Accepting Freshness

  TODAY is not yesterday: we ourselves change; how can our works and thoughts, if they are always to be the fittest, continue always the same?  Change, indeed, is painful; yet ever needful. ~CARLYLE ________________________ The two blue spruce trees were growing eight feet away from our screened porch when we bought our summer cottage 20 years ago.  But they grew until their bottom...

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The Time of Giving and Good Will

On Christmas Eve the snow was coming down hard, blowing and swirling around my old two-ton dump truck as I drove across the West Virginia mountains.  It had been snowing for hours and had accumulated eight to ten inches deep.  My job was delivering coal to the miners who lived in the coal camp.  I had finished early and was looking forward to getting home. As I neared the road that led to my...

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I Wept at His Funeral

by Gordon Smith          My dad wasn’t a Christian.  He and my mother never got along.  They separated a number of times when I was very young and separated for the final time when I was twelve.  Obviously, I never had the kind of relationship with my father that many children enjoy.  I recall how I used to envy my friends who came from homes where their mother and dad stayed...

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How Well We Live

A university professor tells of being invited to speak at a military base one December and there meeting an unforgettable soldier named Ralph.  Ralph had been sent to meet him at the airport, and after they had introduced themselves, they headed toward the baggage claim. As they walked down the concourse, Ralph kept disappearing.  Once to help an older woman whose suitcase had fallen open. ...

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Irresistible Savior – Our calling to be like Him

by Mary E. DeMuth Have you ever viewed evangelism as a checklist?  I have.  I’ve worried over things to memorize, illustrations I should capture correctly, arguments I need to wrangle and win.  And I’ve beaten myself up over failed attempts at sharing Jesus.  So many people have walked this earth doomed to an eternity without Him, and I’ve shrunk away in fear. Yet guilt and obligation...

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THE WAY OF GRATITUDE

Genesis chapters 37 and 39-50 tell the story of the life of Joseph. Seventeen years after he had been brought into Egypt as a foreign slave, Joseph emerged in a position second only to that of the Pharaoh.  His story is an incredible illustration of how the providence of God works; here is a God who can take actions that are born of nothing but evil — like what the brothers did out of...

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REMEMBER TO PRAISE HIM ALSO

CALL unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.          —Jeremiah 33:3 Mr. May was a short, jolly little man who had a used-furniture shop in our town.  He told me once of a day in summer when the sky turned black as patent leather as a storm boomed up in the Southwest.  The bottom of the cloud seemed to squeeze together and...

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Ministry of Encouragement

 The writer of “The Book of Hebrews” reminds us, to “encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called, ‘Today,’ lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Heb. 3:13).  Later, he follows up on his own reminder, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us...

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Workers for the Kingdom of God

»»» Workers for the Kingdom of God    The book of Colossians is an incredibly rich book, filled with all kinds of poetic beauty that exalts the glory of God, and piercing challenges to our discipleship. It contains some of the most well known passages about Jesus (Colossians 1.15-23). We are challenged to focus our attention and our passions on the beauty and work of God in the world: “Set...

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THE CHRISTIAN AND POLITICS

I was photographing Prairie Dogs in South Dakota when they suddenly all ran into their dens.  They had heard a warning call from this fellow who perceived what he thought was danger (me) in the area.  But he was wrong about viewing me as a real danger.  Believers are also called to warn others, but we must discern where the real danger lies. Christians often work themselves into a frenzy...

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Love for Others, Heart in Hand

Finding courage to reach out by Leigh McLeroy The truest thing I know about loving my neighbor I learned from watching a tough cowboy approach a skittish horse.  Moving inside a circle pen at a south Texas ranch, this wrangler drew closer and closer to a rigid mare whose wide eyes gave away her fear.  He didn’t hurry.  He never hid his intent.  He just watched carefully for cues that his...

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Getting What We Ask For

By Alan Smith A man asked his wife, “What would you most like for your birthday?”  She said, “I’d love to be ten again.”  On the morning of her birthday, he got her up bright and early and off they went to a theme park.  He put her on every ride in the park — the Death Slide, the Screaming Loop, the Wall of Fear.  Everything there was, she rode.  She staggered out of the...

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HOMECOMING

We want to welcome everyone to Homecoming 2012.  We have been praying, and planning for this day for quite some time as we have been anticipating welcoming many of our “old” friends back “home” and meeting “new” friends as well.  The StC Homecomings have always been very special and encouraging for those who have had the privilege of being a part of them. ...

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The Power Of An Invitation

Dr. Harold Shank, the President of Ohio Valley University, tells the story of his introduction to Christianity.  When he was just a boy his family did not attend church.  A neighbor invited Harold to Vacation Bible School at the local church of Christ.  He enjoyed it so much that it was suggested he might enjoy coming to Bible class and church services on Sunday and Wednesday nights.  He...

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A COUPLE POSITIVE ARTICLES

Note:  In a recent bulletin article, Mark Mason of the 36th St. congregation in Vienna, WV, shared a couple of articles which provide healthy alternatives to much of the “gloom-and-doom” news we hear in our news media and from the internet. In the Jan. 21, 2004 issue of  The Wall Street Journal, Pete DuPont observed,  “In 1958 liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith’s best-selling The...

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A Real Boost

Last Sunday reminded me one more time as to why I feel so blessed and appreciative to be a part of the StC church family.  During the morning worship service, we enjoyed worshiping with a crowd of 244 after seeing 147 in the 9:00 a.m. Bible Classes.  In the evening, the 128 who were present at the future site of our new facility on Reservoir Road greatly benefited by being together outside in...

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Back To School

I’ve reluctantly signed up for a new course in the school of life.  I didn’t ask to take the class; I was suddenly pressured into it.  What I thought would take a few weeks has turned into a full semester.  I’ve joined a host of others who must study firsthand the problems of prolonged physical pain. The class sessions are a little irregular.  Sometimes class begins at 2 in the morning,...

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HIDDEN BOOKS OF THE BIBLE

Here is the answer to the puzzle printed in the bulletin last week.  There are 37 books in it.  How did you do? While motoring in Palestine, I met Chief Mujud, gesturing wildly.  His fez, raiment and features were odd.  I never saw so dismal a chief.  On the market days he pumps alms from every one, a most common practice.  A glance shows that he acts queerly.  Excuse me for speaking so,...

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HIDDEN BOOKS OF THE BIBLE

Hidden among the following fictional story are 37 books of the Bible.  Just for fun, see if you can find them. While motoring in Palestine, I met Chief Mujud, gesturing wildly.  His fez, raiment and features were odd.  I never saw so dismal a chief.  On the market days he pumps alms from every one, a most common practice.  A glance shows that he acts queerly.  Excuse me for speaking so, but...

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People Of Focus

      One of the qualities which placed men and women like Noah, Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Gideon and others on the “Honor Roll” of “the faithful” recorded in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews was their ability to maintain their focus for most of their lives.  Yes, they all had their lapses.  But they each recovered because they were driven by...

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THE POWER TO BECOME

“But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God…” (John 1.12, KJV)        Thomas Jones once wrote a poem entitled “Two Ghosts.”  In the poem, he identifies the two ghosts which continually haunt him — one was the boy he used to be; the other was the man he might have been.  Both were deeply disturbing… the boy he used to be had held such...

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Why Me Lord?

       I am maybe 10 and it is a Friday night and I am at my Grandparents house.  We are watching some live performance music show and Kris Kristofferson comes on to sing his latest.  He is standing on the steps of a porch.  He is wearing jeans, cowboy boots, and some sort of hippie-looking shirt.  In one hand he is holding a cigarette.  In the other he is holding a can of Falstaff...

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TOWARDS HELP

“I can’t help you, I can’t do anything for you, unless you let me.” That is so often what a parent has to say to a child.      A parent knows the way of life, because he has walked it before.  He knows the dangers and the perils and the pitfalls and the temptations.  He would like above all things to help his child, but so often the child takes his own way and follows his own...

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“The Crystalline Center”

There is so much of interest at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum in Washington D.C. — dinosaur bones, a blue whale, a bug zoo.  The most visited exhibit, however, is on the second floor–it is the gemstone exhibit.  The Hope diamond is there, and the jewels of Josephine Beauhernais.  One has to wait in line most days to get a glimpse of the Hope diamond, rotating in its...

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Helicopters and Lawnmowers

                                                                        –2 Tim. 3:5      I took the day off last Monday and spent some time climbing Pinnacle (a hill near Little Rock, AR).  Since I was a bit behind on some reading I wanted to do, I packed up an exercise pad to sit on, a bottle of water, and took...

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Just As He Said

JUST AS HE SAID Zechariah had had an interesting year, to be sure. He had been visited by a messenger from God, his wife got pregnant after years of trying, the baby would be a prophet leading the way for Messiah, and his young relative Mary came to visit, with news that she was carrying the child of God! Oh, and the angel struck Zechariah mute until the birth of his son. Zechariah’s first...

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A Disciplined Pursuit of God

Many of us desire a closer connection with our Maker. A few weeks ago, I shared these twelve practices, as habits that we can intentionally develop in order to open up space in our lives to allow God to work in us. Much of this flows from conversations from our recent teen trip to Winterfest. Prayer — prayer is simply conversation with God. It can be a long, passionate conversation in which we...

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Pathological Saints

By Barry Bryson “S. is a thirty-five year old male of Middle Eastern origin with a long history of deceitfulness, physical violence, compulsive gambling, and other forms of unacceptable behavior. He is an only child; his mother had to be warned not to drink alcohol during pregnancy. The subject is known to be inordinately fastidious about his hair. His libido is powerful and indiscriminate. He...

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How Can I Be More Spiritual?

by David Sproule In a world that is dominated by the material, the sensual and self-gratification, an attentive Christian should ask, “How can I be more spiritual?” Unfortunately, the idea of being “spiritual” is misunderstood. To be spiritual is not some mystical idea that one has; it is not some emotional feeling that comes over a person; it is not physiological phenomenon that sweeps...

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Special Series of Services with Richard McGough

Special Series of Services with Richard McGough

Sermon Topics      Sunday 9am Bible Class                                        “Habits of Successful Families”      Sunday 10am Worship Assembly                                        “Parenting — There Are Ways to Get it Right”      Sunday 6pm Worship Assembly                                        “Justice &...

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Incompatibility

In most states divorce are granted for mental cruelty or simply “incompatibility.” It means “unable to get along.” But why do second marriages usually suffer more than a first? The answer is rather simple. Incompatibility did ruin or destroy the marriage. The incompatibility is not with the mate but with self. People who cannot live with themselves certainly cannot live with others. This...

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If I Knew

If I knew it would be the last time That I’d see you fall asleep, I would tuck you in more tightly and pray the Lord, your soul to keep. If I knew it would be the last time that I see you walk out the door, I would give you a hug and kiss and call you back for one more. If I knew it would be the last time I’d hear your voice lifted up in praise, I would video tape each action...

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To Pray

“I know it takes time to develop a life of prayer: set-aside, disciplined, deliberate time. It isn’t accomplished on the run, nor by offering prayers from a pulpit or at a hospital bedside. I know I can’t be busy and pray at the same time. I can be active and pray; I can work and pray; but I cannot be busy and pray. I cannot be inwardly rushed, distracted, or dispersed. In order...

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Train Up A Child

By Joe Chesser In a book I have been reading (Family Based Youth Ministry by Mark DeVries), I came across an interesting concept.  “The crisis (in youth ministry) is that we are not leading teenagers to mature Christian adulthood.” The following is a “contrast between the kinds of attitudes we hope our youth will grow out of and those we hope they will grow into.” First will be listed...

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A Yardstick For Giving

“How much should I give?”  That’s an impossible question to answer since the New Testament refuses to name a minimum.  Why not give us an amount?  It is probably because God knew the people.  People give to the ceiling, not off the floor.  If God said to give 10% that would cap many people’s giving at 10%.  Seldom do people give more than the requirement.  Perhaps, that’s why the...

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ISAACS

What did Isaac ever do?  He is not the “Father of the Faithful” as his dad, Abraham, is.  He is not the exciting supplanter his son Jacob was.  He never did anything spectacular — he never made some supreme sacrifice. Yet the Bible refers to God as “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”  Abraham was a giant — we can understand a “God of Abraham.”  Jacob possessed the...

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A Time For Forgetting

The New Year should be a time for forgetting.  If we are to accomplish anything of value in the days ahead, we must cultivate the art of forgetting.  Certain things must be laid to rest in the past before we are ready for the future.  Paul recognized this when he wrote:  “Forgetting those things which are behind…I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ...

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No Ordinary King

By John Witte Jr. The Bible teaches that Christ the King is infinitely more powerful than any ruler on earth, even the Roman emperor or the Jewish King Herod, who were the supreme rulers of Christ’s day.  These earthly kings ruled only for a lifetime.  Christ rules eternally.  These earthly kings ruled only over a limited territory.  Christ rules everywhere.  These earthly kings had only...

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It’s Winter

In a blog called Truthful Conversations, Mike Glenn observes:  “Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything and a season for every purpose under heaven.  Our lives, like the world around us, have seasons.  Our seasons, however, don’t necessarily line up with the seasons of nature, which means we have to pay close attention in our lives so we can discern what season it is for...

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Whose Needs Are to Be Met?

I was in the supermarket one day, and a lady came down the aisle whom I could barely see over the top of her groceries. I got somewhat frightened because she seemed to be heading straight for me. She screeched to a halt within a few feet of me, peered over her head, wagged her finger, and said, “I left your church. I left your church.” So I said, “Well, if it’s my church, I think that was...

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The Wonder Of A Child

It  was Saturday evening of Thanksgiving weekend and my family took our traditional trek across town to see the “singing” house.  You’d just have to see this house to appreciate what a wonder it is.  The electronic genius that goes into it is beyond most of us and we marvel at it every year.  The music is beautiful and inspiring and the lights are programmed to go along with the music...

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Doing It As Worship

He is 7 feet tall and 255 pounds of pure muscle and athleticism. He is known as one of the best centers to have played the game.  He led his team to two back-to-back world basketball titles. He was known as the hardest working big man in the NBA. He was a perennial all-star, playing in 10 All-Star games. And he is not even from this country. In addition to English and French, he speaks four...

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Happy Thanksgiving

It’s no accident that the words “happy” and “thanksgiving” are linked together.  It’s a time filled with joy and gladness.  This national holiday dates back to Pilgrim days when stalwart souls said, “Our colony is stronger, our cornfields are larger, the woods are full of game, and the streams full of fish; our children have been dutiful and our wives very obedient.”  (I’m...

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Don’t Ignore The Voice

In his book, Focus on the Family, Rolf Zettersten writes about his good friend, Edwin, who bought a car.  The car had lots of extra features–among them was a recording of a soft female voice, which gently reminded him if he had failed to fasten his seat belt or was running low on fuel.  Appropriately, Edwin dubbed the voice “the little woman.” On one of his many road trips, “the...

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Bible Study: A Formidable Challenge!

By David Chadwell     I never have known the words that were adequate to reveal my appreciation for the Bible.  It opens my window to God’s mind.  The words of human language are woefully inadequate to reveal the whole of God.  Yet, God’s revelation of Himself through human language exceeds our intellectual power to comprehend.      Just as Solomon realized that the universe was...

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“The Historical Background of the Restoration Movement”

By Batsell Barrett Baxter     One of the earliest advocates of the return to New Testament Christianity, as a means of achieving unity of all believers in Christ, was James O’Kelly of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  In 1793 he withdrew from the Baltimore conference of his church and called upon others to join him in taking the Bible as the only creed.  His influence was largely felt in...

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HALF-HEARTED FANATIC

Edward Abbey wrote:  “Be as I am — a reluctant enthusiast — a part time crusader — a half-hearted fanatic…” I confess with Oscar Wilde,  “I am not young enough to know everything,” but the Bible assures me that the above description of a life should never be used to describe a Christian. Centuries ago the psalmist wrote,  “I hate double-minded men, but I love thy...

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Silent Where the Bible is Silent

I was reared in the Church.  In fact, I cannot remember a time when my parents did not take me to worship on Sunday and Bible class on Wednesday.  From my youth, I can remember hearing our teachers and preachers say,  “We are people of the Word.  We speak where the Bible speaks and we are silent where the Bible is silent.”  From my experience, I have found that motto I learned as a child...

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“The Ministry of Humor”

By Robert Oglesby Here are some letters from little kids to their preacher: Dear Preacher – I would like to go to heaven someday because I know my brother won’t be there! Dear Preacher – I think a lot more people would come to your church if you moved it to Disneyland. Dear Preacher – Please say a prayer for our Little League team.  We either need heaven’s help or a new...

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THE RESURRECTION PRINCIPLE

By David Chadwell If it died, can it live again?  God says yes.  How?  By resurrection.  Christians see resurrection as a fact.  Fact: God raised Jesus from death.  Fact: God will raise those in Christ from death. Resurrection is a fact, but it is more than a fact.  That fact introduces us to the resurrection principle.  The power that raised Jesus’ dead body is the power that functions...

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ValueS

By Charles B. Hodge, Jr. Man has always had problems with values: For one bite of something (we know not what nor how it tasted), Mother Eve sold her soul to sin and the devil.  Since then the entire history of man is personified by Esau, “who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage.” One man said: “We are so busy with the immediate and the urgent we never have time for the important. ...

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“Is There No Shame?”

By Wesley Walker Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Formspring, and other sites of the like have opened us up to a new level of openness.  Teens, young adults, parents, grandparents, and sometimes even animals (yes, I am friends with at least one dog on Facebook) share all sorts of details about themselves. This can be a great tool.  You are able to quickly see when someone is hurting.  You are able...

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Vacation Bible School

“Moses, Leader of Israel” We are anxiously anticipating the opening of this year’s Vacation Bible School tomorrow evening.  The classes will be held each evening, Monday through Thursday, 6:30-8:30 p.m. with the closing program on Friday at 7:00 p.m. While studying the theme, “Moses, Leader of Israel,” each age group will be taking a closer look at Moses’ life...

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Lousy Sermons

By Joe R. Barnett “Horrible sermon!” “I didn’t get anything out of it either!” We’ve all heard sermons which left us cold.  The message did nothing to motivate us to do anything other than grumbling. Maybe the preacher cheated on his study and went to the pulpit unprepared.  Perhaps he was dealing with a subject he didn’t know much about.  Possibly he was a dedicated man with a...

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GETTING UP AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN…

By Mark Mason In A View from the Zoo, Gary Richmond tells about the birth of a giraffe: The first things to emerge are the baby giraffe’s front hooves and head.  A few minutes later the plucky newborn is hurled forth, falls ten feet, and lands on its back.  Within seconds, he rolls to an upright position with his legs tucked under his body.  From this position he considers the world for the...

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7.17.11

PRAYER CONCERNS Edie Roberts is recovering from last Monday’s surgery to remove a section of her colon.  Kevin Kalany was to return home permanently last Thursday. However, his contact with other people is very limited while his immune system continues to rebuild.  He will return to Morgantown for weekly checkups.  Evelyn Barker injured her foot in a fall last week. Gregg Voscavitch is to...

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Slaves Who Are Free

7.3.2011 – By Bob Mize “Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as Servants of God” (2 Peter 2:16) A peerless paradox of the Christian faith is stated in this marvelous verse. True freedom is found in slavery to Jesus Christ. To “live as servants [slaves] of God” is the emancipation proclamation of the New Testament. Paul, as well as...

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We Are Victors

It is probably one of the saddest things in Biblical studies to realize how many people, because of various false ideas and misunderstandings, have really missed the basic point of the book of Revelation. Revelation is about VICTORY! God wins! Because of that, in the end, WE win! What a great message to close the Bible with! Don’t miss this truth about God’s Word. Over and over this...

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It All Happened So Fast

By Wade Webster A snail crossing the road was run over by a turtle.  Regaining consciousness in the emergency room, he was asked what caused the accident.  “I really can’t remember,”  the snail answered, “You see, it all happened so fast.” We laugh because turtles and snails aren’t known for their speed.  However, speed is rather relative.  To a snail, a turtle is probably like...

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The First Mile