Be Patient

Be Patient“Noah was 600 years old when the floodwaters engulfed the earth.” –Genesis 7:6, NET
Consider the age of Noah and his three sons (who were roughly around 100, see Gen 5:32). Surely the norm at this time was to have a very large family (consider the multiplication of the human race). So a man with only three sons (and it took 500 years), who themselves had no children after living a century, must have seemed rather… unblessed?
Children are a reward from God (Psa 127:3) (although it doesn’t always FEEL as such). The LORD says He blesses His loyal followers and increases their numbers (Psa 115:12-16)? So did this glaring fact ever become an obstacle?
Did Noah, like his descendants (Gen 11:30; 25:21), struggle with his wife’s seeming barrenness—and for hundreds of years? Was Noah tempted as Job to wonder what profits a man to live for the LORD’s pleasure (Job 21:7-15; 34:9)? Did his sons ever throw a hammer down in frustration wondering how they could trust a God who had withheld such an important blessing?
Or did they remember the promise of salvation and keep in perspective the LORD’s timing in all things?
What about us? Do we get focused on selfish desires and outward blessings, and forget the undeserved promise of salvation? Or do we keep in perspective the LORD’s timing? This life is but a short inception to an eternity of rest that lies on the other side of judgment. This portion is not for leisure but preparation (Eph 6:15; Isa 40:3; Rev 21:2), and is but a flash and a vapor (Psa 39:5; Jam 4:14).
“So be patient, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s return. Think of how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the ground and is patient for it until it receives the early and late rains. You also be patient and strengthen your hearts, for the Lord’s return is near.” –James 5:7-8
Billy Neal
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Secret Schemes

Secret Schemes

In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me.  But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”

Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.
— Matthew 26:55-56.

Men, Peter has just struck the servant of the high priest and cut his ear off. Jesus orders a “stand down”, and speaks to the assembly. “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me?” Jesus has made Himself a public figure, teaching in the temple, and town centers. While Jesus taught in front of these men, during the day time they made no arrest, but now, in the dark, they’ve come with fierceness.

Jesus goes on to say to them, “But all this was done that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Jesus isn’t making a defense plea. He is making a case for fulfillment. Jesus states the obvious to make a point. There was nothing against Jesus that could form a legitimate indictment in the light, but now, in the dark, in secret, there is an action.

Jesus cares for individuals as much as nations. Jesus is speaking reason to the mob that they may see which side they’re on and come to repentance. Why else tell them in concession “that all this is done that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled?” Though being arrested, in route to torturous death, Jesus is still at peace, bringing light into darkness.

Our natural response to trouble, especially false or erroneous claims is to emphasize defense, even with hostility. Not Jesus. Jesus has eyes to see the much larger picture of events and purpose and allows these things to unfold.

As He submits to their charge, the disciples forsake Him and flee. How many of us walk with Jesus daily, but when things get beyond our understanding, presuppositions or control, we turn and run back to the familiar asking “WHY?” Jesus doesn’t say anything new. He reminds everyone present, that this all was prophesied.

Move forward men, bringing light into darkness with peace and long-suffering. Jesus knew their hearts, and had authority in Heaven, yet spoke in simple terms to offer truth upon deception, light upon darkness, and legitimacy upon secret schemes.

Vance Durrance

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Come in Surrender


“But I will warn you whom you should fear: Fear the one who, after the killing, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” –Luke 12:5, NET

For humanity, the Devil is not our problem. God is.

Let that sink in.

“See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.” –Deuteronomy 32:39, ESV

It is the sovereign God who is responsible for “both calamity and blessing” (Lam 3:38). He has made for us times of prosperity AND times of adversity for a purpose (Ecc 7:14). Thus, we must be willing to accept both good and bad from the Lord (Job 2:10). Consider this: if you feel forces coming against you, know that it is not “the devil keeping you down.” It is the LORD who is using the “cords of affliction” to reveal to us that we are “behaving proudly” (Job 36:8-10).

And if you do not know God (2Th 1:8), there is no escaping His wrath (Isa 13:6). You are His enemy (Rom 5:10).

“It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” –Hebrews 10:31, NET

Yet He is a compassionate and kind God who desires that sinners live (Eze 18:23). So He comes with an outstretched arm of mercy (Eph 2:4-5). As long as you draw breath, the door to His ark remains open. Do not delay, you do not know if He will spare you another day (Jam 4:14). Run to the ark of your merciful enemy in full surrender for salvation (Jer 21:9). There is no other way (John 14:6).

“Please obey the Lord by doing what I have been telling you [and surrender]. Then all will go well with you, and your life will be spared.” –Jeremiah 38:20b

Billy Neal

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Meat & Greet

Meat & Greet: Eat Meat

Saturday, October 21, 2023 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Elberton Church of God
1026 Hartwell Hwy., Elberton, GA 30635

“Therefore encourage one another and build up each other,
just as you are in fact doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Come grab a meal and meet other Christian men. Hear what God is doing in the lives of believers. See where God is at work through His children. Seize an opportunity to carry a brothers’ burdens by supporting the body of Christ in our mutual discipleship and mission.




In Hebrews 5, verses 13-14, it says, “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” The words from the writer of Hebrews are very similar to those in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 where Paul says, “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual, but as worldly—as infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for solid food. In fact, you are still not ready, for you are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and dissension among you, are you not worldly? Are you not walking in the way of man?”

Both sets of verses provide emphasis for Christian men to eat spiritual meat, which is to say to work towards understanding the things of the Spirit and towards walking in the Spirit as opposed to living and acting like carnal (worldly) men.  This is a process, but in the end, mature spiritual men are selfless and supportive of other Christian men, their families, and their ministries.  On July 23, we will do just that, i.e. we will fellowship with and pray for our brothers in Christ, all while we learn of their efforts, breakthroughs, struggles and prayer requests and hear how we can collaborate as brothers in Christ and see what God does when we are united in brotherhood.  Come and join us.  Come alone, bring a friend, or bring your entire men’s group.  Men of all stages of development (milk or meat eaters) are welcome and desired, i.e. there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, only learning and growing, loving and serving, and battling Satan together for the sake of the Lost.


$10 recommended to cover plate cost but no Christian man turned away. RSVP by noon on October 19th so that we will have a meal for you or your group.  RSVP by calling Tim Smith at 706.424.1171 or by sending an email to info@hardmanroad.orgWe are looking forward to fellowshipping with you.  May God bless you in the meantime.

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Is it I, Lord?

Blood Money

 He answered and said, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me. The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”

Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?”

He said to him, “You have said it.” — Matthew 26:23-25

“Lord, is it I?” The disciples have asked in turn, and Jesus now answers. “He who dipped his hand with me will betray Me.” Consider the callousness of a heart that could betray a man to death and then sit and eat a meal alongside Him, with no one else being suspicious. Jesus confirms the path He is on to death, but says “Woe to the man by whom the Son of God is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he’d not been born.”

The betrayal of Jesus will not go unmet. Judas, perhaps like a child, unsure if he’d truly been discovered, and faced with the shame which comes with the expressions of disbelief and disgust from his peers, asks: “Rabbi, is it I?” Judas didn’t have to ask, he’d already been paid. He had already collected. Judas calls Him “Rabbi”, or Teacher. No room has been made in the heart of Judas for Christ Jesus as Lord. Jesus, where Judas is concerned, remains Rabbi. Jesus responds to Judas’s question, “You have said it.”

At this point, Judas has only asked a question, but Judas did say it as he negotiated with the chief priests. What Judas thought had been accomplished in secret was known to Jesus. He had been discovered in the very act.

Who is Jesus to you? Is He an ancient teacher? A novelty of your church experience? Part of your family traditions and customs? Is He Lord? What betrayal of His precepts and trust do we still find ourselves guilty today? Will the Lord God fail to interpret our misdeeds and motives?

Move forward men. Stop eating with Jesus while violating His Lordship. Prepare your heart to receive Christ in truth, as a betrayer in need of His saving. Will we ask, “Is it I Rabbi?” Or will we cry out to Him— “Lord, it has been me, but cleanse me!”?

Vance Durrance

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