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Archive for August, 2010

A Life Well Spent?

Have you noticed that Scripture gives us numerous encouragements to “redeem the time”?  How we are called to consider the fleeting character of life, and to live with a constant cognizance of both its uncertainty and its imminent closure?  To that end, Ecclesiastes 9:10 says soberly, “Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might; for there is no activity, or planning, or knowledge, or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.”

How often we can be heard saying, “So much to do, and yet so little time.”  And yet, I wonder how wisely we occupy the allotment of time apportioned to us.  As you go about cataloguing the day’s to-do’s, how are your priorities reflected? Take a moment, for example, to consider all of the gifts and graces that are still in need of strengthening.  Consider all the encumbrances to be laid aside and sins to be mortified.  Are you redeeming the time…..or is it being uselessly expended upon trivial matters that bring no merit to your eternity?  How brief is our pilgrimage, and yet how much more we need to grow under the sanctifying grace of God.

I wonder how we will view our season on earth once stepping over the threshold into eternity.  I wonder how uselessly spent the span of our lives will seem; how pointless our endeavors, investments, and pursuits will prove to have been.  Some waste the precious commodity of time by applying their affections to the fading and deceiving allurements of the world.  Others are so immersed in concern or care that they haven’t the affinity left by which to hone the features of godliness.  Some waste their time invested in pointless, vain novels that consume countless hours, and do nothing to prepare their minds for eternity.  Others are so consumed by the gluttony of sleep that they slumber right through this life and into the next.

Such unredeemed time should not be characteristic of the child of God. Today is gone in an instant…and once spent it cannot be recalled to be spent more wisely.  All of today’s advances can do nothing to slow the advance of time’s steady cadence, nor can they purchase back one wasted moment.  It is gone forever to be recorded for what it is.  If you knew today that you would be gone tomorrow, how priceless this very moment before you would seem.  But, as it stands, one day just seems to drift into another…and another.  Such is the cadence of life.  Subsequently, you are nearer to eternity today than you were yesterday.  And after today, your appointed days will be one less.  Shouldn’t every new sunrise then remind us of our approaching eternity? Shouldn’t every sunset cause us to consider the approaching conclusion of life?  Before sleeping tonight, spend a brief moment to ask yourself “How much of my time could have been invested to honor Christ…..and yet how much have I wasted away? How much more could I have reflected the beauties of Christ today? How much more could I have served the Lord today?  How much more worthy may my walk have been had I not trickled so much time uselessly away?” 

Does Christ demand too much of us in all of this? Is it too much for us to break the idolatrous gaze that has been affixed to corruptible things, so that the whole of my life and your life might be devoted to His glory?  Do you think you will ever regret the diligence of a life well spent?  Soon….all the time you have to improve for God will be expended and you will be ushered into a place where “days”, and “years” are words without relevance. ….and where the bliss of your eternity will never cease.   May God give us grace to embrace the merits of today, so that we may live today in light of that tomorrow.

“For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” —James 4:14

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As the men of Legacy have diligently studied through 1 Corinthians we have come across passages that required even more study than we had time for in our short time together. Last night was one of those nights, where as the Body of Christ(the church) we need to get a hold of, so to speak, a critical doctrine…”Perseverance of the Saints”. Here is how Elder Jeremy Clarke states it:         
Jesus Himself said, “He that endures to the end, the same shall be saved” (That’s an excellent verse to memorize). What Scripture tells us is that those who persevere in their faith until the very end demonstrate genuine salvation. They demonstrate that they are/were in fact effectually called, are/were in fact united to Christ, are/were in fact indwelt by His Spirit. Again, perseverance is not the means toward, but rather the demonstration of true saving faith. The doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints, therefore, does not mean that everyone who professes Christ is secure. That is profoundly false……because not every profession is a true one. Rather, it means that true saving faith will evidence itself in enduring to the end; the true believer will abide in Christ to the end; continue in His word until the end. (John 15:6; 1 John 2:19)……and of this is the expression of God’s preserving grace to those whom He predestined for glory.    Jeremey Clarke, Elder of Legacy         
If we have an appropriate understanding of this doctrine it will bring much clarity to the New Testament. Let us as a body prayerfully strive to understand these doctrines and with God’s grace persevere to the end.        

  

   

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Joy Unspeakable

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17:22

        The way we face life has a lot to do with how good we feel about it. If we are negative, life is a burden, but if we are positive, life will seem like the greatest gift we’ve ever known. Happiness is contagious. When we are happy, it spreads. But sadness is contagious, also, and when we are gloomy and angry, we spread a dark cloud over all the people we meet. A positive spirit is like a powerful medicine and has a great deal of power to heal. It is so much better to face life with joy than to let life get you down. The person who feels that life is bad will wither (dry up) and fail. God gave us life to enjoy.

      These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

If you are in Christ and Christ in you, know then that He has overcome this world and we have much to be joyful about. Eternity awaits us with joy unspeakable and full of Glory. He blesses us when we embrace life with happiness and contentment. How then can we be continuously gloomy when there is so much to look forward to after this life?:)

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Confidence

    My daughter, Grace, recently presented a speech for the First Tee of Northwest Arkansas entitled, “Confidence”. The speech revolved around how the teachers and coaches at First Tee have been able to instill confidence in Grace and how this confidence on the golf course has transferred itself to other activities in her life such as singing in front of others and playing the piano in a public setting among other things.  

         As I thought about her speech and it took me to another facet of life which is the question of how confident am I of my salvation. I was reminded of the sermon that Pastor Jeremy taught using Philippians and Romans as a text. Philippians 3:9-10 tells us, “and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings; being conformed to His death,” 

 To receive Christ and have the confidence of salvation on must: 

  •  Believe and admit that I am a sinner

  

  •  Believe and admit that I hate my sin.
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  • Believe Jesus took away my sin.
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  • Believe that God declares our status as “not guilty of sin” in His eyes because of faith in Jesus Christ.
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     Pastor Jeremy gave an analogy describing a basketball player, after professing faith in Jesus, putting on a new jersey. That jersey could say something like “I’m On God’s Team!!!” The challenge laid before us is to now live a life that represents the jersey and the team we are on. Go team!

Matt Cockrell – Deacon

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Election

The doctrine of election does not save anyone, the gospel does. Election is a blueprint by the Father to save a particular people for Himself by the redemptive work of Jesus Christ when applied by the Holy Spirit in time to the same, through the preaching of the gospel.

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