Monday, January 23, 2017

Pretty Places from God

   As a family, we spent several days in the Asheville, NC area and fell in love with the mountains all over again. Whatever location we have visited over the years, we are always amazed by the beauty and grandeur of this created world. 
   One of our days, we were able to do some hiking and also took opportunity to visit the Fred W. Symmes chapel (also known as "Pretty Place" During our short visit there, we were able to snap many pictures, sit and take in the view, and contemplate the Lord's beautiful creation and handiwork. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge" (Psalm 19:1-2 ESV).
   From this location, we were able to see for many miles across both South Carolina and North Carolina. Even in the winter, the beauty of the mountains was very breathtaking. The following picture was taken by my son, Kris Rodgers.
   While the winter season takes its toll on the landscape, it is a reminder how our winter seasons can take their toll on us. We look forward to those springtime blooms to sprout and the colors to show their vibrant hues. What we fail to  remember is that they were there all along, just lying dormant. 
   It is true in our lives that God is always there. Consider Acts 17:27-28, "...though he is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being..." [NKJV]. The Hebrews writer reminds us of God's promise: "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). When we realize that God is there even in our wintry days, we find peaceful assurances for each day's faithfulness to God, the Creator, Sustainer, and Savior of our lives. Then, we have found God's "pretty place" for our lives. May God continue to bless you each day.

Wayne Rodgers

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Jesus, The Light of the World

I have always been a fan of Christmas lights. I love to ride around just before Christmas and see all the lights in the neighborhoods. I was hanging lights on our house today, and I began to think about the way it shines. The more lights, the lighter it got in the yard. It’s not the Grizwolds’ house or anything, but I like it. The concept of light vs. darkness came to mind.

There is always a reminder of this world’s darkness and what it represents. The apostle John recorded by inspiration two times when our Lord refers to Himself as the “light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5), as well as the “light of life.” John also wrote: “the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19) teaching us that this world is so lost in sin. After Jesus had told the woman taken in adultery (John 8:1-11), “go and sin no more” (v. 11), he then turned to those He had been teaching and said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Jesus is the answer to this world’s wickedness. Luke recorded: “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). He is the “light” that all mankind must come to see. His message of salvation is one for all. Paul wrote: “for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of salvation to everyone who believes: to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

True disciples of Christ have the opportunity to teach and show the world through the preaching of the Gospel and through the living of the Gospel. Jesus with His authority gave the command: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NKJV). So, we “go and teach” (KJV), but we are also taught to live out the Gospel each day in our lives:  “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

So, while you are out and about this next few weeks and seeing lights in your neighborhood, remember that Christ is the “light of the world” and that we are to live in such a way that others can see that “light.”
Wayne Rodgers

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Storms, Floods, & Fires

   A preacher friend reminded me of Ira North’s statement of his beloved state of Tennessee: “It is the state that pillows its head in the Great Smoky Mountains and dips its feet in the mighty Mississippi.” 
   This week we have seen its pillow burning with fire. We will hear of much by way of tragedy concerning this disaster, while we will likely also hear of heroism to save and rescue people, wildlife, homes, etc. 
   We know the Gatlinburg church of Christ building was destroyed and several members lost their homes completely. There are efforts through our brotherhood to help the congregation there and their members.
   It gives us a moment to pause and be reminded of this life’s tragedies that we all face. Some have gone through storms, floods, and fires such as this with great loss. Some have come through these disasters unscathed or with very little loss at all. 
   These physical disasters are often compared to the spiritual storms and fires which plague us in this life. Paul wrote: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13). These, we all share in common, and we are told to rely on and help “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2).
   It also gives us a moment to pause and be reminded of this life’s wondrous blessings through Christ (Eph. 1:3). As children of God, we soon learn that we are not alone (1 Cor. 10:12), and we have a wonderful family in Christ upon which we can share (fellowship) and care (love & compassion) and show to the world (evangelize) to whom we belong. John wrote: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35).
~Wayne Rodgers

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Sermon of Attitudes (pt. 8)

The previous character trait or attitude discussed was that of a peacemaker, which gives us some insight as to “counting the cost” of the Christian life (Lk. 14:28). The type of persecution under consideration is that which comes from a life faithful to God.
Jesus along with the apostle Paul wrote of the real possibility of persecution: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12, KJV); “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword” (Rom. 8:35, NKJV).
Persecution comes about in various ways and forms: physical violence, sharp tongues, angry pens, rejection from family, friends, etc., socially out casted, etc. Yet, whatever form it may show, we must learn to properly respond with a joyful and glad heart (Mt. 5:12). Jesus reminded us that we stand in good company: “for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” The kingdom of heaven is that for which Christ “suffered” (Heb. 5:7-8) and “tasted death” (Heb. 2:9) for each of us. He is our example (2 Pet. 2:21); therefore, we must follow in His steps. First, we must know that we, too, will face persecution, as did He. Second, we must face persecution as He has taught. These attitudes or character traits that are to be found in the man approved of God are those which were new to the Jewish economy, but would continue to this day in the church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
What follows the Beatitudes are those verses teaching that we are, in fact, “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Mt. 5:13-16). Therefore, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which his in heaven.”

- Wayne Rodgers