Amazing Spectacle

According to some reports, the August 21 total solar eclipse was perhaps the most watched event in American history. A study conducted by the University of Michigan says that about 215 million American adults watched the eclipse, either directly or on video. 88 percent of the population viewed the event—nearly twice as many as the 111 million who watched this year’s Super Bowl.

It is amazing that so many people wanted to watch the sun become hidden by the moon. If only that many would be so excited about the Day when the Son of God will be revealed in all of his splendor and glory!

“…This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”—Acts 1:11.


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The Cost of Water

On Sunday, September 24, the temperature reached 86 degrees in Gillette Stadium for the game between the Patriots and the visiting Houston Texans. This was a bad day for the concession stands to run out of bottled water, but they did.

What happened next really got some people hot. The concession stands started charging fans $4.50 for a cup of tap water!

Needless to say, some people were outraged. Patriots’ spokesperson Stacey James apologized, saying, “That should not have happened!”

No matter what the price of water might be, the spiritual water given by Jesus is always free!

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”—Revelation 22:17.


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One Way

Roy Moore recently won the Republican nomination in the race for the U.S. senate in Alabama. Moore has earned a reputation for being a conservative Christian who consistently takes a stand for biblical values.

This, of course, has won Moore a great number of enemies in the liberal media. They are quick to list Moore’s “sins”. Among their accusations is that Roy Moore has labeled Islam as a false religion.

It is sad that people have such a lack of biblical knowledge that they do not know that all Christians understand that Islam is a false religion. Jesus clearly and consistently claims to be the only true path to salvation. It logically follows that in order to trust Jesus as your Savior, you must believe in what he says about himself and repudiate the false claims of all who contradict him. Christianity is not merely one of many legitimate ways to believe. It is the only true faith.

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”—John 14:6.

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Virginia resident Rachel Myrick was recently bitten three times by an 8-inch copperhead snake inside a Longhorn Steakhouse. Myrick received the bites before she even made it to her table. She was briefly hospitalized for treatment. Myrick says that it could take three months to fully recover from the incident.

Longhorn spokesperson Hunter Robinson says that the snake may have come in from a nearby retention pond. This is a highly unusual incident, and the management of the steakhouse is evaluating their facilities and taking steps so this doesn’t happen again.

When the Israelites sinned in the desert, the Lord sent venomous snakes among them. Many were bitten. The Lord told Moses to make a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake, they could come and look at the bronze snake, and they would live (Numbers 21:4-9).

The whole human race has in effect been snake bitten. We have all suffered from the consequences of sin. God has given us a remedy. He had his son Jesus hung on a cross. Anyone who comes to Jesus for forgiveness can escape spiritual death.

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”—John 12:32.


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Encouraging Dialogue

The whole nation is talking about the NFL players’ protests that are taking place before games, as some players have chosen to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem. Most Americans seem to prefer that the players would find another way to speak out against social injustice. While these players do have a right to express their opinion, their means of doing so has angered a great number of people.

President Trump fueled the fire with some inflammatory comments a few days ago, calling the protesting players a vulgar name. The response from players resulted in many more of them taking a knee at this past weekend’s games.

Ironically, the result of all this seems to be less talk, and precious little action, on the matter of social justice. If the players’ intention was to draw attention to this issue, they appear to have failed up to this point.

President Trump has not proven to be helpful in addressing the racial tension in the country. He has talked about uniting the country, but his remarks have brought further division.

Both sides do have something in common—a lack of respect for other people.

President Trump’s rude language directed toward the protesting players has done nothing to cause them to want to listen to his viewpoint. Instead of building a bridge, his rhetoric has constructed a barrier that keeps the two sides apart. His attempts to make a deal have been somewhat less than artful. The players feel disrespected, and therefore have little desire to participate in any dialogue that might eventually prove to be constructive.

The protesting players fail to see why so many average Americans are angered by their refusal to stand for the flag and the National Anthem. These citizens feel that they are being disrespected, along with our country and the military and police who sacrifice to keep us safe.

While the answer to this problem is complex, part of the solution will be to show some respect. It is as simple as that.

“Give to everyone what you owe them…if respect, then respect…”—Romans 13:7.


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The Two are Related

A couple of young classmates were having a discussion on their first day of school after summer vacation. “How did you spend your summer?” one asked. The other kid responded, “I spent half the summer doing what I wanted, and the other half I was grounded.”

You have to wonder if the youngster ever made the connection between the two!

Many people have a difficult time figuring out that their choices have consequences. Generally speaking, you usually end up better off if you choose to do the right thing. On the other hand, poor behavior tends to lead to unpleasant circumstances.

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”—Galatians 6:7.


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The city of Georgetown, Kentucky is considering a ban on wearing masks in public. This proposal has been brought forth after numerous occasions of people in various locations around the country committing acts of violence while wearing some type of covering over their face.

I don’t know if the idea to ban masks will gain a lot of support, but I do understand the reasoning behind it.

If only we could enforce a ban on wearing a mask in the church! Jesus had some harsh warnings for people he called “hypocrites”—those who would figuratively wear a mask and pretend to be someone very different from who they actually were.

Let’s do all we can to keep masks out of the church!

“…Do not be like the hypocrites…”—Matthew 6:5.


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What Do You See?

A teacher once gave a simple test to her students. They were each given a sheet of paper with nothing on it except a small black dot in the middle. The teacher asked the students to write a short essay about what they saw on the paper.

The students wrote about mistakes they had made, or things that aren’t right in life. They were quite imaginative about what might be represented by that small black dot.

After the teacher had some time to examine the essays, she pointed out that every single student had focused on the black dot. No one had written about the rest of the sheet of paper. Their eyes were all trained on what they thought should not be there.

In life, there is the temptation to dwell on the bad and ignore the good. The Bible urges us to look for the good and to count our blessings. Maybe this story will help us to do just that.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”—Philippians 4:8.


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House of Prayer

I found a huge praying mantis on the door of our church building two different days recently. I don’t know anything about the territorial habits of these weird looking creatures, but it seems fitting that this one was hanging around a church building.

Many people associate a church building with the act of praying. This is appropriate. Remember what Jesus said when he cleared the temple—“…My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations…” (Mark 11:17).

Whether we are gathered together on Sunday morning or scattered about being the salt of the earth throughout the week, let us remember what even the praying mantis seems to know—God expects us to pray!


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Hypocrites in Church

Occasionally you will hear someone say that they don’t attend church because of all the hypocrites there. They don’t want to hang around with people who put on a mask and pretend to be something that they aren’t. They would rather not spend time with those who claim to follow Jesus but live in such a way as to deny their professed beliefs.

Those who stay away from worship services because of the hypocrites are the victims of faulty logic. You don’t test the value of a diamond by looking at fake jewelry. You don’t assess the worth of paper money by examining counterfeit bills. Neither should you determine the worth of the church or the gospel message by looking at the life of a hypocrite.

Rather than look at how people have failed to live up to the truth, we should look at the truth itself. The truth is that salvation comes only through Jesus Christ (John 14:6) and that those who have been saved will meet together for worship or face the prospect of experiencing God’s eternal wrath (Hebrews 10:25-31).

Here is the bottom line: if you choose to avoid spending a little time with hypocrites on Sunday morning, you may be looking at spending an eternity with them! That doesn’t seem like a very smart choice!


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