Giving and Receiving

[448 words] “What are you getting for Christmas?” “What do you want for Christmas?” How many times have you heard these questions lately? Christmas shopping is in full swing. For the next two weeks many gifts will be given and received. Which do you enjoy the most – giving or receiving? Unfortunately, for many people,…

And it Came to Pass

[402 words] An older man once sat in on a class in a Bible college. That day the professor asked his students to share a verse that means a great deal to them. The students were eager to oblige. They offered many great verses, rich with theological implications. When the class finished, the professor asked…

Dinner Therapy

[400 words] So much of Jesus’s public ministry and so many of His conversations with people happened around the dinner table. In fact, most of Luke (1/5 of this gospel account) has to do with Jesus either going to a meal, sitting down and eating a meal, or getting up and leaving from a meal.…

Standing in the Path of Danger

[473 words] In 1969, in Pass Christian, Mississippi, a group of people were preparing to have a “hurricane party” in the face of a storm named Camille. Were they ignorant of the dangers? Could they have been overconfident? Did they let their egos and pride influence their decision? We’ll never know. What we do know…

Stick With It

[439 words] “Footprints in the sands of time are never made by sitting down.” Perseverance, endurance, and plain ole’ stubborn tenacity are needed to hold on to our hope in the midst of difficulty. If our life’s work will leave behind footprints in the sands of time, it will be because we have striven to…

Consider One Another

[442 words] At home, we recently took on the task of cleaning out our attic! Yes, I can hear you groaning as you think about how much fun we had. Well, it wasn’t all bad. In fact, when we take time to declutter any segment of our lives, we actually feel somewhat liberated because we…

Bars of a Castle

[432 words] In ancient times many castles were built on a high place such as a hill. The castle would usually have very thick outer walls. The entrance would have a thick gate with bars to secure it in place. All of these made it difficult for enemies to enter a palace or fortress. They…

The Grind

[457 words] “Back to the grind” is a transitional phrase bridging a brief or extended period of relaxation to the resumption of laborious or repetitive activity. Numerous studies have shown that taking breaks increases focus and productivity. Yet, experience teaches us that it can be difficult to get moving again after a period of rest.…

Acceptable Worship

[409 words] Religious people these days are clamoring for more exciting and appealing ways to conduct worship services. Lost in the shuffle is that fact that we do not determine what is acceptable worship. We merely recognize what God has authorized in His inspired word. Sadly enough, in an effort to attract larger crowds, some…

Can Everyone Sing?

[484 words] Do you believe that everyone can sing?” Does any and everyone who has a voice possess the ability to sing a song? This question is well worth investigating because it has such bearing on our worship and spiritual well-being. The Bible says, “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,…

God Knows Your Potential

[423 words] The first time the Bible speaks of Gideon is in Judges 6:11. Gideon is hiding in a winepress beating out wheat so the Midianite oppressors will not find it. An angel of the Lord appears and calls him a “mighty man of valor.” The Lord then tells Gideon to “Go in this might…

The Logic of Humility

[401 words] Someone once said, “No one stands at the edge of the Grand Canyon and says, ‘I am awesome.’” Why not? Because when we are confronted by that which is immense and sublime, we are designed to feel at least two things: (1) our own smallness, and (2) the assurance that something huge and…

The Failure of Feelings

[453 words] We all have feelings. We respond to what we perceive around us and within us. Typical feeling statements might include: I feel hungry, I feel sleepy, I feel thirsty, I’m tired, I’m hot, etc. All of these statements describe needs or deficiencies that can be “felt.” You have never asked anyone, “Am I…

Selfless Christianity

[414 words] True Christianity is selfless. The term selfless means “having no concern for self; unselfish.” The Scriptures teach that selfishness will prevent one from being a follower of Christ. Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Practicing self-denial…

The Fountain of Life

[474 words] If you go to the city of St. Augustine, Florida, you can go to an attraction claiming to be the Fountain of Youth. According to legend, Ponce de Leon landed near this site in the year 1535 and claimed a nearby spring to be a source of perpetual youthfulness based on the physiques…

On Remembering Faithful Soldiers

[443 words] Bradford Freeman was just 18 years old when he dropped out of Mississippi State and enlisted in the U.S. Army to become a paratrooper. He was assigned to be a mortarman in Company E, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. The company name rings a bell from the work of author Stephen…

I Have Made Peace with God

[431 words] There is nothing more important in life than having peace with God. There can be no assurance of salvation or hope of heaven without having peace with God. Therefore, we should all desire to have peace with our Maker. But how can we have such peace? The basic answer to the question is…

To Show Your Work Or Not?

[452 words] When you were a kid were you told that you had to show your work on the math problems you were given to do in class? I will admit I always hatted doing that. Showing others our work is one of the things I think Christians struggle with. There are verses in the…

Cussing Coaches

[458 words] I have often thought about the challenges of coaching sports. Coaches are often scrutinized and criticized for the many tough decisions they make. I’m sure it is a difficult job. However, all jobs have pros and cons. Regardless of one’s occupation, there will be good days and days when we feel as if…

A Compassionate God

[409 words] In the Bible, we are first introduced to the prophet Jonah in 2 Kings 14:25. “He [King of Israel Jeroboam II] was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea, in accordance with the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, spoken through his servant…

Should We Preach Jesus and Ignore Doctrine?

[455 words] Sometimes we hear individuals say, “Why should we be so concerned about doctrine? We should just preach Jesus and ignore doctrine. Preaching doctrine creates division, but preaching Jesus will bring unity.” Those who say these things often are motivated to bring about harmony among those who follow Jesus, but we must begin by…

We Need Fathers!

[470 words] The TV show “60 Minutes” ran a segment that revealed some disturbing news. Park rangers at a South African wildlife preserve were concerned about the slaughter of 39 rare white rhinos. It turned out that the rhinos were killed not by poachers but rather by juvenile delinquents. You see the story began a…

More Than Milk

[443 words] There are several passages in the New Testament that admonish Christians to mature. They need to mature in several facets of their spiritual lives. The one we look at today is the need for growth in their study and understanding of God’s word. There is no other way to mature in all aspects…

Obey God

[428 words] “When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered,…

It Is My Body

[451 words] Abortion is likely the leading discussion in the spring of 2022. It may very well be for some time. Abortion is the murder of a living child in the womb, and is supported by many. Supporters of abortion do not want to call this action murder. They want to have all believe that…

Self-Pride

[464 words] How easy it is for us to become puffed up and prideful. We all have talents and areas in our lives where we excel. We receive complements, awards, promotions at work, and other recognition for the good job that we may have done. Each of us at one time or another have probably…

Summer Plans

[404 words] It is coming faster than we would think, and not soon enough for kids in school! Summer is near, and that means a whole different kind of busyness for a lot of families. Vacations, camps, travels, and family reunions quickly fill up the calendar (if they haven’t already)! Consider three ideas to help…

The Threefold Witness of Good Character

[447 words] In 3 John 12, we have reference made to a fine Christian individual. In fact, this short verse is all that is said of this man of God, but what is said of him and the standard he sets is truly amazing. The verse begins by saying of him, “Demetrius has a good…

In the Doing of It

[427 words] Nothing will motivate us more than becoming better at what we do. As we dedicate ourselves to having Jesus at the center of our thoughts, our actions, and our words, we will begin to be motivated by “Christ being formed in us” (Gal. 4:19). This does not happen by accident but it has…

Thankful for the Gospel

[425 words] Gospel = Good News. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news that sinners can be saved! Thanks to the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, sinners like you and me have hope because we can be cleansed of our sins and made righteous in the sight of God.…

Showing Honor to the Son

[472 words] Jesus’ ministry was known as a ministry of many things. It was a ministry of healing (spiritual and physical), teaching and preaching, redemption, justification, reconciliation and suffering. But it was also a ministry of controversy. Why was Jesus’ ministry so controversial? While there are many reasons for such, the following will provide some…

What Are You Talking About?

[483 words] So, what are the last words you say when you are leaving others? I find myself often ending a phone conversation with family members by saying, “Goodbye, I love you.” Those words are not just meaningless words, but are intended to remind those who are so precious to me that I cherish them.…

Even Dirt Gets to Rest

[486 words] We are busy! It doesn’t matter whether young or old, employed or retired, there is a lot going on in our lives. Sometimes, we can feel overwhelmed and on the brink of burn out but just keep going on. Before that happens, or if that is how you feel right now, consider these…

A New Tomorrow By the Power of God

[443 words] In a dream our minds create as we go. Landscapes, people, everyday objects…all these are made in an instant. Granted, they are imaginary, but have you ever considered how impressive that is? Sometimes what your mind makes is so convincing that, upon waking, it takes you a couple of seconds to realize that…

Some Things Cannot Be Changed

[474 words] Some time back the writer was getting a bulletin ready to print at the West Concord Church of Christ. He was using John Priola’s name for some announcement. The computer did not recognize the name Priola, and it suggested changing the spelling to one of the following: Preload, Oriole, Pergola, Premolar, Portola, Prolix,…

Ten Things to Do When People Make Mistakes

[481 words] “Nobody’s perfect!” You’ve heard it. You’ve thought it. You’ve probably said it. Unfortunately, we seem to often find ourselves on the receiving end of the imperfection. Sometimes the mistakes are not that big of a deal—putting pickles on a plain burger or calling you by the wrong name. Other times the mistakes are…

A Tough Parable

[498 words] Most of Jesus’ parables are easily understood; they cut straight to the heart of his point. For example, the message of the parable of the wise and foolish builders (Matthew 7:24-27) is simple and clear: foolish people hear only, while the wise ones hear and do. But a few of Jesus’ parables leave…

People Like Us

[448 words] We believe the book of First Peter was written about 30 years after the time of Jesus. The people to whom Peter wrote were a lot like us. They were people who had to base their faith on what they were told by preachers, like the apostles, and what they could read in…

Life is Not Fair

[498 words] How many times in your life have you felt or expressed your frustration that life is not fair? Probably every parent has heard these words groaned with varying degrees of grief from their children. God has heard these words many many times, even from adults. Usually these are the words of pain or…

Race Relations and God’s Design

[426 words] Racism is a problem that is ongoing, not only in America 2022, but has been for thousands of years. Wasn’t it, in part, racism that Pharaoh’s wife accused Joseph of impropriety (Gen. 39:17)? Wasn’t it, in part, racism that kept Jonah from wanting to preach to those horrible Assyrians? Wasn’t it racism that…