Need a Better View

Listen to Gary Johnson explain something he calls “peephole” driving.

“I grew up in Michigan where people do ‘peephole’ driving. People who live in the frozen north have likely been peephole drivers a time or two. Peephole driving happens after a night of snowfall and plummeting temperatures. In the morning, because we are in a hurry to get to work or school, we scrape a small opening in the ice and snow that encases the windshield. We start the car and turn up the defroster, but it throws more frigid air against the glass. So, we keep wiping the personal-pizza-size circle above the steering wheel with our hands. We carefully drive down the snow-covered street, peering out of our peephole at other drivers peering back at us through their peepholes. Peephole driving in the winter is an apt picture of what it’s like to go through life with limited vision and understanding of the Bible.”

This sounds dangerous!

“My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.”—Hosea 4:6.

 

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How We Treat God

Someone once said that we treat God like we treat a policeman. When we are driving 70 miles per hour in a 55 miles per hour zone, we don’t want to see a policeman. But when someone is breaking into our house in the middle of the night, we hope that a policeman is nearby!

That is so true! When we are doing something that we aren’t supposed to do—which is far more often than we would like to admit—we hope that God doesn’t notice. However, when we are in need of help, we don’t hesitate to call out to God, asking him to come to our rescue.

We should realize that God is always watching over us, and we should behave accordingly.

“Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!”—James 5:9.

 

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Still the Same

The Georgia Dome comes down

The Georgia Dome was imploded this week. The stadium hosted many athletic events, concerts and other activities in its 25 years of existence. The structure was not all that old, but the desire for nicer, more modern facilities won out in the end. The Dome came down in a heap of rubble, leaving the new stadium nearby to carry on in its place.

Stadiums come and stadiums go, but the Bible lives on. The Word of God will never outlive its usefulness, nor will it ever be replaced with anything new.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”—Matthew 24:35.

 

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Paying Attention

Ruth and Nolan Ryan

Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan always took a moment during his games to pop his head out of the dugout and scan the stands, looking for his wife, Ruth. When he saw her, he would grin or nod to acknowledge her presence. Then he would turn his attention back to the game once again.

It was a simple moment, but one that was very important for Ruth. She appreciated this gesture that was repeated countless times over a span of some thirty years, dating back to high school. His consistent attention spoke volumes of his love for her.

Let us be consistent in how we acknowledge those we love. It is not always the big, memorable moments that are the most important, but the continual attention we direct their way.

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”—Romans 13:8.

 

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Choose Wisely!

Monte Hall died of heart failure on September 30, 2017 at the age of 96. Hall will be most remembered as the creator and host of the long-running popular television game show “Let’s Make a Deal”. The congenial Hall was universally well-liked and will be fondly remembered for his philanthropy as well as his contributions to the entertainment industry.

Contestants on “Let’s Make a Deal” would have the opportunity to trade what they had already won on the show for an unknown item. They would often have to choose between one of three different doors. They could end up with a prize worth thousands of dollars, or a gag gift that was practically worthless. The result of their choices could be very exhilarating or quite disappointing.

When it comes to eternity, we don’t have to choose blindly. Jesus tells us that we should trust him, and him alone, for our salvation. Please choose wisely!

“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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In Control

Laura Smith writes: “Our young daughter was learning the fruit of the Spirit, so I asked her to recite them to me. ‘Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and remote control!’”

You have to appreciate the young girl’s effort, but perhaps her misquote points out a weakness that many of us have—we watch too much television. There is nothing wrong with watching an occasional program. TV offers us a chance to escape from the grind of everyday life and unwind for a while. It also provides us with news and information that may help us to live better lives. Television can encourage and inspire.

However, perhaps we need to exhibit the self-control that allows us to use the remote control to turn off the TV set and do something more constructive.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is…self-control…”—Galatians 5:22-23.

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Stay Focused!

There is always a lot of commotion going on in Washington, D.C. Many groups and individuals are constantly striving to make sure that their interests and special causes are in the national debate. It can become difficult to sort through all the noise and focus on what is important. One politician calls this chaos “weapons of mass distraction.” I think his point was that all of this commotion makes it much more difficult to get anything done in Washington.

We have to stay focused on getting things done for God’s kingdom. Satan has many “weapons of mass distraction” that he uses in an effort to get us sidetracked. We have to be diligent in staying on course, focusing on what is truly important.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”—Matthew 6:33.

 

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Take a Stand

In the passage of Scripture where the apostle Paul says that we need to put on the full armor of God (Eph.6:10-20), he urges us several times to take a stand. He wants God’s people to use the power God gives us to resist evil and stand firmly in favor of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Many professional football players have chosen to kneel or sit during the playing of the National Anthem before NFL games this season. Their decision has been met with disapproval from the great majority of fans and other members of our society. Tone deaf to public opinion, many players continued their unpopular protests. The sound of booing that cascades down from the partially filled stadiums across the nation seems to be saying loudly and clearly—“We want you to stand!”

Throughout the Bible God says to us loudly and clearly that he wants us to take a stand. He wants us to stand against evil. He wants us to stand for what is right and good. With all the evil going on in the world around us, it truly is time to take a stand!

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”—Ephesians 6:11.

 

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Giving Thanks

It has been said that Thanksgiving is a very confusing holiday for atheists. They have all these feelings of gratitude, but no one to whom they can give thanks!

Most of us know that there is a God who pours out countless blessings into our lives. James 1:17 reminds us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above…”

We also know that God expects us to express our thanks to him in meaningful ways. The words “thank”, “thankful” and “thanksgiving” appear in the Bible in various forms 150 times. Let’s look at a few of the ways we can give thanks to God.

First, we can give an offering. Psalm 50:14 says, “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High.” Beyond the tithe that belongs to God, you can give extra offerings to mission work or benevolent efforts that are made for the cause of Christ. There are many ways you can show your gratitude with your giving.

Second, we can appreciate our healing. Only one of the ten men healed of leprosy took time to thank Jesus (Luke 17:11-19). Perhaps God has brought healing to you or a loved one. Have you properly thanked him?

Next, we could pray. Colossians 4:2 reminds us, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Too often when we pray we go straight to our “wish list” instead of taking time to count our blessings and thank God for them. I suspect that many of us need to add more thanksgiving to our prayers.

Another way to show God the gratitude he deserves is by singing to him. The Bible has a lot of singing in it—a whole book of Psalms for example. Ezra 3:11 says, “With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: ‘He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.’” A thankful heart will occasionally burst into a song of praise and thanksgiving.

Finally, we can exhibit thanks by worshiping God. Hebrews 12:28 urges us, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” Hearts that are truly thankful make an effort to be in the assembly on Sunday morning.

These are just some of the many ways we can show our gratitude to God.

For Christians, thanksgiving should be much more than a holiday—it should be a lifestyle!

 

 

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The Lord’s Army

This Saturday is Veterans’ Day in the U.S. It is a time when we remember those who served in the military in the past and those who currently serve. We thank them for their sacrifices that attained and preserved the freedom that we enjoy in this great nation.

We also must remember that we Christians are in the Lord’s army. We enlisted when we chose to follow Jesus. Our battle is of a spiritual nature, but that does not mean that it is less real.

In his book Let’s Get Moving, Stuart Briscoe shares the following: “From my experience in the armed forces I have learned that the soldier needs to be thoroughly aware of three things. He needs to know who his enemy is, he must be fully conversant with his own equipment and be clear about his own area of responsibility. Should the occasion ever arise where a soldier in battle cannot identify his enemy, doesn’t know how to operate his equipment and has no idea what he is expected to do, it is highly unlikely that he will survive, much less triumph!”

Our enemy is the devil, our equipment is the armor of God (Eph.6:10-18) and what we are expected to do is to follow the orders of our commander, Jesus Christ. If we don’t understand this, we cannot hope to be victorious.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”—Ephesians 6:10-11.

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