Vengeance Is Mine!

A mother heard her 4-year-old son let out a scream, so she came running into the room. There she saw her two-year-old daughter pulling mightily on her brother’s hair. Mom gently released the little girl’s grip and comforted her son, “There, there. She didn’t mean it. She doesn’t know that hurts.”

Mom was barely out of the room when the little girl let out a loud scream. Rushing back in, she asked “What happened?”

“She knows now,” the boy replied.

“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”—Romans 12:19.

 

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Eye of the Beholder

Abraham Lincoln

A mother once came to President Lincoln to ask him to spare the life of her son who had been sentenced to death. After listening to her pleading, Lincoln issued a pardon. As she left her meeting with the president, she exclaimed to the man who accompanied her, “I knew it was a lie!”

“What do you refer to?” the man asked.

She replied, “Why, they told me he was an ugly-looking man, but he is the handsomest man I ever saw in my life!”

Those who aren’t attracted to Jesus simply haven’t comprehended the fact that he has offered them a pardon from eternal death. Once they understand this, Jesus becomes the most handsome man they know!

“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”—1 John 2:2.

 

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Warning Signal

The railroad crossing about a mile from my house has a warning signal with flashing lights and mechanical arms that come down when a train is approaching. This warning signal malfunctioned recently. The lights were flashing and the arms were down, but there was no train nearby. Drivers cautiously drove around the arms of the signal and went on their way. A worker came out later that day and fixed the problem.

I suppose an even greater problem would be if the warning signal malfunctioned in a different way—by not flashing its lights and lowering its arms when it was supposed to do so. After all, that’s what a warning signal is for—to warn people of impending danger. If it doesn’t do its job, the result could be tragic.

Part of our job as Christians is to warn others of the wrath of God that is coming on all those who ignore him or oppose him. That wrath that is surely coming will be swift, complete and eternal.

Have you warned anyone lately?

“Save others by snatching them from the fire…”—Jude 23.

 

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Wear Your Helmet!

Kyle Mcaleer

Kyle McAleer was sitting with family and friends under the scoreboard at Wrigley Field on July 24, when the Cubs hosted the Diamondbacks. After the bottom of the fifth inning, Kyle was injured when a piece of the scoreboard fell and hit him on the head. Fortunately, he was wearing a plastic bucket on his head as a “rally cap”. Otherwise, the freak accident almost certainly would have caused a much worse injury, perhaps even resulting in death.

It is important to protect your head in spiritual matters as well. When we put on the “full armor of God” (Eph.6:13) that the Lord provides for us, we must “Take the helmet of salvation…” (Eph.6:17). Make sure that you have accepted the grace that God has offered to all people through Jesus!

 

 

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Not the Easy Way

Chipper Jones

Chipper Jones was recently inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame. Jones piled up a lot of impressive statistics in his career, but this one really stands out. The switch-hitting slugger batted for a .303 average as a left-handed hitter and .304 from the right side. Such consistency is amazing!

Chipper’s father saw the advantages of being able to hit from both sides of the plate, and he and Chipper were adamant about the fact that he was going to be a switch-hitter. Occasionally a coach would ask him to bat only from the right side, especially in a crucial game situation. But the Joneses were committed for the long haul, and their perseverance paid off.

Sometimes we are tempted to take the easy way out. We have a plan for the long run, but sometimes it is easier in the short-term to give in and abandon our program. We cheat on our diet. We neglect our Bible study or prayer time. We forget our promise to watch less TV in order to spend better quality time with our family.

Churches too, are prone to cave in and do things the easy way. It’s too hard to incorporate new music into the worship service. Getting serious about making disciples is more difficult than merely showing up and going through the motions week after week. Confronting divisive people makes us uncomfortable, so we allow them to chip away at the unity of the church. Pointing out immorality in the church might upset someone, so we become as tolerant of evil behavior as the world is.

Heaven forbid that we take the easy way out! Jesus never promised us that living for him would be easy. But he promised to be with us if we remain faithful to him.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”–John 16:33.

 

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To Feed, or not to Feed?

Wildlife conservationists have a saying, “A fed bear is a dead bear.” This is to remind people of the dangers of feeding wild bears. There is danger, of course, to a person who would interact with a bear in such an inadvisable way. But it is dangerous to the bear also. You see, bears who lose their fear of human beings often become a nuisance. They begin to see humans as a food source and start coming closer to people. Sadly, this often ends in tragedy, as nuisance bears are sometimes killed if they are perceived to be a danger to humans.

So, the bottom line is this—Do not feed the bears!

When it comes to God’s people, however, the opposite is true. We must be fed the Word of God. The danger is that we will not be fed, and as a result will become weak in our faith.

You don’t have to be a gifted teacher in order to impart some biblical knowledge to another person. We all have the ability, and the duty, to teach others what we have learned from God’s Word. Let’s not be hesitant to feed each other!

“…Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’”—John 21:17.

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Proclaiming Jesus

I remember hearing a minister talk about the time he was asked to preach the funeral of a famous baseball player. At first he was intimidated by the task, knowing that the funeral would be attended by many great baseball players. However, the preacher soon realized what a wonderful opportunity he had to proclaim the gospel message. He would not just be speaking to an audience that included famous baseball legends. He would be addressing a group of aging men who were facing eternity and needed to hear the hope of the gospel message.

Sometimes we may feel intimidated by the people to whom we have a chance to witness. We mustn’t allow this to hinder us from proclaiming the gospel message. No matter who our audience is, they are people who are facing eternity; people who desperately need Jesus!

“He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.”—Colossians 1:28.

 

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Nurture and Protect

One of the things my wife and I enjoy about living in the country is that we see various kinds of wildlife on a regular basis. Early this morning, I turned into our lane and saw a coyote in the field in front of our house. As soon as he became aware of my presence, he ran away. Then I noticed a deer that was in the same field. The deer, a full-grown doe, held her ground as the coyote retreated.

A couple of hours later, I noticed a deer loping across that same field. It looked like the deer I had seen earlier. She stopped near the tree line. After a few seconds, her fawn came out of the trees and began to nurse. Only then did I understand the full picture of what had happened. The doe was not only protecting her fawn from a dangerous predator, she was giving her offspring the nourishment it needed to survive.

This is the way we need to defend and nurture young Christians in the church. They need to be protected from predators—the devil himself and false teachers who would try to lead them away from the truth. We also need to feed these young believers—to give them the nourishment of Scripture that they need in order to grow in their faith and become strong enough to begin to protect other Christians who need their help.

Like the mother deer, let us always be feeding and protecting!

“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock…”—Acts 20:28.

 

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My View

Some of my conservative friends have suggested that The View should not be on television because of their radical left-wing opinions and the mean-spirited way that they make these opinions known. I respectfully disagree. I think that people have a right to express their opinions, even if they differ very much from my own views. Furthermore, I think that when mean and ignorant people are allowed to speak freely, they unwittingly point most people toward the truth.

As if to make my point, Whoopi Goldberg, one of the hosts of The View, recently had a spirited on-air debate with a conservative guest on the show, Judge Jeanine Pirro. Whoopi insisted to Pirro that she (Whoopi) did not have “Trump Derangement Syndrome”, a condition that causes people who hate President Trump to lose their ability to think and speak rationally. Whoopi got so worked up that she appeared to be… well…deranged!

So, let people talk. It only helps rational people discern the truth.

“The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.”—Proverbs 14:6.

 

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Important Landing

Today marks the 49th anniversary of the day mankind landed on the moon. Or landed on a Hollywood movie set, depending on whom you choose to believe!

The overwhelming majority of people don’t believe the idea that the moon landing was an elaborate hoax. They have looked at the body of evidence and believe that people really have achieved the incredible accomplishment of walking on the moon.

There was an even more important landing that happened about 2,000 years ago—when Jesus landed on the Earth. There are a few sceptics who doubt that Jesus ever existed. But the evidence fully supports that fact that Jesus indeed walked the Earth, that he was who he claimed to be, that he accomplished what he set out to do on this planet and that he rules from heaven until the day he returns to take his people home to their eternal dwelling place.

Let us never forget that important landing!

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”—John 1:14.

 

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