Prayer-Submission to God’s Will

Prayer: Conformity and Submission to God’s Will PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Wise
Monday, 26 November 2018 11:38
I have spent my last few Sunday morning messages considering different prayers and aspects of prayer. One theme that has really stood out to me throughout those studies and messages is this: one of the chief purposes (if not the main purpose) of prayer is to more fully conform ourselves to submission to the will of God in our lives.

 

People often say “what is the purpose of prayer?” Can my prayers really change anything? The short and long answer is a resounding “Yes!” We are petitioning the God with all power in heaven and earth, with no limitations on his ability, to intercede on our behalf. Oftentimes, God might see fit to powerfully display his ability and answer our petition in a mighty way. However, sometimes (in my experience maybe even the majority of the time), God might seem to be silent and not actively intercede in the way we want as we pray unto him.

 

This leads to an important question: what is our purpose in prayer? Do we view God like an all-powerful clean-up man? I mess things up, and then I pray and want my sovereign God to come and clean up my mess. Then for some reason we are disappointed when God does not seem to answer that prayer and he forces me to actually lie in the bed I have made for myself and reap the just consequences of my actions. That is a negative example, but let’s think about a more positive example. When I pray for a loved one to be healed of a dreaded disease, do I view God the same way? Maybe I’m just petitioning God to fix the situation because I know he’s the only one that truly can heal them (which many times is true). Do I just view God as my last alternative, who I pray to only once I have exhausted all other options and then I just want to use my all-powerful dynamite stick to get my intended outcome that I couldn’t accomplish on my own?

 

If that is the case, that I simply use God to get done the things I have finally resolved in myself that I cannot do, then how do you respond when God’s answer to your petition is “No”? I believe God answers every prayer we pray in one of three ways: yes, no, or not now. If we just view God as our last call effort to fix every situation, what do we do when the answers are “No” or “Not Now”? That’s why so many people reach a state of distrust in the power of God or question God’s care for them when they don’t get their intended outcome. They view the Lord as their own personal lottery ticket to give them whatever they want at the drop of a hat, and if he doesn’t give them that, then either he’s not really God or he doesn’t really love me.

 

This goes back to our prior question: what is our real purpose in prayer? Let’s be honest with ourselves here. Do I just view God as an all-powerful deity who is at my beck and call to give me whatever I desire (even if that is a good and honorable thing that I am praying for)? Or do I pray to beseech the unmerited favor of a sovereign God with a humble submission to God’s will, even if the outcome of my prayers is not what I originally wanted.

 

I saw a quote recently that really cuts to the heart of the matter: “Prayer is not an exercise to get man’s will done in heaven; prayer is the way for God’s will to be done on the earth.” The purpose of prayer is not to conform God to our standards and to obligate him to do our will and what we want; prayer is to conform us to God’s will and God’s standards, to understand and accept that God’s will is best for us, even if it’s contradictory to what we have asked for.

Jesus emphasizes this purpose in prayer in his Model Prayer to his disciples in Matt. 6:9-13. The 3rd line in the Model Prayer (after glorifying God’s name and praying for the advancement of his kingdom) is “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10) God’s will is always done perfectly in heaven, but that’s not always the case on the earth. The angels in heaven don’t question or object to the will of God; they just obediently carry out God’s will immediately after they have received their marching orders. Our prayer should be for God’s will to be just as perfectly obeyed and submitted to here on earth as it is in heaven.

 

Jesus concludes that Model Prayer by denoting the proper closing to all of our prayers unto the Lord: “Amen.” (Matt. 6:13) When we say “Amen” to close a prayer, we are not just following a church or family tradition to say that, we are following the command of Jesus Christ. Let’s not miss the significance of what we are saying when we close our prayers by “Amen” though. Amen means “so let it be”. We should have already prayed for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Then, as we close our petition unto God, our final thought is us letting go of the rope and telling the Lord, “so let it be” according to your will.

 

I was recently looking at the angel Gabriel’s announcement of Jesus’ birth to Mary in Luke 1:26-38. Mary is told that she, even as a virgin, will give birth to a son, which is naturally a very confounding statement to her seeing she was still a virgin. In spite of her initial doubt and hesitancy, Mary concludes that interaction with Gabriel by saying, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38) No doubt, Mary still did not fully understand the full significance of what she was being told or how it was going to happen, but she did display total submission to the will of God. She gave us a great practical definition of what “Amen” should mean to us as we close our prayers: “be it unto me according to thy word.” Just like Mary, we might not understand the “what” of everything that is going on around us, and we certainly might not understand the “why” of many events, but in spite of that we should display that same submission to God’s will in our lives – “be it unto me according to thy word”.

 

Why then do we pray if it’s not guaranteed for the Lord to give us what we want? One of the important aspects of prayer is allowing the process of making our petitions made known unto God to slowly more conform us to God’s will. Just as the potter with each revolution of the clay more conforms the pot to his intended image; in like manner, with each prayer we are being more conformed as a vessel more fit for the Master’s use, working towards total submission to God’s will. Our purpose in prayer is to allow God as that potter to slowly mold us more accurately into his image – into servants that are fully submissive to the will of God, regardless of what route or outcome that might ultimately lead us to in our lives.

 

If you have a mind to listen to any of the sermon messages on prayer, you can find them by clicking the link here.

From Marchtozion.com

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September 2018 Meeting

  The Lord blessed Bethany during the September 2018 annul meeting with His gracious presence in all four services.  We were blessed with excellent attendance with all our sister churches supporting the meeting with their physical presence and also their finances. Elder Josh Winslett was blessed to preach three messages from the book of Habakkuk with each sermon surrounding each chapter. Friday night he preached from chapter one of Habakkuk with a sermon entitled “Frustration to faith” as Habakkuk mourns why the Lord allows the wickedness to go on without intervening as he wonders “How long” Lord is this going to go on.

Saturday we were blessed with a good congregation with it being a Saturday with good singing and preaching by Elder Winslett from the second chapter of Habakkuk with a sermon entitled “An appointed time for faith”. The Lord answers Habakkuk from the first chapter but not in the way Habakkuk thought. He will send the Chaldeans to punish the wickedness of Israel itself and this is not what Habakkuk expects and doesn’t quite understand. The sermon was followed by an excellent lunch and fellowship around the table.

Saturday night we had an excellent fish supper and other goodies with the fish catered by Gene York. We had an excellent congregation with good singing and preaching by Elder Winslett from the 3rd chapter of Habakkuk. Habakkuk begins the chapter with a prayer and ends it with praise in spite of the calamities that have ensued. He finally comes to grips with the sovereignty of God in knowing that everything God does is good and right as we see in a linear fashion while God sees the end from the beginning.

Sunday Bro. Larry Wise preached from the Isaiah 53:1 about a good report and who believes the good report of the gospel and how reports are mentioned in scripture of both an evil report and a good report. It takes faith to believe the good report and then individuals need a good report of their peers that is accomplished by their obedience to the good report of the truth of the gospel.

Sisterly fellowship at the table

Here are some scenes from the meeting:

Sister Dorothy Clayton: Bro. Larry Visited her Sunday afternoon Sept. 8 she was as jovial as ever and doing fairly well but hasn’t been able to be in church in years.

Elder Josh Winslett

Bro. Boyce Grisham, Elder James Hall and Elder Josh Winslett discussing the situation.

Fellowship visiting after church Saturday morning Sept. 8

Good food and fellowship

Three deacons chewing the fat: Terry Wise, Phillip Wise and Jerry Coleman

Food and fellowship

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An Exhortation

An exhortation to young Primitive Baptists PDF Print E-mail
Written by Josh Winslett
Friday, 17 August 2018 11:24
Though I still consider myself young, I am no longer considered to be a young adult in the modern sense of the term. I have passed into full adulthood with a wife, children, and some gray receding hair. With that said, I am still not very far removed from my adolescence and beginnings of adult life. Over the past couple of months, I have noticed a very strong body of young Primitive Baptist. For that I am thankful. But I do wish to engage this body of people with certain exhortations. Before reading, know that this is said in love and from experience.

 

First, put your phone down for others. We live in an age that is overwhelmed with social media outlets. I know this because I am on most of them. We are overly flooded with ways of self-promotion. Take time at this point of your life to put down your phones and find ways to serve others. Instead of taking the best picture of a cup of coffee or the outdoors, find a way to privately visit the nursing homes and hospitals. This is pure religion (James 1:27).

Second, visit the small churches. It is easy to only go to the bigger events and larger churches. It is easy to simply go where it seems exciting, or sensational. This may also not be your fault. You may only know of certain events or churches. Whereas that is true, branch out. Learn about these small communities of believers. If you move to an area because of college, do not immediately gravitate towards the largest, seemingly most exciting assembly. Obviously, if you are weak in the faith then you want to go where there is some type of foundation. But find a place where you can be most beneficial. These small, overlooked congregations need you. Do not throw off on them as being older, unzealous, small, or even dying. They are God’s bride just as much as the more exciting congregations. Visit them. Encourage them. Never underestimate how much you can benefit these churches. Be an Onesiphorus (2 Timothy 1:16).

Third, know that others see your example. When you click “like” on something unbecoming of a believer, know that other people can see it. Other young believers (and older) are watching your example. If you react to vulgar pictures that are sexually explicit, know that you are setting a bad example and being a possible stumbling stone before a weaker brother (1 Corinthians 8:9). Be conscientious of those that are following you.

Fourth, do not be a clique. Start viewing your life objectively. Do you always sit with the same people at lunch? Do you always only talk to the same people at every church event? Look around and see if there are other people your age sitting by themselves. They may be too scared to talk to you, or they may even feel neglected by your group. Step out of your comfort zone and see how you can minister and mentor them. Cliques have always been a problem among God’s people (Acts 6:1-2, 1 Corinthians 1:12). Do not let it be so among you.

Fifth, stop judging your peers. You may be somebody that is outside of the clique. Do not judge them. Simply pray for them. You may see other believers that are living ungodly lives or maybe they are not as far along in their sanctification as you are. Do not judge them. Exhort them, yes. But remember that God is charitable to you. Be charitable to others (1 Corinthians 13).

Sixth, do not gossip. It is easy to talk about people. This is a problem that exists in all ages. God has nothing good to say about gossiping tongue (Proverbs 6:16-17). Speak well of your brothers and sisters. Speak well of your ministers. Speak well of your church.

Seventh, forgive. At this age you have not fully come to be able to control your tongue. You will say a lot of things you regret. Likewise, so will your friends and peers. It is easy to simply hold grudges against one another. It is easy to remember everything said and done in youth. Be thankful that God is a forgiving God. Be thankful that he overlooks your personal sins through Christ (Colossians 3:13). Now forgive your peers that have wronged you. The kingdom and cause of Christ is too important to hold grudges.

Eighth, be a Primitive Baptist on purpose. Do not just go along to get along. Understand what we believe about salvation, that it is solely by the sovereign purpose and grace of God. Understand that our worship is not just a preference but it is a biblical conviction of the soul. Be here because you want to be here and because you would not wish to be anywhere else (Psalms 27:4).

Ninth, remember that this is not about you. At this point of your life you will be choosing careers, spouses, where to live, and focusing on how the rest of your life might transpire. It is easy to get caught up in the flood of life and lose track of where you should be standing. In the end, your life is about Christ and his glory (Galatians 2:20). Every decision you make is ultimately about God. Yes, they are your decisions, but remember that we are not the Alpha and Omega. That title alone rests on our God.

Tenth, do not think that you are smarter than your forefathers.  They were only human. Before criticizing them try to understand them within their time period. Learn from their example, both good and bad. But always remember to be charitable concerning them. Always admit where they might have been wrong, but likewise, never tear-down their fence until you realize why it was built (Proverbs 23:20). They made mistakes, so will you.

Eleventh, love Christ above all. Everything that you do should be because you love your savior. Every action you take should be done as if it was in the presence of your God. All that you partake in should be to the glory of his name. Love his word and study it. Worship so that you would see him. Repent because your sins offend him and he died for you. Pray to him often because his presence is more precious to you than your next meal. Remember to now cultivate a proper relationship with him. That way when the excite of youth has faded, the love of Christ will continue to sustain you (2 Corinthians 5:14).

Finally, know that I love you. This exhortation is not out of malice, nor is it to put you down. Remember, where you are I once was and where I am you soon shall be. I remember many friends from my youth that are no longer a Primitive Baptist, many do not even attend a church. Much of the problem that existed with their experience can be attributed to some of the issues mentioned above. My hope is that you, your children, and your children’s children, will all have flourishing lives in the church of our God. But that life starts now while you remember your creator in the days of your youth.

“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;” Ecclesiastes 12:1

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Salvation

Salvation by Elder David Montgomery 7-26-2018

The other day, I could not find my car keys. Those of you who know me will understand that this is a daily thing with me. If it’s not the keys I can’t find, then it’s the wallet; if not the wallet, then it’s the glasses. Well anyway, after 45 minutes of searching, I found them. Oh how happy I was! Finding those keys saved my life!

What exactly do I mean by that? How did finding my keys “save” my life? Well, it helps to substitute the word “delivered” for the word “saved” and then ask yourself two questions:

1. What was I delivered to?
2. What was I delivered from?

In the above scenario, I was delivered to the comfort of knowing where my keys were and I was delivered from the having to take an Uber to work. Of course, I didn’t mean that finding the keys saved my physical life or that I would have died if I hadn’t found them—but in finding them, I escaped a whole lot of stress and trouble. I was saved TO something and saved FROM something…I was delivered TO something and delivered FROM something.

Here are some other things that save my life: coffee, coffee makers, grocery stores, microwave ovens, air conditioning, heating, my iPhone 8+, plumbers, electricians, that honest mechanic I go to, my sweet Leslye, the prayers of the saints, the fellowship of the saints, spiritual hymns and songs, the gospel, and most of all: The Lord Jesus Christ.

Each one of the above saves me from something and saves me to something; but the salvations they bring are different. This is a very, Very, VERY important thing to know, especially if you are serious about understanding the Scriptures. If you cannot get this lesson, you will be totally confused because there are scriptures in the Bible that will totally confuse you.

Understanding this point will unlock many scriptures for you and will save you FROM confusion and save you TO understanding.

The lesson is this: Not every scripture in the Bible that contains the words “save” or “saved” means salvation from hell or salvation to paradise. I am going to throw out a few scriptures and let us see if all these scriptures are talking about saving souls from hell.

Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Yes, He did)

Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Yes, we are)

1Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (Yes he was and yes he was)

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Yes, it is)

Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (So thankful)

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (And it was)

Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Yes, we were)

2Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (Amen and amen)

Matthew 8:25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. (But save them from what? Read the context of the verse and you will see).

Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. (But I thought Jesus saved…is this saying that we have to save ourselves?)

1Corinthians 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (How can the chief of sinners save lesser sinners from sin?)

James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls (But I thought Jesus saved, now we have to receive the engrafted word? And what the deuce does that mean?)

James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? (Not in that case)

James 5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (But you taught in chapter 2:14 that faith alone can’t save us, now you say it does.)

James 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. (But I thought Jesus saved; now we need to go around converting people?)

1Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: (But I thought Jesus saved; now we have to get baptized?)

Luke 7:50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. (But James said that faith can’t save us)

Acts 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. (I think these guys were wrong. So did Paul and Barnabas)

Acts 27:20 And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away. (What do stars do with saving us from hell?)

Acts 27:31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. (Well, they better stay in the ship then. If they left, would’ve Paul and everyone else go to hell?)

Romans 8:24 For we are saved by hope: (But I thought faith saved us and also the grafted word and baptism and conversion and those idiots staying in the ship!!)

Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. (Well Paul, you said over there in 1Corinthians 9:22 you were going to save some, so stop whining and get after it!)

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (So you have to confess to get to heaven?)

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Paul, will you make up your mind? You said earlier that you have to confess to get saved!)

1Corinthians 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (But I haven’t heard you preach, so how can I get saved?)

1Thessolonians 2:16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. (So these folks stopped you from saving people from hell?)

1Timothy 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. (WAIT A SECOND! The only people going to Heaven are mothers who have faithful kids??)

1Peter 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. (WAIT A MILLISECOND! The only people going to Heaven are these eight people??)

If you look closely at these scriptures, you may have noticed that several seem to contradict each other. Some has it that God saves, some that faith saves, some that others can save others, some baptism, one mentioned of a salvation in bearing children, one said the waters of the Great Flood saves. The Apostle Paul wrote in one verse that he was the worst of all sinners and then in another verse he wrote that he is going to save sinners. How can the worst sinner save sinners? Then, Paul says in another verse that folks can be saved by remembering his preaching. So the worst of all sinners is so good a preacher that his sermons can save people? If Paul is the worst of all sinners, it seems to me that others ought to be preaching to him so he can be saved. Am I making sense here? I can go all day like this. Are we having fun yet?

To solve the dilemma and still make sense, I can see only two conclusions:

1. The Scriptures are wrong.
2. There is more than one type of salvation.

I subscribe to point #2. There is more than one type of salvation.
Consider this illustration: How many types of apples are there? I can think of several: Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, Pink Lady, Rome, etc. Lots and lots of apples, right? OK, so here’s the point: There are different TYPES of apples but they are all called APPLES. The same reasoning applies to salvation. Yes, it is salvation but what type of salvation? Remember the two questions I asked previously: What are we saved FROM? And what are we saved TO? You have to ask these questions when you read scriptures about salvation or you will get majorly confused and could end up believing a doctrine that isn’t in the Bible.

Let’s apply this line of reason to some verses in our list.

1. Matthew 1:21 “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Jesus is going save his people FROM what? The verse says He will save them from their sins.

Jesus is going save His people TO what? Well, we can imply that he will save them to a position where they cannot ever be tainted by sin, which is exactly what Jesus did (see the essays on Justification and Sanctification).

2. Matthew 8:25 “And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.”

Save them FROM what? From the storm, of course.

Save them TO what? To a place where the storm isn’t there.

3. 1Corinthians 15:2 “By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.”
Now here is a verse that says we save ourselves. Well, apply the questions and see what you get.

Saved FROM what? If you read the context, it is a salvation from a vain, empty and hopeless mentality.

Saved TO what? To a knowledge which yields happiness and confidence.

It is always a good idea to check the context of any verse of Scripture before you make any assumption as to its teaching. This is especially true when a verse mentions salvation. I always ask myself, what salvation is this text teaching? Is it salvation from hell? Salvation from fear? Salvation from physical death? What? What? What? You see, that is the burning question: When a verse in the Bible mentions salvation; is the context always about saving sinners from sin, death and hell?? My answer is NO, and a thousand times, NO.

There is a salvation that only God can accomplish and that is to save no-good hell-deserving, lousy, filthy, stinking, bushwhacking sinners. The work of this salvation began in the process of election and went through predestination to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ when He paid our sin debt on the cross, and on to Regeneration where we are born again and our sins are washed away. I call this work of salvation, “eternal salvation” but once we have this spiritual life within us, we *ought* to live as best as we can. We *ought* to obey His commandments and believe the gospel. When we do these good works, we experience a deliverance FROM fear, ignorance, bad philosophy and a deliverance TO hope, confidence and good judgment. I call this work of salvation, “time salvation”. Using expressions like this has greatly helped make sense of what was once a very complicated puzzle to me.

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The God Man

THE GOD MAN

“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” (John 3:13)

The Lord Jesus was in Heaven while He spoke to Nicodemus upon Earth! How was this possible?

Here we see the mystery of godliness: “God was manifest in the flesh…”! (1Timothy 3:16). As man, Jesus was upon Earth speaking to Nicodemus. But as the eternal God, He was reigning from His throne in Heaven!

As a man, He limited Himself to the time/space continuum. But as God, His eternal presence continued to “fill heaven and earth” (Jeremiah 23:24).

As Son of man, He came to do the will of His Heavenly Father, and save His people from their sins (John 6:38; Matthew 1:21), by means of His death on Calvary’s cross and resurrection from the dead.

As the eternal Son of God, He ascended to Heaven and “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3), from which He intercedes as our High Priest and shall return the second time to receive us to Himself! (Hebrews 9:24-28).–Elder Tim Cunningham–July 23, 2018

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Regeneration

Regeneration–by Elder David Montgomery–July 17, 2018

Regeneration means to restore life; to bring life from death. If you ever watched “Doctor Who” you should be very familiar with regeneration because he’s done it like 18 times or so. Anyway, the act of regeneration is what gives spiritual life to people who did not have it before. This is very important, for without spiritual life you will never know God. Jesus said “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” If anyone wants to see anything spiritual, and that include Heaven above, they MUST be born again. And by the way…the expressions regeneration, born again, new birth, born from above and quickened all mean the same thing.

The question was asked in part one: How can I move away from a dead and depraved state over to an alive and non-depraved state. The answer is—I can’t. The reason is very simple: a dead person cannot do anything; they can’t move, talk or even think. For a dead thing to become alive again, a greater force us must act upon it …a living force…no, not Obi Wan’s force! This is a divine force—a power from above—the same power that breathed life in Adam’s nostrils is the same one that breathes spiritual life into us. And that force and power is GOD.

Paul said in Ephesians 2:1, “And you hath he quickened (made alive or born again), who were dead in trespasses and sins” Who did the quickening? The Lord did. We were dead in depravity but through the act of “regeneration,” we are now alive in Jesus Christ. The capability is now in us to see the Kingdom of God, to enter the Kingdom, to believe, have faith and hope, exhibit love and kindness. That capability was not there before but now it is. You are born again…you are alive. Wow! Living is such an excellent concept!

Some might say…So tell me how to get born again and I’ll get started right now. Not so fast! Let me ask you something: How much input did you have when you were born physically? Did your mother check it out with you to see if you were ok with the idea? I highly doubt it and I also highly doubt that you sent a mental email to her saying, “Hey Ma! I’m checking outta this place, all right?!” By the way, do you even REMEMBER when you were born? You don’t? So why would you think that you would have anything to do in getting born again? The fact is—you had nothing to do with it…you were totally passive…it was all done by God. You didn’t ask God to get born again nor did God ask you for permission. This is one major point where Primitive Baptists differ with many other denominations for most of them believe a doctrine where the sinner has some part in regeneration.

Some advocate the doctrine of “Gospel Regeneration” which teaches that a person has to believe the gospel in order to get born again. This cannot be true for how can a dead person believe anything? Consider the following analogy…

I love to discover and investigate cemeteries. Yes, this is weird but I like being weird. There is so much history in these places—I have been to the graves of many notable people of secular and church history. Sometimes I will be driving down the road, see a cemetery and pull in to see if there is anything of interest. The folks are real friendly there; they don’t mind you coming in and never give you a hard time when you leave. Sometimes as I wander among the graves, I think about the Resurrection and before too long, I’ll get to preaching, sometimes even out loud. Some of my best sermons have been preached at cemeteries. But, if any one of those dead folks ever cried out “AMEN” then I am getting the heck out of there! (Sorry, seen too many zombie flicks). But that isn’t gonna happen. Why? Because they’re dead! Well, if a physically dead person can’t respond to the gospel, then it stands to reason that a spiritually dead person cannot respond as well. Spiritual life MUST precede any spiritual response just as physical life MUST precede any physical response. That just makes good horse sense. Mr. Ed would agree with it.

Primitive Baptists believe in Holy Spirit Regeneration. The Holy Spirit comes down and kindles the pilot light in us. Where once was death and depravity is now life and righteousness. The Holy Spirit is like the wind—it comes and goes when and where it pleases. We can’t tell the wind when to start blowing, where to blow, when to stop, etc, and it is the same with the Holy Spirit. Jesus made this analogy Himself in John 3:8, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

So what if I believe the gospel but I am not born again? Go back and re-read this article, then read 2Timothy 1:10, and then write your name 1000 times. Belief is a sign of life…it confirms that you have been born again, it is not the cause of regeneration but an effect of it.

So what if I am born again but do not believe the gospel? Go back and re-read this article, then read Romans 3:3, and then write your name 10,000 times and stop worrying it. Belief is a wonderful thing and you should believe, it will bring great happiness and joy to your life; but just as belief does not cause regeneration, unbelief does not cancel it. God’s grace is not dependent on your obedience.

But, Brother David, why do I still sin? Because your body is still depraved—it was not born again—but there is now something inside you that is good, clean, and spiritually conscience. Yes, now, you have a good conscience. Now you can understand what is right and what is wrong. Now the potential to do well is inside you. Jesus would often tell repenting sinners, “Go, and sin no more.” They can do it because they have the Holy Spirit inside them, they are alive and well. One of these days, on the Last Day, our bodies will be regenerated and then we will be totally sinless: soul, body and spirit. Praise the Lord! He has taken us from Total Depravity to Total Righteousness. I wonder how that is going to feel? What a day that will be!

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Climbing a Waterfall

Climbing The Face of a Waterfall …….
I have heard of the perseverance of the Salmon as they face many obstacles as they go on their journey to their spawning grounds. They are strong and never give up on their effort and thus they are “Overcomers” and are victorious to make it through very hard times and still accomplish their goal. They are the only fish known to be able to climb the very Face of a Waterfall, with all its mighty force coming against them.

Yet, I too, with the blessings of the Lord was also able to … Climb The Face of a Waterfall! It was in the year of 1978, when I was very ill with my heart. My Cardiologists said, if good health was 100%, then my health was 5%. I didn’t know if I was going to survive. Several times my heart went into spells where I felt like I weighed two tons. I had several times when I would suddenly lose consciousness. I felt that death would be a most welcome relief from my sufferings.

Then, I had a dream where I was on a journey and I came to a high and powerful waterfall which I knew I had to climb in order to continue on the way I needed to go. As I looked up at the power of the waterfall, I said, “I’ll never make it through this! It is too great! I could never climb this waterfall! I have gone as far as I can go!” But then, FAITH, beautiful, powerful, overcoming, FAITH moved upon me; filled me. I fell down upon my face with weeping and fervent prayer to the Almighty Father, the Great Giver of FAITH, the Giver of Strength and of Power to Overcome. When I arose from my prayer, courage mounted high in my soul. Without hesitation I dove into the stream and with victory, I climbed up the Face of the Thundering Force of the Great Waterfall, that I needed to climb. I saw myself with grace climb the Face of the Waterfall and arise to my feet victorious at the top.

When I awakened from my dream I knew that with my dangerously poor health that I was facing a most paramount situation. Three times in 1978, I came very close to death, but because of Jesus, I was able to conquer and make it through. Like the salmon, I met many obstacles and powerful forces. And like the salmon, I was able to persevere and climb the waterfall of trials and dangerous sickness and yet make it to the top. Faith makes you strong!

There is power in FAITH! With FAITH we can climb above trials of waterfall force and magnitude. Without Faith we all would give up and say, “I have gone as far as I can go.” But with Faith in Jesus, we can sing with Power and Might:

….I can walk on the water top, … Because of my Lord and King.
….I can climb the Face of the Waterfall, … And with Joy my heart can sing.
….I can go onward through my trials, … With Peace that will never stop.
….Because of Jesus, my Lord and King, … I can Climb to the Mountain Top.

I don’t know the power source of the Salmons great fortitude, but I know that my Hope In Jesus is the Force on which I stand! And when troubles tell me I can’t, my Faith In Jesus tells me … I can! My faith in Jesus gives me Wings to Fly. I can fly above my troubles, fast soaring high. And, mountains of trials, with their powerful height, is easy to conquer, by.. Faiths Great Might. It is nothing to climb, The Face of a Waterfall, when you are holding the Hand of the Creator of All.

~~Our God is Great and Greatly to be Praised! My love and blessings to you all. ~~ Neetcie Buell–July 5, 2018

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Encouragement When Down

Written by Lynn Bruce (Daughter of Elder Sony Pyles): 6-11-2018

Chemo #50 today. This one is shelling my pistachios, because it’s preventing me from spending a week at camp singing hymns with my best beloveds. I have not missed camp in almost 20 years. It’s Christmas in June to me, a little glimmer of heaven on earth. And now my grandbairns are there! I want to whine that it’s just not fair. I awoke this morning at precisely the moment the wake-up hymn is broadcast at camp. The soul knows where it wants to be. But the body needs to be in the chemo chair—fair or not.

Here’s the thing. If I get hung up on things being fair, if I make my happiness depend on that, I’ll stay stuck at the bottom of every hill. The Psalmist knew this. “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.” 🎯“When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me… Until I went into the sanctuary of God…”

Oh my.
I do know this to be true.

True of the actual sanctuary and true of this sanctuary in the rubbled temple that is my body. Where somehow both cancer and Christ dwell together. Where there should be singing!

“But I don’t have a song here today, Lord,” I cried as I parked my car at the chemo lab. “My song is elsewhere, without me.”

And then I heard them. He let me hear them. From the vaults of long memory, I heard the voices of my camp friends, singing for me: “Thus far the Lord has led me on, thus far His power prolongs my days, and every evening shall make known some fresh memorial of His grace. In vain, the sons of earth or hell tell me a thousand frightful things; my God in safety makes me dwell beneath the shadow of His wings.”

Here in the shadow of that wing, I do not have to climb up this hill. I will be carried. And I will be given a song. This too, is not fair. It is far beyond fair. But I realize now that it is not my LIFE that He means to call fair. It is ME. Because when He comes, He will be singing “Rise up, my fair one.” He is fair, so shall we be. Sing on, fair ones.

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Preservation of the Word

Written by Ben Winslett
Thursday, 24 May 2018 08:33
Point to consider: If we found an ancient manuscript of a portion of God’s word, and this manuscript was considerably different than what we’ve recognized as God’s word throughout the centuries, rather than embracing the new text and altering our Bibles, we would keep our current reading. Why?

It is a fundamental tenet of the faith that God keeps His word preserved and pure throughout all generations. This means that the word is preserved through being used by the Church. It is duplicated and distributed, and this is the process through which God has seen fit to preserve His word. The preservation of the scriptures has never been about maintaining a set of “originals”, obviously, because no originals exist! So we use what we have received, being trusted, and not that which is “lost and found,” being suspect.

Chiefly, this is a matter of faith. The church is “the pillar and ground of the truth.” This means the truth is preserved in the church. Libraries, museums, and universities are not Divinely charged with this task. It’s the job of the church. And we trust that God has preserved His word through the duplication and usage within the institution of the church.

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May Communion Meeting

Bethany was blessed once again to have a Spirit filled Communion meeting with outstanding preaching by Elder Ronald Lawrence, good visitation from sister churches and friends, singing, food and fellowship. The weather was threatening but the Lord blessed us not to have any really bad weather and Friday night Elder Lawrence preached a sermon primarily on mercy from the Canaanite woman’s plea to Jesus “Have mercy on me, thou son of David.”

Saturday night we were blessed to have a great supper of fish, chicken and everything else with the fish prepared by Gene York. The food and fellowship was greatly enjoyed and followed by a good congregation and outstanding preaching, as usual, by Elder Lawrence on the subject of “the heart” as the seat of emotion and feeling and only the Lord can change a heart of stone by nature into a heart of flesh capable of spiritual feeling. Elder Lawrence had to leave Saturday night and was blessed with a safe journey home and he wished to thank the church for their hospitality and the opportunity to be with them dring the meeting.

Sunday we were blessed to have a good congregation and after a shirt sermon by the Pastor, Larry Wise, on the subject of the “smitten rock” the church entered into communion with the observance of the Lord’s Supper of the bread and wine as symbolic of the body and blood of Christ. This was followed by the washing of the saint’s feet by the brothers and sisters. Some fathers and sons washed each others feet and some mothers and daughters did the same. We welcome all who participated and especially those who may have been participating for thew first time. Some were unable to participate due to sickness or physical limitations. After communion there was a prayer of thanks and dismissal and each expressed their love for their fellows brothers and sisters by telling of their love for one another and a godly embrace.

Here are a few of the scenes from the meeting and more to follow under the Communion meeting page on church website:

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