Yes, It’s a Pandemic

[395 words] Uncontrolled disease can be horrific. With the current worries about the spread of a new coronavirus dubbed “COVID-19,” we have heard the terms “epidemic” and “pandemic” tossed around quite a bit. An epidemic occurs when a disease affects a greater number of people than is usual for an area, and a pandemic is when that epidemic goes worldwide. With pandemics, health officials search diligently for the cause, the mode of transmission, and possible clues to protecting the world population. As governments and health systems struggle to cope with the COVID-19 crisis, we are reminded of the worldwide scourge...

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The Need to Fear God

[146 words] There is no greater need in our time or any time, than the need to fear God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). The fear of the Lord is that understanding of God’s greatness and power, and man’s accountability toward Him. An “unknown God” cannot be trusted, served, nor worshipped. A scriptural and saving knowledge of God is the greatest need of every person, in every generation. Belief in God is the foundation principle of the Christian faith. The writer of the book of Hebrews said,...

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Bless You!

[271 words] Blessed are you when you come to worship, even when you are not feeling the best in the world – your dedication is helping to inspire many in this congregation. Blessed are you when you leave your contribution, even when you cannot physically be here – you have helped this church to meet its financial obligations and branch out in new endeavors in the name of the Lord. Blessed are you when you smile and greet others and sing from the heart, even when you’ve had a bad week – you help to spark the enthusiasm and zeal...

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Security of Believers

[308 words] One of the basic doctrines of Calvinism is the impossibility of apostasy. This teaching says that once a person becomes a Christian there is nothing he or she can do to be lost One man went so far as to say that even if he murdered someone in cold blood he could not be lost. This is not the kind of security that is taught in the Bible. For the Christian, eternal life is based on faithfulness throughout life. Peter said to those who add the “Christian Graces”: “For if you do these things you will never stumble”...

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The Blessings of Friends and Family

[194 words] It is truly a blessing to be part of a loving family. In like fashion, it is a great blessing to have dear friends. Sadly, not everyone knows what it feels like to be part of such things. All too often we take our family and friends for granted.  If you are so blessed as to have good friends, thank your heavenly Father.  If you are so blessed to have a loving earthly family, thank your heavenly Father.  If you are so blessed as to have a loving spiritual family (meaning you are a member of the body...

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My Brother

[335 words] “Afterwards the LORD asked Cain, “Where is Abel?” “How should I know?” he answered, “Am I supposed to look after my brother?” (Genesis 4:9 CEV) In 1964, a young woman was stabbed and raped outside her Queens apartment while witnesses observed and did nothing. The perp even left and returned to resume stabbing her. The New York Times claimed that 38 witnesses observed this crime and did nothing. One of those witnesses later said, “I just didn’t want to get involved.” Clinical experiments show that witnesses are less likely to help a crime victim if there are other...

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Making Marriage Great

[464 words] Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher hold the record for the longest marriage in American history: 86 years, 290 days. When asked to explain their secret, Zelmyra said, “There is no secret. It’s God who has kept us together.” She was not implying that marriage was always easy. It isn’t. Great marriages take hard work, but they are far from impossible. Consider the following keys to a great marriage. Be patient with each other. We should be as patient with our spouses as we want God to be with us (cf. 2 Pet. 3:9). Be nice to each other. The...

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What the Bible Says About Lent

[249 words] “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6). Do not add or subtract commands to the Bible! This teaching is found throughout the Old and New Testaments (Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32; Galatians 1:6-9; Revelation 22:18, etc.). God takes a dim view to folks who insist on adding commands to the scriptures. One such addition is “Lent.” If you look up Lent in an English Dictionary, you will find a definition like...

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The Day Jesus Cleaned House

[336 words] Why did Jesus have to cleanse the temple? Why was He not content to just let things go on business as usual? In John 2, Jesus “cleans house” literally because those Jews had made the temple a “house of merchandise” (John 2:16). There were things, behaviors, and attitudes that didn’t belong in a house dedicated to the Lord. 1 Corinthians talks about the temple of the Lord being both the individual human body and the collective body of the church (see 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19-20). Can Christians look with the eyes of Jesus and see the point when...

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Of Fools and Blind Faith

[335 words] Both evidence and reason point convincingly to faith in God. The charge of “blind faith,” often leveled against the conviction of believers, better describes the plight of those who see a world without God. “For every house is built by someone, and He that built all things is God.” (Hebrews 3:4, McCord.) A house suggests a builder. To imagine a house building itself, or accidentally exploding into existence, is to contemplate the absurd. Such a nonsensical notion, absent any empirical, philosophical, or historical foundation, is “blind faith” to the extreme. But there is a faith equally ridiculous and...

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Credibility from Mountaintops

[363 words] There are many people who look on those who are religious as naïve, that is, people with good intentions, but devoted people deluded by ideas not based in reality. Though this is hardly the case, it matters not; some just choose to think this because they desire to live in accordance with what the world presents. Unfortunately, many Christians give them reason to think this because they themselves do not align their lives with the confession of Christ they express. In my devotional reading this past week, I read 1 John 1:1-4. As I read, I reflected on...

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Are You Tired?

[351 words] “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and fades away; he flees like a shadow and does not continue.” Job 14:1-2 reminds us life is hard and short.  This is not “news” to any of us! We are all aware of the challenges of life that we each face everyday. The obstacles we deal with range from physical, emotional, relational, financial and so many more. In sum, the pain we see, feel, and anticipate is extremely hard. The older we get the more we realize...

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Wedding Vows Are to Be Honored

[357 words] “Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife…through sickness and health, until death do you part?” “I do.” “Do you take this man…until death do you part?” “I do.” “Before God and these witnesses, I now pronounce you man and wife.” Of course, you have heard or spoken similar words at your own or someone’s wedding. That moment when someone confirms their vow and intent with “I do” is a little tense. It is a big responsibility to take on. That’s the point isn’t it? “I do” has to mean something. No one replies “I...

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A Pregnant Ant

[491 words] I am as low as a person can be! There is no one that seems to have an interest in me; I can’t even buy a friend to shovel dirt on me at the time of my anticipated burial. I wait on the Lord, but does He want to give any attention to me. My humiliation is so bad I can walk underneath a pregnant ant with room to spare. What kind of feeling about yourself do you have? For some, the struggle to feel like you are wanted or accepted is never ending. You always or nearly...

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God’s GPS of Salvation

[351 words] Our technological society has become very familiar with the “GPS” which facilitates navigating from point A to point B. When properly set, the GPS ideally prevents one from becoming “lost” when driving. I totally depend upon my GPS to navigate me through an unfamiliar city or location. I love it for the miles and the gasoline it saves me, not to mention all of the stress in wandering from street to street trying to find my way. In His unlimited wisdom, our Creator recognized man’s desperate need for a “spiritual GPS.” His inspired prophet declared, “I know, O...

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Beds, Aren’t You Glad We Have Them!

[352 words] It was another cold rainy morning. I just wanted to go back home and curl up in my bed. Sound familiar? It got me thinking about the word bed in the Bible. The word bed is mentioned in the Bible about 108 times in the King James Version. We know that people made beds and bedding as time passed but we are just not sure when. It is not until Genesis 48:2 that we come across a word that is translated as bed. Israel [Jacob] is nearing the end of his life and getting ready to die. He...

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Traveling the Rocky Road

[115 words] The road is long, the rocks are large,But we needn’t go ‘round them all,For if we muscle, and keep on moving,We’ll gain more strength for the haul. The road is tough, the rocks are many,But they needn’t cause us to slip,For if we’re careful where we tread,We’ll more quickly learn how to grip. The road’s winding, the rocks, unsafe,But they needn’t bring useless bane,For when we learn the best steps used,Though more taken, the more we gain. The road’s uncertain, the rocks, e’er present,But we needn’t tread without trust,The Lord will shine and He will guide,And the rocks...

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Age Is Not the Issue

[177 words] David was a youth when he defeated Goliath (1 Sam. 17:33). Jeremiah was a youth when he was called to be a prophet (Jer. 1:6). Timothy was a youth when Paul left him to care for the church at Ephesus (1 Tim. 4:12). We are never too young to serve the Lord. Moses was 80 and Aaron 82 when they were called to lead the people out of Egypt (Ex. 7:7). Caleb was 85 when he conquered Hebron (Josh. 14:10). Anna was at least 84 when she told everyone about the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:36ff). We are...

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Moving the Comma

[426 words] Alexander III was Tsar of Russia from 1881-1894. His rule was marked by repression, and in particular by persecution of Jews. His wife, Maria Fedorovna, provided a stark contrast, being known for her generosity to those in need. On one occasion her husband had signed an order consigning a prisoner to life in exile. It read simply, “Pardon impossible, to be sent to Siberia.” Maria changed that prisoner’s life by moving the comma in her husband’s order. She altered it to “Pardon, impossible to be sent to Siberia.” All of us have sinned and fall short of the...

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Ants

[307 words] In the fable of the ant and the grasshopper, the ant is portrayed as wise because he prepares for winter while the grasshopper lacks the common sense to acknowledge its approach and thus suffers and dies. God seemingly did infuse the ant with an instinct to cooperate and work for the common good of the colony. God tells the lazy person to observe the ant and be wise. (Proverbs 6:6) Some species cut leaves upon which they float across streams. Others form a chain of bodies to span open spaces, while some wage war and make forced laborers...

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Bible Quiz: Hebrews 11:8-12

[51 words] “By faith Abraham __…” True or False: When God first called Abraham, He told him exactly where he was going. True or False: Isaac and Jacob were heirs with Abraham of the same promise. “By faith __ herself received strength to conceive seed…” From Abraham were born as many as the __ in multitude. Solution: Obeyed; false; true; Sarah; stars BulletinDigest.com...

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Bible Quiz: Hebrews 11:13-16

[62 words] “These all died in __, not having received the __…” The faithful in Hebrews 11 confessed that they were __ and __ on the earth. “For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a __.” True or False: The heavenly country is not as good as the earthly.  “Therefore God is not __ to be called their God, for He has prepared a __ for them.” Solution: Faith, promises; strangers, pilgrims; homeland; false; ashamed, city BulletinDigest.com...

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Bible Quiz: Hebrews 11:17-22

[69 words] True or False: According to Hebrews 11:17, Isaac was Abraham’s only begotten. The quote, “In Isaac your seed shall be called” comes from what place in scripture? True or False: Abraham believed God would raise Isaac from the dead. “By faith Isaac blessed __ and __ concerning things to come.” True or False: Joseph game command regarding burying his bones because he knew Israel would return to the promised land. Solution: True; Genesis 21:12; true; Jacob, Esau; true BulletinDigest.com...

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Bible Quiz: Hebrews 11:23-29

[76 words] True or False: Moses’ parents were too afraid of the king’s command, and therefore didn’t protect Moses. “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of __’s daughter.” Moses chose to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than to enjoy the __ pleasure of sin. True or False: Moses esteemed the riches of heaven greater than material treasures. “By faith he __ Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king…” Solution: False; Pharaoh; passing; true; forsook BulletinDigest.com...

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Bible Quiz: Hebrews 11:30-40

[85 words] By faith the walls of __ fell,  and by faith __ did not perish with those who did not believe. “For the time would fail me to tell of __ and __ and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets…” True or False: The people of God did not experience much persecution until after the cross. “And all these, having obtained a good __ through faith, did not receive the promises…” “God having provided something __ for us, that they should not be made __ apart from us.” Solution: Jericho, Rahab; Gideon, Barak; false;...

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Quotes and Sayings (March 2020)

  “We have little control over the circumstances of life. We can’t control the weather or the economy, and we can’t control what other people say about or do to us. There is only one area where we have control–we can rule the kingdom inside. The heart of every problem is the problem in the heart.” — Warren Wiersbe “Goals help you overcome short-term problems.” — Hannah More “Where love is the compelling power, there is no sense of strain or conflict or bondage in doing what is right: the man or woman who is compelled by Jesus’ love and...

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On the Lighter Side (March 2020)

  Now There’s the ProblemOld man comes into a restaurant, sits at his usual table, and orders the usual — matzoh ball soup. The waiter sets it down in front of him, and stands back to watch him enjoy it. But the man just sits there. “Is there something wrong?” the waiter asks. “I can’t eat this soup,” the man replies. “Is it too hot?” the waiter asks. “No.” “Too cold?” “No.” “Too salty?” “No.” The waiter calls for the maitre d’, and for the chef, and each goes through the same routine: “Too hot?” “Too cold?” “No, no no.”...

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Jesus Will Help You Overcome Temptation

[123 words] Being tempted is something we will all face; let us stand boldly against the devil and have the courage to resist temptation. Matthew wrote, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) In James 1:12 we read, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” The goal of a Christian is not to stop temptation. The goal is to do all we can to...

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The Intelligence of the Intelligent

[194 words] There is an urban legend about a group of famous scientists who stopped for lunch at a small-town diner. Seated at the table were six of the greatest thinkers of our day. Their average IQ was in the 160s. They noticed that their salt and pepper shakers had been reversed. One with the S on top was filled with pepper. The other with the P on top was filled with salt. So, they concocted an elaborate plan to switch the contents without spilling them. It involved a napkin, a straw and a saucer. Proud of their solution, they...

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How To Make Sermons Last

[272 words] A preacher posted recently that someone had commented to him, “sermons are ineffective because they are forgotten by the time people get to the restaurant after church.” This statement concerned me because I feel the person who suggested this idea to the preacher put preachers in a negative light (probably not intentionally). I, like you, have heard someone complain from time to time about the preaching, the message, or the presentation. As I have tried to grow spiritually, I’ve learned the hearer has as much of a responsibility to the sermon as the speaker. If the hearer has...

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The Cure for All Ills

[97 words] You may have the best of doctorsWho can treat the best of menBut there’s an ill he cannot cureIt’s the ravages of sin For sickness and diseasesCan take a mighty tollBut their dark and gloomy fingersCannot reach or touch the soul But sin, with its ugly natureHarms body, mind, and spiritAnd no man can cut its cordThus we should always fear it Now, there is a Great PhysicianWhose prescription fits the billThe only thing that rids all sinIs a dose of the Lord’s Gos-pill! Edd SterchiBroadway church of ChristCampbellsville, KY...

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Thanks For Ruining It For The Rest Of Us

[198 words] Oscar Wilde said, “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” I’m sure you know what he was talking about. Those folks of whom your best memory involves a door swinging shut as they walk out of it. Yet they may not be the most damaging of folks. It’s those that leave yet somehow still remain. People whose caustic words sting even after the sound has died away. The fellow whose bad performance makes everyone question if the job is valid in the first place. A false teacher whose lies still confuse even after they’ve moved...

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Are You in it for the Long Haul?

[458 words] A very interesting word occurs in a familiar Bible passage that helps us to understand something of our Christian lives upon the earth. The passage is Heb. 12:1-2 and the word translated “race.” “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the...

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Securing Their Hearts

[387 words] How shall the young secure their hearts and guard their lives from sin? Thy Word, the choicest rules impart to keep the conscience clean! Where in the world can young people learn what is holy and pure and right? The words of that old song clearly and lovingly convey the solitary truth that Biblical guidance is really the only way that our young people can survive in a world full of wickedness (I John 2:15-17). Even though they may not tell us directly, our young people desire some things of us every single time we see them: Encouragement...

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Family in the Faith

[328 words] Throughout Paul’s missionary journeys recorded in the book of Acts, he interacts with a number of young men who variously traveled with him, ran errands for him, and continued the work in a congregation begun by him. However, while the text mentions a few of these younger preachers, the relationship Paul had with Timothy serves as a poignant model that deserves careful attention and emulation. After ten years of working together, Paul wrote his first inspired epistle to Timothy, and even the opening salutation reveals the spiritual depth of their relationship: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by...

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Seeking the Lost Coins

[521 words] During the reign of Oliver Cromwell, the British government began to run low on silver for coins. Cromwell sent his men on an investigation of the local cathedrals to see if they could find any precious metals there. After the investigation they reported: “The only silver we could find is in the statues of the saints standing in the corners.” Cromwell replied, “Good we’ll melt down the saints and put them into circulation!”  Do we as saints today need to be put into circulation? In Luke 15:8-10 Jesus tells the parable of a woman who lost a coin....

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God’s ‘House-Law’

[643 words] Every home has some kind of system in place to keep order. Maybe you were told to take your shoes off at the door, keep your elbows off the table, make your bed in the morning, or brush your teeth more than twice a month. Every home is different and the expectations for conduct and cleanliness vary accordingly. However your home was structured, you were at least bound to a set of rules in some form. God’s house is no different. I’m not just talking about the building we meet in for worship, but that anytime His family...

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His Yoke is Light

[509 words] The commands of God are wonderful. They guide our lives and bring healing to our souls. People, however, sometimes have the bad habit of making these commands a little less enjoyable than they should be. Once the disciples were following Jesus on the Sabbath. Which is a good thing. And the Sabbath is a good thing – God commanding a day out of the week to rest is an act of love. Who wants to see a bunch of burnt-out believers? Not God. Wonderful command. However, I suspect it didn’t feel that way when some Pharisees shouted out...

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The Extra Mile of Honesty

[150 words] Did you know that Abraham Lincoln went into the general store business with another fellow and it failed? Lincoln ended up $1,100 in debt. He could have pleaded divided responsibility and found a legal loophole of escape but that wasn’t Lincoln’s way. Instead, he went to his creditors and promised to pay them every dollar with interest, if they would just give him some time. Then for the next 14 years Lincoln scraped and saved and paid back debts that were not all his. Even when he was a member of congress, he sent part of his salary...

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How God Speaks Through Nature

[174 words] George Washington Carver said, “I love to think of nature as unlimited broadcasting stations, through which God speaks to us every day, every hour and every moment of our lives, if we will only tune in and remain so.” There is an element of truth to what Carver said. The Bible says, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been...

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