How Do We Answer?

[49 words] God said in Isaiah 65: 1- “Here I am. Here I am.” Moses made excuses (Exodus 3 and 4). Gideon said, “Prove it” (Judges 6). Samuel responded, “Speak, for your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:10). Many Jewish rulers believed but loved human praise more (John 12:42-43). Which brings up the question we began with: “How do we answer?” Bill David Walker Elm & Murrow church of Christ Waynoka, OK...

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When You’re Not at Church

[351 words] When you’re not at church, you are missed. You are missed by those you sit with during our assemblies. You are missed by those by our appointed shepherds. People are concerned about you when you are not present for our family’s time of worship. When you’re not at church, lots of people miss you because you are important to the church. When you’re not at church, you are missing. You are missing opportunities to be encouraged by people who understand how difficult it is to maintain your faith in our world. You are missing time away from the...

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The Benefits of Serious Meditation

[261 words] Unfortunately, when one speaks of “meditation,” what often comes to mind is the transcendental meditation taught by the new age movement. However, when we discuss the topic from a biblical sense, it neither involves chanting cross-legged with one’s eyes closed, or the “getting in touch with your inner self.” No, we are discussing the practice of taking time to devote one’s self to DRAW CLOSER TO GOD, not to ourselves. Jesus instructed that a wonderful place to pray is alone in your room. Why? Because there is no temptation to pray for “man’s approval,” and because there are...

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Brief Rules for Bible Study

1. Read it through (get something definite). 2. Write it down (mark your Bible). 3. Work it out (in daily life). 4. Pass it on (tell others). via Findlay church of Christ Sparta, TN...

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It’s Hard to Give it to God

[364 words] Sometimes when we go through tough stretches (often made by our own hands!), we procrastinate about turning to God. We think that because we make dumb decisions that we must always figure out a way on our own. God would help us if we would tum to Him. At least if we turned to Him, we would be more likely to hold ourselves more accountable and stop making unwise decisions. Matthew 7:7 tells us to seek and ask God and He will answer. He doesn’t always answer in the way we expect, but we can be confident that...

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Attitude

[347 words] Attitude has so much to do with living the Christian life. A negative attitude will cause one to be overly critical and to see only the dark side of life. Such a perspective can be very depressing. When we see only the bad, we cease to experience the joys of being a Christian. Our focus should be on the positive. Just look around. See our wonderful world as it was created by God. The sunrise, the majestic mountains, the rivers and oceans, the beautiful flowers, and trees, and all the magnificent wonders of the world were given to...

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Fight, Finish, Fulfill

[268 words] Second Timothy 4:7 has often been referred to as Paul’s valedictory: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” It has also been observed that this statement had something for every group of people in the first century. The idea of fighting the fight appealed to the Roman mind. The concept of finishing the race would have been of interest to the Gentile (Greek) mind. And the thought of keeping the faith would have been attractive to the Hebrew mind. Indeed this verse had (and has) something for everybody, no...

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Too Much Pressure?

[243 words] The USS Thresher was a nuclear submarine that was designed to go to great depths due to its great strength. The steel bulkheads were built to withstand great pressure from tons of sea water. But, on April 9, 1963, it went too deep during routine deep-diving tests,  and was subsequently crushed into little pieces like a plastic model, whose wreckage was spread over an area of 7000 miles. The pressure was just too great for the ship to handle. Yet, astonishingly, there are fish that live even deeper in the sea than the mighty submarine was able to...

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Country Music Theology

[122 words] Many people, it seems, follow a “Country Music” Theology, rather than the Bible. “The Red Dirt Road,” for example, said, “I learned the path to Heaven is full of sinners and believers.” Really? Psalm 1:5 says “sinners” are not “in the congregation of the righteous;” Jesus said He “did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matthew 9:13); and the command is, “Cleanse your hands, you sinners” (James 4:8). By obeying Jesus Christ, “believers were increasingly added to the Lord” (Acts 5: 14). Everyone will not crowd into Heaven, according to Jesus, “for wide is...

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Titles

[211 words] We sure like titles don’t we? Regional Manager, District Supervisor, Vice President, Executive Director, Chairman of the Board, President. You never see a letterhead or an ID badge with “Flunky” on it! Even the low man on the to totem pole will be called “Management Trainee.” We want everyone to know we are somebody. Then comes Jesus and says “Not so in the Kingdom. The greatest will be the least. Greatness will be found through service” (read Matthew 20:20-28 and John 13:1-17). What an upside down world we live in. Imagine moving up by bending down! James, the...

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The Offensiveness of the Gospel

[168 words] For millennia the gospel of a crucified savior has offended people, and it continues to do so to this very day. Some are offended at the suggestion that a crucified savior was the actual Messiah of the Jewish people. Some are offended at the suggestion that a crucified savior was the prophesied and most authoritative prophet of God. Some are offended at the suggestion that a crucified savior offered himself for the sins of all of humanity. Some are offended at the suggestion that a crucified savior was offered for any supposed sin of humanity. Some are offended...

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Losing Our Senses

[179 words] When unusual behavior is observed in another, someone may say, “They have lost their senses.” It seems proper, based on certain observations, to say that many people today seem to have lost their senses! Some have lost their: Sense of God. More and more a practical atheism is getting around (Titus 1:16). People admit they believe in God, but act as if He did not exist. Like God’s people of old, they have “pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears” (Zech. 7:11). Sense of Sin. Sin isn’t sin anymore! It has changed to “a mistake,” “maladjustment,” “sickness,”...

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Unique Expressions

[483 words] “And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before” (Gen. 31:2). Jacob could tell by the look on Laban’s face that he was not happy with him. The expression on our face may say more than we realize. God made us social creatures who communicate not only through words but also through subtle and unintentional outward displays. Our facial expressions, gestures, postures, and other forms of body language say something. Our tone of voice conveys a message along with our words. “The poor useth entreaties; but the rich answereth roughly” (Prov....

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Unconditional Love

[230 words] “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1). God’s love for His children stands unmatched by anything this world has to offer. Only the love of God can: Calm the restlessness of your soul. Heal any hatred you have experienced. Change worry and doubt to hope and security Resolve the anger and bitterness of disappointment Give you a sense of purpose, self worth, and hope God never grows tired of you. He sees the span of your life. His eye is on the potential...

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The Coming Disaster

[389 words] The internet buzzes with sensational predictions of looming disaster. Titles read, “Collapse of the Dollar,” “Food Shortages Ahead,” “Polar Icecaps Melting,” Hyperinflation on the Horizon,” “Terrorism on the Rise” and so on. YouTube especially has numerous videos telling how to prepare for the imminent and abrupt end to life as we know it in America. Could such prophecies of doom come about? Well, yes. Ponder these questions. Are there any Divine guarantees that these things cannot happen? Have such catastrophes occurred in the past? Has money, education and government ever rescued a culture such as ours from bleak...

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Dealing with a ‘Short Fuse’

[295 words] The apostle Paul reminds us that “no temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man” (1 Cor. 10:13). That certainly applies to the danger of expressing wrath and anger! Anger in itself is not sinful (Eph. 4:26), but how we express it can be! Even Jesus was angry (Mark 3:5), but He didn’t respond by sinning. Many of us are tempted to have a “short fuse” when it comes to anger and its expression. The Bible tells us to be ”slow to wrath” (Proverbs 14:29; 15:18; James 1:19), so how do we deal with the...

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Blessings We Always Have

[291 words] As my youngest daughter (who is 4 years old) prays, she inevitably expresses thanks to God for the blessings that He provides. However, when she states it, there is a truth that she adds in which many of us adults forget. She prays, “Thank you for the blessings that we always have.” It is true isn’t it? God “daily beareth our burden” (Psa. 68:19) and faithful men “abound with blessings” (Pro. 28:20). Even the unrighteous are blessed through God’s faithfulness in creation (Matt. 5:45; Acts 14:17). The physical blessings that every man enjoys come from God: “every good...

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Fruitful Disciples: 2 Peter 1:5-9

[199 words] Because Christians have these resources (the power and the promises) Peter urges the importance (make every effort) of the goal (growth to be more like Jesus) and spells out the steps towards it: love, brotherly kindness, godliness, perseverance, self-control, knowledge, goodness and faith. Faith must express itself in action (goodness) and this experience deepens our knowledge of God. Knowing him will deepen our knowledge of ourselves and where we need to exercise self-control. This in turns calls for perseverance, which is developed by keeping in view the worthwhile goal of v.4–godliness. This attitude toward God facilitates a new...

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Protection and Destruction in the Same Phrase

[274 words] Nahum prophesied against Nineveh over 100 years after Jonah. In the midst of words of destruction and the downfall of the superpower of that time, the prophet cannot but speak of God’s goodness as well. “The Lord is good–indeed, he is a fortress in time of distress, and he protects those who seek refuge in him. But with an overwhelming flood he will make a complete end of Nineveh; he will drive his enemies into darkness” (Nahum 1:7-8 NET). Note the emphasis in the third phrase, on seeking God. It’s not that God helps those who help themselves....

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Is Your Bible ‘Red’?

[172 words] A preacher once observed in a sermon that every Christian should own a “red” Bible. At least that was what people heard He actually said, “Every Christian should own a ‘read’ Bible.” Regardless of the color, it should be well-worn by the constant study of its owner. It is amazing how little people know about the Word in this generation, even in a land with full access to the Bible. Tonight Show host Jay Leno frequently does man-on-the street interviews. One night he collared some young people to ask them questions about the Bible. “Can you name one...

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Caught Talking to God

[168 words] Two boys were put in I.S.S. (in school suspension). The one boy asked, “Whatcha in for?” “I got caught talking to Bill. You?” “I got caught talking to God.” Strange how talking to God can get one into trouble, especially when you consider all the benefits it affords. Martin Luther once said, “The less I pray, the harder it gets; the more I pray, the better it goes.” Once again, prayer has made it’s way into the spotlight this week–and I don’t mean in a good way. Seems like when people invoke God in a public way they’re often...

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Dying Wedding Vows

[373 words] Remember when “honor and obey” was a standard part of wedding vows? Then, the feminist movement said, “No way will I vow to obey my husband!” Today, you rarely hear a couple using this worthy vow to recognize and accept the roles and relationships God established in marriage (Genesis 2:22-24; 3:16; Ephesians 5:22-24; I Peter 3: 17). Now, “till death do us part” is also being reject ed. More and more couples are opting for such preemptive phrases as “for as long as our love shall last,” “until our time together is over,” and “for as long as...

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What an Invention!

[188 words] I once heard of a mother who was very frustrated one day as she was hunting all over the house for her cordless phone. After several minutes of searching, her little ten-year-old son said, “You know Mom, I’ve got an idea. We should invent a phone that stays connected to its base so it never gets lost.” Friends, sometimes the answers to today’s problems aren’t found in the cutting-edge of tomorrow, but rather in the old solutions of yesterday. Sometimes in order to go forward, we must go backward. That is never more true than when we are...

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The Snowball Effect

[398 words] Much of the news this week concerned the snow storm affecting the northeastern section of the USA. Though it was responsible for approximately two feet of snow in some areas, it did not reach the extreme levels that were predicted and anticipated. I am thankful that it did not result in widespread harm to the people affected by it. That being said, the predictions got me to thinking about the potential of snow–for good as well as bad. When the snow is falling and shimmering in the light, whether day or night, it can be beautiful. As it...

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Good News: Hope!

[273 words] The apostle Paul said it this way: “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise” (Romans 1:14). Recall that he had been brought up in, and participated in the strictest Jewish tradition. As a Jew, it would have been unthinkable for Saul of Tarsus to associate with Greeks and Barbarians. However, as Paul, the saved sinner (Christian), he was “indebted to all people everywhere. Because of what Christ had done for him (and for all of us), Paul felt obligated to teach the gospel to everyone he...

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The Untold Story: John 3:1-15

[338 words] What do we know about Nicodemus? This man Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews (v. 1), in a group that we know as the Sanhedrin. They potentially consisted of 70-72 men who made judgments concerning disputes, law-breaking, and questions. We also know, for better or for worse, that Nicodemus came to Jesus by night (v. 2). Some could argue that Nicodemus was afraid for his life because of his position as ruler and implied belief in Jesus. Others could argue that Nicodemus was weak in faith because he chose to shroud his meeting with Jesus in darkness...

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1000 Miles Per Hour

[230 words] The earth rotates on its axis at approximately 1,000 miles per hour. If that had been 100 miles per hour, our days and nights would be 10 times longer, and our planet would alternately bum and freeze. Under such circumstances vegetation could not live. If the earth were as small as the moon, the power of gravity would be too weak to retain sufficient atmosphere for man’s needs; but if it were as large as Jupiter, Saturn, or Uranus, extreme gravitation would make human movement almost impossible. If we were as near to the sun as Venus, the...

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Worship from the Heart

[309 words] A little boy asked his father what was the highest number he had ever counted. Replying that he didn’t know, the father asked his son his highest number. It was 973. “Why did you stop there?” wondered the father. “Because church was over.” I suspect that you have probably sat through worship services where your mind was focused on something just as trivial rather than on God. It’s easy to let the mind wander. “I can’t wait to see the ball game this afternoon.” “I wonder what we’re having for lunch.” “I never noticed before that the carpet...

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Help Wanted

[154 words] “I lift up my eyes to tne hills–where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2). If this week you are driving along and see some hills, or you find yourself longing for some help, then remember the words of Psalm 121. Looking at the hills we may long for their help to guide our way and mark our journey, or we may marvel at their immutable nature against the natural elements around them. The hills may help bring us perspective, or perhaps comfort us, so we...

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Funny Jokes for Church Bulletin

On the Lighter Side (March 2015)

“We had a power outage at our house this morning and my PC, laptop, TV, DVD , iPad, and my new surround sound music system were all shut down. “Then I discovered my phone battery was flat and, to top it all off, it was raining outside so I couldn’t play golf. “I went to the kitchen to make coffee and then realized this too requires power, so I sat and talked with my wife for a few hours. “She seems like a pretty nice person.” — I asked a friend what color his preacher’s eyes were. He said, “I...

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At Your Weakest Moment

[267 words] At Your Weakest Moment … . . . that’s when Satan will tempt you to sin. Our adversary is no fool. He’s not going to waste time and effort by working against your strengths. He will attack you when you are the weakest and where you are most vulnerable. Here’s an example: Someone has had harsh words to say about you. They have assumed the worst, impugned your motives, jumped to false conclusions, spread rumor and innuendo about you. How will you react? You are angry, hurt, insulted, disgusted. The strong temptation is to strike back, to get even,...

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Seeing Jesus

[263 words] It has often been noted that the resurrection of Jesus had a life-altering effect upon the apostles and other disciples. Jesus had predicted that His arrest and subsequent death would cause the disciples to desert Him (Matt. 26:31) and they would be overcome with sorrow (John 16:20). They do indeed scatter—they “left Him and fled” (Matt. 26:56). They were hiding behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leadership that had seen to the death of Jesus (John 20:19). But then something changed. Those who had scattered and once sought safety behind closed doors suddenly became undefeatable. They became world beaters....

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Fifty Shades of Betrayal

[392 words] The latest “Hollywood buzz” has been for the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the film version of the pornographic novel series of the same name. Despite its upcoming “Valentine’s Day” release, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is anything but a tender romance. The story depicts graphic and perverted immorality, and the male lead is a controlling stalker-type who enjoys predator/prey relationships. Many “God-fearing” American women devoured these books and discussed it publicly with a wink and a nudge. Now that the film version is being released, Christians (both male and female) will have to decide whether or not to...

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