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Showing posts from September, 2015

Rising Above Our Problems

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One of the pitfalls of living in our troublesome world is that we can become problem-centered rather than God-centered. When this happens, we lose proper perspective. Gradually, all our problems begin to look huge and the strength of Almighty God seems small. Instead of moving mountains by faith (Mark 11:23), we become constant worriers, creating mountains of needless pressure for ourselves and others.

Tree And Temple Or Temple And Tree?

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An individual once asked, “In Matthew 21:12-22 We see Jesus cleanse the temple (Matthew 21:12-13) and then leave the city (Matthew 21:17) and then curse the fig tree (Matthew 21:19). In Mark 11:12-18, we see Jesus curse the fig tree (Mark 11:13-14) and enter the city (Mark 11:15) and cleanse the temple (Mark 11:15-16).

Certainties That Bring Comfort

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A few years ago, one of our beloved elders went to be with his Lord. His passing from this life vividly reminded me that death affects all mankind — both young and old, male and female, rich and poor. Death is no respecter of persons (Ecclesiastes 3:18-20; Ecclesiastes 8:8; Hebrews 9:27).

"I Am Crucified With Christ"

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The correct attitude that we as Christians should have toward the call of the world versus the call of God, is exemplified in the apostle Paul when he told the Galation brethren:

Let's Look For Common Ground

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Roman emperors are not generally remembered for their wisdom, but there are a few exceptions. One such exception was Marcus Aurelius, a great thinker and emperor of Rome, who ruled from AD 161 to 180. Gifted with a brilliant mind, he was indeed one of the great intellectual rulers of Western civilization.

The Preservation Of The Bible Is A Blessing From God

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After substituting in our local school libraries for almost fourteen years, I have found that my favorite sections of the library are history and biographies. Let’s imagine for a moment if one Saturday morning we showed up at our local library, only to find our favorite books reduced to a pile of ashes.

Apologetics Press Articles Focusing On Islam

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This morning, I noticed that the Apologetics Press website has an interesting article written by brother Dave Miller entitled, "Ben Carson and Islam."

The Solution To The "Passing The Buck" Syndrome

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Recently, I read where a city employee in one California city, sued the city for damages after he backed a dump truck into his own parked car. The man’s argument was that because the city’s vehicle damaged his private vehicle, the city owed him $3,600. As ridiculous as this sounds, passing the buck to others has been a basic human trait since the beginning of time.

Pre-Campbell Christianity

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On various Internet Bible forums this writer has been a member of in past years, forum members of the denominational persuasion have posted the claim that churches of Christ were originated by Alexander Campbell.

Hannah --- An Unselfish Woman Of Godly Character

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The first seven chapters of the book of 1st Samuel record the end of the period of the judges. Samuel was the last judge of Israel. In 1 Samuel 8:1-22, we read that the people demanded a king.

Are Churches Of Christ "Breaking With Tradition?"

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In January 2004, reporter Craig Bird of the Associated Baptist Press, authored an article entitled, “Even in Churches of Christ, There’s No Sign of Ceasefire in Worship Wars.”

Immaculate Conception Or Deception?

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On December 8, 1854, Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti “” known to the Roman Catholic world as Pope Pius IX, announced the doctrine known as the “Immaculate Conception.” According to this teaching Mary, the mother of Jesus, was conceived in the womb of her own mother without inheriting the sin of Adam, an inheritance often referred to as “original sin.”

God's Perfect And Proven Word

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From time to time I’ve heard people say, “The Bible is important, but it’s not all there is to a relationship with God.” It’s certainly true that our relationship with God cannot be limited exclusively to mere book knowledge, even if that book is the Bible.

"Do I Have To Be There?"

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Regarding church attendance, this writer questions why any faithful child of God would ever ask such a question as “Do I have to be there?” in the first place. Unless there is a compelling reason that prohibits attendance, where else and with whom else would a child of God want to be than with the saints? (cf. Acts 2:42; Romans 12:9-10; Romans 15:30-32).

The Blessings Of Hospitality

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In Acts 16:14-15, we read about the conversion of Lydia and her household. It’s interesting to note that she had a godly character which included caring and hospitality. As visitors to her home, she made Paul and Silas feel welcome, loved, and cared for. So much so, that she issued them this compelling invitation: “….she begged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.’ And she constrained us” (Acts 16:15).

God Knows Us Individually

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A synagogue official by the name of Jairus had an extremely sick daughter at the point of death. Jesus was on His way to Jairus’ home when great multitudes thronged about Him. Suddenly Jesus sensed power going out him and He said, “Who touched My clothes?” (Mark 5:30). His disciples were taken back because they said, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?'” (Mark 5:31).

Daniel's Pattern Of Prayer

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If we’re Christians, we’ve probably heard the story about the 85-year-old man who was arrested for praying. Who was he you ask?

Where Is The Temple Of God Today?

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There existed in Jerusalem an elaborate temple constructed by Solomon. David had wanted to build God a house but God would not allow him to do so, because he was a man of "blood" (1 Chronicles 28:3), so Solomon was given the privilege. Its construction is recorded in 1 Kings 5-6.

The "Fruit Of The Spirit" Demands Good Fruit

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Since farming was a common employment in the first century, it became the background for a very common figure used in Scripture. For example, Jesus identified false prophets by their behavior and He used vegetation and its produce as an appropriate figure, (Matthew 7:15-20). Jesus also used fruit to describe the spiritual production of disciples (John 15:1-7). The parable of the sower (Luke 8:4-15) and parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30) are also “farming” illustrations.

Proper Preparation Will Produce Proper Results

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Not long ago, I overheard an exchange between two brethren who were arguing whether gospel meetings still have an effective place in the work of the church. One brother contended that they are a waste of time and resources. The other brother argued for the opposing view.

Our Dwelling Place

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When Abraham was 75 years old, God called him to leave the land of his father. And being advanced in years, he departed for the land of Canaan. He was rootless, homeless, literally “not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8; cf. Genesis 12:1-5).

America The Beautiful?

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The following is an email from one of my Christian brothers consisting of a writing penned by Judge Roy Moore, the former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, in which he wrote:

The Pope And The Catholic Church

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Since the Pope is speaking before a joint meeting of Congress today, I thought it appropriate to post two eye-opening articles relative to the Pope and the Catholic Church.

Let's Not Starve Our Children!

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Through the news media, we hear of negligent parents starving their children to death. We are sickened to hear of such inexcusable conduct, not to mention its deplorable consequences. Any parent who truly loves their children would never dream of depriving them life-sustaining food. However, even the most concerned parents sometimes lose sight of what is the most essential food for their children — the word of God. Consequently, multitudes of young people are being neglected when it comes to being fed the word of God which is "able to make them wise for salvation" (2 Timothy 3:15).

The Results Of Simply Preaching And Teaching Christ

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To simply preach and teach Christ, we must point people to “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), and “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). Preaching Christ to folks is showing them His character to be imitated (1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6), His authority to which we must subject ourselves (Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Acts 3:22-23; Acts 7:37), and His commands to be totally obeyed (Hebrews 5:9; 1 Peter 1:22; cf. 1 John 2:3-5).

Baptism And The Conscience

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Our conscience is a valuable moral governor — a bell that rings, a light that flashes, in keeping with our understanding of what is right and wrong. However, our conscience is not the standard of absolute truth (John 17:17; cf. Psalm 119:142,151).

Let's Not Ignore The Great Virtuoso!

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A few years ago, I read an interesting Washington Post news story about a young man who positioned himself against a wall beside a trash can at the L’Enfant Plaza station in Washington, DC, pulled out his expensive violin, and began to play. In the next 43 minutes, as he performed six classical pieces, 1,097 people passed by, ignoring him.

Let Us Be "Fools For Christ's Sake"

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Before Paul was to speak before the Athenians, certain philosophers asked, ‘What does this babbler want to say?” (Acts 17:18). W.E. Vine defines the literal meaning of the word “babbler” as “seed collector,” used in Greek slang for a half-witted sort of person who picks up bits of information he does not understand. In other words, the philosophers called Paul a “fool” or “seed picker.

Why Churches Die

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The following are observations of this writer over a period of forty years as to why churches die.

Our Giving --- Some New Testament Principles And Guidelines

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A querist asks, “According to the New Testament, how much should a follower of Christ give to the work of the Lord?

Looking At Self-Denial

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When Jesus spoke, He not only did so in positive terms but also conveyed truth using negative expressions: “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33).

A Piece Of History Is Now History

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As I was reading "'An American Original,' Yogi Berra, Dead at 90'" by American Thinker writer, Rick Moran, I immediately thought of the street that I have lived on for 25 years was named after this great American Icon (Yogi Berra Circle). What a tribute to one of the greatest baseball catchers who ever lived and played the game!

Paul's Method Of Teaching

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Luke records Paul’s entrance into Thessalonica “where there was a synagogue of the Jews” (Acts 17:1) and provides insight into Paul’s method of teaching:

"Get Behind Me, Satan!"

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Shortly after Simon Peter made his confession to Jesus (Matthew 16:13-20), the gospel account next records the following exchange between Master and disciple:

Headline Chasers Or Heaven's Heroes?

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There are Hollywood celebrities who determine which charities they will contribute to, which social functions they will attend, and what acts of generosities they will perform based upon the mass of media coverage. Unless the news media can guarantee their face on the ten o’clock news and their names in the headlines, forget counting on them for anything!

A Question Regarding Conversion

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An individual once asked, “What is essential to conversion?” New Testament conversion is begun by the sinner being taught the Word of the Lord (Acts 8:29-39; Acts 17:1-3; Acts 18:24-28). David tells us, “the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul” (Psalm 19:7).

There's Water In God's Saving Plan

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In Genesis Chapters 7 and 8, God chose water as the means of destroying mankind with the exception of Noah and his family (Genesis 8:15-18; 1 Peter 3:20) Thus water became a “dividing line” between the filthy and the cleansed.

A Question Regarding The Word "Baptize"

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An individual once asked, “Can you please explain the root meaning of the word ‘baptize’ as it is used in the New Testament?”

The Coming Of Elijah The Prophet

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In Malachi 4:5-6, we read of Malachi’s prophecy regarding the coming of Elijah the prophet: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.

The Peaceful Nature Of Christ's Kingdom

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An individual once asked, “David once thought of the idea to build a house in order to properly honor the Lord but was not permitted to do so because he was a man of war (1 Chronicles 22:7-8). My question is, If God was with David during his battle campaigns giving him victory over his enemies (cf. 1 Chronicles 14:10; 2 Samuel 8:6 ASV), why was he not allowed to honor God by building him a house?”

"Is Anything Too Hard For The Lord?"

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When the messengers of God told Sarah and Abraham that they would have a son despite their great age — Abraham being ninety-nine years old and his wife Sarah ninety — Sarah’s reaction was perfectly understandable:

Stories Still Worth Repeating

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As a small boy growing up in a rural community, I can still vividly remember my Bible class teachers reading the stories of Noah’s ark and the flood (Genesis 6-8), Samson and Delilah (Judges 14-16), David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17), Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 6), and Jonah and the great fish (Jonah 1-2). These spiritually rich and exciting stories of the Bible were never meant to be outgrown. There are profound spiritual lessons still to be learned from the amazing accounts of those who faced giants, floods, and fish (Romans 15:4).

"Walk As Children Of Light"

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For almost 70 years, my Aunt Lee lived confined in a wheelchair because of crippling rheumatoid arthritis (see video), yet she never once complained about her circumstances or condition. She was self-educated and well-versed in the Scriptures.

The Content Of Our Character

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In one of his most famous speeches, Dr. Martin Luther King longed for his children to grow up in a world where they would be judged “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” (source).

Spiritual Success Rests In God's Hands

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Over the past fifty years, there have undoubtedly been countless Christians more concerned about honoring Christ than advancing themselves. Many have worked behind the scenes performing a servant’s tasks with a smiling face and joyful heart.

The Last Day --- A Day Of Rejoicing Or Grief?

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There’s an old sacred song we sing from time to time that contains the following words in the chorus: “When we all get to heaven, What a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, We’ll sing and shout the victory“ (see video).

Acts 8:26 --- A Question

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A querist asks, “In Acts 8:26, it says that the area where Philip met the Ethiopian eunuch was desert. My question is, If the area was desert, how could there have been enough water available for Philip to have baptized the eunuch?”

Our God Is With Us "In This Place"

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Our God is with us wherever we go. Of a certainty, He is in the commonplace, whether we know it or not. Jacob said of a most unlikely spot:

The Cure For Spiritual Ignorance

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There’s no doubt that New Testament Christians are the most spiritually blessed people on the face of the earth (Ephesians 1:3). The church of our Lord has more highly educated members in the secular sense than ever before in its history. But for all of our secular education, we have never experienced more members destitute of a knowledge of God’s word than today (Hosea 4:6).

An Expression Of Our Gratitude To God

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The story is told of a father and mother who, in honoring the memory of their son killed in World War II, gave a sizable check to the church. When the presentation was made, the mother whispered to her husband, “Let’s give the same amount for our other boy!”

"Go With The Flow"

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We’ve all heard the popular saying, “Go with the flow.” To some people, that saying means behaving as most other people do without trying to swim against the current of the culture. To others, it speaks of being more accepting of circumstances without trying to control everything that happens. But for followers of Jesus, there’s another dimension of “going with the flow.”

Do We Have To Be Spoon-Fed Into Heaven?

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Of all people on earth, Americans have the blessing and privilege of having easy access to a Bible. There are Bibles everywhere, in every version (or perversion) imaginable. And yet, we don’t appreciate the easy access we are afforded in having a Bible close at hand, because we very rarely open them — even in Bible class.

Are We A Graduate Of Adversity?

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History tells us that when a society becomes addicted to pleasure and luxury, it soon ceases to exist through self-destruction. Tribulation ensures our survival by helping to instill within us the qualities of discipline, independence, and creativity. Paul said that adversity helps create perseverance, character, and hope.

Information Overload And Satan

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Author Emma Bracy has recently written a very informative article dealing with information overload, and why it is so important to unplug all of our digital devices from time to time, so that our minds can rest and better focus on the real priorities of life.

Preachers Are Simply Servants Of God

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The denominational concept of a preacher and his responsibility as set forth in a popular denominational creed-book that reads:

"Rejoicing To See Your Good Order"

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In Paul’s letter to the Colossian brethren, he encourages them with these inspired words: “For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ” (Colossians 2:5).

"Honor Your Father And Your Mother"

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The “first commandment with promise” is to “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12; cf. Ephesians 6:2). While this promise was physical in nature, there can be no doubt that many will miss heaven because of their narrow selfish hearts shutting out feeble and needy parents.

Ceasing Our Evil Lifestyles

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Like so many other prophets of God, Micah spoke to a people hardened by sin (cf. Hebrews 3:7-12). They were a “religious” people, but theirs was a empty shell of religion in which God was not pleased (cf. Micah 6:6-7; Isaiah 1:12-15). Yes, they “professed” to worship, but their worship had become only a ritual — it was nothing more than “will worship” (Colossians 2:18-23 KJV; cf. Matthew 15:1-9; Titus 1:14).

Entering The Door Of God's Truth

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The entrance to the door of God’s truth begins with a simple determination to “know” (cf. John 8:32). The time spent in "searching" the Scriptures (Acts 17:11), will refresh our spirit, enlarge our understanding, and enhance our spiritual development.

Where The Real Danger Is

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In today’s hostile world, we face a danger that has caused far more devastation than any band of terrorists could ever conceive. It is a danger that claims millions everyday, placing us in constant risk of loss — not just the loss of mortal life, but of everlasting life.

Never Fear In Proclaiming The Gospel

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In Revelation 21:8, we learn that those folks who are “fearful” will end up in eternal torment.  They are classed with the unbelieving, the abominable, murderers, and all liars — a rather unsavory company to say the least. There are “fears” which are necessary in the Christian life — such as a deep, abiding respect for God (Hebrews 12:28; Romans 11:20), and “fear” lest Christians stray from Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3).  Such “fears” are in keeping with a strong faith in God.

Bible Challenges

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The Bible presents to us the following challenges:

Is God's Word Lost Today?

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There is a sense in which the Word of God is lost today. When one puts aside (or hides) any of God’s instruction, that instruction becomes of no effect to that person. The person is like many of the Jewish leaders in Christ’s day:

Apologetics Press --- Another Bible Study Tool

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One of the most useful Bible study tools on the Internet is the Apologetics Press website. The good brethren who produce this site, use the most scripturally sound and scientifically accurate materials in apologetics among churches of Christ.

Reading Is One Of The Keys To Understanding The Bible

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The apostle Paul once stated to the Ephesian brethren, "if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)" (Ephesians 3:2-3).

Are We Enthusiastic For Christ?

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The poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once said about enthusiasm: “Every great and commanding movement in the annals of the world is due to the triumph of enthusiasm. Nothing great was ever achieved without it” (source).