Yes, It’s a Pandemic

[395 words] Uncontrolled disease can be horrific. With the current worries about the spread of a new coronavirus dubbed “COVID-19,” we have heard the terms “epidemic” and “pandemic” tossed around quite a bit. An epidemic occurs when a disease affects a greater number of people than is usual for an area, and a pandemic is when that epidemic goes worldwide. With pandemics, health officials search diligently for the cause, the mode of transmission, and possible clues to protecting the world population. As governments and health systems struggle to cope with the COVID-19 crisis, we are reminded of the worldwide scourge...

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What is Your Gift to Him?

[182 words] The Christmas holidays are here upon us, and the world around us is filled with the noble notions of gift-giving. “What am I going to get my spouse?” “Will my kids like this gift?” “What can I do for my boss and co-workers?” Giving gifts is a godly behavior, and we should all remember that our Lord said it is better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). It is good to rejoice in giving! But in all of our giving, did we remember to put God on our list? Did we remember to present ourselves to God...

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Thankful, Even in Chains

[149 words] Many hearts turn toward the concept of thankfulness during this time of year, and rightly so! God has provided an abundance not only of the physical things we need (Acts 14:17; 17:25; Matt. 5:45; 6:25-33), but also all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3; 2 Peter 1:3), which we need more. He is indeed a giver of good gifts (James 1:17)!  Sometimes, though, when one or more of these blessings seem to be missing in us for a time, we become discouraged or depressed. When that feeling comes upon you, remember the encouraging letter of rejoicing Paul wrote to the...

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The Hug Heard Around the World

[325 words] Having been convicted of murdering Botham Jean, a member of the Dallas West church of Christ, the last thing Amber Guyger probably expected to hear at her sentencing were the words “I forgive you” from a member of the victim’s family.  After reading a statement which expressed forgiveness and even a wish that she wouldn’t have to go to jail, Jean’s brother Brandt asked the judge for permission to give Guyger a hug. The dramatic scene was recorded on video and shared throughout the world via television and internet. “I wasn’t going to say this in front of...

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The Horrors of Warfare

[92 words] The bloodiest day in U.S. military history occurred on Sept. 17, 1862, when Union armies and Confederate forces clashed at Antietam in Maryland during the Civil War. By the end of that day 26,000 men were dead, wounded, or missing. Over the years, more than 1.3 million Americans have died as casualties of warfare. But for all the horrors of war, there is nothing that compares with the tragedy that awaits those who choose hell over heaven. Spiritual warfare is far more costly if one sides with the forces of evil.  Matt CliftonBulletinDigest.com...

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Who Has the Time?

[117 words] Most of us live time-conscious lives. We stick to tight schedules, glance at our clocks frequently, and hurry around to meet our appointments and deadlines. Time is certainly important, but the real value of time comes with the realization that our time here on earth is a countdown to eternity. Since life is short (James 4:13-14), what should we be doing with our time? Jesus says to put the kingdom of God first in your priorities (Matt. 6:33). That means influencing and teaching the lost (Matt. 28:18-20). He wants them taught before time runs out (Titus 2:11-14; 2...

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Back to School? Time to Shine!

[146 words] It’s the time that most kids and many teachers dread: Back to school! Soon the vacations, beaches, fishing trips, and picnics will be in the past. While we are tempted to let out a big groan, perhaps we should remind ourselves what a great opportunity lies ahead of us. The Lord tells us that we should let our lights shine before men so that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16). That means every class meeting, every ball game, and every lunchtime is an opportunity to be a glowing example of...

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B.U.I.L.D. Your School!

[298 words] Just like any other organization, schools need God’s wisdom to reach full potential. If you are a student who is a Christian, consider some of these ways you can use your influence to B.U.I.L.D. your school this year. Break Out of Cliques. It is easy to get attached to a certain group of people due to common interests. However, as Christians we need to be a blessing to all people (Gal. 6:10). God doesn’t show partiality (Rom. 2:11), and we need to have contact with those in need in order to be effective servants of God. Uplift the...

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Don’t Be a Dud!

[249 words] July was a favorite time of the year during my youth, because that was when we could shoot fireworks. It was a great experience to go down to the fireworks stand with my dad, look over all the multi-colored packages and imagine what each explosive would do. We usually ended up with a ton of firecrackers and bottle rockets.  Fireworks are great because you light each fuse with anxious anticipation, knowing you are about to experience the thrill of a satisfying explosion of light and sound. Unless, of course, you light a dud. Then instead of a beautiful...

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Pig With a Wooden Leg

[269 words] A lady from the city was visiting members of her family who owned a farm. As she talked to the farmer, she noticed a pig in the backyard with a wooden leg. “What happened to that pig!” the woman asked. “Oh, that’s Betsy,” the farmer said. “She’s a fine pig! One night while we were all asleep, the house caught on fire, and Betsy started snorting and grunting, and woke us all up. We were able to call the fire department and save the house!” “Wow, that’s amazing!” the woman exclaimed. “Not only that, but one day my...

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Don’t Forget to Use All Your Strength

[138 words] A father was watching his young son struggle to lift a heavy rock. The little fellow grunted and strained, but couldn’t move it. The father said, “Son, are you sure you are using all your strength?” The exhausted boy said, “Yes, I am!” The father replied, “No, you are not. You haven’t asked me to help you.” How true is this illustration! We grunt and struggle with our burdens in this earthly life, often forgetting the Father in heaven is always willing to aid us. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden,...

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That’s What I’ll Look Like When I’m Dead

[163 words] There was a lady who had to show her driver’s license at a store for identification, and she told the cashier, “Please don’t pay any attention to that picture, it’s awful! I guess that’s what I’ll look like when I’m dead.” Staring at the picture, the cashier said, “Oh, they’II make you look a lot better than that!” We spend a lot of time worrying about our outward appearance, don’t we? And yet the most important thing about us is who we are on the inside. In fact, that is what God notices about us! As God told...

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Handprints Aren’t So Bad After All

[347 words] The bags were packed, goodbye’s were said, and the children were excited as they prepared to go with their grandparents for a few days to Tennessee. My wife and I do not take a lot of overnight trips where we’ll be apart, but on this occasion she and the kids had an opportunity to spend a few days with her parents while I stayed home to attend a week-long seminar class. As they pulled out of the drive, I closed the door and turned toward the empty house. As I turned, an item on the couch caught my...

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Worried You Won’t Get a Valentine?

[263 words] Holidays are times that usually fill people with joy and offer an opportunity to create memories with family, friends, and loved ones. Sometimes, however, holidays can be difficult. For instance, Valentine’s Day. The number one reason some people dislike Valentine’s Day is because of the emotional torture they experience if they are not in a “relationship.” They feel like they are the only ones in the world not getting flowers, candy, or a card on February 14th, and they feel overwhelmed by waves of loneliness. It is hard to console a person who feels this way with trite...

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Masculinity: Toxic, or Beneficial?

[317 words] There is a tendency in our current society to throw the baby out with the bathwater. In an effort to fight against immoral acts such as sexual harassment, physical abuse, and bullying perpetrated by a small minority of bad apples, mainstream media and social justice warriors have decided to coin the phrase “toxic masculinity” and toss anyone who exhibits manly qualities into that bucket. It is not surprising that a society that seeks to justify and promote homosexuality, cross dressing, and gender ambiguity would also look to vilify the innate characteristics of organic males. After all, if women...

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Bait and Switch

[628 words] Back when gas prices began to be so outrageously high, the news media spent a lot of time on stories related to the issue. One story I saw on television at the time was that customers in some locations were being tricked into purchasing gas at one price, only to find when they swiped their credit card a higher price was charged. This was because the price on the sign was the “cash” price, but the price went up when a person used a credit card. This type of trick is called “bait and switch,” where you offer...

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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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Still Can’t Beat God!

[153 words] Around 1970, a fellow named Gordon Moore originated a computer technology maxim which has been termed “Moore’s Law.” Simply stated, the law says that computer processing power will double every two years.   Since that time, the rule has proven true. Personal computers are tremendously fast and powerful, and capable of amazing things, and researchers continue to expand computing power. However, they still can’t touch God’s creation of the human brain. The living computer God designed is capable of performing 38 thousand trillion operations per second. In order to even get close to this, a man-made supercomputer requires...

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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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Church Shutdown

  [261 words] If you follow national news, you know that from time to time our leaders and representatives in Washington cannot come to terms on how to fund federal operations. This can sometimes lead to a “government shutdown,” which means many federal agencies stop performing their functions and services. Why does this happen? Usually it is because of differences of opinions, disagreements, and sometimes even spite. The greater good for the country is often overlooked for political and personal agendas, and the whole nation suffers. Sadly, this can happen in the church, as well. Leaders and members can sometimes...

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Children Need Instruction

  [98 words] Proverbs shows the need for children to pay attention to instruction. Solomon admonishes his son to pay attention to his parents (Prov. 1:8-9), and to recognize the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 1:7). Children also need to be shown how to put those things into practice. The Bible says to acknowledge the Lord in all your ways (Prov. 3:6), which means everything we do should be shaped by the wisdom of God. If parents live this way, it will be more likely that our children will do the same.  Matt Clifton BulletinDigest.com...

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What Will You Do With The New?

  [336 words] Toward the end of the year, we begin to focus on the “new.” We enjoy giving and receiving “new” presents, and we look forward to the hope of a “new” year. A blank calendar page represents fresh opportunity, but what will we do with it? Hezekiah was known as a man who received renewed opportunity from the Lord. A godly king, Hekeziah destroyed the idols in Judah (2 Kings 18:4) and trusted God (2 Kings 18:5-6). When Assyria came knocking on the door threatening to destroy Jerusalem, Hezekiah prayed (2 Kings 19:15-19), and God spared Judah. When...

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When Giving is Wrong

  [265 words] Ribbons and wrapping paper, shimmering Christmas trees, and children with sparkling eyes are the hallmarks of the “season of giving.” So many of us enjoy the holiday as a time of expressing love through the imparting of gifts. But did you ever consider when giving may be wrong? Our heavenly Father is certainly a giver of good gifts (James 1:17). In fact, Jesus says if we ask, we will receive (Matt. 7:7-11) because our Father is good! So we definitely want to imitate Him in our willingness to give.  However, the Bible also shows us there are...

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Your Thanksgiving List

  [118 words] The apostle Paul was a thankful man. He was thankful to Jesus for putting him into the ministry (1 Timothy 1:12), for the faith of his fellow Christians (Col. 1:3-4), for those who risked themselves for his ministry (Rom. 16:4), for salvation (1 Cor. 15:57), and indeed for all things (Eph. 5:20). What sort of “thanksgiving list” would you put together? Perhaps it would include your family, your home, your local congregation of the Lord’s church, and your job, in addition to the spiritual blessings Paul mentions.  Whatever the case maybe, the important thing is to remember...

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The Perfect Creator

  [81 words] “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2). Only God can start with nothing, and make something amazing! Beginning with a blank canvas, God created the spectacular world that is all around us. He can do the same for you spiritually. Whatever condition you are in right now, God can make you better! He is the perfect Creator. Matt Clifton Judsonia church of Christ Judsonia, AR...

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What’s Really Scary

  [299 words] As the cool autumn breezes bring in a new season, many people will kick off fall by scaring themselves silly. Zombies, vampires, and horror movies will be the focal point for October, saturating American culture from the local discount store to satellite television, and all points in between. Why some people enjoy being scared of things that do not exist is beyond me. Daniel Kelly, a philosophy professor at Purdue University, once said that Halloween is the time when people can have their “fear and disgust buttons pushed without actually being in danger.” Isn’t it strange that...

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Stand Out From the Crowd, Even at School

  [191 words] Christian parents do their best to keep their children on the Lord’s path. It’s a fairly challenging task when the kids are at home, but even more so when they are away at school, subjected daily to the influence of the world. We live in a society that claims to inspire individuality, but all the while actually encouraging them to “go with the crowd.” Jesus told us that those who are seeking the sinful path will be in the majority (Matt. 7:13-14). This crowd will, in fact, ridicule Christian youth for not following them in that lifestyle...

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Back to School Challenges

  [327 words] Most parents will agree that when it is back to school time, there are challenges to be faced. We will be concerned about making sure they have the right school supplies, maybe some new clothing. Perhaps we’ll be worried about our child’s new teacher, or a different mix of kids in the class. All of these are self-focused worries! I’d like to offer this thought as a new school year dawns: Our most important concern is how we—both students and parents—will impact the people around us. From the sermon on Mount to Great Commission, the followers of...

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Good Reasons for Being a Christian

  [215 words] Human beings are naturally curious, but sometimes our curiosity progresses to stubbornness. For instance, curiosity causes toddlers to always have the question “why?” on their lips, but it’s stubbornness that drives the teenager to ask the same question when they are receiving orders from their parents. Whether it’s curiosity or stubbornness that brings up the question, God’s word has the answer to why we should be a Christian. To be cleansed of sin. As Christians we have received the forgiveness of sins at conversion (Acts 2:38), and may receive the ongoing forgiveness when we stumble (1 John...

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God Supplies the Raw Materials!

[81 words] A woman went into the grocery store to complain to the manager. “Something’s wrong with this flour you sold me,” she said. “It’s too tough. This morning I made biscuits with it and my husband could hardly eat them!” Sometimes folks get into this sort of position with God’s word. He has provided us everything we need to live pleasingly before the Lord (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3), but often folks mishandle the ingredients. Let us make sure and handle aright God’s word (2 Timothy 2:15)! Matt Clifton Judsonia church of Christ Judsonia, AR...

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If You Wake Up in the Morning

[112 words] A life insurance salesman was unable to persuade a couple to purchase a policy. “I certainly don’t want to frighten you into a decision,” he said as he got up to leave. “Please sleep on it tonight, and if you wake up in the morning, let me know what you think.” Is this an unfair sales technique? Perhaps! But it certainly serves as a sober reminder of the fragility of life. Remember the scriptures tells us that the physical life is like a vapor, here for a little time and then vanishing away (James 4:14). So don’t forget to...

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Broken Toilets and Broken Souls

[254 words] It’s not an extremely rare occasion for a passenger jet to have to return to the airport due to a mechanical issue. However, when a Norwegian jet bound for Germany reversed course in late January of this year due to malfunctioning toilets, it was a backtrack filled with irony. The plane, you see, was carrying 85 plumbers. With 85 certified plumbers on board, you might think someone could have fixed the broken toilet and allowed the plane to continue its journey. The problem was that the affected parts could only be accessed from outside the airplane. Though the...

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Looking Back, Pressing Forward

[333 words] As a new year approaches, many of us are reflecting upon the past year, and looking toward the hope and promise of what lies ahead. One passage we often turn to when thinking about hope for the future is Phil. 3:13-14. Paul talks about putting to rest things of the past, and pressing toward the future, ultimately the prize of heavenly reward! Putting away the things of the past can be very appealing to us. Sometimes we carry large burdens of pain, guilt, or stress that we are eager to dismiss from our lives. But when Paul says,...

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Power Outage

[260 words] One of the worst things about winter weather is the power outages that come along with ice storms. Power outages put us in a difficult position these days because so much depends on that electricity. There are so many things we cannot accomplish without it. Although the plant that generates the electricity for us may be functioning, if any problems occur in the transmission lines, there’s no power for us! Likewise, God is a constant source of power for us for daily living, but if the “transmission lines” get interrupted, we don’t get the benefits! Here are some...

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Dealing with a ‘Short Fuse’

[295 words] The apostle Paul reminds us that “no temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man” (1 Cor. 10:13). That certainly applies to the danger of expressing wrath and anger! Anger in itself is not sinful (Eph. 4:26), but how we express it can be! Even Jesus was angry (Mark 3:5), but He didn’t respond by sinning. Many of us are tempted to have a “short fuse” when it comes to anger and its expression. The Bible tells us to be ”slow to wrath” (Proverbs 14:29; 15:18; James 1:19), so how do we deal with the...

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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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Be Zealous for Good Works

[104 words] After bringing home their first baby from the hospital, a new mother thought her husband should try his hand at changing diapers. “I’m busy, I’ll do the next one,” he said, never looking up from the TV. The next time the baby was wet, the mother said, “Are you ready to change a diaper now?” With a puzzled look, the husband said, “I didn’t mean the next diaper, I meant the next baby!” Thankfully, the church isn’t encouraged to be like this father! Instead, Christians were created for good works (Eph. 2: 10), and to be zealous in...

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Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?

[359 words] It was a fact that Jesus was innocent. The Roman governor in charge of Judea, Pontius Pilate, so stated himself after having examined Jesus personally (John 19:4). It is also a fact that Jesus never even committed a single sin (Heb. 4:15). And yet, they fashioned the crown of thorns and placed a purple robe upon His shoulders in mockery, and delivered Him to be crucified. He bore His cross to a place called Golgotha, where they crucified Him (John 19:17-18). The Bible tells us about the state of mind of some of the people who were there....

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Who Is God?

  [116 words] He is the Creator of all that exists (Gen. 1:1). He is a Spirit (John 4:23-24). He is all-powerful (Psalms 89:8), all-knowing (Rom. 8:27), present everywhere (Psalms 139:7-10), and does not change (Malachi 3:6; James 1:7). He is great (Duet. 5:24) and He is good (Psalm 33:5). He is loving (John 3:16), kind (Psalm 42:8), and compassionate (Psalm 78:38-39). He is holy (1 Peter 1:16), perfect (Matt. 5:48), and righteous (Psalm 19:9). He is just (Acts 10:34-35), merciful (Rom. 12:1), and long-suffering (Rom. 15:5). He is near (Acts 17:27-28). Matt Clifton Judsonia, AR...

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Fathers, What is Your Legacy?

  [288 words] Inheritance is important. Good fathers desire to leave something behind for their children (Prov. 13:22). Old Testament law even regulated the passing down of a father’s possessions (Deut. 21:15-17; Num. 27:8-11). As fathers, what sort of inheritance would we like to see our children get? Material Possessions. There is nothing wrong with money, if possessed and used in godly ways. The Lord certainly wants us to provide for our families (1 Tim. 5:8). However, Paul also warned Timothy that the “love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Tim. 6:10), and Jesus tells...

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