Timely Issues in First Timothy

[537 words] Is homosexuality against the Bible? The law is made “for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine” (1 Tim. 1:10). Will God forgive blasphemy? “I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained…

Discouraged: We’ve All Been There

[507 words] I am reminded of the story of the man that approached a little league baseball game one hot, sunny afternoon. He asked a boy in the dugout what the score was. The boy kept his gaze on the field and responded, “Eighteen to nothing—we’re behind.” “Woah,” said the man, “I’ll bet you’re discouraged.”…

How Capable Are You?

[565 words] All of my life, I have heard it said, “You are only as strong as your weakest link!” My humble understanding of this quote means, every “link” on your chain (metaphorically speaking) is important, needs to be proficient in the mission of the organization, and makes a positive contribution if success is to…

Something is Missing

[503 words] On July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig uttered some words that would go on to be some of the most iconic in history. After being diagnosed with a debilitating disease, standing only about two years from his death, the man who had played more consecutive baseball games than anyone else ever had gave this…

God is So Good

[566 words] You might notice over your heading of Psalm 107 that it begins “Book Five.” You also do not see David’s name over this psalm. There may be clues pointing to this being one of the later psalms, even after Babylonian Captivity (1-3). Many believe this was a song sung by Jewish pilgrims who…

We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise

[523 words] Hebrews reads to a people who have taken their eyes off of the prize. The writer threw them a lifeline with this book as an exhortation to remain faithful, to hang in there. The sum way they accomplish this is by keeping their eyes focused on Jesus, listening intently to His message from…

Forgotten Critics

[567 words] I have never had any interest in what movie or music critics say. I think most people feel the same way. We know what we like or don’t like. In the end, who cares about what they say? Who remembers them? You can name songs and films you enjoy, but who can name…

Fortify Your Faith

[568 words] A father brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus (Mk. 9:17). He told Jesus he had taken his son to the disciples, but they could not cast the demon out (Mk. 9:18). Thus, the father asked Jesus, “if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” (Mk. 9:22). What was the…

What is That You Have?

[540 words] In the early 16th century, William Tyndale made it his purpose to translate the New Testament Scriptures, written in Greek, into the language of his people, the language of England. Getting word of this, “Edward Lee, the king’s almoner [giver of alms] and future archbishop of York…” heard about it. He reported back…

It Is Quantity and Not Quality

[505 words] All my life I have heard people say, “It is quality and not quantity.” Perhaps in some areas of life this is true, but not when it comes to souls. Since every soul is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), every soul has value. Picking one soul or group of souls…

The Religious Nones

[541 words] Who are the religious nones? Sounds like a religious order (almost), but it is actually a segment of the population that declares no religious affiliation, 28 percent of the population so declare. This means that of the “religious” affiliations, they are the second largest group, behind 40 percent of the population who identify…

Praying for a Hedge of Thorns

[506 words] Today, I read a memoir of a man who lived and died over 200 years ago. His name was John Carrol, and he died at the young age of 22 years. Instead of being bitter about his circumstances (e.g., the death of both his parents and his illnesses), he was somehow able to…

Living Water

[559 words] I have a picture of our youngest daughter, Haley, holding an earthworm above her open mouth pretending that she is about to eat it. As a fun-loving teenager on a trip with her church youth group, this was yet another moment of laughter as the group served together at Rainbow Omega. The word…

God’s Payment Plan

[542 words] Micah was a prophet of God from 740-700 BC who had a message of destruction for both the northern and southern kingdoms of God’s people. Population centers of both kingdoms would be destroyed and become places of desolation. The capital of Israel in the north was Samaria. Micah foretold that it would become…

Was Paul a Woman-Hater?

[525 words] “Imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. I praise and appreciate you because you remember me in everything and you firmly hold to the traditions [the substance of my instructions], just as I have passed them on to you. But I want you to understand that Christ is the head (authority over) of…

Jesus in the Old Testament

[544 words] “Is Jesus in the Old Testament?” The short answer is “yes.” However, He is in the Old Testament in more ways than people think. There are three main ways Old Testament reveals Jesus; prophecy, typology, and theophany. Prophecy. The most significant Old Testament Christology material is in the Messianic prophecies. While the number…

How Long Does Encouragement Last?

[619 words] Hot weather does not bother me so long as I can feel a breeze. One of the hottest summers I can remember was 1987—not much of a breeze seemed to exist! I was entering my freshmen year of football camp. I readily admit I was intimidated! Our little high school was known for…

In Honor of Godly Fathers

[632 words] Father’s Day is a day to recognize the role fathers play in society. It is believed to have been first celebrated as a compliment to Mother’s Day on July 5, 1908, but it wasn’t made a federal holiday until 1966. Interestingly enough, where Mother’s Day was met with enthusiasm, Father’s Day was met…

What I Want for My Children

[648 words] Although we do not celebrate Father’s Day religiously, it is a day set aside for our nation to honor our fathers. Fathers have a special responsibility as leaders of the home. Since this responsibility is God-given, it should never be taken lightly. Every father would do well to seriously consider God’s instructions regarding…

Five Things the Gospel Cannot Do

[540 words] The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Man’s true hope of going to heaven through Jesus is revealed in the gospel. Yet there are some things the gospel cannot do. The gospel cannot save a person who is determined to live in rebellion against God. The gospel has the power to…

Don’t Let Go of What’s Most Important

[509 words] There will always be a pull on Christians to compromise the truth of the gospel for what may be more pleasing to me (or men), for what may seem to be “wise,” or for what may be easy. Paul said in Galatians 1:10, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do…

The Case for a Paper Bible

[562 words] First things first: I am not anti-electronic Bible. In fact, I know people who basically must use one if they are going to be able to read the text. A lot of older people with failing eyesight have been blessed by being able to blow up the font size on a tablet to…

A Chalk-Board Lesson

[551 words] On the blackboard in the classroom adjacent to the foyer hallway was this writing: “God isn’t good, He’s GREAT!!” Clearly the expression is to elevate the Lord to the highest of the highs. If “good” is high, then “great” is even higher. At least, that is the way most will understand it in…

Today’s Sins

[516 words] Though I cannot recall the source, I remember the following illustration and its applicability to the topic at hand. Jewelers display diamonds and pearls on black cloth to create great contrast and thereby enhance the brightness of the jewels. In the first three chapters of Romans, Paul lays out the black cloth. In…

A Son Not Like His Father

[657 words] “She is just like her mother.” “He is exactly like his dad.” It is amazing how much children favor their parents, especially when they become adults. They look like their parents. They talk and walk and sit like them. They respond with the same words, gestures and facial expressions. For good or bad,…

If You Were Granted Just One Wish

[511 words] The fervor which swept across this nation seeking to win the $500,000,000 lottery is remarkable. It is amazing to see how so many Americans think that money would bring them true happiness. The reality is that past winners of lotteries just could not handle that kind of money and their lives were ruined…

In the Storm, We Pray

[500+ words] When disasters strike, the human spirit responds by reaching out to help those affected. People stand in line to give blood; millions of dollars are donated to aid victims and their families; rescue teams work for endless hours. But most essential effort is accomplished by another valiant team. Their task? To guard and…

If Eli Could Speak to Parents

[519 words] First Samuel tells us of the life of Eli. He was the high priest of Israel. He loved God and was very sensitive to His word. During his time, spiritual conditions were not good. People mocked God and lived immoral lives. Tragically, Eli’s sons became ungodly. They were disrespectful to God in their…

Tampering with the Election

[547 words] Voter fraud is not new. We should not be surprised. Politics brings out the worst in people—pride, greed, lust for power, and dishonesty. Why would anyone think we have risen above ballot box manipulation? Many times in our history corrupt men have used intimidation, false registration, bribery, and vote alteration to steal elections.…

Trust God With a Stone in Your Hand

[510 words] I hope that title got your attention. Let me explain what I mean by it. David was a man who trusted God. He wrote in Psalm 62:7-8, “In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times…” God…

What Kind of ‘Sorry’ Are You?

[587 words] While growing up in middle Tennessee I often had occasion to hear expressions used by country folks. Since many of them came from small communities, where everyone knew his neighbors’ foibles and failings, country folks could be unsparingly candid in their evaluation of others. One descriptive phrase that I particularly remember is the…

The Voice of the Empty Pew

[531 words] Each day when I leave my home, I don’t get too far down the road before I start missing my wife and children. As we age, we all are going our separate ways, but each time I leave my family, I can’t wait to see them again! Upon departure, I anxiously want to…

No Young People at Church?

[519 words] “It’s sad because they have no young people at that congregation.” How many times have you heard or made that comment? It’s understandable. When you see a church or you are in a church of mostly older people, you fear for its future. In some cases the older members may be at fault.…

My Friend and His Text Messages

[505 words] I don’t know what we would do without friends. God created us with a need for them. Each day of God’s creation has the phrase, “God saw that it was good,” in connection with it. However, after God created man, He said, “It is not good that man should be alone.” He created…

Phone Home?

[569 words] “Mr. Duke, what do you think about the question of life on other planets?” More than one Russian student asked me this question in a Moscow university over thirty years ago. I had expected questions about God, and there were many. But I was surprised at the number of times they asked about…

A Judgment Jesus Reserves for Himself

[519 words] I know of no congregation of the Lord’s church that can claim perfection. If churches are composed of people, they will have their problems. It is true that we are saved people (Acts 2:47), holy people (1 Pet. 2:9), and sanctified people (1 Cor. 6:11). But we are also weak people (Matt. 26:41)…

Who is My Mother?

[540 words] Mother’s Day can be a challenge for many. After all, some mothers do not want to be mothers but are one anyway. Some mothers have aborted their babies and regret it and others have disowned their children and do not care. Some women want to be mothers but for one reason or another…

A Truly Global Outlook

[602 words] The world is getting smaller. We constantly hear about globalism—global economics, global politics, global environmentalism, and a host of other world interests. It is time that we tell others how to look at the world rather than letting people who are not even Christians and who don’t know the Bible lecture us about…

Measuring Our Love for God

[543 words] While there is definitely an emotional component to love, true love is not merely emotion. True love is also a decision. It is a deliberate act of the will. The Bible reveals some measuring sticks by which we can determine whether or not our love for God is as deep as it could…

How the Church Can Prosper Today

[529 words] To answer these questions, we must go back to the book of Acts. It is there in Acts 2 that we read of the establishment of the Church on the Day of Pentecost, just as had been prophesied by the Old Testament prophets. While there are many things that we could say about…