Monday, August 26, 2013

They Sewed Fig Leaves

By Clifton Angel

     And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons (Gen. 3:7). When Adam and Eve sinned, they tried to cover their nakedness with fig leaves. Notice, they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. Was such a proper covering for their nakedness? What did God demand according to Genesis 3:21? Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. God’s design for covering their nakedness required death, sacrifice, and bloodshed.
     Likewise, when we are living in sin, we are spiritually naked. All accountable souls living today have at some point been spiritually naked, and many remain that way today: For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Sadly, many will be found naked and without the “wedding garment” when the Lord returns (c.f. Matt. 7:13, 14; Matt. 22:1-14), which is a humbling reminder of the commission Jesus gave to us (c.f. Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:16). What must we do to cover our spiritual nakedness? We must be clothed in Christ. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ (Gal. 3:27). God’s design for covering our spiritual nakedness required, death, sacrifice, and bloodshed. “What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!” Jesus Christ...washed us from our sins in his own blood (Rev. 1:5). When does He wash us in His blood? Ananias told Saul, Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins (Acts 22:16). Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (Rom. 6:3). Jesus died, sacrificed, and shed His blood that we might be cleansed of our sins. When we obey His will in immersion in water for the remission of sins, we are baptized into his death, we contact his own blood, and we put on Christ, so that as long as we walk in the light as He is in the light (1 Jn. 1:7-9), we will not be naked.
     However, many today and throughout history have been “sewing fig leaves” and “making themselves aprons”. They are seeking to cover their spiritual nakedness in their own way. O yes, some use the Scriptures to “prove” their plan of salvation, but they do not consider the contexts of those passages, and the whole counsel of God concerning salvation. Some spiritual “aprons made from fig leaves” include: “Be a sincere person”; “Have an experience”; “Hear a voice”; “See the Lord, Himself”; “Only repent”; “Only believe”; “Just pray this prayer”; “See a vision”; “Witness a miracle”, and the list goes on. However, these nine can be directly refuted in the Bible’s account of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. Jesus said, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matt. 7:21-23).

- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website:

You’re Calling From Where?

By Dale Jenkins

     A young lady had been home visiting the folks was heading back home. The weather was a little rough and it began to hail. She had never driven in hail that hard and called her husband on the cell phone to find out what to do. Now, you already know the circumstances, so it won’t be as shocking to you as it was to her husband when he answered the phone and his wife said from the other end: “I’m in hail, what should I do?” (Remember, you can’t hear spelling over a phone line.) I wonder what his reaction was. Here are some possibilities: “Well, it’s a surprisingly good connection.” “Is this a collect call?” “Who’s holding the phone?” “I suppose you’re calling on the red line.”
     Now, surely you know I’m only joking. And I know hell is nothing to joke about.     The only real appropriate answer would be: “Nothing, it’s too late now.” No bargaining with the devil-no pleading with God-when you are in hell the time has passed to do anything about it. (Hebrews 9:27, Matthew 7:22-23). There will be no unrepentant people in hell, no atheists or agnostics or people who plan on doing something about their lives. (Philippians 2:10-11). No, the moment they enter there, they will all be repentant and believers-it’ll just be too late. (Luke 16:24-31).
     The only good news is that if you are reading this, there is still something you can do about it. As long as there is life, there is hope. You can escape hell, but you must do it now, while life lasts. (Romans 6:23).
     Believe. Have faith in the one called Jesus. That He is the very Son of God. The kind of faith that led Abraham to look for a city, (Hebrews 11:10) the kind of faith that made Peter step onto the water instead of into the water (Matthew 14:29), the kind of faith that will cause you to obey Him (Acts 6:7, John 14:15). Repent. It is sin that will send a soul to “eternal destruction”. (Romans 6:23). It is sin that separates man from God. So we must renounce our sinful lifestyles. (Acts 2:38). We must be sorry enough about our sins to determine to try to not commit sin. (Romans 6:12).
     Confess. This one seems simple enough in our society. But it requires that one live by the confession. If Christ be Lord, then all of our lives must be given over to His Lordship. (Romans 10:9-10, Acts 8:37).
     And then you can become one with Christ in the act of baptism. The action in obedience through faith puts one in contact with the blood of Christ. (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, Acts 2:38, Romans 6:1-6, Colossians 2:12, 1 Peter 2:21).
     I don’t care how strong your signal is there will be no cell phones in hell. So you better take care of this now.

- 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:


Monday, August 19, 2013

“Honey, Itʼs Time We Cut Our Contribution”

By Cliff Goodwin

     It is unfortunate that, in the present economy, the above words are likely being spoken in a number of Christian homes. Times are hard, indeed. Cutbacks and layoffs have affected many families who work in manufacturing and retail sectors. Contractors and business owners have likewise suffered the effects of an economic slowdown. All of this means that there is generally less money to go around, and in many instances less money is going to the Lord as well.
     Before proceeding any further, please allow me to make something crystal clear: there may very well come a time in which a Christian family is forced to reduce the amount of their weekly contribution to the Lord‟s church. However, something else needs to be equally clear: the family contribution should not be the first thing cut when budgetary reductions are necessitated. Let‟s take an honest look at some considerations both scriptural and practical.
     First, Christians are to give based on their prosperity, or how much they make. Paul wrote by inspiration, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come,” (1 Cor. 16:2). Naturally, then, when a Christian makes more money, he ought to give more; when a Christian makes less money, he may give less. This is all very straightforward. However, there is a practical observation often overlooked at this juncture. If and when contribution cutbacks are necessitated by the reduction of income, the amount of the cutback should be in proportion to the amount of income lost. For example, a family that loses 10% of its gross income may very well have to reduce the amount of their weekly contribution. Nonetheless, such a reduction should be no more than 10% of what they were giving previously. To cut the family contribution more than 10% in such a scenario would be disproportionate and would essentially mean that the family is using part of their contribution to cover shortfalls in other budgetary areas. Some families give no thought to cutting their contributions 25% or more, when their actual income reductions may be only 10 or 15%. “My brethren, these things ought not so to be!”
     Second, Christians are to put God first in their finances, as in every other facet of life. This principle was demonstrated under the Old Testament by the offering of the firstfruits. “Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine,” (Prov. 3:9-10). God, and our devotion to God, must be the priority of our lives. Jesus clearly emphasized this fact. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,” (Matt. 6:33). “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment,” (Matt. 22:37-38).
     When God is truly first in our lives, such will be manifested in our giving. Like the Macedonians of old, we first give ourselves, and then our possessions naturally follow. “For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely......willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave them- selves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God,” (2 Cor. 8:3-5, NKJV).
     Let us now consider a practical observation in regard to this second Biblical principle. If God is first in our lives, shouldn’t our contributions be the last items cut in our budgets? We live in an age that is filled with so many extras. In fact, there are many instances in which we have deemed various extras as “indispensable.” Most families today have at least two cell phones—many families have more. Few families rely on the old UHF antenna for television anymore. Such has been replaced by either cable or satellite service. Both wireless phone service and satellite television programming come in varying plans and packages—all at different costs. When a family‟s in- come is reduced, shouldn’t cutbacks first be made in the areas of some of these “extras,” instead of the family contribution? A family truly desiring to put God first will seek to “cut all the fat” they can, before reducing their weekly offering to the Lord. The way we sometime treat God is astonishing. God blesses with every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), richly giving us all things to enjoy (1 Tim. 6:17). Then, when hard times come upon us, or reverses are encountered, the first thing to be cut is our contribution! Once again, “My brethren, these things ought not so to be!”

- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website:

“I Thirst”

By Clay Bond

     It has been said that Jesus preached some of His greatest sermons from the cross.  On the cross, Jesus uttered seven statements that teach us how to live.  One of Jesus’ great sermon-statements is, “I thirst” from John 19:28.  This short, powerful statement reminds us who our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is, and what He is all about.
     As with some of the other cross-statements, “I thirst” was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. As Jesus uttered these words, He fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 69:21, “In my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”  In Matthew, the Gospel of Jesus’ Kingship, we learn that Jesus came to fulfill every aspect of Old Testament prophecy (Matthew 15:17-18).  This makes Jesus the theme of the Old Testament Scriptures.
     “I thirst” speaks to us of the incarnation of Jesus Christ.  He was fully human, yet fully God as well.  The Psalmist reminds us about His eternal nature.  “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2).  Jesus, the eternal God, shared in the frailty of the flesh.
     While some religious groups teach that Jesus is not eternal, Paul spoke of Jesus’ eternal nature in Philippians 2:6-7.  “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.”  To say that Jesus did not exist prior to becoming flesh is to reject the revelation of the Holy Spirit.  Sadly, those who make such claims are teaching heresy, and ultimately they reject the eternal Word, who was made flesh (John 1:14).  The Holy Spirit revealed to the apostle Paul Jesus’ eternal nature: “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).  Jesus Himself affirmed that He existed before the world began.  “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which you gavest me to do.  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:4-5).
     When Jesus became flesh, He didn’t empty Himself of His Deity.  What He gave up was His equality with God.  In partaking of flesh and blood, Jesus became the God-man, 100% God and 100% man.  When the eternal Word in His fleshly state cried out, “I thirst,” He showed us His human nature.  He walked with us, He suffered in the flesh, He felt pain and loneliness, and He also became thirsty because He dwelt in the flesh.
     The comfort of hearing our Savior say, “I thirst”, is that we serve a risen Savior who sympathizes with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:14-156).  Jesus knows our weakness for He too was tempted (Matthew 4).  He knows what it is to hurt, to feel forsaken, to suffer and even to hunger and thirst.  It is this that makes Him our perfect mediator, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).  As the God-man, Jesus can represent God with a full understanding of His holiness, justice and righteousness.  As man, He can represent us with a full understanding of our weak and frail nature.  When Jesus carried our cares, concerns and requests before the Father’s throne, He does so with a perfect understanding of who we are, and of who the Heavenly Father is.  When Jesus said, “I thirst,” He showed us His humanity as He shared our pain.  This is the thought that should come to our minds each time we pray to our Father “in Jesus’ name.”                                                                                

- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Tell Me You Didn't Mean It Lord!

By Charles Pogue

     In the sermon on the mount Jesus said: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you” (Matt.5:44). The fact that our culture is geared to watching out for old number one in,no way modifies, tempers, or sets aside Jesus’ instruction. A young woman known to me was heard to say she would lie if it gave her some kind of advantage. One problem with lying to gain an advantage is that the lie despitefully uses someone else. Another consequence of the lie is that it makes the one suffering the wrong an enemy to the liar. The liar will sooner or later face the consequences of the lie, but what about the individual who suffers thewrong brought on by the lie? That is the person Jesus is speaking to in the mountain top discourse. Do good to your enemy, pray for them; bless not curse!
    It isn’t enough to restrain one’s self from picking up a 2x4 board and knocking the liar upside the head. We must bless not curse, and do good to theone who demonstrates hate. Paul wrote to the Romans: “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thoushalt heap coals of fire upon his head” (Rom. 12:20). The apostle doesn’t mean for us to render good for the evil begrudgingly either, because in the very next verse he writes: “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
     When one has been wronged, there are two things to be on guard about: the actions; do not avenge yourself (Rom. 12:19), and the attitude; bless not curse (Rom.; 12:14). With regard to the former, it may not be too difficult to resist picking up the 2x4. It may not be so easy to have the right attitude toward being wronged, but we develop it, because that is what the Lord commands.
     A friend of this writer, a man who served many years as a deacon in the church recently passed away. Some of the past words and deeds by a number of his relatives suggest a war over material possessions may arise. Some of his kin may cheat and defraud other family members. If they do, they will have their reward. But what of those who are mistreated? They will have the difficult task of keeping their actions and attitudes consistent with the teachings of Christ and Paul. However, they have a consolation. It is the same consolation the beggar Lazarus had. The faithful are carried to Abraham’s bosom, and the sinful who have made themselves better off through fraud will have the same end and eternity as the rich man. The difference in where we spend eternity should make all the difference between whether we seek vengeance and harbor a grudge or take wrong joyfully, knowing by returning good for evil, we will have a greater reward than material wealth.

- via the Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the Belvedere Church of Christ, Belvedere, SC.  Ken Chumbley preaches for this congregation, and he may be contacted at their website:

Value of the Valley

By C.B. Hodge

     Most of us are human (I think). We all covet the “mountain.” Mountain-top experiences: success, praise, exciting events and problemfree existence. Imagine being a Moses at Mt. Sinai! What about the Transfiguration with Jesus, Moses and Elijah! The Bible is a book about Mountains! Praise God for Mountains!
     But life is lived “down in the Valley.” Moses led the people in the Valley; Jesus came down from the Transfiguration to heal a demonic son! The strength found on the Mountain is used only in the Valley. Besides, you cannot see the Mountain on the Mountain. The Mountain can only be seen from the Valley. Life is not lived on the Mountain, but in the Valley! Ministry, service, dedication, compassion, mercy, leadership, are for the valley, not the Mountain. The Great Commission given on a Mountain is carried out down in the Valley.
     But most of us want only Mountains. We do well on the Mountain of success and excitement. But we quake and quit when returned to the Valley. But the people are down in the Valley! We are in the “people business.” Christian living belongs to the Valley. Praise God for Valleys!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Power Through the Pen

By Austin Johnson

     In the introduction to his letter, Luke tells us why he is writing about the life and ministry of Jesus. There are three significant statements I would like to call our attention to:
“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us” (Luke 1:1)

     The first statement shows us the power of Jesus’ message. There were many who put effort in to having a full account of Jesus’ life and ministry from Luke’s pen. The point is, people were so moved by Jesus’ life and ministry they were dedicating themselves to the strenuous undertaking of compiling the message.
     Do we have that same dedication today?
“just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us” (Luke 1:2)
     This second statement clues us in on the popularity of Jesus’ message. If no one cared about what Jesus said and accomplished, then no one would have said anything about him.
     But no matter how much people try to deny it, Jesus challenged and changed the world more than any other human being possibly could. Eyewitnesses and ministers were telling everyone they could about the forgiveness Jesus offered to all mankind. They wanted His message to live on through generations and generations.
How many people are we telling about His message?
“it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past” (Luke 1:3)
     The third statement shows us the personal nature of Jesus’ message. What I find significant is the work Luke put in to writing about Jesus’ life and ministry. Luke was inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21), but he still thought it was necessary to follow the life of Christ closely, to observe His message, and listen to other eyewitness accounts.
     How much more work should we put in to knowing the Son, Christ, and our Father, God?

- Austin Johnson serves as youth minister for the Calvert City Church of Christ in Calvert City, KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Selective Alzheimer's

By A.R. “Ross” Gallaher and David A. Sargent

     “The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease (AD). AD is a progressive and irreversible brain disorder. The actual cause of AD is unknown. AD slowly damages, and then destroys, a person’s memory, judgment, reasoning skills, personality, autonomy, and bodily functions” (
     A.R. “Ross” Gallaher’s grandmother had Alzheimer’s.  He recently reflected on lessons learned from her illness:
     I loved my grandmother on my Mom’s side of the family because she doted over her grandchildren. No matter what we did, she always treated us as if we were the best children in the world. Our Christmases were spent in South Florida every year running and playing in the orange groves my grandparents owned. She always had more presents under the tree than I have seen in any other family setting because she was such a giving person and also felt it was important to wrap each gift for anyone on her list.
     These images were only enhanced when my grandmother succumbed to Alzheimer’s. The last time I saw my grandmother alive, she was in a nursing home unable to recognize me, my wife Teresa, or any family member including my mom. I could see that Mom was devastated.  It was such a sad end to the memories and the life of this wonderful lady.
     But though she could not remember family and friends, I noticed that she was tremendously happy. Mom explained that in her mind, she was back home in Troy AL with her playmates and the family members she had when she was a child. She did not know that she was an adult; she was back home in familiar surroundings feeling as safe and happy as any child should feel in the loving protection of her childhood home. She had forgotten any pain, hardship, difficulty or loss given to her by life or humanity. Everyone was her friend or possible playmate.
     Though I would not desire this disease on anyone, one element is worth examining for its glorious value...
     Alzheimer’s causes memory loss over time. What would the world be like if we only knew the good, happy memories of life? What would your life and my life be like if there were no bad memories, none? Who are you if forgiveness really did work? What would people say about you if the only parts of your life revealed to others were warm, wonderful expressions of joy and contentment? Life would be blissful; a perfect example of the kind of life Jesus wanted us to have.
     Jesus asks us to forgive because He has offered us forgiveness. Jesus asks us to love because He loved us first. Jesus asks us to have an abundant life because He gave us access to one. Jesus asks us to forget because He has forgotten our faults.
     Given the choice, I choose “selective Alzheimer’s” – abundant life here and eternal life with the one who remembers me as His child.*
     YOU can become God’s child by... placing your  faith and trust in Jesus, God’s Son, who died on the cross for our sins (Acts 16:30-31), turning from those sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  Then, by continuing to follow Him, YOU can experience the abundant life now and receive eternal life to come.
     Won’t YOU accept God’s offer on His terms?

* In loving memory of Annie Mae Childs (Ross' grandmother) and all our loved ones affected by Alzheimer's.

- 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:

The Cross From Seven Viewpoints

By Wade Webster
     From the viewpoint of the Jewish leaders, it was about SILENCE. The Jewish leaders knew that the world was going after Jesus (Matt. 27:18), and they were afraid that the whole world would believe on Him (John 11:48). When they couldn’t stump Him or snare Him with their questions (Matt. 22:15-17, 35), they decided to silence Him by slaying Him (Matt. 26:3-4). As you know, even this didn’t work. He arose three days later, and His apostles boldly preached His resurrection (Acts 2; 4:18-30, 33; 5:17-29, 40-42; 6:7; 17:6).
    From the viewpoint of Judas, it was about SILVER. Judas was a thief and a traitor (John 12:4-6; 13:28-29). He covenanted with the Jewish leaders to sell Jesus for the “goodly price” of thirty pieces of silver (Zech. 11:12-13; Mt. 26:15).
     From the viewpoint of Pilate, it was about SELF-PRESERVATION. Although Pilate knew Jesus to be innocent (Luke 23:4; Matt. 27:24), he caved in to Jewish pressure to crucify Jesus (John 19:12-13; Mark 15:15). He sacrificed Jesus in an effort to save himself (John 12:25).
     From the viewpoint of the Roman soldiers, it was about SPORT. The Roman soldiers brought Jesus into the common hall and mocked Him (Matt. 27:27-31; Luke 23:11; John 19:2-3). At the foot of His cross, they cast lots for His wardrobe as they watched Him writhe in pain (Matt. 27:34-35).
     From the viewpoint of the Father, it was about SUBSTITUTION. In His grace, God sent Jesus to taste death for us by taking our place on the cross (Heb. 2:9; Rom. 5:8-10; Isa.53:5, 11; 1 Pet. 2:21; John 3:16; 1 John 4:9-10).
     From the viewpoint of the Son, it was about SUBMISSION. Although the cross meant great shame and suffering for Jesus, He submitted to the Father’s will and went to the cross (Matt.26:39, 53; Heb. 5:7-9; Heb. 12:2; Phil. 2:8-9).
     From the viewpoint of the saints, it was about SALVATION. The early Christians saw the cross, and the blood that was shed there, as the means of their salvation (Matt. 26:28; Acts 20:28; Rom. 5:9-10; 6:3-4; 1 Cor. 1:18-24; 6:19-20; Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18-20; Rev. 1:5; 7:14).

- via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg Church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL.  You may visit their website at

Glorify God in Your Body

By Roelf L. Ruffner

     “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Cor.6:20). In our efforts to dwell upon our duties to our Savior as Christians we often forget our body. When Jesus died on the cross for my sins He not only laid claim to my spirit but my body as well. I am to be His servant: spirit, mind and body.
     Yet that isn’t the way it usually works. We love Jesus and our neighbor. We worship God “in spirit and in truth” (Jn.4:24). We don’t drink alcohol, use illegal drugs, dance, fornicate, dress immodestly, or do anything that will bring reproach upon our Master and His bride – the church of Christ. But in other ways we neglect our bodies, “the temple of the Holy Spirit” (I Cor.6:19).
     This principle came home to me about six years ago. While moving boxes I almost ruptured two discs in my lower back. My doctor said that they could heal, if I took care. For eight months I did not drive a car or do several other activities. To avoid future back surgery he said I should also lose weight, taking some pressure off that injury. I began to give this serious thought. I have always had a weight problem and have lost (and found!) hundreds of pounds in my life.
     I thought, “Should my weight loss be for spiritual reasons not just health and appearance concerns? Was I glorifying my Savior by ignoring my weight?” When the world sees me digging my own grave with a knife and fork, what does it say about my discipleship? “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom.12:1).
     It grieves me to see otherwise faithful Christians who do not practice self-control (cf. 2 Pet.1:5-8). They continue to smoke, chew and dip tobacco in spite of the many dangers to their health. They overeat, disregarding their doctor’s warnings about heart problems, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. I know many are quietly fighting this battle and I am thankful for their vigilance. But others are apathetic and seem to have a secret death wish.
     We must always seek to look at things the way our Father in Heaven does. For example, our neighbor borrows our automobile for a few days. After a period of time he returns it with a flat tire, a burned out engine, stains all over the upholstery, and a broken headlight. He then pushes it into our driveway and thanks us profusely for its use. We are upset and disappointed. Perhaps this is the way God feels when we do not take care of His present to us – our bodies.
     At the end of time will we present Him a legacy of a battered body which did not glorify God? Or will we have a history of a body worn out in use to His service? The choice is ours to make each day. “….as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Phi.1:20).

- Roelf L. Ruffner, Columbia, TN

Monday, August 5, 2013


By Jim Faughn
    I am writing these words with some trepidation. I fully understand that we are in a presidential election year and that anything written or said about a particular candidate could be volatile.
    For that reason, no candidate or party affiliation will be mentioned.
    However, as I was listening to a speech recently, one of the candidates made a remark about his “take” on the importance of family. I thought it was worth passing on to those who may read these words.
     The candidate said that he wears a bracelet with the letters FAMILY on it. He said that those letters remind him about his own philosophy about what a family is (and maybe his role in that family.
     According to him, the letters stand for ---
I have no way of knowing whether or not this idea is original with the candidate. He may have borrowed the idea from some other source.
     Come to think of it, there is another source with a very similar idea. We’ve heard preachers and others talk about that Greek word agape for years. We’ve heard that, as used in the Bible, it means something like a “sacrificial, serving kind of love.” It is said to be a kind of love where we want what’s best for the other person.
     Six short words could make a major difference in a lot of marriages (and other relationships for that matter). Those six words may or may not be a good “campaign slogan.”
     They would, however, put a lot of divorce lawyers and marriage counselors out of business.
     They would help our homes to be much closer to God’s design than is the case in so many places today.
     You don’t need a bracelet. You just need to look the members of your family in the eye (and maybe hold their hand) while you say (and mean), “Forget about me. I love you.”

- Jim Faughn serves as an elder and preacher for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: 

Seize The Moment

By Gary L. Hutchens
     Some time back I read an article encouraging people to "seize the moment." The idea behind the statement is to do good things as opportunities present themselves; don't put them off until some supposed better time. It could be simple, little pleasures or more important, more profound opportunities. The point is, we commonly put things off until a more ideal time, and we often end up losing the moment and the opportunity. How many joys are missed and pleasures not enjoyed simply because we thought we couldn't do something right then?
     Think about it. How many times have you put off doing something you really wanted to do until some imagined time in the future when circumstances would be just right, or at least better? I read of a man who going through the things of his deceased wife. In one drawer he found some especially fine lingerie that she had bought. She was saving it to wear on some really special occasion. It had never been worn, for she died before any such occasion came along.
     How many times have your children asked you to play with them only to have you put them off until a better time, when you were not so tired or when you'd have more time or when a program that you wanted to watch on TV was not on? Have you ever wished you had some of those opportunities back? How often has your husband or wife tried to say something to you, only to have you "shush" them up because you were listening to something on TV? A leading cause of divorce in our nation is a breakdown in communication between husbands and wives.
     How often have you been asked to go to lunch or go somewhere or do something with someone who cared about you, only to automatically respond with some reason why you couldn't do it? How many trips to see grandma get put off until a better time? How many places that you really want to see never get visited because you're always waiting for better circumstances?
     The same thing happens in our spiritual lives. How often have you put off calling or visiting or sending a card to someone who was sick or shut in, only to find out they were better, or maybe had died, before you got around to it? How often have you thought about contacting a brother or sister who was missing services, or seemed to be struggling spiritually, but they stopped coming altogether before you found the time? How often were you asked to make a visit to someone who needed some attention, only to respond with some reason why you couldn't do it? How many have meant to "start back to church," only to sink deeper into unfaithfulness? How many parents have talked about "going back to church," getting their children in Bible class, but never did and the kids grew up without the Lord, maybe ending up in serious trouble? How many people have said, "I know what I need to do..." but never did, and died lost?
     The apostle Paul gave us an important truth to remember when it comes to our spiritual obedience: "Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2). The principle behind that truth makes the point of this article. We have the moment at hand. It is the only time of which we are assured. Take hold of it, make the most of it. Use it while you have it. Do what you need to do and what you should do while you have the opportunity. Serve the Lord now, for you don't know if such a time will present itself again. Seize the moment...

- via the Nile Street Notes, the weekly bulletin of the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL; R. W. McAlister preaches for the congregation and may be contacted through the congregation's website:


Why I Still Wear a Tie to Church

By David F. Reagan
     In an age when shorts, sweatpants, and bare midriff (sometimes all at the same time) are considered acceptable attire for most churches, I stand out like a wooly mammoth. In this day of extreme casual, more and more men are throwing away their ties when they go to church. Like some newly awakened Rip Van Winkle, I still wear mine. I thought I would tell you why.
     Nothing in the nature of a necktie either compels us to wear it or condemns it though some have tried to connect it to an evil beginning. Those who use it practice the tradition of giving honor to our Lord by dressing up a bit when they go to meet with His people to worship Him. So I ask: Is this practice encouraged or discouraged in scripture?
     In the parable told by Christ in Matthew 22:11-12, the king expected each of his guests to come with the proper “wedding garment.” Not to do so was to show disrespect for the king and for the occasion. In like manner, our forefathers felt it important to come to church with clothing that showed proper respect to the Lord and to the occasion. In different times and places, that proper respect was shown in different ways. But it was shown. Even the Saturday night bath was established for the purpose of being physically clean and properly trim on the Lord’s Day.
    Today we swerve boldly in the other direction. We energetically oppose dressing especially for church. Many even consider it hypocritical to do so. We should come as we are and avoid any pretense. But do the dress patterns of today prove that we have a greater sincerity and are more genuine than our predecessors? I think not.
    The slouchy dress that we see in worship services directly corresponds to our flippant attitude toward meeting with our Maker and Saviour. We have lost our respect for the spiritual dimension of God meeting with His people. Now, we want to dress like we would at a backyard barbecue. God is everywhere. Why approach His house with any more formality than we would enter the neighborhood grocery store?
    The key word for today is comfort. “Why shouldn’t I feel comfortable? After all, my comfort is the main thing. I’m not going to go out of my way for anyone--even God.” We exult in our come-as-you-are philosophy. Our services have become user-friendly for everyone except God. More and more, He seems to be left out in the cold. O how we love ourselves unto death!
    The Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes may be a tradition that is quickly fading away. But it was a good tradition and one whose parting is just another sign of the times--the last times. Where is our sense of awe in the presence of God? He says He dwells in the midst of us when we meet with Him (Matthew 18:20). The church is the people, not the building. When the people of the church meet, they become the “house of God” (1Timothy 3:15); they become His dwelling place. What a special privilege to enter into His presence!
Psalm 96:8-9 “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.”
    When I meet with the congregation of the Lord, I count it not a burden, but an honor to give extra pains in preparation, in physical cleanliness, and in dressing up. I count it a privilege to wear my Sunday best. Any discomfort I may feel from a tie about my neck, from a coat about my body, or from clothes too good for playing kickball is offset by the solemnity and wonder of the occasion.
    It is seldom that we in America get to suffer anything for the Saviour who suffered so much for us. The least I can do (and I mean the least) is to honor Him by dressing more formally when I come to His church than I do for other events. Certainly, I can suffer a necktie for Him.

- via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg Church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL.  You may visit their website at