‘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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Honest Heart, Open Bible

[161 words] It takes two things to go to heaven. Those two things are an honest heart, and an open Bible. The fog of religious confusion and division makes finding true Christianity difficult in our day. We did not want nor cause the denominational division of our day; we were just born into a world of religious confusion. In less than a ten-minute walk from where I preach at the Walnut Street Church of Christ in Greenville, Alabama, you can physically touch at least six or seven church buildings. At each place, different things are believed, taught and practiced. The…
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We Have the Manual

[232 words] “Then Manoah prayed to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born’” (Judges 13:8). I still remember the feeling when the hospital let us leave to take care of our first child. Talking about it later, my wife and I both thought we should have been sent with an instruction manual to know how to provide for and protect this new life. The angel of the Lord appeared to Samson’s parents and…
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Emptying the Ocean

[361 words] When I was a young preacher student at International Bible College, now known as Heritage Christian University, I had the great privilege of sitting at the feet of a man by the name of Basil Overton. Brother Overton was in his mid-sixties and had been preaching since he was 14. He had a particular interest in stories about mules, but he was full of tales and illustrations of all kinds. One day when he was sharing some of his anecdotes of collected wisdom, he said something like this to a classroom full of first semester preacher boys, “Young…
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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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Context Can Keep You From Drowning

[487 words] It is possible to twist the scriptures, particularly those portions which are harder to understand, to one’s own destruction (2 Peter 3:16). Satan misuses scripture to cloud the thinking of those he wishes to lead astray (Matthew 4:6), and he certainly has not gone out of business in the information age. We have so much information available to us nowadays, but much of it is bad information. When we fail to study for ourselves, but, instead, swallow whole what purported experts have to say, we make ourselves more susceptible to false teachers. False teachers sometimes attempt to drag…
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Do We Have A Direct Line To The Divine?

[191 words] Hillary Clinton, in a recent interview about the evolution of her view on homosexual marriage with Terry Gross, host of NPR’s “Fresh Air,” said, “One of my big problems right now is that too many people believe they have a direct line to the divine and they never want to change their mind about anything.” Well one of my big problems with that is when it comes to homosexual marriage and its morality we do have a direct line to the divine. It’s called the word of God (a.k.a. the Bible). As surely as the word of God…
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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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The World’s Most Important Book

[188 words] What was billed as the world’s most expensive new book went on display in 2008 at the New York Public Library. There are more expensive old books, but this is a new book produced by the Italian publisher Marilena Ferrari. Its cost: over $100,000! The book depicts the life and work of Michelangelo, including photographs of his drawings and sculptures, creations from the Sistine Chapel, and his personal poetry. It weighs sixty-two pounds, has a front cover of white marble, and is covered with red silk velvet. Its paper is from one of Italy’s oldest paper mills—the mill…
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Find True Power

[364 words] People often look in the wrong place to find real power. Sometimes, folks look for power in the teachings of human beings. We humans are sometimes amazing. But, when it comes to true power we suddenly find ourselves unable to do very much. The teachings of Confucius are great, but are not divinely inspired and cannot provide salvation. The writings of John Locke influenced the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the creation of the new government of the United States, but Locke believed we can only know those things we experience through our senses. Soren Kierkegaard,…
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Read Kant

[310 words] My graduate philosophy instructor was a newly minted PhD, and he was an expert in Immanuel Kant. A well-informed, thoroughly devoted expert. His seminar on the German philosopher was, of course, excellent. His cardinal rule for our class was simple: Read Kant. Too many instructors present philosophy and philosophers through the writings of other interpreters. They rely on broad historical overviews and topical anthologies — academic texts that cover hundreds of philosophical concepts — to expose students to a wide range of ideas. As valuable as such resources may be, nothing takes the place of reading what the…
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Hungry? Really?

[458 words] “The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet” (Prov. 27:7). When you are full you don’t want anything else to eat. Even a delicious dessert has no appeal. If you are really hungry, however, you will eat what you can even if it is something you normally dislike. The need for food is stronger than the desire to please the taste buds. There are people in other countries who would gladly feast on foods we think are beneath us. We are hard to please because we have so much. This…
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How Gullible Are We?

[254 words] A freshman at Eagle Rock Junior High won first prize at the Greater Idaho Falls Science Fair, April 26, 1997. In his project he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical “dihydrogen monoxide.” And for plenty of good reasons, since: 1. It can cause excessive sweating and vomiting. 2. It is a major component in acid rain. 3. It can cause severe burns in its gaseous state. 4. Accidental inhalation can kill you. 5. It contributes to erosion. 6. It decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes. 7. It has been found…
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More

[274 words] Solomon knew what he was talking about when he said, “Much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). One of the challenges of Bible study/reading is staying awake and alert while you read. Jesus gave some encouraging words that may help with that problem. At the conclusion of the parable of the sower, Mark records these words from our Lord: “Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he…
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God’s Desire to Bless All Men

[316 words] Psalm 67 is a beautiful passage that summarizes several powerful promises concerning God’s relationship with man. The chapter reads as follows: “God be merciful to us and bless us. And cause His face to shine upon us. That Your way may be known on earth. Your salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; Let all the peoples praise you. Oh. let the nations be glad and sing, be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge that people righteously. and govern the nations on earth. Let the people praise You, 0 God; Let…
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Why Do You Love the Bible?

[129 words] I was asked this question at one time. How would you answer it? Of course there are a variety of reasons to love the Word of God, but what would be on your list? Here are a few reasons that I love the Bible: 1. It teaches me how to be saved. 2. I am not smart enough to get through this life without it. 3. It reveals many faith-strengthening scriptures that give me hope in something better than this world. 4. It removes opinions from the equation. Disagreements are not settled by who has the loudest opinion,…
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Book of God 

  [214 words] The Bible is referred to in many different ways. We speak of it as God’s Word, the Good Book, the Holy Scriptures, and the Sword of the Spirit. It is also known as the Book of books and the Living Word. Some call it simply THE Book, for nothing else seems necessary. It stands alone, towering above all other writings.  Of the many titles given to the Bible, however, the one that is the most appropriate is God’s Miracle Book. This is true for a number of reasons:  • It is miraculous in its origin — coming…

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By the Root 

  [313 words] Growing season for most things in gardens and flower beds is winding down. That means less weed pulling! This preacher remembers a weed in Georgia that we nicknamed “Monster Weed” because it grew very quickly, developed thorns and had a root system that made it nearly impossible to pull up by the stalk. Of how much sorer back would one be who attempted to pull up a mature tree by its roots?  Luke records the following lesson on faith that Jesus taught his disciples: “And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard…

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The Indestructible Word

  [197 words] Many have tried to destroy the Bible. In a.d. 303, the Roman emperor Diocletian issued an edict to destroy Christians and their Bibles. Over a burned Bible, he built a monument on which he wrote the words, “Extincto momene Christianorum” (the name Christian is extinguished). Twenty years later, Diocletian was dead and the new Emperor Constantine commissioned fifty copies of the Bible to be prepared at government expense. In 1776 Voltaire, the French philosopher, announced, “One hundred years from my day, there will not be a Bible in the earth except one that is looked upon by…

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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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Potholes

  [192 words] Do you ever get upset with potholes? You know, life is often referred to as a journey with potholes. We begin our journey at birth. But much of our early life is dictated by someone else. Babies do not have to worry about potholes, a wrong turn, or any bumps in the road. However, as we grow and mature, we begin to make our own decisions. Unfortunately, some of us attempt to direct our way without any help. Jeremiah had something to say about this! “Nor is it in man who walks to direct his steps” (Jeremiah…

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Leaving Your Bible?

  [507 words] My father and mother used to carry a Bible to church with them every Sunday. My brothers and sisters and I, when we were old enough to read, were given a Bible so we could do the same. We didn’t leave the house without our Bible because my father would surely tell us to go back and get it. Many people, however, have stopped carrying their Bibles to worship and Bible study. This is a mistake because it is impossible to study the Bible without one! While it was a long, long time ago, I remember that…

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Power of the Scriptures

  [66 words] The story has been told of a South Sea islander who proudly displayed the Bible to a G.I. during World War II. “We’ve outgrown that sort of thing,” the soldier said. The native smiled back and said, “It’s a good thing we haven’t. If it were not for this Book, you’d have been a meal by now!” via San Augustine church of Christ San Augustine, TX…

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How to Remember How Many Books Are in the Bible

  [40 words] How many letters in the word “Old?” — 3 How many letters in the word “Testament?” — 9 There are 39 books in the Old Testament. Multiply 3 x 9 and you get 27. There are 27 books in the New Testament. via Findlay church of Christ Sparta, TN…

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Doing it Right

[374 words] From the book of Exodus comes a great example of doing things right. In chapters 25-29, God gives Moses instructions concerning how the tabernacle is to be built. Many specific directions are given, and God emphasized the importance of following them exactly: “According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.” (Exod. 25:9; see also v.40). Moses and the Israelites had their orders from God. How did they do? Upon completion of the tabernacle, Exod. 39:32 states, “Thus all the…
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Perils to the Soul

[322 words] Have you noticed the growing fascination that some have with other people’s perils? They pay good money to watch stunt drivers jump a string of cars, or a tightrope walker make his way across a tiny rope 200 feet above the pavement. We marvel when someone unnecessarily puts himself at risk. The greatest risk of all is the danger that threatens our soul. Paul warned that perilous times would bring dangers that threaten to undo us (2 Tim. 3-4). These perils include: 1. Ignorance of God’s Word. Some will “creep into households and make captives of gullible women…
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A Shortage of Ninjas

  [188 words] Apparently Japan is running out of ninjas. In the small city of Iga, the birthplace of the ancient ninja warriors, officials cannot find enough martial artists to perform for tourists, even though the job can pay up to $85,000 per year. Part of the problem is that the city’s young people are moving to larger cities, and there are just not enough candidates available who are willing to go through the intensive training, even for the great paycheck. Isn’t that similar to the situation we have in the Lord’s church? The ancient practice of Christianity is often…

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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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They Just Won’t Listen

  [388 words] “Then He said to me: ‘Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them. For you are not sent to a people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, but to the house of Israel, not to many people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, had I sent you to them, they would have listened to you. But the house of Israel will not listen to you, because they will not listen to Me; for all the house of Israel are impudent and…

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Rare Bible Found in Trash

  [184 words] In 2006, electrician Michael Hoskins discovered a rare, 188-year-old, King James Bible. He told his hometown newspaper, that he went to drop off his household trash, and there it was. He also related that “There were three or four boxes of books leaning up against the concrete wall behind the dump site. I found the Bible in four pieces, put them together and took it home.”  The sheepskin-covered Bible was printed in Pittsburgh in 1818 and was one of less than half dozen copies in existence. When antique book dealers heard of the find, they called, offering…

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Cleaning from the Inside Out

  [512 words] The story is told of an old man who lived on a farm in the mountains of eastern Kentucky with his young grandson. Each morning, Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading from his old, worn out Bible. His grandson who wanted to be just like him tried to imitate him in any way he could. One day, the grandson asked, “Papa, I try to read the Bible just like you but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading…

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Read the Manual!

  [490 words] When was the last time you bought something (anything) new? Like most of us, you probably pulled out the new product, proceeded to put it together or plug it in to use based on your previous experience with the product, only to discover that you have that one bolt extra that should probably go somewhere in or on that new product! I am not fond of manuals—too much reading necessary to get to the “practical” instructions. I spend more time trying to decipher the pictures detailing the assembly process, and never mind how it actually works or…

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Biblical Meditation: The Cure for What Ails You

  [392 words] “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9). Our minds, much like a junk drawer or an old shoe box, can be a catchall for junk or trash. We are inundated with sights, sounds, etc. that become…

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A Toothbrush and the Bible

  [302 words] What do a toothbrush, a scrub brush, and a toilet brush have in common? Each one of these items is a brushing tool that does a particular job. They are all used to clean. Even my two year old knows that a toothbrush is used to clean teeth, a scrub brush is used to clean dishes, and a toilet brush is used to clean the toilet. I would hope that you would not use a scrub brush or even a toilet brush to brush your teeth! These cleaning tools can remind us of what the apostle Paul…

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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 occupy one’s thoughts throughout the day. This is a big reason why memorizing Scripture is beneficial. With passages stored in your memory, you have something to think about when you can’t actually read the Bible. The psalmist claims to have out-distanced his own teachers in…

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Important Facts About the Bible

  [258 words] Following are four important facts about the Bible that we should all know. The Bible is the ONLY Book that came to us from the mind of God. All other books were produced merely by human beings. The Bible comes from God’s mind and was revealed through human agents (apostles and prophets) guided by the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 2:6-13; Gal. 1:11-12; Eph. 3:1-5). The Bible is the ONLY Book that comes to us from the heart of God. In speaking of God’s people in Rom. 9:23-26, Paul notes that God has called out his people to…

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You Scrumptious Beast

  [183 words] There are so many ways we can find ourselves vulnerable to Satan’s schemes. He is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. And he does not starve. There is always someone. There are always Christians who are having the off-days–and Satan knows how to make a bad day much worse. You are a scrumptious beast to him. Oh, but it can’t happen to YOU. Right? The Bible often warns us of the dangers surrounding us, but the greatest danger is what we do not notice about God’s word. “Therefore, we must give the more earnest heed to the…

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The Most Important One

  [95 words] It is said when the famous missionary, Dr. David Livingstone, started his trek across Africa, he had 73 books in three packs weighing 180 pounds. After the party had gone 300 miles, Livingstone was obliged to throw away some of the books because of the fatigue of those carrying the baggage. As he continued on his journey, his library grew less and less, until he had but one book left: his Bible. Truly today the Bible is the one book humanity cannot do without. “I will delight myself in thy statues; I will not forget thy word”…

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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 restraint. It is true that sin and immorality can be pleasurable (Heb. 11:25), and it is true that the Bible contains prohibitions against sin and immorality. But it is not true that pleasure is ONLY found in sin. There is so much more to enjoying…

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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 reading with prayer. Before you read the word of God each day, make the prayer of Psalm 119:18 your own. Eddie Parrish Bedford, TX…

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