Monthly Archives: August 2011

We are admonished in Scripture to redeem the time wisely

Time is a precious commodity that each of us has in equal proportion.  We are all given 24 hours in the day, and 365 days in a year.  We are admonished in Scripture to redeem the time wisely. This simply means I am to buy up the opportunities that come my way, and select with great wisdom and prudence how, and upon what, I will spend those precious hours in each day.  There is an accumulative effect of the use of time. For example, in an average 70 year life span, the average person will sleep more than 23 years of his life away (assuming 8 hours of sleep per night).  Over that same 70 year life span you will spend roughly 14 years working, 6 years eating, and 5 years traveling (fortunately, not all at once).  By the same token, time wasted has an accumulative effect, and over the long haul will rob us of a great deal of what could otherwise be significant accomplishments.  Think, for example, about the time we spend watching television. The average American (according to those infamous “polls”) watches TV 6 hours per day. Now that really seems a little high, so lets reduce that by 30%, and use a bench mark of 4 hours per day. That amounts to 28 hours per week, 1460 hours per year, for an accumulative total of more than 72,000 hours in 50 years. Whew! It staggers the imagination.  That is more than 8 years of television!

Now, in comparison, let us consider the “average” time spent in spiritual matters!  If we were to begin the day of our birth spending five minutes each morning and evening in prayer and meditation (which is more than most people spend), and three hours per week in church, at age 70 we would have invested a total of just over 20 months!  Even if one was to spend an additional three hours per week in diligent study of the Bible at home, that would amount to a total of 3.6 years in spiritual involvement of some kind.  Lest you begin to feel that you are robbing from God, let me encourage you with this observation:  Our service to the Lord is not only measured by the hours we spend in worship and study.   Our devotion to God is measured by how we live each and every day.   We are the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matt. 5:13-14).  How we conduct ourselves in business and pleasure is as much a part of a demonstration of our devotion to God as is our weekly worship to Him.

Unfortunately today’s generation has been raised on a steady diet of self indulgence, and along with that has been a proportionate increase in time spent in pleasure and reveling rather than productive labor and/or serious and sobering meditation.   One author hit the nail on the head when he made this observation:  ‘It is a sad consequence of evolutionary theory that many times people turn inward and only care about themselves…God prefers that we love Him first and put others ahead of ourselves, which means that there is always something positive to do for another.  Whether it is sharing heartaches or rejoicing in good news, we always have ways of benefiting others”  (Gary Summers, Spiritual Perspectives, 7-3-2011, page 3).   How we spend our time benefiting others in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ is the difference between time well spent and time squandered on self.

Someone has said, “There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of each week.”  What can be said of the year is just as true with regard to the week, and even our day by day activities.  “We must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work” (John 9:4).  I leave you with the words of an unknown poet:

When as a child, I laughed and wept, Time crept; When as a youth, I dreamed and talked, Time walked; When I became a full grown man,
Time ran; When older still I daily grew, Time flew; Soon I shall find in traveling on, Time gone!

by Tom Wacaster

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Malaysian woman, 107, fears hubby No. 22 will leave her

I was very shocked to read about a Malaysian woman who is 107 year old and is married to a man who is 70 year younger than her.  I was even more shocked to read that this is her 22nd marriage!  In her previous marriages, some had died and some had divorced.  In this article she was expressing that she was afraid her current husband would leave her for a younger woman, but even if he did she had her eyes on a 50-year-old man.  If this was not already bad enough, her current husband expressed that they fell for each other because it was “God’s will” (CNN News).

What?  It was God’s will that this woman have 22 different husbands over the course of her life just so she eventually finds the one she is with now?  And God had this all planned out?  While many thoughts come to my mind in response to this, I will let God tell us what His will is.  1 Peter 4:1-3 says, “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suf.fered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.  For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.” Then we are all familiar with other scriptures such as Matthew 5:32, 19:9; Malachi 2:6, etc.  Obviously God’s will for this couple was for them to cease from such sins as they were committing. So, this couple was absolutely not following God’s will.  God did not approve of this marriage, and likely many of the others before it.

While having the attitude of “God’s will be done” is a good and valid one, this only works when people are actually trying to let God’s will work in their lives.  The goal of this article was not to focus on divorce, but about letting God’s will work in our lives.  Thankfully, God has revealed His will to us in the Bible.  God’s will is never that we live in sin.  No matter what we may think or feel is right, let’s make sure we have God’s approval within the Bible.  Let’s close with Colossians 1:9-12, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”

Brett Petrillo

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Hey, preacher, your prayer worked!

I teach a weekly Bible class to prisoners in a work release program.  Before each class begins I offer a prayer that makes mention of the men and women in this facility who are searching for employment, struggling with family issues, etc.

About a month ago a man who was in need of employment came to one of these Bible studies.  The prayer that night included a request for employment and the next morning this fellow was hired at a local business.

This man did not show up for the next few studies, but he did come out for tonight’s class.  He said he had been laid off from the job he received and he would appreciate another prayer.

I do not know why this man missed the last couple of studies at the work release center.  I do know that some treat prayer as little more than a giant wish list.  Many wait till they have a problem or emergency and then hope prayer will provide immediate relief from their crisis.

God is interested in our needs and problems, but He expects us to pray during the good times as well as the bad (Lk. 18:1; Rom. 12:12; Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:17).

Be regular in prayer and make your prayers effective by being a righteous person (Jas. 5:16).

Brad Price

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Just added the wordpress plugin “reftagger” to each of my main blogs – and

As stated on the reftagger homepage, “RefTagger is a tool that lets your website visitors instantly view a Bible passage by hovering their mouse over a Bible reference.”

This is a free and GREAT service to help communicate God’s word to people who use the Internet.

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Life without Jesus

I have a vivid memory of a news story that occurred over 20 years ago.  It was a story about a man who was a skydiver that wore a “helmet cam.”  It was his job to video tape the formations of competitive parachute teams.  The newscast shared video of this man’s  fifth and final jump of the day.  The formations were all completed, and as each skydiver pulled their rip-cord and rose out of site, it came time for the photographer to pull his rip-cord.  Suddenly, you could see the helmet cam quickly jerking back and forth… something was obviously wrong.  Believe it or not, the problem was that in all the hustle and bustle, after four previous jumps that day, this camera man jumped out of the plane, forgetting to put on his parachute!

Imagine what a sickening, hopeless feeling it must have been for that man when he came to the realization he had exited the plane without his parachute.  If you think that is bad, think of how sickening and hopeless it will be for countless people when realize they exited life without Jesus.

Friends, if you wouldn’t sit idly by, saying or doing nothing as a person jumped out of an airplane without a parachute, then would you sit idly by as someone exited this world without Jesus?  Speak up!  Let your voice be heard!  The news you possess is urgent and souls hang in the balance.

— Steve Higginbotham

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Two VERY different ways to live

A typical life for many unbelievers

Age 1 to 10:  Jack’s parents do not love Jesus.  They are not concerned about teaching Jack to know the Lord.  They spoil him with lots of toys.  He becomes a selfish, undisciplined child.
Age 11 to 20:  Jack dresses in the latest style.  He is interested primarily in sports and girls.  He also turns his attention to money, something he will need if he will support the lifestyle he has in mind.
Age 21 to 30:  Jack starts a very successful business.  He marries Jill, the most popular cheerleader in college.  They go deeply into debt to build a beautiful house in an elite subdivision.  They drive expensive cars.
Age 31 to 40: Jack and Jill decide to have one child.  Jack’s business thrives.  Their friends are of high society.
Age 41 to 50:  Jack needs to get away from the pressures of business.  He buys a yacht.  He begins to think seriously of early retirement.  Jack Jr. is causing problems in school.  Jill is threatening to break up their marriage.  Jack’s hair is flecked with gray.
Age 51 to 60:  Jack is retired.  Jill is gone.  Jack Jr. is in prison on drug related charges.  Money is no problem.  Jack’s hair has turned gray.  There are dark circles under his eyes.
Age 61 to 70:  Jack is diagnosed with an incurable disease.  He is devastated.  A pitiful, stoop—shouldered man looks at him from the mirror.  There is not a trace of the dashing youth of half a century ago.  Where did time go?
Age 71 to 80:  Jack lies awake at night, staring wide-eyed at the black ceiling.  When will the end come?  Where will he go?  What does the future hold for one who is so old?

The other choice:

Age 1 to 10:  John’s parents love Jesus.  They are concerned about teaching John to know the Lord.  He learns the disciplines of holding still in church, sharing his toys, and doing chores.
Age 11 to 20:  John dresses simply and modestly.  He is diligent in school and an eager student of God’s Word.  He lends a steady hand to farm work.
Age 21 to 30:  John marries Jane, a godly woman who feels a strong desire to take the Gospel to a foreign culture.  They live frugally and start a family.
Age 31 to 40:  John and Jane answer the call to serve on a foreign mission.  Finances are tight.  Their friends are the poor people of another culture.
Age 41 to 50:  John sometimes feels weary in the toil of the church, but Jane encourages him at every turn. He sells some property to help a needy family.  the children love their school and fluently speak a second language.  John’s hair is flecked with gray.
Age 51 to 60:  John is tireless.  Jane is gone; cancer took her.  Money is a problem.  John’s hair has turned gray.  John Jr. is also involved in mission outreach.  Money is a problem.  John’s hair has turned gray.  There are dark circles under his eyes.
Age 61 to 70:  John is diagnosed with an incurable disease.  He is resigned.  A pitiful, stoop-shouldered man looks at him from the mirror.  There is not a trace of the strong youth of half a century ago.  Where did time go?
Age 71 to 80:  John lies awake at night, staring thoughtfully at the black ceiling.  “Even so, come, Lord Jesus,” he murmurs.  When can he go?  Oh, when will he step on the streets of Gold?
Gary Miller, Pantego, NC
Used with permission

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The Incredible Incubator Bird

When we talk about incredible animals that prove God’s existence, the Megapode (or Australian Incubator Bird) is one that defiantly makes the list.  Let’s discover why this bird is so incredible.

When the female is ready to lay her eggs, she will search for a nest that the male has build and make sure it is suitable to her.  The male will make the nest about 3 feet into the ground, 10 or more feet above the ground, and sometimes 50 feet across.  This is obviously not your typical bird’s nest here.  When the female approves, she will then lay her eggs, 20-35 of them, at a rate of one egg ever 3 days for up to seven months.  It is interesting that this bird is not much bigger than a three pound hen, and yet it lays eggs as large as an ostrich egg, and many of them.  Once she is done laying her eggs she will leave the nest and never return or take any part in the incubation.

If this wasn’t amazing enough already, the male’s responsibility is what is really astonishing.  While most birds sit on the eggs to keep them warm, this bird doesn’t.  With the eggs buried deeply in the nest, the male works very hard to make sure the nest is at a precise 91 degrees.  If it is even one degree higher or lower, the eggs will not survive.  So, to maintain the temperature, the male will dig down and check the temperature of the eggs.  If it is a particularly hot day, he will put material on the top of the nest, such as sand, to help block the sunlight and keep the eggs cool!  Or if it is a cool day, he will add additional materials to ensure the eggs are kept warm.  Sometimes he will make the nest in just the right way to let sunlight warm the eggs.  Even more incredible is that sometimes the male will use volcanic action to help warm the eggs!  Another responsibility of the male is to keep the nest at 99.5% humidity (if it drops below 80%, the chicks will die).  So, he will dig holes in the nest so moisture is able to get in.  The male digs down many times per day to check on the eggs and adjust the nest if needed.  Scientists today are not completely sure how the male incubator bird is able to check the temperature of the eggs (they think either his tongue or his beak), but whatever the mechanism may be, it is very sensitive and is able to keep precise measurements.

As soon as they break out of their eggs, they know immediately that they will need to dig out of the nest.  They were never told this is what they needed to do, but they are born with instinctive directions only God could have implanted.  It will take them 3 days to dig out of the nest.  The chicks will dig their way out of the nest and then they are completely on their own.  The good news is, they will hatch with feathers and the capability to fly.  They are not fed or cared for in any way.  They are now dependent on themselves for survival.  How could a brand new bird, who has never even seen the sun before, know to dig its way out of the nest, know how to fly, and know how to take care of all of its survival needs?  This is obviously not learned from either parent.

Evolution talks about how a creature will evolve when there is a need for change.  How could the incubator bird know it needed to check the temperature of the eggs, much less keep them at a precise 91 degrees?  How could he know to keep the humidity above 81%?  How do the chicks know to they are under the ground and need to dig their way out?  And how do the chicks know how to survive without ANY guidance?  An animal that is dead cannot evolve into a different form.  With evolution, this incredible bird would have gone extinct (not to mention MANY others) a long time ago. The Supreme Being of this universe could only have created this bird.  The only possible way for this bird to even be alive today is if God had a hand in all that it does.  Our God truly is an awesome God.  Let’s praise Him for His wonderful creation.  –Brett Petrillo

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Bible question: Do you know who Addi was?

This name occurs just one time in the New Testament.

If you do not know who Addi was, you can quickly find the answer on my “Greek word study” blog.


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Hypercritical people

It did not take me very long, despite living life as a preacher, to learn that there are hypercritical people everywhere.  These are the people for whom compliments and praise seem extremely difficult, but for whom complaining, murmuring, and criticizing seems second nature.  Often, they go so far as to question others’ motives or they reveal a very cynical and bitter attitude.  I have found that these folks, whatever good works they do or how actively they participate in church programs, are decided liabilities to the congregation where they are members.  Here are a few reasons why.

Hypercritics kill morale.  No plan is good enough.  No activity is done right.  The hypercritic can be counted on to shoot holes in goals, plans, and ideas.  They can single-handedly such the enthusiasm out of a congregation with the fortitude to stand against or ignore such tirades.

Hypercritics build walls.  They tend to cast situations in the “us” versus “them” mold.  Anyone caught in the cross hairs of their campaigns suffers character assassination.  Such personalities polarize, and they at times go so far as to be divisive.  God condemns such (1 Cor. 1:10; 3:4).  The Lord is to be the only wall builder in His church (Eph. 2:20-21), and His walls unite people with differences under the authority of Christ.  From behind their walls, hypercritics take shots at fellow-soldiers in unfriendly fire.

Hypercritics spread discontent.  Such people tend to lobby for others to join their complaint committee.  That way, they can say, “Several people feel the way I do.”  In reality, the hypercritic often creates such monsters.  Yet, these should beware.  Korah led a hypercritical campaign against Moses which turned out most poorly for him and his cohorts (Num. 16:3,31-35).

Hypercritics run on the deadly fuel of cynicism.  They tend to see the worst side of others.  Hypercriticism, by nature, easily leads one to judge unrighteously and blindly (Matt. 7:1-5).  Anything done must have been done for show.  A good deed had to have had an ulterior motive.  Hypercritics may even think of others Christians as “fakes,” “snobs,” or equally vilifying, presumptuous allegations.  Cynicism may merely come from looking at others as acting as they themselves act.

It must be miserable to go through life predominantly seeing the worst in others and expecting the worst out of everything.  My prayer is that wherever a hypercritical spirit roams, we will “exorcise” it.  Let us use our tongues to praise more and bruise less.

— Neal Pollard

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Visitation tips for preachers

Anytime we make a visit with Christ as its motivation there are a few wise things to keep in mind. The impression you leave behind has eternal impact.

If you have any visitation tips for preachers, feel free to post them in the *comment box* below.

  • Always pray and be prayed for before you make your first visit.  God’s blessing of the work you are doing will smooth many of the difficulties you will face. Visitation can be awkward for both parties in the visit. Knowing God is in the group certainly makes it better.
  • Realize you are not going to see harvest before you first sow and cultivate. No farmer expects same day reaping and sowing. You are not in control of the harvest any way, you are a planter and cultivator (1 Cor 3:6).
  • People need to be asked not pushed. Don’t force a visit, ask for permission to come inside, ask if they would like to visit. Allowing the power to be in their hands as much as possible.
  • Always be clean and neat. If you want to make a good impression for the Lord and His church make sure you don’t stink, track dirt or look like disheveled. Carry and use breath mints (Every door, every time).
  • Don’t dress too formally. Dress nice but casual. People will respond to comfortable more than formal.
  • Be sweet and courteous. If the folks are settling down for supper, reschedule your visit. If you can compliment something about their house, yard, children etc., then sincerely make a kind remark.
  • Don’t be shocked by worldliness. You will always face the devil when you do the Lord’s work. Often when we visit it is because the devil has ownership of a situation. We are trying to change that. Don’t expect people to know how to do everything the Christian way. That takes time to learn.
  • Watch your “church language.” Not everyone understands the jargon of church goers. Until people are taught the Bible they won’t know what elders, deacons, baptism and other bible terms mean.
  • You need to know people’s names if you are going to really connect with them. Before you even get to the door have the names memorized. Don’t flaunt their name like a salesman but use it to build rapport. Try to get to know the names of other people living in the house. When and if these visits produce fruit you will win much favor by knowing their names as you see them at the assembly. Children also love to be recognized and greeted.
  • Be unpretentious and sincere during your visit. Be honestly interested in that person, their interests and their needs. Nothing can turn a visit sour worse than false flattery or imitation concern. Take the time to really listen to what people are saying, and respond to their needs.
  • Have a brief plan for your visit. I use the Acrostic FORM. “F” discuss their family, “O” work concerns and interest in their occupation. “R” religious involvement or church background. “M” your message or reason for the visit.

Stick to this simple order so you can keep your visit focused and brief. Work on transitions so they become natural and not contrived.

If you truly love people and have a concern for their soul these things will be pretty natural. Working on them before you visit will help you become a better worker for the Lord.

Joe Chase
North Loop Church of Christ
Gladewater, Texas

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