One Thing

[219 words] There are many voices competing for our attention. There are many destinations pleading for our arrival. There are many products and companies begging for our money. Yet only one voice matters. Only one destination is of any consequence. Only one being can inform us as what to do with / how to look at our money. Our lives hinge on one thing: our relationship with God.  Do we humbly stand in His presence? Are we hanging on His every word, awaiting His guidance and direction? (1 John 1:7) “One thing have I asked of the LORD, that I...

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The Destructive Nature of Selfishness

[428 words] “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4). Two locations are widely recognized as the most likely spots for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. One, the most likely to be historically accurate, is overrun with people and trinkets and decorations. The other, the one scholars deem less likely to be the actual place, is much less adorned and is painstakingly preserved to look much like it may have looked centuries ago....

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Shelter in Place

[398 words] “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). Due to the COVID-19 crisis, many Americans have been told to stay home.  That means do not go to work, do not go to school, do not leave the house at all unless you have to. The number is only expected to increase. This is commonly referred to as the “Shelter in Place” directive. In our home state of Kentucky, our government officials are calling the plan “Healthy at Home.” A few random thoughts on the spiritual nature...

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The Blessings of Friends and Family

[194 words] It is truly a blessing to be part of a loving family. In like fashion, it is a great blessing to have dear friends. Sadly, not everyone knows what it feels like to be part of such things. All too often we take our family and friends for granted.  If you are so blessed as to have good friends, thank your heavenly Father.  If you are so blessed to have a loving earthly family, thank your heavenly Father.  If you are so blessed as to have a loving spiritual family (meaning you are a member of the body...

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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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How Bad Can I Be?

[445 words] With the winter holidays just around the corner, we will all be seeing items and hearing stories related to the season. As such, I just read about the fact that there is a website known as emailsanta.com where young ones may write an electronic letter to the North Pole. Several letters from these innocent children were funny, but one stood out to me. Christian, age seven, wrote: “Mommy and Daddy say I have not been very good these past few days. How bad can I be before I lose my presents?” This letter reflects an attitude often displayed...

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What Does Humility Look Like?

[220 words] If you were to encounter a truly humble person (at work, school, on the street, etc.), what would they look like?  C.S. Le wis wrote, “Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him” (Mere Christianity, p.128). So, according to Lewis, the humble person is identified most of all by (1) being happy and (2) being interested in other people. Saying the same thing in different words: “If you met a truly humble person, you wouldn’t think him/her humble, but happy...

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Appropriate Responses to Jesus

[156 words] In Luke 4 there is a major focus on who Jesus is and the way people respond to Him. Obviously, there are both appropriate as well as inappropriate ways to respond to His presence and call. Some appropriate responses to Jesus would be: Praise Him for His powerful message (Luke 4:15). Jesus reveals insight into ancient prophecies, the keys to heaven and salvation, how to live well, how to properly view life, how to deal with pain, suffering and anxiety, etc. This is a message worthy of praise! Become a servant with a grateful heart (Luke 4:39). The...

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Finishing Well

[227 words] Wouldn’t you love to face eternity with confidence? You can! “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:6-8). Paul knew a glorious welcome awaited him!  He knew he would hear,...

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The Irrational Nature of Sin

[192 words] Willing participation in sin just does not make any sense. To defy the will of God is not only wicked and damning, it is irrational. Knowing that sin separates one from God (Isa. 59:2), who would venture down such a path? The answer is disturbing: all of us (Rom. 3:23). But such does not have to remain the case! We can lovingly and humbly submit to the Creator of all (1 Thess. 5:21; John 14:15)!  To highlight the irrational nature of sin, consider just two examples from the book of Acts: First, the high priest put Peter and...

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What Do You See?

[236 words] “For whoever lacks these qualities (faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love) is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins” (2 Peter 1:9). Too many of us do not see what we need to see (cf. Jer. 5:21). While we might be able to see today, we do not see tomorrow. We do not see what is coming in judgment and eternity. Because of this we do not plan. We do not try to change. We do not seek to get stronger, etc. While we might...

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Proper Fear

[329 words] It seems as though the world is talking about the Ebola virus right now. Many are in a panic. Many are terrified. Proper fear can be a good thing. Recognizing something to be a threat is good. Formulating a plan to stay safe is good. Putting the safety plan into action is good. However, we tend to focus on the latest thing (Acts 17:21) to the detriment of other things that are worthy of our “fear.” For example, while it is true that more than 4,000 people have died since the Ebola outbreak, there are other things to...

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Godliness is Greater

[348 words] Devotion in action. Seeking to be like God for God’s sake. With phrases such as this we attempt to convey what we mean when we speak of living a godly life. In a world that is searching for the right way to live and the best way to experience fulfillment, it is godliness that is greater than any alternative. Jesus Christ (in word and deed, message and example) trains us to renounce ungodliness and to live godly lives in the present evil age (cf. Titus 2:12). He demonstrated that godliness is greater than any material or worldly comfort....

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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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Christ Stands Alone

[286 words] There had been other great teachers before Jesus. There had even been miracle workers before Jesus. However, even with all the powerful prophets who had come before Him, none of the other’s teachings were understood as inaugurating God’s long-awaited and promised kingdom. A new age dawned with the coming and teaching ofJesus. The world would never be the same. Historian Philip Schaff (in his book, The Person of Christ) said this about the power of His teaching: “Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Mohammed, and Napoleon; without science and learning, He...

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Not One More

[251 words] June 28, 2014 marked the 100-year anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Their deaths led directly to World War I, which would begin exactly one month later on July 28. The Archduke and his wife were shot as they rode in an open-air motorcade through the streets of Sarajevo, Bosnia. Of historical interest is the fact that an attempt on their lives had already been made earlier in the day. A man had thrown a bomb at their car, but missed! The Chicago Tribune reported that following the...

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What Are We Leaving Behind?

[303 words] We are all familiar with news stories that highlight the “less than genius” decisions made by certain law breakers. Sometimes there are valuable lessons to be learned from these blunders. One particular criminal had been in jail for a short period of time when he was released. However, only a couple of hours after he had posted bail, he was arrested again. This time he was charged with two counts of burglary. What happened? Why was he arrested again so quickly after being set free? It was all about what he left behind. At the first home he...

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How Are You?

[284 words] The Barna Group (a research firm specializing in religious issues) recently released a major study of how our culture has changed in just the last 10 years. Part of the report focused on technology. Among the many goals of technology, it is undeniable that at least in part, the idea is for our technological advances to make life easier and to connect us to each other. There should be less stress and stronger relationships. Ten years ago there were no “smart phones” to speak of, no Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, not even Wikipedia. However, today we are, generally...

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A Sense of Wonder

[418 words] One of the many joys of watching children grow is seeing the way that they approach life with a sense of wonder. They are inquisitive and want to know why things look the way they do and why they work the way they do. Then, and this is even better, they have the ability to be truly impressed by what they have seen and what they have learned. Their eyes get really wide. Their mouths often drop open. They may even say something like, “Wow… “ It can be a little bit sad to consider them growing out...

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You Gotta Be Dead!

[342 words] Overheard in Sunday school: Teacher: “If I sell my house and my car, have a big garage sale, and give all my money to the church, will that get me into heaven?” Children: “No!” Teacher: “If I clean the church building every day, mow the yard, and keep everything neat and tidy, will that get me into heaven?” Children: “No!” Teacher: “Well, then, if I treat animals kindly, give treats to all the children, and love my wife, will that get me into heaven?” Children: “No!” Teacher: “Well, then how can I get into heaven?” One brave five-year-old...

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Good News!

[217 words] The word gospel means “news that brings joy.” We often refer to it as “good news.” Writing about how gospel was used in the first century, Tim Keller provides this insight: A gospel was news of some event that changed things in a meaningful way. It could be an ascension to the throne, or it could be a victory. When Greece was invaded by Persia and the Greeks won the great battles of Marathon and Solnus, they sent heralds (or evangelists) who proclaimed the good news to the cities: “We have fought.for you, we have won, and now...

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A Fool (According to Proverbs)

[307 words] No one wants to be known as a fool. No one relishes the idea of being seen as someone who lacks judgment or prudence and is easily duped or swindled. Mankind has a strong desire to be seen as capable, intelligent and strong in the eyes of their peers. However, what should be of greatest importance to us is being commended by God (2 Cor. 10:18). What a life we would live if we sought to be seen as “wise” by God! The book of Proverbs was written in part to reveal to us what wisdom looks like....

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Standing With Jesus 

  [340 words] Certainly you have heard about the shooting that took place this past week at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Nine people were killed. Several more were injured.  There are conflicting reports about this, but some outlets are reporting that the shooter asked his victims if they were religious or not (if they were Christians) before he shot them.  Regardless of what he really asked the innocent people he shot (and what his motivation might have been), such causes us to pause and think.  Let us first pray for these families. Let us pray for the devastated...

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The Irony of Sin

  [202 words] King Ahab called Elijah the prophet the “troubler of Israel” (1 Kings 18:17). Of course, the prophet wasted no time in pointing out that it was Ahab, not Elijah, who was the real trouble in Israel because he had abandoned the commandments of the LORD (1 Kings 18:18). A few years later, Ahab’s daughter will do virtually the same thing. When the people were in the process of crowning Joash as the new king of Judah, Athaliah tore her clothes and cried out, “Treason! Treason!” (2 Chron. 23:13). The fact of the matter was that she was...

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Earth’s Cousin?

[238 words] Have you heard about Kepler-452b? Maybe you’ve seen the headlines recently that read something like this: NASA discovers Earth-like planet orbiting “cousin” of Sun. The idea is to emphasize just how un-special we really are. If we exist by complete accident…if we Owe our existence to time and chance…it would not be outside the realm of possibility that other planets and life evolved also. We are not unique or special. However, I would caution you to read such headlines with a critical and discerning mind that has been informed by Scripture as well as science. Currently, there is...

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One Thing

  [208 words] There are many voices competing for our attention. There are many destinations pleading for our arrival. There are many products and companies begging for our money. Yet only one voice matters. Only one destination is of any consequence. Only one being can inform us as to what to do with and how to look at our money. Our lives hinge on one thing: our relationship to God. Do we humbly stand in His presence? Are we hanging on His every word, awaiting His guidance and direction? (1 John 1:7) “One thing have I asked of the LORD,...

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The Power of God’s Word

  [449 words] “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). Passages of Scripture like these are good reminders of just how powerful the word of God really is. As a new year begins, this is a great time to renew our commitment to knowing...

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Fooling Ourselves

  [285 words] Three times in the first chapter of James we are warned about being deceived. Specifically we are cautioned against deceiving ourselves. While the Lord does not desire for us to live in fear (cf. 1 John 5:13; 2 Cor. 5:1; Heb. 10:22-23; et. al.), it is dangerous and foolish to act as if we have no sin (1 John 1:8). We deceive ourselves when we blame God for our sin and the consequences thereof (James 1:16). In the context of James 1:13-18, we learn that we are never to blame God when we are dealing with the...

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The Christian (As Seen in Philemon)

  [277 words] The letter to Philemon is much more than a personal letter from Paul to his friend about the runaway named Onesimus. It is a message from God to each one of us. It is a message about what God expects to see in the lives of those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. The Lord expects to see His children: Refreshing Others (v.7, 20). We can be a refreshing joy or an exhausting drain on others. Being helpful and considerate of the needs and feelings of others will go a long way. Embracing Divine Commands...

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Who is to Judge?

  [245 words] Who gets to decide what is right and what is wrong? Why are some actions considered right while other actions are considered wrong? Who or what is the standard of judgment? I am not the standard of judgment. My clear conscience does not mean that I am innocent. Paul said, “I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted” (1 Cor. 4:4). Many are those who had a clear conscience yet were living in rebellion against God (cf. 1 Kings 13:20; 2 Sam. 12:5-6; Acts 23:1). My peers are not the standard...

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Joy in Salvation

  [204 words] Christians should be known as people of joy—filled with the type of joy that is derived from a certain eternal destiny, not from temporary circumstances (Phil. 4:4). The Ethiopian eunuch helps us to understand how and why this can be the case (Acts 8:39).  As a eunuch, he knew what it was to be different and to be an outcast. He know had a Savior who identified with what it was to be mistreated and harmed (Isa. 53:3-4). So do we (Heb. 4:15). He had determined that the idea of a family was not possible for him....

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Anger and Grief

  [176 words] The Bible has much to say in regard to anger and the life of the disciple of Jesus Christ (cf. Eph. 4:26, 31; Prov. 14:17; 15:18; James 1:19-20; Gal. 5:20; Titus 1:7; 1 Tim. 3:2-3; et. al.). And yet, with all of the Biblical evidence and information, most of us seem to be pretty good at justifying our continued (and prolonged) fits of anger. Let us consider the example of Jesus. When the Pharisees were looking for an opportunity to accuse Him (Mark 3:2), the Bible tells us that Jesus “looked around at them with anger, grieved...

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Peace of Mind

  [205 words] “How much are you willing to pay for peace of mind?” This is the question posed by a company that makes what they are calling a “Smart Water Bottle.” It will test and then purify your water if such is deemed necessary. Sounds amazing, right? They are charging more then $200 for each bottle. The company knows that is expensive. But they also know that we must have water to live. It is absolutely necessary. We often take it for granted until we are without it. Some businesses in Texas and Florida were recently ridiculed because they...

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Growing in Prayer

  [325 words] Most of us would like to be “better” at prayer. We’d like to do it more often and with more power. Just like the disciples of Jesus who came to Him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1), we long for divine guidance in this area. One of the great pertinent passages to consult is Colossians 4:2-4: “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of...

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Regret

  [329 words] Since it opened in 1937, more than 2,000 people have jumped off of the Golden Gate Bridge in an attempt to commit suicide. The jumps have become so commonplace that authorities have placed signs on the bridge that read: “THE CONSEQUENCES OF JUMPING FROM THIS BRIDGE ARE FATAL AND TRAGIC.” They have even included a phone number that one could call for immediate counseling. They are desperate to get people to reconsider their decision to jump! Of all the people who have jumped from the bridge over the years, less than 1% have survived. Additionally, we are...

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Our Need of Encouragement

  [422 words] We are at a time in world history where we are more “connected” than ever before (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.). Due to the advances of technology, we are able to do things that previous generations could not even imagine. Ironically, our ability to connect digitally has not solved our pressing problems such as isolation and loneliness. Sadly, such seems to have actually exacerbated the problem. The world seems more lonely than ever. Two examples of how desperate our world is for encouragement, fellowship, and belonging: First, in the United Kingdom, they recently created a new governmental position....

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Have a Plan

[419 words] Sometimes it is fun to just “pick up and go.” It can be exciting to “play things by ear” and to “fly by the seat of our pants” when it comes to things like down- time and recreation. But overall you and I recognize the value and necessity of having a plan when it comes to the most important things in life. Good students are not made by accident. Great jobs are not found and kept by accident. Powerful and lasting companies are not built by accident. Successful athletes are not made and discovered by accident. Things like...

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Do You Believe?

[478 words] A brand new calendar year is upon us! As such it is a great time to evaluate where we stand in a number of different areas. Experts tell us that nine out of every ten “New Year’s Resolutions” will fail…and most of these failures occur by February. This means that for the average person, year after year, they abandon their plans of self improvement after a few short weeks. So, instead of creating some resolutions we will not likely keep, why don’t we take a different approach? Why not ask ourselves some important questions that, if acted upon,...

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Make Today Great!

[337 words] The second stanza of Charles Kingsley’s poem, “The Noble Life,” goes like this: “Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever; Do noble things, not dream them all day long; As so make life, and death, and that For Ever One grand sweet song.” Such is a good reminder that today is the day to do something noble. Today is the day to do something that will have an impact on eternity. Today is the day to do something for God. Today may be the day that you finally put your fears aside and put your...

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Commitment

[301 words] In the book, Driven from Within, Michael Jordan (Hall-of-Fame basketball player) recounts an event from his life that exemplifies just how committed he was to the things that were important to him. Jordan asked to borrow a jacket from a friend before they went out to have dinner together. He was told where he could locate a closet and thus find a jacket. Jordan disappeared. When he returned, he was carrying an armful of jackets, shirts, shoes, etc. Jordan dumped the pile on the floor and disappeared again. He returned with a butcher knife and proceeded to cut...

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