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Are You Sure?

Are You Sure?

       The words of the title of this week’s article are often uttered when one receives news or a message that seems unbelievable.    If the message or news seems too good to be true, or when it is accusatory, the one being told the news is often dubious. They want to make sure that any information being passed on is true and reliable.    

       One thing is certain, and these are God’s Promises which are found in His Word. 2Timothy 2:19 affirms this. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. This inspired assurance was given by the Spirit, directly to Paul, who “penned” it for Timothy and now we have it recorded that we might also have hope.  

       In Hebrews 6:19, the Christian Israelites to whom this letter was written, were to be encouraged while the seeds of doubt were being sown by the Judaizing teachers of their day. Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; This was speaking of Jesus, the Christ, the Savior of mankind.  

       However, some need to be reminded that each Christian has the great responsibility to remain obedient to the commitment they made to God.  The Spirit had Peter, in 2Peter 1:10, state that each Christian must strive to set aside doubts, make sure they have been saved, and make sure they remain saved.   Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

       Ask pretty much any religious person if they are saved, and you’ll likely get one of two answers. Some will immediately affirm that they are saved and others will state “I hope so!”   Ask both of these groups on what they base their response, and you’ll receive a plethora of answers, many of which are based on “feelings” and tradition, and not on the New Testament.  

     When one relies on feelings, emotions, or any such thing, there is a level of uncertainty.   We all know that feelings change and emotions also can change and are therefore unreliable.   Many state they are “certain” when choosing a mate, yet some the very ones who petition the court for divorce on the basis of “irreconcilable differences”.   When one depends upon their feelings for religious matters, how can they be sure those “feelings” won’t change?

     Again, the only reliable source for the Salvation of a soul is Christ. We are told this in Acts 4:12. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Any who seek Salvation any other way are, per the Words of the Lord Himself in John 10:1 “thieves and robbers”.   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.

     Additionally, 1Peter 3:15 tells us a true Christian must be ready and able to show folks from God’s Word why they have hope in Christ.   But sanctify 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: 

       Sometime in the late ‘60’s, my wife’s dad wrote a song entitled: We Are Christians. I have included part of the words of that song below.

We are Christians and there is just one reason.

It is because we have obeyed God’s Word.

No more or less, can guarantee finesse,

When the final verdict has been heard.

No need to wonder about that home up yonder,

Unless you’re sure you’re on the narrow way.

So open up God’s Book and do more than take a look.

Be sure that you are saved today.

Do not delay, this is the day to make things right with God.

Believe in Christ, repent of sins, forsake the way you’ve trod.

And with the mouth confess the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord.

And be baptized, remit your sins according to His Word.

He’ll make you whole, and save your soul, and you can sing this song.

We are Christians and there is just one reason.

It is because we have obeyed God’s Word.

No more or less, can guarantee finesse,

When the final verdict has been heard.

No need to wonder about that home up yonder,

Unless you’re sure you’re on the narrow way.

So open up God’s Book and do more than take a look.

Be sure that you are saved today.

O.D. Wilson - deceased

       In the Words of Acts 22:16, And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Let us help you be sure you have obeyed God’s Word and that you have the hope of salvation.        

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

A B C - 1 2 3

A B C – 1 2 3

     No doubt the title of this article “grabbed” your attention. It is a common way of expressing the simplicity of things in a number of aspects. This is because our “A,B,C’s” are the building blocks of our alphabet, and therefore the means by which we convey our thoughts in word, written and spoken. Our “1,2,3’s” are the foundation of our number system with which we count and compute simple and complex mathematical equations.   This is where we begin in our learning and therefore it is important to master these so we can move forward in our education.  

     Back in 1970, five composers wrote a catchy little song for the Jackson 5 entitled “A B C” that reminds us of some of the “basics”.   It points out the “I before E, except after C” that might help us with our spelling.   It mentions the “Do, Re, Mi” that is definitely a plus to know in making or singing music.   It even points out the simple, yet factual point that 2 plus 2 equals 4. “A B C, It's easy as 1 2 3, as simple as Do re mi”, is the start of the chorus. This song, as were many in that era, is about the basics of young love.

       The basics are important in all areas, as one must have an understanding of the basics before one can advance or grow. This is also true as it relates to our needs in the spiritual realm.   Many are headed for eternity, and have not been “firmly grounded” in the faith. There are two passages that speak of being “grounded” in the N.T.     Both are penned by Paul the apostle, as these were given him by the Spirit.   Ephesians 3:17 is the 1st. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, The 2nd is” Colossians 1:23. If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;   Notice that both of these passages indicate that “faith” is the common factor here.

     This fits well, as Romans 10:17 clearly directs us to the source of faith. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Faith is the most basic aspect of Christianity.   Romans 5:1 tells us what “faith” does for those that have proper faith. It justifies us. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:   As has been pointed out, faith comes from the reading of the Word of God. This is a very basic concept. Strangely, some have completely missed this and determined that all one needs to do to be justified, is to believe.  They have confused “feelings” with “faith” because they have not fully grasped, embraced, and understood the basics.

     If one will but “read” and “study” the Word of God, and meditate on it, they will absorb the basics and will further advance in the knowledge of the truth.   We know that Jesus said in John 8:32: And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. But we needn’t forget what He stated just before in vs 31, as to where this “truth” comes from. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed This is basic – God’s Word contains truth. Couple this with what we read above in Romans 10:17, the basics are: God’s Word contains truth which will make one free from sin, if we do it.

       Faith also, is not simply believing. This too, is basic! James 2:19 shows that there can be a difference in belief and faith. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.   How many of the “devils” would you say had faith?      The argument is made: “Well, they believed!”. They did, but as James 2:18 points out, faith will be seen by one’s works.   Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  It is basic, that what one believes (has faith in), will be shown in what they do.  

     James 1:22 directs us in regard to how to “show our faith”.   This passage tells us we must not only hear, but do the Word.   But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. In Mark 16:16, Jesus Himself stated what one will gladly do once he or she understands the basics, and seeks the remedy from sin.   They will do as Jesus, the Son of God directs. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  This last part is equally important.

       The A B C’s or 1, 2, 3’s, -- the basics of Salvation are simple. One must hear the Word of God – John 6:44-45.  One must believe that Jesus is the Son of God – John 8:24.   One must repent of past sins – Acts 17:30. One must confess that Jesus is the Son of God – Romans 10:9-10. One must be baptized into Christ – Galatians 3:27-29. And, one must remain faithful until death – 2Timothy 4:6-8.   IF one has become an erring Christian by allowing sin into their lives, they must “repent and pray”, as Acts 8:22 directs.

     Let us help you with the A B C’s & 1, 2, 3’s of the gospel.   You must first become before you can be!   Then, as fellow-heirs of the promises of God, given in His Word, we can grow in knowledge together and serve God in the cause for which Christ gave His life.  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Our Closest Friend

Our Closest Friend

       Pretty much anyone who has ever texted, or perhaps all who don’t “live under a rock” has seen the text item BFF. Most young people could tell you what these letters mean. BFF is an initialism of the phrase best friends forever. BFF has since evolved into a noun that refers to a close friend.  

     There are many who have different ideas as to what a friend is, or should be. One dictionary definition of “friend” is: a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.  Another common (and more modern) application is: to add (someone) to a list of contacts associated with a social networking website.

     The Bible has a lot to say about friends.   In 1Samuel 30:26 we read that after David inquired of the Lord, and had been told to pursue the enemies of Israel, the Amelekites, he returned with the spoils. He gives part of this to his “friends” in Ziklag, and to many others of Israel. And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD;

       Much earlier, the suffering servant Job came to the conclusion that the “friends” and family one has are not always supportive or faithful.   We can read this in Job 19:14: My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me. Then in verse 19 we see much the same. All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me. But we also see that Job was not one to hold a grudge.   He even prayed for his friends who had wrongly accused him. We then read in Job 42:10 that God truly blessed Job substantially after Job endured suffering. Job did nothing to bring this upon himself.   And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. Job was truly the “friend” in this situation.  

     Some in this life who are considered “friends” don’t always remain so. The weeping prophet Jeremiah was directed by the Spirit to pen the Words we read in Lamentation 1:2 about Israel, and how her “friends” changed in their dealings with her.   She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies. Then, in Zechariah 13:6, as we near the end of the Old Testament, the Spirit had the prophet warn Israel of the result when the wrong types of “friends” are chosen.   And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends

         Our choice of friends is of utmost importance.   We shouldn’t want to select the type of “friends” that would draw us away from God. We can see from James 4:4that being friends with some, makes one enemies of others. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Too many rely on earthly “friendship” to make their time here on earth more pleasant or enjoyable. Micah 7:5 is one place in which God’s O.T. people Israel were warned. Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. 

       However, not all our “friends” are ones that will be against us or those who might cause us harm.    Proverbs 18:24 speaks of a friend that is closer than a brother.   A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.   Would anyone claim that one willing to die for our benefit is not our closest friend?       That is exactly what Christ did for humanity according to Romans 5:6-8. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us

     This makes God, Christ and the Holy Spirit our friends, if we will allow it. God sent His Son, Christ died on the cross, The Holy Spirit brought the Word to obey if we desire to possess the promises God has made. This also means that we can be “friends” of God. But we have to do our part. In James 2:23 we see Abraham was a “friend of God”, and why he was granted this great compliment. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.   James 2:17 tells us that our faith must be accompanied by works. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  Abraham’s Faith was shown by works. Abraham obeyed God. Hebrews 11:8 says that Abraham obeyed because he had faith in God.   By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went

     You too can have faith from God’s Word as Romans 10:17 shows. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God You too can obey the gospel and become a child of God, and then continue to be His friend by continuing to follow His Word.   Let us help you do this.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Show Me

Show Me

     As we continue through life, there are often things which we are told, that are hard to believe. Many a person has commented: “I’ll believe it when I see it”.   Showing someone is the means for providing the proof of a claim of that which has been accomplished, a “scientific fact”, or something of that sort.   If the proof can be produced, the claim can be verified.

     Those from Missouri take pride in the state’s unofficial nickname of: “The Show Me State”. I have heard a number of people, some definitely not from Missouri, say: “I’m from Missouri, show me”. I suspect many, with the exception of some Missourians are unaware of the origin of that nickname. It seems to have its origins in an 1899 speech in Philadelphia, by Missouri's U.S. Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver. In that speech he said: "I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me. " That phrase is now used to describe the character of Missourians; not gullible, but conservative, and unwilling to believe without adequate evidence.   More folks need to be this way!

   It is amazing to me that many folks want to “toe the line” in many areas, and demand proof to follow, yet are quickly willing to “fall in line” with the whims of many religious leaders who spew forth all sorts of denominational doctrine. 2Peter 2:1-2 provides inspired warning about such leaders and those who will follow them. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.    False teaching of any description does not lead to Salvation, but directs those who espouse it and those who follow it toward destruction.    

    In the KJV Bible you cannot find the phrase “show me” as the word for show in the KJV Bible is “shew”.  Even in the Old Testament we can find the phrase “shew me” several times. In Psalm 16:11 the Spirit had the psalmist pen the Words we find which indicate the desire to be directed in the ways of God. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.  In Psalm 25:1-6 we read the Words the Spirit gave David, which shows that salvation can only come from the Lord and His Word. These verses also show that God always has mercy and loving kindness to those who seek Him.  Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. 3 Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. 5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. 6 Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old.

     Why would one NOT want “proof” from the Bible for that which they believe and follow? Should we not take the position: “Show it to me in the Bible”, or more correctly, since we live in the N.T. age; “show it to me in the New Testament?”   It is only in the New Testament age, where Salvation is offered to humanity, after our Lord died on the cross, was raised from the dead, ascended back to the Holy Father, and sent the saving gospel message to the Apostles by the Holy Spirit as promised.   That gospel message is now available and one who is a Christian should be able to show others this in the Word of God as well as by the lives they live before mankind.

       The only two records of Jesus saying: “shew me” while He was on earth were in reference to the tax, or tribute money are found in Matthew 22:9 ff, and in Luke 20:22-25 in which He explained we are yield to each authority as is applicable.   Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no? 23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me? 24 Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's. 25 And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's. 

       How are we to know what to “render” to God, except by being shown? It is not up to man to determine this as Jeremiah 10:23 informs. O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.  Therefore, we must turn to God’s Word to be shown. The way of Salvation can be shown through the gospel.   In Romans 1:16, the apostle Paul was directed of the Spirt to write: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it (the gospel) is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

       That gospel which the Spirit brought, and which will not and hasn’t ever changed is how we can “shew” others of the hope in Christ as 1Peter 3:15 tells us. But sanctify 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:  Let us “show you” in accordance to God’s Word how to access the saving blood of Christ in obedience, so you too can know that you have that hope for eternal life with God.  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

The Good Old Days

The Good Old Days

     Memories are important in many ways. We all depend on them to hold fast to the past, friends and loved ones now gone on, and the happy times shared with them.   Sometimes memories require that we recall the not so enjoyable aspects of life.   In this life, sometimes we may tend to “tweak” some of our memories that they be what we most desire, rather than what they really were.  Perhaps one of the things that will not “leave us” or that we will not leave behind is memory.   Luke 16:25 indicates that we might recall our life before our death, after we leave our bodies. Not all will be able to “look back” fondly on their time here after these lives are over. This is because all will “reap what soever they sow”.

       Let’s live our lives in obedience and service to God in accordance to His Word, so when this life is over, we can look back and actually see that the time in which we could affect our eternity were really the “good old days”.

Below, is a poem written by my wife’s father in 1978 that looks back.  

The Good Old Days

The good old days, were in many ways

“the golden years of yesterday”,

when morals were high, it was wrong to lie,

your word was your bond, and your friends knew why.

There was neighborhood, and a joy to do good,

lend a helping hand whenever you could.

More people attended the House of Prayer,

Heard sin condemned while they were there.

No one was “liberal” or “conservative” then

good was right and wrong was sin.

O, nobody claimed to be a hundred percent,

and the preachers back then said you must repent.


In the good old days, it was never so

that criminals were honored as sick heroes.

Patriotism glowed like a lamp in the sky

and your heart skipped a beat when the flag passed by.

Men loved their country and showed their pride

and because they did, a lot of them died.

Some on their knees saw times that were rough

But vict’ry and freedom were worth being tough.

And the Constitution, then, was considered correct

as prayer time in school taught the children respect.

Women were women, and men were men

in acts and in dress as it should have been.


We had radio, but no T.V.

and electric power was a luxury.

Nobody had two hens in the pot

and a pair of shoes a year was all that we got.

Five miles to travel was a little far

when you walked, but we got there without a car.

And the “out-house” stood away out on the hill

where you didn’t stay long because of the chill.

There were two at the foot and two at the head

and the lucky ones got the feather bed.

We went to worship and served the Lord,

got along with Him by obeying His Word.


Well, I guess that I could go on and on

about those good old days, now forever gone.

And so is Mae and my mom and dad

who made life worth it when things were bad.

Yes, I was poor, but I’m not ashamed

and I don’t know a person who can really be blamed.

If I had it all to do over again,

I’d be a better man than I was then.

They said it back there, and I believe it still

“put your faith in God, not a dollar bill”.

And while there’s improvement in many ways,

I wouldn’t take nothing, for the good old days!!

O.D. Wilson - deceased

         Why not look into God’s Word today and make the needed changes so that when this life is over, you’ll have no regrets and the memories from this life won’t haunt you forever.   Obey God’s Word. Live for God, and make the preparation for eternity.   As Jesus stated in Matthew 6:33: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. What have you got to lose?   Only your soul.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Faith Enough To Fight?

Faith Enough To Fight?

        What is it for which man will fight? Will he fight for something in which he doesn’t believe? Will he fight for something that is absolutely beyond his ability to attain? Will he fight for something that is of no benefit to him? It is certain that there is much stated about fighting in the Word of God. There must be a reason for fighting.    

     In 1Corinthians 9:26-27, the Spirit had the apostle Paul state how NOT to fight and why. One does not fight without reason.  

I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 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.  From what did Paul fear to be a castaway?  

     Paul is identified by the Spirit in Titus 1:1-2 as a servant of God, and one who is seeking the promise of God, which is eternal life. Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; 2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

      As the Spirit had Paul mentor and direct young Timothy, He had Paul write the Words we find in 1Timothy 6:12-14 which instruct Timothy and us how we are to fight. 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.13 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; 14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ

     In 2Timothy 2:2 we find another admonition which tells how having the “faith” to fight will continue until the Lord returns. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also

     That which Timothy had heard, and what he was to preach was the Word of God.   This is obvious from 2Timothy 4:2. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  He was also told in verses 3 and 4 why this was necessary.   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; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  One can only have the faith to fight if they remain in the Word of God.   Romans 10:17 shows this. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God

       It is an absolute certainty that if people don’t hear the gospel and do not know what to do to be saved, they also won’t know how to fight or why they should as Romans 10:13-14 shows.   For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? They also will not know what “calling on the name of the Lord” means. It means to obey the gospel.  

       Life itself is a fight for eternal life as 1Corinthians 9:25 clearly indicates. 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.

We also know that this “eternal crown” will not be received until the Lord returns. Elders to which the Spirit had Peter write are told this in 1Peter 5:4.   And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Therefore, while we are here, let’s do as God directs in His Word. If we do, we can meet those who have gone on before us that have been obedient and faithful in that eternal home of the soul.

     Somewhere around 1968, my wife’s father penned the words below for a song that shows the desire that all should have for others as we prepare for eternity while we live here on earth.   It should be our desire to “meet” our loved ones in that eternal home.  

Meet Me

Meet me, greet me, on some morning fair

I’ll be so happy, when I see your there.

Nothing can separate us, there’ll be no tear dimmed eyes

In God’s eternal sabbath, Land of Paradise.

Don’t weep when I sleep, my armor is laid down.

Just another soldier, lost in battle,

Fighting, yes fighting for a crown.

So until it is God’s Will to call me home to rest

I promise your that I’ll do my best.

And I want you to

Meet me, greet me, on some morning fair

Tell me, will you . . . Meet Me????

O.D. Wilson – deceased

     Do you have faith enough to fight?   Do you have faith enough to begin the fight? Why not obey the gospel today and prepare to meet the saved in that eternal home?        

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Liberty And Justice For All

Liberty And Justice For All

       Many, upon reading the title of this article, will recognize this as a line from the “Pledge of Allegiance”.   Sadly, some won’t recall these words as a part of the pledge because it is decreasing in use in our schools and among our civic organizations.   This is a sad commentary on the status of the minds of the citizenry of our nation.     Our great country was formed on the very principles of the Declaration of Independence. The second sentence of this document is the most familiar.   It reads: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”   The declaration is not too long. If you haven’t read it lately, you should.

       Thirty-one words affirm the values and freedom that the American flag represents.  These should be often recited while facing the flag as a pledge of Americans’ loyalty to their country. The Pledge of Allegiance was written for the 400th anniversary, in 1892, of the discovery of America. The pledge has undergone a few changes since its inception.   In 1923 the words “my flag” were changed to “the flag of the United States of America”. Then in 1954, the final change was made. The words “under God” were added after “one nation”.   This was a great addition and is of utmost importance.   The pledge has remained unchanged since that time.

         As our nations celebrates its “Independence Day”, all American’s hearts should swell with pride for our nation, and for the freedoms we enjoy, so often taken for granted.  Just in case you have forgotten the words of the pledge or never learned them, I have inserted them here for you. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Learn these words; repeat them when the flag is presented, and remember that these are not just words; they stand for something.

       Another thing to remember is that “liberty and justice” do not only exist in the civil or political realm. “Liberty” is found 18 times in 17 verses, in the New Testament, while the word “justice” is not found once, but the idea of liberty, freedom, and justice is found throughout the New Testament.   The Spirit had the apostle Paul explain in 1Corinthians 3:17 that the Word of God provides liberty.   Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. In that context, Israel had been liberated from the Law of Moses, if they were in Christ.  

       We also read in James 1:25 that one must continue in God’s Word to be able to enjoy the happiness (blessedness) that comes from serving God. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. But where does “justice” come in?   The Spirit also had James to address this in James 2:12.   So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. Jesus addressed this as well, when in John 12:48, He tells us upon what we shall be judged. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day There are too many folks today, religious and non-religious, that are gambling that God’s mercy will “override” His judgment.

       God’s mercy is great, but God Will have justice, and the judgment will occur as 2Peter 3:7 tells us. But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men This same concept was affirmed in Jude vs 14b-15. Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

         Incidentally, God’s Word is also where the idea of “freedom in Christ” comes from. Many consider “freedom” only as when they can do as they wish, based on their own selfish desires.   This existed in the days of Paul, as the brethren in Romans 13:13-14 were told.  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

       Kris Kristofferson wrote a song in 1969, titled: “Me and Bobby McGee” in which the lyrics “Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose” are offered.   This is not true at all. Freedom in Christ means you have gained everything.   Neither is it true that there is no freedom when one has to follow rules or laws. In John 8:32Jesus said: And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.This “truth” is God’s Word. We are told in Romans 8:2 from what we are given liberty if we are in Christ and remain faithful to His Word. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

       Won’t you seek the liberty that Christ offers, and become free from sin today, and prepare yourself for the reward God has prepared when His just judgment takes place?  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Don't You Quit

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,

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

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

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 –

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 worst that you mustn’t quit.

Unknown –


     The above poem from an unknown author is very sound advice. Most all desire to succeed in life, as is evidenced by how hard some folks work to be successful.  But more importantly, all should desire to succeed spiritually. To fail in this realm has eternal consequences. We mustn’t ever think about quitting when it comes to our spiritual journey. The final reward only comes after we complete the journey.  Jesus, in John 8:31-32, before the church was established, told the Jews of His day, the means whereby they could be freed from sin. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free Only those who have obeyed the gospel are made free from sin through obedience to the Word of God, and have become Christians.  

       But we must also continue in truth. In Romans 6:16-18 the Spirit had Paul write to the church at Rome, and told them (and us) how the truth of which Jesus spoke makes one free. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. That “form of doctrine” is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.  

       Colossians 2:12-13 clearly indicates that this obedience is baptism “into” Christ. Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened (made alive) together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;  When they obeyed the truth, they had become free from sin.

       The Holy Spirit had the penman to the Hebrews write of the importance of helping their brethren to remain faithful in Hebrews 3:12-13. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Sin is the failure to obey truth as James 4:17 informs. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.  

       Amazingly, some have quit after becoming freed from the bonds of sin having once “laid hold” on the promise of eternal life. In Luke 9:62, Jesus  

said to one who made excuses even before the kingdom came: No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. 2Peter 2:20-21 was written to Christians after the church was in place and still applies today. 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 beginning21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

       Don’t quit! Press on! Your journey is not over. The reward awaits.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Where Are We Going Daddy?

Where Are We Going Daddy?


      Dads, have you ever taken a trip with your young child? If you have, you know there are at least two questions children ask on such a trip.   The first, and most common is: “Are we there yet?”. We’ve all heard that one.   No trip is complete until a final destination is reached. The other question is: “Where are we going daddy?”

      Fact is, we are all going someplace.   We all have an eternal destination. We will not be “there yet” until we reach that destination. However, we all must first determine “where we are going”.   Just because we choose, or simply desire to arrive at a specific location at the conclusion of this life doesn’t get us there.   Fathers have a responsibility to those they helped bring into this world. Children, upon growing up, will indeed make their own decisions as to where they are going, but parents still must influence them in the right way.   Ephesians 6:4 is a passage that surely springs to mind at this point. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 

     This is a principle that God directed Israel to keep from before the time in which they entered the Promised Land. This directive was given to Israel in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 to guide them. 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.  The frequency here should show how important this is.  

       We know from Joshua 24:15 their journey to their eternal destination was a matter of choice.   And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD

     The same thing holds true to those of us living in the New Testament age. We have a choice. We also have obligations toward our children.   One of those obligations are to correct our children.   We no doubt were on the receiving end of that when we were children, as Hebrews 12:9a points out.  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: This was not pleasant, as I well remember.   We are also reminded of this in Hebrews 12:11, which also show that the correction is for our own benefit. 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

      It is in perfect alignment with the plan of God that the fathers show the children where to go as well as how to get there.   Chastisement is a small part of the trip. The latter part of 2Corinthians 12:14 clearly shows that the parents are to provide for their children. . . . for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. When we couple this with what Jesus stated in Matthew 6:19-20 we can understand what it is most important to provide. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:    This is the instruction all children should hear and see from their fathers throughout their lives.

     With this in mind, can we as earthly fathers not see how important it is to guide our children as to where they are to go, as well as how?   Can we not teach them as they should he taught while they still live at home and are subject to us, as Hebrews 12:9b asks?   . . . shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? This is the same things Ephesians 5:1 admonished the Christians in that area to do. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;. This was not the only congregation who was encouraged to keep going the right way and to the proper destination.  Brethren in Thessalonica were given the example of fathers exhorting their children in 1Thessalonians 2:11-12.  As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, 12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.   

       God, in His infinite wisdom set things in order in the beginning when He created everything including man.   In Genesis 2:24, even before children were born to Adam, the first human father, God declared how families would be established. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.  But God did not leave man without direction about where to go, or how to get there. In Psalm 34:11 we see the Spirit having the psalmist write: Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD

     All children deserve an answer to the question: “Where are we going Daddy?”   Fathers, where are you leading your children?   What example are you setting before them?   Do your actions “speak volumes” in opposition to your words? Fathers, you have a great deal of influence of your children, even those who are grown.   What direction are you leading them?  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ


Whichever Way The Wind Blows

Whichever Way The Wind Blows

   Several years ago, I worked with an elderly gentleman, whose reply to a question which required an opinion was: “Whichever way the wind blows, is cool with me”. Of course, we understand this meant he had no opinion on the subject at hand.   This didn’t seem to matter if the issue was to take the lunch break now, or whether to impose overtime on the folks in the shop. He obviously did not want to “rock the boat”, or impose on anyone else’s feelings or opinions.   Many seem to have this general attitude, especially when it comes to the church, worship and other things they deem “less important” than their own selfish desires.

     There are multiple Bible references to “wind” and its forces. One of the most familiar is found in Matthew 14:23-24 just before Jesus walked on water.   And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. Can any argue that the disciples were NOT afraid?   Verse 26 clearly reports they “cried out for fear”.

       Another case is in Mark 4:37-38 where the Lord was asleep in the boat. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?  It doesn’t seem to me that any of the disciples in the boat had the attitude: “whichever way the wind blows is cool with me”. They wanted Jesus to make them safe. He did this, when He said “Peace, be still”.   Then the wind ceased and there was a great calm.

       Jesus still brings peace and calm today, many years after those calming words were spoken in the midst of raging waves being churned up by the relentless wind on that lake.   He does so now through His Holy Word. In that Word, He Commands that we not be tossed by every wind of doctrine.  He had the Spirit direct Paul to write this in Ephesians 4:14. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; This was written to Christians. As “joint-heirs” with Christ we have been granted multiple privileges. We are told in 2Peter 1:3, He “hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness”.   This includes being granted the privilege and the right of prayer. James 1:6 tells us that we have to “ask” God for things in the right way.   But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed

       We, as children of God, must take care to stand strong, even in the face of adversity, persecution and tribulation.   We must look to God’s Word so we will know how we may serve Him, and how He can use us as He directs through that Word. His gospel is, according to Romans 1:15-16, NOT “wind of doctrine”, and so Paul was not ashamed of it, or to sacrifice for the cause.   So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 16 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. 

     About twenty-five years ago, my wife’s father, O. D. Wilson, re-wrote words to a well-known song, “Bring Them In”. There’s nothing wrong with that song, but this was another way to show how God can “use us”, if we’ll let Him through His Holy Word.


God Can Use You

How can they preach, if they’re not sent?

How can the church be so content?

The voice of truth is seldom heard.

There’s such a famine in the Word.


Where are the men we used to know,

Who preached it straight not long ago?

Should it be preached because it’s true,

Or just to please some in the pew?


As goes the world so goes the church.

We need to carefully make a search.

For faithful saints with anchor cast,

Who’ll man the ship to shore at last.



Will you stand, and demand,

Nothing more or less than God’s own plan?

Don’t fear men, Try again,

God can use you if you’ll let Him.

Song – O.D. Wilson - deceased

Article – Dennis Strickland- Mooresville church of Christ

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