Better Things

[202 words] Hebrews is the book of “better things.” We find that phrase introduced in Hebrews 6:9, and throughout the rest of the book, the author reveals what those better things are: · Better hope (7:19)  · Better covenant (7:22; 8:6)  · Better promises (8:6)  · Better sacrifices (9:23)  · Better possession (10:34)  · Better country (11:16)  · Better life (11:35)  · Better word (12:24)  The idea boils down to this: what Jesus came to earth to provide is better than anything we had before! But again, we need to be careful. Using the word “better” might lead some to...

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A Root in the Dry Ground

[306 words] Yesterday, I ate my first apricot off of our tree. My wife and I have an apricot tree on the side of our house. The previous owners planted it, but we’ve tried to nurture it. Despite the windstorms and a tornado, we still have a nice crop of the fruit (which I love). Apricots are difficult to grow in West Texas. The wind and early hail are challenges to their fruit bearing. But the biggest challenge is the lack of water. This year, we’ve had plenty of rain, so we’ve made a good crop. But the truth of...

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The Uniqueness of Jesus

[543 words] Jesus Christ is the most unique individual who ever lived. Some have attempted to compare him to other religious leaders like Buddha, Confucius, and Mohammed, but when the evidence is considered Jesus stands head and shoulders above everyone else who has ever lived. Reflect on some truths that show the uniqueness of Jesus. He is the only One who ever chose to be born. You and I did not have a choice in whether we were born, but Jesus did. Philippians 2:6-8 speaks of how Jesus chose to leave heaven and , “come in the likeness of men.”...

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God Knows Our True Needs!

[338 words] Science says that we need 4 basic things in order for us to survive: 1) Water, 2) Air, 3) Food, 4) Light. Jesus has the perfect water. “Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water’…Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to...

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The Words of Jesus

[63 words] “No man ever spoke like this man!” (John 7:46). The words of Jesus are: – Gracious words (Luke 4:22)– Powerful words (Luke 4:32)– Astonishing words (Mark 1:22)– Authoritative words (Mark 1:22)– Living words (John 6:63)– Judging words (John 12:48)– Cleansing words (John 15:3) What do the words of Jesus mean to you? Have you obeyed them?...

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Can You Name Just One

[185 words] Can you name just one fault of Jesus of Galilee? Can you name a person He mistreated? Can you name a soul to whom He was unjust? Can you name one teaching of Jesus that is immoral? Can you name one practice of His life that was out of balance with His teachings? It has been said that many wish to repent of sin on their deathbed, but do any Christians on their deathbed repent of following Christ? Ronald Reagan once said, “Can you name one problem that would not be solved if we had simply followed the...

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Getting the Word Out About Eating Right

[182 words] What would happen if you consumed meals that consisted only of candy? While it might be very tasty, it would not be nutritious at all. And while you might make it fine for a while, eventually your body would fail you because it did not receive the sustenance needed for a healthy life. Many people have turned the gospel of Christ into spiritual candy – picking and choosing Bible verses, misapplying Scripture, and/or watering down passages from the Word of God. But this is robbing them of the nutrients needed for salvation and spiritual growth. Paul warned Timothy...

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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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You’re in the Wrong Church

[168 words] If you identify your congregation by a person (pastor or leader) other than Christ, either you’re not in the right church or you’re not the right kind of Christian. Christ does not brook the exaltation of man. The church belongs to him. No person has the right to be known for the work of Christ. “Now I mean this, that each of you is saying, ‘I am with Paul,’ or ‘I am with Apollos,’ or ‘I am with Cephas,’ or ‘I am with Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Paul wasn’t crucified for you, was he? Or were you in...

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Jesus is THE Prophet of God

[208 words] Moses told the people of God that a prophet was coming – a prophet whose words would carry with them a weight that would be remembered by God for all eternity (Deuteronomy 18:15-19; John 12:48). This coming prophet would continue to be the cornerstone, central focus and continuing hope for the people of God for nearly 1,500 years until there was a fervor amongst the angels and prophets of God – a fervor that had never before been seen over the birth of such a seemingly insignificant child (Luke 1:59-80; 2:8-38). The prophet had arrived. Never failing to...

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There Was a Man…

[405 words] There was a manWho walked this landAnd passed through Galilee.He crossed the fields,Plucked corn for mealsAnd walked upon the sea. Despised of men,Yet without sin,He taught them truth and love.With smiling faceHe told of graceWhich came from God above. Three years He taughtTo turn from naughtTo riches in the sky,To turn from sinAnd start againTo trust the God on high. The chosen raceHad shown disgraceAnd needed to repent.He chose twelve menFrom the world of sinAnd with His gospel sent. While serving Christ,They were enticed,But followed all the way.They stood steadfastUntil at lastThe mob took Him away. He was...

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The Beatles

[310 words] For a couple of weeks now, people have been celebrating the influence of the Beatles on the music industry. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the “British Invasion” that shook the foundation of the entertainment industry in our nation. Since the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan television program, their influence has been felt. Many modem-day musicians point to John, Paul, George, and Ringo as inspirations in their musical careers. Even today, millions of people continue to pump money into Beatle paraphernalia. It is truly an amazing feat for a musical group to continue to be...

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Ten Minutes With Jesus

[327 words] If the Lord Jesus Christ gave you ten minutes with him, what would you ask? There are some who wouldn’t want to speak to the Lord for two minutes, or even one minute because they don’t believe in him. They think he may have been a good teacher, but certainly he wasn’t the Son of God. Some don’t think the Lord has done anything for them, so there is no reason to ask him anything. Some couldn’t sit still for ten minutes to listen to anything the Lord had to say. Even if they asked a question, it...

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What is Your Response?

[393 words] What characterizes your response to Jesus? All of us will respond to him in one way or another. Will our response indicate our rejection of his word, or will it indicate our desire to trust and obey him? Several different responses are seen in Luke 13:11-17. In what was one of the last appearances Jesus would make in a synagogue, the Lord saw a woman who was so ill she couldn’t stand up straight. The first response was that of the healed woman. She was thankful and began to glorify God. If any of us were in her...

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More Beautiful Than We Imagined

  [152 words] “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). A young man who had been blind since he was ten years old, years later met a wonderful young lady, and fell madly in love with her. They married, and had lived together for some time when it was discovered that a certain operation would restore the young man’s sight. After the operation, when the...

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Teach

Characteristics of Jesus’ Ministry

  [299 words] There has never been a greater example on this earth of what we ought to strive for than Jesus the Christ. He has done all things well (Mark 7:37), and Christians desire to be conformed to His image (Romans 8:29). So as we seek to minister to the world around us, what characteristics of Christ’s ministry should we seek to imitate? Jesus taught: Repentance. Jesus came to call sinners to repentance (Matthew 4:17; 9:13). Repentance means a change of mind followed by a change of action. We must conform our thoughts to God’s, and conform our actions...

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Looking in the Wrong Place for Jesus

  [331 words] Periodically, we read or hear of “sightings” that unbelievers have a field day with. I refer to “Jesus sightings,” people are claiming in such things as clouds, Cheetos, dental X-rays, cooking utensils, windows, walls, and trees. Wikipedia even has an entry for it (“Perceptions of religious imagery in natural phenomena”). People vehemently defend the idea that these are intentional, divinely sent images. Meanwhile, secular and agnostic witnesses to such claims gather up baby and bathwater together, using such superstition to show how deluded those in Christendom really are. Yet, while responding to superstition in religion would be...

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I AM the Answer

  [201 words] Who is going to stand with me when my life falls apart? I AM. Who is going to make sure that one day good will prevail over evil? I AM. Who is going to help me when I need it? I AM. Who is smart enough to figure everything out in my life? I AM. Who is going to give me the assurance that everything always works out in the end? I AM. Who is going to be with me now that I am all alone? I AM. Who is going to help me out of my...

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The Inspiring Jesus

  [119 words] Socrates taught for 40 years, Plato for 50, Aristotle for 40, and Jesus for only 3-1/2 years. Yet the influence of Christ’s ministry infinitely transcends the impact left by the combined 130 years of teaching from these great philosophers. Jesus painted no pictures; yet some of the finest of Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo Da Vinci received their inspiration from Him. Jesus wrote no poetry; but Dante, Milton, and scores of the world’s greatest poets were inspired by Him. Jesus composed no music; still Haydn, Handel, Beethoven, Bach, and Mendelssohn reached their highest perfection of melody in the...

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Cleansing Through Blood

  [231 words] And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev. 1:5, NKJV). Blood is typically something we wash off, not something we wash with. As an organic substance, we want to limit our contact with blood, so that any risk of infection is minimized. When we prepare meat, the amount of time we spend cooking is determined by how long it takes to cook away the blood. In the medical world,...

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Do You Love Jesus?

  [140 words] Love is essential for one to be a Christian. So if we are to be a “good” (faithful) Christian then we must love Jesus. Jesus said that loving God with all our hearts is more important than any other commandment (Matthew 22:37-38). Yes, it’s even more important than faith (1 Cor. 13:13). Many claim to love God, but do we all really mean it? We can tell if a man loves his wife or if a wife loves her husband by what he or she does. Love listens. Love cares. Love is patient. Love gives. Love forgives....

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Tell the Story of True Suffering

  [319 words] A sports news network reported an NFL’s investigation showed an offensive lineman for one of the teams was harassed by one of his teammates last year. An investigation ordered by the league said it found evidence that a player had been the subject of racial slurs and bullying during his time with the football team. Accusations and the league’s investigation received national news attention for several weeks last year. Dozens of lines of newsprint and numerous television news stories covered the departure of the “victim” from the team. Jesus’ harassment and mistreatment prior to his crucifixion was much worse...

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The Greatest Gift of All

  [245 words] A long time ago in Persia, a benevolent ruler named Shah Abbis reigned. To get to know his people better, he wore disguises to mingle among them. One day, he went as a poor man to the public baths, and sat by the fireman tending the furnace. At mealtime, he shared his food, and talked to the poor man as to a friend. Again and again, he visited the fireman until the man grew to love him. Finally, the emperor revealed his identity to the fireman. The emperor expected the fireman to request a gift of him....

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Behold, the Lamb of God

  [320 words] Sin has a way of demanding our attention. Whether it is a sin someone has committed against us or our falling prey to our own evil desires (James 1:14), sin has a way of becoming our focus. All sin is against God and carries with it the spiritual death sentence demanded by God’s holiness (Rom 6:23b; 7:11-12). This makes sin in our lives and in our world a truly important fact to be understood. We must let God’s word point out sin so that we are conscious of it (Rom 3:20). However, sin, regardless if it is...

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If You Had Died for the Sins of the World How would You Feel?

[152 words] When men took your name in vain? When men damaged their bodies dabbling in sin instead of glorifying you as their savior in their bodies? When men fussed and got angry among themselves in the church which you had established and thus brought reproach upon you? When men chose to go somewhere else on the day which you had set aside for men to worship you? When men refused to obey what you said they had to do to gain the benefit of your death? When men did not appreciate your sacrifice enough to stay for the supper...

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Who Do You Understand Jesus to Be?

[214 words] “Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:20-21). For centuries, God’s chosen people had been expecting a Savior, God Himself. In one of those passages, Isaiah had written over 700 years before that the Messiah would fulfill certain requirements: “The Spirit o the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me...

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True Food

[157 words] I’ve been told that there’s a health-food restaurant in the northeast with a billboard that says. “Eat here and live a long life!” Not wanting to be outdone, the barbecue place next door put up a sign that reads: “Eat here and die happy! Food is essential to each of us, without it we die. What bread is to hunger, Jesus is to spiritual life. After miraculously feeding bread and fish to 5,000 people, Jesus spoke of a superior bread that every person must feed on when he declared in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life;...

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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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The Seven S’s of the Savior

[164 words] Jesus came to the earth to… … Speak – “I have many things to say… He who sent Me is true ; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him” (John 8:26). … Seek – “for the Son ofMan has come to seek… that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). … Serve – “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve… ” (Mark 10:45). … Suffer – “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God… “...

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‘For Christ’s Sake’

  [264 words] One of the basic attitudes of this generation seems to be “What’s in it for me?” The entire premise of the life of Christ, however, was living for the sake of others. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 8:9, reminds us that for our sakes Christ left the riches of Heaven for the poverty of earth. The word “sake” is an old Anglo-Saxon term, “sach,” meaning cause or lawsuit. When we do something for someone’s sake, we do it for his best interest. Because of what Christ has done for our sakes, we are motivated to live for his...

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Jesus Loves Me (Senior Version)

Jesus loves me this I know Though my hair is white as snow. Though my sight is growing dim, Still He bids me trust in Him. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, The Bible tells me so. Though my steps are oh, so slow, With my hand in His l’ll go On through life, let come what may He’ll be there to lead the way. When the nights are dark and long, In my heart He puts a song, Telling me in words so clear, “Have no fear, for I am near.” When my...

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We Wish To See Jesus

In John 12:21, it is recorded that some Greeks came to Philip and said, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” If someone said that to you, what would you do? When my kids ask me a tough question I’m likely to pull out my phone and look it up right away. However, such would not really be helpful in this case. When someone asks us to show them Jesus there are two powerful places to begin: 1. Scripture—we should be like Philip in Acts 8:35 as he interacted with the nobleman from Ethiopia and explain the Bible in light of...

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Jesus vs. the Jews

Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus is essentially on trial. The reader is forced to make a decision around every corner about whether he or she accepts the claims of Jesus or the claims of His opponents: the Jews. In the second half of John 10, Jesus is in the midst of one of His many showdowns with the Jews. After claiming that He and the Father are one (vs. 30), the Jews, believing Him to be guilty of blasphemy, pick up stones to stone Him (vs. 31; cf. John 8:58-59). Rather than running away, Jesus stands His ground and...

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The Earth is Losing Its Darkness

[243 words] According to an article in the science journal, Science Advance, artificially lit surfaces around the world are spreading, growing brighter, and producing more light at night. There are many ramifications of having too much light shining in the world at night. Nocturnal animals’ sleep patterns are thrown off according to Franz Holker of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology. “It threatens biodiversity through changed night habits, such as reproduction or migration patterns, of many different species: insects, amphibians, fish, birds, bats and other animals,” he said (Los Angeles Times, November 22, 2017). Some of the benefits to having more...

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The Colors of Love

[142 words] Purple was the robe, the beaten Jesus wore (Matt. 27:28) Brown, the thorny crown which in much pain He bore (Matt. 27:19) White, the sinlessness from which He didn’t shrink (Heb. 4:15) Yellow, the bitter gall that He’d refuse to drink (Matt. 27:34) Green, the lovely plants nearby Calvary’s hill (John 19:41) Red, the precious blood that today heals us still (1 Pet. 1:18-19) Orange, the noon-day sun before it was covered o’er (Luke 23:45) Black, the darkened sky as black as ne’er before (Luke 23:44) Gray the ashen hue of a dying Man’s face (Luke 23:46) Blue...

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Jesus Never Had an Obituary

[583 words] Many of us often make it a habit of reading the obituaries to see which one of our classmates, co-workers, friends, and family have gone on to meet their reward.   Obituaries tell us about where a person was born, lived, one’s immediate family history, one’s occupation, hobbies, and many other things, as well as times of the funeral and burial location. These notices of death are a daily reminder that our life on earth is not permanent.  Obituaries have a finality to them, they become a permanent record and reminder that a loved one is not present with...

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A Solid Foundation

[237 words] Earthquakes capture the interest of the world. The tragedy is indescribable. Homes, office buildings, and highways were built and people were assured they were safe. Yet the buildings and roadways have proven to be extremely unsafe. Great damage was done and lives were lost as a result. Almost 2,000 years ago Jesus said we are wise if we build on a firm foundation, the solid rock. Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the...

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What Did Jesus Give Up For Us?

[491 words] We often talk about what all Jesus gave on our behalf, i.e. He gave His blood (Matt. 26:28; Acts 20:28). And it is right and good to focus on what Jesus gave. But I would like to focus for a few moments on the things Jesus gave up for us. The text in Phil. 2:5-8 gives us four of them to contemplate: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking...

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Long Walk Part of Gift

[316 words] A missionary’s wife was once teaching some children in Africa about the value of giving. She quoted Acts 20:35 where our Savior is quoted as saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” One little African boy soaked in every word and then decided to live out her teaching, but he had no money to purchase a gift for her. Then he had an idea. A few days later the boy brought the teacher a seashell necklace. It glistened with iridescent beauty. The woman was taken aback. “Where ever did you find such beautiful shells?” the...

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To Be More Like Jesus

[527 words] There is a wonderful transformation that takes place in the heart and mind of one who follows Jesus. Jesus’ disciples turn from darkness to light, and shift from serving sin to serving the Savior. This wonderful change produces peaceable fruit. No longer do we seek revenge or look to get even for every wrong suffered. Pardon and forbearance replaces vengeance and vitriol. Kindness supplants cruelty. This is the natural response for one who has received the good blessings that Jesus offers. It amazes me how the loving lamb changes our minds and actions to gentler, calmer and sweeter...

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