Those Who Know Your Name

[320 words] Names have always been special to God. In Scripture we often find God using names to convey ideas. For example, the prophet Hosea assigned names to his children that stood as indictments of Israel’s sins (Hosea 1:3-9). The Almighty would even change a person’s name to teach a lesson. Abram became Abraham. Sarai…

The Last Best Hope of Earth

[389 words] One month before signing the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter to Congress in which he addressed freeing the country’s slaves. In it, Lincoln stressed the importance of doing the right thing to “save our country,” which he described as “the last best hope of earth.” I want to borrow and amend…

More, Please

[300 words] Ralph Kramden, the lovable oaf portrayed on television by Jackie Gleason in the 1950s, found it easy to put his foot in his mouth. When asked why he didn’t treat Alice, his wife, in the same romantic way he did before they were married, he replied, “Why keep running after you catch the bus?” His…

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)…

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…

Will a Man Rob God?

[373 words] I once heard a comedian confess that in his childhood, he and a friend would wrap double-stick tape around their fingers before the collection plate was passed on Sundays. They would make it look like they were placing something in the plate, when they were actually taking coins out. Any right-thinking person can…

The Mechanics of Daily Bible Reading

[496 words] We have been devoting time recently to the subject of daily Bible reading, considering both the benefits and the goals of spending time each day in the word of God. Let us consider the mechanics of daily Bible reading. What are some practical tips that can help us to read God’s word each…

God Isn’t Finished with You Yet

[423 words] For the conscientious Christian, weaknesses and failures can be particularly vexing. To put it bluntly and personally, I hate it when I fail to live up to God’s standard. It irritates me. I know that when it comes to sinners, the apostle Paul staked a claim to the moniker, “chief” (1 Tim. 1:15).…

Abraham’s Early Mornings

[363 words] I am not really a morning person. I loathe early alarms. Most days, it takes me a while to really get going. If, however, the day promises something out of the ordinary and pleasant, like the beginning of a vacation, I’ve been known to wake up before the alarm clock goes off. But…

Signs of Grace

[370 words] Paul began his second letter to the Thessalonian church with these encouraging words, “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; therefore, we ourselves speak proudly…

Lessons from a Messed Up Church

[591 words] Corinth was a busy metropolitan city in the days that Paul helped start the church there. But Corinth also had a much-deserved reputation for moral bankruptcy. Folks who were in the practice of using prostitutes were said to have “Corinthianized.” This term later came to be used to describe moral decay in general.…

Signs of Grace

[370 words] Paul began his second letter to the Thessalonian church with these encouraging words, “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; therefore, we ourselves speak proudly…

Making Marriage Great

[464 words] Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher hold the record for the longest marriage in American history: 86 years, 290 days. When asked to explain their secret, Zelmyra said, “There is no secret. It’s God who has kept us together.” She was not implying that marriage was always easy. It isn’t. Great marriages take hard work,…

Without Restraint

[90 words] Near the end of the book of Hosea, the prophet delivers a message from God that relates to the time of the Messiah’s kingdom. That means it is a message for members of the church of the Lord.  That’s you and me. Here’s the message: “I will heal their apostasy. I will love…

Jesus Went About Doing Good

[416 words] Peter made one of the simplest statements about Jesus that you’ll find in Scripture. But it is also packed with meaning and application. He said that Jesus “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). This understated affirmation deserves our deeper exploration. What were some of these good things that our Lord went about doing?…

God Isn’t Finished With You Yet

[418 words] For the conscientious Christian, weaknesses and failures can be particularly vexing. To put it bluntly and personally, I hate it when I fail to live up to God’s standard. It irritates me. I know that when it comes to sinners, the apostle Paul staked a claim to the moniker, “chief” (1 Tim. 1:15).…

Forgiveness

[428 words] “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32). The character of the Christian includes “bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you” (Col. 3:13). What…

Are You a Watchman?

[126 words] Without satellite imagery or drone aircraft, ancient cities were guarded by “watchmen.” These brave men would stand guard in towers and constantly scan the horizon for potential danger. In addition, because they had no spotlights or night-vision goggles, watchmen dreaded the dark. It was their most vulnerable time. So they longed for morning’s…

Another Reason for Joy

[104 words] “Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me” (Philippians 2:17-18). Today if you are called upon to sacrifice something of yourself – perhaps time,…

The Christian and Sacrifice

  [311 words] The religion of Jesus Christ is rooted in sacrifice. Recall the words of John 3:16 and take note of the sacrifice that God made for us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” In…

Take Charge

  [249 words] When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem to commemorate the great exodus by observing the Passover, He found that the temple complex more resembled a marketplace and banking center than it did a place to offer worship to His Father (John 2:13-22). The place was filled with corrals full of livestock and kiosks for…

Psalm 119:97

  [83 words] There’s an old adage that says, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” That may hold true in some situations, but not when you’re discussing the law of God. Familiarity breeds love. It was because of the psalmist’s daily and day-long contemplation of God’s word that he could exclaim, “O how I love Your law!” And,…

Psalm 119:97-99

  [141 words] “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation.” When the law of God is loved, it will…

Psalm 119:1

  [142 words] “How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD.” Some folks have been known to lament that there is little enjoyment in a life lived under the restrictions of biblical morality and teaching. The most enjoyable life, we’re told, is in a life without moral…

Psalm 119:18

  [74 words] Psalm 119:18 contains this petition: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law.” For some of us, reading the Bible has become dull, and consequently, unproductive. There may be any number of reasons why that tragedy has occurred. One may be that we have not saturated our Bible…

Psalm 119:23

  [83 words] Sometimes I allow the most insignificant things to get in the way of my study of God’s word. Perhaps you do, too. We play right into one of Satan’s traps when we do. Let us keep in mind daily the words expressed by the psalmist in 119:23, “Even though princes sit and…

Psalm 119:30

  [79 words] “I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me.” Life is a series of choices. One will not be faithful to God simply because his parents were, or because he wishes to be, or because he sits in a church building a few times a week. One can…

Psalm 119:37

  [110 words] “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in your ways.” So much of what we choose to look at day after day is worthless when viewed from eternity’s perspective. When all has been said and done and we stand before the judgment bar of Christ, how much…

How Much Are You Eating?

  [268 words] The Lord’s disciples had walked into the city of Samaria to find something to eat while Jesus conversed with a woman about eternal things (John 4:7-10). When they returned with lunch and encouraged Jesus to eat, he replied, “I have food to eat that you do not know about…My food is to…

How to Make 2018 Better Than 2017

[455 words] The time for resolutions is here. If you are among those who like to refocus with the dawning of a new year, here are some ideas. Assess the Past Year. Self-examination is important and helpful. “Examine yourselves” is the admonition of 2 Corinthians 13:5. In the spirit of that passage, set aside some…

Jesus Solves Problems

[376 words] As I watched my television recently and saw people making accusations of racism and injustice, setting fire to police cars, breaking windows, and stealing from unprotected stores, one thought kept coming to mind: this country needs Jesus. If you have followed the Ferguson case at all, you probably have an opinion about it.…

When Slavery is a Good Thing

[296 words] Slavery. The mere mention of the word evokes emotions of the deepest sort, none of them positive. The thought of one group forcibly taking the innocent from their homes and families, chaining them up like dogs, and subjecting them to merciless physical and mental abuse is repugnant to sensible people, and rightly so.…

Does God Hear Your Voice?

[168 words] What better way to begin one’s day than in communion with God? I know that mornings can be among the busiest parts of the day, especially if you do what I do too often – keep hitting the snooze button until I end up in a mad scramble to get out of the…

The Blessing of Christian Friends

[331 words] One of the great blessings of being a Christian is that you are not the only one. Though at times you may, like Elijah (1 Kings 19:10), feel like you are alone in the fight, the reality is that there are many other kindred spirits fighting the same battles and bolstered by the…

A Few Lessons I Learned in Africa

[364 words] Christians share a common bond in Jesus that transcends locations and cultures. Although I was on the other side of the world, there was instant friendship and fellowship each time I met another member of the body of Christ. Though we spoke different languages, we could still communicate Christian love very easily. It’s…

Sentence Sermons from Acts (Part 3)

[266 words] The book of Acts vividly records the first thirty years of the history of the church of Christ. As Wayne Jackson noted, “Christianity burst into existence with a debut more dramatic than anything history had ever known” (The Acts of the Apostles: From Jerusalem to Rome, p. 1). Embedded within this thrilling description…

Sentence Sermons from Acts (Part 2)

[281 words] The book of Acts vividly records the first thirty years of the history of the church of Christ. As Wayne Jackson noted, “Christianity burst into existence with a debut more dramatic than anything history had ever known” (The Acts of the Apostles: From Jerusalem to Rome, p. 1). Embedded within this thrilling description…

Sentence Sermons from Acts (Part 1)

[284 words] The book of Acts vividly records the first thirty years of the history of the church of Christ. As Wayne Jackson noted, “Christianity burst into existence with a debut more dramatic than anything history had ever known” (The Acts of the Apostles: From Jerusalem to Rome, p. 1). Embedded within this thrilling description…