This last week we learned of the death of Don Strong of Springfield. His passing brought back memories of the time when Don and Marcella were part of our church family here in Ava. Back in the early sixties there were four Strong brothers, the sons of Homer and Rutha Strong who moved to Ava and starting attending Bible Baptist Church. They and their wives were Lawrence and Juanita, Don and Marcella, Arland and Christine, and Charles and Jurldean (Bethany Baptist Church’s long time missionaries to Mexico).
The Strongs had moved to Ava to take care of their parents who were in failing health. Homer and Rutha had raised a big family, fourteen boys and two girls. They lived for a time in Ozark County. Although they eventually moved away they were not forgotten. The funeral service for Don Strong was held Monday in Gainesville.
Bethany Baptist Church is planning a Youth Rally to be held July 28 to August 1 for youth from age 7 and up. Adults are also invited. The services will run from 6:30 to 8:30PM each evening. The guest speaker for the week will be Jimmy Nichols. It is not set up quite like a Vacation Bible School, but there will be snacks and the van will be running for anyone who wants a ride.
The guest speaker this week was Tom Hanson of “Bibles to the Nations.” Tom and Bonnie head up this ministry of providing Bibles and Scripture portions to missionaries on the foreign field.
Dan Stillings sang a special song, Sunday morning. Tom brought a message on the Bible teaching for belief in the eternal security of the believer. We know that God is not willing that any should perish, that salvation is totally the work of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we obtain this salvation by grace through faith. We are also kept by this same faith. Salvation is a gift, but our faith in God’s work is also a gift.
Once we were dead in our sins. Jesus bare our sins on the cross to pay for those sins. No man can come to the Father, but by Jesus. Without the drawing of the Father, no one can be saved. Physical birth is an event, and it can only happen once. A spiritual birth is also an event that can only happen once. Our keeping is entirely in the hands of the Lord. When we sin (and no one can say that he does not sin) we have an advocate with the Father, our Lord Jesus Christ.
If we had to keep our salvation by our own righteousness, we would surely fail. And when we failed Hebrews 6:4-6 says that we could not renew our salvation to ourselves. If it were left up to us, there would be no hope. It is better to trust the Lord, who can keep us.