Some See Less as Better

[293 words] There are some times when less is better. Sometime the less words we speak the better. The less fat intake, the better. The less sin, the better. Sadly, some see less as better in their Christian lives: Less time for worship Less time for Bible study Less time for gospel meetings Fewer verses sung in worship Shorter sermons Fewer fellowship meals Less Bible knowledge Less visiting of the sick and shut-ins Less evangelism Fewer days for VBS Shorter prayers Fewer works of the church that require our time When a church makes a decision to do less, many...

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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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Take Hold

[196 words] When Jesus answered a trick question regarding the Sabbath, He answered, “What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out?” (Matt 12:11) The word “hold” here comes from “krateo”—to be strong; to keep or retain; also metaphorically of holding a tradition and even of apprehending Christ as the head of the church (Col 2:19). We can see how you might have to take a strong hold of an animal in a pit in order to save...

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Whatever It Takes

[232 words] Someone once noted that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who say “whatever” and those who say, “whatever it takes.” “Whatever” is the response of the shrug. It is a “who cares?” attitude, one of indifference and apathy. “Whatever it takes” is the response of the committed. It is a “can do” attitude, one that is optimistic and refuses to give up or give in. Think about those two responses when it comes to some of the commands Christians are given in the Scriptures. We are admonished to avoid sin and pursue holiness (2...

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Two Mules’ Burdens of Earth

[324 words] The story of Naaman receiving a cure for leprosy has been well known in the brotherhood, having been taught by just about every preacher. Most of the time, however, one only hears part of the story and that is the command for Naaman to plunge seven times in the Jordan River. There’s more. Naaman made another request after receiving his cure. He sought Elisha’s permission to take some earth back to Syria (2 Kings 5:17). Naaman wanted to worship the God who cured him when he returned to Syria. Because Naaman was steeped in idolatry, he didn’t believe...

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Looking Good and Being Good

[609 words] I have owned 12 vehicles before my current car, which is a Scion xB. Included in that list are a number of”luxury” brands, including Audi, BMW, Infiniti, and Mercedes Benz. One would assume that when I identify the best vehicle I have ever owned (with my current Scion xB not being eligible, since I do not know how well it will fare in the long run), I would definitely name one of those luxury brands, as opposed to a Ford, Mercury, or Volkswagen. Ironically, however, the best car I have ever owned (based on my standard of dependability...

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A Half-Baked Pancake

[168 words] If you went out to eat and ordered pancakes, how would you react if they were done on one side, but were uncooked on the other side? Doesn’t sound too tasty, does it? This is how God described Israel in the days of Hosea the prophet. In Hosea 7:8, the prophet said, “Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake unturned.” The nation of Israel thought it could give lip serve to God, while participating in all the things of the world. The Israelites offered sacrifice, but their hearts were not in it. Jesus told...

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Jesus Did Not Commit Himself to Them

  [222 words] “…many believed in His name, when they saw the miracles which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men” (John 2:23-24).  This passage has been highlighted in my Bible for a while. Early on, it seemed odd to my frail ear that Jesus would not “commit Himself” unto people who “believed in His name.” Logically, there had to be a reason for Jesus’ reaction to the faith of these folks, right?  It is interesting that the word “believed” in 2:23, and the word “commit” in 2:24, come from the same...

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He Emptied Himself Completely

  [448 words] Pride. There is a necessity in our culture today for pride in our country, pride in a job well done, and pride in the accomplishments of our children. But along with the recognition for such pride, there should also be a label warning of the dangers which accompany pride. Solomon, in his many proverbs, warns of the dangers of pride and how it leads to destruction and into the ways of evil (Pr. 8:23; 16:18; 29:23). Pride is first on a list of things the Lord hates (Pr. 6:16-17). Jesus lists pride as an evil thing that...

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Who’s in Charge?

  [217 words] A certain sea captain and his chief engineer argued as to which of them was more important to the ship. Failing to agree, they resorted to a unique plan of swapping places. The chief engineer ascended to the bridge and the captain went to the engine room. After a couple of hours the captain suddenly appeared on the deck covered with oil and soot. “Chief!” he yelled, wildly waving aloft a monkey wrench. “You’ll have to come down here; I can’t make her go!” “Of course you can’t,” replied the chief. “We’re aground!” That argument between the...

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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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God and You

“On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land” (Acts 27.27). Your attitude and behavior in any and all circumstances ought to be governed by your relationship to God. Paul had been in a ferocious storm on the sea for nearly two weeks (Acts 27:27). His relationship to God, however, enabled him not only to endure the stress, but to comfort and encourage the others on board: “And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but...

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Perfection

Christians struggle with the concept of perfection. We associate perfection with sinlessness. However, the New Testament word has reference to completeness. The word “teleios” is found 19 times in the New Testament and is translated “perfect” every time in the King James Version. While rendered “perfect” on several occasions in the New King James Version, it is also rendered “mature” (1 Corinthians 2:6; Philippians 3:15). Thayer says that the original word means, “wanting nothing necessary to completeness” (#5046). The word “katartizo” is found 13 times in the New Testament and is translated “perfect” or “perfected” several times in the King...

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Commitment

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 the gear...

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