Monday, September 27, 2010

Somebody Must be Sick

By Harry Middleton

Physical ailments seem to be impossible to eradicate. About the time medical science produces a cure for a disease, another takes its place.

That which is true physically seems to be true spiritually. About the time a specific spiritual malady is corrected, members of the church seem to "come down" with another spiritual ailment (1 Cor. 11:29-30).

Physical sickness is sometimes produced by what has been eaten. What we eat spiritually will also make us sick spiritually unless we are very careful. Spiritual food that is contaminiated with denominational error will give one spiritual food poisoning. Too much denominational theology with too little of God's Word will produce spiritual sickness. From what is seen, heard, and read today, there must be a great amount of sickness in the church of our Lord.

Somebody must be sick to declare that the biggest problem in America today is the problem of racial prejudice.

Somebody must be sick to engage in Bible chair work for the church of Christ and not be positive about his faith in the virgin birth of Christ.

Somebody must be sick to have published in a daily newspaper a sermonette in which it is declared that God has children in other religious organizations than the church of Christ.

Somebody must be sick to teach that social drinking is a matter of Christian liberty.

Somebody must be sick to teach that the five acts of Christian worship: singing, prayer, teaching, the Lord's Supper, and the contribution; are matters of tradition rather than matters of faith.

Somebody must be sick to suggest that we meet denominationalism half-way, and that we engage in a program of compromise in order to have religious unity with religious error.

Spiritual sickness seems to be prevalent among some members of the church of Christ, especially those who are caught up in a movement of liberalizing and modernizing the church, and the docrinte of the New Testament. Many of those who are sick are as those who have gone before, "sick unto death." Many of them will recover from their spiritual illnesses and will be able to become useful servants of the Lord. But, they must accept and apply the prescription of the Great Physician.

- Harry Middleton works with the Lebanon Road church of Christ in Nashville, TN. Adam Faughn serves as the pulpit minister for the congregation, and he may be contacted through the congregation’s website at:

Where Could I Go?

By Ron Thomas

The sentiment of “where can I go?” is an important question that each of us must ask and answer. Peter asked and answered it (John 6:68-69*). It is important that we do the same. Contrast this song** of praise to the Lord with those who live and die in this world.following that which cannot save. On “Huckabee” one evening (Fox News, 11-28-09) there was a segment on the role music plays in the lives of our military personnel as they are in high stress situations. We all can appreciate that. We know the role it plays in our lives without the high-stress situations they face. The kind of music listened to does not compare, however, with the joy of the heart toward God when salvation resides deep within. Because of His salvation, what is it that we give to the Lord? That which we offer to the Lord is to be our very best—and our best is to be the totality of our persons (Romans 12:1-2).

*John 6:68-69—“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of life. And we believe and are sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

**Chorus to the song, “Where Could I Go?”:

“Where could I go,
O where could I go,
Seeking a refuge for my soul?
Needing a friend to save me in the end,
Where could I go but to the Lord?”

- Ron Thomas serves as preacher and an elder for the Highway church of Christ, Sullivan, IL He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Monday, September 20, 2010

What Should You See?

By Tom Moore

There is a story of a beggar who was sitting across the street from an artist’s studio. The artist saw him and thought he would make an interesting portrait study. So, from a distance he painted the defeated man whose shoulders drooped, and whose eyes were downcast and sad. When he was finished, he took the portrait over to the beggar so he could look at it. “Who is that?” the beggar questioned. The painting bore a slight resemblance to himself, but in the painting before him he saw a person of dignity, with squared shoulders and bright uplifted eyes, almost handsome. He asked the artist, “Is that me? I don’t look like that.” But the artist replied, “But that is the person I see in you.”

Hidden in all of us is potential. We have the ability to perform great accomplishments and opportunities to make a difference. But our greatest potential of all is described by John: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:1-3). There is the amazing potential in all to be called the sons of God and to be like Jesus. We can approach this spiritual potential through our obedience to the commands of God (Heb. 5:9). Perhaps you see failure—but God sees potential! What should you see?

- Tom Moore preaches for the Avenue T church of Christ in Temple, TX. Tom is also one of the editors of “Seek Ye First,” a free quarterly gospel journal. He may be contacted through the congregation’s website:

To Obey Is Better

By Kevin Williams

Would anyone argue that there are no sacrifices involved in the practices of those in various religious institutions throughout the world? On the contrary, there are many sacrifices that are made by many religious people in many ways. Consider Buddhist monks. They sacrifice much socially and monetarily by living their lives in solitary temples. Consider the Amish. They sacrifice the comforts and conveniences of technology in order to live differently from the rest of the world. Consider those in “Protestantism.” There is a lot of sacrifice of time, efforts and money in order to exist and function in their religious affiliation. The same could, and should, be said of the Lord’s church.

Yet, consider the question “Is what is being sacrificed what God asks?” Asked in another way, “Are the sacrifices that are being offered based on the Word of God?”

In the text of 1 Samuel 15, King Saul (Israel’s first king) was told by God to “Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and to not spare them” (v. 3). He was talking about the Amalekites. They were the ones who ambushed the Israelites at Rephidim as they were coming up out of Egypt (Ex. 17.8ff). To “utterly destroy” them meant that they were to devote all the people and all their goods to destruction, to totally annihilate them in war (man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey). What did Saul do?

Saul proceeded to set an ambush in the valley near the city of Amalek. He allowed the Kenites to leave because they had showed Israel kindness when they left Egypt. He then attacked “from Havilah to Shur” (from Arabia across the Sinai Peninsula). However, since Saul and the people were unwilling to utterly destroy ALL of them they spared King Agag and the best sheep, oxen, fatlings, lambs, and all that was good to SACRIFICE to the Lord. The problem with the actions of Saul and the people was that God did not want them to be taken and sacrificed to Him, He wanted them utterly destroyed. Furthermore, Saul’s stark disobedience caused God to regret making him king in the first place.

Saul’s responses to Samuel are interesting. He continually insisted that he had done the Lord’s will even though the evidence suggested the contrary. First, Saul told Samuel, “Blessed are you of the LORD! I have performed the commandment of the LORD” (v. 13). Samuel knew that he had not done so because he heard the sheep and oxen he brought back. Saul did that part of God’s will that he wanted to do. He did not fully obey. Samuel describes Saul’s disobedience as “evil.” I wonder if we are ever like that? Do we pick and choose what we want to do? Or, do we have the conviction to do what God wants regardless of the circumstances? To do otherwise, according to the text, would be “evil!”

Second, Saul reassured Samuel that he had obeyed the Lord, but that “the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal” (v. 21). He tried to “pass the buck.” He blamed the disobedience on the people. I wonder if we are ever like that. When we come up with excuses for not obeying God (whatever those excuses are), we are the ones who are at fault. We cannot place blame on anyone when we fail to do what God wants us to do.

The text concludes with Samuel telling Saul, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams” (v. 22). The truth is that God delights more in obedience to His Will than to sacrifices that we might make that are not authorized in His Will! Furthermore, God does not accept just any sacrifice or worship, only what He prescribes in His Word. So let each of us remember that when we offer sacrifices to God in our daily Christian lives that those sacrifices must be based on His Word and not what we, or anyone else, decide to offer Him. If we follow this basic principle we will truly understand that “to obey is better!”

Think about it.

- Kevin Williams preaches for the Walnut Grove church of Christ in Benton, KY. He may be contacted through the church's website:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

And God Said No

I asked God to take away all my trials and God said no.
The trials you face on Earth will make you stronger and will help you learn more about the gifts that I have given you. Although I will not take away your trials, I promise that I will always be with you to help you to overcome your trials if you ask me.
I asked God for wealth and God said no.
The gold and silver that you gain here do not compare to the salvation that you can earn through my Son.
I asked God to teach me about Him and God said no.
I have sent you prophets, the Holy Ghost, and even My Son to teach you. Go and learn about Me from them.
I asked God to heal my only child and God said no.
I know your pain for I sacrificed My Son for you, but even as I had a plan for My Son, so have I for yours.
I asked God if He loved me and God said yes.
That is why I let My Son die for you, that is why I have been sending prophets to you, and that is why I will never leave you.
I asked God to help me love others as much as He loves me and God said ...
Ah, you’ve finally got the right idea.

- Author Unknown; via the Lake Hills Letter, weekly bulletin of the Lake Hills church of Christ in Chattanooga, TN. Shane Robinson preaches for the congregation, and he may be contacted through their website at

An Imperishable Crown

By David A. Sargent and Mike Eddlemon

A recent radio program carried the story of a man who was walking behind the campus of a nearby State College when, in the distance, he saw what looked like a HUGE “treasure chest” filled with gold and silver, shimmering in the sunlight. Upon closer inspection however, he discovered that the “treasure” was actually a collection of “trophies” of every shape and size that had been piled high in a dumpster!

The college was simply repeating a ritual of clearing their shelves and cabinets of all the old trophies, plaques and awards received over the years in order to make room for the next generation of college students.

As he gazed upon the glittering spectacle, he realized how these trophies in the dumpster might accurately represent all the worldly achievements, ideals and struggles of man such as fame, popularity, wealth, and power. And he could see their ultimate end – to eventually be discarded as “worthless” and then crushed and ground to dust!

Gleaning a lesson from a sporting event with application to living the Christian life, the Apostle Paul wrote:

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.
They do it to get a crown that will not last;
But we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
-- 1 Corinthians 9:25

The trophies of the world will not last (see 2 Peter 3:10), but Christ offers to us an “Imperishable Crown” – the crown of LIFE (James 1:12).

One day, each of us will stand before the Judgment seat of Christ...
On that day ALL will recognize that the GREATEST accomplishment was what Jesus did for us on the cross: He died for our sins so that we might receive the crown of eternal life!

Jesus has promised to give the crown of life to those who: place their faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38), and live faithfully to Him for the rest of their lives (Revelation 2:10).

The glory of the crown made possible through the cross of Christ motivated George Bennard to pen the following words:

So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

Won’t YOU lay down your worldly, perishing trophies TODAY and submit your life to the Savior so that you may on THAT DAY, receive the “Imperishable Crown”?

- David A. Sargent / Mike Eddlemon; David is the minister for the church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water." To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

An Inheritance Awaits

By David A. Sargent

An old legend tells of an old lonely man who, one cold dark night, wandered along the Rhine River . Thinly dressed and half-starved, he noticed a huge mansion brightly lit. As he came nearer, he could see the warm fire burning in the fireplace, the table laden with food, and he could hear the music as it floated out on the breezes of the night. Driven by hunger and cold, he knocked upon the door to beg for shelter for the night. An old servant answered the door and through the weathered face recognized the long lost heir to the mansion and estate. Here was a man wandering without any idea that he would be warmed, filled with food, and comfortable because he suddenly became quite wealthy. *

Similarly, many wander through life not realizing that each of us can become an heir to an ETERNAL inheritance that is more valuable than anything on earth!

Unfortunately, due to our sin we are unfit and unqualified to receive the inheritance. In fact, our sin condemns us to eternal destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).

But God loves us so much that He gave His only Son to die on the cross for our sins so that we might have forgiveness of our sins (Colossians 1:14) and be made “heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7).

The Apostle Peter wrote about this inheritance that awaits Christians:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.”
1 Peter 1:3-4

YOU can become a child of God and a co-heir with Christ (Romans 8:16-17), if you will place your faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be born again in baptism (immersion) for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; cf. John 3:3-5). Then, if you will follow Him faithfully (Revelation 2:10), one day you will receive the inheritance that He longs to give to you.

Because of Jesus, YOU can become a heir to an ETERNAL inheritance “that can never perish, spoil or fade.” God has something wonderful FOR YOU–IF- you will only accept it on His terms.

Won’t YOU?

- David A. Sargent, minister for the church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water." To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website:

* Gene Cloer,

The Grumbler

In every town and city
Some people can be found
Who spend their time in grumbling
At everything around.
They grumble if we speak to them;
They grumble if we don’t;
They grumble if we visit them;
They grumble if we don’t.
The grumble at the preaching;
They grumble at the prayers.
They grumble at the singing;
They grumble everywhere.
But if we live for Jesus
And persecutions bear,
When we get to heaven,
There will be no grumblers there!

- Author Unknown; via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY. Lance Cordle preaches for the congregation. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: