To Have and to Lose

[542 words] There is “a time to get, and a time to lose” (Ecc. 3:6). Suffering loss is a part of living. We lose money. We lose health. We lose friends. We lose loved ones. We lose our happiness. Life is a constant cycle of ups and downs, gains and losses. Circumstances beyond our control can take away what is dear to us in a moment. People can rob us of our possessions and our peace of mind. Even our own bad choices can deprive us of the kind of life we want. Few things in life stay the same...

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Getting What You Want

[394 words] Two little teardrops were floating down the river of life. One teardrop asked the other, “Who are you?” “I’m a teardrop from a girl who loved a man and lost him. But who are you?” The first teardrop replied, “I’m a teardrop from the girl who got him.” Life is like that. We cry over the things we cannot have, but we might cry twice as much if we received them. There is ample proof, even apart from the Bible, that receiving what we want does not always work for the best. Take, for instance, Buddy Post of...

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What Money Can Buy

[311 words] “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof saving the beholding of them with their eyes? The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt. But those riches...

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Having Much Yet With So Little

[401 words] One of the first proverbs Solomon wrote was “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (1:7). So many people grasp for knowledge in books, journal articles, magazines, digital media, and so on and so forth. People can search out knowledge of God in commentaries, Bible encyclopedias and dictionaries, try to understand the original languages with help from grammar books, lexicons, and computer software. With all these resources more readily available to the average person than ever before in the history of mankind, one will not scrape the surface of...

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After Thanksgiving Sale

  [547 words] Many phrases inspire quick responsive behavior on the part of others. “Fire! Run! Help! Dinner! Free Television! Incoming! Snake!” Right alongside these declarations “ After Thanksgiving Sale ” must reside. Each year, prior to Thanksgiving the advertisements come pouring out. Shopping men and women dutifully take note, writing down all the particulars or saving the printed ads. Many literally write down a schedule of where they need to be minute by minute and what they specifically need to obtain in each location of every store. They know the prices, shapes, sizes, and colors of their objectives. Their...

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Never Enough

  [140 words] Someone asked John D. Rockefeller, the richest man of his time, how much money is enough? He replied, “Just a little bit more.” Lots of people have that problem. We think if could just make a little more, we would be set. But when we get that little more, it isn’t too long till we are saying the same thing just with an increased amount. The Preacher tells us this truth in Ecclesiastes 5:10-11, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity. When...

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Upward Mobility

  [300 words] In a tiny coastal Mexican village, a boat comes into port. An American who is nearby compliments the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his catch and asks how long it took him to catch them. “Not very long,” answers the Mexican. “But why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asks the American. The Mexican explains that these few fish are sufficient to meet his family’s needs. The American then asks, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?” “I sleep late, play with my children, and take a siesta. In the...

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What We Win Them With, We Win Them To

  [352 words] Years ago, as a youth minister, I had a gentleman from a denominational organization call me and want our group to come to a denominational youth rally. He promised games, prizes, entertainment, a great concert with the latest bands, and that our youth group would be “stoked” to “be on fire for Jesus.” I politely declined to which he pressured, “Why? Don’t you want these things for your youth?”  We absolutely want our kids (and adults) to be fully invested in their faith. However, we would all do well to remember this timeless truth: what you win...

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The True Tragedy

[184 words] A USA Today article about former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez that he “had played in a Super Bowl and signed a $40 million contract extension before his 24th birthday. His future was one of endless possibilities.” The article went on to say, “the tight end sits in jail, now a convicted murderer; let his downward spiral be a cautionary tale.” There is more sadness to this “cautionary tale.” If Aaron Hernandez never obeys the gospel through faith, repentance, confession and baptism for the remission of sins, there is a much more unnecessary wasted aspect waiting: there is...

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Anything for a Buck

[82 words] A bald man told a hair stylist that he had gone for a transplant, but he couldn’t stand the pain. He said, “I’ll give you $5,000 to make my hair look like yours.” The stylist said, ”No problem,” and she quickly shaved her head! We have to be careful that we don’t have an “anything for a buck” attitude in our spiritual lives. We will end up looking foolish and find ourselves among those who have “pierced themselves though with many sorrows” (1 Tim. 6:10). Matt Clifton Judsonia church of Christ Judsonia, AR...

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Being ‘Other’-Oriented is Not Just for Christmas!

  [207 words] A common reference people use when referring to our society today is “the ME generation.” The accusation refers to the perceived attitude of selfishness portrayed by many in modern-day America. Is this harsh judgement fair? I certainly think so! All one must do is to engage in some minor investigation into the reasons for the countless broken relationships all around us to see the deep levels of selfishness so many have fallen into. Many people truly are willing to sacrifice absolutely NOTHING to save their marriages or families. They want everything the way THEY want it, and if...

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How Much Are You Worth?

A few years ago, Anne Marie Helmenstine was asked what was the actual value of a human body. Utilizing her chemistry background (PhD), she listed the elements in the body and researched their 2011 market values. She concluded that the average human was worth about a dollar, and if you could tan the skin (hide), you could raise that total to $4.50 or $5.00. Recently, James Farris cited a new study which places the value of a human at 43 million dollars. The difference is not inflation, but in things Anne Marie never thought to consider. Bone marrow, DNA, antibodies, reproductive...

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Easy Come, Easy Go

Most of us are astonished at the amounts of money earned by professional athletes. Despite making millions of dollars, many of these famous athletes end up declaring bankruptcy. A 2009 Sports Illustrated documentary concluded that as many as 78 percent of NFL players face financial difficulty within two years of retirement. NBA statistics were as high as 60 percent. While every case was different, bad investments certainly played a part. Besides his dog-fighting conviction, Michael Vick lost six million dollars in car rental, real estate, and wine shop investments. John Elway had his agent illegally invest 15 million dollars in...

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For The Love of Money

Ananias and Sapphira lied to God about the price of the land they had sold. They died for their greed (Acts 5:1-11). King Ahab pouted like a baby when Naboth refused to sell him his vineyard, so Jezebel killed Naboth and gave the land to her husband. But this evil pair paid for their covetousness when they later became dog food (1 Kings 21:1-23). Judas Iscariot was a thief who stole from the money bag and betrayed the Lord for thirty pieces of silver (John 12:6; Matt. 26:15). In the end he regretted what he had done and hanged himself...

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Our Treasure

[389 words] As you know, one of Jesus‘ favorite teaching tools were parables. I have heard parables defined as earthly stories with a heavenly meaning. I like that definition, and I think it perfectly describes the short parable we will discuss which is found in Matthew 13:44. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” It is one of the shortest parables you will find, but it may be one of my favorites. It...

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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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Securing Your Future?

[473 words] “My family will never go hungry.” A famous athlete was talking about the millions of dollars he had made in his career. In one way we can appreciate his concern for his children and the way he had managed his money. He hadn’t neglected his family or squandered his wealth. But it was tragic that he used frequent profanity in the same interview that had to be edited. Instead of being humble and thankful before God he was arrogant and irreverent. How do people like this become so wealthy? Indirectly, it is because God has made this country so...

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Too Rich to Sleep?

[294 words] In Eccl. 5:12 we read: The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. Many are those who lose sleep worrying about bills. The visions of looming debt and hardship often chases sleep away. Were there enough money then perhaps sleep would come. Yet our text speaks of the wealthy being unable to sleep. One has to wonder why those with no financial worries would be unable to sleep. Solomon, in his great wisdom, is teaching us another valuable lesson. Money, in...

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Not for Hire

As I was traveling recently, I came to a stop at a traffic signal and a semi truck pulled along beside me. I do not remember the name on the logo, but I do remember seeing the following three words prominently displayed: NOT FOR HIRE. It seems that phrase means it was a private carrier, owned by a company to haul only its own goods. Since I saw those words I have been thinking about the phrase and possible spiritual applications. As a gospel preacher and sensitive toward the possibility of being accused of, or guilty of, preaching “just for...

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Rich or Poor?

[193 words] A father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live. They spent two days on the farm of what he considered a very poor family. On their return from the trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?” “It was great, Dad,” the son answered. So the father asked, “What did you learn from the trip?” The son replied, “I saw that we have one dog and they have four. We have a pool that reaches to our garden...

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The Impoverished Rich

[99 words] Once there was a king who was unhappy as well as miserable. He grew to feel there was no reason to keep on living. He had sought happiness in all that his kingdom had to offer. Finally one of his wise men gave him some advice. “Find the happiest man in your kingdom and wear his shirt for three days; then you’ll find happiness.” A search was made. The man was found, but he had no shirt! True joy doesn’t consist in the abundance of our possessions (Luke 12:15). Why is this such a hard lesson to learn?...

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Easy Come, Easy Go

Most of us are astonished at the amounts of money earned by professional athletes. Despite making millions of dollars, many of these famous athletes end up declaring bankruptcy. A 2009 Sports Illustrated documentary concluded that as many as 78 percent of NFL players face financial difficulty within two years of retirement. NBA statistics were as high as 60 percent. While every case was different, bad investments certainly played a part. Besides his dog-fighting conviction, Michael Vick lost six million dollars in car rental, real estate, and wine shop investments. John Elway had his agent illegally invest 15 million dollars in a Ponzi...

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Poverty or Riches

Linda was on vacation playing the slot machines. It was her first time in a casino and she wasn’t sure how the machines operated. “Excuse me,” she said to a casino employee. “How does this work?” The worker showed her how to insert a bill, hit the spin button, and operate the release handle. “And where does the money come out?” she asked. He smiled and motioned to a far wall before saying, “Usually at the ATM.” That’s the trouble with gambling and other “get rich quick” schemes. There’s only one person getting rich, and it’s not you! The lure...

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