Contagious Courage

Thomas Carlyle

Fear seems to be contagious. Ten of the twelve men who were sent to explore the land of Canaan came back with a fearful report, which caused the people to rebel against the Lord (Numbers 13 and 14).

However, courage is contagious as well. When God told Joshua that he needed to be strong and courageous as he led the Israelites into the Promised Land, Joshua then encouraged the people to be brave. They responded with the boldness and courage necessary for the mission (Joshua 1).

Thomas Carlyle said, “Tell a man he is brave, and you help him to become so.”

Let us always take courage from the Lord, with the idea that we will in turn help someone else be courageous as well.


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Catching Fish

A man was returning home from an unsuccessful fishing trip when he stopped at a fish market. He told the person working behind the counter, “Toss me two of your biggest fish.”

“Excuse me?” the confused worker replied.

“I said to toss me two of your biggest fish. I told my wife I was going to catch some fish for dinner and that’s exactly what I plan to do!”

Jesus tells us to catch people, and that’s exactly what we ought to do!

“…From now on you will fish for people.”—Luke 5:10.


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Sober Living

For some reason, April 20 has become a day when many people celebrate the use of marijuana. Those who enjoy participating in this particular vice make sure that they get together with some like-minded friends and smoke some of their favorite intoxicant.

Public opinion seems to be trending toward legalization of recreational use of marijuana. Continued attempts to ban it may not succeed any more than prohibition’s attempt to end alcohol consumption.

I suppose that those who prefer spending at least part of their lives in an altered state will always find a way to do so. However, the Bible consistently urges us to avoid drunkenness and pursue a clear-minded, sober life. This is not just good advice for people driving automobiles. It is necessary for those who want to take firm control of their lives to choose sobriety, thus avoiding the many painful mistakes made by those who have chosen not to live a sober life.

“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.”—1 Peter 4:7.


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Too Late!

Eva Harrison, a senior at Lafayette High School in Lexington, Kentucky, missed her prom last Saturday. She forgot to buy her tickets! She made all of the other preparations, but she didn’t remember to buy the tickets before the deadline. Because of safety concerns, the school doesn’t allow last-minute ticket purchases. Eva made a plea to be an exception, but school officials held firm on their policy, and Eva missed the prom.

Many people feel that the school should have shown more grace in this instance, but there is something to be learned here. We need to get ready for important events! We need to make preparations for the return of Jesus! There will come a time when it is too late to get ready. The time to prepare is now!

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come”—Matthew 24:42.


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President Bush and Barbara

People from all over the world are mourning the death of Barbara Bush. The former first lady passed away Tuesday night at the age of 92.

Of all of her many accomplishments, perhaps the most impressive is the fact that Barbara and her husband, former president George H. W. Bush, were married for 73 years! Their years together contained both great joy and great sadness, but theirs is a love story for the ages. The part about her passing that saddens me the most is to think that their love story has come to an end.

Or has it? Those of us who believe in Jesus understand that we will one day be reunited with our loved ones who have died in Christ. What a wonderful reunion that will be!

So, for those married couples who trust in Jesus, the love story never comes to an end. It simply awaits a glorious climax!

“For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”—1 Thessalonians 4:14.


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A Question of Salvation

The leaders of a certain church decided that they wanted to reach out to the poor people in their community. So they designed programs to benefit the needy, and eventually many of them, including some homeless people, were attending the worship service every Sunday.

One lady in the church was uncomfortable about the new faces at church. She told the preacher that she wasn’t sure that the church should be welcoming “these people”.

“I don’t want anyone to go to hell”, said the preacher.

“I don’t want them to go to hell either”, the woman replied.

“I wasn’t talking about them!”, the preacher responded. “I was talking about you!”

According to what Jesus says in the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matt.25), our attitude and actions toward the poor are taken into consideration when our eternal destiny is being decided.

That should make us think. And think hard.

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”—Matthew 25:45-46.

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Good Heritage

Linda Click remembers the time she sat down with her daughter and explained with pride that her grandfather was a preacher, her great-great grandfather was a preacher, and her great-great-great grandfather was a preacher. To which the young girl replied, “Wow! We sure come from a long line of grandfathers!”

Those of us who have a heritage of faith should appreciate those family members who instilled in us the truth of Christianity. We should always be thankful for our legacy of faith.

“I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”—2 Timothy 1:5.


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Giancarlo Stanton

This past offseason the New York Yankees acquired power hitter Giancarlo Stanton in a trade. Stanton led the major leagues last season when he blasted 59 home runs for the Florida Marlins. Stanton will beef up an already powerful Yankee lineup that includes last year’s rookie sensation Aaron Judge, who hit 52 homers last season.

Someone pointed out that the Yankees have a long-standing tradition of having power hitters on their team. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Reggie Jackson and Alex Rodriguez are some of the famous sluggers who played for the Yankees. It seems that the Yankee organization has power in their DNA.

Let us remember that the church has power in our DNA also. We have the Holy Spirit living in us to give us strength and power to accomplish great things for the Lord. Let’s use that power to do mighty things for God!

“To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.”—Colossians 1:29.


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Get Rid of that Spare Tire

Many people are dismayed because they have picked up a few pounds over the years. They are right to be concerned. There are many health issues that are complicated by carrying around excess weight.

There is also a spiritual dimension associated with our striving to remain fit. The Bible warns against gluttony (Prov.23:2) and encourages exercise (1 Tim.4:8). Also, there is the danger that giving in to our physical desires can dull our senses spiritually. Perhaps that is why there is so much in the Bible about fasting. Proverbs 23:19-21 says, “Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path: Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.”

Let us not fall into the trap of giving in to our physical desires to the point that it makes us spiritually drowsy.


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Death Brings Reconciliation

Have you ever noticed that death often brings about a reconciliation? Sometimes a family comes back together after the passing of a loved one. Friends may put aside their differences after they have lost someone they both loved. Sometimes an entire congregation can see reconciliation occur because of a death. Death often brings about a reconciliation.

The death of Jesus Christ brings about the most important reconciliation of all. God has reconciled us to himself by the death of his Son Jesus on the cross. Because of his great sacrifice, we can have fellowship with God.

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”—2 Corinthians 5:18-19.


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