AMERICA is a Beautiful Word

[178 words] What do you see when you look at the word “America?” What mental pictures do the seven letters create in your mind? To me the capital letter “A” suggests our magnificent snow-covered mountain peaks, and the wigwams of the original Americans. The letter “M” symbolizes the broad shoulders of our pioneers; shoulders-to-the-wheel pushing our frontiers westward; broad shoulders swinging axes, building a Nation. The letter “E” might be the lariats of the cowboys riding the plains; lariats of Kit Carson or Buffalo Bill. The letter “R” is a man with hand outstretched in friendship and cooperation toward all...

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Study. But How?

[215 words] “Did you behave in worship?” asked a mother. “Yes ma’am,” answered her boy, “I even heard the lady behind me say, ‘I’ve never seen a child behave like that in all my life!’” We need to be careful how we interpret the word of another. Such is especially true with the Word of God. It is to be rightly divided, literally, “cut straight,” or handled properly (2 Timothy 2:15). Hopefully, the following suggestions will help us in this wonderful challenge. First, categorize what is read. Try to capture the purpose of the book. Is it history, poetry, biography,...

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Fashion Police

  [453 words] A few weeks ago my wife and I were preparing to go out for the evening and as she came into the room I asked, “Are you wearing that?” Her quick witted sarcastic response to my question was, “Who are you, the Fashion Police?” Before we go any further I want to clarify that there was nothing inappropriate about what my wife was wearing, I was merely questioning the color combination. However her question did get me to thinking how we as husbands and fathers do have and should acknowledge and take responsibility to “police the fashions...

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The Importance of Integrity

[325 words] The term integrity has been defined in various ways. Some would say it is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principals. Others would say it is doing the right thing all the time simply because it is the right thing—doing the right thing knowing no one will know whether you did it or not. I want to suggest, based upon Scripture, a life of integrity is what should characterize each Christian. A life of integrity makes us like Jesus. “…Jesus Christ…went about doing good…” (Acts 10:38). A life of integrity protects our reputation. “Show yourself...

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When I Was Absent from Worship

1. It made some people question the reality of my religious faith (James 2:17). 2. It set an example of neglecting the assembly and failing to obey an inspired command (Hebrews 10:25). 3. I failed to observe the example set by the early church in partaking of the Lord’s Supper on the Lord’s Day (Acts 20:7). 4. It made it impossible for the elders of the church to see that the entire flock was fed or taught the Word of God (Acts 20:28). 5. It indicated that I was not concerned about assembling with my brethren and the Lord’s promise to be in our midst (Matthew 18:20). 6. Some...

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Who is Your Barnabas, Paul, and Timothy?

Most young boys admire and look up to their father as they are growing up. I was no different. I wanted to be just like my father. Grow up to be strong, smart, funny, kind, loving, honest, hard working, a farmer, and many other things just like my father as I got older. As a little boy, a teenager, a young man, and even today, I look to my father as one to emulate. I know that I was extremely blessed to have the loving, kind parents that mentored me. We all need mentors in our lives. Whether it be...

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Biblically Correct

We hear much on the TV about being “Politically Correct.” It has some precepts which are correct. It tries to encourage or insist on citizens using certain words and phrases which are kinder, and less inflammatory, which is good! But without God it is merely man’s opinion. However, we Christians are endeavoring to be “Biblically Correct.” Christians have been using kinder and less offensive words and phrases for centuries. Consider 1 Corinthians 10:32, “Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the Church of God” (not causing to stumble, a smooth road). “Giving no cause for offense...

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Behind Me

I’m gonna lay down all of this life’s burdens And I’m gonna lay down all of this life’s cares, Yes I’m gonna leave them all far behind me When I reach that Lovely Country over There! I’m gonna leave all my frowns behind me And I’m gonna have a heart that never breaks; The Lord’s gonna wipe all the tears from my eyes Up There in that Lovely Land of no mistakes! The Lord will give me all I ever need There! Yes, the Lord will call my name and say, Well done! I will never want up There for...

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Christian, Be Quiet

I don’t know that I have ever heard a sermon on the need for quiet. Yet, the Bible teaches that God will “quiet you by his love” (Zeph. 3:17). Peter lauds the need  for a quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:4). Habakkuk instructs all people “…the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” (Hab. 2:20) We need to stop talking so we can listen. We need to turn off the screens so we can meditate on God. We need to shut off the radio, CD player, iPod...

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Some Thoughts About the Cross

The events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus hold special meaning for all Christians. Perhaps the following thoughts might add a special dimension to these events. Simon, a Cyrenian, literally carried the cross of Jesus. When we read this account, can it not serve to remind us to take up our cross and follow Him? Can it not remind us that He depends on our help to carry out His will on earth (Mark 8:34)? When we picture in our minds the outstretched, nailed hands and arms of Jesus, we can recall His words, “Come unto Me…” His arms are always...

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Whistling Through the Graveyard

American atheists have started a campaign with billboards erected in Colorado and North Carolina with the words: “Go ahead and skip church! Just be good for goodness sake.” The fact remains that there is no compelling reason to be good if there is no foundation for what is good and what is bad. Atheists have no standard for good based upon their denial of God and His rules for living. How many hospitals do you know that were founded and funded by atheists? Jere Allan has it right when he asks “why are so-called atheists offended at someone they claim...

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Crucified with Christ

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” Galatians 2:20. If we replay the gospel backwards from the religious confusion we have today, we see that without the ascension the Holy Spirit could not come, Jesus could not be our High Priest, and the church could not be established.  Jesus’ resurrection means that we too can overcome the grave, but first we must be “buried with Him in...

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The Mission or the Model?

The assembly of people that began on the Pentecost following Christ’s resurrection serves as a model for us, even in the 21st Century. We follow the patterns that were set up by the early church in that we respect the way they understood the authority that governed them. We observe how the early church worshiped, and follow the pattern of a capella singing and remembering our Lord’s death and resurrection each first day of the week. We seek to follow the words given to Timothy and Titus in that we want the fullness of the gospel proclaimed in ways that...

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Me and Self

I live with my beautiful bride, Judy, and a cranky old man named My Self. Sometimes, when I rise early for my 45-minute walk, Self tells me, “You can’t go out and walk today. Your knee hurts.” “Well, we’re going out anyway,” I reply. “I’m just trying to say your right knee is going to be weak,” Self says. “You might fall.” Self knows how I hate falling down. “Be that as it may,” says I, “we’re going. Self doesn’t like to exercise, though he always feels better after it. Self also likes to eat foods that are bad for...

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The Leftovers

At the risk of appearing snobbish or ungrateful, I’ve got a confession to make: I don’t like leftovers, i.e. cold food that is in need of being reheated. I always have the best of intentions to pull last night’s meal out of the refrigerator, throw it in the microwave, nuke it, and consume it, but I fail to do so time and time again. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve eaten my fair share of leftovers, but I can’t honestly say that I enjoy eating leftovers. The food never seems to taste or look the same. It lacks something. With...

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Members Who Weaken The Church

The strength of the church lies in her supernatural elements, her sure foundation, her divine cornerstone, and her resilient spirit. The weakness of the church lies in her human elements. The church is weak in proportion as her membership is weak, uninformed, insincere, or derelict in the performance of duty. NON-ATTENDING MEMBERS: They are found in every congregation, and they form a very considerable group. Whatever explanation or apology may be offered for this situation, the fact remains that the influence of the church suffers heavily at the hands of its non-attending members. Little headway can be made with a...

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Be a Better Person

Don’t we all wish that everyone would be a better person? Do we not hope that some bad people would turn their lives around and start doing good? Do we wish our neighbor would treat us better than before‘? Do we hope that the people we meet each day would show us respect and treat us fairly? If we expect others to be nicer and fairer, should we not make the effort as well? The Golden Rule is that we should treat others the way we would want them to treat us. Be a better person now. Do not wait...

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Not Far

The distance to some destinations may make us anxious, such as the distance from our thirteenth birthday to being “on our own.” Jesus spoke of another distance that evidently was intended to instill focus and determination in the man receiving it. When the man, a scribe, commented favorably on Jesus’ answer to his question about the greatest commandment, Mark says that Jesus perceived that he had answered “discreetly” [“intelligently” (NASB)] (Mark 12:34a). That is when Jesus set the man’s sights on the goal, saying, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God” (v. 34b). In order to appreciate more...

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To Whose Church Do You Belong?

A woman approached a business man and asked for a donation to help build a church building. He agreed to give a sizable donation if they would put a sign over the door saying, “This is a church of Christ.” “But”, the Woman replied, “this is not a church of Christ!” So the business man agreed to give the money anyway if the sign would say “This is NOT a church of Christ.” The woman refused the money and walked away. (Matt 16:18 and Col. 1:18) via Livingston church of Christ Livingston, TN...

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Family Time

As our lives continue to grow busier and busier, we need to always remember to have time for family. Our time will always be demanded of us by school, work, extra-curricular activities and other time demanding activities. As we consider each of these activities, we also need to consider the importance of our family and the time we spend with each one of them. First, think about your spouse. How did you get to know him or her? You spend time with them (sometimes you probably wished you could add some hours to the day so you could spend more...

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Is the Bible Corrupt?

The Quran, upheld by those in Islam, says that the Bible has been corrupted. Bart Ehrman, a well-respected atheist, wrote in Misquoring Jesus, the Bible has “been altered over the years at the hands of scribes, who were not only conserving scripture but also changing it.” The word of God claims it is not corrupted, “The word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Pet. 1:25), as would befit a document made by the hand of men. However, we can not solely rely on the Bible’s message because even a corrupt document can claim to be not corrupt. So we need...

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How Much Are You Worth?

A few years ago, Anne Marie Helmenstine was asked what was the actual value of a human body. Utilizing her chemistry background (PhD), she listed the elements in the body and researched their 2011 market values. She concluded that the average human was worth about a dollar, and if you could tan the skin (hide), you could raise that total to $4.50 or $5.00. Recently, James Farris cited a new study which places the value of a human at 43 million dollars. The difference is not inflation, but in things Anne Marie never thought to consider. Bone marrow, DNA, antibodies, reproductive...

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But I Don’t Want to Do It!

I read about a chef that was fired. He was a good chef. Trained at the best cooking school. Had a flair for bringing out the best taste in food. His work ethic was beyond reproach. So, why was he fired? Because he wouldn’t wash his hands. Customers had noticed in the restaurant’s restroom and com-plained. Many had walked out. When asked why he didn’t wash his hands, his answer was truthful – “I don’t want to do it.” Moses “didn’t want to do it.” No, it had nothing to do with proper hygiene. He couldn’t imagine himself being God’s...

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The Source Matters

  How much would you pay for a baseball? Not a baseball made of gold—one made of leather with red stitching just like any other baseball. You can get a whole bag of baseballs from a place like Wal-Mart for about $20. So what is the maximum you would pay for a baseball? What if I told you the ball had been used in a Major League Baseball game? What if I told you the ball had been hit for a home run? What if I told you the ball was Mark McGwire’s 70th home run from the 1998 season?...

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God’s Minorities

During the time NOAH was building an ark, he was very much in the minority – but he won in the end. When JOSEPH was sold into Egypt by his brothers, he was a decided minority – but he won in the end. When GIDEON and his 300 followers, with their broken pitchers and lamps, put the Midianites to flight, they were an insignificant minority – but they won in the end. When DAVID, ridiculed by his brothers, went out to meet Goliath, in size he was a conspicuous minority – but he won in the end. When ELIJAH prayed down...

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Stoke the Folk!

Have you ever just sat around a fire? It is incredibly therapeutic. A fire seems to bring out wonderful moments of reflection and conversation. Fires are beneficial in many ways with the heat, light, and mood it produces. God’s word is compared to a fire in Jeremiah 23:39. Like a fire it enlightens and penetrates. I believe that the gospel also a fire, and the church needs to be on fire to spread it properly. I also believe that the church that is on fire for the Lord shines brightly in many ways and glorifies Him (cf. Matthew 5:16; Ephesians...

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A Direct Influence

If from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, and one can be known by the quality of the fruit produced, then it is reasonable to conclude that both the words spoken and the deeds done are indicative of the person’s heart. People are able to see this and judge. People of maturity can understand this, but people full of sin (or self) are quick to point out that one, especially one guilty of sinful behavior. It is interesting that these are the same people who look upon the Lord and faithfully proclaim they would NEVER deny Him, but...

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At Your House…

Will priorities be established in your children when… You are early for their ballgame, but late for worship? You check on their homework regularly, but never check on their Bible class lessons? You won’t let them miss school even though they don’t want to go, but let them miss church worship services? You won’t let them stay up late on school nights, but let them stay up late on Saturday night. You will serve as room mother at their school or volunteer at school, but will not help with classes, activities, programs which involve spiritual matters? You attend open house...

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Who Moved?

“Though the Lord is on high, He looks upon the lowly, but the proud He knows from afar” (Psalm 138:6). Again I say it: “If God seems far away, who moved?” The lowly are not necessarily those who are pushing grocery carts all over town. God has a special interest in all of those who humble themselves and understand that worth is not measured by wealth or status or fame or beauty. Those in life who pride themselves in whatever it is that give them a feeling of superiority are the very ones God looks upon with disdain. Make no...

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The Bible’s Advice on Thanksgiving

It is very interesting to note the various contexts in which the word “thanksgiving” occurs in the Bible (NKJV). Here are just a few of the places: • In Lev. 7:11-15, it is connected with offerings and sacrifices to God. • In Psa. 26, it is connected with the proclaiming of God and His “wondrous works.” • In Psa. 95, it is connected with a joyful attitude due to God’s salvation. • In Psa. 147, it is in connection with honoring God’s goodness and constant blessings. • In 2 Cor. 9:10-12, it is in connection with helping those who are in...

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Giving Thanks in ALL Things

Most of you I am sure have heard of the novel Moby Dick by Herman Melville. It tells the story of Captain Ahab’s relentless hunt for the great white whale Moby dick who had destroyed his ship and bitten off his leg. Ahab was obsessed with destroying the whale—his life revolved around his resentment, bitterness and the desire for revenge and it tarnished everything he did. His bitterness had twisted him into a cruel and hateful person and the saddest thing about the book, and bitterness in general, is the fact that the real victim of Ahab’s bitterness and hatred...

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Thanksgiving?

Paul told the young preacher Timothy concerning the eating of food, “for every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Tim. 4:4). That certainly includes the Thanksgiving meal that we will partake of in a few days. But, it seems that, in this day and age, there is something fundamentally wrong with the contemporary American approach to Thanksgiving. We use the occasion of Thanksgiving to inventory our blessings and then carve the traditional turkey. When you get right down to it, there is something pretty empty and shallow with...

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How to Observe Thanksgiving

Count your blessings instead of your crosses. Count your gains instead of your losses. Count your joys instead of your woes. Count your friends instead of your foes. Count your smiles instead of your tears. Count your courage instead of your fears. Count your full years instead of your lean. Count your kind deeds instead of your mean. Count your health instead of your wealth. Count on God instead of yourself. A thankful heart doubles our blessings, causing us to enjoy them twice – when we receive them and when we remember them. via Broadway church of Christ Campbellsville, KY...

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After Thanksgiving Sale

Many phrases inspire quick responsive behavior on the part of others. “Fire! Run! Help! Dinner! Free Television! Incoming! Snake!” Right alongside these declarations “ After Thanksgiving Sale ” must reside. Each year, prior to Thanksgiving the advertisements come pouring out. Shopping men and women dutifully take note, writing down all the particulars or saving the printed ads. Many literally write down a schedule of where they need to be minute by minute and what they specifically need to obtain in each location of every store. They know the prices, shapes, sizes, and colors of their objectives. Their priorities are established....

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In Everything Give Thanks

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). This statement Paul wrote to the church of Thessalonica is one that should be applied to our lives daily. During the holiday season, there is an emphasis on the need for being thankful. However, if we adopt the attitude Paul commanded, we will give thanks “in every thing,” at all times, and not just during Thanksgiving. Notice that Paul admonished to “give thanks.” This term implies that God wants His children not only to feel thankful, but also to “express”...

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The Goal for All Seasons

Often times, I find myself lost in thought as to how I can improve as a worker in the kingdom of God. My thoughts most recently have been focused around the idea of the goal we pursue. So many aspects of Christianity seem to exist and all seem worthy of pursuit, however, God’s word is much more simple than that. We must remember the singular goal of Christianity is to pursue God. In our pursuit of God, we find ourselves devoutly committed to the church. We find ourselves seeking fellowship with other Christians. We find ourselves craving a deeper understanding...

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Parking on Someone Else’s Nickel

In the old days, cities regulated downtown parking with meters. You park, drop in a nickel or dime and get some time on the meter. Then you’d go into the store and be sure to be back before the meter ran out of time. However, occasionally, you could find a spot with time left on the meter. In that case, you would “park on someone else’s nickel!” Someone has said: “We eat from orchards we did not plant. We drink from wells we did not dig. We reap from fields we did not sow. We are warmed by fires we...

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Why Only One Day for Thanksgiving?

Charles Dickens said that we are somewhat mixed up here in America. He told an audience that instead of having one Thanksgiving Day each year we should have 364. “Use that one day just for complaining and griping,” he said. “Use the other 364 days to thank God each day for the many blessings He has showered upon you.” Ken Hamilton Granite, OK...

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Harvest of the Heart at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the harvest of the heart After the fruit and grain are stored away. The quiet season of remembering, The moment when we pause to praise and pray....

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Living Your Thanks

(Colossians 3:17, I Thessalonians 5:18) Remember the “magic words” we teach our children: please and thank you. Those words remain effective as long as we live, not only in regard to our human relationships, but also and especially in relationships with God. There are three aspects  to consider. Receiving with thanks. “Thanks” is not payment for anything. It is only a statement of appreciation and gratitude for what one has received. Giving with thanks. A gratuity (a “tip”) is a way of saying thanks. It is not part of the bill and is not required.  But when something extra is...

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