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Where Are You Wanting?

Where Are You Wanting?


    If asked this, most would correct the one asking the question, thinking they were asking “what do you desire”?   But in the use of “wanting” in the Bible, we see a different meaning.   The Bible meaning of “wanting” is: to have a deficiency in; or to be lacking.

     This is the idea being conveyed in Daniel when he, through the power of God, interpreted the dream of Belshazzar, king of Babylon. Belshazzar was being “judged” by the Lord in the sense that he had been warned, by the way his father, Nebuchadnezzar had been punished for not giving God the glory. Yet as king, Belshazzar ignored the warning. He received his “final” warning in Daniel 5:27 when Daniel told him part of what the handwriting on the wall said. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

     Then, Daniel told him of his demise in Daniel 5:28, as the latter part of the message from the writing on the wall was revealed. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.  Belshazzar must have figured this was to occur much later as Daniel 5:29 tells how the king responded to the news that he was “wanting” and his sentence had been given. Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

   Verse 30 of the same book and chapter makes it very clear that when God makes a declaration that it is to be heeded, because it will come to be. In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.  He had been told “where he was wanting”, or lacking, and he ignored the warnings. This sounds like many today, who 1) have been duly warned in the Word of God, and 2) figure they have ample time before making changes that are needed before entering into eternity.

     Perhaps yet another reminder is needed. Man has been duly warned in God’s Word about the pending judgment, the demise of the ungodly as well as those who were once saved and then turned away from God. Another way a reminder finally “gets through” is in song.   It is a proven fact that most folks remember songs longer than spoken words or those on the printed page.  Possibly, this is due to the tune “sticking” in their mind.  

      We have a few excellent hymns that can serve as a reminder of the fate that awaits those that fail to obey God, or fail to continue in obedience. One such song is “Standing Outside”.   This song was written in 1932 by a man named John A. McClung.   The warning in its words is chilling.   Maybe the words of this song will cause someone to stop and consider “where they are wanting”.  



Standing Outside

Judgment is surely coming. Coming to you and me.

We will be judged that morning for all eternity.

Some will go into Heaven. Others will be denied.

Will you be in that number, Standing outside?


Standing outside while loved ones, Enter that pearly gate.

Knowing that there forever, You will then separate.

To be away from loved ones, And by your God denied.

O what an awful picture, Standing outside?


Can you not see the picture of those who’re lost in sin,

Standing outside the portals, Without a hope to win?

Souls crushed with deepest sorrow, Without a friend to guide?

O what an awful picture, Standing outside?



Standing outside the portals, Standing outside denied,

Knowing that with the demons Ever you shall abide.

Never to share the beauties, Waiting the sanctified.

O what an awful picture, Standing outside?


   Don’t let your friends and loved ones be left “Standing Outside”.   Make sure that you have done all you can to bring them to Christ.   Invite them to Bible studies and to worship services.   Help them have opportunity to hear the warnings God has given in His Word so they can make informed choices.

     And equally important, don’t be afraid to live a righteous life before them, as Daniel did.    He did not fear the king, or what the king might do to him.   Serve God in all areas of life, not fearing what man can or may do to you. Fear being left “Standing Outside”. As stated in Matthew 10:28 by Jesus Himself: And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.    When “weighed in the balances” will you “be found wanting?”            

                   Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

When Life Is Like . . . .A Game of JENGA?

When Life Is Like . . . . A Game of JENGA?

      I am sure we have all heard of the game JENGA, the Wooden Blocks Stacking, Tumbling Tower Game.  If we have played the game, we are aware that all is well until the one block is removed that “topples” the whole thing, and everything “falls apart”.   Life seems like that sometime, and the Bible gives us several examples that might help us see that we are not the only ones to have these types of issues. 

     In Job 1:1-3 we read how Job’s life was “well ordered” and prosperous. There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evilAnd there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.   However, it didn’t remain that way.  By Job 10:1 all this wealth and stability was gone.  Notice how Job spoke of it.  My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.   

     Elihu, one of Job’s “friends” wanted to convince Job that the calamities of his life were of his own doing in Job 36:11-13.  If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures. 12 But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge. 13 But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath: they cry not when he bindeth them. 

      We all know that Job wasn’t wicked or evil, and after Satan was proven wrong, how God again blessed Job immensely, and Job’s life was long and quite happy.   After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations.  Job 42:16   God has always rewarded those that faithfully served Him. 

      Then, there’s Joseph, the son of Jacob and Rachael.  His life was idyllic as a youth.  Even his father favored him as Genesis 37:3 indicates.   Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.   We read of the treachery of Joseph’s brothers in Genesis 37:20 which caused Joseph’s life to change and become unstable as a “stack of blocks”.   Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.   Then we read how his life was spared in Genesis 37:28 as they sold him into bondage.  Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.   We also know how God used this unfortunate turn of events to deliver Israel in the time of the great famine, as Joseph told his brethren in Genesis 45:5-8Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. 6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. 

     These are but two examples from the pages of inspiration.  But what are we to “glean” as we read these and the other Bible examples of tumultuous lives of faithful servants of God because of the actions of others?   Well, the Word of God provides the answer for this question as well.  In the latter part of Hebrews 13:5 those Jewish Christians, many of whom considered their lives “shaky at best” were reminded that the Lord told them:   “. . . I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  And He hasn’t, as the church at Rome was told in Romans 8:28.   And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 

      This does not mean that everything that happens to us is a “good thing”. It simply means that God has had a plan since before the “foundations” of the world, and man with all his “drama” cannot upset that plan.  In the sage words of Gamaliel of Acts 5:38-39: “ . . . for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: 39But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”   So, as a child of God, when life throws us a curve, and it seems that our lives are about to “fall apart”, remember that as Christians, we ought to take heed to the Words of the Spirit, given to the apostle Paul for the church in Romans 8:31.   What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us

       If you have not been baptized into Christ, you are not a “child of God” and the “tower” of your life is ready to topple.  As a child of God, we know that we serve God and do His Will and will be richly rewarded by Him.  Life is not what happens to us, but how we react to it.   Remain faithful to God in spite of life’s circumstances.   Stand fast to the end.    Hebrews 13:6    ” . . . boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”       

                             Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ  

What Kind Of Disciple Are You?

                                  What Kind of Disciple Are You?

     Depending upon where you look, slightly different definitions of the word “disciple” can be found.  From a general standpoint, we find:  a) One who embraces and assists in the teaching of another.  b) An active adherent, as of a movement of philosophy.   From a religious viewpoint, disciple is usually associated with being “a personal follower of Jesus during His life, especially one of the twelve apostles.”  

     We are aware that all of these definitions or descriptions fit the term we are examining in this article.  Many have shown themselves to be “disciples” of a given set of beliefs, or thinking, based on how they act or react to that which occurs around them.  But as we respond to the question of the article this week, let’s confine our thoughts to the “disciples” of Jesus.    We know that Jesus had disciples (followers) during His life’s ministry.   We should be aware that one can also be Jesus’ disciple today, many years after His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.  Hence the question all followers of our Lord should ask: “What Kind of Disciple Are You?”

     To answer this, we need only go to God’s Word and see examples of the types of “followers” existing in Jesus’ day, and see where we stand.   There are always those that seek blessings, and for such will “follow after” Jesus. 

In Matthew 9:27 we are told of two followers with a need.  And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. They had a need and Jesus filled that need,albeit a physical one.   They weren’t being selfish.   But today, many seem to be willing to follow, or claim to be a disciple of Jesus, based solely on the temporal blessings they receive.   When the going becomes difficult, or the times get tough, these are the one’s that often forsake Jesus.  Of course, these too will “cry for mercy”, being justly punished for living for themselves and only looking to God when they needed or wanted something from Him.

      Indeed, as we read in Mark 2:15, there were many during Jesus’ time that followed Him.  And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, (Levi the publican’s) many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.  But we are also told in John 6:66 that some who once followed, did not continue as disciples of Jesus.  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.   The “hard sayings” of Jesus made them choose to be disciples no more.    There are some today that no longer continue as disciples because they think the Word of God too hard or that it is too constricting for their desired “lifestyle”.   

      This perhaps causes some today to be the type of disciple Peter was as the Lord was being tried by the Jewish leaders.    Luke 22:54 shows us how Peter followed at that time.   Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest's house. And Peter followed afar off.  Perhaps fear was not Peter’s only motivation for not standing up.   As Matthew 26:58 indicates, He wanted to “wait and see” how it all would turn out before committing fully.  But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.  Thank God Peter saw his error, wept, then repented and became a diligent “disciple” and served faithfully.    Had he continued to wait he might have lost his soul.

    Today, Christians are to be reminded of 2Peter 2:20 as we examine our own discipleship of Jesus.  For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

      We (Christians) should take the attitude of Thomas, one of Jesus’ original disciples, who also became an apostle, as is shown in John 11:16.    Thomas, often called “doubting Thomas” was among the apostles elect as they talked about how the unbelieving Jews of Bethany had sought to stone Jesus. Here, he showed what true discipleship is.  Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

      This same discipleship is shown in the Words of Paul as the Spirit had him write to the brethren in Philippi in Philippians 1:20-21According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

      What kind of disciple are you?  Are you following, seeking only temporal blessings in this life?   Have you ceased being an “active disciple” because the teaching or the circumstances were “too hard”?  Are you just following “afar” off, staying in the peripheral, and not being “too involved”?   Or are you, as a “true disciple”, boldly standing for truth and right, knowing that the reward far exceeds the sacrifice?   What kind of disciple are you?

     Only you can make that choice.   Become a Christian today and continue to serve as His faithful disciple and one day hear the Words from the Lord Himself: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”.  

                                     Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Promises, Promises

Promises, Promises

     We’ve been inundated lately with promises from political candidates who make every claim possible to get into the desired office.  When the election finally arrives, we have heard more promises than can possibly be kept.   What is so incredible is that many of the promises by any given contender is often countered by conflicting promises previously made by the same man or woman seeking the position.   This is quite inconsistent. 

      Every member of mankind makes many promises in the course of his or her life.   We do so relative to personal relationships, jobs, and many other areas.   When such promises are made, it is hopeful that “good intentions” are behind the promises.   Some of these are kept, or honored, and others are not.  To not keep the commitments, or promises we make, makes us inconsistent as well.  

     There is one who is neither inconsistent, nor fails to keep a promise.  This is because as Isaiah 55:8-9 informs us, God does not think nor act as does man.  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.Then we read in Isaiah 55:11 that God made promise about how effective His Word is.  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.  Then from the New Testament, in 2Peter 3:9 we see how serious God is about the promise He made and the plan He set in order from before the beginning of time for the benefit of man.    The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.   God is faithful, consistent, loving, and desirous that all souls would seek Him and be saved. 

     But what about our part in this?  Are we not expected to be consistent in our efforts to receive what God offers mankind?   Back in the early 1980’s O.D. Wilson, my wife’s father, re-wrote the words of “Make Me A Channel of Blessing” to address our promises, which he entitled “To Be Consistent”.   There was nothing wrong with the “original” song, but these “additional” words might help us to “examine ourselves” as we continue our Christian walk.   Perhaps when he wrote this, he was pondering the “commitment” all make to God when they obey the gospel.   Unfortunately, some Christians fail to live up to their commitment because of inconsistency.   Below are the words he wrote to that tune.  It asks some interesting questions. 


To Be Consistent

1)   Is it true that you are a Christian,

or a person who just wears the name?

Are you really committed to Jesus;

not acting or playing a game?

2)  Do you go to worship each Lord’s day,

are you just a “one timer” each week?

Do you eat the Lord’s Supper the right way?

Always the Lord’s Will do you keep?

3)  Do your neighbors know you are a Christian,

by the things that you do and say?

Have you tried to win them all for Jesus? 

Don’t wait, there’s no time like to day.


To be consistent is so hard to do. 

I want to serve Lord and always be true.

Say what I do Lord, Do what I say Lord,

be an example each step of the way.

     What kind of promises do we make when we talk to God?   When we bow our heads in prayer and ask for specific blessings, do we consider that we committed to be consistent in our service to God?   Do we contemplate where we might spend eternity because of inconsistency?   Think about it. 

                                                  Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ   

Be A Giant Killer

Be A “Giant” Killer

     Upon reading the title of this article, you many have thought: “Fi -Fi-Fo-Fum”, as is found in the children’s stories depicting giants and such.   We know that the “mythical” giants as portrayed in these stories and films are designed to fascinate and entertain our young ones, and do not really exist. However, we are also aware that the “giants” of which the Word of God speaks did exist.   These were men of great size and of impressive physical abilities.   One of the most well-known “giants” is Goliath of Gath, and is found in the account of David and Goliath in 1Samuel chapter 17.  

     This account has been the basis of many a narrative in which the “giant”, or the great and mighty opposition is soundly defeated by the swift action, or the tenacity and perseverance of his diminutive foe.   There have been “fairy tales” told, books written, and movies made, some animated and others not, which had this as a storyline. More importantly, there is a lesson for each of us, if we will just heed the lesson and apply it within our lives.  

     We aren’t likely to have physical foes of the imposing stature of Goliath of Gath. We are to understand that he was indeed real, and he and warriors from the army of the Philistines terrorized the army of Israel for a time.   It simply took someone who served God, had faith in God and who looked to God for strength and deliverance to overcome and defeat the enemy.

   Young David, in 1Samuel 17:37 stated with full confidence: The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.   King Saul, grateful that he himself did not have to face the giant, told David: Go, and the LORD be with thee.         Saul, whether he realized it or not, was giving David some sage advice, which if followed will help us as we face the “giants” in our lives. As each of us have these in our lives, we need to be aware of the means by which we can overcome the “giants” we face day to day.  

     What might be the “giants” we face?   These are perhaps too numerous to list, as everyone is different and all live under various circumstances. But there are a number of these that might be familiar to us.   One “giant” has a rather broad description as many things fall into this category.   Its name is evil.   Romans 12:21 tells us: Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.   If we want to defeat the evil that presents itself to us daily, it can only be done by challenging it with good from God.  

     Evil is indeed a “giant”. In Mark 7:21-23, Jesus told His apostles that we have the power over evil. He said: For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.   Can we not see that we have the power to overcome, if we will but control our minds?   The Spirit had Paul write of this in Philippians 4:12-13.    I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

     God has provided us all we need to kill the “giants” in our lives, if we will simply avail ourselves of it. The apostle Peter was directed to write of this in 2Peter 1:3. According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:   But even that which God has provided is of little use unless we access it.   Why do you think David chose five smooth stones, rather than the armor Saul offered?   He knew what would work.    1Samuel 17:38-40 shows this to be the case.   And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. 39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him. 40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.

     As we face our obstacles, and the many things that might deter us from serving God, let us become giant killers. Take what God has given us (His Holy Word) and learn to be proficient in the use of it. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2Timothy 2:15)   Then take on all that stands between you and God.   You can and will defeat the enemy, regardless of its size.   We can see from 1Corintians 10:13 that God has made a way for us to be giant killers.     There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

     Go ahead, face your giant(s). Prevail over that obstacle. Have faith in God, serve God and look to His Word for strength – Become a “Giant killer”.

                                                Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

How Deep Are Your Roots?

How Deep Are Your Roots?

     When asked about their roots, many folks perhaps consider their places in the community, or their ancestry, or something of that nature.   This is certainly plausible, as our “roots” have some impact on us. We understand this as we look into our heritage.   Many have spent considerable sums and taken much time to research their roots for various reasons.  

     Some may want this information for health purposes. The tendency of a certain disease or physical abnormality within a family might be a good reason to have this information at hand.   This could be quite useful to a physician as he or she treats someone in such cases.   Others tout their “roots” in regard to their community because one with deep roots in the community indicates that the person has stability.   Perhaps their family has been in the area for many years.   This may also work in one’s favor with local law enforcement authorities, etc.

     But, how many stop to consider the depth of their roots from a spiritual standpoint?   My friends, these are the “roots” about which we should be most concerned.   Colossians 2:6-7 shows that our roots “spiritually” must be firmly “in Christ”. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

   This is the same concept Christ was teaching in John 15:4-6 as He spoke to His apostles. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. From this we should see how important it is that our spiritual roots be in the right place and that they remain firm.

     Part of the message of the parable of the sower in Luke deals with the necessity of roots. A plant, (or a person) without root, cannot be nourished as the root is the plant’s source of sustenance. In the Lord’s explanation to His close disciples in Luke 8:13, shows how the seed is ineffective when it does not develop roots.   They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.  The explanation in the Matthew 13:6 account shows what will happen if we have no root. And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

       We all understand how roots work. One of the things the encyclopedia tells us about plant roots is: In vascular plants, the roots are the organs of a plant that are modified to provide anchorage for the plant and take in water and nutrients into the plant body, which allows plants to grow taller and faster. They most often lie below the surface of the soil. A couple of points can be gleaned from this. 1) The roots “anchor” the plant.     2) The plant receives its life-giving nourishment through its roots.  

     As Christians, we are to be “rooted” in Christ.  Therefore, in Him we have our anchor. 1) Per Hebrews 6:19 It is our hope in Christ that is our anchor. Those Hebrew Christians to whom this letter was written were told this so they would remain rooted in Christ. Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;   2) The Spirit, in 1Timothy 4:6 had Paul tell the young preacher how the Christian is to receive the nutrition that sustains spiritual life.   If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

       We also know that the best way to prevent the growth of a tree, bush or any other plant is to separate it from its roots. The inspired message of John the baptizer in Luke 3:9 was to inform Israel that they would be “cut off” from God due to them having neglected and rejected His Word. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. God was applying the axe of His wrath on those of His people who would not remain rooted in His Word and would not follow His instructions.  

     This has always been God’s Way of dealing with His people. God has issued His Commands, provided the time and means for man to heed His Law, and has also warned of the penalty of failure to obey. In Romans 11:22 the brethren at Rome were told that this is also the case in the church age.   Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.   The goodness of God is shown in the giving of His Son on the cross of Calvary to purchase the church. His severity had already been shown to those that had rejected His Son, as they were “cut off”.   His Love and goodness is still extended to all today that will obey the gospel.   Put “roots” down today.   Obey the gospel. Then strive to grow in the knowledge of the Lord and remain firmly and deeply “rooted and grounded in love”. Ephesians 3:17

                       Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

The Fight of Your Life

The Fight of Your Life

       As we continue through this life, we no doubt endure a number of conflicts and struggles in various areas.  There are those who face disease or injuries that threaten their lives.      Many who have been afflicted with the COVID-19 virus have felt this way.   Others have major physical impairments that make life itself seem like an unfair contest.    Some who face this kind of struggle consider it the “fight of their lives”, yet strive to continue on.

     But if we look up the word “struggle” and the word “strive”, perhaps we can see that the “fight of our life” is the one that has the greatest impact on our souls.   Struggle defined:  make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction.    We all are to “struggle” to be free of sin.   We are reminded of this in 1Corinthians 9:25-27 as the Spirit had Paul write.  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. To walk this life and be favorable to God, we must fight with all that is in us to keep ourselves from sin. 

       In 1Timothy 6:11-12 we read where the young preacher was told what to avoid as well as well as that for which he (and we) are to strive.  The definition of strive in this sense is: make great efforts to achieve or obtain something.  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.   Friends, for each of us, this is the fight of our life. Our eternal life depends upon it.

      But do we really stop and consider that where we will spend our “eternal life” is totally dependent on what we do in this life?  Based on the way some folks live, it seems they don’t realize this.   Most, upon reading this will apply this to those of the world.       Members of the Lord’s church also need to consider how this applies to us as well.    In 2Corinthians 5:10 we read a passage that was written to a congregation of the Lord’s church.   The “we” found in this verse means “Christians”.   For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

       The “fight of our life” takes place “in this life”.   In Ecclesiastes 9:10, the Spirit had the wise man Solomon pen this for our instruction.  We are to be busy in this life to make preparation for that which is beyond. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.  And per Hebrews 9:27, it is a fact that our time in this life will come to an end. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

        One of the worst things I can think of, is having to fight for, or contend for something on the “spur of the moment”.   We have the advantage in the “fight of our lives, although we don’t know how long our lives will progress beyond the present.   The Spirit had James remind us of this in the general epistle that bears his name.  Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. (James 4:13-14)  The reason we have the advantage, is that God has told us in His Word how to prepare for that which is beyond this life.   However, we MUST start now because we don’t know how much time we might have. 

       Some have objected by saying: “But, aren’t we to do what we love?” We are, but we are also to be careful as to “what we love” while here in these lives as this determines the paths we will walk.    In 1John 5:3 we can read what the Spirit had the beloved apostle John write.  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.    The word grievous means burdensome.  Therefore, it is never burdensome to do the Commandments of God, if we love Him. 

        The only way to take advantage of what God has offered is to do so in accordance to His terms.   In His Word, He has told us what to do to prepare for the fight of our lives.  1) Hear the Word–Romans 10:17    2) Believe that Jesus is the Son of God–John 8:24   3) Repent of sins–Acts 17:30   4) Confess Jesus before man–Acts 8:37     5) Be Baptized into Christ – 1Peter 3:21, and then remain prepared for that final stage of your existence.  This is where so many lose the “fight of their lives”.    Part of God’s plan of Salvation is that after we have done these things, we are to “remain faithful until death”.  We can read of the sad status of those who lose this fight in 2Peter 2:20.   

      Don’t lose the fight of your life by not beginning, or by not finishing.  God has provided us the time, the means and the reward.   The rest is up to you. 

                                        Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ  

Don't Waste Your Time

Don’t Waste Your Time

Life is like a flower in the Springtime,

Budding and blooming in the breeze.

Don’t crush its beauty but always be kind,

Do a good deed, always try to please.

Life is like a vapor, spreading o’er the valley,

In a short time, it goes away.

So temporary, it’s gone tomorrow,

Make the right use of it today.

Life is like a storm-cloud with a booming thunder.

There’s lightning and hail and heavy rain.

Soon it will pass, no need to wonder,

For we know the sun will shine again.

Life is like a journey; It has an ending.

We carefully chart the course to find.

Our footprints we leave, our message we are sending

To those who follow us, not far behind.

Then don’t waste your time; its use confine

Not for yourself alone, this resign.

Walk with God in perfect peace of mind,

Helping the lost, the way to find.


       This poem was written by my wife’s father, O.D. Wilson, many years ago but is still sage advice.    When we contemplate our “purpose of life” do we think about how we spend our time?   Do we consider the fact that we know not how much time we may have?   As Christians, do we stop to consider that our “duty” in this life is to help others know what they need to know what to do to become “children of God”?    Do we use our time getting “ready” and “able” to answer folks who ask of God’s plan for man?   In 1Peter 3:15 we are told how we are to prepare ourselves and help others.    But sanctify (set apart) the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

        The Spirit had Paul remind his protégé’ Timothy of the fact that he (Paul) had not “wasted his time” after his conversion.   In 2Timothy 3:10-11 we see that the young preacher had a stellar example of how to live, even in the face of persecution.   But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.  Of course, Paul’s “doctrine” was not his, but that which was given him by the Spirit and which Paul had the privilege to deliver to the benefit of all who would listen and would obey.

     The Lord, in Matthew 28:18-20, told His apostles that which has come to be known as the “Great Commission”.  Even the wording of this commission, given before the kingdom came, shows its perpetual nature. Therefore, it is applicable today, as we live in the New Testament age – the kingdom age. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.   Could it ever be a “waste of time” to do what Jesus “commanded”?  

     Can we say we are following the Great Commission if we are not declaring the gospel to all who will hear?   Do we consider what it is we preach and teach as we try to fulfill that commission?   Can anyone “fulfill” that commission with the “wrong kind” of preaching?   Is not the wrong kind of preaching a waste of time?   

       Part of our “obedience” is to not “waste our time”, but to work to maintain the Salvation we have in Christ.    The Philippians were instructed of this from the pen of Paul as directed by the Spirit in Philippians 2:12.   Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

        Think about it.  Can we maintain our salvation, or help others learn how to become the children of God as the purpose for their lives if the “kind of preaching we need” is not offered?    If we worship in such a place, we have indeed wasted our time there.   Make sure that where you worship, God’s Word is peached and followed.   If it is not, how will you know how to be pleasing to God?   If you leave this earth not pleasing to God – You have wasted your time. Time is short!    Obey the gospel today before your time runs out!  

                          Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Are We Pleasing To God?

Are We Pleasing To God?

     As we walk this path of life, all seek to please, or be pleased.   The problems that arise in this result from “how we seek to please” and “whom we seek to please”.   We all have our “place in the crowd” called humanity. Do we seek to be pleasing to humanity?   Many that are married seek to please their spouse.   The Spirit had Paul allude to this in 1Corinthians 7:32-35, noting that “pleasing God” is to be of most importance.   But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: 33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.  This is not to say that one should not be married, but that pleasing God MUST come first in the lives of all His people.

     This is in complete agreement with what Jesus taught in Mark 4:19 as He explained to His apostles, what He taught by the seaside in the parable of the sower. And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.While family, career, education and such are a large part of our lives, we cannot afford to allow these things to cause us not to be pleasing to God. Our focus is to be doing those things which are pleasing to Him. In Colossians 1:10 the Spirit had Paul write: That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;  The key here is that if we want to be pleasing to God, we must increase in knowledge and also do what we learn so that we walk worthy of the Lord and please Him.

     In Galatians 1:10 we read: For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ

We can also determine that which was to be proclaimed to be pleasing to God in vss 11-12. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.  The revelation of Jesus Christ (the gospel), our knowledge of the gospel, and our continued obedience to it is what is pleasing to God.   1Thessalonians 2:4 clearly states that the faithful preaching of the Word of God is pleasing to God.   But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. 

     But how does this affect “happiness”? That is truly dependent upon what it is that makes one happy.   Does being pleasing to God make us happy? Should we ever be happy if we are NOT pleasing God?  Happy defined is: Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.  Should we not be content or feel pleasure in being pleasing to God?   Then, why are so many worried about pleasing man?

Are they afraid of man?   Should we not remember the Words of our Lord found in Matthew 10:28 regarding “fear” of man?   And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  How many on the wrong side of this will be happy for eternity?   We all know that answer.  

       God’s Word was given to man to bring about man’s happiness.  We are also aware that God’s Word is given for our correction.   This too is for our happiness in this life and in the “world to come”. Job 5:17 is the first place in which God’s Word tells us we are to be happy when corrected by God’s Word. Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty Anyone who has received “chastisement” does not realize “happiness” at the moment the correction is being exercised.   But all who are honest, will realize the benefit afterward, as well as the happiness that results as Hebrews 12:9-11 tells us. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby

     What are other benefits of pleasing God?   The Spirit had the wise man, Solomon, write in Proverbs 16:6-7, Words for our learning. This is much needed even in our present society amid the turmoil that is certainly unpleasing to God. By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil. 7 When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.  The Spirit had the apostle Paul, in 1Thesalonians 4:1 write it this way: Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

     Isn’t it about time to consider “pleasing God”?   He has provided for this His Word in which we can please Him and also be happy in this life and in the hereafter.                  

                                           Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Inner Conflicts

Inner Conflicts

      Since nearly the dawn of time there have been hostilities, conflicts, battles, wars, and altercations.  These are usually the product of one man or group of men in opposition to another.   An excellent example of this is the first recorded war we have in the Word of God.  This account names a number of combatants, and is found in Genesis 14:2That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.  

       Often, when the call for action in this kind of conflict is made in the field, or location of the clash, there is a need to let all involved know when to charge.   Battalions of the U S Calvary included a “bugler” who was well versed in all the “tunes” that were designed to signal various things.   The need for this was recognized even in Bible times.  In 1Corinthians 14:8, the Spirit had Paul write about this.  For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

       But these types of struggles are “external” in nature and usually involve a multiplicity of individuals.   In Romans 7:25 the apostle Paul was directed by the Spirit to inform the Roman Christians that not all “wars” aren’t fought with club, sword, firearm, or other such weapons.   Some take place “internally”.  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.    Another congregation was given a similar message.  In 1Corinthians 10:3-4, those brethren were reminded that the flesh did not control the Christian’s conflict.   For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)  These are battles of an individual nature and are fought by each of us.

      However, as we face these daily, we are not expected to deal with our inner conflicts without aid or assistance.   2Peter 1:3 assures us that we are richly supplied with all we need to live godly lives and overcome even our own inner battles.   According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:   These “all things” are contained within the Word of God and are easily accessed by every soldier of the cross, if he or she will just go to the Word and read, study and meditate.  According to Ephesians 3:16, this is where we are to draw that needed inner strength.  That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;   Once we have done this, perhaps we can say as the Spirit had Paul write in Romans 7:22.  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

        We cannot separate the inner man from the outer until we die as we read in James 2:26.   For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.  So, when the inner man is “conflicted” and fails to remain faithful to God the outer man also suffers.  Therefore, God has provided all that the faithful Christian needs to prepare him, or herself, for every type of conflict one might face in this life.    The Spirit had Paul pen this so the church that met in Ephesus could overcome inner conflicts.   This has been recorded for us as well in Ephesians 6:10-18 so we can be fully equipped.    Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 

      How can we be victorious over these “inner conflicts”?   We must first obey the gospel.  When we become a child of God, Philippians 4:7 tells us, And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.   Then as the “inner conflicts” arise, we as soldiers in the Lord’s army have access to all we need to overcome.   Let us remember, just as warriors in other battles know, the weapons for offence and defense are useless unless we take them up and use them.  They are equally inadequate if we have not been trained to use them.   Take up God’s Word today.  Obey what it says to do.  Learn how to use it to your benefit and to render aid to others.  

                                        Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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