Less Than Deserved

by Joe Works “Why do bad things happen to good people?” That is a question that people commonly ask, and it is a fair question that is somewhat difficult to answer to complete satisfaction. But have you ever considered asking … “Why don’t more bad things happen to me than they do?” “And after all…

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Why Am I Having So Much Trouble?

by Zeke Flores I’m a faithful child of God! So why am I having so much trouble? Bible Illustrations by Sweet Media Hezekiah may have been asking himself the same thing when the Assyrian king Sennacherib threatened to overrun Judah. Though Hezekiah made many good religious reforms during his rule, God still allowed him to…

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Jesus Heals the Hurting

by Doy Moyer The world in which we live is filled with heartache and pain. This is part of the corruption experienced by humanity due to the problem of sin (Genesis 3). Things in this world are not as they were initially created to be, and we know things need to be made right. Our…

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Why Me?

by Doy Moyer If the blind man of John 9 asked, “Why me?” the answer would be “that the works of God might be displayed in you.” If the paralytic from Mark 2 asked, “Why me?” the answer would be “that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive…

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Nearer, my God, to Thee

by Doy Moyer Songs are magnificent. There is a reason God wants us to teach by singing, and I was reminded of this powerfully one night recently after I preached a lesson in a meeting. My lesson was called “Come to Bethel,” and I discussed Genesis 28, Jacob’s leaving the land, the sun going down…

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Thorns

by Doy Moyer “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (II Corinthians 12:9). Paul had a weakness, a “thorn in the flesh” that he thought was keeping him from being as productive as he could have been without it. He prayed to the Lord three times to have…

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Does God want me to lose everything?

Question: Dear Pastor Hamilton: Thank you for always answering emails throughout the many years. I’m writing you to say that I lost my job. I thought it was God’s will for me to be at this job because it was only a block away from my home, it matched my job skills, and it gave…

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Grace Is Sufficient

by Doy Moyer Paul describes certain visions and revelations that were beyond his understanding (II Corinthians 12). He then spoke of what he calls a “thorn in the flesh,” given to him to keep him from becoming conceited. He implored the Lord three times that this thorn would be removed from him. Whatever it was,…

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Tempted and Tried

by Perry Hall “For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another” (Mark 9:49-50). “Salted with fire” (Mark 9:49) is a notoriously hard saying of Jesus. Context can help.…

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Shut In

by Matthew W. Bassford Last Sunday morning was the last time I will ever attempt to assemble with the saints. I say “attempt” because I did not succeed in assembling. It was a debacle. About midway through the debacle, I resolved that I wasn’t going to put myself or my wife through such misery anymore.…

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Count It All Joy

by Terry Wane Benton It’s not what happens to you that matters so much as what you do with what happens to you. Who would have thought that Helen Keller would have mattered so much with all the handicaps she was dealt in life? Great people of great faith learn to turn trials into stepping…

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Burdens

by Johnathan Perz Struggles, infirmities, and adversities are a part of life. We all face them. Paul describes a struggle he brought before God on three occasions, seeking that God remove it from him. Instead of removing the burden, God let Paul bear it, admonishing him with the words, “My grace is sufficient for you,…

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More Than Conquerors

by Matthew W. Bassford Yesterday was a difficult day for me. I woke up without fever, breathing issues, or any of the other problems that have kept me from assembling with the saints. However, once the time came to leave, I discovered that my hand didn’t want to cooperate in steering my power chair. In…

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Learning to Fly

by Jefferson David Tant Among the many things that I have learned from my work in Jamaica are the “Lively Choruses” that they love to sing. Here is one: ‘Tis easy to smile, when life flows along like a song, but the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, When everything goes dead wrong.”…

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Culture Wars

https://www.lavistachurchofchrist.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/Culture-Wars.mp3 by Jeffrey W. Hamilton Text: Ecclesiastes 1:3-11   I.         Some questions are hard to answer             A.        Not because the Bible is unclear on the subject             B.        But because there is a strong cultural bias against the correct answer             C.        Example of idolatry                         1.         We have no difficulties denouncing idol worship today                         2.         Even non-Christians understand that an idol is worthless…

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Jamaica Patois Wisdom – Effort

by Jefferson David Tant The Jamaican Patois dialect is colorful, unique, and humorous. It is my desire to share some of the philosophy shown in this mix of colorful phrases that are witty as well as thought-provoking. I hope the readers both profit and enjoy. In my quarter-century plus of teaching there, I have come…

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When You Are Discouraged

by Jefferson David Tant Do you ever feel discouraged or disappointed? Welcome to the club! Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. There are countless numbers of people who can sympathize with you, as these feelings have impacted people on planet earth for multiple thousands of years. We are familiar with the…

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Why did God make me deaf?

Question: Why did God make me deaf suddenly a few years ago? I try to do good for others. I looked after my mum when she had cancer and I worked in aged care because I care. Then I sprained my ankle, got uveitis (eye inflammation), and lost my hearing only months apart in the…

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God’s Unchanging Hand

by Ken Weliever, The Preacherman “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we,…

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Worshiping like the Psalms

by Matthew W. Bassford The other day, I saw an article by a professor of Old Testament studies in which he compared the content of the book of Psalms to the content of Top 25 Christian contemporary music. He observed that many of the most prominent themes of the Psalms, like God’s help for the…

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Thoughts and Prayers

by Matthew W. Bassford People in our society say lots of dumb things. Surely among the most foolish, though, are the denials of the power of prayer. This usually comes up after mass shootings, when conservatives send “thoughts and prayers” on behalf of the victims’ families. In reply, progressives sneer that thoughts and prayers aren’t…

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God Has an Answer

by Matthew W. Bassford The contrast between Revelation 13 and Revelation 14 is one of the most striking between any two chapters in the Bible. In Revelation 13, all the news is bad. Even though the dragon has been defeated in heaven, a new ally for him, the beast, emerges from the sea. Another evil…

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In the Midst of Evil

https://www.lavistachurchofchrist.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/In-The-Midst-Of-Evil.mp3 by Jeffrey W. Hamilton Text: I Peter 1:3-9   I.         Abraham was told that his descendants would be strangers and slaves in a land before being brought back out 400 years later – Genesis 15:13             A.        That nation, Egypt, was one of the more wicked places on earth, totally given over to idolatry                         1.         It became one…

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Never Alone

by Barbara Foster In 1993 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Over the course of a year, I became increasingly disabled. Through it all, I was never alone. When I was temporarily blind, Christ led me through the darkness. When I was unable to walk, God took away the fear. When my world was turned…

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Do non-Christians get chastened by God?

Question: “But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons” (Hebrews 12:8). I’m struggling with this verse just a bit. Do non-Christians get chastened (disciplined)? I’m not sure, because of the second phrase “of which all have become partakers”. Is the “all” just Christians, or…

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A Man Is Judged by His Strength

by Matthew W. Bassford This article originally appeared in Pressing On. In Judges 8:12, during the aftermath of his crushing victory over the Midianites, the Israelite leader Gideon captures two Midianite kings, Zebah and Zalmunna. Because they played hardball in those days, in Judges 8:20, Gideon commands his son, Jether, to execute the captives. Jether,…

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Fruitful Christians

https://www.lavistachurchofchrist.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Fruitful-Christians.mp3 by Jeffery W. Hamilton Text John 15:1-8   I.         We know that Jesus’ words in John 15 concerning the vine and branches are dealing with individual Christians and not denominations.             A.        Jesus is the vine, each one of us are branches off that vine, and God is the vinedresser.             B.        But don’t get so caught up in…

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I Thought About Quitting

by Terry Wane Benton I was feeling discouraged and beat down. I was losing heart, but I turned to John 6:68 and asked, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Suddenly my mind shifted into serious reflection about what would abandoning my faith in Jesus do for me? Would…

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Willing to Suffer

by Doy Moyer The willingness to suffer for the cause of Christ is not a bug, but a feature of the Christian’s worldview. We realize that this is not, in itself, a selling point that would immediately cause people to flock to Jesus Christ. No one likes to suffer, and most are not willing to…

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Spiritual Maturity

https://www.lavistachurchofchrist.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Spiritual-Maturity.mp3 by Jeffrey W. Hamilton Text: Philippians 3:8-17   I.         What is your goal in life?             A.        Life is short. You don’t have time to accomplish everything that is available to you, so what do you desire most to obtain?             B.        For Paul it was to be like Christ and obtain heaven – Philippians 3:8-11                         1.         The design of…

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Where Is the Cross of Christ?

by Doy Moyer When I make it about how I feel, what I like or don’t like, how inconvenient things are to me, or how I shouldn’t have to do x, y, or z because it’s difficult, then I have to ask… where is the cross of Christ in a religion ordered after my preferences?…

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Why Do Christians Have Problems?

by Carey Scott from an outline by Donnie S. Barnes If everything is supposed to work out for our good, why do we still have problems? After all, does Romans 8:28 tell us that all things work out for good to those who love the Lord? Then why do faithful Christians have problems? Rejections, defeats,…

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The Good Side to the Down Side of Life

by Tau Alpha Kappa (i.e. anonymous) Sentry Magazine, September 1999 I Peter 1. 6- 7 says something extraordinary in that it points out there is a good side to the downside of life. ”Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial…

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Songs in the Night

by Judy Chappelear Sentry Magazine, June 2002 “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken … ” That scripture was taken from Acts 16:25-26. We recall that Paul…

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In the Hour of Trial

https://www.lavistachurchofchrist.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/In-the-Hour-of-Trial.mp3 by Jeffrey W. Hamilton Text: Luke 22:54-62   I.         Without a doubt, Peter loved Jesus             A.        When others sat in the boat in fear, it was Peter who wanted to go out to meet Jesus – Matthew 14:28-31             B.        When Jesus spoke of his abandonment on the Mount of Olives – Matthew 26:31-32                         1.         Specifically Jesus told Peter…

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Learning Life’s Lessons

by Norman Harber For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11) When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no…

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The Difference Between a Man and a Dog

by Jeffery Kingry Sentry Magazine, June 2000 Mark Twain once quipped, “If you find a shivering, starving dog, take him home to your hearth and make him prosperous, he will not bite you if you attempt to pick him up. This is the main difference between a man and a dog. ” Photo by Jordan Koons…

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How can trials be counted as joy?

Question: I struggle with the idea of being joyful during trials. I know James said, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4),…

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Mabel’s Story

by Tom Schmidt (abridged) The state-run convalescent home is not a pleasant place. It is large, understaffed, and overfilled with senile, helpless, and lonely people who are waiting to die. On the brightest days, it seems dark inside and smells of sickness and stale urine. I went there once or twice a week for four…

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