Life is composed of a series of ebbs and flows. It is one change after another. The force and influence of evil is also cyclical. Things get worse and, thankfully, they get better. We are always praying for things to get better. The blessing of being in Christ is that through all the changes of life we can enjoy spiritual stability.
Brother Al Behel will be with us this Sunday to begin our Fall Gospel Meeting. Though it is still pretty warm, Fall does begin on the 22nd! Brother Behel has been with us before and he always does a fine job preaching the Word of God. Many of our members know Al Behel from visiting with the Greater Smokey Mountain congregation in Pigeon Forge. Al Behel is well qualified: He has preached for many years and is a successful professional counselor.
I made a quick run down to Birmingham Tuesday. The weather was good and the traffic was a mixture of light and reasonable. Interstate 65 makes a trip like that something that can be just a portion of the day’s activities. As many of you know, it has not always been that way. It wasn’t so terribly far back that to contemplate going from Athens to Birmingham and back in one day would make a person shake his head!
“Are you ready?” Isn’t this what we ask each other when we have some place to go and a particular time to get there? I really don’t want to get into the “husband versus wife” discussion on this subject but I feel safe in saying that one of those two is generally ready before the other one.
Most of us go to the big box stores these days and picking up what we need off the shelf and paying whatever price is printed below the item. More and more retail outfits are trying to do business this way and so we do our research about what we will pay for something ahead of time, usually online. But it hasn’t always been this way. For all the years I was in the furniture business we knew that we could not put our lowest price on the tag because we knew folks wanted to dicker.
We all know that Mississippi is right next to Alabama. It would make sense to understand that we share similar topography, people and many attitudes. But in the minds of most of the residents, Alabama and Mississippi are definitely two different things. One thing we do have in common is that both states find themselves looked down upon by many of our supposed betters in the rest of the country. But folks do still keep moving here, don’t they?
Baptism is important. If it was insignificant or a mere adjunct to salvation we would not find it mentioned as it is by Paul, Peter and the Lord Himself. Most folks reading this article know the passages in the New Testament that reference baptism, among which are Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, and 1 Peter 3:21. From the very beginning of my exposure to the New Testament, the passage that has helped me most has been Romans 6. I think this is the case because this passage helped me understand how baptism works.
“Curse God, and die.” This is one of the saddest and most pitiful expressions to be found in the Bible. Bible students know that these words came from the mouth of Mrs. Job. We also know why she was moved to say such a thing.
Job had been a very rich man. He had at least eleven thousand animals and “very great household.” He had a large and fine family of seven sons and three daughters. The Bible says that Job was “perfect (blameless) and upright, one that feared God and eschewed evil” (1:1).
The scribes and Pharisees of the first century believed mightily in adhering to what they called “the tradition of the elders” (Matthew 15:2). Jesus rebuked them because of their hypocrisy which they utilized to contradict God’s will: “Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition” (Matthew 15:6). The Lord continued His rebuke with a quotation from Isaiah 29:13: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.
Our group, consisting of Suzanne, Andrew and Ashley Sims, Pam and Katie Pepper, Perry, Gina, Laura and Jacob Martin, Brent Peek, John Colgan, Steve Carr and me, met at the Huntsville Airport at 5:00 AM Friday morning, July 15. We went down to Atlanta (one always goes to Atlanta first) and then on to Miami. Going through security in Miami was easy as could be because the crowds were simply not there. Next was a stop in Trinidad where we stayed on the plane for perhaps two hours and then zipped down into the Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Guyana.
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