January 2017 Student Newsletter

Words from the Director
Russell Haffner
Russell Haffner (Director)

The purpose of the WVBS Online Bible School is to prepare students to be better Christians, elders, deacons, Bible class teachers and personal workers. The professors have had years of study and experience teaching these courses in a classroom setting. Every instructor who teaches in the school is presently, or has been, an instructor in a Bible training school. These men are among the finest teachers available today. We are honored to have them as a part of the school faculty and bring to you instruction from God’s word.

The Online School is designed for students who want a focused, organized and intensive study of the Bible. In the school we cover every book in the Bible as well as a few other Bible related subjects. The curriculum has 45 courses with over 970 video lessons which are each approximately 38 minutes long. Our desire is to provide free online Bible instruction to anyone who wishes to learn more about God's word. I would love to hear from you concerning your opinion of the courses. Your comments, suggestions or even criticisms would be appreciated.

Four Ways To Be A Stronger Christian

The Christian life is a life of transformation. In Romans 12:2 Paul said, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." The transforming process takes both time and effort. It requires spiritual growth just as babies require physical growth. In 1 Peter 2:1-3 we find, "Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." Babies grow one day at a time and it is the same for the spiritual growth of Christians. There is no shortcut to instant spiritual maturity. Being a Christian requires a lifetime commitment to growth (2 Peter 3:18). Ezra 7:10 explains, "For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments." From this verse we find four principles which we must follow to become stronger Christians.

First, we must prepare our hearts. Preparing our hearts requires the right attitude of submission to God's commands. When one of the scribes asked about the first commandment Jesus said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength" (Mark 12:29-30). We must be dedicated to obedience with our entire being. How we care for our hearts is very important. Proverbs 4:23 states, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." If we do not fully prepare our hearts to serve God we will always struggle in our faithfulness.

Second, we must "seek the law of the Lord." This means we should search for a greater knowledge and a better understanding of God's word. A strong faith requires knowledge. We need an accurate understanding of the commandments of God. In Psalm 119:10-12 the writer said, "With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes." God's commandments are so precious that we should seek them with complete eagerness and enthusiasm (Psalm 119:127). God's word is of such great value because it leads us to eternal life. Matthew explains, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." The only way we can truly understand God's word is to study. 2 Timothy 2:15 commands, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

Third, we must obey the things commanded by God. Knowing God's word is vital but if we do not obey the teaching, our knowledge will be of no value. In James 1:22 we find, "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." Proclaiming our faith must be backed-up with action. Jesus asked in Luke 6:46, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" If we love Christ we will obey His commands.

Fourth, we must teach the truth to others. In Mark 16:15-16 Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." We must prepare ourselves to teach others about God. We must be ready to give a good Bible answer to those who ask us about spiritual things. Peter said, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15). Paul told Timothy that he had a responsibility to teach the things he had learned to others. In 2 Timothy 2:2 he said, "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."

So, in Ezra 7:10 we find four principles which help us to be stronger Christians. Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. If we follow his example, we will become stronger in our faith and better Christians. We must work in these four areas so that we might grow in our faith and become spiritually mature servants of Christ.