There’s Something About That Name

Ernie Johnson

The studio commentators covering the NBA Playoffs for TNT have been using comments they receive from viewers via Twitter to spark some witty conversations. Before the Monday, May 15 Game 7 between Boston and Washington, one viewer comment started off by using the name “Jesus” as a swear word. Remarkably, no one on the TNT crew edited the tweet, and it appeared in its entirety on the television screen.

Ernie Johnson, the studio host, was given the task of reading the tweets on air. To his credit, Johnson, a devout Christian, omitted the offensive use of the Lord’s name as he read the message.

What do we take away from this?

First, we see how far our culture has fallen morally—to see that someone would send such a message to be read on the air, and that the message would actually make it to our television screen. That never would have happened in years past.

Second, we notice that some people, like Johnson, still revere the name of Jesus and refuse to misuse it in any way. (See the Third Commandment for more on this.)

Finally, those who do misuse the name of Jesus in this manner inadvertently point out his Deity. No one swears by the name of Buddha or Mohammed or any other religious leader. It is the name of Jesus that has the power.

There truly is something about that name!

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”—Exodus 20:7.

 

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That’s One Benefit

A woman was once being interviewed on her 102nd birthday. One of the reporters asked her about the benefits of living past the century mark. She wittily replied, “There is no peer pressure!

Peer pressure certainly is a factor that gets a lot of people in trouble. It’s not just true for young children and teenagers. Adults can also be lured into temptation by hanging around the wrong crowd. We all have to be careful not to be influenced in a negative way by our peers.

“Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’”—1 Corinthians 15:33.

 

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Something to Smile About

A group of people once experienced an earthquake in California. After being literally shaken, most of the group were emotionally shaken as well. While unharmed, they were somewhat dazed and concerned that perhaps there was a bigger quake yet to occur at any moment.

One person in the group, however, was seemingly unaffected by the earthquake. He had a smile on his face as he checked on the wellbeing of his friends. One of them asked him, “How can you smile like that right after a California earthquake?” He responded, “I rejoice that I have a God who can shake the world!”

“People will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from the fearful presence of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth.”—Isaiah 2:19.

 

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My Favorite Sound

Sharon Fleming says that when she was a teenager, their family took cross-country trips each summer. To keep the peace, they each took a turn choosing a cassette to play in the car tape player. No one was allowed to complain or comment about another’s choice.

Her mother liked to listen to hymns. Sharon chose contemporary Christian music. Her brother preferred rock. Her Dad? He always thought the best thing was a 90-minute tape that was blank!

They say that silence is golden. I guess some people believe that to a greater extent than others!

Most people agree that it is good to have some peaceful, quiet time throughout the day. In a world filled with so much noise, we might have to do some planning to make that happen.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”—Mark 1:35.

 

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It’s Still True

A Bible college professor and his wife were involved in a serious automobile accident. When he regained consciousness, the professor was on a stretcher, preparing to be loaded into an ambulance. He glanced a few yards away and saw a first responder pulling a sheet over his wife. He knew immediately that she had not survived the crash. For all he knew, he too, could die from his injuries. With an urgent sense of purpose, he spoke to the EMT beside him—“Make sure that my students hear this—Romans 8:28 is still true!”

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

If you love God, there is no tragedy that can occur in which God cannot bring about something good. In a world full of tragedy, that’s good to know!

 

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I’m Ready

It’s fun to watch youngsters play baseball and softball. Sometimes they don’t listen to their coaches very well, which leads to some frustration on the part of the coaching staff.

However, sometimes they do listen.

One little girl’s coach had obviously told her to be ready in the batter’s box. Ready she was, with her eyes steadily riveted on the pitcher and her hands tightly clenched around the bat handle. Crouching slightly in her stance, this young lady could have been the poster child for readiness. Even when the pitch got away from the catcher and rolled to the backstop, and the catcher’s return throw to the mound went beyond the pitcher and had to be retrieved by an infielder…this girl never lost her focus! Every split second, she was ready!

Jesus says we must be in a constant state of readiness for his return. He will come at a time when many are unprepared, like a “thief in the night”. We mustn’t be caught off guard!

“What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”—Mark 13:35.

 

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I Have My Reasons

An elderly lady who had never been married was planning her funeral. One of her requests was that all of her pallbearers be female. The funeral home director thought this to be an odd request, so he asked her why she didn’t want any men to be her pallbearers. She replied, “They wouldn’t take me out when I was alive; I don’t want them to take me out when I’m dead!”

While most people do have a desire to get married, many do not. They prefer being single. According to the Bible, there is nothing wrong with this. Paul the apostle says that those who are single can devote more of their time and energy to the Lord’s work (1 Corinthians 7:32-35).

Too many times we Christians have been guilty of disregarding the Bible’s teaching on singleness. Well-intentioned people have made single people uncomfortable with their choice not to marry. Some have even pushed others toward marriage, when it might not be right for them. Let’s try to be more discerning about such matters.

 

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Good Financial News

When it comes to finances, there is good news and there is bad news. The bad news is that the average American has almost no money in the bank. The good news is that the average American is $20 trillion richer than the United States government!

The best news is that the Bible is filled with excellent teaching on how to handle our finances. Jesus talked extensively about the importance of handling our wealth properly. The Proverbs contain excellent advice on how to handle our money.

Most Christians could stand to learn how to better manage their finances. Most churches could stand to do more teaching on money matters. We need to stop neglecting such an important subject that affects so many people in so many ways.

“Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.”—Proverbs 28:19.

 

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Birth Pains

April and her baby

It seems like April the giraffe was in the news all spring. She finally gave birth to her calf after, what, six weeks of labor? Maybe it wasn’t that long, but it sure seemed like it! I think that baby giraffe’s birthday is April 11-16!

This well-publicized birth reminds me of Romans 8:22—“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

The fall of mankind had a wide-ranging effect on all of creation. Sin not only made life more difficult for humans, the whole earth was subjected to frustration and decay. Storms, earthquakes and other natural disasters are just some of the ways that we see creation groaning. This won’t stop until Jesus returns and makes everything new. Paradise will then be restored.

Meanwhile, the birth pains continue.

 

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Coarse Language

Stephen Colbert

Late night television host Stephen Colbert is taking some heat for his recent opening monologue, in which he used vulgar language to make disparaging remarks about President Donald Trump.

I don’t regularly watch Colbert, but I have enjoyed some of his comedy over the years. While he has shown a propensity for pushing the envelope when it comes to common decency, I have given him the benefit of the doubt, partly because Colbert has been a Sunday school teacher.

I don’t know if Colbert still teaches Sunday school, but if he does, I imagine there may be an interesting conversation in the near future between Colbert and his pastor!

While the public discourse has become coarser in recent years, we who claim to follow Jesus must not lower our standards for speech.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”—Ephesians 4:29.

“Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”—Ephesians 5:4.

 

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