Pride

[183 words] Most of us know about a man named Haman. He was the villain of the book of Esther. Haman was a man of pride and his life shows us the truthfulness of God’s word. Proverbs 13:10 says, “By pride comes nothing but strife.” When Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman his pride was hurt and so he determined to kill all Jews (Esther 2:5-6). Pride produces strife. But there is another problem with pride: “when pride comes then comes shame…” (Proverbs 11:2). Haman was greatly shamed when the king told him to honor Mordecai (Esther 6: 1-12)....

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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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How Small is a Small Sin?

[176 words] How small is a small sin? Before you answer we need to ask another question: Who holds the measuring stick ? We tend to think my sin is small and God will take no notice, but your sin is another matter. According to an old story the devil one day gave a man the choice of three sins: murder, adultery, or drunkenness. Thinking that drunkenness was the lesser sin and would effect no one but himself, he chose to drink. However, while he was drunk he committed adultery and murder. Sin, you see, is deceptive. It looks so...

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Then

[228 words] Reading God ‘s word is exciting. It seems that every time I read it I notice something I had missed in earlier readings. In the past I had noticed the oft repeated phrase (about 56 times), “Then they shall know that I am the Lord (Jehovah) God.” This time I noticed the tragedy of these words. This phrase is used in relationship to Israel, Egypt, Tyre, Amon, and other ancient nations. One would think that when a nation comes to know the God of the Bible, that is a good thing. But the key word in this phrase...

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My People

[243 words] Joshua, the great leader of Israel, said, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). It has always been up to man to choose his own path. Truth and error is ever present. The sad part is that men often choose to follow the wrong way. The tendency is to choose error. Adam and Eve made that choice. Nadab and Abihu made that choice. And the whole nation of Israel made that choice. God, speaking through Jeremiah, said, “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the...

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Destructive Weapons

[150 words] Bombs are destructive weapons of warfare. A hand grenade will not kill as many people as an atomic bomb but it is still deadly. Land mines are destructive even though they are hidden from view. Peter uses the word “destructive” when he describes false teachers (2 Peter 2:1). Peter is writing this to Christians, members of the church who have “obtained the like precious faith” (1:1). False teachers are deadly because the way of truth is blasphemed among them (2:2). In other words false teachers destroy the souls of their victims by teaching their error. The tragedy is...

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Psychics

[195 words] The March 2014 issue of Reader s Digest had an article by Robert Powell titled, “The Psychic, the Novelist, and the $17 Million Scam.” It is the true story of a writer who went to a psychic “on a whim” and would end up losing $17 million. The novelist was bored, had been depressed and was facing a divorce. She had a few minutes to waste and turned to the psychic for advice. The psychic was a third generation charlatan who knew how to take advantage of people with problems and how to fleece victims out of their...

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Good Days

[224 words] Would you rather have good days or bad days? I know the answer to that question, but here is another question for you: do you know how to have good days? Many people pursue good days and never find them because they run in the wrong direction. God’s Word holds the secret to good days. Peter tells us in first Peter 3:10-12, “He who would love the life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit…” good days begin with our speech and how we talk to those around...

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Partiality

[267 words] “To show partiality is not good” (Proverbs 28:21), but men do! God on the other hand does not and never has shown partiality the way men do. A good example of God’s impartiality is seen in comparing Ephesians 6:9 with Colossians 4:25. In Ephesians Paul tells the “masters” how they should treat their slaves and the reason is God shows no partiality. In the Colossians passage Paul tells the slaves how they should work for their masters (verses 22-25) and the reason is God shows no partiality. God has one standard for both the slave and the slave...

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The Truth

  [281 words] When I was a young boy in school the teachers often gave us a “True/False” quiz. I loved that kind of test. I could rip right through them marking “T” or “F” with abandon and very little thought. I was usually disappointed in my grade because a good teacher knows how to word the questions to tell them how much I really know about the subject. And if any part of the question was false the whole thing was false. I would read the first part of the question and answer it true; but the last part...

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National Pride

  [258 words] Have you ever wondered why strong nations fall? Think about it: strong nations always have the best armies, most up-to-date weapons, strongest economies, and the best citizens. So why do they fall? And we must admit that they do fall! The British Empire fell. Rome fell. Alexander’s Greek kingdom fell. Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, and countless other strong nations have fallen and lie in the dust. Why? The Bible suggests two reasons. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). We usually think of the individual when reading this verse, but it seems...

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Draw Near

  [210 words] “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). This verse from James is very closely related to what he said in 1:12, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation.” Temptations come against us fast and hard. And the devil has an army of assistants who pressure us to yield. We need help to resist. Where better to get help than from God himself? David expressed this better than I can: “Who will help me against evil doers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? Unless the Lord had...

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Your Speech

[204 words] It was said of Peter, “Your speech betrays you.” James said, “No one can tame the tongue.” And Jesus said, “Out of the heart the mouth speaks.” We talk about the things that are dearest to us. A UK fan will not keep quiet! His speech will surely tell whose side he is on and if told to be quiet he will have yet more to say! After the resurrection of Jesus, Peter was told to be quiet concerning Jesus, but he had much more to say. And so Jerusalem was filled with the apostles’ teaching. We live...

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Jesus’ Deity

[163 words] Many books have been written by men concerning the deity of Jesus but there is no need to read any of them. Just read the Bible and you will be convinced that Jesus is God. Here is a simple verse that sets forth the deity of Jesus: “‘Behold! The virgin will conceive in her womb and will bear a son, and they will call His name Emmanuel’ (which translated is, God with us)” (Matt. 1:23). When we were in Sierra Leone an elderly preacher, brother Gibbs, came for a visit. Our landlord, a Muslim, invited us to dinner...

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Mind Your Own

A few weeks ago Neil Wheeler gave me a note he had written as the result of our discussion in a Bible class. The note said, we should “Be careful of the dirt you rake up, you never know what nasty things might take root.” We both laughed because the lesson was about tale-bearing and gossip. And the truth is the things we dig up often take root. Often times, weeds grow in my garden because I till deep enough to bring the seeds to the top and they take root. Sometimes life is like that, especially when we dig...

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Momentous Decisions

  [226 words] Not every decision you make will be a major one. It matters not which type of car you buy, as long as it is not a lemon! It does not matter whether you wear a suit and tie or some other modest outfit to worship. But some decisions are life changing. Some decisions either build your character and reputation or destroy you. These are momentous decisions: marriage partner, the career you pursue, whether or not to serve the God of the Bible, whether or not to worship God and how you do that worship. Moses saw a...

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‘In Him’

Ephesians is a book every Christian should lay up in his heart. It is about the tremendous privilege we have as Christians. It is about the great blessings we enjoy as a result of being Christians. It is about the huge challenges we face because we are Christians. And it is about the eager anticipation we enjoy because we are Christians. In Ephesians Paul uses the phrase “in Him” to describe what it means to be a Christian. And he will identify the “him” by speaking of being “in Christ” twelve times. In Him we have redemption through His blood...

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God’s Plan Revealed

God had a planned the church before the creation of the world (Ephesians 3:10-11). But it was not made known until “the dispensation of the fullness of times” (1:9). The “dispensation of the fullness of times” is a statement filled with meaning. Jesus was sent into the world by the Father “in the fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4). Jesus begins His ministry with this message: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). God’s plan had been kept secret until Jesus came and as such it was called...

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Unity

God’s word is truth (John 17:17) and when we are all grounded in the truth of God’s word unity will be the result (Ephesians 4:1-15). Truth does not cause division because truth is constant. Division comes when someone blows the winds of false doctrine and topples Christians who are not grounded in truth. They are “carried about by every wind of doctrine” because they have no roots. False teachers use trickery, cunning craftiness, and deceit to cause division in the church (read the passage above). There is much division in the religious world today. Why? There are two reasons: First,...

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Grounded in Truth

Truth is constant. Truth does not vary from one person to the next and it does not change with the circumstance. Truth is like a tree with deep roots. The winds of change may blow strong against it but that tree does not move an inch and when the storm passes by the tree is still there. The Lord’s great desire for the church is that we “no longer be children tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine;” but that we would be so grounded in the truth that we would remain steadfast when the...

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To Whom Does the Law Speak?

[233 words] Paul answers the above question in Romans 3:19. The law speaks to those who are under the law. It is obvious that the citizens of America are not subject to the laws of Russia. Paul had just quoted extensively from the Law of Moses (3:10-18) and the law said something to the Jews that they did not want to hear. The law in which the Jews boasted (2:17) said to the Jews, “There is none (of you) righteous, no not one” (3:10-18). The Jews were quick to point out the sins of the Gentiles. But they did not...

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Tear Jerkers

[231 words] If you are on the internet you have probably received some tear jerker stories that play on your emotions. I have one about a world-wide crisis with a terrible disease and only one little boy could provide a remedy…it would take all of his blood. The mom and dad were asked to sacrifice their son to save the world. This summary is not as emotional as the two and a half page detailed e-mail I received. The e-mail will make you cry. The summary just gives the bare facts of the story. The crucifixion accounts recorded in Matthew...

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A Loyal Heart

[240 words] One of the strangest verses in the Bible (my opinion) is found in 2 Chronicles 25:2. It is about king Amaziah. It says “he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a loyal heart” (NKJV). Normally I can’t see into your heart. But God can, and He gives us a peak into the heart of Amaziah. He “did what was right” on two occasions. First in keeping with the Law of Moses Amaziah did not kill the sons of the people who had murdered his father (verses 3, 4). Second, Amaziah listened...

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Hold to Good People

[172 words] All of us know that “evil companions corrupt good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33). But many of us seem to prefer the company of bad people rather than good people. Good people will be at worship on Sunday. They will sing praise to God, pray and study together; but many had rather sit beside those who drink beer at ball games and curse the referee when “our team” is penalized. Fellowship with the world is often chosen over fellowship with good people. It is much easier to yield to the lust of the flesh when in the presence of...

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Shall or May

Johnny Botts talks about his job as a police officer. In his line of duty “shall” and “may” are important words. Certain laws require an arrest or a ticket to be issued by the police. These laws use the word “shall” to indicate the requirement. Other laws use the word “may.” These laws allow discretion on the part of the officer. “Shall” tells Johnny he has no choice in the matter. “May” allows him to make a decision based on the circumstances in the case. For example if I am caught speeding l “may” be given a ticket; but if...

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By Nature Children of Wrath

[293 words] A few days ago some of us were discussing Paul’s statement in Ephesians 3:3 where he says “among whom also we all once conducted ourselves, in the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind and were by nature the children of wrath, just as the others.” What does “by nature children of wrath” mean? Look at the verse again and notice that Paul is talking about our “conduct” and “fulfilling the desires of the flesh and the mind.” What we do will make us children of wrath; that is children deserving...

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Doubting Thomas

[111 words] Doubting Thomas has received a bad reputation. You remember why. He was not present on that first day of the week when Jesus appeared to the rest of the apostles. As a result he expressed his doubt saying, “No, I have to see before I will believe” (John 20:19-25). Thomas’ absence resulted in his doubt. Are you a doubting Thomas? People who do not attend every worship service and Bible class often doubt. Their doubt comes because they do not have the advantage of those who attend on a regular basis. Information is shared at every service and...

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Remember

[254 words] A few days ago John Wills and I were visiting Glennis Parker and he told us about a visit to the doctor. “The doctor gave me some new pills,” he said, “and I asked him what they were for.“ The doctor replied, “They will help you remember.” Glennis told the doctor, “I don’t know whether I will take them or not, there are some things I don’t want to remember!“ Glennis and the doctor had a good laugh, and so did John and I. Are you like that? Are there things in your past you do not want...

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Incorruptible Seed

[249 words] First Peter was written to Christians scattered throughout Asia. He says that they had been “born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:23). Seeds are remarkable things in their ability to reproduce. Gardeners love them and farmers live by them. But sometimes seeds spoil: moister gets in, mildew occurs and the seed is ruined. That seed will not produce a crop. But there is a seed, Peter said, which is incorruptible. It is the word of God. Jesus often talked about seeds in His parables....

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Measuring Growth

We measure the growth of children with a yardstick. We measure the growth of knowledge by testing students in school. But how do you measure spiritual growth? Second Peter gives us the measuring stick. We must “add to our faith” (2 Pet. 1:5-8). Our children grow to be six feet tall, but they do it an inch at a time. Rocket scientists started out learning how to add and subtract. And mature Christians begin as “babes” who desired “the sincere milk of the word” and “grew” by it (1 Peter 2:2). Physical growth comes naturally. Mental growth requires teaching and...

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