Meeting Times

Sunday Class 10:00 a.m.

Sunday Worship 11:00 a.m.

Sunday Discussion 2:00 p.m.

Sunday Ladies Class 2:00 p.m.

Wednesday Class 7:00 p.m.

By Mike Riley

We live in a world where people speak constantly with little regard for whether what they say is true. In fact, we become so inundated with insincerity in every facet of life, that when we see or hear plain, honest speech or behavior, it leaps out at us as something completely outside the norm.
Years ago, we would often hear the maxim: “Honesty is the best policy.” However, the actions of most people today, demonstrate how little credence they give to it. People are generally convinced that lying is self-preservation. They will bend or even break the truth, if they suppose it will get them out of some trouble, or give them some advantage. However, once the lie is found out, the preservation or advantage evaporates (cf. Numbers 32:23).
Twice Abraham lied about the true nature of his relationship with Sarah, once in Egypt (Genesis 12:10-20) and again years later in Gerar (Genesis 20:1-18). On both occasions, Abraham put forth the half-truth that Sarah was his sister (she was his half-sister and his wife), ostensibly to preserve his life from men who might have slain him to possess her. Both lies caused far more harm than good, and placed Sarah at great personal risk.
A lie contributed to the downfall of Israel’s first king. When God sent the Israelite army against wicked Amalek, He gave command that the nation and all its possessions should be destroyed utterly (1 Samuel 15:1-3). However, Saul saw fit to spare Agag, the king of Amalek, as well as the best of the Amalekite flocks and herds (1 Samuel 15:9).
When Samuel the prophet came to Saul to indict him for his wrongdoing, Saul sought to hide behind a falsehood. He solemnly stated: “I have performed the commandment of the Lord” (1 Samuel 15:13).
Samuel then showed Saul that the evidence against him was overwhelming: “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears, and the lowing of oxen which I hear?” (1 Samuel 15:14). Such blatant disobedience led to the kingdom being taken from Saul, and given to David.
Concerning Satan, Jesus once said:
“He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).
Those who engage in lying, will have the opportunity to spend eternity with Satan (Revelation 21:8).
When we speak, we should speak as if we are uttering the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11), as His word is truth (John 17:17). Paul tells us: “Let everyone speak truth with his neighbor” (Ephesians 4:25) because “The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment” (Proverbs 12:19).
 

By Mike Riley

In our public prayers, we often thank God for the fact that we live in a country where we can worship Him without fear of reprisal or molestation. Indeed, this kind of prayer is specifically approved in Scripture:
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
We should be grateful to our heavenly Father that we can assemble to worship Him in an environment where we are not threatened by civil authorities. It is therefore right that we pray in this regard, so we might continue to enjoy this blessing.
But just for a moment, let us suppose that we didn’t have this privilege. What if we suddenly lost the ability to worship without being threatened or persecuted?  What if it meant that we might be arrested, jailed, tortured, or even put to death for expressing our faith and for worshiping God according to His instructions? Would we be deterred in worshiping our heavenly Father under these conditions?
Soon after the church was established (Acts 2), the apostles were arrested for preaching about Jesus being resurrected from the dead (Acts 4:1-3). At first, the Jewish leaders were content simply to threaten the twelve with punishment if they continued their activities (Acts 4:21), but when the apostles were later brought up on charges, they were beaten (Acts 5:40).
What would we do if such were the case today? If the police seized us on the way to worship, bound us in handcuffs, and presented us to a judge who ordered us never to speak of Christ to anyone again, how would our behavior change? If we risked a beating by participating in worship services or Bible studies, where would we be on Sunday morning, evening, and Wednesday evening?
Hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, three men named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego refused to renounce their allegiance to the true and living God by worshiping a gold statue erected by King Nebuchadnezzar. The legal penalty for disobedience was by cremation in a furnace. The three men’s reply to Nebuchadnezzar was bold, courageous, and to the point:
“If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).
Would we take that bold and courageous a stance?
Some years later Darius, another king of Babylon, decreed that no one could pray to any deity except the king himself. The penalty for disobedience was being fed alive to some hungry lions.
Let us notice what Daniel did in response:
“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Daniel 6:10).
What would we have done in this situation?
In the face of abuse and imprisonment, the apostles said, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Later, while facing execution, Paul affirmed:
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
Their courage in these circumstances, was the kind of courage that enabled them to sing and pray even while shackled in a dungeon (Acts 16:24-25), and their faithfulness to the Lord is an example to us today.
Paul also warned Timothy that:
“All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).
Brethren, if our persecution should ever take the form the apostles faced — would we remain steadfast and unafraid? (cf. 2 Corinthians 4; Ephesians 6:10-20).

By Mike Riley

On a recent beautiful warm Saturday morning, a Christian friend and I were having breakfast at a local restaurant. At a nearby table, we noticed a young woman sitting quietly reading her Bible. She was absorbed in the text, occasionally looking up to consider what she had read. She never said a word, but her heart and priorities were visible to everyone in that restaurant. It was a gentle, positive, and silent influence.
She was not ashamed of Christ nor of His New Testament (Hebrews 9:11-15 KJV). She neither preached a sermon nor sang a song. She was willing to be identified with the Savior, yet she did not need to announce that allegiance.
In our attempts to share the message of Jesus, we must eventually use words, because ultimately words are needed to present the gospel (John 14:23; Acts 2:14 KJV; Acts 11:11-14 KJV; Acts 16:14 ESV; 2 Peter 3:1-2 KJV; Jude 1:17 KJV). But we can also learn from the example of this woman.
There are times when the quietness of our everyday actions speak louder than our words, revealing our love for the Lord Philippians 1:21-27  21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 
. In our desire to share Christ with a sinful world, let’s not ignore the power of our silent influence. 1 Thessalonians 1:5-8   5 for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6 You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.
 

By Mike Riley

The story is told of a thrifty man who one day decided to save money on donkey feed. Every day, he would add increasing amounts of sawdust into the donkey’s feed. Because the process was gradual, the donkey did not notice any difference as he cleaned up his manger. The man’s plan was working well, until the donkey suddenly died because of living on 100% sawdust.
Similarly, spiritual food that contains the pure Word of God, once mixed with worldly sawdust [watered-down or social gospel], will eventually lead to spiritual death (2 Peter 2). It is indeed sad to see some members of the church act as though they cannot understand why so many spiritually malnourished Christians die [abandon the Lord’s church] even after being members of the church for many years.
The Psalmist tells us that God’s word is “lamp” to the feet and a “light” to one’s pathway (Psalm 119:105; cf. Proverbs 6:23). However, how can members of the Lord’s body make application of that “light” in their everyday living, if they remain ignorant of that light? (Hebrews 5:12-14). What is the use of chiding weak Christians about their little faith, if spiritually strong Christians do not teach them enough of the pure Word for them to be able to develop strong faith? (Psalm 51:12-13; Romans 10:17; 2 Timothy 2:1-2).
All of the church pep-rallies, sermons, and lectures about Christian duty, won’t do much good for weak-in-the-faith Christians, until they are taught the pure word of God (Proverbs 30:5; Psalm 19:7-8).
Brethren, if there is any sawdust in our spiritual diet, we need to get rid of it, and start feeding our spiritually weak brethren, the pure “milk” of the Word (1 Peter 2:2), gradually bringing them up to the “strong meat” of the Word Hebrews 5:14;(14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to distinguish between good and evil.), so they might grow into spiritually mature workers for the Lord and His church 1 Peter 2:1-3; Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 and like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.; Ephesians 4:11-16; 11 And He gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of people, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, that is, Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Also see (2 Peter 3:18; Colossians 1:3-10).
 

By Mike Riley

Mordecai, the cousin, guardian, and surrogate father of Esther, has always been one of this writer’s favorite Bible characters. Not only is Mordecai an example of courage and great conviction, but an individual who knew how to read a difficult situation and respond to it with great wisdom. As we recall the story of Esther, it was Mordecai who engineered her entrance into the court of the Persian king Ahasuerus (known in secular history as Xerxes) and her ultimate elevation as Ahasuerus’ queen (Esther 2:15-17). Mordecai made a mortal enemy in the person of Haman, one of the Persian princes who saw his position as a favorite son threatened by the presence of the Jews among his people, and by Mordecai in particular. Let us note the following text: “After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him. And all the king’s servants who were within the king’s gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage” (Esther 3:1-2 – NKJV).

Why Mordecai Would Not Bow or Pay Homage

Let’s focus on the last sentence of the above reading. We might wonder why Mordecai did not bow or pay homage. After all, was not Haman was in a position of authority? Was he not a prince, promoted by the king? Did not the king decree that Haman should be shown honor? What would have been wrong in Mordecai bowing to this prince? Are we not told in Scripture to give honor to whom honor is due? (Romans 13:7). To properly answer these questions, we have to consider the original context. What Haman was demanding of the people here was not merely the justified honor to be paid to a civil authority figure. What he sought, from the perspective of Persian custom, was to be worshiped as deity. In a word, to be honored as a god. This Mordecai refused to do.

An Example of Daniel’s Friends

Mordecai’s action was not unlike that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, the three friends of Daniel who refused to bow to the image of himself that Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon erected.

 When the king threatened the three men with public immolation in a furnace if they did not comply with his order, the trio replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18 – NKJV).

Having Courage and Conviction in an Age of Compromise

We live in an age of compromise, of tolerance, of “going along with the crowd to get along.” Confronted with the dilemma Mordecai faced, many people in our world today would simply say, “What would it matter just this once? I know Haman isn’t really a god, but if he wants to think so, and obeying his order will keep me in his good graces, what difference would it make?” Mordecai refused. He would not compromise his faith even for a man with the authority to build a gallows and have him hung from it (Esther 5:14). As Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego told Nebuchadnezzar, “If you’re going to throw us in the furnace for not bowing to your idol, go ahead, because we are not bowing,” In essence, Mordecai’s action told Haman, “Hang me if you will, but I’ll not give you what belongs to my God.” How often are we guilty of bowing to the “gods” of this world? When we accept the world’s values without challenge, when we submit to common principles at the expense of holiness, when we set temporal things higher in our priorities than the things of Christ, are we not doing exactly what Mordecai refused to do?

Conclusion

Brethren, God’s people must be people of courage and conviction! When the world invites us to dine at its table, Christians must decline (1 Corinthians 10:21). Like Mordecai, let’s never be afraid to stand for the truth, always refusing to conform to the world (Romans 12:2).