, 2 liter bottles. If you have any please bring them now.
13. Area Events: (a) March 4th–7th – Faulkner Lectures – Faulkner University – Theme: The Power of Parables – There will be special programs like “Youth & Family Ministry Summit” each day, (b) March 8th – Area Wide Singing – Opp Church of Christ – Time 7:00 to 8:00 pm, - (c) March 9th – Ladies Day – Grandview Pines Church of Christ – Speaker Aletha Ray – Theme “A Woman After God’s Own Heart” – Registration 9 am, and (d) March 10th-13th – Gospel Meeting – Luverne Church of Christ – Speaker George Merritt – Time Sunday 9:30 Bible Class, 10:30 Worship 1:00 Worship and weeknights 7:00.
A Good Name
When I was 9 years old, on Arbor Day (a special day dedicated to tree planting and increasing awareness of the importance of trees), I had received a White Ash sapling at school. When I came home, my granddaddy, Bert Powell, took me outside and helped me plant it in the front yard. I was so excited about the possibility that something I planted would be there for perhaps hundreds of years. Seventeen years later, that tree is still one of the first things I look for when I visit. But, in a way, we all leave something behind us everywhere we go that remains long after we’re gone.
“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” (Proverbs 22:1) A person’s good name is something to be cherished and protected. It is not determined by wealth, fame, or power, but by the uprightness and decency with which one lives his or her life. A good name goes deeper than appearances. A good name among men that only disguises the ugly reality of who you really are is worthless. After all, we show our true colors while no one is around to see them. A good name, though it will follow us wherever we go, also remains behind as a monument to who we are.
But how does one develop a good name? Several of Jesus’ opening remarks in His Sermon on the Mount deal with our lives here on earth. One of those statements points out that it’s not the rich and mighty that will “inherit the earth,” but the meek. (Matthew 5:5) The humble spirit described here will help a person to live in “abundant peace.” (Psalms 37:11) Meekness is a component of a good name. Jesus also said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matthew 5:7) Mercy can only help to establish one’s good name. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9) I’ve met men in the county jail who take pride in their ability to stir up contention between others. But a good name results from instigating peace.
These few words barely prick the surface of the wealth of instructions that the Bible contains. The Word is our guidebook to making our names worthy both before men and the Creator of all.
- - - - Darrell Powell
Walnut Street Church of Christ
P.O. Box 551
Greenville, AL 36037-0551