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pursue and invest in the spiritual development of other believers

Pursue and Invest in the Spiritual Development of Other Believers – Part 1

pursue and invest in the spiritual development of other believers

For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith? Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.” (1 Thessalonians 3:9–11)

In today’s text, the Holy Spirit challenges us to pursue and invest in the spiritual development of other believers. The more I study God’s Word, the more I find it repeating the following principle. We are to love the Lord first. Then, as we learn to love Him, we can learn to love others. We find this principle in Matthew 22.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37–40)

As believers, our love must be directed toward God first. I term this as having a vertical relationship with Him. Then, after we establish a love for God, our love is directed to others. For me, that is a horizontal relationship with those around us. As you read and study God’s Word, you will find this repeatedly given in examples and in principle.

Paul’s Example

A prime example is our text for this week. We have discussed Paul’s relationship with the believers in Thessalonica. Sticking with the principle of loving God and loving others, why was Paul in Thessalonica to begin with? Obviously, it was due to this relationship with God. God led him there to preach and teach the gospel. We know about Paul’s encounter with God on the road to Damascus and how it completely changed his life. In this letter, we see Paul’s love for those believers. However, this jumped out at me as I read our text today. Paul’s desire for all believers, including those at Thessalonica, was that their faith in God would grow. Note verse 10 again.

Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?” (1 Thessalonians 3:10)

In Greek, “might perfect” means equipping or preparing something. To what end was Paul concerned they were not prepared? The answer was their faith. Faith in whom? He was concerned about their faith in God.

I can see the concerns that Paul might have entertained. Perhaps, he was constantly thinking about how much they were growing their faith. Without any doubt, Paul was concerned about the effect tribulation and persecution might have on their faith. He was so bothered by it that he lost sleep over it. Note that he was praying for them “day and night.” As he prayed, he yearned to see them face to face. Planted within was an overwhelming desire to see them so that he might be assured they were growing in their faith.

One of the most significant issues among believers is the lack of concern for others and their spiritual development. It seems that too many believers are too focused on themselves and not investing in others. I admit that, at times, I find myself guilty of the same. We get so caught up in daily seeking to meet our needs and desires that we even forget to pray for others. Perhaps, at the root of this problem, is a deeper issue. Earlier I noted long before Paul had a relationship with the Thessalonicans, he had a relationship with God. Is it possible that our lack of concern for other believers and their daily walk with God is because we lack our own walk with Him?

Going back to Paul’s concern, here is further thought. Paul was not referring to saving faith. Saving faith is that faith by which we believe all that Christ did for us. My point is this. Salvation is totally by God’s grace. Christ himself lived a sinless life becoming the perfect substitute for us and our penalty of sin. It is why His death, burial, and resurrection are the foundation of the gospel. He did it all. Salvation is freely provided because of His unmerited favor to all men. All that is required is simple faith. We must believe.

Our Challenge

In our text, the Holy Spirit speaks through Paul about our daily walk of faith. In other words, now that you are a believer, are you living by believing the principles and promises of God’s Word each day? Each day comes with its challenges. Christ promised that following Him would not be easy. And, as we know, He often chided the disciples for having little faith. Yet, despite the many challenges, we can grow daily in our faith. In the book of James, we read the following.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:2–4)

Here we see that growing in our walk with the Lord is possible. Yes, there are going to be many challenges. However, we must see those challenges as opportunities for spiritual growth. Each challenge helps us grow in our faith or, as we might say, our relationship with God. Each temptation, trial, or test allows us to develop a little more if we handle them in God’s way. Then, little by little, we are equipped to take on more.

At the top of Paul’s concern for the Thessalonicans was their spiritual growth in their relationship with God. A fear that should be the same for us. We must work at growing closer to the Lord each ourselves. And at the same time, we must unceasingly pray and seek to help other believers grow. With that in mind, what are you doing to grow personally? Are you spending time daily with the Lord and His Word? If not, I suggest you plan that time and work at it. Then, as you grow, look around you and see other believers who need to grow spiritually. Invest your time in them. Pray for them showing them how much you are concerned.



Evangelism and Discipleship are Mutual Companions!

For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.” (1 Thessalonians 3:4–5)

In our text today, we see Paul’s heart for those who accepted Christ but were left behind in Thessalonica. As you might recall, many received and believed the Gospel when Paul was in Thessalonica. Unfortunately, Paul did not have the opportunity to mentor them in their walk with the Lord. The unrest caused by those who opposed him resulted in him fleeing and moving on to the next city. Since that day, it would seem that Paul often thought about those believers. He was concerned about them “keeping the faith.” Now, through the power of the Holy Spirit, Paul had the opportunity to write this excellent letter to them. As he does, the Holy Spirit gives us two essential things to consider concerning witnessing the Gospel.

Being Christ’s witness will often result in persecution.

Note how Paul related that persecution would come and, as he indicated, it did come. How did Paul know this? He knew from personal experience. If you go to the book of Acts and read the numerous stories about Paul’s journey, you will find that he faced much persecution. Paul himself testified to the Corinthian believers about the persecution he endured for Christ.

Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” (2 Corinthians 11:23–28)

It was no different in Thessalonica. The point is Paul knew firsthand how much persecution can result when you seek to give the Gospel. Yet, Paul knew this not from personal experience but from the words of Christ himself. Christ noted that if you followed Him as His faithful witness, you would suffer persecution for His name’s sake.

But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. And the Gospel must first be published among all nations. But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Mark 13:9–13)

Persecution is inevitable for those who are faithful witnesses to the Gospel.

Paul’s concern was for those who believed. He was unable to disciple them in their faith. What had happened to them? Were they holding fast to their faith? Did the persecution overwhelm them? I am sure there were many questions in the back of Paul’s mind. His concern weighed heavily on his heart and mind. Note the language of 1 Thessalonians 3:5.

For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.” (1 Thessalonians 3:5)

Paul notes that he “could no longer forebear.” He was anxious to know. It was eating him up. So, finally, the chance came for him to know. He was excited and apprehensive at the same time. From this passage, there is no doubt that the Thessalonican believers were dear to his heart.

Here is the second principle learned.

Being Christ’s witness results in close personal connections with those you lead to Christ.

Christ told Nicodemus that a person must be “born again” to see God’s kingdom. Spiritual birth is a beautiful miracle. Anytime you experience leading someone to Christ and witnessing their spiritual birth, it is a fantastic experience and feeling. It rates alongside seeing your very own child born physically. I can still recall the birth of our boys. Each experience was beautiful and overwhelming. The connection between a parent and their child at birth is indescribable. It is the same with leading another person to Christ. A bond is created between the person witnessing and those that receive the Gospel. From that moment on, you are personally connected to them. Thus, there should be a concern for their life of faith from that moment on.

Paul expressed two concerns.

He was concerned that Satan would lead them away from their faith in Christ.

One of the biggest problems for many newborn believers is the overwhelming volume of “Christian” faiths. Many are tempted to quit their journey before it even begins. Satan is a professional at misleading people. He has created a world in which so many false teachings abound. It is a world that can confuse a brand-new believer. Thus, it is crucial that whoever leads them to Christ also mentor them in their new faith. They also need to connect with a local church that teaches the principles of God’s Word. A new believer that has a sound support system is a believer who stands a better chance of remaining true to the faith. The chance of them being led away by the “tempter” greatly diminish. Thus, mentoring (discipleship) is equally important as leading them to Christ.

Paul’s second concern was simply this.

He was concerned that his labor was in vain.

You see, Paul suffered much at Thessalonica. Now, he was interested to know if it was for naught. The thought of Satan misleading them away from their faith in Christ was devastating in his mind. He desired to “know” their “faith” as assurance that his “labor” was not “in vain.” His concern wasn’t in the sense of being worthless. Paul knew that all our labor for the Lord is not in vain. In fact, the Holy Spirit used those very words in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

His greatest concern was their own spiritual well-being. God’s Word is clear that no one can lose their salvation. However, the truth is that many never truly grow in their faith. A leading factor for many who fail is not having someone to help them grow. Yes, they have the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. It is enough. Yet, God also gave us the local church, pastors, teachers, and fellow believers. In my experience, new believers grow better when connected with a good church. Many who seek to grow without the support of a local church grow slowly. Unfortunately, many do not grow at all.

Witnessing for Christ is each believer’s responsibility. It is a considerable responsibility filled with numerous duties. Not only are we to lead people to Christ, but we must also help them grow in their faith. Evangelism and discipleship are mutual companions. As a witness, you will find that a close personal relationship comes with winning others. Lead them to Christ, and then invest your time in them as you help them grow in their new faith.



Your Pastor is Your Fellow Laborer in the Gospel

“Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.” (1 Thessalonians 3:1–3)

As we move into 1 Thessalonians 3, the Holy Spirit gives us a snapshot of pastors and their responsibility to those who faithfully witness for Christ. Remember the context of the first two chapters. Paul longed to return to Thessalonica. He was carrying a heavy burden for the believers there, knowing their suffering and persecution. However, God had other plans for Paul. Thus, Paul willingly submitted to God. Yet, others could go. Young Timothy was such a one. He was a young pastor who, under Paul’s tutelage, was a great asset to all the churches. Thus, the Holy Spirit sends Timothy in place of Paul.

We find several essential qualities and responsibilities in our text related to pastors. Each is equally important as pastors support those who are determined to be faithful witnesses for Christ.

A Pastor’s Qualities

First, they are God’s ministers. In Greek, the word for ministers is “diakonos.” It is the same word from which we get “deacon.” It means “servant.” A servant, as we know, is someone who does servile work. Two Greek words are often translated as “servant” or “slave” in our English translation. One is the word used here. Another is the word “doulos.” The difference between the two is this. “Diakonos” sees the servant and the master relationship concerning the work that must be accomplished.

Conversely, “doulos” is focused on the servant’s connection to the master and his duty to obey the master. Thus, in our text, pastors are God’s ministers meaning they do God’s work. Specifically, as we will see, pastors are to encourage and support fellow believers in their efforts as witnesses. It is their work and their responsibility to do so. Timothy was sent by the Holy Spirit to minister to the believers of Thessalonica.

Second, they are fellow laborers in the gospel. You will note that exact phrase in verse 2.

And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:” (1 Thessalonians 3:2)

A fellow laborer is just that. He is a person who participates in the same activity as others. Thus, each pastor encourages fellow believers to witness for Christ and engages himself personally as a witness. God requires pastors to witness just as He does all believers. In fact, if a pastor is worth his salt, he is a pastor because he already has faithfully served God as a witness. We will talk more about a pastor’s call in a moment. For now, it is essential to know that pastors must work together with others believers advancing God’s Kingdom. Any pastor not so engaged is not doing what God requires. Pastors should never have the attitude that says, “Do as I say and not as I do.” Instead, a pastor’s perspective and conduct should communicate, “Do as God says, and let’s do it together.”

A Pastor’s Responsibilities

These first two points indicate pastoral qualities. The following two focus on a pastor’s responsibilities. Look again at verse 2.

And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:” (1 Thessalonians 3:2)

God sent Timothy to Thessalonica for two primary purposes.

The first was noted by the phrase “to establish you.” In other words, God sent Timothy there to strengthen the believers. He was to help them make fast their determination to be faithful gospel witnesses. Every pastor is responsible for confirming and strengthening each believer’s resolve to be a witness for Christ. Anything short of doing this fails to live up to God’s expectation for every pastor.

The second primary purpose is noted by the phrase “to comfort you concerning your faith.” The connotation of “comfort” is to come to another’s side or come to another’s aid. The two facets of comforting others are support and encouragement. Comforting others begins with noting their hurt and supporting them by being there, ready to spring into action for anything they need. At the same time, comforting others requires encouragement. It is a time to gently remind them of God’s promises. Even though the situation seems dire, we can always find comfort and solace in God’s Word.

In terms of a gospel witness, the Thessalonican believers were under great persecution. God sent Timothy to strengthen their faith and comfort them in the faith. In the same way, it is every pastor’s responsibility to be there for his flock. They were entrusted to him by God to lead, guide, encourage, and comfort. Thus, a good pastor ministers to God’s people. He will join them in their efforts to witness. As he does, he is to support and strengthen with the Word of God. And, in times of difficulty, he reminds them of the promises of God’s Word. It is his duty as God’s undershepherd.

Verse 3 provides the expected end result. When God’s man does what God expects, great things come as a result. Note the outcome.

That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.” (1 Thessalonians 3:3)

The phrase “should be moved” is interesting. It means to cringe or cower in fear. Thus, fellow believers are encouraged when pastors do their responsibilities as they should. The afflictions and persecutions may come. However, when pastors stand alongside God’s people leading the way as witnesses, God’s people stand firm and do not cower when the world stands against them. They are not “moved” by their afflictions. In fact, pastors become a positive influence helping them to stand. Both pastors and believers must be faithful witnesses of Christ to all we meet. All of us must remember “that we are appointed.” In other words, God chose us, as believers, to be His voice to the world.

 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)



Hope for the Hopeless

Hope for the Hopeless

Hope for the Hopeless

This week’s verse from Psalm 1 describes people who are hopeless. They are different from the Christian who loves the Lord, loves His Word, and has the great hope of Heaven. In fact, God’s Word describes people who are without Christ as having no hope. Yet, the great promise from God is there is hope for the hopeless Note what Psalms 1:4 says…

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Psalms 1:4

The entire premise of this psalm rests on the fact that God’s Word is the source of all blessings and happiness in a person’s life. The man or woman who chooses to meditate day and night in God’s law is the man or woman who will prosper. Therefore, true happiness is dependent upon on how serious we are in knowing and obeying God’s Word. God’s people should revel in their desire to know God’s Word.

However, the ungodly person cares nothing about it. In fact, the ungodly (those who have no personal relationship with Christ) cannot know or even understand God’s Word. Consequently, in a spiritual sense, they are totally devoid of spiritual prosperity. They are completely opposite of the person who loves the Lord and delight in His Word. Instead of being like the tree planted by a river which is healthy and fruitful, they are like chaff.

Chaff is the dry, scaly protective casings that form around cereal grains like wheat. At the time of harvest, the wheat is winnowed allowing the dry, scaly casings to be separated from the grain. Chaff is worthless. It is nothing more than trash. Its only purpose is to protect the kernels of grain until it has matured. Then, when the grain is ready, chaff becomes useless. Chaff does not grow or become healthy. Chaff is unable to reproduce. It comes. It goes. No one remembers or even cares for it.

God’s analogy of the ungodly indicates that a person devoid of a personal relationship with Him is worthless. According to Scripture, everyone is born already separated from God. Thus, each person is destined to live their life and die with no hope of eternal life and no hope of Heaven. Their destiny is an eternity without God in a place called Hell. Their life is meaningless and without purpose. They are like chaff which come and go. Nothing is gained. Such a life is a life without hope.

There are many who live that way today. They go through life each searching for purpose. They look for that purpose in many things. Things like their job, their family, or their hobbies. Yet, we all know that none of those are truly fulfilling. There are many who are aimlessly wandering through life. They dread each day. Each day just becomes another day and another step towards death. Death is unavoidable. And, with that in mind, they try to drown out their sorrow and their hopeless state by turning to things like alcohol, drugs, and entertainment. Yet, their feelings haunt them leading them to think that all is hopeless.

However, may I say to you that there is HOPE. You see the hope is that God can change all that. He can take your life and give it meaning. He can give you purpose. Instead of being chaff, God can completely change you. You can become like the tree planted by a river that is spiritually healthy and fruitful. Additionally, you can know with great surety that you will live eternally with Him.

Great spiritual change begins with you trusting the promises of God’s Word. Again, it is God’s Word upon which we must delight and meditate. Thus, you must accept and believe these four things from God’s Word…

  • God Loves You“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
  • Everyone is a Sinner“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
  • Sin Has a Price That MUST Be Paid“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
  • Jesus Christ Died and Rose Again to Pay for YOUR Sin“But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while were yet sinners, Christ died of us.” (Romans 5:8)

If you simply pray and ask Jesus Christ, God’s Son, to be your savior and claim His promise of eternal life, you will be completely changed. In order to that, Scriptures says, “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…For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” True blessing and happiness come when a person is obedient to God’s Word. You can experience that blessing and happiness by taking the first step of obedience and placing your trust in Christ as Savior.

We would love to help you. In fact, our greatest desire is to know Christ and make Him known at Calvary Baptist Church. For that reason, we would love to help you make sure of your relationship with God. Contact us and let us know how we can help you. Our email address is calvarybaptistbedford@outlook.com and our telephone number is 540.486.3434. It is our desire to help you know Christ and make Him known around the world.



God’s Word – The Source of Happiness

The Source of Happiness

God’s Word is the Source of Happiness.

Our text today tells us that God’s Word is the source of happiness.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psalms 1:3
One of my favorite things in life is trees. Right now, we are entering that time of the year when the trees begin to bud, and their leaves start to come back. Outside my office is a beautiful purple plum tree. Every year around this time it sprouts tiny little buds that are pink. It makes the entire tree look as if it is covered with pink snow. There is almost a pink glow to it.
 
God gives us a picture of a tree in Psalm 1:3. It is a tree that is enjoying perpetual health. Note that it is “planted by the rivers of water.” Being near the river means that it has a continued source of water which is essential for its health and productivity. In fact, God goes on to describe that tree as one that always brings “forth his fruit in his season.” It is a tree whose “leaf also shall not wither.” It is an extremely healthy tree producing fruit and always prospering.
 
If you go back to verse 2, you might remember that God describes happy people as those who “delight” in His law. He says they are the people who “meditate day and night” in His law. God desires that each of us be happy. He also desires that we be prosperous and healthy. To be spiritually healthy and prosperous means that we must be “planted” near the continuous source of spiritual nutrients. For this reason, it is imperative that we plant ourselves next to God’s Word. It is the source by which we grow spiritually.
 
If you desire to be truly happy and to be spiritually fruitful, then you must be in God’s Word day and night. You must live your life in tune with God’s Word. Without it, you will wither, and you will cease to produce fruit that is pleasing unto God. May I suggest that you determine to spend each day reading, learning, and knowing the Word of God. If you will keep yourself planted by its waters, there is no doubt that is will be the source that keeps you spiritually healthy. You will become a beautiful tree that is producing fruit, that does not wither when the storms of life come, and everything you do for Him will prosper.
 
If you are seeking true happiness, you can find it in God’s Word. We would love to help you. In fact, our greatest desire is to know Christ and make Him known at Calvary Baptist Church. For that reason, we would love to help you make sure of your relationship with God. Contact us and let us know how we can help you. Our email address is calvarybaptistbedford@outlook.com and our telephone number is 540.486.3434. You can hear sermons by Pastor John by clicking here.


Finding True Happiness – Part 2

Happiness is found in God's Word

Finding True Happiness

So many people as seeking true happiness. Yet, it seems to be very hard to find for most. However, God’s Word tells us that we can find true happiness. Finding true happiness begins with an understanding of our relationship with God, the Creator of the Universe.

In Psalm 1, God tells us…


But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Psalms 1:2


God is talking about the “blessed” person. The word “blessed” literally means “happiness.” Thus, God is talking about people who are truly happy.


The person who hangs with sinful people doing sinful things is not going to be happy. Verse one is very clear in that matter. Instead, a happy or blessed person is one who “delights” in the LORD’s law.


The Hebrew word “delight” means “pleasure.” Happy people are people who take great pleasure in knowing, reading, and studying God’s law. We know that God’s Word contains God’s Law. Therefore, any person who delights or takes pleasure in God’s Word will be a happy person. There are many things that people take great pleasure in these days. Many find pleasure striving to live a life of leisure. For them, leisure is a pleasure. Some find pleasure in materials goods and/or accumulation of wealth. Yet, others seek pleasure in the number of friends that can have or find.

Unfortunately, all these pleasures are temporary. They are only pleasurable for a short time. In the end, most people who delight in such things wake up one day realizing that you are not truly happy. The things of this world and this life cannot provide the happiness that only God can provide. Which brings us back to the Psalm 1:2. Happy people find pleasure in God’s Word. Consequently, they pursue God’s Word.


Note that this verse tells us that happy people delight in God’s law constantly. God says they “meditate day and night.” Again, going back to the Hebrew, we find a different understanding of the word “meditate” than today’s definition. We think of meditating as to ponder, to think about, to muse upon. Immediately in our minds we envision sitting in a room on the floor with our legs crossed and our Bibles in our laps just thinking about God’s Word with our eyes closed.

Yet, that is not the meaning of the Hebrew word for “meditate” found in this verse. Instead, we find that it means to moan, to growl, to utter, or to speak. You see happy people are people who delight in God’s Word so much that they are continually speaking it day and night. We are to speak it to ourselves, to God and to others. In the morning, we are to utter its profound wisdom. During the day, we are chattering its words of encouragement to everyone we meet. And, at night before our heads hit the pillow, we are to once again read it and speak it assuring us that God is God and He is in complete control.


If you are seeking true happiness, may we suggest that you look for it in God’s Word? Find a Bible, open it, and begin speaking it so that you hear it as well as others. We would love to help you. In fact, we love speaking the Word of God at Calvary Baptist Church. And, we would love to help you make sure of your relationship with God. Contact us and let us know how we can help you. Our email address is calvarybaptistbedford@outlook.com and our telephone number is 540.486.3434. It is our desire to help you know Christ and make Him known around the world.



Finding True Happiness – Part 1

Finding True HappinessIn response to a recent article about finding true happiness, someone commented.

“I work in a toxic environment. I love my home but toxic people living near me harass me. Every day is a fight. Now how do I stop blaming them for my unhappiness.”

Can you relate? Do you live or work in a toxic environment as well? Is everyday a constant struggle for finding true happiness? Is it possible to stop blaming others for your unhappiness? The answer is a simple “yes.” You see the Bible, God’s Word has all the answers. In the very first Psalm, God tells us…

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. Psalms 1:1

A lot of people seek true happiness in their lives and never find it. People will spend an entire fortune trying to buy happiness. Some look for happiness by acquiring as many friends as possible. Some think that if that just moves the next rung of the ladder in their business, they will achieve happiness. However, God teaches that happiness is not in what we obtain. True happiness is all about one relationship. It is about our relationship with God.

In this verse, the term “blessed” literally means happiness. The psalmist is saying “Blessed is…” or “Truly happy is…”  In other words, if you truly want to be happy then you will be the man or woman that does what God instructs next. The question then begs of itself what is that God is instructing me to do.

In this verse, God starts by telling us what NOT to do.

First, DO NOT walk according to ungodly counsel. The phrase “walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly” literally means do NOT walk according to wicked or evil advice. You cannot be truly happy if you continue to listen to the advice and counsel of wicked, evil people.

Second, DO NOT stand in the sinner’s way. In a literal sense, we must not stand on the sinner’s road. The idea is that of positioning one’s self in the place where sinful action is taken by sinful people. Just as it is dangerous to stand in the middle of a busy highway, it is also very dangerous for us to stand in the middle of sinful people’s actions. Sinful people always do sinful things. Sin always leads to death. If then you stand there, you are opening yourself to being run over by sin. There is no happiness in sin. It may satisfy for a while, but in the end, it is nothing but death and misery.

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James 1:14-15

Third, DO NOT sit in a scorner’s seat. Here the meaning gives us the impression of living in the house or place of one who mocks God. There are many people today who mock at God, at His Word, and His Son, Jesus Christ. They scoff and mock leading others away from the truth of God’s Word. Such people are miserable people. They are always trying to find fault and, thus, have a bad attitude toward the things of God. Their negative attitude spreads like cancer to all those who are near them. And, if you live with them, you will also develop the same negative attitude.

True happiness is obtained by removing from your life sinful influences. Ungodly counsel, sinful people committing sinful actions, and those who scoff or mock the truth of God’s word are snakes in the grass that must be avoided. They will not lead you to happiness. Instead, they will just bring more misery and pain.

As you read this, perhaps God is speaking to your heart. Do you desire true happiness in your life? Are you looking in the wrong direction for that happiness? Do you find yourself having friends who are living in sin and wickedness influencing you away from God? If so, then you need to remove yourself from their company. The best way to start is by making sure that you have a personal relationship with Christ. He is the only person who can bring true happiness in your life. Seek Him first. Call out to Him today. Accept Him as your Savior.

Here at Calvary Baptist Church, we would love to help make sure of your relationship with God. Contact us and let us know how we can help you. Our email address is calvarybaptistbedford@outlook.com and our telephone number is 540.486.3434. It is our desire to help you know Christ and make Him known around the world.



Repair or Renovate Relationships

Repair or Renovate Relationships God's Way

It is far better to repair or renovate relationships God’s way instead of our way.

Over the past few years, there has been a resurgence in home renovation. Many popular TV shows like Fixer Upper, Design on a Dime, and many others have created a renewed interest in Do-It-Yourself projects. In fact, many couples have intentionally bought old homes with the idea of fixing them up themselves. There are many people who enjoy repairing or renovating something that is broken or old. It has become so popular that these people often refer to themselves as DIYers. They revel in do-it-yourself projects. There also times when we need to repair or renovate relationships as well.


Spiritually, there are many people whose lives are in need of repair. All of us are guilty of allowing our relationships to become old or stale or in need of repair. And, just as a house or a room needs renovating, so our relationships with God and/or with others needs some fixing up. The great news is that God has provided us with a great manual that shows us how to repair any relationship including our relationship with Him. That manual is His Word, the Bible. In much the same way that you can fix your physical home, you can also fix your spiritual life as well. What needs to take place is that you must learn to Do-It-God’s way instead of Doing It Your way.


Such a person is one who has purposed that they will seek God’s best for their personal life, their marriage, their family as well as their relationship with others. It is a person who is learning to view his/her circumstances from God’s perspective rather than from his/her limited frame of reference. It is one who is committed to repairing or renovating their relationships.


There is an interesting story in the Bible about one of the kings of Israel. What is most interesting about this king is that he became king at the young age of thirteen. Can you imagine ruling over an entire empire at thirteen? Surely it was a daunting task for this young man. Amazingly, he was a successful king who led the nation in what was right before God. The reason for his success is given in 2 Chronicles 26:5 which states…


And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper. (2 Chronicles 26:5)


Note that “as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.” Repairing relationships can be rewarding and you can prosper. However, in order to do so, you must seek the Lord. The person whose heart seeks after God is the person who will experience complete spiritual renovation.


Perhaps that is you! Are you looking to experience spiritual renovation? Are there some relationships that you would like to repair? If so, we at Calvary Baptist Church would love to assist you. Our desire is to help people know Christ. Please contact us and let us know if we can help in any way. Our email address is calvarybaptistbedford@outlook.com or you can call us at 540.586.3434. We would love to hear from you.



What is Our REAL PURPOSE in Life?

Freedom & Purpose

You can be free to live out your true purpose in life.

Recently, it was noted in a conversation with someone that many people today have no real purpose in life. Many are just living each day trying to survive. They are aimlessly going about their business with no real goal in life. When asked about their purpose, they simply state that they are just trying to get through the day. One of the leading catalysts of suicide today is the lack of purpose. People feel frustrated, depressed, and alone when they have no purpose. Many often ask, “Why am I here and does anyone even really care?” On the flip side, studies indicate that the people who have a real purpose in their life live longer and healthier.

I contend, based on Scripture, that many are lost and without purpose, because they are missing a key relationship in their life. Every person born into this world is born without a personal relationship with their Creator. If you read the early chapters of Genesis, it is quite clear that God in creating man created him with the purpose of fellowship with God. Genesis describes God as coming down and communing with man in the Garden. However, man ruined that relationship with sin. Since then, every man and woman born is missing that key relationship. I contend that many are searching for that relationship and just do not realize what is missing,
 
If you are reading this and have yet to affirm your personal relationship with God, then you have a spiritual problem. You are lost. You are without purpose. There is nothing that can fill the void that is missing in your life. Drugs will not fill it. Alcohol will not fill it. Sex will not fill it. Not even riches or fleshly relationships can fill the void that is missing. You see God is the only One Who can solve your spiritual problem.
The Bible describes the person who has no personal relationship with God as…
 
• Hopelessly separated from Him (read Romans 6:23a)
• Spiritually dead in their own sin (read Romans 3:23)
• Openly hostile to Him (read Romans 5:10a)
• Blinded by His enemy, Satan (read 2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
• Powerless in overcoming sin’s hold on their life (read Ecclesiastes 7:20)
• Completely unable to understand the things of God (read Proverbs 14:12)
• Unable to please Him or even walk in His ways (read Psalm 143:2b)
• And, incapable of living a spiritually fruitful and meaningful life. (read John 15:4-6)
 
Is this you? Are you living life without any real purpose? Do you feel the hopelessness of life? The great news is all that can change. You see if you will simply turn your heart and life to God, He can completely change your life. Establishing and affirming a relationship with Him will give you a real purpose.
We, at Calvary Baptist Church, would love to help you gain real purpose. For that reason, we would love to sit down with you and explain from God’s Word how to gain once again a true relationship with God. Our desire here at Calvary Baptist Church in Bedford, Virginia is to help you. Each week we preach and teach encouraging messages from Scripture that will help you grow spiritually. Our motto is to help each person know and make known the Christ of Calvary. If you would like further help, please notify us through email at calvarybaptistbedford.org or by phone at 540.586.3434 Additionally, we invite you to join us for a Sunday Worship service each Sunday at 11:00 a.m.


The Foundation of True Personal Change

Foundation of Change

Jesus Christ is the only solid foundation for true spiritual change.

If you truly want to change, you must first accept the fact that the foundation of true personal change is Jesus Christ. The amazing thing about God is He has a plan that will radically change your life. At the center of that plan is His Son, Jesus Christ. Having a relationship with Christ is the first step to realizing true change in your life. The Bible clearly states that God is perfect in every way.
 
Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy. Leviticus 19:2b
 
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48
 
Unfortunately, our issue is that there absolutely nothing that we can by our own efforts to achieve God’s level of perfection. All of us are born already with sin in our hearts. There is nothing perfect about any of us.
 
For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. Ecclesiastes 7:20
 
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23
 
We cannot save ourselves and we cannot depend upon any other person to redeem us. Deep down inside, we know this to be true. Consequently, all of us must begin by admitting that we are indeed helpless in meeting God’s standard. Admitting we have a problem is foundational in overcoming our problem. Our desire to experience real change in our life starts with us admitting our sin and our inability to overcome sin.  Then, it continues as we repent and turn to God. Repentance is a word simply meaning a change of direction. We repent by determining we are no longer going to live for ourselves, and, instead, we are going to start living God’s way.
 
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Luke 15:7
 
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;  Acts 3:19
 
The amazing thing is through God’s mercy and grace we can change. By recognizing our lost condition and believing wholeheartedly and sincerely on the Lord Jesus Christ, we can be completely changed. Additionally, we receive eternal life as well as forgiveness for our sins.
 
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 1 John 5:11-13
 
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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:9-13

My prayer is that you will accept Christ as the foundation of true personal change in your life today. Make the choice to follow God’s plan. Our desire here at Calvary Baptist Church in Bedford, Virginia is to help you with that choice. Each week we preach and teach encouraging messages from Scripture that will help you grow spiritually. Our motto is to help each person know and make known the Christ of Calvary. If you would like further help, please notify us through email at calvarybaptistbedford.org or by phone at 540.586.3434 Additionally, we invite you to join us for a Sunday Worship service each Sunday at 11:00 a.m.



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