Fill the Year with the Fruits of Righteousness

[207 words] In Philippians 1:11 Paul records that Christians are to be filled with the “fruits of righteousness.” Of course the fruit of the Spirit come to mind with a statement like that. The fruit of the Spirit are mentioned in two passages in the New Testament: Galatians 5:22-23, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Ephesians 5:9-10, “(for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.” We can find 12 fruit of the Spirit from these two passages and,...

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Use the New Year to Get Closer to God

[119 words] This world is not my home. I want to go to heaven. Use this New Year to get closer to God and closer to heaven. I want to go to heaven because it is a place of beauty and splendor. Our hope is, “Laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel” (Colossians 1:5). Heaven is a, “City which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). Imagine being in a place where, “The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb” are its temple (Revelation 21:22)....

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Christians and Lethal Force

[524 words] Much has been said in recent days about the “church shooting” in Texas on Sunday, December 29, 2019 ― the right and wrong of it. The initial shooter was clearly wrong. He was evil incarnate, whose history of bad choices ended in a final bad choice to take innocent human life. God’s judicial standard played out in textbook fashion: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image” (Gen. 9:6).  Which raises the question, “Is lethal force ever justified?” We are not addressing the war question...

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We Become What We Worship

[413 words] Have you ever noticed the affect culture and trends have on our lives? Think about it. Doesn’t almost every person you know own an iPhone or smart phone of some sort? Things like movies, sports, clothing, and music have great influence over people. But do you ever wonder why we’re so heavily influenced by the culture around us? Well, it’s simple—whatever you’re consumed with, you’re going to reflect in your life. In other words, we become what we worship. If you look up synonyms for worship in your thesaurus, you come across words like revere, adoration and idolize....

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A Walk Down Memory Lane

[303 words] Bill drove into his hometown for one more chore. His mother’s funeral had been a month earlier. His dad had passed away two years ago. Today, he had to sign final papers to sell his childhood home. He arrived in town a little early, so he decided to take one last look at the house where he’d grown up. Inside, there were memories in every corner. He saw the doorframe where his dad had marked his growth each year. He stood in the kitchen where he had watched his mom bake cookies. He remembered the fun times as...

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You’re Going To Fake It After All

[239 words] In his youth, the grandson of John Philip Sousa made large sums of money as a guest bandleader. He knew it wasn’t because of his talent. Since he shared the same name as the great American composer and conductor, he knew that is what impressed the crowds. His invites were about his name not his abilities. He knew these because he could not read a single note of sheet music.  He wasn’t the first of the last person to lean on their heritage rather than their abilities. Just because you carry a name, however, doesn’t mean you are...

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Help Wanted

[302 words] The kingdom of Christ has the following positions available for immediate employment: Ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20) – Must be willing to represent Christ honestly, honorably, and faithfully. Bakers (Matt. 13:33) – Must be able to add leavening properly. Farmers (Matt. 13:3) – Must be willing to rise early and sow the seed in all kinds of weather. Fishermen (Matt. 4:19) – Must be very patient and skilled. Guards (1 Tim. 6:20) – Must be able to stay alert at all times. Harvest Workers (Matt. 9:38) – Must be able to work hard when the harvest is ready without...

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Good Communication Requires Wisdom

[324 words] The root cause of conflict points back to “poor communication.” How many of us want to be “heard?” How many times do we feel we failed in a conversation? My parents would not be happy and would say to me, “You shouldn’t speak before you think!”  Forty-six years later, I still struggle to understand what they were saying to me. But, I have a clearer understanding of their teaching as I think back to the many times I have “dropped the ball” when trying to express myself or listen to others as they expressed themselves. Sharing the Gospel...

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Dealing with Shame

[341 words] Rayden Overbay is a 12-year-old with special needs from Yukon, Oklahoma. He became somewhat famous not long ago because of the terrible way he was treated. A video of him being bullied went viral. He was bullied to such a degree—he felt such shame—that he had written, “I want to kill myself” on his arm. What can be done in such a situation? How can we help someone recover? What is the remedy for the shame that they feel? Being from Oklahoma, the Sooners football team took it upon themselves to try and make things right. They made...

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Overcoming ‘Cognitive Dissonance’

[440 words] Any person interested in religion will inevitably be exposed to new ideas he has never considered. This is a natural part of the growth process. Some ideas that seem new may actually be ancient, being rooted in sound Biblical teaching (Jeremiah 6:16). Other ideas or teachings are new because they did not come from God, but man (cf. Matthew 15:9). What should one do when he is exposed to religious information that is new to him? Should he always reject any information that contradicts what he has always believed, or should he “prove [test] all things, hold fast...

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The Importance of Knowledge

[387 words] It has been suggested that the word “knowledge” is the key word of 2 Peter. A quick reading of Peter’s letter shows why that may be true. In the New King James Version, the word appears five times in chapter 1, once in chapter 2, and is found in the final verse of chapter 3. You also find “know,” “knowing,” “known,” and “knows” a total of eight times. There is an essential connection between knowledge and true freedom. Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Paul tied salvation...

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The Ultimate Prize

[190 words] In late 1989, Steven Covey wrote, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It quickly became a number one best seller. This book was the result of observing effective, successful people. In it, he noted that such people begin each day with the end in mind. In other words, they set important goals and then identified each step to reaching those goals. His observation included this major truth: We have the power to choose. And, we are responsible for our choices. It is interesting that we can turn our lives around at any age. We can begin at 17...

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Why Do Some Attend the ‘Optional’ Worship Services and Bible Classes?

[388 words] It has always been a struggle to get every member of the local church to attend all Bible classes and worship services. Yes, they will come to the A.M. worship service, but not to the other periods of Bible study and worship. When asked why, they will respond: “Those services are optional. They are not commanded by God.” My question is: “If these are optional services, why do some people choose to attend them?” Could it be their love for God?Could it be their love for truth?Could it be their love for worship?Could it be their desire for...

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Suffer The Little Children to Come Unto Me

[550 words] “And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein” (Mark 10: 13-15; parallel accounts in Matthew 19:13-15; Luke 18:15-17). In this passage, Jesus lifts up children as examples of the nature of...

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Maybe I Can Wait

[331 words] The Houston Airport had a problem. Over and over, a major complaint from its customers was that they had to wait too long for their bags after the flight. So the executives worked to address the issue. They added new staff, streamlined the process and were able cut wait time from as long as 30 minutes in some cases to an average of only 8 minutes. Still complaint kept pouring in. They did everything they could to shrink the time, but 8 minutes was about as fast as they were going to get. Yet irate customers still bemoaned...

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Taming Life

[495 words] James 3 concerning the tongue is fascinating. In a series of word-pictures, James describes the control of large ships and the control of powerful horses by tiny, man-made devices, before stating that all the animals of the land and sea have been “tamed” by man. Then in a surprising twist, James adds, “but no man can tame the tongue.” (v.8). The Greek word that James used to describe that process of taming is also used in Mark 5:4, in the story of the man who lived among the tombs but had been impossible to control by others. Life...

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Will You Withstand God’s Refining?

[205 words] “And the people of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until the evening. And they inquired of the Lord, ‘Shall we again draw near to fight against our brothers, the people of Benjamin?’ And the Lord said, ‘Go up against them’” (Judges 20:23). It had come to this. When God’s people had first entered the Promised Land with Joshua so many years before, they were God’s instrument for justice against the pagan nations about whom His longsuffering had run out. The Israelites shrank back from obeying God and eventually blended in with the cultures around them...

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What Would You Be Remembered For?

[222 words] “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). God would be a terrible obituary writer. You know, no matter how the person lived his or her life, the blurb in the newspaper always says glowing things about the person … but God tells it how it is! They were a chosen race, but they had chosen sin. They were a royal priesthood, but they had bowed down to idols of their own making. They were a holy nation, but they had fashioned the Creator in their...

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Perseverance and Hope for the Future

[234 words] “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). In so many ways, the very end of the Bible is a mirror-image of its beginning. Because of sin, man in Genesis is separated from God’s presence and is kept from reaching out to eat of the Tree of Life; in Revelation, that access is restored and intimate fellowship with God along with it. The account of the church, then, is really about man walking with God. It took a perfect God taking...

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Bible Quiz: Hebrews 10:1-4

[62 words] “For the law, having a __ of the good things to come…” True or false: The Old Testament sacrifice were offered continually. True or false: The sacrifices of the Old Testament Law of Moses made one perfect. “But in those sacrifices there is a __ of sins every year.” “For it is __ possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” Solution: shadow, true, false, reminder, not BulletinDigest.com...

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Bible Quiz: Hebrews 10:5-10

[57 words] “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a __ You have prepared for Me.” “In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no __…” “He takes away the __ that He may establish the __.” True or false: By the will of God we have been sanctified through Jesus’ death. How many times did Jesus have to offer Himself? Solution: body; pleasure; first, second; true; once BulletinDigest.com...

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Bible Quiz: Hebrews 10:11-18

[52 words] How often did the Old Testament priests stand ministering? Could those sacrifices take away sin? “For by one offering He has __ forever those who are being sanctified.” What prophet does the Hebrew writer quote in 10:16-17? “Now where there is __ of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.” Solution: daily, no, perfected, Jeremiah, remission BulletinDigest.com...

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Bible Quiz: Hebrews 10:19-25

[54 words] “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the __ by the blood of Jesus…” Jesus consecrated a new and __ way for us. “…let us draw near with a __ heart in full __ of faith…” “Let us hold fast the __ of our hope without wavering…” “And let us consider one another in order to stir up __ and good __…” Solution: Holiest; living; true, assurance; confession; love, works BulletinDigest.com...

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Quotes and Sayings (January 2020)

“A simple “I love you” means more than money.” — Frank Sinatra “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.” — Winnie the Pooh “Love will find a way through paths where wolves fear to prey.” — Lord Byron “It takes courage to love, but pain through love is the purifying fire which those who love generously know. We all know people who are so much afraid of pain that they shut themselves up like clams in a shell and, giving out nothing,...

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On the Lighter Side (January 2020)

Funny ValentineA little boy found a frog that said, “Kiss me and I will become a beautiful princess.” The boy studied the frog, then put it in his pocket. “Hey,” the frog croaked, “how come you didn’t kiss me?” “I’d rather have a talking frog than a princess any day!” NewsworthyTwo antennae met on a roof, fell in love and got married. Their wedding ceremony wasn’t fancy. The reception, however, was excellent. I Toad You OnceA prince was put under a spell so that he could speak only one word each year. If he didn’t speak for two years, the...

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