Spiritual Symbolism

Symbols are all over the news these days, and it has us asking lots of questions about what these symbols mean or whether they mean anything at all:

  • Is the Confederate flag a display of heritage or in-your-face racism?
  • Should Confederate statues come down?
  • Should statues of anyone with presumed ties to historical bigotry come down?
  • Is it offensive to take a knee during the national anthem?
  • Should the president use the Bible as a photo prop?
  • Is it cultural appropriation for congressional leaders to wear African garb at a photo op?
  • Should the president wear a face mask in public even if the risks are minimal?

Symbols can be powerful. They remind us of important events and people. But symbols also can become superficial.

That’s true for the symbols before us now. Christ instituted them to remind us of his sacrifice – the bread as a representation of His body and the fruit of the vine as a symbol of the blood He shed to cleanse men’s souls. But it’s possible, for all of us collectively and each of us individually, to rob these symbols of their meaning.

The Corinthians did, and Paul admonished them for it.

Now in giving this next instruction I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better, but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. For there also have to be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you. Therefore when you come together it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, for when you eat, each one takes his own supper first; and one goes hungry while another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What am I to say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I do not praise you. (I Corinthians 11:17-22)

… Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a person must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For the one who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not properly recognize the body. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number are asleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. If anyone is hungry, have him eat at home, so that you do not come together for judgment. As to the remaining matters, I will give instructions when I come. (11:27-34)

In other words, the burden is on us to keep the substance in these symbols. Christ’s death is important enough that God gave us a weekly reminder of it. But we can turn it into something superficial or meaningless, and condemn ourselves in the process. Let’s make sure our heads and hearts are in the right place this morning and every Lord’s Day.

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The Greatest Hymns On YouTube

Evangelist and hymn writer Matthew Bassford recently compiled a list of “The 50 Greatest Hymns of All Time.” After sharing it on Facebook and hearing feedback from others, he revised the list slightly, adding four songs and removing four of his original picks.

His legwork inspired us to search YouTube to see if we could find a cappella recordings of all 54 hymns from the two lists combined. We found them all except “For the Beauty of the Earth.” Now you can listen to them all in one place.

Several of these recordings are audio only, with album covers, slideshows, sheet music or lyrics as visuals. The videos in the list include some that are professionally choreographed. Other videos feature studio remixes with one person singing all the parts, informal performances in various locations and congregational singing.

Abide with Me

All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name

All People That on Earth Do Dwell

Amazing Grace

Be Still, My Soul

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Coronavirus Lessons To Learn

The Bible’s relevance to mankind has never been more obvious in modern times than it has as coronavirus has spread around the world early this year.

As the apostle Peter said: “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” (II Pet. 1:3-4)

One gauge of the applicability of God’s Word to our current circumstances is the sheer number of sermons that evangelists have preached the past few weeks. Preachers and other brethren in churches of Christ have been just as prolific in writing about the virus from a spiritual perspective. Here is a work-in-progress list of articles from church websites, preachers’ blogs and Facebook posts:

Anxiety & Fear
Choosing Faith over Fear (Ken Weliever)
Courage in a Fearful World (Randall Jarrell)
Dealing with Fear (David Flatt)
Dealing with Fear (Dan Petty)
Finding Peace (Bill Beebe)
How to Feel Peace When Plagued with Problems (Ken Weliever)
Keep Calm (Ken Weliever)
Panic Versus Preparation (Doy Moyer)
Should Christians Be Anxious about the Coronavirus? (Todd Wagner)

Character Traits
10 Things Coronavirus Cannot Do (Ken Weliever)
Be Patient (Ken Weliever)
COVID-19 and Faith (Don Wright)
Compassion and Principle (Doy Moyer)
Coronavirus and Human Limitations (Matthew Bassford)
Developing Patience (Carl Witty)
Flattening the Curve (Stan Cox)
From the Son of Thunder to the Apostle of Love (Stan Cox)
Good Judgment (Ken Weliever)
How to Act, Speak and Respond Reasonably (Ken Weliever)
The Power of Patience (Stan Cox)
Prudence (Ken Weliever)
Show Kindness and Mercy to One Another (Stan Cox)
Who Is Responsible? (Stan Cox)

Christian Perspective
10 Suggestions for Homebound Christians (Ken Weliever)
‘An Abundance of Caution’ (Adam Litmer)
‘According to What You Have’ (Doy Moyer)
Ancient Advice for Our Current Crisis (Ken Weliever)
Anticipation (Ken Weliever)
Back to Normal (Alan Williamson)
Be Thankful (Terry McCall)
Censorship (Doy Moyer)
A Challenge: Read the Entire New Testament (Stan Cox)
Confronting Mortality (Gary Fisher)
Continue Earnestly in Prayer (Stan Cox)
The Compassionate Response to Coronavirus (Oscar Velazquez)
Discipleship in Uneasy Times (Bradley church of Christ)
Do All Things without Complaining (Stan Cox)
‘Don’t Make Government Your God!’ (Matthew Bassford)
For What Is Your Life? (Stan Cox)
It’s Friday, But Sunday’s Coming: Dispelling Darkness (Ken Weliever)
Law, Liberty and License (Ken Weliever)
It’s Time to Practice Our Religion (Stan Cox)
Learning from Difficulty (Kevin Harrington)
Life Is Precious (Doy Moyer)
Making Plans (Ken Weliever)
Meditate on the Good (Stan Cox)
Mr. Lonely (Stan Cox)
Opportunity in Crisis (Gary Fisher)
A Passage to Ponder: Luke 18:1-18 (Ken Weliever)
People Are Not Numbers (Doy Moyer)
People Helping People (Ken Weliever)
Perspective (Don Hooton)
Perspective (Jim Jonas)
Praying for Wisdom (Doy Moyer)
Preparing for COVID-19 (Mickey Galloway)
The Real Dangers of Coronavirus (Gary Fisher)
Selective Regard for Human Life (Jim Jonas)
Stop and Smell the Roses (Greg Kiel)
The Trouble with Brooding (Stan Cox)
Wash Your Hands! (Frank Himmel)
When Plans Fail (Eric Hamilton)
Lessons from Philippians 4 (Doy Moyer)
Remembering (Stan Cox)
Smooth Sailing! (Derrick Victor)
Thankfulness in a Pandemic (Nathan Combs)
Thinking about Freedom (Doy Moyer)
What Should Christians Do in a Global Pandemic? (Max Dawson)

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An Outbreak Of Coronavirus Sermons

Churches of Christ across America have been canceling worship services, gospel meetings and Bible classes in an effort to help “flatten the curve” of the deadly coronavirus, but the disease hasn’t squelched the gospel. To the contrary, the virus has inspired preachers and teachers to re-examine God’s Word in the context of the ongoing pandemic.

There has been an outbreak of sermons about fear, tribulation, sin and other topics as Christians try to make sense of extraordinary times. Many of the lessons are being live-streamed to people’s homes from empty auditoriums or preachers’ offices. Some churches are broadcasting interactive video classes and lectures precisely to address issues raised by the changes in worship the virus has inspired.

Below is a list of podcasts and videos produced at non-institutional churches of Christ in March, April and May. We welcome link suggestions for sermons we haven’t discovered in our own online searches.

Anxiety and Fear
Anxiety, Corona and Christians (Mark Roberts)
Be Anxious for Nothing (Curtis Cooper)
Be Anxious for Nothing (Jim Jonas)
Calming Fears As We Walk Through the Valley of Coronavirus (Brent Hunter)
Coping with Fear (David Flatt)
Courage in the Face of Fear (Daniel Linden)
Death: Our Enemy … I Will Not Be Afraid (Nick Angel)
Do Not Be Anxious (Nathan Combs)
Do Not Fear (Sewell Hall)
Do Not Fear; Only Believe (Daniel Stauss)
Don’t Fear and Be Ready, Luke 12:4-13:9 (Ryan Boyer)
Don’t Worry (Rick Lucas)
Faith over Fear (Larry McLenny)
Fear (Bill McIlvain)
Fear Gone Pandemic (Alan Yeater)
Fear Versus Trust (Jamey Hinds)
Fearless (Brent Kercheville)
Fight the Fear (Roger Cox)
From Fear to Faith (Jordan Shouse)
Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled (Donnie Rader)
Lord, Build My Faith in Times of Fear (Andrew Roberts)
Managing Anxieties (Doy Moyer, Zack Lee)
Overcoming Anxiety (Tim Bunting)
Peace! Be Still (Jacob Hudgins)
A People without Fear (Jared Bollman)
Relieving the Weight of Anxiety (Josh McKibben)
A Spirit of Fear (Kris Vilander)
The Weakness of Worry (Zeke Flores)
Why Trusts When We Can Worry? (Wayne Chamberlain)
Worry Fear and Foolishness (Steven Tramell)

Christian Perspective
Be a Lifter (Phil Arnold)
Benefits of Suffering (Kevin Kay)
Blessings in Disaster (Robert Fudge)
The Christian and Crisis (Stephen Russell)
The Christian Response to Crisis (Charles Payne)
A Christian’s Perspective on COVID-19 (Dan Koen)
A Christian’s Response to the Pandemic (Jeremy Sweets)
A Christian’s Response to Trouble (Boyd Jennings)
Christians and Pandemics (Steve Wolfgang)
God’s People in Isolation (Scott Smelser)
How about Some ‘Good News’ (Billy Randolph)
How Does God Want Us to Deal with This Crisis? (Gardner Hall)
Isolation, the Bible and Your Kids (Expressway church of Christ)
– Isolation Tips : Part 1, Part 2 (Expressway church of Christ)
It’s Time to Shine (Adam Litmer)
Now I Am Grateful For (Mike Thomas)
Our Great Wait (Jason Cicero)
Positivity in a Pandemic (Wiley Deason)
The Power of Prayer (Nathan Quinn)
Q&A: Coronavirus (Jacob Hudgins)
Redeeming the Present Opportunities (Keith Welch)
Seeing the Good in Everything (Ty Leach)
Self-Reflection  (Brian Price)
Stay Focused (Mark Broyles)
True Prosperity (Jerry King)
Virtue and Viruses: Redeeming the Time (Mike Brenneman)
What Are Christians to Do in a Global Pandemic? (Andy Sochor)
What a Little Virus Showed Us (Mike McCrary)
What Has Coronavirus Revealed about Us? (Benjamin Lee)
When Life Gives You Lemons (Jeremy Bard)
When It Goes Well for the Righteous (Daniel Ruegg)
Without Complaining (Matt Lannom)
The Wisdom of the Present (Jeff Wilson)
You Have Need of Endurance (Jesse Flowers)

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Binge The Bible During The Coronavirus Pandemic

Screen shot about coronavirus from a church website

A sample church website announcement about the ongoing coronavirus

The global pandemic alternately known as coronavirus or COVID-19 has created chaos for saints eager to “stimulate one another to love and good deeds” by assembling regularly in one location (Heb. 10:24-25). To prevent the spread of the virus, the federal government has recommended that people not gather in groups of more than 10, and some states have banned most group events outright or even mandated that citizens shelter in place.

But in today’s digital age, Christians are refusing to let a nasty virus keep them from studying God’s word together. Churches of Christ across the country are turning to Facebook, YouTube and other online networks to stream video Bible studies and sermons live. The technology is creating opportunities not only for members of their own congregations to build their faith during trying times but also for members of other churches that do not yet have such capabilities.

These live streams provide a great opportunity to binge the Bible together virtually while stuck inside our homes. Below is a work-in-progress list of churches of Christ that offer live streams and/or recorded video sermons. We’ve also compiled a more comprehensive list of audio recordings of sermons by congregation. Click here for links to those archives.

Feel free to recommend links to other live streams and sermon podcasts.

Anderson church of Christ
Black Creek church of Christ
Brookhill church of Christ
Cahaba Heights church of Christ
Capshaw church of Christ
Carriger church of Christ
Chelsea church of Christ
College View church of Christ
Danville Road church of Christ
East Albertville church of Christ
Eastside church of Christ
Edward’s Lake church of Christ
Ephesus church of Christ
Fultondale church of Christ
Gardendale church of Christ
Gooch Lane church of Christ
Helena church of Christ
Hueytown church of Christ
Jones Road church of Christ
Jordan Park church of Christ
Kimberly church of Christ
Marion Street church of Christ
Market Street church of Christ
Moody church of Christ
Mount Zion church of Christ
North Jasper church of Christ
Northside church of Christ
Oak Mountain church of Christ
Oakland church of Christ
Pepper Road church of Christ
Perry Hill Road church of Christ
Pine Lane church of Christ
Pleasant Valley church of Christ
Sandlin Road church of Christ
Saraland church of Christ
Somerville Road church of Christ
South Cullman church of Christ
Springville church of Christ
Stanley Avenue church of Christ
Trussville church of Christ
Vestavia church of Christ
Weatherly Heights church of Christ
Westview church of Christ

Central church of Christ (Mesa)
Country Club Road church of Christ
Glendale church of Christ
Northwest Valley church of Christ

Bald Knob church of Christ
Cabot Westside church of Christ
Fairview Park church of Christ
Highway 65 church of Christ
Main and 13th church of Christ (Blytheville)
Northside church of Christ (Conway)
Northside church of Christ (Greenwood)
Park Hill church of Christ
Quitman church of Christ
Saratoga church of Christ
Stoneridge church of Christ (Jonesboro)
Village Creek church of Christ (Paragould)
West 65th Street church of Christ
Westside church of Christ (Springdale)

Buenaventura church of Christ
Clovis church of Christ
Johnson Avenue church of Christ
Los Osos church of Christ
Lompoc church of Christ
Miller Avenue church of Christ
Rosedale church of Christ
SunGarden church of Christ
Venice church of Christ
Winnetka Avenue church of Christ

Westside church of Christ

Kent & Sussex church of Christ


Brandon church of Christ
Central church of Christ
Citrus Park church of Christ
Dade City church of Christ
Glen Springs church of Christ
Golden Triangle church of Christ
Lakeshore church of Christ
Livingston Avenue church of Christ
Merrit Island church of Christ
Palm Springs Drive church of Christ
South Bumby church of Christ
Southside church of Christ
Temple Terrace church of Christ
University church of Christ
Valrico church of Christ
West Palm Beach church of Christ
Zephyrhills church of Christ

Alpharetta church of Christ
Covington church of Christ
Embry Hills church of Christ
Martinez church of Christ
Moultrie Road church of Christ
South Fayette church of Christ

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The Sting of Betrayal

One element of Absalom’s rebellion against his father, King David, involved Ahithophel. He was one of David’s trusted counselors, but he sided with Absalom instead.

The deep hurt that David felt from this betrayal was evident in Psalm 55:12-14. “For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it,” David wrote. “Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend;we who had sweet fellowship together walked in the house of God in the throng.”

Ahithophel was a prototype of Judas, Jesus’ betrayer in the New Testament. But one of the differences in the situations is that Jesus knew beforehand that he would be betrayed — and he knew his betrayer. He called out Judas at the Last Supper, the prototype for this memorial that we partake of this morning.

I merged the accounts of that story in the gospels and will read it now:

When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”

When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me. Behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”

The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. Being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord?” There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.” He, leaning back thus on Jesus’ bosom, said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus then answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”

And Judas, who was betraying Him, said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; andit was night.

… Then He came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!” While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Judas was preceding them. Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him.” And he approached Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss? Friend, do what you have come for.” Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him.

Jesus felt the sting of that betrayal, just as David felt the sting of Ahithophel’s betrayal. And it was actually just one of multiple betrayals Jesus endured. Peter denied him three times, and most of His disciples left Jesus that night. Yet He went through with the crucifixion — for all of us, who betray Him still every time we sin.

Let’s think about that this morning as we remember the emblems of His broken body and blood, given for us so that we could have the hope of heaven.

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The Greatest Blood Donation of All Time

Back in 1951, an Australian man named James Harrison needed 13 pints of other people’s blood to endure a major chest operation that took hours. After hearing that, he vowed to become a blood donor as soon as he was eligible at age 18.

At about this time health officials in the country were trying to figure out how to prevent thousands of miscarriages caused by hemolytic disease. Known as HDN, it often occurs when a mother with Rh-negative blood becomes pregnant with a child of Rh-positive blood. The mother’s body is incompatible for the child’s blood and attacks it.

Doctors determined that donated plasma with a rare antibody could prevent this rejection. They searched blood banks and found what they wanted in James Harrison, who had been donating blood regularly for a decade.

Harrison donated plasma from his blood for the first time in 1967. It was such a perfect match that the government built an entire program around it, creating an injection for pregnant women called Anti-D. Harrison donated his blood and plasma regularly over the next 60 years, helping more than 2.4 million Australian babies survive in the womb. One of them was his own grandchild.

His blood saved millions of lives. You may see where I’m going with this.

About 2,000 years ago, the Son of Man in Israel fulfilled His destiny to become a blood donor for the whole world. The imperfect blood of sacrificial bulls and goats had fulfilled their purpose for a time, but they could never be redemptive. Mankind needed the pure, perfect blood of Jesus for that.

Heb. 9:11-14
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

The Great Physician gave His own blood and His own body to save all of us and everyone else who comes to Him. And He gave us this memorial to remember every week what He did – the unleavened bread, which represents His broken body on the cross, and the fruit of the vine, which represents the blood that reconciled us to God.

May we partake of this spiritual feast today in a manner pleasing to God and befitting the greatest blood donation of all time.

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The Dichotomy of the Lord’s Supper

This morning I want to talk about a dichotomy in scripture. Dichotomy is one of those big words that I recall in vague terms but always have to look up before I use it to make sure I remembered the meaning correctly. It describes something with seemingly contradictory qualities.

The Lord’s Supper is a dichotomy in a sense.

On the one hand, it’s a solemn memorial. We gather each week to remember the sacrificial death of the perfect, sinless Son of God and the agony he endured on the cross. On the other hand, it’s a hopeful reminder of the promise of everlasting life.

As Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15:54-57: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Jesus didn’t deserve to have His body, which is represented by this bread, marred, mutilated and mocked. But He rose in, and from, that dead body and then went home to His Father. So can we.

As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. (I Corinthians 15:48-49)

The Messiah didn’t deserve to have His blood, which is represented by this cup, dripping from his feet, his hands and his brow, or pouring from His pierced side. But there is life in His blood; there is power in His blood.

“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:13-14)

“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” (Romans 5:9)

So as we do every week, let’s remember the death of Jesus — and the life we have in Him.

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Jesus Said

By Jack Glover

Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? 18 But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.” (Matt. 15:16-20).

Several times in his ministry, Jesus had a problem with getting his point across. Too often the people would make application to physical events or actions and completely miss the lesson taught. Such was the case in this teaching about eating with unwashed hands.

Although cleanliness is important, changing what is in the heart (mind) of man really cleanses. Proof positive of this is our very own nation. Many Americans have a desire to remove God and His teaching from their hearts, and the results are as evident, or more so, than they were in Israel of old.

They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. You are doing the deeds of your father.” (John 8:39-41)

Jesus had told those questioning Him that He would make them free, meaning free from the Law and sin. They said they already were free because of heritage, being Abraham’s children. Basing freedom on being children of Abraham was not good reasoning because Abraham’s offspring had been in captivity several times by then, although those speaking said they had never been in bondage.

Many today sound like those speaking to Jesus back then, although for different reasons. Jesus said freedom is based on truth: “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31)

Freedom based on feelings, heritage, doctrines of men, etc., is no freedom at all but is slavery to the wrong father. “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” (Matt. 13:57)

Sometimes the return home doesn’t go as expected. Unfortunately that is often true when the hometown boy comes to preach. Although they were astonished at Jesus’ ability and knowledge, it seemed to stir their jealousy more than acceptance. The people could not accept His teaching because they knew His family as well as Him. We might say, “Who does he think he is?”

Their question was, “Is this not the carpenters son?” What Jesus taught should not have been accepted or rejected based on who he was but on truth. Far too often today, we are influenced by who the speaker is rather than what is said. We must not allow preconceived ideas or personal relationships to determine truth.

Remember, Jesus said:

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt. 15:25-26)

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The Economy And The Bible

By Jack Glover

It would be an understatement to say the economy is not good. Most of us know things are not well in our nation in more ways than one. The job losses are tremendous. Some who have worked for companies many years no longer have workplaces to go to. The economy has brought hard or difficult times to companies, families, schools and even to the jobs that no one wanted to do.

How should the Christian react to these hard times? Most of us have had plenty, and more than plenty, in the last few years. We could live on a lot less if it became necessary. Our houses are full of “things” that are not needed to sustain life. We have had it good.

Should we want to give it all up and go back to doing without? I’m not sure that is necessary, but we do need to prepare to make adjustments when needed. What are some biblical principles that will assist us when we face changes to our economic lifestyle?

God knows our needs. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). I know this statement seems trite, but it is also true. Trust in God is necessary to see us through when things look hopeless. If it is good, it comes from God (James 1:17). Jesus emphasized that we are not alone on this earth when He said “your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”

Some adjustment may be necessary. Paul had a hard life (II Cor. 11:23-28). He could not depend on a steady flow of income. Yet the lesson he teaches is to adjust to your situation.

He told the Philippians (4:12), “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” He didn’t say he liked the situation but had learned to adjust to it.

Life has its ups and downs, and many of them are beyond our control. Change comes in many ways, but instead of being controlled by the changes, we are to adjust to them.
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