A Walk Down Memory Lane

[303 words] Bill drove into his hometown for one more chore. His mother’s funeral had been a month earlier. His dad had passed away two years ago. Today, he had to sign final papers to sell his childhood home. He arrived in town a little early, so he decided to take one last look at the house where he’d grown up. Inside, there were memories in every corner. He saw the doorframe where his dad had marked his growth each year. He stood in the kitchen where he had watched his mom bake cookies. He remembered the fun times as...

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The Ultimate Prize

[190 words] In late 1989, Steven Covey wrote, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It quickly became a number one best seller. This book was the result of observing effective, successful people. In it, he noted that such people begin each day with the end in mind. In other words, they set important goals and then identified each step to reaching those goals. His observation included this major truth: We have the power to choose. And, we are responsible for our choices. It is interesting that we can turn our lives around at any age. We can begin at 17...

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A Time to Rejoice

[301 words] Overheard at the Mall: “I just dread the Christmas season.” When I heard these words, I felt sorry for the one speaking them. To me, this time of year lifts my heart because of three nostalgic reasons.  First, I remember how my parents (especially my mother) worked hard to make this season of the year special for our family. We didn’t have much money, but we took out time to do things together. We looked at Christmas lights, we went caroling, took the holiday tour at Mrs. Baird’s bakery, saw the decorated windows at Thorntons, etc. These things...

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What Should We Really Be Thankful For?

[171 words] The Apostle Paul encourages us with these words: “Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks to Him through God the Father” (Colossians 3:17). As we examine this text, we see that prayer is a constant event in the life of a Christian. And one of the main parts of that prayer is giving thanks to God. This month our nation recognizes a day set aside to give thanks. The original presidential proclamations of this holiday all point out that the subject of our thanks should...

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The Highjacking of Our Language

[310 words] Over the years, many great phrases and hand gestures have been adopted by anti-Christian people as terms of derision and hate. The most recent has been a gesture I’ve used all my life: the “OK hand gesture.” It’s a simple gesture, you make an “O” with the forefinger and the thumb and the remaining three fingers stick out. It was a sign used to show acceptance and agreement of what was said or done. I’m in good company in using it. A simple internet search showed pictures of such celebrities as President Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Jimmy Chou...

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Is the Genesis Flood Just a Myth?

[334 words] Today, there are some who would label the first several chapters of the Bible as “myth.” They do not want to believe that God created the universe, the earth or mankind. They do not believe in the worldwide flood. Interestingly, our Lord Jesus Christ and the beloved Apostle Paul believed that these events were true. Please consider: Jesus believed the events and the people in Genesis 1-11 were true (Matthew 19:4-6; Matthew 24:37-38; Matthew 23:35; John 8:44 cf Genesis 3:4). Those who assert that Genesis is not a true account call our Lord “a liar.” Paul, the Apostle,...

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Anger: The Great Destroyer

[204 words] In 1894, the Baltimore Orioles came to Boston to play a baseball game. Boston had one of the finest stadiums ever built in the 19th century. During the game, a fight broke out between two players at third base. The fight be-came a “brou-ha-ha” as both teams left their dugouts to join in the brawl. Fans for both sides starting fighting, too. According to legend*, one Baltimore fan got so hot under the collar that he set fire to the beloved stadium which burned to the ground and spread to the surrounding town. In the end, nearly 2000...

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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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Honoring Dads

[132 words] Sonora Dodd is usually considered the architect of the American event called “Father’s Day.” Sonora’s father raised 6 children after his wife’s death, and Sonora felt that such dads were worthy of double honor.  But the concept of honoring our fathers didn’t originate in the U.S.A. God was the first to urge people to honor their pops (and moms). It was one of the original 10 commandments (Exodus 20:12). It was repeated under the New Testament (Ephesians 6:2). Ephesians 2 calls it “the first command with a promise.” The promise being “long life in the land.” Some folks...

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What Is Success?

[171 words] If success means having lots of money, would we consider Jesus a success? At the end of his short life all he had were the clothes on his back – and those were taken by his enemies. If success means having a family (children and a spouse), where would be the apostle Paul? First Corinthians 9:5 indicates that Paul gave up his right to marry for the sake of preaching the gospel. If success means having a good reputation where would the prophet Jeremiah be? He was arrested, left to die in a pit of mire, taken off...

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What We Can Learn from the Recent University Scandal

[238 words] On March 12, 2019, federal prosecutors disclosed a conspiracy to influence admissions decisions at several American research universities. A number of parents of college applicants are accused of paying large sums to misrepresent student test scores and bribe college officials to get their children into top tier universities. Accused of this crime are two well-known actresses, a football star, several top executives of well-known corporations, a book author, and other rich people. My question is: Even though over 50 of the rich and famous are be-ing accused of this crime, why has most of the focus been on...

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The Patience of the Father

[151 words] We are told that children learn many life lessons from their fathers. I am delighted to hear that more and more fathers are seeing the importance of their role in the upbringing of their children. A recent survey showed that nearly half of all fathers spend more time with  their children than their own dads did, and they think that is still not enough.  As a father, I have learned many things from my own children. For instance, I learned the meaning of patience. But have you ever considered how patient the Heavenly Father is to us? The Lord...

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The Fear of the Lord

[192 words] Fear is normal! It is part of human nature to fear what we cannot control (or, at least, what we perceive as what we cannot control).  Any thing that results in situations that we cannot control produce fear. We can actually fear our God in this way. Remember how the apostles feared Jesus as he walked on water and they thought they were seeing a ghost (Mark 4:35-41). But the “Fear of the Lord” is not like this. In Deuteronomy 5:29, God exclaims: “O that their hearts would be inclined to fear Me and keep all my commandments.”...

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God Hurts When You Hurt

[221 words] One of the most striking passages in the Old Testament is Isaiah 63:7-9. “I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which He is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us—yes, the many good things He has done for the house of Israel, according to His compassion and many kindnesses. He said, ‘Surely they are my people, sons who will not be false to me,’ and so He became their Savior. In all their distress He too was distressed, and the angel of His presence saved them. In His...

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The Importance of Honoring Our Parents

[369 words] Jesus’ mother, Mary, witnessed the crucifixion from the foot of the cross. Despite his agony, Jesus told his best friend, John, to take care of his mom, and to his mother he said, let John stand in my place as your son. John lived a very long life, and I believe he took care of Mary until she went to heaven. I find it important that while Jesus was bearing the weight of the sins of the whole world on the cross, He took out the time to make sure His mother was taken care of after He...

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When You’re Having a Bad Day

[187 words] There are many wonderful things that happen to people when they become Christians. Unfortunately, there are also bad things that happen, like being persecuted for your faith. Later in his life, Paul would write: “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted ” (2 Timothy 3:12). So what can we do when we’ re having a bad day? Here are a few things that help me survive bad times: Remember the good things. Spend a little time and think of at least two things that bring a smile to your...

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God Wants You to Have Joy! 

  [187 words] God wants you to have joy in your life. This truth is lost on some preachers and other church-goers. Oliver Wendell Holmes was a member of the U.S. Supreme Court for 30 years. His mind, wit and work earned him the unofficial title of “the greatest justice since John Marshall.” At one point in his life, Justice Holmes explained his choice of a career by saying: “I might have entered the ministry if certain clergymen I knew had not looked and acted so much like undertakers.”  They have forgotten such passages as …  Psalm 21:6 which says:...

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Parking on Someone Else’s Nickel

  [266 words] In the old days, cities regulated downtown parking with meters. You park, drop in a nickel or dime and get some time on the meter. Then you’d go into the store and be sure to be back before the meter ran out of time. However, occasionally, you could find a spot with time left on the meter. In that case, you would “park on someone else’s nickel!” Someone has said: “We eat from orchards we did not plant. We drink from wells we did not dig. We reap from fields we did not sow. We are warmed...

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Yellow Jackets in the Church

  [282 words] I hate yellow jackets. Over the years, I’ve had many encounters with them. They are aggressive, mean and they hurt everyone they touch. Have you ever been around someone who is a “fault-finder?” All they can do is point out flaws and faults in folks. They, like yellow jackets, hurt whoever they sting with their abundant criticisms. Did you know that such fault-finding is a sin — as evil as the faults that fault-finders find? Jude speaks to the sin of “fault-finding” in Jude 1:15- 16 (best read in the NIV). Jude uses pretty graphic phrases to...

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Why in the World Do We Have VBS Anyway?

  [274 words] I know that VBS is a challenge. I mean if you have been around children for any length of time you know if you get 70 (or more) children together – you have your hands full. But it is important! This week, I fired up my computer’s Bible search engine and began reading all the various scriptures about children. This is some of what I found: There are over 400 different references in our Bible about children – about the joys and challenges of raising them right. But what I really found interesting is that there were two...

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Happy New Year

  [279 words] “Happy New Year” is an expression that we throw about. But do we really mean it? As you enter the new year, is your life filled with Joy?  As a Christian, you have many reasons to be joyful. May I mention a few?  All your sins have been forgiven. When you came up from the waters of baptism complete and total forgiveness was yours (Acts 2:38). If you have remained faithful all your sins are constantly washed clean by Jesus’ blood (1 John 1:7; 1 John 2:2).  All your prayers are being answered (1 John 5:14-15). Sometimes...

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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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I’m So Depressed!

  [215 words] “Depression” is a word often used and misused by modern Americans. True clinical depression (also known as “Major Depressive Disorder” or MDD) comes from biological root causes such as brain chemistry or hormone imbalance, bipolarism, etc. This type of depression needs treatment by a medical practitioner. Often, what is called “depression” by the average American is not MDD. It is an intense sadness. A common factor among those who have this intense sadness is that they lack hope and are discouraged. To pull out of this form of “depression,” I suggest the following steps. First, pray with...

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What Arnold Palmer Learned the Hard Way 

  [229 words] It was the final hole of the 1961 Masters Tournament, and golf legend Arnold Palmer had a one-stroke lead and had just hit a very satisfying tee shot. He felt he was in pretty good shape. As he approached his ball, he saw an old friend standing at the edge of the gallery. The friend motioned him over, stuck out his hand and said, “Congratulations.” Arnold later said, “I took his hand and shook it, but as soon as I did, I knew I had lost my focus.” On his next two shots, he hit the ball...

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When Your Heart and Body Begin to Fail

  [176 words] I and several members of our congregation have had heart issues or other serious physical problems in the last couple of years. Asaph the prophet noticed this about himself when he was inspired to write Psalm 73. In it he declares: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalms 73:26). Sound familiar? Obviously, this prophet was facing the deterioration of his body like we are. But as he thought about how our bodies begin to wear out, he makes this bold affirmation: No matter how...

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Why the Planes Crashed

  [166 words] On August 16, 2015, near San Diego’s Brown Airfield, two airplanes crashed in mid-air. The two planes — a Cessna 172M, piloted by Michael Copeland, crashed head-long into a Sabreliner, piloted by Jeffrey Percy. The pilots and the others on the planes were all killed. Five people lost their lives that day. What caused the crash? The air traffic controller was the cause! Over the course of two minutes, the controller mistook the two planes and gave them wrong instructions. The controller was not sick or distracted. It was an honest mistake by a person who sincerely...

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Mother’s Day 

  [219 words] Where did Mother’s Day come from? While naysayers have tried to identify this holiday with past pagan rituals, the truth is Mother’s Day began as a day to honor good Christian moms. Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948) is credited with bringing in the celebration of Mother’s day with the first observance at a church service held on May 10, 1908. The idea itself did not take long to be spread to churches all over. Our mothers are worthy of honor! God has given us instruction on how we are to treat our parents. We find this command in...

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Satan’s Lie

  [276 words] Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the mid-dle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that...

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A Winning Church

  [210 words] If you ask the average person why Jesus came to this earth you will get a variety of answers. “He came to do good.” “He came to tell people about God’s love.” “He came to heal people.” These are some of the many responses you will hear. Interestingly, Jesus, himself, told us why he came to our world. He said: “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). The reason He came to this world was love (John 3:16) but out of love he came to win...

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A Strange Thing Happened at the Funeral

  [305 words] Jesus once came across a funeral procession and did something strange. He walked up to the boy’s grieving mother and said: “don’t cry.” That poor lady might have said: “Why not weep? It is time. I have lost my only son.” But Jesus reached out and touched the open coffin. This was a strange thing for a Jew to do. You see, when a Jew came in contact with the dead, it made him unclean for several days. But this didn’t stop Jesus. He touched that open coffin and said: “Young man, I tell you, get up!”...

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The Legend of the ‘Taste Berry’

[188 words] In Africa it is said that there is a certain fruit called the “taste berry.” This berry supposedly can affect one’s taste for several hours. Not only is the berry itself sweet, it makes other things seem sweeter when eaten. What a wonderful fruit this must be if it really exists and works well. There is a “taste berry” in our lives. It is called “attitude.” With the right attitude you can see the good in bad situations. Most importantly of all, with the right attitude, you can see the good in imperfect people … in spite of...

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During the Valleys of Your Faith

[291 words] The Christian life is all about peaks and valleys. When we are feeling good about our relationship with God and Jesus and something happens to re-enforce those spiritual feelings, we call that time “peak times” or “mountain top experiences.” When things don’t go right and we wonder if God is really listening to us (or if He really cares), those are the “valley experiences.” The prophet Jeremiah gave the Hebrew people a “Peaks and Valleys” lecture. Jeremiah witnessed the brutal takeover of Jerusalem in 587 B.C. by the Babylonians. The Hebrew people who survived the ransacking of their...

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God’s View of Marriage

Many educators are teaching young people that to experiment with premarital sex is good, live-in arrangements are OK, and divorce is fine! The result? Our nation is wallowing in a moral abyss of broken homes, children tossed to and fro, and shattered lives by the millions. We need to teach young people (indeed, all people) that marriage was designed by the Creator to be a lifelong commitment. But as things are presently going in our society, it is doubtful we can turn things around overnight. It took America a long time to reach this low point of immorality, and it...

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Come into His Presence with Singing

  [202 words] “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his pres-ence with singing. Know that the Lord is God! It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him, bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures for ever, and his faithful-ness to all generations” (Psalms 100:1-5, RSV). One of the over-riding messages of Psalms 100 is that we sing to...

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‘But I Don’t Want to Do It!’

I read about a chef that was fired. He was a good chef. Trained at the best cooking school. Had a flair for bringing out the best taste in food. His work ethic was beyond reproach. So, why was he fired? Because he wouldn’t wash his hands. Customers had noticed in the restaurant’s restroom and com-plained. Many had walked out. When asked why he didn’t wash his hands, his answer was truthful – “I don’t want to do it.” Moses “didn’t want to do it.” No, it had nothing to do with proper hygiene. He couldn’t imagine himself being God’s...

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The Amazing ‘Chesed’ of God

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him” (Lamentations 3:22-24, RSV). Those who say that the God of the Old Testament was a God of hate have never studied God’s chesed. This is the Hebrew word translated by various words – love, kindness, mercy, grace, goodness, loyalty. The Revised Standard Version often translates it as “steadfast love” because chesed never falters or ends. It endures forever. This word in the...

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Singing Brings Us into God’s Presence

[232 words] Psalms 100 was intended to be a song of praise in the Old Testament worship. There is evidence that this psalm (among others) was part of New Testament worship, as well.* The psalm, in its entirety, is quoted here. “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing. Know that the Lord is God! It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks...

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Being Secure in an Unsafe World – A Study of Psalms 46

[408 words] How can we be secure living in an unsafe world? The Psalmists tells us through their own experiences: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalms 46). That’s where we can find true security and peace. In Psalms 46, we are reminded of three things: Our Security is in God, not in this world. We have only one source of security – God. When hurricanes or wildfires or earthquakes occur, when wars break out or governments fail, health deteriorates, or friends betray, God is our only security. Despite all of our advances, our world...

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What Is Your Focus?

[312 words] Jesus went into the desert looking for a place to pray. However, when he and his apostles went ashore they discovered a huge crowd of people. Scripture says that there were about 5000 men. (Counting the women and children, I’m guessing that there were 10,000 or more people.) After a full day of preaching, the people were hungry but they were in a barren place and the only food was what a boy had taken … five small barley loaves and two small fish. But Jesus took that small amount, blessed it, and started giving it out. The...

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When We Walk With God, the Best is Yet to Come

[202 words] Youth! As children, we thought that there wasn’t anything we couldn’t achieve. And we believed we could become anything. Astronauts, famous scientists, sports stars, movie stars, presidents, and generals! But then we grew older. Life began to beat us down. Victories were fewer than defeats. Health began to wane. And most people my age ask: Are the best days of our lives behind us? Or put in another way: “Isn’t there anything better to life than this?” The answer is yes. The best is yet to come if we walk with God! Isaiah spoke of this in 64:4....

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