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Showing posts from March, 2015

A Look At Two Kinds Of Slaves

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Back in 1960, I viewed an interesting movie starring Kirk Douglas. In the movie, Douglas played a historical figure named Spartacus. Historians say that he was likely a Roman soldier who deserted, was recaptured, and then sold into slavery as a gladiator.

A Solution To Being Rude And Crude

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There's no question in this writer's mind, that our present day society is becoming more rude and crude, not only in their actions, but in their speech as well. Sad to say, this is just another indicator of the moral corruption and deterioration of our society.

Are We Despising Our Soul?

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The story is told of a man who had a wonderful Christian family. His wife was considered the most loving, cheerful, and active homemaker in town. His teenage daughter was one of the most popular girls in high school, and his teenage son was considered by many town folks, to be one of the finest young Christian men they had ever known.

If We Only Had One Sermon To Preach

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Preachers, if we only had one sermon to preach, what would that sermon consist of? We might present a summation emphasizing the very core of the gospel of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), and yet fail to make the spiritual application most needed by our hearers.

Don't "Just Belong"

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The following poem by an unknown author, asks some very personal questions that only each individual member of the Lord’s church can answer. Hopefully, the content will make us think and cause us to "examine" ourselves from time to time (2 Corinthians 13:5):

Paying Taxes To Ungodly Governments

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In the life of Jesus, the Pharisees and Sadducees would often seek to entrap Jesus with questions so as to destroy His influence as a teacher among the Jewish people. Matthew records one attempt to trap Him by the Pharisees (Matthew 22:15). Note that they “took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.” The word “entangle” in the Greek, is the word, “pagideuo” which means “to ensnare, entrap,” like a bird caught in a hidden noose of thread. Thus, the Pharisees sent out their disciples along with the Herodians (Matthew 22:16).

Complete Consecration

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Just suppose for a moment that a mother gives her child a beautiful flower-plant in bloom, and tells her to carry it to a sick friend. The child takes the plant away, and when she reaches the friend’s door, she plucks off one leaf and gives it to her, keeping the plant itself.

"He Who Is Least In The Kingdom Of Heaven"

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John the Baptist was truly a great man in several ways: (1) He was a child of promise born to godly parents; (2) he prepared "the way" for the Lord and bore "witness" of Jesus as the Christ (Matthew 3:1-3; John 1:6-7); (3) his preaching was "plain and powerful" (Matthew 3:1-2; Mark 1:1-4; Luke 3:1-3); (4) as a result of his preaching, many people went out to be "baptized" by him (Matthew 3:5-6; Mark 1:1-5; John 3:23); (5) he died the death of a martyr (Matthew 14:1-12; cf. Mark 6:16-29).

When Trouble Comes Our Way

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When life begins to tumble in, when trouble comes, when there seems to be a new crisis every day and when it appears all our dreams are being shattered, what can we do? Is there anyone we can turn to for help? Is there any word of encouragement or advice?

Displaying Natural Affection

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In Romans 1:31 KJV, Paul is describing the extreme wickedness of the Gentiles. Among other deficiencies, he said they were “without natural affection.” This phrase comes from the Greek word astorgos (Strong’s 794), which literally means, “to cherish affectionately.” Negatively speaking, it means “to not cherish affectionately.

The Value Of Work

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My grandmother taught me that work and having a good work ethic, is a part of God’s plan for man’s happiness and fulfillment in life, being a blessing – not a curse! We know this is true, because shortly after creating the world and making man of the dust, “the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Thus Paradise was not a place of constant leisure and no responsibilities. Whether we are thinking of secular work by which we provide a living for our family, or working in the Lord’s service, let’s look and make application of the following biblical principles:

A Comparative Analysis Of The New Birth

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An individual once asked, “My Baptist friends say that “born of water” means the physical birth — how would I go about correcting this ideology?”

How Will We Be Successful In Spiritual Warfare?

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In 2 Corinthians 10:4, Paul uses the word “weapons” [plural]. Thus as Christians, we have not one, but multiple weapons at our disposal in conducting spiritual warfare (cf. Ephesians 6:11-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:8).

Two Links That Are Worth A Look And Our Contemplation

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Dear reader, the following are two links that are worth a look and our contemplation this week:

Jesus Still Weeps

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The shortest text in the Bible is found in John 11:35, where the Scripture says, “Jesus wept.” Jesus was so heart broken over Lazarus’ death, that He “wept” (John 11:1-35). On another occasion, we read again of Jesus’ being heart broken over the fact that God’s chosen people (Israel) had rejected Him as the Messiah. He mourns over the nation and the city (Jerusalem) where Jehovah had shown so much love and mercy for generations:

America's Choice --- A Police State Or God-Directed?

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From Bible Prophecy Blog, comes an eye-opening article written by Chuck Baldwin entitled, “Is America Becoming A Police State?” Mr. Baldwin begins his article with the following story:

Sharing The "Better Life" In Christ

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For many years, we have been told through various media that the American dream is to live the “good life.” That “good life” usually consists of having a good job, owning a nice home, driving a new car, and providing our children with the best secular education possible. In later years, the “good life” is a carefree retirement — having sufficient funds to provide ourselves adequate health care, and the ability to travel and see the world.

Living For Christ Is An Uphill Climb

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There’s no question that living for Christ is an uphill climb — a climb marked by triumph over our weaknesses by God’s grace (2 Corinthians 5:8-15). Like the apostle Paul, we will never achieve a level of spirituality where we can say, “I have arrived, and this is where I’ll stay” (cf. Philippians 3:12-14).

The Necessary Use Of Reason In Bible Study

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As every serious Bible student knows, simply “reading” the Bible is not sufficient to guarantee that one will understand what the Bible teaches. It is not even enough for one to have memorized the entire Bible.

"I Don't Hear A Squeak"

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As this blog writer views it, one of the major reasons why the church is not growing, is because of the simple fact that members no longer personally (in person) communicate with one another as they did before the advent of smartphones (and other digital forms of communication).

Thoughts On Retaining Young People In The Lord's Church

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Brother Stan Mitchell, one of the writers for Forthright Magazine has written a very thought-provoking article entitled, "Where Have All The Young People Gone?" In his good article, brother Mitchell addresses the issue of why our young people are leaving the Lord's church, by asking the following questions:

Backyard Religion

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Is it just imagination, or is history repeating itself? There was time in Israel when there was no government or central authority to see that everything was done right, so “every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6; Judges 18:1; Judges 19:1; cf. Deuteronomy 12:8) — including even building a church in one’s own backyard just to suit himself (Judges 17-18).

The Impact Of Suggestive Music On Our Society

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With the advent of Elvis Presley and The Beatles back in the mid 1950’s and early 1960’s, this writer has seen a steady moral deterioration of our society (the devil operates by degrees – Matthew 4:1-11). When Elvis was first introduced in 1956 on the Ed Sullivan show, gyrating his body all over the stage with suggestive moves, my view of that event was that the future morals of our society were in trouble. Looking at all of the screaming girls and women who attended that performance, only served to substantiate that view.

"The Bridge Builder"

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An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.

Power To Become

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The following above titled section, is from a book that I have in my library, called “Quiet Thoughts” by Paul S. McElroy (Mount Vernon, NY: Peter Pauper Press, 1964), 54-55. In this particular section of his book, Mr. McElroy provides us some positive and concrete ideas on how we can help other folks achieve their full potential, i.e., power to become:

"I Am"

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I was regretting the past,
and fearing the future.

Some Mysteries We Need To Solve

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The following above titled article was written by brother Dan Gibson, former preacher for the Montana Street congregation. In his article, brother Gibson has seen a few mysteries that bother him, and should bother us as well (I have added appropriate Scriptures and article links):

When Evil Prevails

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The following article by an unknown author, is about folks who take advantage of the poor and uneducated in the marketplace:

"Our Heritage"

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It is becoming more and more common to hear many of our brethren speak about “our heritage.” They leave the impression that the reason we do certain things, is because that is the we have done them in the past — that is “our heritage.”

The Difficult Task Of Caregiving

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During the six months that I and my son were the sole caregivers for my late wife, Nancy (who suffered from vascular dementia), I learned from this AARP web site, that there is an estimated 65.7 million Americans who are unpaid caregivers, and a majority of them currently work or have worked while providing care. In providing care for their loved ones, these caregivers found that God, family, and friends were great sources of strength.

Searching For Silence

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The title of this article might be confusing or perhaps even misunderstood. Let me explain. As I was reading Psalm 46:10, God inspired David to write, “Be still, and know that I am God.” How does that happen? The noise of life surrounds us. We are deluged with noise. From the hum of the TV set; radio, MP3 players, to the everyday noise of cars roaring along our street; dogs bark; the garbage guy picking up trash. There is a constant hum which surrounds us….from the first glimpse of the morning sun to our last “goodnight” before bed.

Sharing Some Practical Tidbits Of Wisdom

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A few years ago, I was asked by a parent at one of our local elementary school libraries, to share with her son some wisdom that I had garnered over my lifetime. Why she asked me to provide some wisdom for her son, I do not know, for I am not very wise at times.

God Uses Our "Inconveniences" To Accomplish His Will

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Have we ever been stuck in an foreign airport four thousand miles from home due to flight delays caused by inclement weather? While most of us would find such an inconvenience intolerable, one man experienced God’s providence in his delay. As he waited out his forced stay, he looked for opportunities to connect with his fellow stranded passengers, instead of just staring at the walls.

What Really Satisfies

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The desire to enjoy the good things of life is not wrong in and of itself, for God “gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). Other passages of Scripture welcome us to take pleasure in the eating of food (Ecclesiastes 2:24), having good friends (Mark 5:19; Acts 10:24), and enjoying healthy marriage relationships (Proverbs 5:18). But thinking that we can find “lasting” pleasure in people and things is ultimately an empty pursuit, as Solomon discovered in Ecclesiastes 2:10-11:

What A Grieving Person Needs The Most

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Roberta Levine Waters is an aspiring writer and real estate agent in Framingham, Massachusetts, who has recently written an article for the Boston Globe Magazine entitled, "A Grieving Mom's Request."

Be A Leader!

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Not long ago, I noticed a young man in his teens smoking a cigarette while standing upside a concrete fence. Looking at him smoking, reminded me of my high school years, when my peers wanted me to succumb to the idea of “lighting up” simply because they thought it was “cool.” If I had allowed myself to follow my peers because of their hateful barbs, I would have more than likely acquired the nicotine “fix” that so many young people have acquired through the years. But I decided to be a leader instead of a follower, and as a result, I’m still “smoke free” today. Like my grandmother, I often wondered what “thrill” young people received from putting fire and smoke down their throat and lungs, and I’m still wondering the same thing today.

Finding Rest For Our Souls

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In a time when David was being pursued by enemies who were seeking to take his life, he cried, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest” (Psalm 55:6).

God, The Master Jeweler

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Sister Barbara Hyland, the wife of one of our former elders, has written an above titled article, describing the procedure of how God takes us from an ugly, unpolished stone to a smooth and beautiful gem.

Satan And The Saint

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There is a warfare going on between you and Satan. Therefore, it is essential that you know your adversary and what he is after. The apostle Paul urged the saints in Corinth to be on guard, “to keep Satan from gaining the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his designs” (2 Corinthians 2:11 RSV).

Are You Approved?

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I have become convinced that fewer of us study scripture as we should. Perhaps a few verses here and there. We love Psalms, because it speaks to our hearts. We read the New Testament centered on the Gospel. We also know the basics of the life of Jesus from his birth to his death and resurrection. Great! We listen to the preacher when he quotes Bible verses, usually to prove a point in his lesson. However, we haven’t studied enough to challenge or agree with his assertions. We take what he says as “gospel” because we assume he has been to the proper schools and has earned his right preach to us. After all, we are paying him a salary to study for us so he can impart God’s word. Is this the way we learn about God and His plans for mankind….from the preacher, elders, bible school teacher, friends? I will challenge you on that.

Do Not Disturb!

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One day, a good brother complained that the sermon had the whole congregation disturbed. This was found to be highly exaggerated, but it does point up one interesting fact. We all, in one way or another, resent being disturbed. If we are resting, if we are busily engaged in a very useful work, or even if we are doing something we ought not to be doing, we do not want to be disturbed. We want to continue on course without interruption.

Cleaning Our Closets

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By the first of the year, my kitchen cabinets are a mess. Outdated spices, stale cereal; old cans and jars of unusual things (stuffed cabbage leaves or hot mushroom dip??). You probably have the same problem. I simply must clean those shelves. But did you know that God also demanded a clean kitchen, although slightly different from ours. Pick up your Bible and read Exodus 12. It is about the first cabinet cleaning in history!

The First Bite

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Oh Eve…..how could you? You were perfect. You carried within your body the generations of humanity. Your beauty enhanced all of God’s creation. You were the beautiful complement to Adam. He needed a help mate and you were created (Genesis 2:18-23). Paradise was given to you in all its perfection. The animals were your companions. Yes, there was work to do….keeping order in the Garden (Genesis 2:15), but the Divine Order was complete when you came along. Perfection surrounded you.

A Great Perspective Of Death

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The death of our loved ones bring changes and adjustments for those of us who are left behind. The warmth and associations of former days are gone. The silence, the finality, and the inability to communicate greatly disturb us. But, for the one who has triumphed, there is rejoicing (Matthew 25:21; Revelation 14:12-13).

"Don't Cry Alone"

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The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 resulting in the loss of over 1,500 lives, was indeed one of the major tragedies of the 20th Century. Researchers found that impure rivets that were used in the ship's hull, was a major factor in the ship's demise.

We Love To Love

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Numerous early Christian Martyrs were named Valentine. Which one was actually the hero of Valentine’s day we can’t be sure. There was a Saint Valentine who was persecuted as a Christian by the Roman Emperor, Claudius. He was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and because of this, he was executed. Before his execution, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing the blind daughter of his jailer.

Is My Name "Martha"?

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Jesus had arrived in Bethany, perhaps unexpectedly. Evidently, he was accompanied by some of His disciples. It was Martha who “received Him into her house” (Luke 10:38). Her warmth of hospitality is evident as she sets herself to the task of providing for her guests. We praise Martha for this, and acknowledge that she sets a good example as a hostess.

Do We As Christians Really "Honor" One Another?

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In Romans 12:10 KJV, the Apostle Paul states the following regarding Christians, “Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another.” The term, “honor” (Strong’s 5092) in this verse, means “to reverence, respect, esteem.” The term “preferring” (Strong’s 4285) means “to go before, to lead, to set an example.” These two terms give us the idea of Christians taking the lead in esteeming and expressing respect for their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

"It's What's On The Inside That Matters"

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The story is told of a man who was painting the inside of an elderly lady’s house. In her house, she had a family Bible prominently displayed on the coffee table and remarked to the man that the Bible was 116 years old — a priceless heirloom.

Keeping A Proper Spiritual Balance In Life

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One of the circus acts which always fascinates an audience, is the tight-rope walker. We admire the ability of anyone who can keep life under control and keep dangerous extremes and opposing forces in balance.

Thoughts On Successfully Living With People Different Than Ourselves

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When I was a teenager, my father told my brothers and I that one day, he would not be around to help teach us how to get along with people different than ourselves, so we might as well start learning how to successfully live with them. As I look back on that conversation, I realize that my father was right in providing us with his wise insight.