Are You in it for the Long Haul?

[458 words] A very interesting word occurs in a familiar Bible passage that helps us to understand something of our Christian lives upon the earth. The passage is Heb. 12:1-2 and the word translated “race.” “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the...

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Perseverance and Hope for the Future

[234 words] “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). In so many ways, the very end of the Bible is a mirror-image of its beginning. Because of sin, man in Genesis is separated from God’s presence and is kept from reaching out to eat of the Tree of Life; in Revelation, that access is restored and intimate fellowship with God along with it. The account of the church, then, is really about man walking with God. It took a perfect God taking...

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Finishing Well

[227 words] Wouldn’t you love to face eternity with confidence? You can! “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:6-8). Paul knew a glorious welcome awaited him!  He knew he would hear,...

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Weariness!

[371 words] Working hard all day at a physical activity leads to a tiredness we can all relate to. We all know the relief of being able to finally sit down and rest. The great thing about physical tiredness is that usually after a time of rest we feel better and are able to return to our activity. When Jesus talks about those who are weary in the book of Matthew, Jesus is talking about a weariness of spirit or mind. We seem to be seeing this a lot in our modern society. I know many of us have felt...

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Trials

[244 words] “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you (1 Peter 4:12-14). Scripture does not tell us that we should enjoy trials and hardships. What it does tell us is that if we suffer for our relationship to...

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Don’t Quit

[192 words] When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,when the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,when the funds are low and the debts are high,and you want to smile, but you have to sigh,when care is pressing you down a bit,rest, if you must—but don’t you quit. Life is queer with its twists and turns,as everyone of us sometimes learns,and many a failure turns aboutwhen he might have won had he stuck it out;Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow—You might succeed with another blow. Often the goal is nearer than it seemsto a faint and faltering...

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Never Die Easy!

[640 words] Walter Payton ranks second on the National Football League’s list of all-time leaders in rushing yards. Through 13 seasons as a Chicago Bear Payton was tackled and knocked down thousands of times. He built an extraordinary career, not by getting knocked down, but by not staying down! He was knocked down a final time when he died on November 1, 1999 of a rare autoimmune liver disease, a few months over 45 years old. Payton had a motto in life—“Never Die Easy”—which he attributed to Bob Hill, his coach at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. In practice,...

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Don’t Ever Quit!

[511 words] Most people regard a quitter as one of the most despicable characters on earth. We admire a person who, against all odds, keeps on struggling till the contest is ended; who keeps on running till he finishes the race, even if he has no chance of winning. We applaud the man who crawls across the finish line dead last—but finishes the race! The book of Hebrews is filled with admonitions to discouraged Christians, but in Hebrews 10, the writer particularly focuses on the needs of despondent and weary disciples. The Hebrew writer develops three central thoughts that are...

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Whatever It Takes

[232 words] Someone once noted that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who say “whatever” and those who say, “whatever it takes.” “Whatever” is the response of the shrug. It is a “who cares?” attitude, one of indifference and apathy. “Whatever it takes” is the response of the committed. It is a “can do” attitude, one that is optimistic and refuses to give up or give in. Think about those two responses when it comes to some of the commands Christians are given in the Scriptures. We are admonished to avoid sin and pursue holiness (2...

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His Strength, or Your Safety?

[222 words] “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lions mouth” (2 Tim. 4:17). We sing the song: “…though none go with me, I still will follow.” But would we? I’ve been battling a particularly persistent nest of wasps that dig a new entrance from the roots of a forsythia bush every time I destroy a tunnel and kill a number of them. I can’t help but think that is what Satan does...

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A Little Resolve

[562 words] “But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank” (Daniel 1:19-20). All the students in the Cape and Jackson area have officially begun the 2014-15 school year. Each year as this time period comes I can’t help but think about my time in school. From the innocent elementary days to my awkward middle school years (also known as The Dark Ages) and well beyond my high school classes, school has always and will always have this in common; the inescapable amount of peer pressure and fear of...

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Dog Daze

[426 words] When I was a small boy in North Georgia I used to hear the older folks speak of “Dog Days.” I never quite understood what that meant but I got the idea it meant I couldn’t go swimming for fear of catching a fever or something worse. I suppose every part of the country has different phrases to describe some part of a season where things are strongly affected by the weather. It seems to me that dog days used to be in later August and maybe over into “hot” September. Well, it may be a bit early...

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Taking the Heat

[93 words] In the early 1970’s the firefighters of Fairfax County, Virginia, received new helmets. They were sharp looking, colorful, size-adjustable, made of high-impact plastic, and scuff-resistant. There was only one problem with the helmets: when they were worn near the heat of a fire, they melted. This, of course, made them useless to firefighters; they needed helmets that could take the heat. In the same way, we need a faith that can take the heat—a faith that endures the fire and protects us in the midst of the blaze....

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Courage

[244 words] In the year 404 a monk by the name Telemachus traveled to Rome and was shocked beyond measure at the cruelty of the gladiatorial contests. Telemachus leaped over the railing of the Coliseum and tried to stop the gladiator s from hacking themselves to pieces by repeated cries of “In the name of Christ, stop!” The little monk stood his ground and refused to move. Shortly he was slain by the gladiators who continued their fight standing over his dead body. But the little monk’s sacrifice was not in vain as the consciences of the Roman populace were...

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It’s a Bad World, But…

[141 words] A third century man nearing death wrote to a friend: “It’s a bad world, an incredibly bad world but I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are Christians, and I am one of them.” Romans 8:35-37: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall...

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Your Jericho

[426 words] “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days” (Hebrews 11:30). Forty years before, twelve spies were sent on a reconnaissance mission to see what the land of Canaan was like. The spies returned with reports of a land flowing with milk and honey, but a land filled with fortified cities, strong peoples, and the descendants of giants. The Israelites had just escaped slavery in the land of Egypt and had witnessed the mighty power of God, but their hearts withered now in fear. Only two men, Joshua and Caleb, had...

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How to Love Someone You Can’t Stand

[178 words] Jesus called for His disciple to “Love one another as I have loved you.” This call is still in effect today. The question that immediately comes to mind is, “Does this apply to people who seem to be unlovable?” What about obnoxious, crude, blasphemous or cruel people we meet and interact with? How do you love someone like that? The title of this article is also the title of a book written by Milton Jones. In his book he gives us some tools that will help us to love people we do not particularly like. His advice is...

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Fresh Fish for Sale Today

[131 words] A man starting in the fish business hung out a sign that read, “Fresh Fish for Sale Today” and invited his friends to the opening. They all congratulated him on his enterprise, but one suggested that his sign might be improved. He said, “Why the word ‘Today?’ Of course it’s today, not yesterday or tomorrow.” So the fishmonger removed the word. Another said, “Why the ‘For Sale?’ Everybody knows that, else why the store?” And off came the words. Another complained, “Why the word, ‘Fresh?’ Your integrity guarantees every fish to be fresh.” Finally only “Fish” remained, but...

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Standing With Jesus 

  [340 words] Certainly you have heard about the shooting that took place this past week at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Nine people were killed. Several more were injured.  There are conflicting reports about this, but some outlets are reporting that the shooter asked his victims if they were religious or not (if they were Christians) before he shot them.  Regardless of what he really asked the innocent people he shot (and what his motivation might have been), such causes us to pause and think.  Let us first pray for these families. Let us pray for the devastated...

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The Keys to Overcoming the World

  [485 words] In Revelation, there is a lot of figurative language and many difficult symbols. Because of that we often avoid reading the book. But in it are some great Bible helps. One of them is found in chapter 12, where we learn how Christians are to overcome the world. To preface what is going on, in verses 7-10 we read about war breaking out in heaven, and Michael and his angels fighting with the dragon and his followers. We see that the dragon did not prevail and he was cast out of heaven. Because of this, Satan (the...

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Portraits of Endurance

  [579 words] Barton W. Stone was born in 1772. In his autobiography he wrote, “My father, John Stone, died when I was very young. I have no recollection of him in life.” He grew up without his father, but he never used his loss as an excuse to rebel or quit. When soldiers returned after the war cussing, drinking, and gambling, he refused to be like them. In spite of an overbearing teacher, he excelled in school. He went on to be baptized and became one of the most influential preachers in his time. When Moses Lard was twelve...

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The Lord is My Portion

  [272 words] Jeremiah is called “the weeping prophet.” He did indeed share the words of God in a very sad and overwhelming time. We can learn from the words of Jeremiah, in Lamentations, about our God and our hope in Him, so that we can have the faith and courage to live faithfully through our times of overwhelming sadness. Jeremiah writes Lamentations in the real historical context of Jerusalem’s destruction by Nebuchadnezzar. Jerusalem lay in deserted ruins, and her people have gone into the affliction and harsh labor of their exile (Lam 1:3, 10). Moreover, the Lord has rejected...

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Don’t Quit

  [321 words] Many times, we encounter challenges that make us rethink our commitment to Christ and the church. When we consider quitting or lessening our relationship with Christ and the church let’s: Remember why we started (cf. Revelation 2:5). The church at Ephesus left their first love. Go back and remember why we chose to become a Christian, why we chose to become an Elder, why we chose to become a Deacon, and why we became a Minister (whatever the case may be). Re-identify with Christ (cf. 1 Peter 4:12-14). When you go through difficult times, don’t be shocked....

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The Answer is Blowing In The Wind

  [263 words] Any runner, cyclist, or truck driver will have experienced this phenomenon. When you are going into a headwind, you notice it. The wind buffets your efforts, you feel every moment of discomfort and pushback. However, when you go back in the other direction when the wind is at your back, you don’t much think about how it pushing you along if you are even are mindful of it. The headwind is constantly fought and on your mind; the tailwind isn’t as noticed and quickly forgotten. It’s not just a wind issue. The problems and difficulties of life...

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A Rough Row to Hoe

[304 words] The Christian life has been described as “headed into a storm, in a storm, or coming out of a storm.” The question for the believer is not if trials will come, but what to do when they do come. The apostle Paul said that “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” in Acts 14:22. Paraphrased into today’s language, Jesus might say we have a “rough row to hoe” before we enter God’s presence. Accepting the blunt reality of trial and hardship is the first step to dealing with adversity. The Christian is no more immune...

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‘I’ Exam: Focus On Christ

[341 words] Where is your focus? This is a question each Christian must answer for himself. Christianity is not something that we do for just a little while. It is a way of life that must be lived everyday. Neither is it like a coat that we put on and take off with the changing temperature. When we put Christ on in baptism, we are to keep Him on until death. “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing” (2 Thessalonians 3:13). The Christian life is to be a balanced life. We are not to go to the left...

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Are You at a Loss?

[559 words] Paul said, “We are perplexed, but not in despair” (2 Cor. 4:8). The word perplexed means more than just being puzzled. It comes from aporeo which means “to be at loss with one’s self, be in doubt; not to know how to decide or what to do, to be perplexed” (Thayer, 66). We might say it means to be at your wit’s end. No man has all the answers. No one knows the best way to handle every situation. Even Paul didn’t. He could work miracles and write by inspiration, but he didn’t always have a clear idea...

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What God Promises to Do Concerning Our Trials

“Oh, no, here I go again. Another trial in my life. Lord, just how much do you think I can really handle?” Have you ever said or thought those words, or something like them? That recently? Me, too. When times like that hit, we need to avoid the temptation of thinking that maybe we have a God who doesn’t care for us or is not active in our lives. Nothing could be further from the truth. The apostle Peter penned an amazing verse that testifies of an active, caring Father in heaven-even during the trials of life. It is 1...

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This is Just the Elevator

  [305 words] The story is told of a farmer who called into a radio station during a contest, and being the fifth caller, he was given an all expense trip paid to New York City.  The farmer was absolutely overwhelmed by his trip and the new experiences.  A stretch limo picked him up and took him to the airport; his first flight; his first glimpse of New York City, etc. As the bell hop carried this farmer’s luggage into the five star hotel, they opened the door and entered a room.  The bell hop noticed a look of disappointment...

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God’s Minorities

During the time NOAH was building an ark, he was very much in the minority – but he won in the end. When JOSEPH was sold into Egypt by his brothers, he was a decided minority – but he won in the end. When GIDEON and his 300 followers, with their broken pitchers and lamps, put the Midianites to flight, they were an insignificant minority – but they won in the end. When DAVID, ridiculed by his brothers, went out to meet Goliath, in size he was a conspicuous minority – but he won in the end. When ELIJAH prayed...

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Looking Back

“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). I remember as a young boy learning the proper techniques in lawn care. The first few times on a lawn mower was with my father. He pointed out various safety procedures one must follow at all times when mowing. After several weeks of instruction, I was given the keys to the tractor. I’ll never forget that first trip around the parameters of our lawn. I kept looking back to where I had mowed, only...

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Why Hidest Thou?

[156 words] Why do We sometimes feel that God is far away? There are times we need to feel He is nearby. Psalm 10:1 says “Why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?” David dared to ask the question. It is okay to ask questions of God. All the great people of the Bible had troubles of one kind or another. The thing that made the difference is they asked God about it. They didn’t ask someone else. They didn’t even trust their own feelings. Feelings can change what God’s word never changes. The Lord never promised that following Him...

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Expecting Unexpected Turbulence

[276 words] On a recent overseas flight, first the flight attendant and then the captain announced over the intercom that the seatbelt signs had been turned on because they were “expecting unexpected turbulence.” There’s nothing like a good oxymoron to entertain exhausted airplane passengers. However, the long flight gave me ample time to contemplate the idea of expecting unexpected turbulence on our Christian journey. The Christian life is a journey – a long journey, with quite a bit of turbulence. And the turbulence we experience often comes at unexpected times. And, while we might not be able to predict when...

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Learn the Lesson of the Ant

[342 words] They get into everything; they are bothersome, contrary, persistent, and, on top of all of these things, they hurt! However, the Bible tells us: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!” (Proverbs 6:6). Thus, we “go to the ant” for some guidance, some instruction, and some motivation. Please consider these three characteristics about ants: ANTS WORK HARD This is the point of Proverbs 6:6-8. I am struck with how much Proverbs has to say about hard work. I am impressed and amazed with how much God’s Word has to say about working hard....

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Stop and Drop!

[76 words] Christianity is much like an airplane: When you stop — you drop! When you stop praying, you go down. When you stop studying your Bible, you go down. When you stop attending, you go down. When you stop being involved, you go down. No wonder Paul wrote, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). BulletinDigest.com...

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On Being Perfect

[202 words] Matthew 5:48 states, “Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Can a human being with all their failing, inconsistencies, and sin ever be perfect? The answer is no! What then does this statement mean? I believe that Jesus is presenting us with a message on how we should live; it is a goal to which we should aspire. It is the struggle to win the race (1 Corinthians 9:24). It is preparation to engage in the fight (1 Corinthians 9:26). Paul states in Philippians that he presses on to the high...

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When Change Doesn’t Last

A Confederate soldier was captured and sent to a Maryland prison in 1865. While there he decided to write about his experiences as a soldier in the Civil War. As he described “the vices of army life,” he revealed an old familiar side of human nature. Gambling was a favorite pastime of many soldiers. Some were so addicted to it that they would bet half of their food rations in a card game. Any soldier who tried to live right was ridiculed, and a soldier seen reading his Bible was mocked. A funny thing happened, though, when battle began: “When...

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Look Back And You Lose!

I didn’t run many races when I was a kid. I was too fat for that. In fact, if I ever actually participated with the skinny folk, there was no doubt l would lose. That is, unless I was racing my friend Darrell. He was a bit chunky in the midsection, and had an affinity for Doritos and Dr. Pepper, like myself. So, from time to time, when all of our skinny friends went home, or were busy, we would occasionally, for kicks, race each other. It was the only time I stood a chance. Not much of one, mind...

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Never Give Up!

Sometimes in this old world, we may begin to sense that we are being overwhelmed and that  we are helpless in our attempt to call men back  to God and to his etemal will. Let me encourage all of us to remember some basic truths that  should motivate us: God is still God! He has not left us, He has not changed! His blessings, expectations, promises and warnings remain firm. It is not our job to force people to accept the truth, but, rather, it is our task to keep preaching the truth. The only way that truth is ineffective...

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