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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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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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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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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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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Reasons to Rejoice!

[329 words] The Bible speaks a number of times regarding rejoicing. David once stated, “This is the day which the Lord has made,” and then he added, “We will rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:24). Why isn’t that just as true today as the day David wrote it? A celebrated writer once wrote, “Every new day is a miracle.” The point: “the Lord did not owe us another day, but He gave it to us.” In the days of Nehemiah, when the people of God had combined their efforts in a great cause, they were coaxed to rejoice,…
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Am I Being A Good Sibling?

[364 words] As the oldest in my family, I was held responsible for my younger siblings’ actions. There were times I would be put in charge. There were times I just happened to be with them when they got in trouble or hurt. Suddenly, it was my responsibility. I should have been watching them, I should have warned them, I was the one who should have known better. I should have known not to grab the rope swing and jump off the shed in the back yard. Israel was told to warn, speak out, and to dissuade those who are…
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Through Him

[363 words] Christianity is all about our relationship with Jesus. He died for us and we are to live for Him. Upon obeying the gospel, we gain a lot of “prepositional aspects” having to do with ourselves and Jesus: we are in Him, with Him, and for Him. But there is another preposition that describes one more important aspect of our relationship with Jesus Christ – it is the word “through.” Take a look at these passages and see the powerful relationship we are to have “through Him”: • Our salvation is made available “through Him” (John 3:17). • True…
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It Isn’t Hard to Find the Flaws

[352 words] Take a moment to think about what happens in the course of a typical day. The coffee’s too hot (or not hot enough) or it tastes funny. The car in front of me is going too slow. The internet’s malfunctioning. The waitress has forgotten me. My coworker is lazy or undependable. My spouse did that annoying thing again. I can’t believe my child left that mess or didn’t do the simple thing I asked. My friend was thoughtless. Think about how easy it is to become critical of everything and everyone. Basic to human nature is a tendency to…
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Thanksgiving All Year Long?

[345 words] On November 11, 1620, about 102 settlers aboard the Mayflower arrived in the New World, and there was nothing to greet them except the harsh reality of a New England winter. Within five months, over half their number had died of starvation, cold, and disease. How amazing, then, that these “pilgrims” could still find reasons to be thankful in spite of such hardship! In more modern times, Thanksgiving brings to mind warm memories of turkey and dressing, pumpkin pie, family togetherness, and football games on television. Thanksgiving is a time when we pause to remember how blessed we…
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Healing A Broken Heart

[310 words] “We spend the first half of our life making friends, we spend the second half of our life burying them.” — Unknown How many of us have said “goodbye” to a friend or family member at the funeral home? I find myself attempting to provide comfort to others and watch people I care about suffer due to lives ending. I, like you, want badly to help others during the most difficult time of life. What do I do? What do I say? How can I go on? How do I deal with the void of loss in my…
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Mimicking a Viper

[384 words] What looks like a Gaboon viper, sounds like a Gaboon viper, and acts like a Gaboon viper? A Gaboon viper, of course. Also, the Congolese giant toad. With its two-inch fangs, the Gaboon viper is one of the largest vipers in Africa. The Congolese giant toad can be found only in the same habitat as the Gaboon viper. With a body that resembles the head of the viper, in that it is the same color and size, the toad can also mimic the sound of the hissing snake. And, when the toad is threatened, it will raise its…
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Have You Decided Who You Are?

[373 words] What would you do to be at the birth of your child? Would you miss work? Skip an important meeting? Risk disappointing customers and co-workers? That’s the decision Daniel Hudson faced recently. Only Daniel isn’t in the corporate world; he’s a relief pitcher for the Washington Nationals. And, despite it being the first game of the National League Championship, Daniel’s decision was easy—go to the birth. For Hudson, family is a top priority. He explained: “baseball is what I do; it isn’t who I am.” He made the decision to be at the birth, no matter what the…
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Vintage Gospel Advocate: A Call for Spurgeon to Preach Only the Truth

[353 words] Editor’s Note: Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) was a famous denominational preacher. Spurgeon collected a great following during his day, and his influence is still felt among the denominations today. The following comments regarding Spurgeon’s work and influence are from James A. Butler, a member of the Lord’s church, and were printed in the Gospel Advocate in 1860. I wish that one Trans-Atlantic orator would present the Law of Remission as found in the New Testament, to his people for three consecutive Lord’s days; and this would test the fact to whether those boasted-of multitudes assemble to hear Spurgeon or…
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The Hug Heard Around the World

[325 words] Having been convicted of murdering Botham Jean, a member of the Dallas West church of Christ, the last thing Amber Guyger probably expected to hear at her sentencing were the words “I forgive you” from a member of the victim’s family.  After reading a statement which expressed forgiveness and even a wish that she wouldn’t have to go to jail, Jean’s brother Brandt asked the judge for permission to give Guyger a hug. The dramatic scene was recorded on video and shared throughout the world via television and internet. “I wasn’t going to say this in front of…
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Diligence and Neglect

[320 words] The apostle Peter, in the early part of his second letter, gives emphasis to the importance of Christians being diligent in the development of spiritual qualities. How diligent did he want them to be? He urges, “…giving all diligence…” (2 Pet. 1:5). Later, he adds, “…be even more diligent…” (2 Pet. 1:12). Since Peter wanted these saints to be diligent, he also knew the need for him to be certain he did not neglect his duty to call their attention to such important matters. He recognized he would have been negligent if he failed to remind them and…
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The Highjacking of Our Language

[310 words] Over the years, many great phrases and hand gestures have been adopted by anti-Christian people as terms of derision and hate. The most recent has been a gesture I’ve used all my life: the “OK hand gesture.” It’s a simple gesture, you make an “O” with the forefinger and the thumb and the remaining three fingers stick out. It was a sign used to show acceptance and agreement of what was said or done. I’m in good company in using it. A simple internet search showed pictures of such celebrities as President Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Jimmy Chou…
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My Tailor-Made God

[316 words] In your Bible reading, do you ever come across something that doesn’t fit into your theology? The margins of my daily reading Bible are full of my comments, references, and a few question marks. The question marks mean that I don’t know God as well as I need to. They say, “Your theology (understanding of God) is too small.” I wonder if we too often pick and choose passages to support our idea of how we want God to be…and ignore others. One of the passages that became popular (used as a basis of articles, books, and sermons)…
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What Is Peace?

[307 words] Peace can be defined as “tranquility, harmony, or security.” Depending on the situation, it could also mean “prosperity” or “well-being.” The different forms of the word peace are found 429 times in the King James Version of the Bible. There are also different types of peace: false peace, inner peace, peace with God, and peace with man. God instructs us to seek peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called Sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). We should be a people who are peaceful and seek to live peaceful lives. “Let us therefore make every effort to…
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Left Behind, Missing Our Family and Friends

[347 words] I am thankful each day to rise and participate in life. However, I am seeing more and more of my family, friends, and those who have meant so much to me pass away. We know grief and death are part of life (Hebrews 9:27), but I think we all yearn to spend more time with those we have loved and devoted time to. We are left behind. What are we to do? Our connection with the one we are missing will dictate our reaction. Our level of grief mirrors the level of our love. We know life doesn’t…
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It Goes Without Saying

[318 words] We’ve all probably heard the adage that the majority of communication is nonverbal. This notion is from Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of the book Silent Messages. In his research, he found that only 7 percent of any message is conveyed through words, the rest (38 percent through certain vocal elements and 55 percent through nonverbal elements) is unspoken.  What we say is more about how we say it and the influence of other factors that make the message. Our smile conveys sincerity. Our dress imparts seriousness (or the lack thereof). A head nod implies conviction. This isn’t just…
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The Gathering

[333 words] The phenomenon is called “shikadamari“ in Japanese. A loose translation would be, “deer gathering spot.” A large population of free-roaming deer live in and around the Japanese city of Nara, spending most of their time in the city park. Every summer evening at around 6:30, over 600 deer gather in the same spot for the same amount of time. The deer quietly come together, sit down for about an hour, then stand back up and disperse to different parts of the park. While onlookers are impressed by the display of consistency of the gathering of the deer, nobody…
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The Christian and the World

[329 words] Do you know what you look like when you dress like the world? The world. Do you know what you sound like when you speak like the world? The world. Do you know what you “smell” like when you commune with the world? The world. Do you know what you become like when you act like the world? The world. Note the following combined verses from the Bible concerning the Christian’s relationship to the world and worldly things, and consider the way you dress, speak, associate, and act: “Do you not know that friendship with the world is…
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Interesting Fish Facts From The Bible!

[341 words] God created fish and all the things that live in the water on the fifth day. “And God said, ‘Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.’ So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:20-21). This is one day before the creation of man, therefore fish have been around…
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Is the Genesis Flood Just a Myth?

[334 words] Today, there are some who would label the first several chapters of the Bible as “myth.” They do not want to believe that God created the universe, the earth or mankind. They do not believe in the worldwide flood. Interestingly, our Lord Jesus Christ and the beloved Apostle Paul believed that these events were true. Please consider: Jesus believed the events and the people in Genesis 1-11 were true (Matthew 19:4-6; Matthew 24:37-38; Matthew 23:35; John 8:44 cf Genesis 3:4). Those who assert that Genesis is not a true account call our Lord “a liar.” Paul, the Apostle,…
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Let Singing Be Stirring!

[338 words] When we sing songs that we’ve sung for years, we often have a temptation to “shift our brains into neutral” and cease thinking about the words and messages; about the benefits and recipients of those messages we sing! God wants singing to be a part of His worship (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 13:15). God purposed also, in part, that attendance in worship ought to be a way of stirring each other up to love and good works (Heb. 10:24-25). What ought I to consider if my singing is to be stirring? To whom am I singing? The…
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Following at a Distance

[371 words] “And they led Jesus away to the high priest; and with him were assembled all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes. 54 But Peter followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he sat with the servants and warmed himself at the fire” (Mark 14:53-54). Peter, who once had told Jesus that He would never forsake Him, watched as His Lord was taken prisoner. Because he didn’t want to suffer any harm or persecution, he followed Jesus at a distance. He wanted to be a “secret” follower of Christ when…
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Weariness!

[371 words] Working hard all day at a physical activity leads to a tiredness we can all relate to. We all know the relief of being able to finally sit down and rest. The great thing about physical tiredness is that usually after a time of rest we feel better and are able to return to our activity. When Jesus talks about those who are weary in the book of Matthew, Jesus is talking about a weariness of spirit or mind. We seem to be seeing this a lot in our modern society. I know many of us have felt…
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A Root in the Dry Ground

[306 words] Yesterday, I ate my first apricot off of our tree. My wife and I have an apricot tree on the side of our house. The previous owners planted it, but we’ve tried to nurture it. Despite the windstorms and a tornado, we still have a nice crop of the fruit (which I love). Apricots are difficult to grow in West Texas. The wind and early hail are challenges to their fruit bearing. But the biggest challenge is the lack of water. This year, we’ve had plenty of rain, so we’ve made a good crop. But the truth of…
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Bridging Gaps

[353 words] One blade of grass at a time. That’s how the last remaining Inca rope bridge is rebuilt every year. The Q’eswachaka bridge spans the Apurimac river in the Cusco region of Peru. For 600 years, communities from both sides of the bridge have been assembling to cut down the old bridge and rebuild a new one…totally out of local Ichu grass. Women of all ages participate in the gathering of the grass and using it to braid into ropes, which the men of the communities will take and twist into strong cables. The braver of the men will…
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How You Can Help ‘Boost Our Bible School’

[351 words] VBS is here! It is one of my favorite times of year. It’s exciting to see really creative and talented minds that shine in making a great experience for our kids. It is an opportunity to really “think outside the box” and to make a lasting impression on these kids about Jesus. Even if you are not directly involved in the teaching, decorating, feeding process, or anything else here is how you can help “boost” our Bible school:  Pray. Some of us don’t have the energy we once did to keep up with kids and that is ok….
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Missing Our Loved Ones

[326 words] Not an hour fades from the clock that doesn’t find us thinking about, missing, or longing to be with our friends, neighbors, family members, or spouse that has already passed away. We know the void we have is a result of the deep love we shared. We are confident in the expectation of comfort Scripture provides us for our mourning as we long for that great reunion! Revelation 21:4 says, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the…
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What We Need in the Church Today

[353 words] More knocking on doors and less knocking on each other. The great commission demands that we busy ourselves in taking the gospel to others (Mark 16:15). The Bible says, “speak not evil of one another” (James 4:11). It is so much better to be busy doing good rather than evil. More sound heads and fewer soreheads. Perhaps there has never been a time in the history of the church in which we have had a greater need for men sound in the faith and wise in judgment. Sometimes the voice of the wise goes unheeded and the voice…
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Loving Discipline

[313 words] It is hard to say you love discipline when in the middle of it. Young and old people alike find it hard to appreciate discipline, yet we yearn for knowledge. How do you react when someone critiques your work, when a friend calls you out on something wrong you have done, when a parent spanks you or performs some other form of training. Generally speaking, it is not a pleasant experience. Hopefully, as we acquire years and experience, the reaction to discipline will be funneled into an appreciation for knowledge. Without discipline, knowledge is hard to come by….
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Why Are You Sleeping?

  [342 words] In a time of great trial and agony for Jesus, He lacked support from his closest disciples. Luke records that in the garden, Jesus prayed earnestly; “And when he rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and He said to them, Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Luke 22:45,46). Jesus knew the hour of trial was at hand and exhorts the disciples to pray as it was vital for them at such a time. He is warning them that such a neglect…

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Cross For Me

[329 words] “There they crucified Him” (Luke 23:33). At the heart of the gospel is a cross. Three important events took place at the cross. Jesus died there. Matthew says that Jesus “Yielded up His spirit” (27:50). Luke says “He breathed His last” (23:46), John said the soldiers who examined the body of Jesus at the cross “Saw He was already dead” (19:33). Mark says Pilate confirmed by asking a centurion if Jesus was already dead so he could release His body to Joseph to be buried and “He was already dead” (15:43-45). Jesus poured out His blood there. Jesus…
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Planting a Red Flag

[375 words] A red flag is a warning signal. Thus, “to plant a red flag,” has become a figure of speech meaning to give a warning. In this article, I would like to “plant a red flag” in all our minds on the subject of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. I realize that this is one of the most controversial topics in our brotherhood today. More’s the pity since, in my judgment, the Bible is remarkably clear on its teachings on this point. The key text in the New Testament on this subject, of course, is Matthew 19:3-12. Space forbids us…
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Turning the Other Cheek

[336 words] The Sermon on the Mount is the greatest sermon ever preached. We admire it, and quote it. But do we really follow it? I would say most of the time, yes. But there are some difficult things contained in it that challenge us today. In his sermon, Jesus tells his audience, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And…
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