The Story of Jesus - Evangelist Van Billingsley

Spring 2003 Edition

In This Issue:

The Performance of our Great God

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
-- Philippians 1:6

As you will see in our "Editor’s Desk" section, this past year was a year of God performing a work which He has begun in us. It’s easy to get discouraged when it seems your ministry is going nowhere. I have been there and have many friends in the ministry who can relate as well. After many closed doors and what seemed like a lack of support and backing, I decided some time ago to just get busy doing what God has placed before me. Since then I have found this verse to be very true as I have seen God perform the work that He has begun in our ministry.
I’ll close this thought with what I consider the companion verse to this, "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."
1 Thessalonians 5:24
Written by:
Evangelist Van Billingsley

© 2002 Evangelist Van Billingsley
www.sojministries.com


From the Desk of the Editor

    This being our first Newsletter for the year 2003, I’d like to take a moment to mention some highlights of the past year in our ministry. God has performed many things in the good work He has begun in us.
    Several years ago the Lord placed a burden on my heart for the Radio Ministry. In 1989 we went on the air as “The Story of Jesus Radio Broadcast.” This was the first use of the name “Story of Jesus,” which we have used in just about every aspect of our ministry since. Due to limited finances we reluctantly suspended this ministry in 1994. Since that time I have had a strong burden to resume this ministry. You may remember an article which I wrote in the newsletter back then entitled, “A Burden to Broadcast,” which was later reprinted and is still posted on our web site. This past year the Lord opened the door to go back on the air and as of September 7, 2002, our radio ministry is back in operation. Our format is the same as before with a fifteen minute broadcast, but I must be a little more long winded than before, because I was inclined to omit the special song we use to play and shortened the intro and closing which gives me a long 13 - 13½ minutes to preach, expanded from the 9 - 10 minutes I had before. We also retired our old reel-to-reel system for our new computer digital recording system which puts our broadcast on compact disk.
    Another area of our ministry which the Lord begun with us several years ago is our Web Site. This was first established around 1995. For the past several years our web address was a long complicated string of letters and symbols, and the options to simplify this were very costly. More recently, the cost has come down and we have acquired our own domain name. You can now find us on the web at
www.sojministries.com. “SOJ,” of course stands for “Story of Jesus.” Among the many resources there, you’ll find articles, available tapes/CD’s, MP3 audio sermons, and a very resourceful links page. Our MP3 Audio Sermon Page offers sermons by myself and others which can be listened to online or downloaded to your computer. We have obtained permission to include messages by Dr. Sightler from Tabernacle Baptist Church, The Bright Spot Hour and the Sword of the Lord. We also have sermons by my pastor, Dr. Ralph A. Taylor and our most recent radio broadcasts. Our Links page is divided into categories such as “Independent Baptist,” “Fundamental Conservatives,” “Other Christian Sites,” “Conservative Politics,” and more.
    In October we celebrated our first anniversary of The Story of Jesus Children’s Mission, an outreach ministry of our home church, Oakside Baptist Church, LaGrange, GA. The children’s mission is held in my hometown of Lanett, AL. This ministry consists of a bus ministry, Sunday school, children’s church, and special activities and events such as Vacation Bible School, summer camp, a Fall Fun Festival, Christmas programs, etc. This past summer we had a “Back Yard Vacation Bible School” which was held behind our meeting place under an open tent. We are looking forward to more such events this year as well. This mission is located about sixteen miles from our home church, and we have three special Sundays in which we carry the children with many parents and grandparents to the church. We do this for Home Coming and two regular Sundays so our children will be acquainted with our church and the people can see our children as well. It also provides an opportunity for me to be at the Sunday morning services at my home church.
    As always, my request to you is that of Paul to the Colossians, that ye pray for an open door of utterance unto us to speak the mystery of Christ.

A Servant of Christ,
Evangelist Van Billingsley



The Word of God: Psalm 119

    I love the Word of God. As a child I was always proud of my Bibles; I remember choosing a Bible out of many options as a prize for selling candy at my public elementary school. As I grew up, sin pulled me away from God’s Word, but at the age of fourteen, I was born again and I had a new love for that blessed old book like I’d never known. It always brings me comfort, and as a young Christian, I began carrying it near my heart. Early in my ministry while on the road, and while in Bible College living alone, while experiencing loneliness, discouragement, or just feeling burdened, I’d often pull my Bible under my pillow as I’d go to sleep.
    I have many sermons on The Word of God, most of them expositions of passages dealing with God’s Word. I have several from the passage I’m about to deal with. I look forward to God giving me many more; it’s always a comfort and blessing to watch them develop as the Lord gives me thoughts one point at the time.
    One of the most prominent passages dealing with the scripture is Psalm 119. When we think of a passage dealing with God’s Word, we often think of one of many New Testament verses, but this is a whole psalm and the longest of all which is longer that any chapter in the Bible as well. Even with the length of this psalm, it never breaks from its subject of God’s Word. In fact, every single verse of the 176 verses has a word or idea which directly refers to the Word of God, whether it be “Thy Word,” “Thy Precepts,” “Thy Statutes,” “Thy Righteous Judgments,” or one of many others. Long before the scripture was divided into verses, this psalm was segmented in groups labeled with the Hebrew alphabet which we see spelled out in our Bibles today. This would be equivalent to having sections labeled A-Z in our English.
    Before space fails me, I would like to give one of several outlines I have compiled for this psalm, this probably being the simplest. It shows three basic truths declared in the Word of God.
    First, we see that God’s Word gives us Law. It opens with verse one saying “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.” The first name used here referring to God’s word is the “Law of the LORD.” This is the most basic application of God’s Word, to be used as Law, or our rule book, and this is demonstrated by names such as “Thy Commandments,” “Thy Statutes,” and even “Law.” Verse 9 declares, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word;” then verse 11 says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” It’s made clear here that to be clean and pure, you must take heed to this book and keeping sin out of ones life requires knowing this book. Verse 73 recognizes the author of these commandments as the creator as it says, “Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.” Here we realize this is our handbook or owner’s manual supplied by our maker. Verses 89 to 91 and verse 160 establishes the eternal existence of God’s Word and its unchanging endurance. Verses 126 and 128 show the rejection of the world to God’s Law.
    Second, we see that God’s Word gives us Light. Verse 105 says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” This is a twofold light source. Not only does His Word shed light on our every step, to illuminate the potential holes, snares and traps as a lantern, but it lights the path ahead as a beacon to give instruction for our very future and how it must be approached. Verse 130 says, “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” The light of God’s Word brings understanding to our simple minds.
    Finally, we see that The Word of God gives us Love. The psalmist expresses the love he has for God’s Word in verses 113 and 140, then verse 71 says suffering afflictions is a good thing since it provokes further knowledge of His Statutes. Verses 72 and 127 declares the value of God’s Word to be greater than gold and silver, and in verses 97 and 148 the psalmist says he meditates day and night indicating it’s value to be greater than that of time. Time is quite likely one’s most valuable commodity. It has been said, “Ask a man for a moment of his time and you ask for a moment of his life.” In verse 103, The psalmist further declares His Words to be sweeter than honey to his mouth, which is like candy in that day, a delightful treat. I think of Job at this point who said he esteems God’s words more important than his necessary food; that’s the food required to keep one alive. Such great love for God’s Word is the result of the great love revealed in its pages, the greatest love story ever told. John tells us in his first epistle, that without God, man cannot know love. Without His Spirit within us and the knowledge of His Word, we are incapable of even knowing what love is.
    I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil (Psalm 119:162). What a great treasure we have in the Word of God!
Written by:
Evangelist Van Billingsley
© 2002 Evangelist Van Billingsley
www.sojministries.com
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