The Bad Samaritan

[533 words] “Which one?” That’s what a typical Jew in Jesus’ time would have asked about this title. To many Jewish people, all Samaritans were bad. There was no such thing as a good Samaritan. The truth, of course, is that Samaritans were like other people. Some were good and some were bad. Although the Bible does not specifically call him “the good Samaritan,” most Christians know the story about him. But what about the bad Samaritan? Who is this person? What did this individual do to deserve such a label? When Jesus sat down to rest at Jacob’s well,...

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He’s Still Around

[516 words] As I write this article, two days have passed since a tragedy occurred in our community. At a spot just one-half mile from where I sit in my office, a little four-year-old boy was visiting his uncle. While the family was taking group pictures in the house, the little boy sneaked out the back door and went to a cage made of cyclone fencing where his uncle kept a 400-pound Bengal tiger. The tiger had been declawed and was reported to be very gentle, but that afternoon had been filled with thunder and lightning, which may have agitated...

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What Do You Do When Things Go Bad?

[523 words] Life is full of ups and downs. If we made a list of all of the positive things in our life, all of the blessings, that list would almost certainly far exceed a similar list of all of the negative things in our life. Despite that fact, we tend to focus more on the downs than on the ups, more on the negatives than on the positives. It would be a good exercise in self examination to try to figure out why this is the case. One fundamental reason for being so consumed with the difficulties, challenges and...

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Is Our Savior Sleeping?

[540 words] Have you ever been afraid of your imagination? At times that fear can be so convincing that you truly believe that the worst case scenario is somehow inevitable. Try and make that opening question relevant to your life. Think about a specific event or experience where you were afraid of something that never came to fruition. The grip of anxiety can be debilitating as you wait for your medical test results to come in. You agonize over the poor quality of life you might have if there is ever an unexpected economic collapse. Your hairline might rapidly recede...

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Cultivating Your Spiritual Garden

[528 words] Wisteria is beautiful. Despite its beauty, though, wisteria can be an invasive vine if it is not carefully cultivated, becoming genteel kudzu. As I had to go to a doctor’s appointment in Gainesville, Georgia, yesterday, I noted how much wisteria grows around that city. For the most part, it was not managed well. Thus, you would see azalea bushes or maple trees with purple flowers choking them out. However, if you take the time to train the vine, you can make a stunning addition to your garden with wisteria. One popular way of taming wisteria is having it...

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Seeking the Lost Coins

[521 words] During the reign of Oliver Cromwell, the British government began to run low on silver for coins. Cromwell sent his men on an investigation of the local cathedrals to see if they could find any precious metals there. After the investigation they reported: “The only silver we could find is in the statues of the saints standing in the corners.” Cromwell replied, “Good we’ll melt down the saints and put them into circulation!”  Do we as saints today need to be put into circulation? In Luke 15:8-10 Jesus tells the parable of a woman who lost a coin....

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God’s ‘House-Law’

[643 words] Every home has some kind of system in place to keep order. Maybe you were told to take your shoes off at the door, keep your elbows off the table, make your bed in the morning, or brush your teeth more than twice a month. Every home is different and the expectations for conduct and cleanliness vary accordingly. However your home was structured, you were at least bound to a set of rules in some form. God’s house is no different. I’m not just talking about the building we meet in for worship, but that anytime His family...

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His Yoke is Light

[509 words] The commands of God are wonderful. They guide our lives and bring healing to our souls. People, however, sometimes have the bad habit of making these commands a little less enjoyable than they should be. Once the disciples were following Jesus on the Sabbath. Which is a good thing. And the Sabbath is a good thing – God commanding a day out of the week to rest is an act of love. Who wants to see a bunch of burnt-out believers? Not God. Wonderful command. However, I suspect it didn’t feel that way when some Pharisees shouted out...

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Christians and Lethal Force

[524 words] Much has been said in recent days about the “church shooting” in Texas on Sunday, December 29, 2019 ― the right and wrong of it. The initial shooter was clearly wrong. He was evil incarnate, whose history of bad choices ended in a final bad choice to take innocent human life. God’s judicial standard played out in textbook fashion: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image” (Gen. 9:6).  Which raises the question, “Is lethal force ever justified?” We are not addressing the war question...

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Suffer The Little Children to Come Unto Me

[550 words] “And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein” (Mark 10: 13-15; parallel accounts in Matthew 19:13-15; Luke 18:15-17). In this passage, Jesus lifts up children as examples of the nature of...

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I-N-V-O-L-V-E-M-E-N-T Equals Church Growth

[540 words] The early church grew (Acts 2:41; 5:14; 6:1,7; 9:31; 11:24). As we read of this growth explosion, we see the key role member involvement played. Christians were spreading the word (8:4), involved in each other’s lives and in the lives of the lost around them. This is such a simple concept, but churches not practicing it are not growing. What is involved in involvement? I – “I” am the heart of involvement. I must resolve to be involved. I must do my part, for I will give an account for my level or lack of involvement (1 Cor....

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‘My’ Religion

[565 words] A famous country singer told how she got religion. When she was a child, her mother said the Holy Spirit told her that her daughter had a special gift. When she grew up and started singing, she said the gift had to come from God because she didn’t get it from her mother or father. It was then that she felt she had a relationship with God. She said this was when she began to discover “my spirituality.” “My spirituality.” A spirituality based on a gifted singing voice. How ridiculous! But her claim to religion is typical. People...

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Be Friendly and Greet Visitors and Guests!

[536 words] Many people know who Glenn Beck the conservative radio personality is. But did you know that Glenn was raised Catholic, but was not practicing anything when he decided his family needed to go to church? Glenn Beck is reported as saying his family tried all churches, “Unitarian, Episcopalian, Baptist, even a synagogue.” His family ended up with the Church of Latter-day Saints. Why? Because his daughter said, “this place makes us feel warm and welcome inside. Can we come back?” (USA Weekend Feb. 19-21, 2011 “Don’t judge Beck by his cover” by Dennis McCafferty). Glenn Beck and his...

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For Such a Time as This

[537 words] Esther could have died. Sure, all the Jews were scheduled to die anyway but Esther could have been the first one. She did something that was illegal and went, unsummoned, to the king. The punishment for doing so was a date with the royal executioner. And why would she do such a thing, take such a risk? Let’s rewind a little bit. After finding out about an evil man’s plot to kill all the Jews a man named Mordecai grieved so publicly that Esther (his cousin) heard about it. She asks what’s up and he tells her they’re...

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Go Forward

[519 words] In the account of the crossing of the Red Sea in the Exodus of the Israelites, we can learn some important things about God and His people. As the Egyptians were in hot pursuit and the Israelites’ fears are growing, God said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward” (Exod. 14:15). Moses was then to lift up his rod, stretch out his hand over the sea, and it would be divided (Exod. 14:16). When Moses did this, Exodus 14:21 records that “the Lord caused the sea to go back...

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No Awe of God

[504 words] I remember listening to a talk radio program where the host was eliciting comments on why the crime rate had risen for the first time in several years. As you can probably guess, most of the responses were extreme and unconvincing. Still, a common thread among most of the callers was that there is more crime when people no longer have a fear of punishment for crime, nor a respect for authority. Whenever and wherever wickedness rules, one of the basic reasons is a diminished fear of the consequences of wrongdoing. A major part of Satan’s success with...

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Satan and Weeds

[543 words] There are weeds dying at my house (in fact, many are already dead). I know because I had a big part in killing them. As I was in the process of spraying them with a certain herbicide, an interesting analogy came to mind–I was actually playing Satan. Notice these salient points: Someone once noted that a weed is a simply plant that is out of place. That leads me into my first point–I only picked the plants that were out of place. The ones that were where they were supposed to be, I left alone. Satan is the...

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5 Things To Remember To Be A Church That Cares For Children

[530 words] If we are going to be a church that truly cares for children, there are some vital things we must keep in mind. Children are important. They are people too! Children are little souls who need to be loved, trained, molded, and matured. They will stand before the Lord at that last great day. They are not just the “future” of the church, they are part of the church now! Rest assure, we will lose them if we do not see their value and minister to the needs of their soul. Children have families. When the church truly...

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The Best Part of Sunday’s Super Bowl

[658 words] This year’s Super Bowl was truly “a tale of two halves,” but that was not the best part of the Super Bowl. Fans witnessed a dominant San Francisco 49er offense come to life after a 34-minute game delay and score, in about four minutes, seventeen unanswered points, but that was not the best part of the Super Bowl. With only minutes remaining to score a potential game winning touchdown, the 49ers, in four attempts, couldn’t get it done, and the Ravens won, 34-31. But, once again, that was not the best part of the Super Bowl. I love...

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The Significance of Baptism

[548 words] Few religious groups in our world today teach the full significance of baptism as it pertains to salvation. There are many who teach that one is saved first and then, baptized. Several others say baptism is necessary as a command of God but fail to see the urgency of it, baptizing an individual a month or two later, when a group of candidates can be gathered, rather than immediately (Acts 16:33). The Bible plainly declares that baptism saves us (1 Peter 3:21). Jesus placed salvation after baptism, not before (Mark 16:16). Phillip, Paul, and Peter recognized by inspiration...

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Punctuality

[604 words] Punctuality is the practice of being prompt, especially in keeping an appointment or engagement; it is observing, or doing, at the precise exact time. There are some responsible souls out there who can be depended upon to do whatever they are expected or asked to do at the very time they are supposed to do it. And then there’s me; and maybe you, too. There is virtually no difference between the punctual person and the one who is habitually late, save for this: the person who is prompt realizes and fully appreciates the value of time. The person...

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Will Jews Be Saved Without Obedience to Christ?

[546 words] The Jews, under the Old Law, were God’s chosen people. God dealt with them, and blessed them, in ways that He did not with Gentiles. But when Jesus died on the cross; that Old Law died with Him, for He “took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross” (Col. 2:14). Jesus said, “if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins”(John 8:24). Jews must now believe and accept Jesus as their Savior. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female:...

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‘The Voice of Thy Brother’s Blood Crieth Unto Me’

[541 words] Adam Lanza (Sandy Hook Elementary shooter) and William Spengler (Webster, N,Y. shooter), names we’ve become quite familiar with in recent weeks, were men who’II be remembered as was Cain. I thought it appropriate to share some thoughts surrounding the first recorded shedding of innocent blood, Cain killing his brother Abel (Gen. 4:1-15). Evil and violence has existed since the beginning of time. What can we learn from this story that will better equip us to handle and respond to present day atrocities? First, evil is present where God isn’t (Gen. 4:1-6). I’m not suggesting that God is not...

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The Uniqueness of Jesus

[543 words] Jesus Christ is the most unique individual who ever lived. Some have attempted to compare him to other religious leaders like Buddha, Confucius, and Mohammed, but when the evidence is considered Jesus stands head and shoulders above everyone else who has ever lived. Reflect on some truths that show the uniqueness of Jesus. He is the only One who ever chose to be born. You and I did not have a choice in whether we were born, but Jesus did. Philippians 2:6-8 speaks of how Jesus chose to leave heaven and , “come in the likeness of men.”...

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It is NOT ‘Just a Church’

[575 words] Jesus promised to do something never before done on earth: He would build His Church upon the great truth that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God! “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock l will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). Whatever your understanding of the Church may be, it is easy to see from what the Savior said that it must be important to Him. How important is His Church to you? “And they continued steadfastly in...

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‘It Was Just His Time to Go’

[572 words] A person asked me about this recently. They had heard people say such things as “It was just their time to go.” There are many folks, even members of the church, who believe there is a set time for someone to die. In defense of such a view, some look to Hebrews 9:27 where the Bible says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” However, the original Greek word translated “appointed” in this verse is also translated “laid up” in the three other verses where it is found in the...

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Never Die Easy!

[640 words] Walter Payton ranks second on the National Football League’s list of all-time leaders in rushing yards. Through 13 seasons as a Chicago Bear Payton was tackled and knocked down thousands of times. He built an extraordinary career, not by getting knocked down, but by not staying down! He was knocked down a final time when he died on November 1, 1999 of a rare autoimmune liver disease, a few months over 45 years old. Payton had a motto in life—“Never Die Easy”—which he attributed to Bob Hill, his coach at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. In practice,...

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Don’t Ever Quit!

[511 words] Most people regard a quitter as one of the most despicable characters on earth. We admire a person who, against all odds, keeps on struggling till the contest is ended; who keeps on running till he finishes the race, even if he has no chance of winning. We applaud the man who crawls across the finish line dead last—but finishes the race! The book of Hebrews is filled with admonitions to discouraged Christians, but in Hebrews 10, the writer particularly focuses on the needs of despondent and weary disciples. The Hebrew writer develops three central thoughts that are...

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Funny Jokes for Church Bulletin

On the Lighter Side (January 2013)

[506 words] Finding one of her students making faces at others on the playground, Ms. Smith stopped to gently reprove the child. Smiling sweetly, the Sunday School teacher said, “Bobby, when I was a child. I was told if I made ugly faces, my face would freeze and I would stay like that.” Bobby looked up and replied, “Well, Ms. Smith, you can’t say you weren’t warned.” — John: “Why is Tony pacing the floor like that?” Jim: “Well, he’s terribly worried about his wife.” John: “Why? What does she have?” Jim? “His new car.” — Mike: “Is it true...

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Seasons

[709 words] It’s fall again and a time when we expect the see brilliant colors in God’s nature. Alice and I have always loved making fall excursions Just to see the colors as the foliage turns. This year has not been so good for that as we have now made four trips out in search of color and there isn’t a whole lot this year. We made a short trip Thursday and many of the trees are already naked or are in the process of becoming so. The colors of fall are not nearly so good as is normal for...

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On Becoming a Christian While Young

[575 words] As a young boy, I remember the excitement of the prospect of becoming a Christian and being allowed to take a part in the work of the church as an added benefit. All the boys and girls in the churches where I worshiped made decisions for Christ at reasonably early ages. I don’t mean by this that they were 7, 8, or 9 years old, but by the time they were 12 to 13 years of age, most of them had obeyed the Gospel. I remember one young man who still had not done so clear into our...

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Are You One of Jesus’ Sheep?

[519 words] One would have thought Jesus’ sayings would engender unity and love everywhere he went because that was his message, right? That was not the Jew’s reaction. Their reaction was division. In John 10:19, the apostle John wrote, “There was a division therefore again among the Jews” about Jesus’ sayings. Some claimed he was possessed by a devil. Others rightly said Jesus could not be demon possessed and cure the blind. Jesus’ answer was, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in my Father’s name, these testify of me. But you do not...

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It is NOT ‘Just Church’

[577 words] Jesus promised to do something never before done on earth: He would build His Church upon the great truth that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God! “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). Whatever your understanding of the Church may be, it is easy to see from what the Savior said that it must be important to Him. How important is His Church to you? “And they continued steadfastly in...

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Success

[687 words] How close can you come to success and still fail? Why do some people succeed and others who seemingly are doing the same thing fail? I guess I am asking is, “What is the secret to succeeding?” In the Bible God tells us about the lives of some people who were successful and some who were failures. “Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will...

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Elements of a Depraved Culture

[500 words] No God. People have many gods, but not God. They have the god of pleasure. They worship the god of money. Their “god is their belly” (Phil. 3:19). Though the creation plainly declares God (Psa. 19:1), they still refuse to acknowledge Him. No Fear. When men turn to themselves, they become presumptuous, self-willed, and “are not afraid to speak evil of dignities” (2 Pet. 2:10). “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:18), and they are capable of just about anything. No Respect. Because they have no fear of God, they have no regard for...

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All Authority

[527 words] Ken Klaus wrote about an experience that taught him a valuable lesson: “A year or two ago a friend offered me a ride in his custom Corvette. That machine was beautiful to look at, impressive to sit in. Riding a few inches off the ground, my friend put that contraption through its paces. “In first gear I was thrown back into the seat. In second gear it felt like the g-force was stretching my face, just like that of the astronauts during a blastoff. In third gear we blew by an 18-wheeler like he was standing still. It...

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The Sixth Command

[603 words] You shall not kill. The Hebrew word for “kill” is a word modern translations render “murder.” The Hebrew word can be used in contexts where one is killed intentionally or unintentionally. In Matthew 5:21-26, Jesus develops what we are to understand. The command “thou shalt not kill” is a moral failing that begins in the heart before it shows itself in criminal activity. Consider some numbing information: some in Western society are supportive of the moral failing associated with euthanasia, otherwise known “mercy” killings. If the outcry surrounding abortion is any indication, the current outcry surrounding “mercy” killings...

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The Quran

[531 words] Last month marked thirteen years since radical adherents to the religion of Islam organized an attack against our country. It is hard to believe that it was that long ago. However, militants such as these continue to dominate the headlines. Groups like the Islamic State and Boko Haram seek to strike fear in the hearts of all “non-believers” with their violent and wicked tactics. In light of this, it might serve us well to look once again at the root of our differences: the Bible vs. the Quran. Both Islam and Christianity claim to be “revealed religions.” That...

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Abide in the Same Calling

[621 words] Do the best you can in whatever circumstance you face. Your situation in life is never completely ideal. Make the most of it regardless of the obstacles. There are some circumstances you can change, there are some you cannot. But you can live the Christian life either way. Earthly conditions don’t last. Even here they change quickly. So focus on the state of your soul, not on the advantages or disadvantages of your physical environment. Joseph made the best out of out a bad situation. So did Daniel. Do your best to have the same attitude. This is...

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On Demand

[507 words] Several factors have led to a trend in recent years concerning television viewing. One of those factors is the availability of digital recording. With digital video recording (DVR), viewers can record and store multiple programs for later playback. They can then recall the program on demand. That is simply to say that they can watch it when they want it, no sooner, and no later. Some of the same programs can also be watched on devices other than televisions, such as cell phones, tablets and laptop computers. The common denominator of all of these things is the idea...

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