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Search For Her As For Hidden Treasures

With the Bible in your hand and a commitment to obedience in your mind, you hold the treasure map to the greatest treasure the world has ever known, eternal life. If you search for her as for hidden treasures, you will find the ultimate treasure.

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The Bleating of the Sheep and the Lowing of the Oxen

By: Zach Collins Date: August 20th, 2021 Growing up, my father and mother gave me a chore list. A staple of many childhoods. It was posted on the refrigerator door, next to the photos of family, friends, and the magnetic tourist souvenirs from all the locations that my mother had visited in her travels. The list was clear and specific, complete with obligations that I could understand and obey every single week. As most children, after I completed the chores on the list, I received payment in exchange for my work. It seems that twenty dollars went much further in my childhood! As I reflect upon the list, I realize that, at the core of this list, was a form of parental training. My mother and father were attempting to prepare me for the “real-world”, where men and women alike are given certain job responsibilities that they are expected to fulfill. One specific moment comes to my mind: As I was doing my chores, I was tempted to only do half the chores on the list in order to see if I could pull the wool over my mother’s eyes. Sure, I realized that I would be short-changing my mother and father, but I figured that I would still get paid my twenty dollars at the end of the week and everything would work out for the betterment of myself. When it came time for payment, my mother would ask, “Did you complete your chores for this week?”, knowing that …

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Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? His Death

In the sentiment of the holiday season, we are continuing our exploration of the genuine and authentic Jesus that we read of in the Bible in a series of short articles titled, “Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?” I hope that these articles will provide you with some talking points in your conversations this holiday season, as many are focused on the Savior of the world. We have all seen life work in circles. This is often the case with music, specifically country music. It began with Jimmy Rodgers and The Carter Family but then drifted to the Nashville Sound. However, when you thought the origins were lost, many brought the sound around full circle. The Bible comes full circle through fulfilled prophecy. There is no more excellent builder of faith than to see the messianic prophecies of old be fulfilled through the Messiah and mediator of the New Testament, Jesus Christ. Sadly, many man-made prophecies have risen to prominence and are often associated with the divine, such as the prophecies of Nostradamus. Though he lived from 1533 to 1566 as a famous French astrologer, he supposedly made over 6,000 prophecies; today heralded as accurate predictions of current and future events. However, as you explore such prophecies, you will notice that they are vague in their origin. For example, Nostradamus once predicted, “From on high, evil will fall on the great man.” This is often considered a prediction of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Yet, …

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Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? His Anger

In the sentiment of the holiday season, over the next couple of weeks, I want to explore the genuine and authentic Jesus that we read of in the Bible in a series of short articles titled, “Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?” I hope that these articles will provide you with some talking points in your conversations this holiday season, as many are focused on the Savior of the world. Do you remember a time in the life of Jesus when he was angered? While some may not be able to recall one incident, the majority of those with knowledge of the holy scriptures would first cite the first and second cleansing of the temple by Jesus (c.f., John 2:13-17; Matthew 21:12-17). If your view of Jesus is an apprehensive and imperturbable man who allowed others to dominate him easily, you need to adjust your view of Jesus. Jesus was God in the flesh (c.f., John 1:1, 14) and thus was angered by the same things as God the Father. Can you imagine what it would have been like for Jesus to tolerate the actions of others, knowing that He was God in the flesh? He was angered at those who refused to believe in His deity and pronounced the wrath of God upon them (c.f., John 3:36). He was angered by the exploitation and empty words of blind leaders who lead others into the ditch of eternal destruction (c.f., Matthew 15:14). We often speak of the love of …

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The Fortune of Eutychus

After one of those long sermons that seemed to last forever, a father and son walked toward the door. Suddenly, the boy stopped in his tracks. He saw a plaque in the foyer and asked his dad, “Daddy, what is this for?” His father said, “Oh, that’s in memory of those who died in the service.” The little boy asked, “Which service – the morning or evening service?” Children can have a great sense of humor, but perhaps this boy remembered another familiar story in the Bible. We have become accustomed to stressing the importance of gathering and attending the morning worship service. Many prioritize this worship service over other services offered at the building. However, in the New Testament, there is more evidence that the first-century saints gathered in the evening than in the morning to worship God. They used lamps to provide light in their meeting room, (c.f., Acts 20:8). This is the setting for the story of Eutychus. In Acts 20, on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul was set to depart Troas the next day, (c.f., Acts 20:7). So, he delivered a message that lasted until midnight to those who were gathered. As Paul was preaching, a young man named Eutychus sat on a ledge. He fell asleep, fell from the third-story window, and was taken up dead, (c.f., Acts 20:9). This is the first recording in the inspirational record of a person dying in the worship …

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The Common Man Heard Him Gladly

What is the greatest compliment that a preacher can receive after a sermon has concluded? You always have the go-to compliments that brethren use with a sincere heart, such as, “Wonderful sermon! Good job!”, or, “That was powerful! Thank you.” On the humorous side, perhaps the most honest compliment I have received came from an older sister, when she said, “I liked that sermon, but last Sunday’s sermon was better.” That’s a real quote. Because of the time-consuming efforts poured into the construction of a sermon outline and the demand for sermon delivery, many preachers appreciate when members complement the depth and delivery of their sermons. But is that the greatest compliment a gospel preacher can receive? I believe the greatest compliment that can be given to a preacher, at the conclusion of a sermon, is simply, “I understood everything you said in your sermon. It was simple.” I believe the goal of every gospel preacher is simple: To preach your sermon in all simplicity, despite the complexity of the subject under discussion, so that the audience can understand what you are saying. In the words of the Lord, we ought to write it down, make it plain, so that they may read it and run at the same time, (c.f., Habakkuk 2:2-3). Therefore, this is the reason that I love the statement made of Jesus, in Mark 12:37, “And the common people heard him gladly.” I think we, sometimes, have a misunderstanding of the word common in this text. …

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Would You Vote for Jesus?

At the height of the Pax Romana, the angels of God began to sing a new song, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”, (c.f., Luke 2:14). With the announcement of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the son of God, our Creator bestowed something upon mankind through His Son that man could not give itself, peace. However, at the birth of Jesus, many politicians were worried that the one born to be King would unseat them politically, so they desired to destroy Him at the behest of Herod, (c.f., Matthew 2:13). The political powers of the day were afraid at the political power Jesus could possess.   In fact, throughout the life of Jesus, He was tempted and encouraged to take hold of great earthly, political power. One of the temptations that Satan laid at His door was the power to rule over all kingdoms of the Earth, (c.f., Matthew 4:8-9). His closest friends believed that He would establish an earthly, political kingdom, so they wanted to sit on his right and his left, (c.f., Mark 10:37). Pilate judged Jesus on charges that He sought political power, (c.f., Matthew 27:11). Yet, each time, the King of Kings explained that His kingdom was not of this world, and if it was, there would be political turmoil involved, (c.f., John 18:36). In His life on Earth, Jesus never sought political power though many sought Jesus to seize political power. However, the question is: Would you …

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The Time Jesus Went Fishing

Mark Twain loved to go fishing, but he hated to catch fish. The problem was that Twain fishing to relax, but catching fish ruined his relaxation since he had to take the fish off the hook and do something with it. So, Mark Twain came up with the perfect solution. He would take a fishing pole, line, and a bobber, but he would not put a hook on the end. He would cast the bobber in the water and lay back on the bank. He was able to relax while fishing, without having the hassle of catching fish. Mark Twain was a lot like many Christians today. They have their poles in the water, but there is no hook on the end. They are not fishing, they are relaxing! Paul Harvey once said, “Too many Christians are no longer fishers of men but keepers of the aquarium.” I don’t believe this is what Jesus had in mind when he called four fishermen to be His disciples with these words, “Do not be afraid. From now on, you will catch men”, (Luke 5:10). Our Savior was the Master fisherman. In fact, I remember a time when Jesus went fishing. Jesus had already rolled the stone away and been resurrected by power of God the Father Himself. He had approved Thomas’ request for proof by letting him touch His hands and His side. After these things, Jesus showed Himself again to His disciples at the Sea of Tiberius, also known as the …

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7 Abilities the Church Needs Today

One Sunday morning, a deacon came before a large congregation and requested volunteers after services who would be willing to do some maintenance work around the building after services. That very same morning, the charismatic and schematic preacher came before the audience in his strapping suit and delivered a strong sermon on the need for workers in the Lord’s Kingdom. At the end of the sermon, a husband looked to his wife and said, “That’s what the church needs! The church needs more men like him.” However, it only appeared to be lip-service. After services, that powerful preacher didn’t answer the humble appeal of the deacon and was nowhere to be found when the work was abounded. Late that night, the couple noticed the lights were still bright in the building. So, they drove by the door and could see that humble deacon mopping the floors of the church building. As they both observed with great clarity his servant’s heart, the wife said to her husband, “That’s what the church needs! The church needs more like him.”  The church has many needs. We need men who can teach, preach, lead singing, lead prayers, serve as deacons, serve as elders, and do personal work. We need women who can teach other ladies, teach children, serve as elder’s wives, serve as deacon’s wives, serve as preacher’s wives, prepare meals, send cards, and make visits.  But, for a moment, I want to suggest some general abilities that we all can and should develop, …

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Is He Worthy of Your Denarius?

We do not speak in terms of denarii today. During the ministry of Jesus, a denarius was a form of currency. The denarius was a roman unit of coinage, which typically had the emperor imprinted upon the coin. Once, the Herodians attempted to catch Jesus in His words, (Mark 12:13), so they asked, “Teacher… is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Shall we pay or shall we not pay?”, (Mark 12:14-15). Jesus asked a simple question when he asserted, “Whose image and inscription is this?… Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”, (Mark 12:16-17). In that moment, Jesus was holding a denarius, (c.f., Matthew 22:19). The denarius was considered a day’s wage for a common laborer. Though small, it was a coin sufficient to provide for the needs of the common laborer. However, throughout the Bible, the denarius began to take on symbolic form through the inspired writings. Some individuals were willing to give their heart and their denarius to Christ, despite the personal cost, and they were memorialized as an example throughout all the ages. In other cases, some were unwilling give of their heart nor their denarius and were used as an example of caution. These individuals viewed God as not worthy of their denarius and received their due reward.   Is He worthy of your denarius?  In Matthew 18:21-31, we find one of the most sobering stories in the Bible. It is the Parable of …

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Living Amongst the Rocks

I believe we have something in common with the eagle. As eagles age, the eagles beak and talons become encrusted with calcium. This calcium causes them to not be as sharp as they once were and, therefore, the eagle can no longer hunt as effectively as it once could. He loses his feathers, as well. As a result of losing his feathers, it causes the body of the eagle to whistle as it dives toward its pray. The eagle is entering into a new stage of life, called, “Living amongst the rocks.” The majestic eagle, once full of life and vigor, transitions from soaring amongst great heights, to literally living amongst the rocks. While living amongst the rocks, the eagle will pluck out his own feathers, break his calcium encrusted beak off upon a rock, and even scratch his talons against the rocks until they are literally nubs. Once those who soared so high in all of their pride, they have been brought down to their vulnerabilities. It reminds me of the words of the prophet Obadiah, in Obadiah 1:3, “Though you ascend as high as the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars, From there I will bring you down,” says the LORD.” In the life of an eagle, to live “amongst the rocks” is the most dangerous stage of their life. They become vulnerable and defenseless. They cannot escape predators, nor can they provide for themselves food. As a result, many of them die. Yet, …

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He Hath Inclined His Ear

As a new father, I have become intimately familiar with an obvious truth not previously conceived that children can become very easily upset at trivial matters. My son has chosen his contentment to be during the day and his cries of distress to be in the middle of the night. The slightest change in schedule or atmosphere can cause a child to increasingly become upset. Often, children are blinded by their immaturity and self-sighted attitude which causes them to fret over trivial matters with little consequence. When your child is upset, what do you do? Do you tower over them with your 6’2 frame? Of course not. Even if we find ourselves in the middle of the night, we go to our child, kneel, or sit down, to adequately comfort them in their distress. In life, I have found that the greatest comfort we can provide is to sit down and listen to others. In times of need, we all want to be heard. Our Heavenly Father sits down and listens, as well.    The Psalmist wrote, in Psalm 116:2, “Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.”  The word incline, in the Hebrew, literally means, “to bow down”, (Strong’s Concordance). Isn’t the thought amazing? Our Almighty God bends down to comfort us through our distress. This word reinforces what I know to be true about my Father. He is concerned with what concerns me, though my problems may …