Mooresville church of Christ

Teaching The Gospel in Mooresville, NC and Around the World...

News & Articles News & Articles

Perilous Times

Perilous Times

    There is no doubt that the title of this week’s article draws everyone’s mind to the distress we are experiencing in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic.   This is definitely a true reason to be concerned, and could be cause for alarm.  None would argue that these are indeed dangerous times, and that certain activities which require close proximity to others could be hazardous. 

     As our national, state and local governments sets guidelines and restrictions and as we dutifully follow these, we do so for our own good, the good of our loved ones and for the good of our fellow Americans.     Many have called the restrictions as well as the virus itself and the ravages of it, persecution.  What is now occurring is more correctly termed tribulation, as the definition of tribulation is: a cause of great trouble or suffering. 

     As many are truly suffering, we are indeed involved in perilous times.  All the “tribulation” being experienced is causing a number of different reactions. Most of the people looking for relief or comfort are focused on the physical aspect of things.   Many are fearful that “life as they know it” is forever changed.   But, if our perspective is from a Scriptural standpoint, we will look for comfort from above.  From 2Corinthians 1:3-4 we are directed to look to God in perilous times so that we might have comfort, and so we can help ease the distress of others.  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  

     Another thing that should help us is that tribulation can actually be beneficial to us.  Roman 5:3-4 provides us with this information.  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope:  Those who have hope in Christ should always use tribulation to grow and serve God; not being fearful. 

     If you’ve ever been on a ship on a storm-tossed sea, you would certainly call that time perilous, or a “cause of great trouble”.   This is what occurred in the lives of the twelve that were called by the Lord in Matthew 8:23-26.  Notice the question the Lord asked them when they feared in time of tribulation.  And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. 24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. 25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.  26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.    These disciples, although in the very physical presence of Jesus, were afraid, and the passage above showed the source of their fear.   But, 2Timothy 1:7 is where we read what the Spirit had Paul write to this young preacher in the face of the tribulations he suffered for the cause of Christ. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.   

     Do we need to be reminded of the source of our faith?  We have access to that which can help us bolster our faith, even in the most perilous times.  Paul was directed by the Spirit, in Romans 10:17, to reveal this to them.  This is the message that has been forever recorded in God’s Word so all may have this information.  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.   As we are armed with this fact, are we to allow fear to rule our lives?  Are we to fear what “may” happen to us, even in perilous times or periods of tribulation?    Now, more than ever is a time to remain in the Word of God and have faith.   The apostle Paul was directed to write in Romans 8:35, words to those brethren which are also applicable to those in Christ, even today.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?Then, in verses 38-39 of the same book and chapter, we can read that nothing can separate us from the love of God.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

     But, those in Christ perhaps need to recall that while nothing external will be allowed to isolate us from God, being creatures of free will, have a choice in the matter.   I am afraid that some are allowing fear to separate them from the Lord in these “perilous times”.    Remember what the Spirit had the penman of the Hebrews letter write in the latter part of Hebrews 13:5 to those Christians who were facing tribulation?   . . . for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.      There is also a suitable scripture for those who allow fear to dominate, even in the face of tribulation or peril.  The Spirit had John pen the Words we read in Revelation 21:8.  It is here that those who are “fearful” are included among the vilest of offenders and even the end result of their lack of faith is pointed out.  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. 

      Perilous times?  Absolutely!   What better time to turn to God, do His Will and faithfully serve Him?      

                                  Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

What Are We Going To Eat?

What Are We Going To Eat?

      Been to the grocery stores lately?  Notice the near empty shelves?  Perhaps when you viewed the shelves, or had to make alternate selections, the question that makes up the title of this article becomes more real.   Of course, most of us do not even know what it is like to be truly hungry.   Despite the current issues, situations and areas of concern, we are still blessed to be a part of the greatest nation on earth.  

     But all this is physical in nature. The shelves that are not stocked are missing food for our physical bodies.  These foods we eat as well as the freedoms we enjoy and are so abundantly available are part of what God has provided for us and these are designed for our physical success. 

     Have you ever considered this question from a Spiritual standpoint?  As you may have realized, we need spiritual nourishment as much, if not more than we require physical sustenance.     Christ knew this and His reply to the tempter in Luke 4:4 shows He knew which was of most importance.  It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.   Our Lord was indeed physically hungry as He had not eaten for quite a while.  Luke 4:2 tells us how long this had been.  Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

    Another event in the life of Jesus helps is to see that even when food for the body was available, the Lord remained focused on that “spiritual” food from the Father.  In John 4:32 He told His disciples that He had access to that food at all times.  But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.   Then, as we look at verse 34 we see what it is that sustained our Lord even when He was hungry, being persecuted and even as He died.   Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

     In Acts 14:17 as Paul and Barnabas plead with the people of Lystra not to do sacrifice to them for the miracle of healing the lame man, the Spirit had Luke the physician record the Words the Spirit gave Paul at that time.   Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.   Now, we are all aware that physical food does not “fill our heart”, but “spiritual” food does fill our Bible heart, the mind.  1Timothy 4:6is clear evidence of this.  The Spirit had Paul write this to Timothy. The preacher, minister and teacher also must maintain a proper spiritual diet to be effective. This is equally true today as it was when written.  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.  

     The Spirit also had Paul direct the Ephesian elders in Acts chapter 20 how to properly sustain the brethren among whom they labored for the benefit of all their souls.  In Acts 20:26-28 we also see that Paul, in service to God had set the proper example by “feeding” them.  We also see the “dish” the Spirit had Paul serve up.   Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.  

       Peter was also directed in 1Peter 5:1-3 to instruct some elders as to their responsibilities to the congregation with whom they serve.  They were also to set the proper example and have the correct spiritual diet.  They could not do what the Lord desired of them if they did not.  The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:  Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock

       When the Spirit had Paul write the church at Corinth, He had Paul address a dietary issue the brethren there had in 1Corinthians 3:1-2.  It seems they hadn’t grown spiritually as they should have and couldn’t digest spiritual meat.  And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.  All Christians are to grow as they are nourished spiritually.  Some don’t.    All Christians are to grow to the point that they can properly teach others.  In Hebrews 5:12-13 we are told that some of these Christians hadn’t reached that point.  For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.  

      What are we going to eat?   That is entirely up to us.  God has provided the food.   2Timothy 2:15 tells us how to consume the Spiritual nutrition God has provided.  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.    Eat up and Enjoy!

                                      Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Don't Quit

Don’t Quit

    An anonymous poem that I recently came across may help us as we strive to be a success, not only in this life, but also seek to be successful in making it to the eternal rest promised by God in His Word to those who will be obedient and faithful.   I have included it at the end of the article.

   But first, let’s see what God’s Word has to say about quitting.   In the letter to the Philippian church, the Spirit had Paul write in Philippians 1:27 how the lives of those and all Christians are to be ones of continual and faithful service to God in according to His Word. Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;   Then, as we look to 1Thessalonians 3:8 we find that life itself is contingent remaining engaged in our dedication to God. For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord

   This is not the only place the church was told to “stand fast”.   In the second letter to the church in Thessalonica, in 2Thessalonians 2:14-15, we see not only that which called us to obedience, but also where these Christians had received that gospel.   Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.  We also read of this in Galatians 5:1, where they told that if they quit, they would be again bound by the sin from which they had recently been made free. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondageThis also applies to us as we live our lives in the hectic world of our times.   As one brother once stated: “There is just no place to get off”.   We must not quit as to do so is disastrous.

     As Paul wrote in 1Timothy 4:7-9, to his young protégé’ Timothy, as directed by the Spirit, he told Timothy what is of most importance. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. 9This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.  This is good advice for all, whether in the days of Paul and Timothy, or in this time in which we live and serve.

     Keep in mind that we’ve not made it yet. 1John 2:25 tells us that we only have eternal life in promise, until we have completed our journey.   And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.    This is affirmed by the Words of the Spirit through the pen of Paul in Philippians 3:12-14 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill.

When the funds are low, and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to cry.

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest, if you must - - but don’t you quit!

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As everyone of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about,

When he might have won had he stuck it out.

Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow - -

You might succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than

It seems to a faint and faltering man.

Often the struggler has given up,

When he might have captured the victor’s cup.

And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,

How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out - -

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt - -

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems afar.

So, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit - -

It’s when things seem worse that you mustn’t quit.

                           Article – Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ     Poem - Anonymous

What Does the Bible Say About It?

What Does The Bible Say About It?

   Many today are confused as to what the Bible says and teaches on various subjects. As a result, many have been deceived into thinking they are saved when they are actually still lost in sin.   Some, because they misunderstand the teaching in God’s Word, even though they have been baptized into Christ, have become complacent.   This too is a grave danger as one who is not “working out their salvation” (Philippians 2:12) is in danger of losing their soul.   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.

   Often, folks remember the words and melodies of songs, and the teaching contained in the song, long after the preaching is concluded and the service is over. That is another reason to always strive to sing scriptural songs as well as preach scriptural sermons.   We would never want to preach right, and then sing it wrong, would we? Of course not! The Spirit had the apostle Paul admonish the Ephesus brethren in Ephesians 5:15-16 as they walked, to do so carefully and watching all around as they lived their daily lives. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.    Then the Spirit, through Paul, wrote to tell them a great way to remember the teachings of the Bible so they could live their lives in accordance to it. Ephesians 5:19 is one place where we find this  Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

       Another place this is found is in Colossians 3:16-17. In these particular verses, the Word of God is identified as that which is to guide one that is striving to serve God.   Can one not teach the Bible in preaching as well as in song?   But the song would have to be a “spiritual” song to accomplish this. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.   

     One way to ensure this is for Christians to write “scriptural” spiritual songs that can be used to teach. Too many “church” songs are written by those who do not rightly divide God’s Word. Some Christians do have the talent to put scripture to music, or spiritual teaching in song.   Below is one such effort that teaches a number of biblical things, including what we read in 2Timothy 2:15. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  These words were written by my Father-in-Law. O.D. Wilson about thirty years ago.  It can be sung to the tune of: “Rescue the Perishing”, although there is nothing “scripturally” wrong with that song.


1- Wonders were in the church, God blessed and used them,

They served a purpose & then passed away.

Tongues were to pass away. Paul even said when.

The “perfect” came and is now here to stay.

2- To whom and about what, Rules for division.

God’s Word will not with itself disagree.

Rightly dividing it with such precision,

It makes good sense – Absolute harmony.

3- Rightly divide the Word, Stay with the context;

Literal language, or figures of speech.

God’s Word is only truth, Never a pretext.

Rightly divide it each time that you teach.

Chorus- Rightly divide the Word, God will approve you.

It is the only way; Let it save you.

     What does the Bible say about it?  Whether it be the miracles of the early church and when they would cease, the day of worship, the type of worship, or God’s plan for the salvation of souls, and the way in which the saved must continue to live, all scripture must be rightly divided to see the truth that God has presented in His Word.  

     Let us not become complacent in our knowledge or our service to God. If we do, we will lose our souls for eternity.   Study God’s Word daily so you cannot be deceived by the doctrines of men.   If we truly know what God’s Word says as we rightly divide it, we can better lead lost souls to Christ and in that way help the church to grow numerically and spiritually.   This is what God has said about it in the Bible.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Are We Abounding In The Lord's Work?

Are We Abounding In The Lord’s Work?

   In 1Corinthians 15:58 the Spirit had the apostle Paul write so that these Christians would know what they were to be doing and why. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.  As we read this passage, have we stopped to consider what they, and we are being admonished to do?  

Upon looking up the definition of “abound”, one will find it to mean: exist in large numbers or amounts.   Some of the synonyms for “abound” are: thrive, flourish, boundless and inexhaustible. How many of us can truthfully examine our service to God and honestly say we “abound”? Do we thrive as we do the work of the Lord? Do we flourish, or are we inexhaustible as we carry out what God has left for His children to accomplish while we spend our few days on this earth?  

   I suppose to answer the question that is the title of our article we must first answer the question: “What is the Lord’s Work?”   The best One to ask such a question is the Son of God Himself.   In John chapter 6 after Jesus had fed many, they still wanted a sign. They challenged the Lord in John 6:30 to prove what he had done. They said: What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?  Then in John 6:38 we see the Lord’s response to them.   He did not come to do His own Will or to follow His own plan. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  It is not God’s Will that any perish as we read from 2Peter 3:9. 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.  Christ came to pay the price so all would have means and opportunity to be saved if they but follow the Word of God and be obedient to it.

   All who are Christians, those who have been obedient to the gospel are to carry on the Work the Lord started while He was here on earth, announcing  the church while it was in its preparatory state.   In Matthew 4:17 we read of the start of the Lord’s earthly ministry. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  That kingdom is the church and all those who are in the kingdom are to do as the Lord Himself Commanded in Matthew 28:19-20 as He gave the Great Commission. 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.

    The Lord’s work was to die on the cross and purchase the church. He did this and thereby was inexhaustible in carrying out the Will of His Father in Heaven.   How much do we “abound” in His Work?    God, in 1Timothy 2:4 tells us it is His Will that souls be saved. Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.  Are we boundless in our efforts to do our part to see that this happens?   The Spirit had the apostle Paul express it this way as he wrote to the church in Corinth. For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 1Corinthians 9:16  It is the duty of all Christians to preach (teach) the gospel. That is the work in which we must “abound” if we are to be pleasing to God.  

   Those in the world who refuse to be obedient, per 1Corinthians 1:18, see “preaching” as silliness, but those who are obedient realize preaching for what it truly is.  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.   Paul was directed by the Spirit to write this in Romans 1:16-17 this way. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 

     Since faith comes from hearing God’s Word (Romans 10:17) and God’s Word is His power unto Salvation, can we possibly abound in His Work if we don’t (teach) preach the Word of God? Was this not what the Spirit had Paul tell Timothy in 1Timothy 4:1-2?  I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  The reason this is needed is told in 1Timothy 4:3-4 . For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

   That time came a long time ago and is still with us. As there are so many seeking their own teachers, we have much work ahead of us.   It is time to begin to abound in the Lord’s Work.  Find someone willing to hear God’s Word and teach them what God would have them do to be saved. Or, at the very least invite them to services.   Time’s a wasting.

                                   Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Is Time Really On Your Side?

Is Time Really On Your Side?

    As we go through life, we are all affected by time.  In fact, we measure our   existence in time.  We count years, look toward milestones and set goals as time passes.  This is the natural thing to do as we assign our beginning to the date we are born, and everything beyond that is based on time.  

    In 1963, Jerry Ragavoy using the pseudonym “Norman Meade” wrote a song with the title: “Time Is On My Side”.  This is perhaps best known as a recording by the Rolling Stones in 1964 which is about unrequited love and how that the situation would resolve itself when the departed lover would come running back because time was on the side of the jilted one.  

    This type of thinking has permeated the minds of many today as they think of that which should happen, or what they desire to happen in their lives.   In the realm of accomplishments, often one is encouraged to keep at it; to strive for achievement, and “one day” it will happen.   The same is true in many areas of life.  Folks are encouraged and advised to keep pushing and not to doubt, and given enough time “such and such” can happen.  I guess this is true, as it would also be eventually possible to fill a fifty-five-gallon drum with water by only adding one drop at a time – if you kept it up long enough.   Perseverance is also clearly taught in God’s Word. 

     However, many fail to realize or consider the brevity and uncertainty of life. There are too many folks who vainly believe they will have long lives.  Some are so bold as to even quote scripture as proof as if this were a guarantee that they will be granted these years.  They point to Psalm 90:10 as proof.  The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.   Why is it that man so often reads one part of a passage and then ignores the other?    

    Does not the latter part of this verse declare that even what strength we possess is labor and sorrow because “we fly away”?   Are there not enough other scriptures dealing with the “short time” we have on this earth and the need to do with our time what is best for us eternally?   As we contemplate the poor suffering servant Job, of Job 7:6, we would be remiss to not recall what he said about the fleeting time of life.   My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope.  Then, we read in Job 9:25 another reminder of the brevity of it.  Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good.     And, I am sure we all remember the admonition the Spirit gave James to write in James 4:13-14 to those who thought they had “time on their side”.    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. 

    Can we not see that we should take care of that which is most important while there is still time?   We all prioritize, but do we do this properly with time and the swift passing of it in consideration?   Near the middle of that great Sermon on the Mount, Jesus in Matthew 6:33 reminded the Jews what their time was to be spent on first, and that all the other things of life would also be addressed as well.    But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  

      Many are told that they have their whole lives ahead of them, especially those that are younger.   This is a true statement for all, but how much time does that entail?       Take a few minutes on any given day of the week and peruse the obituary column of most any newspaper.   In these you will find the death notices of people of all ages.   An interesting fact that applies to all the folks listed there, is that they have all run out of time in this life.    

      2Corinthians 6:2 is where we read what the Spirit had Paul write the brethren there to remind them that time is not on our side if we have not yet been obedient to the gospel.   (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)   The same is true for each of us today.  If we have not been obedient, we need to do so now.  If we have obeyed the gospel, we need to remain faithful because time may just run out for any of us.    At our deaths, or the Lord’s return (whichever comes first), time for us will be no more. 

     Time also means nothing to God as He is everlasting.  2Peter 3:8-9 tells us this as well as the fact that He desires that we repent of our sins and turn to Him.  But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day9 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. 

   Don’t let time run out on you.  All need to address the needs of their soul in accordance to God’s Word now.   Time is not on your side.   Time may run out for you today.       

                       Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Birth Is Just The Beginning

                                     Birth Is Just The Beginning 

     When we arrived here as part of our respective families, there was great joy as our parents welcomed us as a new addition to the household.   This was just the beginning of our lives. As we began to be nourished, first with milk and then with solid foods, we continued to grow and learn. This is the normal progression of all things.    All things start at the beginning and then move toward whatever is beyond.

     The same is true from a spiritual standpoint. Even before the church had been purchased by Christ on the cross, Jesus spoke of the kingdom, which is the church, and told how one is to enter it.  Before the church began, Jesus told Nicodemus how all must begin spiritually. This was part of what Jesus did as He called Israel to repentance in preparation for that kingdom. In John 3:3 during that night-time visit, Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  Then in John 3:6 He explained that there is a distinct difference in our physical birth and our spiritual birth.   That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

     In a physical birth, the planting of seed is required. This is how one is conceived and in the process of time the birth occurs, and in time, the child is brought forth. In spiritual birth the seed is the Word of God.  The Spirit had Peter explain in 1Peter 1:23 where that spiritual birth originates in the New Testament age.   Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.  In Jesus’ parable of the seed in Matthew 13:23 He explained that one must receive the Word before they can be born into kingdom and then be able to produce fruit. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

     Spiritual birth, just like our physical one has a beginning.   Afterward growth is expected to occur in both realms.      In 1Peter 2:2 the Spirit had Peter remind the church, those scattered saints of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, to be nourished with the Word of God, starting with the milk of the Word so they could grow. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:  That growth is expected to continue. This is the message the Spirit had the same apostle write in his second general epistle. This is found at the end of the letter in 2Peter 3:18 and still applicable to all Christians today.  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

     There is a reason for physical growth just as there is a reason for spiritual growth that is expected of Christians. The purpose of growth in our spiritual lives is so we can be pleasing to God and also to prepare ourselves for that which lies beyond this life.   We are told in Colossians 1:10 that in order to be pleasing to God we must increase in knowledge. That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 

     One cannot grow following physical birth without proper nourishment. The same can be said for our spiritual well-being. The nourishment provided by God for the soul’s consumption is His Word.   2Timothy 2:15 is where the Spirit had Paul remind Timothy (and us), how to receive that much needed spiritual food whereby we can increase in knowledge. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  This food is available to all.

     This was the case for all in attendance at Pentecost where Peter and the eleven preached the gospel for the first time in the New Testament age. All the people there heard the gospel, but only those who availed themselves of the soul saving message and were obedient were added to the kingdom. Acts 2:41 shows how they received the Word, and what they did as a result. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.They were born into the kingdom and in the latter part of Acts 2:47 we see to what they were added.   And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.  This is when they obeyed and were born.

     After their spiritual birth, (when they obeyed), they were expected to grow and learn. This is how we “work out” our salvation. This is what the brethren in Philippi were told as the Spirit had Paul write them. 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.  Philippians 2:12   Then as we learn and grow toward spiritual maturity, we are to do as directed in Jude vss 20-21as we move toward that which is beyond for Christians as God has promised, eternal life.     But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 

     Obey the gospel now. Be born spiritually, then begin to grow and learn and continue to live faithfully for God. Your eternity awaits.  

                                      Dennis Strickland -Mooresville church of Christ

My Heart

My Heart

      We often observe people laying their hands upon their chests, mostly on the left side as they say “I feel it in my heart” or something of that nature.   Most are actually aware that the “blood pump” is not the source of one’s feelings, beliefs, or thoughts. Yet expressions such as “in my heart of hearts” is used by many to express the very essence of sincerity.    This particular phrase, “heart of hearts” is actually a mis-quote of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.   In that play, Hamlet actually says: “in my heart of heart”, which actually means: in the center of my heart, or from the center of my heart; the most tender part of my inner being. 

      We find the Spirit having Paul in Romans 10:1, write of a desire which was of utmost importance to Paul.   Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.   However, the Spirit also had Paul write to show that “desiring” or “wishing” for a thing doesn’t make it so.    In that case, many of Paul’s nation lacked the knowledge needed from God’s Word that would enable them to become the sons of God.   Also, the Psalmist wrote as directed in Psalm 119:11: Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.    This is the Spirit, through the Psalmist, showing that the “heart” of man, or where the thinking and learning process takes place is the mind. 

      This is readily apparent in the first part of Proverbs 23:7 which tells us: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:”, and is evidenced by passages such as Genesis 6:5 where man’s thoughts were evil continually.   Another case in point are the many occasions where Pharaoh continually “hardened his heart” following his promising to allow God’s people, Israel to leave the land of Egypt as commanded by God.    What actually was taking place was that Pharaoh continually made up his mind that he would not allow God’s people to leave.   He made up his mind to not obey God.  

      To what have we dedicated our heart?   Since the Bible heart is the mind, we can easily ask the question: “To what have we dedicated our minds?”   Our service to God is not something we can approach in a lackadaisical manner.   That to which we have dedicated our minds (hearts) will be that which is of the most importance to us.  This is the same thing the Lord taught His disciples in Luke 12:34-35.  He said:  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;   He was telling them to make preparations, set the right example and keep focused in the right direction.  

     When we allow ourselves to lose focus we will begin to slip and will stray from the path the Lord would have us walk.  Those who have not focused their hearts on the Lord and His Word are putting themselves in danger of having their minds becoming blinded. Since we all have power over our own minds (hearts), if we are blind, we have permitted it.  Satan takes advantage of this to “blind” our hearts.  2Corinthians 4:4 clearly shows this.  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. Satan also uses temptation to accomplish his goals. James 1:14 shows that our temptations also come from within.  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 

      So, how do I guard my heart (mind) from being led away from God?  We must take an active part to protect our hearts.  This is clear as the Spirit had Peter write to the scattered brethren in 1Peter 1:13, Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;   Another useful way in which we protect our hearts (minds) is have someone remind us of the solemn commitment we made to God when we obeyed the Gospel.  This is found in the second epistle of Peter.   This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:  2Peter 3:1

     In addition to being reminded, we have a personal responsibility in taking care of our heart (mind) that God gave us.   The Spirit had the apostle Paul give the Roman brethren advice regarding the mind (heart) which also is to be heeded today.  Romans 12:1-2 also tells us that we are to give our bodies and our minds (hearts) in sacrifice and service to God.   I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable serviceAnd be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 

     Are we looking out for our hearts?  In Ephesians 6:11 we are told to: Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.   At the end of the list of the armament in Ephesians 6:18 we are told that prayer also is required if we will persevere.  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;   A mind is a terrible thing to waste.    Prepare your heart (mind) for God. Your eternity awaits! 

                              Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

What's Love Got To Do With It?

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

      You may recognize the title of our article this week as the title of a song released by Tina Turner in 1984.  The song was written by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle and was offered to several different singers who declined, and it was finally offered to Tina.   This was the second biggest single of 1984.  Incidentally, this song was Tina’s first and only U.S. number one song.   The song received three awards at the 1985 Grammy Awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

      I won’t print all the lyrics here as space is limited. (They are available in print in many places).   Suffice it to say that the lyrics make it amply clear that this is dealing with “love” of a physical nature. The questions that make up the words of the chorus are enough to show this.  What's love got to do, got to do with it? What's love but a second hand emotion?  What's love got to do, got to do with it? Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?

       For many who are concentrating on the quickly approaching Valentine’s Day holiday, love is indeed based largely in emotion.  This is the reason that some claim that it is possible to “fall out” of love.  If love is just an emotion, such is quite possible as emotions are “fluid” in that they change.  Love that is based on something much deeper never ends.  God’s love to mankind has been manifested in many ways over the years.  His love to us includes the sending of His Son to die on the cross.   This is fully set forth in John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  

      When Jesus died on the cross, He showed His love for us and He also paid the price to purchase the church, also referred to as the kingdom, as He and John the Baptizer preach while the church was in preparation.  Jesus’ message was: Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 4:17

      Those of us who are members of the Lord’s church are part of a spiritual kingdom.  We know that Jesus’ response to the question of Pilate in the first part of John 16:36 affirms this.  Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world:  Then, as we read 1Peter 2:5 we see that those “strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,” were indeed part of that “spiritual” kingdom, just as present day Christians are.  Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 

      This still does not address the question that is asked in the title of this article.   In the Bible, the first three references to “love” are found in the book of Genesis and dealt with love of food (Genesis 27:4); and the love for a spouse, or a betrothed (Genesis 29:20 & 29:32).   But the first instance of God addressing “love” is during His giving His people Israel a Law following His deliverance of them from Egyptian bondage.   God said in Exodus 20:6 that His mercy being extended was dependent upon His people showing their love to Him by keeping His Commandments.   And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandmentsIt seems to me that love has a lot to do with it.  In fact, in Deuteronomy 6:5-7 they were told to what degree they were to go to show their love for the Father.

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  God’s Law was to be their focus day and night if they loved God.

      We as children of God today (Christians) just like Israel, God’s people under the O.T. are to show our love to Him.  We are informed in John 4:19 that love originated with God and was directed to us.  We love him, because he first loved usThen, just as with the Israelites, we show our love to God by doing as He directs in His Word.  We are told in 1John 5:2-3 how that we can know that we love our brethren in Christ as well as the Biblical definition for love.   We are also told that His Commandments are not a burden to us.   By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievousGod, in His love for man has never asked (or commanded) that man do anything that is too difficult for man to do.   This is true in all dispensations of time.

     Who of us would not do what ever it takes to please the ones we love as we live our lives here on the earth?  Many go to great pains and oftentimes spend a great deal of money to show their affection toward those they love. Why can’t these same folks look into the Word of God and do what God asks all men to do?    The answer is clear.  It is because they do not really love God.   Many want to serve God as they desire rather than how God has put forth in His Holy Word.  This doesn’t track as 1John 2:4 tells what these folks are.   He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.   What’s love got to do with it?  I think it is readily apparent that “love” has everything to do with it.   Love God!  Do His Commandments.         

            Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Putting Love To The Test

Putting Love To The Test

In all honesty, I do love you,

And my associations with you are joy.

I believe that our feelings are true,

And the best in us employ.

We respect each other, as we should,

I’d have it no other way.

With love and respect any difference could

Unite us in Truth someday.


I respect your sincere dedication,

Though your “background” is different to mine,

To please God is our aspiration,

And to say “not my will but Thine”.

Each must examine his heart and be honest,

Accept the Bible standard alone.

For the sake of “unity” and the price Jesus paid,

We can all make heaven our Home.


I do not question your devotion to God,

But He must be our “common” Lord.

What He says to the one, He says to the other,

So we can walk by faith in full accord.

Our mutual hope invites communication,

Eternity is at stake.

And obedience to God brings salvation,

Minus sect, or creed, for our sakes.


So, we’ll be putting love to the test,

Without mental reservation.

Our response shall determine which we love the best,

Can we afford damnation?

Today is the day of salvation,

And judgment is for every man.

God offers us all justification,

Let’s make it as sure as we can.    

                                                                                                          O.D. Wilson – deceased

     The poem above was written many years ago by my Father-in-Law and fully embraces the concept of “true love”.   Many go through life and fail to understand the meaning of true love.     True love to most is some sort of feeling or emotion that is as intangible as a cloud.   They not only know not how to define it, but also are not aware of the source of love and the real benefit to be gained by participating in it.  

     As one goes to the Word of God, the true source of love is revealed and one can also find the instruction of God concerning love. First, let us see the source of love. In 1John 4:16 we are told that God is love and that we have the opportunity to participate in that love.     And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.   Then we can also see in 1John 4:8 that if we don’t have love, we don’t know God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

     If we just back up a few verses, in 1John 4:10 we can also see that love manifested (made known) to mankind. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  This same sentiment is put forth in the “Golden Text” of the Bible, John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.   Previously, in John 15:13, Jesus revealed how God’s plan for man was to come about, and how He, because of His great love for His Father and for us, brought about that fulfillment.   Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 

     While this shows God’s and Christ’s love for us, how are we to show how we love God? That answer also comes from God’s Word.   In 2John 1:6 we read that we have responsibility toward God if we want to receive benefit from what He offers. If we don’t do as instructed, we not only do not love God, but also shouldn’t expect Him to save us. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.  

     Do you love God?   Then why have you not yet submitted to His Will as directed in His Word? To try to receive salvation in any other way is futile as Jesus said in John 10:1. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. Could any claim that one who is a thief and a robber is motivated by love for God?   Obey God’s Word today and show your love for Him by remaining faithful until your life on earth is over.   Then you will spend eternity with Him.  

                                        Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ


Upcoming Events

Share This Page