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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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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What is Your Gift to Him?

[182 words] The Christmas holidays are here upon us, and the world around us is filled with the noble notions of gift-giving. “What am I going to get my spouse?” “Will my kids like this gift?” “What can I do for my boss and co-workers?” Giving gifts is a godly behavior, and we should all remember that our Lord said it is better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). It is good to rejoice in giving! But in all of our giving, did we remember to put God on our list? Did we remember to present ourselves to God...

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Pride

[183 words] Most of us know about a man named Haman. He was the villain of the book of Esther. Haman was a man of pride and his life shows us the truthfulness of God’s word. Proverbs 13:10 says, “By pride comes nothing but strife.” When Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman his pride was hurt and so he determined to kill all Jews (Esther 2:5-6). Pride produces strife. But there is another problem with pride: “when pride comes then comes shame…” (Proverbs 11:2). Haman was greatly shamed when the king told him to honor Mordecai (Esther 6: 1-12)....

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What is a Friend?

[122 words] A friend is someone who knows us and loves us in spite of all our faults. It is someone we can depend on even when it takes great effort on their part (think “Jesus”). A friend is someone we trust, respect and depend on in times of need as well as in the good times (Think “us” as we live for Jesus). A friend is someone we love and appreciate being with whether it is free time, work, or something of a more serious nature. We are glad you chose to be our friend today. We hope you...

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Negative Attitudes

[169 words] Christians must not allow themselves to live with negative, faultfinding and critical attitudes. Decide to be positive and spiritual in both feelings and attitudes. Start acting the way you want to be and should be. When you take that first step, you will see major changes in your life. It is first the action and then the feeling. Attitude is one of the gauges that shows God, others, and you the level of your spirituality. “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the...

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What Is Your Life?

[143 words] Life truly begins once you become more loving, proud and boastful of others, than you ever are of self. When you see the needs and desires of others as foremost and any of your own as an afterthought. When you recognize that any beauty in the mirror is pale in comparison to the beauty in the world. When property and wealth become tools for the betterment of others and not something by which you measure or horde away. When a child’s smile drives and concretes one’s own. When a stranger is seen as a soul and not as...

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What Should We Really Be Thankful For?

[171 words] The Apostle Paul encourages us with these words: “Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks to Him through God the Father” (Colossians 3:17). As we examine this text, we see that prayer is a constant event in the life of a Christian. And one of the main parts of that prayer is giving thanks to God. This month our nation recognizes a day set aside to give thanks. The original presidential proclamations of this holiday all point out that the subject of our thanks should...

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Thankful, Even in Chains

[149 words] Many hearts turn toward the concept of thankfulness during this time of year, and rightly so! God has provided an abundance not only of the physical things we need (Acts 14:17; 17:25; Matt. 5:45; 6:25-33), but also all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3; 2 Peter 1:3), which we need more. He is indeed a giver of good gifts (James 1:17)!  Sometimes, though, when one or more of these blessings seem to be missing in us for a time, we become discouraged or depressed. When that feeling comes upon you, remember the encouraging letter of rejoicing Paul wrote to the...

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You Are Not Fooling Anyone

[198 words] Little Johnny’s teacher asked him to stay after class. She confronted him, “Johnny, I know that you cheated off Suzie on yesterday test.” Johnny snapped back, “What makes you think I cheated!” She remarked, “Well, one the first question who was the first president, Suzie put George Washington and so did you.” Johnny replied, “Well that’s an easy one, everyone knows that!” “But on the second question,” she continued, “What president freed the slaves, Suzie put Abe Lincoln and so did you.” “Well so what?” Johnny piped, “Lots of people called him Abe!” The teacher sighed and said,...

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This is Not Heaven!

[193 words] Why do bad things happen to Good People? This is a most perplexing question, even for many religious scholars. Possibly the best answer that could ever be given came from the mouth of a little child, David Jones, son of Blake and Rebekah Jones. David said bad things happen to good people because, “This is not heaven.” He is so right. This is a world that has been influence by Satan, so there is bad and evil everywhere. The bad touches both the righteous and the unrighteous. However, in the world to come only the wicked will suffer....

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By Bringing My Kids to Bible Study, I Am Saying to Them…

[173 words] …that there is nothing on earth more important than the Bible. …that a proper understanding of the Bible is essential. …that getting to know other Christians’ children is vital. …that some habits are good, and this is a good habit to get into. …that some things are worth sacrificing other things for. …that God’s people are the best people on earth! …that a part of faithfulness is desiring to be here every time the doors are open. …that there is a benefit to separating oneself from the world. …that God indeed does have the answers to life’s dilemmas....

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The Great Challenge

[166 words] The great challenge for those of us who are Christians is to become like Jesus. Those who honor God must become “Conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). We must behold the glory of the Lord and be changed into His image. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). We are not just hoping to be like Jesus in the next life; we must become like...

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The Gospel

[142 words] The word “gospel” means “good news.” It has well been said that the gospel is the good news about Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:1-4). And while that is true, the gospel is so much more. Because of the resurrection of Jesus, His triumph over death, the gospel is… Glorious (1 Tim. 1:11) Optimistic (Col. 1:23) Saving (Eph. 1:13) Powerful (Rom. 1:16) Everlasting (Rev. 14:6) Light (2 Tim. 1:10) Without a doubt, the gospel of Christ is life changing. But for it to change our lives, we must obey it (2 Thess. 1:8). Having obeyed it,...

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First Remove The Log

[174 words] A wife called her husband frantic because she saw a report on the news about a driver that was going the wrong way down the highway he usually used. When the husband picked up the phone, she warned, “Honey be careful, there is one crazy person driving on the wrong side of the road” He agitatedly replied, “One?! There are dozens of them!”  It is hard to be unbiased when we look at ourselves; sometimes we might be a bit too hard but more often than not we have an attitude of arrogance. We are right even if...

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Honest Heart, Open Bible

[161 words] It takes two things to go to heaven. Those two things are an honest heart, and an open Bible. The fog of religious confusion and division makes finding true Christianity difficult in our day. We did not want nor cause the denominational division of our day; we were just born into a world of religious confusion. In less than a ten-minute walk from where I preach at the Walnut Street Church of Christ in Greenville, Alabama, you can physically touch at least six or seven church buildings. At each place, different things are believed, taught and practiced. The...

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The Lady And The Cross

[149 words] The Lady stands, Tall and proud,Her silent voice rings clear and loud.Welcoming all unto her shores,As the humble masses arrived in hordes. Thru war and famine, Calm and peace, To weary souls she brought release.From her perch she had to frown, As on that morn the towers came down. Brightly her light has shown thru it all, Reminding us of liberty for one and all.On the hill a cross massive and tall, It’s silent voice hearkens to all. Welcoming all to come to it’s base, To see the One who died for every race.From sin and death comes calm and peace, Where the sin...

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On the Lighter Side (October 2019)

[107 words] High-Dollar AdviceA man walks into a lawyer’s office and asks, “How much do you charge?”The lawyer says, “$5,000 for three questions.”“Wow, that’s pretty expensive, isn’t it?” the man asks.“Yes,” says the lawyer. “Now, what’s your third question?” Silly RiddlesQ: What do Alexander the Great and Winnie the Pooh have in common?A: Same middle name. Q: How many sides are there to a circle? A: Two. The inside and the outside. Too PunnyI can’t take my dog to the park because the ducks keep trying to bite him.I guess that’s what I get for buying a pure bread dog....

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Appropriate Responses to Jesus

[156 words] In Luke 4 there is a major focus on who Jesus is and the way people respond to Him. Obviously, there are both appropriate as well as inappropriate ways to respond to His presence and call. Some appropriate responses to Jesus would be: Praise Him for His powerful message (Luke 4:15). Jesus reveals insight into ancient prophecies, the keys to heaven and salvation, how to live well, how to properly view life, how to deal with pain, suffering and anxiety, etc. This is a message worthy of praise! Become a servant with a grateful heart (Luke 4:39). The...

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Who Has the Time?

[117 words] Most of us live time-conscious lives. We stick to tight schedules, glance at our clocks frequently, and hurry around to meet our appointments and deadlines. Time is certainly important, but the real value of time comes with the realization that our time here on earth is a countdown to eternity. Since life is short (James 4:13-14), what should we be doing with our time? Jesus says to put the kingdom of God first in your priorities (Matt. 6:33). That means influencing and teaching the lost (Matt. 28:18-20). He wants them taught before time runs out (Titus 2:11-14; 2...

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Christianity is Good for You!

[182 words] It turns out that Christianity is good for you, and good for your kids. Aren’t I Captain Obvious? Well, I suppose if you have been listening too much to certain atheists it might not be obvious. Richard Dawkins has claimed teaching children to accept their parent’s religion is child abuse, and suggests it’s even more damaging than sexual abuse. Interesting attention-grabbing statement—and completely wrong. If you look at Christian families with unbiased eyes it is to see how beneficial practicing Christian faith can be. If you need further proof, consider a 2018 Harvard Study. Researchers kept track of...

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Safer Than Houses

[186 words] Investment can be tricky things. Do you put your money in stocks or bonds, real estate, or hide it under your mattress? Even the most seemingly stable places to put your money can turn south in a heartbeat. Lots of people have experienced the phenomena of thinking they invested well only to learn that all the money is gone. So where should you invest? Ben Franklin said, “If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Proverbs 4:5-7 tells us “...

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Back to School? Time to Shine!

[146 words] It’s the time that most kids and many teachers dread: Back to school! Soon the vacations, beaches, fishing trips, and picnics will be in the past. While we are tempted to let out a big groan, perhaps we should remind ourselves what a great opportunity lies ahead of us. The Lord tells us that we should let our lights shine before men so that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16). That means every class meeting, every ball game, and every lunchtime is an opportunity to be a glowing example of...

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What Name Would He Give You?

[159 words] Choosing a name is an important responsibility. Those of us who are parents can remember spending hours reading books filled with baby names, discussing this name and that before deciding on just the right name. However, I am told that the Native Americans used to give their children the name they had earned. A daughter may have the name Laughing Water, Minnie Haha or Timid One. A son might be named Running Deer, Wise Owl or Fighting Bull. Suppose God would name his children the name they had earned. Some would be Helping Hand, Faithful Teacher, or Generous...

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Do It Well

[101 words] Amateur, haphazard, slipshod, hit-and-miss, inattentive, incomplete, mediocre, shallow, skill-less, unskillful, wanting. All these adjectives are ones we use to describe things that are done but not done well. It’s an attitude that is far too common today. We settle for what is easy, normal, the status quo. But was this the example of Jesus? In Mark 7:37, people in describing Jesus said of him, “He has done all things well…” In everything he did, Jesus held to a higher standard of excellence. He did just do it, he did it well. Why shouldn’t we do the same? Barry...

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Never Enough

[135 words] Someone asked John D. Rockefeller, the richest man of his time, how much money is enough? He replied, “Just a little bit more.” Lots of people have that problem. We think if could just make a little more, we would be set. But when we get that little more, it isn’t too long till we are saying the same thing just with an increased amount.  The Preacher tells us this truth in Ecclesiastes 5:10-11: “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity. When good...

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Making Worship Meaningful

[172 words] In the first 5 verses of Psalm 63, David gives some great advice on how to make worship meaningful: “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water” (v.1) – Worship begins with a deep longing to be with God. “So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.” (v.2) – Anticipation for worship heightens as one is searching for the right attitude in which to worship. “Because...

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What Jesus Gave Up for Us

[105 words] He Gave Up Heaven’s Glory.He Gave Up Earthly Riches.He Gave Up His Human Will.He Gave Up His Life. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:5-8) What have you given up...

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Do You Desire Spiritual Sustenance?

[155 words] “Jehovah will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish; But he thrusteth away the desire of the wicked” (Proverbs 10:3, ASV).  It’s easy to read this proverb and understand the point being made is in association to hungering and thirsting after righteousness. The soul that seeks after the Lord’s favor is never famished, but is full and seeks to maintain that fullness. Some, however, look upon these words as being words that pertain to physical sustenance, eating and drinking, never suffering want as if in a deprived circumstance. That can hardly be the case for there...

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Ten Little Christians

[199 words] Ten Little Christians came to church all the time;One fell out with the preacher, then there were nine.Nine Little Christians stayed up late;One overslept on Sunday, then there were eight.Eight Little Christians on their way to Heaven;One took the low road, then there were seven.Seven Little Christians, chirping like chicks;One didn’t like the singing, then there were six.Six Little Christians seemed very much alive;One took a vacation, then there were five.Five Little Christians pulling for Heaven’s shore;One stopped to take a rest, then there were four.Four Little Christians each as busy as a bee;One had his feelings hurt,...

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Get Excited!

[137 words] Godly zeal utilizes talents and builds up the church (1 Corinthians 14:12, “…since you are zealous for…gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.”) Godly zeal gets others excited for the Lord (2 Corinthians 9:2, “…your zeal has stirred up the majority.”) Godly zeal promotes goodness (Galatians 4:18, “But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always…”) Godly zeal is concerned for others (Colossians 4:13, “For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you…”) Godly zeal culminates in kind deeds (Titus 2:14, “…His own...

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Be Careful, the Children are Watching

[145 words] We need to be careful, children are excellent imitators, consider for a moment the following story:  A small girl watched with absorbing interest, everything which was happening at her mother’s card party. She observed how her mother dressed; how she dealt the cards; how the women drank cocktails, and how freely they puffed on their cigarettes.  The next day, the little girl gathered her friends in the neighborhood to play “party.” She dressed herself in some of her mother’s clothes. Slipping into her mother’s room, she got her mother’s cigarettes. Returning to her friends, she put a cigarette...

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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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God is Everywhere

[127 words] Let not your heart be troubled,He knows and understands.He knows of all your heartachesAnd reaches out His hand.Don’t crowd thoughts with worriesOr dwell on foolish things.God’s love is everywhere,This to you He brings. The sparrows search the sky for HimThe flowers raise their heads.The smallest creatures on this earthScurry from their beds.The morning brightens up the dayAnd clouds float through the sky.As we see God in majesty.His hand doth skillfully ply. He sends the soft, caressing rainTo green up yonder fields.He’s measured every grain of sand,His promise He’s revealed.How wonderful it is to knowHe hears our every whim.God’s...

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Useless or Useful?

[144 words] No one wants to feel useless. Onesimus was a slave to Philemon, Paul’s Christian brother. His name meant “useful.” But, Onesimus had become a runaway slave, and probably stole from his master to make his get away (Phile. 18). Onesimus met Paul in Rome in some way unknown to us, where Paul taught him the Gospel which he gladly obeyed (v. 10). Paul’s letter to Philemon encouraged Philemon to receive him back not just as a returning slave, but now as a brother in Christ (v. 16)! While lost in sin Onesimus could not live up to his...

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God is Still Love

[108 words] A man traveling through the country noticed that the weather vane on the roof of a farm building bore the phrase, “God Is Love.” He was troubled about it and asked the farmer, “Do you think God’s love is as changeable as that weather vane?” “You miss the point, sir” replied the farmer, “It is on the weather vane because no matter which way the wind is blowing, God is still love!” “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in...

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‘On Bended Knee, I Come’

[181 words] There are many things we can learn from nature. Recently, I read about “the secret of the bended knee.” Most birds sleep, perched on a limb, and do not fall. When I sleep, there is no rhyme or reason, I will move around on the bed during the night, occupying several different positions. I read how birds stay on their perch without falling because of the unique way God made them. The tendons in the bird’s legs are so constructed that when the leg is bent at the knee, the claws grip like a steel trap. The claws...

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I Will Remember Their Sins No More

[156 words] When the Hebrew writer quoted Jeremiah (Chapter 13) concerning the new covenant that Jesus brought, he writes, “For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more” (Heb 8:12). This is in stark contrast to the old covenant where the Hebrew writer states, “But in those (animal) sacrifices, there is a reminder of sins year by year” (Heb 10:3). Why? “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Heb. 10:4). The Hebrew Christians were reminded of a wonderful blessing. When God forgives us under the...

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Honoring Dads

[132 words] Sonora Dodd is usually considered the architect of the American event called “Father’s Day.” Sonora’s father raised 6 children after his wife’s death, and Sonora felt that such dads were worthy of double honor.  But the concept of honoring our fathers didn’t originate in the U.S.A. God was the first to urge people to honor their pops (and moms). It was one of the original 10 commandments (Exodus 20:12). It was repeated under the New Testament (Ephesians 6:2). Ephesians 2 calls it “the first command with a promise.” The promise being “long life in the land.” Some folks...

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Who Made This Road?

[199 words] Ever drive down a road and wondered what kind person would design something like this? Well, if you live in New York chances are it was Robert Moses. He was an urban planner that helped to design many of the highways and bridge systems in New York City. His ideas were often controversial and range from the displacement of thousands of people from their homes to his plans that lead to the Dodgers leaving town. But the oddest thing about the man, the same man that helped create America’s Car Culture, the man critics claimed “loved cars more...

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