Are You Prepared?

 

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Much has been said over the last few days about the Atlanta Area not being prepared for the recent snowstorm. Preparedness is an important thing in many matters, but it is especially important when it comes to the return of Christ.

No man knows when Christ will return (Matt. 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.). All men should know that he will return. It is essential for us in this matter is to be prepared. The Master taught: Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh (Matt. 24:44). The news is filled with predictions as to when the Lord will return: We do not have the ability to know that day or hour. The only safe course is to remain in a state of preparedness. Faithful men have learned this truth and live by it.

The Bible gives warnings which are designed to prepare us for the day when we must face our Maker. According to the teaching of the Bible most will not be prepared. Will we be among the unprepared? (Luke 14:31-33) Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with Twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

God will do all within His power to prepare us for the meeting. All that remains to be done is for our own preparation. He is dealing with us as he did with Israel of old. (Amos 4:11-12) I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. Therefore thus will I do unto thee, o Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, o Israel.

Being prepared is no optional matter. The words of a familiar hymn impress this upon us.

Careless soul, why will you linger, Wand’ring from the fold of God? Hear you not the invitation? 0 prepare to meet thy God. Why so tho’tless are you standing While the fleeting years go by, And your life is spend in folly? 0 prepare to meet thy God. Hear you not the earnest pleadings Of your friends that wish you well? And perhaps before tomorrow, You’ll be called to meet your God. If you spurn the invitation Till the Spirit shall depart, Then you’ll see your sad condition, Unprepared to meet thy God.

Are you prepared to meet The Lord?

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The Entertainment World

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From a sermon, The People Rose Up To Play

“The character and direction of our entire society is being too heavily influenced by the entertainment industry. It would be hard to overestimate the power of Hollywood in our culture. People are getting far too many of their basic character values from the business, whose product is supposed to be only fun. This situation is a reversal of what should be the case. The entertainment business should serve our needs, and it might be reasonably expected to reflect our values; it should not dictate our needs and values. Many young people name sports and Hollywood stars as their most admired role models.

Hollywood is leading this country down the wrong road and many of the Lord’s people are being led like lambs to slaughter. Hollywood has glamorized every aberrant, abominable lifestyle you can think of and has given them a legitimacy they do not deserve. We had better be real careful what we watch and accept in the name of entertainment.”

Rick Martin

Hating Sin

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The article for today is from Colby Culbertson. Colby writes about a world where there is no shame and warns us that we must hate sin. We appreciate Colby taking on this task and commend the article to you.

​We live in a world that does NOT comprehend what being ashamed of something is. It is rare to find anyone that even blushes when nudity flashes across the TV screen. Rarely do we see anyone make a negative expression on their face when the Lord’s name is taken in vain. People don’t think twice about telling a little white lie anymore.It seems that nobody is overly embarrassed that the U.S. has not only legalized gay marriages and gay rights, but consider them part of the minority as well! These are just a few examples of a three letter word called “sin,” which will keep anyone who participates in it out of the kingdom of heaven (John 9:31).

In a world where no shame occurs when sin is committed, people have no regard for right or wrong because satisfying yourself is far more important than obeying the will of God even if it is sinful! This makes me wonder if we really HATE sin? Revelation 21:8 says, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Here John the Revelator lists several sinful things that people allow themselves to become and the result of being involved in these things is finding yourself away from God for eternity in the lake of fire! God punishes sinful people by casting them into a lake of FIRE!! That’s how much our Heavenly Father hates sin. This is a concept that I picked up on several months ago that a brother in Christ mentioned to me. In order to overcome temptations, we must recognize specific actions as sinful and, in doing so, learn to hate these actions because of their sinful nature. When we as Christians really and truly detest something, that something becomes less appealing, and so it is with sin as a whole. Why does this work? No one willingly participates in things they despise.

I pray that all of us who are Christians today will recognize the importance of living in a way that will gain us eternal life and, by doing so, will bring us to the realization that we cannot attain that goal by looking favorably towards sin.

Colby Culbertson

Things I Face Everyday

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Our article today is from Carter Culbertson. Carter is the youngest of our writers. We appreciate him taking on this task and commend the article to you.

Things I Face Everyday

​In James 3:8 it says, “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.’ I wake up 5 days a week, and 5 days a week I am very disappointed because when I go to school I hear some of the worst things a person could possibly say.

People these days will take the Lord’s name in vain and don’t think twice about it. The things I hear in and out of school are pure evil and discouraging. I often wonder why people tend to curse. Why does the world we live in turn to cursing instead of other things? Nowadays, when people get upset, they just curse and throw a huge fit instead of praying or something that might actually help the situation. Just hearing it all the time, I’m almost tempted to say things myself because that’s what everyone else does, and it’s uncool if you don’t curse and swear.

As the saying goes, “Who you hang around is who you become like.” This is so true, and makes it so important to be careful whom we hang around. Like another old saying I love says, “If you lie down with dogs, you’ll rise up with fleas.” Or, of course, as the Bible more eloquently puts it in I Cor. 15:33, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” So, we know we shouldn’t pick up the habits of worldly people, and we know it’s wrong not to control our tongues, so why do we do it? I think there are two reasons: 1. More and more, people are not too concerned with what’s right and what’s wrong. 2. People are very concerned with what’s cool. But as Christians of the Lord’s Church, we have to be different! We can’t be like others and curse because “the devil made me do it,” and because it’s just easier to say whatever we feel like saying. We are followers of Christ, and we owe Him better service and loyalty than that!

Carter Culbertson

Valuing God’s Grace

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The article from today is from Joey Hickey. Joey is a freshman at Harding College. Joey is another one of the young men who has agreed to write for us We appreciate Joey for taking on this task. We commend the article to you.

How deeply do you value God’s grace? Grace is the most commonly used word used among Christian-professing Americans. Strangely, though, grace is highly unappreciated among believers. Between the years 55 and 58 A.D., Paul challenged those who took God’s grace for granted.

“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds'” (Romans 2:4-6).
The Jews of that day would not admit to despising, or overlooking, God’s goodness or grace. They had simply changed the requirements for accepting God’s goodness. Webster’s Dictionary defines forbearance as: “the quality of someone who is patient and able to deal with a difficult person or situation without becoming angry,” or “a refraining from the enforcement of something (as a debt, right, or obligation) that is due.” God had every right to punish us for our sin. Despite our transgression, God offered redemption. Unfortunately, like the unforgiving servant of Matthew 18, Paul’s audience had neglected to keep their side of the bargain, not showing their master the gratitude he deserved for sending his son to eliminate their debt, yet holding others to the very standard they refused.

God was disappointed not only with those who knew right from wrong, but with those willingly ignorant of God’s plan. In the previous chapter, Romans 1, we find that man has always known of God’s existence and has access to the knowledge of his will, but in his unwillingness to “glorify him as God” (v. 21) and turn from his sin, man invited God’s “wrath” (v.18) and went as far as “exchanging the truth of God for a lie” (v. 25). This degree of ingratitude was confronted in Hebrews 10:26, 28-29:
“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins … Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?”
This passage is bold, but the seriousness of the issue warranted the strong language found in Hebrews 10. If Jews were expected to honor God before they knew the Savior, how can we not honor him with full knowledge of our Savior?

Americans understand rejection of a substantial gift to be a form of bad etiquette. For instance, had a complete stranger offered to pay for one’s education at a university and the capable beneficiary of such gift squandered it with lack of effort, despite his potential, that individual would be considered rude; how much more disrespectful would it be for me to refuse full forgiveness of every sin I’ve ever committed by living however I want to live? It is then my duty to show gratitude for such sacrificial love by turning from sin and obeying God’s will. Then I show I truly value God’s grace.
“…you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” -1 Corinthians 6:20

Joey Hickey

Young Christians and the Contribution

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Our article today comes from Zach Elliott. Zach is one of the young men who has agreed to write for us. We thank him for his help and commend the article to you.

As a young person with part time or some sort of temporary income, it can be easy to pass on the weekly contribution. After all, we may not make much money compared to our parents or other members of the congregation. How much help could we really be? In 1 Corinthians 16:2, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” Notice what the apostle said here. He did not say, “Let the leaders of the household” or, “Let the ones with the most income lay by in store.” Paul simply told the brethren at Corinth that each and every one of them should lay by in store as God has prospered them.

Even as young people, God has given us the time and opportunity to work and the money we make at our jobs. Our money is not our own, it is God’s. The Old Testament reminds us of this fact several times. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Deuteronomy 8:18 says, “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” We need to keep that in mind as young Christians. Without God, we would have nothing. He has given us everything that we have prospered, and Paul said in 1 Corinthians 16 that we should give back to God for the service of the Church.

Mark 12:41-44 tells us an important story: “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” The widow gave much less than any of the rich, yet Jesus commended her over all of the others because of her generosity in her poverty. We may not give as much because we do not make as much, but we still need to give generously despite our income.

2 Corinthians 9:6,7, says, “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” Remember these passages every Sunday. God has told us to give generously of our means every first day of the week. It does not matter if you haven’t chosen a career, you don’t make that much money, or if you aren’t out of your parent’s house yet. God wants you to give. The work of the Church depends on your generosity.

Zach Elliott

Changes in the 2013-2014 Directory

imagePlease make note of the following changes to the 2013-2014 Directory

Change

Fremont, CA congregation.

On Feb 2nd we will be moving to our temporary location in Livermore CA. Here is the address of the temp location:

2021B Research Dr.
Livermore, Ca 94550

Meeting times are as follows:
Sunday Morning 10:00 AM
Sunday Afternoon 3:00 PM
Wednesday Evening 7:00PM

We will be meeting here for approx. 7-8 months.

Our permanent location is actually just across the street:

2020 Research Dr.
Livermore, Ca 94550

Meeting times are as follows:
Sunday Morning 10:00 AM
Sunday Afternoon 3:00 PM
Wednesday Evening 7:00PM

Add

CANYON, TEXAS 4TH AVE. CHURCH OF CHRIST
1319-C 4TH AVE, CANYON, TEXAS SUNDAY 10:30 AM; 3:00 PM

Meredith Knepp
902 Austin St. Amarillo, TX 79102

Internet Resources

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Nathan Battey has made a list of websites offered by some of our brethren. These websites will be very helpful in studying the Bible. Take some time to peruse the article and check out these available resources.

Internet Resources

As technology changes new avenues for presenting the gospel are constantly appearing. Over the past few years some of our brethren have undertaken the task of building and maintaining websites to propagate the Word. However, many of our own may not be aware of these wonderful resources. Here are a few you may find helpful:

ChristianResearcher.com is a site I started last year to promote the study of God’s word. Through this site you can find articles on a variety of subjects, audio sermons, video files, free downloadable books and resources, a downloadable correspondence course, helpful book reviews, conservative religious books for purchase, and links to a number of other brotherhood websites. The site is updated frequently, has a smartphone version for people on the go as well as a facebook page so members can keep up with updates.

Christianlandmark.com is maintained by Brother Bart Shaw, Shahe Gergian, and Clint Defrance. These brethren run a professional quality site with tons of helpful materials and resources. This site offers written articles on a variety of subjects by a number of faithful preachers, audio sermons by various preachers, video recorded sermons, and much more. This site also offers a facebook page.

WilloftheLord.com is operated by my father George Battey. There you can find articles on a numerous subjects, pdf versions of old books, back issues of the OPA in pdf format, and a number of other helpful resources. Over the past few years dad has had a number of “Open Bible Studies” where a denominational preacher is invited to speak on a certain subject and dad presents the other side of the issue. These studies have been recorded in audio format and can be downloaded free of charge on this website. These discussions are great study tools for examining both sides of an issue.

LettheBibleSpeak.com provides audio, video, and manuscript versions of all the sermons Brother Brett Hickey delivers on the television program. Brother Brett’s program has been running for several years now in a number of markets and this site is loaded with helpful material on a variety of topics that can easily be downloaded and shared with friends, family members, or potential leads.

Cepsn.org is now the online home of the Christian Expositor. Brother Nate Bibens and Brad Shockley. On this site you will find helpful sermon outlines, and articles for the pages of the Expositor.

Last but not least: OldPathsAdvocate.org
The Old Paths Advocate has deep roots in our brotherhood and helps to remind us of our past as well as prepare us for the future. The OPA used to circulate only by mail, but is now able to reach all over the world instantly and provide more than a monthly issue. The web site not only offers a digital version of its paper, it also offers articles, audio sermons, back issues, biographies, Facebook page, and much more. Be sure to get acquainted with this new version of an old friend.

These are just a few of the helpful sites that have been created by our brethren. Through them people from all corners of the earth are hearing the gospel proclaimed. If you are not familiar with any of these sites be sure to check them out, utilize their resources, and share them with others.

Thanks to all the brethren who labor in these works and others. May God bless the Kingdom and bless the efforts of faithful brethren in spreading the Good News.

Nathan Battey
nathanbattey@gmail.com

Bible Relevancy to the Young Person

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Several young men have agreed to write articles for us on subjects that are relevant to young people. Our first article is by Aaron Battey.

Bible Relevancy to the Young Person
By: Aaron Battey

​Perhaps you consider yourself a young person or others consider you as such. How relevant is the Bible to you and me? I am only 21 years old, but my peers at college and some in the church often scare me with the words they speak. There is a pervading thought among young people in the religious world that we should follow our heart and not worry about making mistakes since they teach us the most. The idea that the word of God is to be a lamp unto our feet (Psalms 119:105) and we are to be members of the organized body of believers, known as the church, is not relevant to many youth. However, if you claim to love God then you must certainly love the Holy Scriptures which were written for our living. 2 Peter 1:19 says, “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place…” This word is as relevant to you and me in the 21st century as much as it was to the disciples of the first century. More than this, the Bible has much instruction directed right at young people.

​The book of Proverbs was written by the wise King Solomon to his son Rehoboam. The book covers a broad number of issues that fall under the categories of wisdom and foolishness. Here is a brief list of some issues Solomon addresses: laziness, correction, the tongue, wine, wrath, deceit, common sense, greed, gluttony, generosity, honesty, mockery, pride, humility, sexual immorality, etc. The last three topics on this list receive considerable attention by Solomon. After all, what young person does not struggle with pride and sexual temptation to some degree? The book has only 31 chapters. Since most months have 30 to 31 days, reading one chapter per day is very feasible and would be a great blessing to the young and old alike.

What Will Become of Your Dreams?

photo (2)With each New year there comes new dreams. What Will Become of Your Dreams?

One of the most outstanding characters in the OT is a young man by the name of Joseph. Joseph was the son of Jacob and when he was 17 years old, his job along with his half brothers was to shepherd his father’s flocks. Joseph was despised by his brothers because he was a favorite of their father and also because of his dreams. One day Joseph’s brothers took their flocks to Shechem to graze them. A few days later Jacob called for Joseph to go and check on his brothers. Joseph followed his father’s instructions and set off to find his brothers. As he looked for them a man noticed him wandering in the fields and asked him who he was looking for. Joseph said he was looking for his brothers and the man informed him that they had left and went to Dothan. Joseph left to find his brothers and while he was on his way, his brothers saw him from a ways off and conspired to kill him. They said “here comes that dreamer, lets kill him, and then we shall see what will become of his dreams?”

I believe that the concept of a dream is very important. .Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision; the people perish: God’s people must have a vision or purpose. Abraham had a dream of a promised land, where his seed would be as numerous as the stars and his belief in and commitment to that dream led him and sustained him through many trials. It was the dream of the Promised Land that led Moses through 40 years of wilderness wanderings. The vision of God’s faithful promises empowered the prophets to boldly proclaim the coming of a Savior.

During the early days of the church, the people must have dreamed that the Gospel would be heard by all men. Spurred on by that dream, early Christians preached the Gospel wherever they went. Those first-century Christians had a clear concept of what they wanted to achieve and they had a commitment to bring their dreams to fruition. Perhaps you have some dreams today. I certainly have some and I want to us to think about “what will become of our dreams?”

First, what will become of our dreams for the church? I am sure that all of us have dreams of seeing the church grow and the lost being saved. In order to grow and to continue to answer the Lord’s call the church must remained focused on its mission to seek and to save the lost. This certainly must be our focus, for we cannot compete with the denominations when it comes to activities.

As we study the NT, a sense of vitality and urgency is clear. It is apparent that the message of Christ was the most important thing to them. Everywhere the early Christians went, they preached the message of Christ. The church experienced tremendous growth, as great numbers of people were baptized. The Roman world responded with ridicule and violence. Many followers of Christ had to die for their faith, but it did not slow the movement. The story of Christianity is both exciting and true. It is a story of a Church with a burning mission. It is a story of a people who were focused on their purpose and who dared to dream.

If the church of today is to be successful, we must recapture that vitality and success from the early days. We must discover and focus on their mission. Even before Jesus was born, his mission was clear. Matthew 1:21 and she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Jesus himself said, I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Lk. 5:23).He came to saved an otherwise lost and hopeless people. The final words of the resurrected
Savior, are a mission statement. He said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all baptizing them and teaching them to observe my commandments.”

Because of the example of Jesus, there was no doubt in the minds of early Christians concerning the mission of the church. They were consumed with this purpose and displayed a unending passion to tell the world that it needed a Savior, like Jesus. They dreamed of seeing the church be successful. When the church is fulfilling its mission, certain things happen. The early disciples serve as an example.

True biblical Christianity produces growth, when practiced in any generation. The mission of the church today continues to be to preach the Gospel to a lost world.

Attempts have been made to paint the Church in a negative light and condemn those who have taken their stand on the Word of God. I have heard some say that some of our older preachers really didn’t understand some subjects and many of them preached too hard.

Some have made the accusation that the Church exalts doctrine over Christ. I ask the questions,” Can we not exalt Christ and doctrine at the same time?” and “Is it possible to exalt Christ and not exalt the doctrine that He and the apostles taught?” If exalting doctrine is so bad, then why would Jesus say, John 7:16 -17, my doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

Nothing promotes growth, encouragement, spiritually, and zeal, like people who commit their lives to Christ. Jesus commanded his people to make disciples of all nations. This is the mission of the Christianity today, yesterday and forever. We must not let our dreams for the church be dashed by worldliness, materialism, selfishness, innovations, unsound, false doctrine or anything else.

Secondly, what will become of our dreams for our children? Most parents all have dreams for their children. Some, dream that their sons will grow up to be a famous athlete, doctor or lawyer. They dream that their daughters will grow up to have a successful marriage and a good home life. The most important dream that we should have for our children is that they would become good Christian men and women.
That dream can be fulfilled by instilling the truth into the hearts of our children. This done by is by constant teaching and faithfulness in our own lives. In Deut 4:2 God says Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. He continues in verse 9, only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;

Our future grief or gladness will depend upon what we do with the opportunities we have to develop our children. Many congregations are hurting or no longer exist because some parents fail to communicate the importance of being a Christian to their children.

What has happened to many of our children? Some have left the church and joined some denomination, filled with doctrinal error. Others have lost their faith and become so modernistic or liberal that they have no regard for biblical authority

Because of certain influences in our society, today’s young people face many challenges. Modern entertainment has had an effect upon our young. The young are impressionable and are impacted by what they see and hear. Many things are going on in the physical world of the young and sometimes it is difficult for them to slow down and meditate on spiritual things. Choosing what is necessary and eternal above what is appealing and seemingly important becomes difficult.

Young people live in an emotion-packed world which is vastly different from that of past generations. Many look for the exciting and appealing in worship, rather than the solemn moments of devotion. The rightness and wrongness of an approach to worship many times is “What turns you on?” rather than, “what has God authorized.” Some want worship to be jazzed up and made more exciting and we have some parents and preachers who are all to willing to accommodate by calling for preaching or singing to fill the empty space during observance of the Lord’s Supper.

In many cases more emphasis is being placed on feelings than on knowledge. Hosea said that God’s people were destroyed by a lack of knowledge. We must teach our children that the source of goodness, obedience and godly living comes from what God has revealed to us. A knowledge of God’s word will show the importance of the church and doctrinal purity.

We cannot afford to lose our young people. There is great potential in young people. There can be strength in young people. They are idealistic. There are worlds to be conquered, battles to win, and deeds to be done. They have not become jaded by life’s heartbreaks and defeats and because of this they can often achieve great things. We must not destroy the idealism and zeal of the young. The church needs the fire and zeal of young people. We need our young people in future years to sustain that which we have loved and held so dear to our hearts.

Being a parent is a serious business. What will become of our dreams for our children? We must strive to be the right example, so that our dreams of them being good Christian men and women will not be shattered.

Finally, what about our dreams for ourselves? Do you have a dream or a vision of being the best Christian that you possibly can? Daily Christian living as taught in God’s word is summarized in Colossians 3:17And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. This verse should be applied, to every activity that we do in life. Everything is to be done in the name of Christ. This must always be so, if we are to realize our dreams.

Our daily living should be identified with Christ. When we live Christian lives, it identifies with Christ. Every one that names the name of Christ should depart from iniquity. 2 Timothy 2:19, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. We belong to Christ. He is our Savior and Lord. We must not be ashamed to be identified with Christ or our brethren.

We can dishonor the name of Christ. Most parents try to teach their children the importance of honoring the family name. In just a few minutes, a person can disgrace a name that many have worked hard to build up. As Christians we must be very careful where we go, careful in what we say and how we act. We should avoid questionable places. When we decide to wear the name Christian, we are identified with Christ. We must not dishonor our family name.
What about your dreams for being the best Christian that you possibly can? Will you realized them or will they be unfulfilled?

Conclusion:
Dreams will not come true for those who fail to implement their desires into actions. God has always been pleased with energetic people, who realize they are his workmanship created unto good deeds in Christ Jesus.

The great artist Raphael once painted a controversial picture of Alexander the Great. It showed the great conqueror, early in life, as a dreamy-eyed young boy. Critics told Raphael that no one could ever believe that Alexander ever looked as he depicted him. The artist replied, “Any one who conquers the world, must first dream that he can do it.”

Do we have a dream for the church, our children and ourselves? We must commit ourselves to work toward a realization of those dreams. What will become of our dreams? Will they come to fruition, or will they lie broken and shattered and unfulfilled?