Category Archives: Elders Message

Messages from Our Elders

Richard Stevens Jr

ACCOUNTABLE III

Husbands and wives are accountable to each other. The husband is the head of the wife, Christ is head of the Church and God is the head of Christ. (1 Cor 11:3) Most problems we have could be solved if we remembered these basic facts. This natural order of things was established by God for all mankind that our tenure on earth would be less difficult. HE determined how things are to be. (Gen 2:18-24) Husbands who do not follow their head (Christ) have a hard time and wives unwilling to submit. Wives who do not submit to their head (husband) also have troubles and endangered salvation. Christ demonstrated complete obedience and submission to His head (God) who was always right and we should demonstrate complete obedience and submission to our head (Christ) who also is always right. Our wives are commanded to obey and submit to us (husbands) who are not always right. This creates a problem but it should be only a temporary one. We all make mistakes but when repentance and forgiveness takes place restoration is accomplished and the Lord’s command to submit should be obeyed. UNFORGIVENESS is one of the largest problems we have. Husbands are not always right but are always the head in the husband/wife relationship and must be accountable for it. The wife is also accountable. It is better to be alone in the desert than live with an angry quarrelsome woman. (Pro 21:19) Contentious people keep strife going, adding wood to the already too hot fire. Some men also are contentious and promote strife. (Pro 26:21) We all will face God who will render to all according to how we have done. (Ro 2:5-11) None of us can always be right but we can be accountable, and that is always right.

THE ELDERS
RWS II

Richard Stevens Jr

HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY (ACCOUNTABLE II)

All the while that mom lived I felt accountable to her even after I was married with children and living away. I tried to live and treat my family in such a way that she would be pleased, even proud. My mother was always accountable to my sister and me and of course to dad. We learned to get along when we were not in full agreement because we were not in charge of anything and my parents’ decision did not depend on my agreement. We should all be accountable to each other and to God as Christian brothers and sisters and HIS decisions are not dependent upon our agreement. My mother required me to love and look out for my sister’s best interest and my sister reciprocated. The golden rule prevailed in my mother’s house and rubbed off on us so that it still prevails in our houses. (Lu 6:31) Lets show our mothers love on this special day for them, but tomorrow also and everyday hereafter demonstrate to the world that we are a people of love, compassion and accountable to our mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers for we are indeed their keepers. (Gal 5:13-14)

THE ELDERS
RWS II

Richard Stevens Jr

ACCOUNTABLE I

We notice a passage in Numbers where a conversation between Miriam and Aaron about their brother Moses and his wife offended God. Miriam disapproved of Moses’ wife apparently and voiced her negative opinion that Moses was not the only one God spoke to and HE held her accountable. Moses served God and any criticism of him should have been left to God. HE did not speak to them like HE spoke to Moses. (Num 12:1-10) There are many things we are critical of today that we should allow God to handle. Moses was a gentleman who did not offer any argument or attempt to defend himself. The Lord intervened and reprimanded the two. This passage informs us that nothing is concealed from God. (Num 12:6-10) Miriam was punished severely, although temporarily, to teach her a lesson. Aaron pled with Moses to pray to God for her healing. Moses prayed for instant healing but God reminded him of the law and the healing came later. (Num 12:14-15)
This passage demonstrates how God regards our behavior and holds his people accountable for their speech and actions. In those days punishment was immediate and severe. Now because of what Jesus did with grace and truth some believe that God overlooks their sin. Not so. God is still good in that HE gives us more time but HE is also still severe. HE does not overlook sinners who ignore HIS goodness. (Ro 11:22) Do good, be accountable, continue in brotherly love and avoid the severe punishment.

THE ELDERS
RWS II

Richard Stevens Jr

FRIENDS IV

True friends go the required distance and beyond for each other. Jesus taught that if one bid thee go a mile go with him the second. We are taught to give more than just what is required and good friends do that. Notice how Jesus was accused of being like those whom HE kept company with because HE ate and drank with them. (Mat 11:19) I believe that a man should be known by what he does in the company he keeps rather than the company. Our Lord was friendly to everyone as we should be. We are not to be friends with the world and its things but should seek the friendship of all people that we might influence them to forsake the world and its folly. Some of our family members are worldly and need our friendship. Think about a good friendly talk you could have to enlighten, encourage and bring joy to someone. Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel. (Pro 27:9) Remember your father’s or families’ friend and know that relatives may not always be available to you for help in a crisis. A near friend is better than distant relatives. (Pro 27:10)
There are times when restraint is in order as when someone asks you to be a surety for them in some deal. Some friends are friendly because you are “easy.” Don’t be mislead or used and get in a jam. My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth; thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. (Pro 6:1-2) Seek a quick and lawful way out if you become ensnared. (Pro 6:3-4) We admonish you in this last piece on friendliness to Let brotherly love continue. (He 13:1)

THE ELDERS
RWS II

Richard Stevens Jr

FRIENDS III

True friendship is more that a ‘high five’ or a ‘wow’ at the games for a dunk, touchdown, home run or birdie putt. True friends are concerned about the well-being of each other and respond when they hear of trouble. They respond with the intent to help or support the friend in need. There are so-called friends that respond to get the “dope” on the troubled one and accuse, criticize or offer un-solicited advice which is not wanted or helpful. Job’s three friends give us a really good example of how friends should respond and behave. They decided together to visit Job, mourn with him and help if they could. They waited patiently and quietly for seven days and neither spoke a word to Job or of his plight. (Job 2:11-13) Eliphaz of the three spoke first when Job finished speaking but did not want to cause him further grief. (Job 4:2) Ones not trained as physicians should not prescribe treatment to the sick.
I visited a sick friend who had trouble talking sometimes and we would hug and shake hands and continue to hold the handshake and stare at each other for up to 5 minutes before anything was said. One time he just shed tears and I smiled and we had a good laugh when he was ready to talk. I miss that old friend who has now passed on. I remember visits with my father when he was sick and shortly before his death he also had speech problems and I waited until he spoke. Both men usually had something uplifting to say when they did speak. This old man and I and my father and I were such good friends with such history that we could converse in silence. My father was my best friend and there was nothing that we could not talk about. My father knew that I was his friend in spite of his challenge. Both of these men wanted me to be a successful real man as they were. Real men fear and obey God and what a friend HE is.

THE ELDERS
RWS II

Richard Stevens Jr

FRIENDS II

Our Friends know we love them by the way we treat them, and we know who our friends are by the way they treat us. The friend indeed will supply the need that any brother or sister has as the first Christians did. (Act 4:34-35) All of our acquaintances are not necessarily our friends but possibly could be if we were friendly. (Pro 18:24) Jesus was accused falsely because HE interacted with people of the world. (Mat 11:19) HE was not worldly nor was HE enticed by worldly things or status. (Mat 4:8-9; Lu 9:58) We must follow HIS example and entreat all men with friendliness but be careful not to become entangled in their worldliness. The engagement into sinful activities of the world will destroy our relationship with God. (Jam4:4) We should act out the song “I’ll be a friend to Jesus” and demonstrate that we are prospective friends to anyone. Salvation and friendship are conditional. Obstacles emerge in friendships with some people who attempt to use us “easy marks” in their selfish agendas. We must not be mislead into going along with wrong to make friends. A correct stance must be maintained with God and that will sometimes lead to persecution from mankind. We Christians are friendly servants of Christ and we remember that HE said that no servant is greater than his master. They persecuted Jesus who came to save all men and make them HIS friends and they will persecute the servants of HIS household. (Mat 10:24-25) Let’s be friends and remember what a friend we have in Jesus.
THE ELDERS
RWS II

Richard Stevens Jr

FRIEND I

We will, if the Lord wills, discuss friends and friendliness this month and relate some data from the Bible. A friend is attached to another by affection according to Webster and promotes that friendship by saying and doing what leads that person to desire his company. A friend seeks to promote happiness and prosperity for those preferred. We are servants of Christ whom HE classifies as friends based on our response to HIM. HE has made known to us all the things that would elevate us as HIS servants to become HIS friends. There are certain things we must know about HIM and certain things that we must do. (Jn 15:14-15) Friends have things in common and tend to do things alike. I would not say or do things to my friends that they don’t like.  My friends think and do what promotes friendship with me because they know me and what I like. I do like my friends do because I love them and want that friendship. We cannot be worldly and be God’s friends. (Jas 4:4) When we agree with the thief we become partakers with him and we must not assist him. (Psa 50:18)  Our quest for righteousness requires that we be friendly because we, like Christ seek friends to share with in the kingdom of God and must remain HIS friend by keeping the friendship pact that we have with HIM.

We seek to please our Great Friend and in so doing men will be displeased, but as servants and friends of Christ we persevere obeying the directions given to us. We plead with all men to be our friends by becoming friends of God. (Gal 1:10) Decide to be a friend of Jesus.

THE ELDERS

RWS II

Richard Stevens Jr

SUNDAY AND EASTER

Spring and Easter are here and the religious world celebrates this time almost unanimously. The Christians see the world in its religious celebrations on this day and we refrain from such religious activities because there are no New Testament teachings concerning Easter. Christians act in accordance with Bible demands and Easter celebrations, feasts, Easter eggs and such like are not mentioned as Christian duties. We think this worldly holiday is alright like Presidents Day or Labor Day but we know it is not a Christian holy day. Every Sunday is the holy day of worship for the Christian.

Today this concludes our articles on liberality or generosity toward others according to Bible standards. We focus on the people of God first, that is, those who have conformed themselves to those terms of Jesus Christ. (Mk 16:15-16; Jn 15:14; 14:15) That shows that Christians take care of its family affairs first like any other family. (1 Jn 3:16-18; Ja 2:15-16) We also help others who may ask as the Lord directed. (Mat 5:42) This extension of grace extends even to those who hate us. (Ro 12:20; Gal 6:10) We have the obligation to love everyone like God loves us and gave all for us and Jesus gave us explicit directions and examples to follow that would make us look like HIM to those who see us in the world. (Jn 13:35) Our generosity in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ is the most significant gift one could give. We hope and pray that your faith in God does not fail and that your generosity will highlight HIM as you enjoy your Easter festivities after and apart from worship. 

 

THE ELDERS

RWS II

Richard Stevens Jr

GENEROSITY IV

          Many people live seemingly carefree lives, give generously and some even seem wasteful and their resources are not diminished. Others seem careful to conserve, cut corners, are stingy and cold hearted and their resources keep disappearing. (Pro 11:24) They are too concerned for themselves and their own agendas to really grasp the concept of liberality. They fear harm to themselves and/or family, so they hold back. That confirms their failure to trust in the word of God. Jesus said give to others and it would be given to you and your return would be greater than your gift. (Lu 6:38) The Christian Brother or Sister knows that the liberal soul will be made fat and that one must give in order to get. (Pro 11:25) The world, mankind and Christianity began in the concept of liberal giving. God saw that the earth was void and dark needing a remedy and HE gave light. (Ge 1:2-3) HE gave again HIS only Son to overcome spiritual darkness. (Jn 3:16; 12:46) We should have caught on by now that in order to receive one must give and the more one gives the more is received because God rewards bountifully. When we are generous to the poor God is in debt and pays back. (Pro 19:17) Let us always be as Christ was; our greatest example in liberality. Love God, be generous and share the joy.

 

THE ELDERS

RWS II

Richard Stevens Jr

GENEROSITY III

            The Jews were God’s chosen and Jesus was faced with rigid conservatism when HE began to minister in ways perceived as new and contrary to what had been. (Mat 15:21-28) The Jews called themselves children of God and thought of others as less than, even as dogs. Jesus was approached by one who could pass as a liberal in today’s way of thinking when she asked HIM for help. The conservatives, who then and to this day, desired to maintain the status quo, even with its inadequacies recommended that HE send her away. (Mat 15:23)  Jesus however, delivered her the help she requested after HE tested her faith. Notice how this woman pled her case to a “Jewish man” to obtain healing for her daughter. Jesus was to minister to the Jews first and not share with “dogs.” (Mat 15:24-26) The woman gained approval of Jesus as one having great faith and the healing she sought was obtained. (Mat 15:27-28) Today there are many who need help but because we refuse to move from our quarters of comfort they go without. The viewpoint to leave as is (because it is good enough for me) and send those who need help away is a flawed viewpoint. On the other hand one should not beg and plead just to bring others down “off their high horse.”  Those asking should have a legitimate need that should not be ignored by those who are asked. Jesus went further demonstrating how compassionate love fulfills needs. (Mat 15:29-38) Notice that HE was not asked to feed this four thousand. This passage further demonstrates that those who follow Jesus will reap generous benefits.  Compassionate, loving and generous people seeing the need and filling it is our life lesson.

 

THE ELDERS

RWS II