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All Things

All Things

     The term “all things” occurs 171 times in the King James New Testament.   There are many who quote Philippians 4:13 as their favorite verse. It is an easy verse to remember, and the sentiment expressed is one that promotes courage as we face the many things the world places before us.   I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. I have seen this in people’s homes, on bumper stickers and even on some clothing.  This seems to be the mantra repeated by many, without being fully aware of what is implied.  

     The “all things” in every occurrence must be kept in context.   The Spirit had the apostle Paul write this just after: I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.(Philippians 4:12)   What were the “all things” of which Paul wrote in verse 12? He pointed out “in all things I am instructed”. Surely, we understand we only receive spiritual instruction from God through His Word.  

       The Spirit had Peter pen the Words we read in 2Peter 1:3-4 which tell us the source and the purpose of the “all things” He has provided for mankind. According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 

       The promises of God are contained in His Word. These are provided by God for our benefit as 2Corinthians 4:15-16 shows. For all things are for your sakes, (Christians) that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  The “all things” God gave man renews the inner man.

       One thing I find amazing as well as repulsive is that most folks want the “all things” (blessings) God has offered man in His Word, yet their actions prove that they won’t do “all things” God has Commanded. The argument used by most in this situation is that God “blesses” all of humanity.   I agree. However, the passage that proves this point, also shows the fallacy of their reasoning. Christ, in the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5:45, made this statement.   That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  The previous verse clearly indicates Christ is speaking of the reason He taught His followers to love their “enemies” as well as their neighbors. The blessings He mentions here are the “temporal” blessings that God has provided to “all men” for life on this planet.  

     Christ’s message there, (a Pentecost Pointer) was directing them to the time and place in which they could be recipients of God’s Spiritual blessings.  We perhaps need to be reminded that in Ephesians 1:3, the Spirit had Paul state where “spiritual blessings” exist. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:   Does it not stand to reason, based on this verse that if one is NOT IN CHRIST, they do not have “spiritual blessings” such as the promise of eternal life?   IF NOT, WHY NOT?  

       Of course, there are other spiritual blessings than eternal life. Eternal life is not the “all things” of which the Spirit had Peter write in 2Peter 1:3 (above), although it is a part of it.   The Word of God contains the instruction God intended us to have.   God’s Holy Word contains the teaching, evidence, chastisement, and training that man needs. 2Timothy 3:16 tells us this, and the 17th verse tells us why He offers this to man in His Word. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 

     Now, let’s return to Philippians 4:13 for a moment.   In “context”, and “in act and in fact”, only the Christian has this blessing of being able to “do all things” through Christ.    In addition to this, we see Ephesians 1:3 as the only place all spiritual blessings exist. Why then, would one NOT want to be “in Christ”?   Why not look into the Word of God and see what instruction He has given so that we might “be in Christ”?  

       In the midst of the many problems the church in Corinth experienced, the Spirit had Paul write in 2Corinthians 2:9: “For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. Won’t you obey “all things” commanded of God to be “in Christ”, and to remain in Christ so you can prepare yourself for eternity? God clearly tells us what to do.   God says one must follow these steps to get started.  1) Hear – Romans 10:17. 2) Believe – Hebrews 11:6.  3) Repent of sins – Acts 17:30. 4) Confess Christ before man – Luke 12:8   5) Be baptized (into Christ) – Mark 16:16. 6) Remain faithful unto death – 2Peter 2:20-21.     The “Erring Christian” - return to God in repentance & prayer – Acts 8:22.

       Let us help you start at the beginning, and then together, let’s do “all things” God has Commanded in His Word as we prepare to spend eternity with Him and His Son in heaven.  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

Where Do You Stand?

Where Do You Stand?

     There are various places to “stand” and many ways to do so in this old earth on which we live. This has been noticed by folks over the years and several “inspirational sayings” have been written regarding “standing”. One of the most recognized is: “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for something (anything)”. As I considered this article, I came across some “proverbs” written by men that will definitely make one consider whether or not they are standing where they should.   A few I found interesting are: One foot cannot stand on two boatsChinese proverb. Do not stand in a place of danger trusting in miracles – Saudi Arabian proverb. And, Where the cattle stand together, the lion lies down hungry – African proverb.

     While these are interesting and show “common sense”, God also has said some things about “standing” and about where one stands In His Word that bears remembering. We can read of the benefit of “standing” where you should In Proverbs 12:7. This verse also indicates what will happen if we don’t follow God.   The wicked are overthrown, and are not: but the house of the righteous shall stand. We should strive to be righteous.

   The Spirit had the Psalmist write of the “state” in which we are to stand if we desire to be righteous.   In Psalm 4:4 we read: “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.” Then this is repeated in Psalm 33:8, but the instruction there is directed to everyone. Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. 

     In 1Corinthians 2:4-5 we see the apostle Paul preached in Corinth to tell them (and us) where our faith is to stand. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 

     When Jesus was on earth, He taught in Matthew 7:24-25, about those wise enough to build their house on a rock and the benefit of so doing.   Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

       In 1973 J. Harold Lane wrote a hymn about this very thing. The words of song are catchy, surprisingly biblical, and have been sung by many folks in the years since it was written.   The lyrics of “Standing On The Solid Rock” are printed here.

Through my disappointments

Strife and discontentment
I cast my every care upon the Lord
No matter what obsession

Pain or deep depression
I'm standing on the solid rock

I'm standing on the solid rock of ages
Safe from all the storm that rages
Rich but not from Satan's wages
I'm standing on the solid rock

Now I'm pressing onward
Each step leads me homeward
I'm trusting in my Savior, day by day
And close is our relation
Firm is its foundation
So on this solid rock I'll stay

Repeat Chorus

Even though He's gone now
I don't feel alone now
With comfort came the Spirit of the Lord
Now with His Word to guide me
From temptations hide me
I'm standing on the solid rock

Repeat Chorus

      Let me ask the question with which I began this article. Where do you stand?  Do you “stand” on tradition, feelings, emotions, or the teaching of man?   Now let me ask you another? How “firm” is your footing there?  

     The Spirit had Paul write in 1Thessalonians 3:8: For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. Other N.T. passages also direct us where to stand. Galatians 5:1 reads: Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

     Why not make sure you are on the only foundation that is sure. We read in 1Corinthians 3:11 where that is. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Obey the gospel today, remain faithful, then stay on that “rock” until the reward is given.

                                                       Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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

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