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Thoughts To Ponder

And you shall
know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free.

(John 8:32)

 

 


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Hear David Maxson in a Series on the Book of Daniel Held at the University church of Christ
For Audio and PowerPoint click here!



A Study of the Holy Spirit
Adult Bible Class

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Hear Mark Broyles on "Marriage as God Designed It"

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A Study of Evangelism
(Studies in the Cross of Christ)
College Bible Class by Larry Rouse

 


Studies by David Tant at the University church of Christ

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Building a Biblical Home Bible Class Series

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Sunday Night Student Bible Study and Singing 2017

Preparing for Marriage by Scott Smelser
Audio of Lesson
Audio of Singing

 

Freedom Under God

by Robert F. Turner

Freedom ... The word is almost sacred to the American people, and over the world today it stirs great hope and aspirations. Our Declaration of Independence calls it an "inalienable" right and a truth "self-evident." What is the source of this freedom, and what does it mean to us?

Free agency, the right to choose, is a gift from God. He elevated man above the beasts of the field: making man in his image (Gen. 1:26), sharing with man the power of choice. Man need not be slave to instinct or norm. He may rise above self, pursue ideals, seek truth, and embrace it.

But with power there is responsibility. The ability to choose the right exposes us to the danger of choosing the wrong. The same justice that rewards the righteous, must also condemn the wicked. Freedom, then, cannot be free. Even in the moral realm it imposes obligations, and there are none more bound than those who foolishly demand unbridled liberty and become slaves of their own folly.

In free government a man can vote as he chooses, but he may not vote correctly. He may, by neglect or party politics, fail the responsibilities of this truth and encourage corruption.

In business, free enterprise allows a man to invest as he sees fit. But this is no guarantee of profit. He may invest unwisely, and "loose his shirt," the price paid for untrammeled opportunity.

(click here for the entire article...)


All That Glitters is not Gold

by Dee Bowman

 

Many years ago, my brothers and I went to New York City. We arrived very early in the morning. We could not wait to get our bags into our room and get our first look at Times Square. I shan't soon forget the sight. It was as if we were immersed in a sea of lights. There were lights that cascaded like water falls, lights that sparkled like Christmas, lights that wrote messages, lights that twinkled.

There were pulsating lights, performing lights, lights that made little paths around huge pictures of people. The scene seemed to take you along with it, whether you wanted to go or not. It was as if you were in a current the strength of which was so overpowering you had no resistance.

Society is like those lights. It has a strong attraction. It pulls people with great subtlety. You're caught up in the flow of it before you know it; and when you're in the flow, it takes great power--more than most of us have--to dislodge yourself.

With its various methods of seduction, society invites us into the slime pit of sin. It accomplishes this by making sin attractive. If sin were left to its own, nobody would get involved in it. It promises things; it holds out a certain satisfaction. Sin is never presented to you in its bare form. It's always dressed up in something. And the trappings are well thought out. The Devil is a master of disguises.  He conjures up all manner of packages in which to place this most deadly enemy of mankind. When he has it just right he presents it with deadly skill. You can be in it before you know it.

How do we fight this kind of attraction? What can we do?

(click here for the entire article...)


The Dispersion

by Alan Jones

 

“Has Ezekiel gone mad?” This may have been the reaction of some after they watched Ezekiel shave his head and beard, weigh the hair, divide it into thirds, and then burn a third, strike a third with a sword, and scatter the remaining third to the wind. However, Ezekiel was not mad, but he was signifying the punishment soon to fall on Jerusalem, a punishment which would pave the way for the salvation of the world (Ezek. 5:1-12).

When Ezekiel tossed his hair into the wind, he was not telling God's people anything new.  In giving the blessings and curses of the Law (Deut. 28-30), God had sworn that if Israel disobeyed him, he would scatter them among all the peoples from one end of the earth to the other (Deut. 28:64; Ps. 106:26-27). Soon after Ezekiel's hair was swept away by the wind, Jerusalem fell and the Diaspora or Dispersion began.

Against the Word of the Lord through Jeremiah, a remnant from Jerusalem went to Egypt, taking Jeremiah with them (Jer. 43). When the Persians gave the order that those taken captive by the Assyrians and Babylonians could return to their homes, only a small proportion chose to do so.  The sons of Korah wrote that God had scattered them among the nations (Ps. 44:11). Haman described the Jews to the Persian king as “scattered and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom” (Esth. 3:8).

In the 400-year period of silence between Malachi and John the Baptist, the dispersing of the Jews continued both by force and free will. Ptolemy I of Egypt (322-285 B.C.) captured Jerusalem and took home captives, adding greatly to the Jewish population of Alexandria. Antiochus the Great of Syria (223-187 B.C.) removed 2,000 families from Jewish communities in Mesopotamia and Babylon and settled them in Phrygia and Lydia. Pompey captured Jerusalem in 63 B.C. and carried away hundreds of Jews to Rome.  During the period “between the Testaments,” the Jews also voluntarily emigrated for the purpose of trade and commerce, as well as colonization, which was encouraged by the Greek kings who sought to “Hellenize” or to bring Greek culture to all of the peoples under their control. The Sibylline Oracles (mid-second century B.C.) say of the Jewish people, “every land and every sea is full of thee.”

(click here for the entire article...)


Holding A Church Hostage

by Edward O. Bragwell, Sr.

 

“I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which h does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish do, putting them out of the church." --
3 John 9,10.

During the Iranian hostage crisis, a TV news series was called: "America held hostage". It showed how a few fanatics with a few weapons were virtually holding the most powerful nation in the world hostage. It was a trying time for our government's officials. If the nation gave into their demands, it would encourage them to more such actions. If it acted against them without meeting their demands, someone was bound to get hurt ¬maybe innocent people. There seemed to be no good solution.

The daily news tells us of new instances. Some at home. Some abroad. A few zealots demanding that the world dance to their tune - or else. One shutters at what might happen if such ones rose to the top in some powerful nation. Perish the thought.

Diotrephes was a spiritual terrorist who held the church where he was a member hostage. He loved preeminence. Somehow he gained the control of the church. The results are well known. He opposed the apostles. He refused to receive those sent by them. He used malicious words against them. He was not content with not receiving faithful brethren, he forbad others from doing so. If they did he put them out of the church. Can you imagine what it must have been like to have been a member of that church? Can you imagine the tension that must have existed? Brethren would almost be afraid to breath for fear of crossing Diotrephes.

(click here for the entire article...)


Pathetic Dust or a Living Hope?
by Doy Moyer

 

He was a good man.

Pray for his family.

Thanks for the memories.

I really, really liked him. A lot.

How often do we hear words like these? No matter the religion or the beliefs to which one held, these words are common in the aftermath of one’s passing. Then, sooner or later, “their memory is forgotten” (Eccl. 9:5).

Is that where it all ends?

I would often ask classes, “How many of you know who your grandparents are?” Most would raise their hands. “How about your great grandparents?” A few would raise their hands. “How about your great-great grandparents?” Rarely would a hand go up. Unless we are really into genealogy (as my mother is), most of us will likely not even know the names of our great grandparents and beyond. As much as I love my grandchildren, I know they will have children, who will have children, who will likely never know my name (but for the novelty of an odd name).

What a cheery thought, right? That depends on your perspective.

Atheist Robert Ingersoll opined at his brother’s graveside that “every life, no matter if its every hour is rich with love and every moment jeweled with a joy, will, at its close, become a tragedy as sad and deep and dark as can be woven of the warp and woof of mystery and death.” As he put it, one passes to “silence and pathetic dust.”

(click here for the entire article...)


They Shall Walk and not Faint

by Fanning Yater Tant

 

 

It was Isaiah who wrote, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint." (Isa. 40:31.)

There are only a few moments of high drama in life; most of it is commonplace and ordinary. And the real test of the Christian comes not in the moments of high drama, but in the everyday, often monotonous and dreary round of ever recurring chores and responsibilities. Probably most of those who read this paper would, under the right circumstances, be willing to suffer martyrdom rather than surrender the Christian's hope and heritage. We can, indeed "mount up with wings as eagles," under great excitement and tension; we can "run, and not be weary," for a short space of time...

But to walk, day after day after day; to live in some desolate and hopeless environment, bereft of Christian friends and associates; to perform the drudgery, the same unbroken sequence of tired days and weary nights, the same melancholy schedule of activities — how this can erode the soul and deaden the senses! It was this terrible monotony of life which had brutalized the real spirit of man in Millet's famous painting, and which caused Edwin Markham to write of that peasant character:

"Bowed upon the weight of centuries he leans Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground, The emptiness of ages in his face, And on his back the burden of the world."

(click here for the entire article...)


Turning the Grace of God into a Carnal Weapon

by Larry Rouse

All who know the Lord understand the power of His grace! Those who have seen the blackness of their own sin and were then melted by the message of how God gave His Son for them, can attest to the life-changing power of the gospel. We do not deserve salvation. We cannot earn salvation. In our sin we were once active enemies of God. Still, God, by His grace, gave us the greatest gift that has ever been given (Rom 5:6-8)!

Those who have been changed by this grace, find their hearts and their lives defined by it. Paul plainly proclaimed “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor 15:10). When Paul converted some Jews and proselytes to God he urged them to continue “in the grace of God” (Acts 13:43). Our true spiritual growth is measured by our increase in “the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

The perversion of God’s Grace

Satan hates the grace of God, for by it men are rescued from his clutches. Being the cunning adversary that he is, Satan has encouraged many to serve him under the banner of the grace of God! There were those who preached a doctrine of “grace” that left men’s hearts untouched by the teaching of the Spirit of God. Men were told that they could “continue in sin that grace may abound” (Romans 6:1). Others found under this banner of “grace” that in their hearts they could hate their brethren and exalt themselves over these “inferiors” in their pride (1 John 3:14-15). Jude proclaimed that these men had in fact turned “the grace of our God into lewdness” (Jude 4).

Modern Day Examples

Years ago I read an article by Connie Adams that I never forgot. He received some advice concerning men who claim to define their lives by the “grace” of God and how they actually act under pressure.

“Years ago, an older preacher told me of a warning he had received years before from Cled Wallace. He said, "Watch out for the real sweet men. They will rip you to pieces when they get a chance." I have received more unkind and unjust treatment over the years from those who had the most to say about love, kindness, gentleness and such nobler qualities, but who could not tolerate any criticism about what they were teaching.”

(click here for the entire article...)


When Jesus Does Nothing

by Larry Rouse

 

We would be wise to carefully listen to our Savior who came from heaven to show us the way to God. Throughout His ministry Jesus emphasized His relationship with the Father along with the kind of heart required to know God.

It would take great humility for the Jews that heard Jesus to understand that they really did not know God and that they needed to hear the One who actually had come from God. Jesus stated the obvious to the unbelieving Jews when He said: “You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.” (Jn 5:37) Why would they resist listening to the One who came from Heaven and accurately testified of things that these men had never seen? They were blinded by their own relationships and religious pride so that they would not hear. “But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?” (Jn 5:42-44)  

Jesus Taught us how to Handle the Revealed Will of God

Jesus often told others what His relationship with God was like so that men could learn how to have that kind of relationship for themselves. Over and over Jesus described how He handled God’s will. His underlying attitude towards the will of God was exactly the attitude He had towards God Himself, one of a deep reverence for all that God spoke. “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Mt 4:4)

(click here for the entire article...)


When Tragedy Strikes

by Doy Moyer

 

What exactly does one say to another when tragedy strikes? We all wish that we had the perfect words that will appropriately capture what everyone is feeling, words that will comfort and encourage even the most downtrodden. We want to come up with deep statements about how “this is life” and “here is what you should be thinking at this time.” The reality is that we feel at a loss, unable to speak what we are feeling deep inside, unable to communicate what we think those who are suffering need to hear when likely they don’t want to hear anything at all. Bumper sticker philosophy and theology hardly provides much comfort when our hearts have been torn by real tragedy. Likely, the silence before we speak is going to be the most profound and appropriate response, at least initially. 

Job’s friends understood this at first. When Job suffered his astounding tragedies, one after the other and no break between, his three friends came to comfort him. For a full week they sat there with him in silence, unable to capture in words what they were witnessing and unwilling to say what they were thinking. Yet it was during this time that they were their wisest and the most comforting to Job, for after they began speaking, Job could only say that they were miserable comforters. 

Silence is sometimes the best response. Once we have had time to reflect, however, we usually can find important lessons that will be embedded in our minds from then on. If we can learn those lessons, then we can be the better for it. 

When the Twin Towers in New York City were taken down by terrorists, people were in shock. It was an unbelievable event. Nearly three thousands lives were taken in one day, and the heart of the United States country was struck hard. What were we going to demonstrate that we were made of? For a time, there was a pulling together of the citizens. More importantly, there was a general recognition of the need to turn to God. Sadly, much of that faded over the years, but this is why we need to be reminded of difficult events and the lessons that come out of them. 

When tragedy strikes, we are forced to consider several important issues: 

1. Why? It is not trite to say that sin has caused the tragic problems of this world. Once sin came into this world, everything changed. Everything became subject to futility (Rom 8:20). The mark left by sin is tragic and ugly. This is the reason the gospel is such an important part of our understanding. 

(click here for the entire article...)


Pride's Connection to Envy

by Ken Mars

 

A neighbor comes over to your house to show you their new car. Your boss wants to tell you about his vacation in Hawaii. A friend tells you their daughter just received a full scholarship from three different universities. Are you happy for them? Can you "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep" (Rom. 12:15)? Some can ... and some cannot.

Why is it that some of us find it difficult to genuinely feel glad for our friends and brethren when some good fortune comes to them? Could it possibly be that when we see our neighbor's new car we are really saying to ourselves: "Why can't I have a new car too?" "I deserve it just as much as they do!" or, try this one on for size: "What a shameless waste of money. Don't they have anything better to spend their money on than some fancy car/house/vacation? Why couldn't they have bought something cheaper and given the difference to the poor?" Shades of Judas.

You see, when we find ourselves criticizing someone's good fortune, it may be that we are not really critical of what has been done, but that someone else has prospered rather than us. We may even find it easier to say "I'm so sorry" to one who has experienced some misfortune, because we are in fact quietly content that someone else is suffering and not us.

The real problem here is not just a weak spirit, but a dominating sense of the flesh ... our flesh ... our welfare ... our own exclusive world of "me." When someone else prospers, it's not fair if we don't prosper also, and when another suffers, at least we are not suffering!

(click here for the entire article...)


How to Form a Good Character

by Dee Bowman

 

Character is the accumulation of qualities that distinguishes one person from another. Character is not just one single trait, but the accumulation of all a person is, the sum total of all his traits.

Someone has suggested that reputation is what others think us to be, character is what God knows us to be.

How does a person develop and maintain a good character?

By getting in touch with yourself. Aristotle was not far off the mark when he suggested that one should “know thyself.” Personal integrity is the key to developing a good character. We have to ascertain and admit to what we need in order to form a good character. In order to know where you’re going, you must first realize where you are. “He that speaketh truth in his heart”–that’s necessary to the development of a good character (see Psalm 15:1-2).

By a constant contact with God. It is He who defines what is a good character, for it is He who has defined what is good in the first place. His word is not only an expression of Who and What He is, but a revelation of how we can become like Him, or be a “partaker of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). His word tells us which way to go. A man of character does not walk just anywhere, but “his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law doth he meditate both day and night” (Psalm 1:2). “Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy word” (Psalm 119:9). A man’s character is developed by paying due attention to where he is going, to his path of pursuit, and that means a constant contact with the Father.

(click here for the entire article...)


 

Be Thankful for God's Authority

by Doy Moyer

 

God is Creator. Because of Who He is, He has the inherent right to command and expect obedience. He has the right to tell us what to do, how to think, how to live, how to talk, and how to dress. Name it. God has the power to back it up. We, as His creatures have no right to kick back or demand answers from Him. Like it or not, we are under His authority. But now, why wouldn’t we like it?

Rather than looking at this as some sort of drudgery, why not be thankful for God’s authority? After all, if we wish to glorify God, we can only do so by recognizing the power that only belongs to Him.

“Sing to the Lord, all the earth;

Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.

Tell of His glory among the nations,

His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.

For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;

He also is to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the peoples are idols,

But the Lord made the heavens.

Splendor and majesty are before Him,

Strength and joy are in His place.” (1 Chron. 16:23-27)

If we “seek the Lord and His strength” (vs. 11), then we are necessarily seeking Him in all His authority and power. Shall we love the Lord and despise His authority as if it is a burden to us? May it never be!

Here, then, are some reasons we can be thankful for God’s authority:

1. Because God’s authority means He is the Judge, not me, or you, or anyone else. I don’t have to worry about untangling all the sticky questions about eternity. I don’t need to worry about pleasing other people, especially those in the world. I just need to concern myself with pleasing and glorifying Him based on what He has revealed (2 Cor. 5:8-9; John 12:48). Consequently, we may say with Paul, “to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord” (1 Cor. 4:3-4). In the final analysis, each of us as individuals will stand before God. What others think at that point will be irrelevant.

(click here for the entire article...)


Cause and Effect of the Doctrine of Balaam

by Gerald E. Evans

Christianity, in its purity, is the same now that it was almost 1900 years ago. That which God approved then he will approve now; and just what he condemned then he will condemn now. So, if we would be approved of God we must stand where we know God approves and avoid all else. All who accept the Bible as the final rule of con-duct recognize that.

In Revelation 2:12-14 the Lord commended the church at Pergamos for some things and censured them for others. They were commended for holding fast his name, and for not denying the faith once delivered to the saints, and all this "where Satan's throne is." That is no small commendation! Those who take such a stand give courage and strength to all who know Christ's appreciation for such a stand. But more, it involves showing honor to Christ. To hold his system of faith in all its essential elements will secure the divine blessing.

But where error exists, Truth demands censure of the error. Some in the church at Pergamos held to the doctrine of Balaam and also to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. The Lord emphatically declared of such teaching, "Which thing I hate" (vv. 14-15). Recognizing the Lord's strong disapproval, it should be obvious that we need to determine the underlying cause of men embracing such doctrine. The effect is obvious in verse 14: idolatry and immorality! The basic doctrine of Balaam just could be a sin all too common among Christians: elders, deacons, preachers and other saints!

(click here for the entire article...)


Reaping the Whirlwind

by Fanning Yater Tant

 

One of the truly frightening things about denominationalism, and one that is often overlooked, in the insidious way in which it lays the basis for complete moral anarchy in human affairs. It destroys and undermines the very standard, the authoritative guide, by which men can tell "right" from "wrong" —good from evil. This is the very same spirit which has produced such chaos within our own ranks in recent years. Indeed, the present horrendous wave of lawlessness in the land, with crime soaring at a terrifying rate, is due in no small measure to the preaching that has been done in American pulpits for the last one hundred years!

Preaching the cause of lawlessness? Incredible! you say. But the kind of preaching that has been done in our nation, and sometimes in pulpits of the churches of Christ, weakens and vitiates the actual foundation for all moral judgments and all moral standards,

We look at a certain action and say, "That is right;" we see another act and say, "That is wrong." Now, what do we mean by "right" and "wrong"? By what standard are we reaching our verdict? On what basis do we judge? Why is it "wrong" for a human being to kill and eat a fellow human being, and yet not "wrong" for a beast of the jungle to kill and eat another beast of the jungle? Why can we not say that murder is a noble act, that the murderer is a hero, deserving of praise for his action? Why do we not put a premium on dishonesty? And on cowardice? By what standard, or for what reason, do we declare that theft and falsehood and cruelty are "wrong", but that virtue and honesty and courage are "right"?

Traditional Teaching?

"Well," one replies, "we have been taught that standard. This is that which comes from the scriptures. The Bible teaches that it is 'right' for a man to act a certain way but 'wrong' for him to act in another way." This is certainly true. We have LEARNED to judge between right and wrong, between what is good and what is evil. We have been taught by a long and arduous process of education through many generations as to what is "right" and what is "wrong." Thus moral truth has been embedded in the conscience, and in the consciousness of the race. The world feels the influence of this even in lands where the Bible is not known. The whole human race has learned that lust and greed and dishonesty are "wrong" and that virtues and honesty and love are "right."

(click here for the entire article...)


The Struggles and Advantages of Being Single

by Stephen Rouse

 

God has been teaching me some powerful lessons lately, though many of them have been painful. We live in a society, even among Christians, where the prevailing thought is often “I cannot and will not be happy unless I am in a dating (or whatever you call it) relationship with someone.” This is not right, and this must not be a mindset adopted by children of God.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t hurt on some level because I am single. It’s lonely sometimes… but not all the time. God has helped me recently to start focusing on some of the advantages I have right now that I may not have later if, by His grace, I am to be married.

I’ll first acknowledge the struggles that have been particularly deep for me, and then look at some advantages that have helped me overcome these struggles.

The Struggles of Being Single

1. Loneliness. This one is obvious. After proclaiming everything to be good in His creation, God Himself observed that “it is not good that the man should be alone…” (Gen 3:18). God created us with a need for relationship, not only with Himself, but with other humans. And God didn’t just leave man alone; in the rest of the verse He said, “…I will make him a helper fit for him.” God gave us a sense of emptiness, and gave us the opportunity to fill that emptiness with something other than ourselves. Personally, I believe God intentionally delayed in creating woman to show man how much he needed her. We are not here for ourselves.

But the child of God, even a single one, should not be characterized by loneliness. Jesus certainly felt this when He was abandoned at the cross as He cried, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mt 27:46) In a real sense, He had been left completely alone to bear the immeasurable burden at Calvary. But Jesus also understood that in the midst of feeling abandoned, He was not alone. In John 16:32 He affirmed, “Behold the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.” David reminds us that “the LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit” (Ps 34:18). We are never truly alone if the Lord is with us.

(click here for the entire article...)


Praying With the Confidence of Christ

by Steve Klein

 

In so many ways I stand in awe of my Lord Jesus Christ. What a challenge it is to attempt to pattern one's life after Him. As a person who overcame every temptation He faced (Hebrews 4:15), who always did the will of His Father (John 8:29) and who loved unworthy humans to the point of making the ultimate sacrifice for them (Romans 5:6-8), Jesus stands without peer. Equally remarkable and unparalleled is the way Jesus communicated with His Father in prayer.

Jesus' prayer life is notable on several counts. First, it was a persistent prayer life. Luke 5:16 says that He “often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” The gospels record a number of examples of this (Matthew 14:23; 26:36-46; Mark 1:35; Luke 9:18); they also reveal that, at times, Jesus would “continue all night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12). It is impressive that the only begotten Son of God felt the need to devote so much of His time and energy to prayer.  From our perspective we might wonder, “Why would the all-powerful Son of God need to pray at all?” From His perspective there must have been little question that, as God's Son come to earth, reliance upon the Father was imperative.

Second, Jesus prayed passionately. In Hebrews 5:7 the inspired writer indicates that “in the days of His flesh,” Jesus “offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears....” His prayers were not memorized speeches, rattled off unthinkingly when it was “time to pray.” They were impassioned pleadings from a heart aflame with righteous needs and desires.

(click here for the entire article...)


Humble Enough to be Thankful

by Larry Rouse

 

The key to finding an abundant and meaningful life is in the grasp of every man. Jesus plainly promised, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). The first step in finding that kind of life is to recognize God and be thankful.

The Gentile world rejected the simplicity and power of God’s plan for one that required a greater “knowledge,” and a greater effort, only to find that it resulted in terrible pain and anguish.  They looked at the obvious evidence for the existence of God and chose not to “glorify Him as God, nor were thankful.” Their new “world view” caused them to become “futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom 1:20-21). Later, in their modern “guilt-free” lifestyle, they found their lives descending into misery as they “received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion” (Rom 1:27 NIV).

The Gentile world was not alone in such a path. The Jews, even though they outwardly acknowledged God and even mouthed words of thankfulness, had failed to truly be thankful in their hearts. What was the result? ”Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Rom 2:4-5).

Why is Thankfulness Difficult?

In order to be thankful you must first get “out of yourself” and recognize the unseen God. Many angrily refuse to do that. Why? Because they rightly know that acknowledging God also means acknowledging His moral standard, and they simply refuse to do that.  ”And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (Jn 3:19-21).

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Does the Bible Encourage Bigotry?

by Edward O. Bragwell, Sr.

 

In the current furor over "gay rights," there seems to be a concerted effort to brand anyone opposed to homosexual behavior as bigots still living in the Dark Ages. We are constantly bombarded with calls to wipe out bigotry and to be more tolerant of people different from us, regardless of the source or nature of that difference.

It is becoming ever more politically expedient to cater to the "gay rights" cause. Our new president-elect promises swift action to overturn the ban on homosexuals in the military. This will force all military personnel to consider all the gays to be just one of the guys. To do otherwise will be to condone bigotry.

Efforts are also underway to ban discrimination against homosexuals in housing, jobs, and other areas. The goal is to force the American public to grant to "gays" all the rights and protection that are rightfully granted to racial and ethnic minorities. The propaganda mills and the liberal news media are working overtime to depict the opposition to this movement as bigotry. Our educational system, in many in-stances, is conditioning our children to accept anyone regardless of his "race, color, or "sexual preference."'

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Divine Authority and the Creation

by Connie W. Adams

 

One in authority has the right to command, direct, and enforce obedience. He also has the right to administer punishment to the disobedient. When the one having ultimate authority empowers others to act upon his will, then in that manner he authorizes action. One who assumes authority not granted by the one who has the right to empower acts with presumption and flaunts all authority.

In divine matters, as they relate to man, authority springs from the creation. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Gen. 1:27). If there is no divine creator, then there is no creation, the universe is the product of chance, man himself is an accident of nature and there is no basis for moral or spiritual authority. This is the very premise from which the secular humanist works. He boldly proclaims "There is no God" and "Man is the measure of himself."

Order in the Universe

But if God created the universe, then order flows from his power to make whatever exists. In God's speech to Job he asked, Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth? Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; to cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man; to satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth? Hath the rain a father or who hath begotten the drops of dew? Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen. Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? (Job 38:4, 22-31).

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Membership Has Its Responsibilities

by Bubba Garner

 

“Membership has its rewards.” That’s how many companies advertise their special offer of the month.  And truthfully, I like those kind of programs, because they make you feel like you’re getting something for nothing. You receive benefits – either frequent flyer miles or hotel points–  when nothing extra is required of you. You don’t have to pay a monthly fee, you don’t have to recruit other people to join the group.  

 

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Student Sunday Night Home Study and Singing 2017

 

Preparing for Marriage by Scott Smelser
Audio of Lesson
Audio of Singing

 

 

Does God Care What I Wear?
(Sermons and Articles on Modesty)

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How to Study the Bible
College Class

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The Place and Work of the Apostles

Wednesday Night College Bible Class by Larry Rouse
Download the current outlines:
Lesson 1 - Learning How God Works
Lesson 2 - God's Authentication of the Apostles (Part 1)
Lesson 3 - God's Authentication of the Apostles (Part 2)

Lesson 4 - The Words Delivered to the Apostles
Lesson 5 - Local Churches and the Apostles
Lesson 6 - Defending the Place of the Apostles

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Hear Bob Buchanon in a Series of Bible Lectures at
the University church of Christ
Jan 13-16, 2013

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Messianic Prophecies in the Book of Isaiah
Adult Bible Class by Larry Rouse
Sunday Mornings at 9:30
Download the current outlines:
Lesson 1 - The Time and Reign of the Messiah
Lesson 2 - The Servant Songs (Isaiah 42)
Lesson 3 - The Servant Songs (Isaiah 49)
Lesson 4 - The Servant Songs (Isaiah 50)
Lesson 5 - The Servant Songs (Isaiah 52-53)
Lesson 6 - The Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7)

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Sermon Series on the Book of 1 John
by Robert Harkrider

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The Christian and Money

Sunday Morning Adult Bible Class by Larry Rouse
Sunday Mornings at 9:30

Download the current outlines:
Lesson 1 - Money and the Revealing of Our Hearts
Lesson 2 - Earning Money

Lesson 3 - Spending Money and Debt

 

A Study of Religious Beliefs

Wednesday Night College Bible Class

Download the current outlines:
Lesson 1 - Introduction and Approach
Lesson 2 - The Roman Catholic Church
Lesson 3 - An Overview of Islam
Lesson 4 - An Overview of Mormonism
Lesson 5 - An Overview of Pentecostalism
Lesson 6 - An Overview of Calvinism

 


Student Sunday Night Home Study and Singing

 

 

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