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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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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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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How a Christian Should Walk

[221 words]  • “Walk while you have the light” (John 12:35)  • “Walk in the steps of faith” (Rom. 4:12)  • “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4)  • “walk…according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1)  • “walk properly” (Rom. 13:13)  • “as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk” (1 Cor. 7:17)  • “walk by faith” (2 Cor. 5:7)  • “Walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16)  • “good works…that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10)  • “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (Eph. 4:1)  • “walk in love” (Eph. 5:2)  • “Walk...

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Masquerade

[268 words] Some years ago, the singer George Benson had a hit song called “This Masquerade” (1976). I always thought the song was okay, but never smitten by it. The other day I heard it again for the first time. “Are we really happy here with this lonely game we play?” These are the words that open the song. It’s about a love-relationship empty of substance, but can’t it apply in other areas of life also? Surely it can. There are many Christians around you with a masquerade, presenting themselves in one way, but hoping even their best friends don’t...

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Were You Praying for Us?

[255 words] It has always been difficult for this writer to understand why half the membership of the body of Christ finds no Christian joy or spiritual satisfaction in mid-week Bible Study. During this period, we sing, pray, and study the Lord’s Book. We enjoy the spiritual presence of our heavenly Master and add another link to the beautiful chain of Christian fellowship. Wednesday Bible study is a vital ingredient in our Christianity. At a recent service in which this writer was present, the person leading the prayer prayed not only for those who were present, but also for those...

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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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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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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 Blindness

[283 words] Several videos have been published online depicting colorblind individuals seeing color for the first time, with the help of a pair of special glasses. Valspar Paint partnered with scientists and ophthalmologists from a company called Enchroma to make the seemingly impossible become a reality for the colorblind.  “Oh, look at that!” one man said as he saw the contrast in colors for the first time. “There was this whole end of the spectrum that I was just completely not aware of. This is amazing!” Another man saw the various colors of a sunset for the first time and...

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What Does Humility Look Like?

[220 words] If you were to encounter a truly humble person (at work, school, on the street, etc.), what would they look like?  C.S. Le wis wrote, “Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him” (Mere Christianity, p.128). So, according to Lewis, the humble person is identified most of all by (1) being happy and (2) being interested in other people. Saying the same thing in different words: “If you met a truly humble person, you wouldn’t think him/her humble, but happy...

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The Christian’s Priorities

[240 words] Perhaps certain ones of us need to get our priorities straight. It may seem somewhat naive to some to say that if more professed Christians would “seek first the Kingdom of God,” fewer problems would exist in the Lord’s Church, but the statement is nevertheless true! The reason that early Christians were so successful in proclaiming the gospel was that God occupied first place in their lives. Their religion was not a “once-a-week” affair for Sunday display. To them Christianity was a serious matter which they demonstrated every day! (Acts 2:46) The first-century disciples did not consider religion...

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We Will Talk Face to Face

[261 words] A line like this can make us curious: “I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face” (3 John 13-14). We can’t know for sure what else John needed to say, but we can glean some principles. Some matters are public. The situation with Diotrephes (3 John 9) needed to be written down and handled publicly because Diotrephes’ actions were affecting the church. He not only refused to welcome brothers himself but stopped those who tried, putting...

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What Percentage is Enough?

[293 words] The Communications Division of Syncrude Canada Ltd. once did research on the danger of completing only 99.9% of some task. Of the many things they studied, their findings on money and the medical world will resonate with us the most (these are but a sample). If only 99.9% of the job is done… • Two million documents would be lost by the IRS this year • 22,000 checks would be deducted from the wrong bank accounts in the next 60 minutes • 880,000 credit cards in circulation would turn out to have incorrect cardholder information on their magnetic...

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Wickedness

[245 words] There are over 200 verses in the Bible which contain the words “the wicked.” The wicked, of course, practice “wickedness” and there are 121 occurrences of this word. Synonyms for wickedness are also numerous in scripture: “evil” (533 times), “iniquity” (229), “sin” (1467), and “malice” (6). In addition to these words we read of the contrast between “what is good and what is bad.” Goodness is the opposite of wickedness. The Bible is a book about the wickedness of mankind and the consequences of such. In Deuteronomy 9:4-5 God told the Jews that the reason He would destroy...

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The Twig

[257 words] “Just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined.” — Alexander Pope, 1734. With all the education, all the psychoanalysis experts, and other so-called advancements in child raising, most of us parents still haven’t grasped what Alexander Pope was saying. If we want a straight growing tree, we make sure the tree is set upright at planting time. Then we check it in its early years to make sure nothing has caused it to lean or be damaged. William Pope was saying the same thing about bringing up children. If you want your son or daughter to have...

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Use Me, Lord

[235 words] Most of us will live on the earth between 70 to 90 years. Why are we here? To fear God and keep His commandments according to Ecclesiastes 12:13. Why should be care? Because He will bring every work into judgment along with every secret things (Eccl. 12:14). With this in mind, we should first desire to be in a proper relationship with God. We can only do this through obedience to the gospel of Christ (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:36-38). Second, after we have become one of His children, our motto should be: “Use me, Lord.” • Use my...

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The Church is What You Are!

[220 words] The church is built of men and women, not bricks and mortar. As such, it can never be any more faithful or effective than the individual members that comprise it. The Lord’s church in any community will reflect the sins and attitudes of its members.  • If it is a growing church, it is because YOU attended regularly with your family and actively urged others to attend as well.  • If it is an active church, it is because YOU give your time to the program of work.  • If it is a friendly church, it is because...

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Better Things

[202 words] Hebrews is the book of “better things.” We find that phrase introduced in Hebrews 6:9, and throughout the rest of the book, the author reveals what those better things are: · Better hope (7:19)  · Better covenant (7:22; 8:6)  · Better promises (8:6)  · Better sacrifices (9:23)  · Better possession (10:34)  · Better country (11:16)  · Better life (11:35)  · Better word (12:24)  The idea boils down to this: what Jesus came to earth to provide is better than anything we had before! But again, we need to be careful. Using the word “better” might lead some to...

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Love Those Long Sermons

[290 words] The youth minister and I were discussing sermons, specifically how long they should be. We were both curious at how two different preachers could preach a lesson of the same quality for the same amount of time but one would be well received and the other criticized. As we talked, I remarked that I knew a preacher that was known for his bouts of long-windedness but that people didn’t complain rather they were cheerfully amused. I said it was because he was such a loving part of the lives of the congregation, a little bit of extra time...

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Turn It Around

[268 words] “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country!” This challenge, made famous during the Kennedy presidency, suggests a like principle which should guide every Christian’s attitude toward the church. We should be less concerned about what is being done for US and more attentive to what we are doing for others. Ask not, therefore… …whether this is a good congregation to be a member of, but ask whether I am a good member of the congregation. …how much I am loved, but how much love have I shown.  …how...

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Riches and Poverty in Proverbs

[273 words] The rich man’s wealth is his strong city: The destruction of the poor is their poverty (Proverbs 10:15, ASV). Surely, as one can see, this proverb teaches that wealth is a strength and poverty is a weakness. As one makes use of his strength, he weathers battles much easier. On the other hand, as the poor man weathers battles he is overcome. Is this what we are to understand? The Greek translation (LXX or Septuagint) of the proverb reads this way: The wealth of rich men is a strong city; but poverty is the ruin of the ungodly...

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Someone to Listen

[245 words] How often do you pray? Do you ever let a day go by without talking to God? When you pray is it out of habit, or is it the fulfillment of a need? Ours is an age of loneliness where millions are starving for someone to talk to. Many feel tense because they keep all their thoughts and problems to themselves. After awhile these things put so much pressure on them that they almost explode for want of someone to listen to their story. There are Christians in this condition. But children of the Lord have someone to...

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Some See Less as Better

[293 words] There are some times when less is better. Sometime the less words we speak the better. The less fat intake, the better. The less sin, the better. Sadly, some see less as better in their Christian lives: Less time for worship Less time for Bible study Less time for gospel meetings Fewer verses sung in worship Shorter sermons Fewer fellowship meals Less Bible knowledge Less visiting of the sick and shut-ins Less evangelism Fewer days for VBS Shorter prayers Fewer works of the church that require our time When a church makes a decision to do less, many...

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Parents, Get Involved!

[261 words] Parents get deeply excited and involved with what their children are doing in school. They make sure the children prepare for classes. They make sure the children never miss a class, a practice or an event. They are even there with them. They send their children to all kinds on clinics and training sessions, even at great cost.  Parents provide their children with whatever they need to succeed in those areas, but then when it comes to God, things are different. If most parents could get as excited about spiritual things for their children as they do over...

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We Can Always Do Our Best

[205 words] Are you putting forth effort to make your life the best that it can be? We say we want to accomplish things, yet we choose to be less than we can be. People die much younger than they have to, many times because of bad habits. People go to work and do a halfway job and wonder why they don’t get promoted. People have great ability, but do only a small percentage of what they could do. People choose to earn less than they could earn. People choose to live in filth and to destroy the environment. People...

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Thoughts and Prayers

[281 words] There has been a backlash in recent times against those who offer prayers during a tragedy. To some, the phrase has come to be an empty gesture, which acknowledges an issue but refuses to do anything about it. I’m sure that some of this is because of a growing atheistic mindset in our culture, but I also think some of it comes from the mistaken idea that prayer and action don’t go hand in hand. There is no greater example of someone who meshed prayer and action than that of Nehemiah. When he heard of the tragedy that...

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What Do You Do With His Gift?

[230 words] “And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and struck down thirty men of the town and took their spoil and gave the garments to those who had told the riddle. In hot anger he went back to his father’s house” (Judges 14:19). Samson is known by many for his great strength. God uses him in many unique ways to deliver Israel from their enemies, and with each success, it’s written that the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him. Samson is a man’s man—and so it’s no wonder that when...

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Don’t Wage War as the World Does

[236 words] “Then 3000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, ‘Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?’ And he said to them, ‘As they did to me, so have I done to them’” (Judges 15:11). There’s a lot of avenging going on here. Samson’s wife was given to his best man because he didn’t like being tricked into giving up his riddle. So he sent 300 foxes with lit torches tied to their tails into...

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Do You Evangelize and Edify?

[220 words] “But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard’” (Acts 4:19-20). On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on those gathered all together in one place and then promised to all believers who would repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Emboldened by God’s presence dwelling within them, they chose to go forth as Jesus had commanded...

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Motivation for the Christian

[222 words] “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that … we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11). I recently saw a picture labeled “motivation.” It was of a man racing up the hill on his bicycle with a bear not far behind him. A doctor’s diagnosis might motivate a man who rarely leaves his couch to exercise and eat healthier. A death of a loved one often motivates people...

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B.U.I.L.D. Your School!

[298 words] Just like any other organization, schools need God’s wisdom to reach full potential. If you are a student who is a Christian, consider some of these ways you can use your influence to B.U.I.L.D. your school this year. Break Out of Cliques. It is easy to get attached to a certain group of people due to common interests. However, as Christians we need to be a blessing to all people (Gal. 6:10). God doesn’t show partiality (Rom. 2:11), and we need to have contact with those in need in order to be effective servants of God. Uplift the...

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Anger: The Great Destroyer

[204 words] In 1894, the Baltimore Orioles came to Boston to play a baseball game. Boston had one of the finest stadiums ever built in the 19th century. During the game, a fight broke out between two players at third base. The fight be-came a “brou-ha-ha” as both teams left their dugouts to join in the brawl. Fans for both sides starting fighting, too. According to legend*, one Baltimore fan got so hot under the collar that he set fire to the beloved stadium which burned to the ground and spread to the surrounding town. In the end, nearly 2000...

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Finishing Well

[227 words] Wouldn’t you love to face eternity with confidence? You can! “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:6-8). Paul knew a glorious welcome awaited him!  He knew he would hear,...

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Faith Moves

[271 words] J.W. McGarvey said, “If our faith is to save us, our faith in Christ, it will be by causing us to act in harmony with that faith” (emp. added, rek). McGarvey continued, “If He is Christ, the Son of the living God, ruling over heaven and earth, and we believe that, and act in harmony with it, we immediately surrender our souls and bodies and all that we have and are, to His divine guidance and control” (Sermons, p. 93). Faith always moves. Faith must move in the direction of Christ. We are “looking unto Jesus, the author...

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The Proverbs of Solomon

[222 words] “The wise in heart will receive commandments; But a prating fool shall fall” (Proverbs 10:8, ASV). Wisdom, by most, is measured by what a person accumulates in experiences. If you live to be 75 then, presumably, you will be wiser than a 55 years old person because you have experienced much more. This is not an unreasonable interpretation, but it is mistaken. Wisdom is not measured by years of experience, but by the knowledge one gains, coupled with consistent application in difficult circumstances, then add to this the years of experience.  If wisdom is connected with knowledge, then...

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Whatcha Gonna Do Brother?

[289 words] It all came down to a missed phone call. Hulk Hogan, the famous wrestling star, missed a call from his agent about a possible endorsement deal. Now the story has shifted over the years, but basically, his agent had set up some potential sponsorship on some kitchen items. These companies felt a celebrity name on their product could rocket them to success. Hulk favored a meatball maker but the agent had another product in mind. So he rang up Hogan. But he never answered. So the agent moved on to his next client to see if he wanted...

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Do You Edify?

[217 words] “…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:20). Known as the Great Commission, this passage at the end of Matthew is often used, and rightly so, to speak about our core value of evangelism. We understand that the implication to seek and to save the lost is for us and not just for those those gathered on that day that the resurrected Christ ascended into heaven. But, slipped into it also is the call for us to teach. Making disciples is essential and certainly some teaching is involved for them to obey the gospel,...

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