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Monday, November 28, 2011

The book special someone

I've been rereading a book that about a year ago my daughter-in-law and son
gave to me. Looking back on it I figure they are making a statement about
me, and they may not be far off the mark. The title of the book is, "When
I'm on old coot, witticisms for people who refuse to grow old gracefully." I
got to thinking about that and thought I'd do a little research. Just in
case you are not familiar with the word, "coot," it is defined in this way:
"a harmless simple minded person," Used in this way, "Don't mind him, he's
just a crazy old coot." (Webster's Dictionary)

Humm, makes me begin to rethink the nature of the gift? No, really, I know
it was just a gift that was given in fun, I think! Actually, I know why they
thought of me with a book with this title. It is because I don't usually
make the expected decisions or the do the things that "folks of my age," are
normally expected to do. I know that more than one person has thought my
decision may at the least be questionable (by accepted, safe, comfortable

I also got to thinking about the word, "gracefully." It is defined as:
"pleasing or attractive in line, proportion, movements or actions." Humm,
again not me! I don't fit into any of those categories.

So, let me see if I understand this: I'm an old crazy person who is not
always pleasing or attractive in my actions. Probably a few of you can
identify with me in these things (or not). The truth is, I don't mind being
different (if you hadn't guessed), but especially I don't mind being
different from the world, seen as crazy, don't fit in, not pleasing or
acceptable in my attitudes or actions to the worlds views. If fact, that is
even biblical!

Take a look at what Peter wrote to Christians in 1 Peter 4:3-6: "You have
had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy, their
immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and
their terrible worship of idols. Of course, your former friends will think
you are crazy when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and
destructive things they do. So they'll call you a crazy old coot or simple
minded. But remember that they will have to face God, who will judge
everyone, both the living and the dead. That is why the Good News was
preached to those who are now dead, so although they were destined to die
like all people, they now live forever with God in the Spirit." (Paraphrase
by R.L.)

Forgive my taking a few liberties with the scripture, but I believe it
contains the thoughts of the original message. As I said I don't mind being
different from those around me, when it comes to pleasing God. What about

Russ Lawson, Messages From The Heart

In case you are wondering where to get this book for your "special someone,"
you can find it at

Russ Lawson

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bulletin article for Thanksgiving

You know the story of that very first Thanksgiving Day in the English
colonies, right? You know, the one where Captain John Woodlief and those 38
colonists who had just had arrived in the Virginia colonies from Berkeley,
England and set aside a day of giving thanks to God at the Berekley Hundred
(later renamed Berkley Plantation) on December 4, 1619 where Woodlief

"Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrivall at the place assigned
for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept
holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God."

Oh, you haven't heard that story? That because those Johnny-come-lately
Pilgrims from Massachusetts arrived at Plymouth Rock with a publicist, so
that now everyone just "knows' that the first Thanksgiving was in
Massachusetts with the Pilgrims after the whole colony almost froze to death
following that first bitter winter in 1622. But the very FIRST Thanksgiving
Day was in Virginia. OK, so actually the first Thanksgiving in the New World
was one led by Spanish explorer Juan de Onate held one near El Paso, Texas
in 1598, but that one doesn't count because it was in Texas! They probably
had chili and burritos and guacamole or something (actually, that sounds
pretty good).

At any rate, the idea of a Thanksgiving Day was not held as a "perpetual"
celebration in either Massachusetts or Virginia. Thanksgiving Day was never
more than a local and sporadic event until until Abraham Lincoln made it an
annual national holiday observance in 1863. Which means that "first"
thanksgiving in Massachusetts took place after a bitter winter almost
destroyed a whole colony and the first national Thanksgiving Day was
observed DURING the tragedy of the Civil War that almost destroyed our
nation. We still observe Thanksgiving Day, but it has little to do with
struggle and more to do with eating ourselves silly and then complaining
about how stuffed we feel!

But that's not the real problem with Thanksgiving. The real problem is that
we set aside this one day to reflect on and give thanks for our blessings
(in which we overindulge) and then ONE DAY later. we rush out for "Black
Friday," the biggest shopping day of the year. We forget all about
Thanksgiving Day in our rush to run out and get more stuff. The idea of
Thanksgiving was born from struggle and the awareness of God's goodness
despite our difficulty and hardship. Now we seem to believe that we deserve
all the good things we have, and we can't even have of day of reflection on
Thanksgiving without turning it into an excuse to shop until we drop getting
more, more, more. Will Rogers drew this contrast between Thanksgiving Day
then and now:

"In the days of our founders, people were willing to give thanks for
mighty little, for mighty little was all that they expected. But now neither
government nor nature can give enough but what we think is too little. In
the fall of the year, if the founders could gather in a few pumpkins, some
potatoes, and some corn for the winter, they were in a thanking mood. But if
we can't gather in a new car, a new radio...and some government relief, why
we feel that the world is against us."

It's ironic that the more and more we have for which to be thankful,
the harder and harder it is seems to get to be truly thankful. As the late
Andy Rooney would say, "Why is that?"

--Charles Tucker, Jr.

Have a great day! ( and a great Thanksgiving!)

Alan Smith

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Not everyone is thankful at Thanksgiving

You may not have stopped to think about it, but not everyone is thankful at Thanksgiving. Some are like the suffering person in the note below.

"I really don't get this 'Thanksgiving thing.' I don't have the 'Leave it to Beaver' family, never did. Sure it's a big time for families, but I'm alone on Thanksgiving, so what's the big deal. My kids don't live near me; I'm not close to my brother or sister, my husband left me, so what's to celebrate, Being alone? Being miserable? I'll just snuggle up in my blanket on the sofa with my TV dinner while the rest of you go on with your fairy tale lives." (Anonymous)

Now, you may think the above note is a little extreme, but is it really? Think about your life and the lives of folks you know. How many of them are truly happy? How many times do you or they worry about things in this life? There may be a family member who is sick or who had a bad report from the doctor. You may be looking at the loss of a job, a cut in your hours at work. It may be that your employer may be downsizing, or you worry about the drop in the value of your home or your savings or retirement funds.

For some people, it is difficult to celebrate the holidays in November and December. I read somewhere that there are more suicides at this time of year than any other. Why? Probably because people are reminded that they don't have the storybook lives they would like to have and they feel like they never will.

You may be wondering what worry has to do with Thanksgiving. The way it connects is that the inability to give thanks comes from the same weakness and struggling in our spirits that causes us to worry. It is a basic losing of our faith in the one who sustains us.

Did you know that at least 9 times in the New Testament we read the words, "May God be with you." Do you really believe that God is with you today? Do you recognize his power and strength around you? Could it be that you are spending so much time focusing on the negatives things that might happen, that you forget to count your blessings for today?

You see our sense of well being; the ability to give thanks is in proportion to our faith in God. Paul writes these words in Ephesians 5:19-20, "Speak to one another with psalms, hymn always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps right now, this moment, would be a good time to begin singing the old song that tells us to, "Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done."

Is it a time for Thanksgiving? YES! I definitely think so!

--Russ Lawson

Friday, November 18, 2011

The University of Alabama and Louisiana State University

Many hailed the game as the one to determine which of the two teams would go
on to win the National Collegiate Athletic Association Football
Championship. It featured the top-seeded teams in the United States: the
University of Alabama and Louisiana State University. LSU won the game 9-6
in overtime. No touchdowns were scored in the game by either team; all of
the points were scored by field goal kickers. There were also missed
opportunities to score by the kickers for the team from Alabama. These
kickers, Cade Foster and Jeremy Shelley, have received a lot of criticism
and blame for missing 4 out of 6 field goals between them.

A previous kicker for the Alabama Crimson Tide football team, Leigh Tiffin,
expressed sympathy for Foster and Shelley in his blog. Tiffin can relate to
the current kickers. As a freshman, Tiffin missed three field-goal attempts
and a point-after-touchdown kick in a 24-23 overtime loss at Arkansas. He
also experienced success when he helped the Tide go undefeated and win a
national championship in 2009.

Responding to the criticisms leveled against Foster and Shelley, Tiffin
sought to encourage the forlorn kickers by reflecting on some lessons
learned from his own experiences. One of his lessons was: "Always separate
your personal worth from your athletic performance." *

Before WE point fingers at those who have failed in one area of life or
another, we need to understand this truth: each and everyone of us have
"missed the mark" in our lives. This is the literal meaning of one of the
words (Gr. hamartano) that are translated "sin" in Scripture. "For ALL have
sinned ('missed the mark') and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans
3:23). The fact that we have all missed the mark can not only bring
feelings of guilt and disappointment, but also the greatest penalty for sin:
eternal destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).

But God loves us so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross so that we
might be forgiven for "missing the mark" and have the prospect of living
eternally with Him in heaven when this life is over. "In Him we have
redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the
riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7).

God will save those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts
16:30-31), repent of their sins (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men
(Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the
forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).

Yes, we have ALL "missed the mark," but we may gain the ultimate victory
through Jesus Christ! "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Won't YOU accept His offer of forgiveness and eternal life?

David A. Sargent

Magic Johnson

On November 7th, 1991 Magic Johnson announced to the world that he was HIV positive and would be retiring from basketball.  Last week I watched in amazement as EPSN and a host of other media outlets "celebrated" the 20-year mark of that day.  They talked about how he had overcome adversity, supported charities, founded HIV research organizations, and other things he had done.  But as I listened, watched, and read everything being said, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth.  I found it troubling that the media was honoring a man who contracted HIV through fornication and promiscuous behavior.

I have nothing personally against Magic Johnson and I don't know what kind of person Johnson is today.  I also realize that we all make mistakes and can change our lives around.  There was just something sickening about how the media was glorifying the day when Johnson admitted to the world that he had been engaging in sinful activities and contracted a deadly virus because of it.  Yes, it is amazing that his health is so good 20 years later, but the honor and publicity he received for it just wasn't right.

I don't expect the media to be moral and upright.  Characteristics like those seem to be long extinct for them.  The media is becoming more impure and accepting of sin all the time.  The problem is, this seems to be rubbing off on Christians.  I am always saddened when I see Christian people supporting people like Lada Gaga, Katy Perry, Flo Rida, and a plethora of other immoral celebrities.  Just because a person is a great musician, athlete, or actor does not mean we should turn a blind eye to who they are and what they support.  We would be sickened if a close friend of family member did the things these people do, but for some reason we aren't with celebrities.

What does God expect us to do about this?  First, He expects us to be different from the world (1 John 2:15-17).  Second, He expects us to be the "light of the world" and the "salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13-16).  If we are supporting immoral people, not only are we being just like the world, we will have a difficult time being a light for God.

It's time we take a second look at who and what we are supporting.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ecclesiastes 7:21


In Ecclesiastes 7:21 Solomon warns, "do not take seriously all the words which are spoken...." The fact is, people say things; sometimes things they don't really mean. We often respond "Oh yeah? Then why did they say it if they didn't mean it?!" To this Solomon responds: "haven't you ever said something you didn't mean?" All of us would have to say "yes" to that question. Maybe we said it in anger. Perhaps we were tired, sick, irritated - and so out came those words that we later regret.


Yet this isn't a passage about guarding your words but rather about guarding your ears. We need to be careful about running too far, over-reacting to the words of others. We need to be a little more "thick skinned." Don't take everything so personally. Give people a break. We all say things we didn't mean or say it in a way that upsets the hearer.


Christianity is a religion of tenderness, compassion and forgiveness. Rather than being quick to anger or easily offended, let's give each other a dose of kindness. I know I need it. Do you?


Denny Petrillo


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep

I recently read a little story about a little girl that touched my heart. It
seems that this little girl was late coming home for supper one evening.
When she got home her parents were understandably upset. He questioned her
about why she had been so late, after all they had worried about her!

The Little girl said, "I stopped to help Marcie, she had a wreck on her
bicycle and it was broken." Her father said, "But you don't know anything
about fixing bicycles!" To which the little girls replied, "I know, but
stopped to help her cry."

Now you may or may not know anything about fixing bicycles, or cars, or
washing machines, or refrigerators or much of anything else. But when
friends have broken things in their lives and are in despair, we can help
them with that! The truth is that you are rarely in the position of being
able to fix the brokenness of someone's life, but you can help them cry
about it. You can encourage them and help them through the hard times in

Paul wrote in Romans 12:15, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with
those who weep." (KJV). I kind of like a modern translation of that verse
that says, "Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy: share tears
when they're down." (MSG)

We are entering into that time of the year when you are more apt to notice
the sorrow or rejoicing of those around you. You may take more notice of
people (or groups) trying to relieve the difficulties of those who are
struggling to make it in or world. People take up collections of money, food
and clothing to help those who might be less fortunate than we. They try to
help folks who are struggling just to make ends meet. So count your
blessings and do what you can, but if you have nothing to help with
physically, then share their sorrow or suffering; cry with them!

On the other hand we are also entering into a time of rejoicing! It is a
time of thanksgiving when people take time to count their blessings, thank
God. I wonder however, if we rejoice in the right things? I read of an old
man who was very poor. His cloths were tattered and his shoes had holes in
them. Some people who lived near by gathered some clothes and several pairs
of shoes and left them on his doorstep one night. The next morning he ran to
his friend's house praising God. He said, "Rejoice with me !" "God is so
good, someone left clothes and shoes on my doorstep last night and I met
some folks this morning who were in need of them."

So, sometimes we cry and sometimes we rejoice with folks, even if we don't
necessarily understand why they are crying or rejoicing. Psalm 92:1 Tells
us, "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD…" (KJV) I may not
always understand it, but I believe it anyway! Let's all do it now!

Russ Lawson

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Veteran’s Day

                                        "Render therefore to all their dues.......

                                          ...... honor to whom honor." Rom. 13:7

Well, it hardly seems like a whole year has passed since we paid "honor" to our nation's veterans, but it surely has as Friday last was Veteran's Day. To me that holiday is sort of like Mother's Day in that I don't believe our honoring should be relegated to just one day per year. Both honoree's deserve to receive "honor" all year round, but I guess that I should be glad that our society hasn't gotten so unconcerned and indifferent that it still sets aside a special day for them.

Several thoughts have shared space in my mind about the "honor due" our veterans and I'd like to share them with you for a few moments today. Being a person who loves history, I especially like military history. I'm always running across items that are inspirational and can be cited as illustrations for scriptural lessons. Allow me to provide you with one I read about some time ago and found inspiring.

I know that, in the past, I've written about many of the "negatives" surrounding Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and deservedly so. But let me tell you about a "positive" that relates to our "honor" of veterans. Perhaps you'll recall a great and accomplished actress by the name of Elsa Lanchester. She was, by all measures of acting, a Hollywood star.

It was reported that during WW2 she would give informal parties at her house for servicemen that were going to war. She had made up what she referred to as her "Servicemen's Book" and she would ask the soldiers at her parties to write their name and address in her book. As they did so she would tell them that she would pray for them constantly for their safe return and for God to watch over them.

When she received word that they had returned from the war she would look up the name in her book and then write after it, "Thank You, God." You see, not all entertainers or people associated with that business are of a reprobate character. It's just unfortunate that it seems the reprobates far outnumber the good ones.

Another thought occupying space in my head was the awarding of the Medal of Honor to Sgt. Salvatore Giunta about this time last year. I have to tell you up front something that really upsets me regarding the Medal of Honor and that's hearing someone, especially a media personality, make mention of one "winning" the medal. One doesn't "win" the Medal of Honor (or any other medal for valor), they are "awarded" it. They are a "recipient" of it. IT IS NOT A CONTEST!

In the ceremony accompanying Sgt. Giunta's award I noticed two things interesting that relate to "honor." One of a positive nature and the other, a negative. The positive was of course, this most deserved "honor" bestowed upon Sgt. Giunta. The negative aspect of "honor" was that there were three rows of people standing behind the President and Sgt. Giunta during the award ceremony. The first two rows were made up of politicians (and I can only think of "photo op") and the families of Sgt. Giunta and of the deceased soldiers he tried to save had to stand in the third row - behind the politicians. That was not honorable to me.

That dishonor of the families brings me to another one of my thoughts and that relates to a phrase we hear from time to time in military reporting. (Sometimes too often) That phrase is "collateral damage." It's usually mentioned to describe and incident wherein persons who were not intended to be harmed by a military action were. I'd like to take that phrase a step further for a moment.

Did you ever consider that the families, the parents, the wives, the children (et al) of the personnel either killed or wounded in action are also "collateral damage?" I certainly do and I believe that as we pay "honor" to our fallen veterans the families of those veterans, those "collaterally damaged" victims are "due honor" also.

Yes, we owe a great deal of "honor" to all of our veterans, especially the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice and lie in graveyards here or in foreign lands or were consigned to the depths of the sea. And, our "dues" go back to the very foundation of this country. My next part of this editorial is a citation to you of part of a sermon I once read and it so inspired me that I copied it down. It so relates to what our nation owes our veterans. The "honor" that they are "due."

The preacher of this sermon reminded the congregation of the scene of Valley Forge during the War of Independence. For them to picture the cold, the starving soldiers and all the terribleness of that situation and then to picture one of the soldiers facing them with his musket in his hand and saying these words.....

"I gave you a birthright of freedom born in the Constitution and now your children graduate too illiterate to read it. I fought in the snow barefoot to give you the freedom to vote and you stay at home because it rains. I left my family destitute to give you the freedom of speech and you remain silent on critical issues. I orphaned my children to give you a government to serve you and it has stolen democracy from the people.

It's the soldier not the reporter who gives the freedom of the press. It's the soldier not the poet who gives you the freedom of speech. It's the soldier not the campus organizer who allows you to demonstrate. It's the soldier who salutes the flag, serves the flag, whose coffin is draped with the flag that allows the protester to burn the flag!"

The sermon concluded with the prayer below and I find it a fitting close to my thoughts today. And as you read it, please remember all of our veterans of past wars and conflicts plus those still going on as we speak. And also their families, that "collaterally damaged" group who also sacrifice.

And lastly, remember that greatest and most beneficial sacrifice of all, the voluntary death of our Lord and Savior on the cross. It's the "greatest and most beneficial" because the "freedoms" are eternal.

                    "Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they

                     protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they

                     perform for us in our time of need. I ask this in the name of Jesus,

                     our Lord and Savior. Amen!"

Ron Covey


Thursday, November 10, 2011

The uproar at Penn State



Penn State students nearly rioted overnight, protesting the firing of legendary head football coach, Joe Paterno.  "Joe Pa" had been the symbol of class and integrity, caring for his players and winning big every year.  Just this season, the 84-year-old passed Eddie Robinson as the winningest coach in Division One history, with 409 wins in his 46th season.
But, in 2002, a graduate assistant reported to Paterno that he witnessed a former coach, Jerry Sandusky, committing unspeakable, reprehensible crimes against a young minor on college grounds. Paterno reported it to a school official, but did not go to the police. Sandusky was allowed to maintain a strong presence on campus for another decade!  Along the way, high school coaches, maintenance staff, and other boys who were in the charity for wayward youths started by Sandusky, reported either assaults or suspicious behavior. But, no legal or punitive actions occurred until last week!  The number of boys whose lives have been permanently traumatized is still unclear.  
Paterno was not the only one guilty of inaction. The number of bystanders who said and did nothing is staggering.  Now, heads are rolling, including the university's president and this revered head football coach.  Having this ignominy for a legacy, Paterno lamented, "It is one of the great sorrows of my life.  I wish I had done more" (, "Joe Paterno's Penn State Legacy").
 Physically, it is hard to think of a more heinous crime than those against the innocent.  It is an illustration of the high price of inaction!  How bad is it to be aware of danger, of immorality, of that which is unacceptable to God, but say nothing?  
I fear that too many pulpits, even in the Lord's church, are woefully silent when it comes to warning about sin--whether doctrinal, ethical, or moral matters.  Some men will not overtly teach error, but you will never hear them preach and warn about those "difficult subjects."  How many elderships have failed to lead the church in disciplining the erring or standing up for God's Word?  How many times have we failed to act on behalf of our Savior, at work, at school, at social functions, and the like?  
A world, by and large, is heading toward eternal punishment (cf. Mat. 7:13-14).  We know this is true!  We know the worth of every soul to God (Jn. 3:16).  Will we stand by and say and do nothing?  Do not be guilty of doing nothing!
--Neal Pollard  

The movie Holiday Inn

When thinking about our upcoming Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S., the
old Bing Crosby song popped into my mind. I believe it was from the movie
"Holiday Inn," which is a great old movie and I recommend highly! Anyway,
Bing is sitting at a table full of all of the holiday trimmings and is
really down and depressed because his girlfriend has left him for another
man (and career). He sits there feeling sorry for himself and singing the
song, "I've go nothing to be thankful for." Of course he is reminded that he
does have other options and. well you'll have to watch the movie to see how
it ends.

Sadly, this is not an unusual problem in our world; it may be even more
prevalent in our present financial climate and job market. We have so many
people in our world who have lost their jobs, lost their homes and who are
struggling to just put food on the table or pay for fuel for heat. Then our
advertising world floods or airways, newspapers and magazines with words and
pictures which portray what should be the perfect holiday. Everyone should
be well fed, in comfortable homes, surrounded by friends and family, be
smiling, with no problems in their lives, a Norman Rockwell painting come to

We tend to look at that image and say, that's not my life. I'm barely
scrapping by; I've got nothing to be thankful for!

It is my belief that it's not so much a matter of what you have, but how you
count the blessings you do have. You may be having a tough time, but in
almost every situation, if you will stop and look around you, you will find
someone else who has more difficulties. I think that at some point, everyone
should go and set in the emergency waiting room at a hospital in a major
city. I've had occasions to do this on more than one occasion and it opens
your eyes to what real tragedy and loss is.

I could give you a list of things for which you could be thankful, but I
don't think I really need to do that. You are wise enough to understand
those things yourself. The problem is that we don't stop and count our
blessings nearly as often as we should. I would suggest that you stop and do
that right now. I do want to share with you that for which I am most
thankful. I am thankful for you! You are a blessing for my life as one of
God's children and because of that I have everything to be thankful for!
Relationships are the most important thing in the world. If I loose all that
I have in the physical world I hope to hold you in my heart and be held by

Let me end this with the words of the Apostle Paul from Philippians 1:2-6,
where he writes, "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord
Jesus Christ. I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers
for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the
gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who
began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of
Christ Jesus." (NIV)

The key phrase is, "I thank my God every time I remember you." Do you really
have nothing to be thankful for?

Russ Lawson

Wednesday, November 9, 2011



A few months ago in Milwaukee, a surveillance video captured many teenagers swarming a BP gas station and stealing anything they could get their hands on.  When one particular mother watched the news that evening, she was shocked to see her 13-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son on the surveillance tape.  She now had a tough decision to make.  After sleeping on it she talked with her kids the next morning and confronted the situation.  She then got everyone into the car, drove down to the police station, and turned in her own kids.


I admire this mother because she did something that many parents struggle with: making tough choices.  Whether we like it our not, parenting is about making tough decisions.  Look what Scripture tells us as parents to do.

  • "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).
  • "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4)
  • The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother....Discipline your son, and he will give you peace, he will bring delight to your soul. (Proverbs 29:15, 17).
  • Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death (Proverbs 22:13-14).

None of these Scriptures are easy to accomplish.  Being a parent isn't for the weak at heart.  It can be very taxing, discouraging, depressing, and downright torturous for the parent.  But again, parenting is about making tough decisions and doing hard things that will ultimately direct the child towards heaven.  Even if this means confronting a child, enforcing a rule or decision, disciplining, or driving a child to the police station.  More than ever, today's parents must be willing to stand up and make the tough choices.  Our children's souls depend on it.


Brett Petrillo


Fornication is a sin against the body



    1Corinthians 6:18 informs us that every sin a man commits is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own soul.  To me, this seems to place an emphasis on the heinousness of sexual sins.  In what way, I am not sure, but the emphasis is there. I'm thinking it has something to do with the fact that it is through sexual intimacy that a new life is brought into this world, and that new life has a spirit that will live eternally in one of two places.  That's a rather intimidating thought! 

            Exodus 20:11 tells us that God created everything in six days, then rested from His creating work. That is, God has not created anything "new" after His initial creative work.  However, when a man and a woman "come together," they create a new human being that possesses a new eternal spirit.  Therefore, somewhere in the act of intimacy between a man and a woman, God created the ability for the couple to "create" an eternal spirit that is in His image!  What a beautiful blessing! And, what a humbling, knee-weakening responsibility. 

            God has set-up certain guide-lines for creating this new eternal spirit in a baby. For example, one man for one woman, for life.  We may not understand the strictness of God's marriage commands, but be assured there is a reason for them, and the reasons probably have something to do with the fact that a new eternal spirit is created in God's image by the union.

            With this in mind, it is no wonder that Satan has tried from the earliest times to corrupt, profane, and blur God's laws about sexual purity.  It seems that every ounce of our society is contaminated with sexual exploitation.  Recently, I heard on the news that laws are being considered for two year marriage contracts, rather than  life-long commitments. After two years, the couple has the option of going their separate ways (no divorce is needed), or re-committing to each other for another two years. Children created in the brief marriage would begin their pilgrimage toward eternity without any valid foundation.  A mind-set of uncertainty would embrace their mental image of everything - - including the promises of God! Uncertainty in the promises of God demonstrates a lack of faith, without which it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

            Steve Higginbotham posted an excellent article recently on his blog entitled, "The Sexualization of Halloween."  He cited an example of parents dressing up their son as a pimp, and their daughter as a prostitute. The parents thought the "make belief" outfits were "cute," but coupled with a hundred other "cute" things, what message is being passed on to our children?

            Satan has been very patient over the centuries. He saw that Sodom-Gomorrah didn't work; it was to "fast."  So, slowly, one page at a time, he is conditioning our "Christian Nation" to bring sex "out of the closet." Marriage bonds of 25+ years are being broken because of our acquired insatiable appetite for sex due to, in my opinion, over exposure. Add to this our acceptance of  "alternative life styles,"  same-sex marriages (with adoption privileges), two-year marriage contracts, and the sexualization of our children, and we have to wonder, "Where do we go from here?"

            Someone much wiser than anyone who has ever typed on a computer wrote, "Ask for the old paths wherein is the good way, and walk in it; then you shall find rest for your souls" (Jeremiah 6:16).     


--Toby Miller

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tim Tebow

I'm not a fan of the Florida Gators, and I'm not a fan of the Denver
Broncos, but I am a fan of Tim Tebow. Tim Tebow was the quarterback for the
Florida Gators and is currently in his first season as the quarterback for
the Denver Broncos. Tebow was a great college quarterback and it is yet to
be seen how he will do in the NFL, but for all his abilities on the football
field he might be just as well known for something else...His faith.

Tim Tebow has been, and is very vocal about his faith in Jesus. He always
gives credit to God when he is interviewed, he writes Bible references on
his "eye black," and is known for frequently bowing to pray while on the
field. In fact, the act of bowing to one knee and praying is now culturally
known as "Tebowing."

Now, it is not my intent in this article to scrutinize his faith, rather the
point of this article is to draw your attention to this single point.
Wouldn't it be great to have such a reputation that when someone sees
something good being done, they think of you? Is there a faith motivated
activity that is so prominent in your life that when people see it, they
think of you? If not, wouldn't that be a worthy goal?

Let's see, what could I begin working on that will some day be known as
"Higginbotham-ing?" Okay, well maybe I better just forget about the name
thing, but surely all of us can be so wedded to a Christ-like quality that
when those who know us think of it, they think of us.

When someone thinks of Tim Tebow, they think of bowing to pray on one knee
(Tebowing). When someone thinks of you, what do they think of? Give it
some thought.

Steve Higginbotham

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The judge vigorously beating his teenage daughter with a belt

For a YouTube to go viral, there must be something of great interest in it. More than a million people have viewed a recent video uploaded to that service, and it will surprise no one. Captured on video was a father vigorously beating his teenage daughter with a belt. What makes the video especially alarming is that the father serves as a judge who often tries child abuse cases.
The video was made seven years ago when the girl was fourteen. She insists that she didn't post it to seek revenge, but to force her father to seek the help he so obviously needs. Though I've not viewed the video, it does sound as if the father went beyond Biblical principles of child discipline. Beatings administered in a rage (which is apparently what happened in this case) are not what Scripture recommends.
In 2009 two judges were named in an investigation charging that they had sent juveniles to prison for cash. In some of the cases, the accused were not even assigned attorneys to protect their rights. No one objected when this story was labeled a "scandal". It was nothing short of outrageous for two who were supposed to protect the rights of citizens to participate in such a sleazy scheme.
Unless we've been involved in legal actions, we give little thought to matters like this. But what if it's me standing before this person who holds my future in his hands? Would I want him to be fair and impartial, and follow the rules of law? The answer is of course obvious.
Whether it happens to us on earth or not, one day we all have an appointment before a judge. The Judge of all the earth, God Himself, will render a verdict on our eternal destiny. What about His fitness to serve? Will we have any hope for a fair hearing?
The Lord spoke with Abraham about a "case" that had come to His attention. A great outcry had arisen regarding the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Were these accusations true? "I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know" (Genesis 18:21). God had not prejudged the case; He would gather all available facts before making His judgment.
Abraham trusted in God's fairness, and made a statement that is a bedrock to many of us today: "Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25). Abraham, who knew the Lord very well, could not conceive of God acting unfairly.
The apostle Paul later reaffirmed the righteous nature of the Judge before whom you and I will stand: "Because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained ..." (Acts 17:31). Judges in this world sometimes act hypocritically. Such would be absolutely impossible with our Judge.
Most encouraging is the news that God has made it possible for us - we who are guilty of sin - to be justified by the actions of His Son, Jesus Christ. "To demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26). Though God will be the Judge of all (Romans 14:21), His strong desire is to justify us.
Timothy D. Hall

Jesus stilling the storm on the Sea of Galilee

I recently wrote an article dealing with the fact that our Christian life is
a life of continual learning. We literally never stop finding new stuff in
the scripture. I really don't know how many times I have read through the
whole bible, but have been doing it every year for the past 15 to 20 years.
What may surprise you is that I am always seeing new stuff. It happened
again just this past week.

You probably are familiar with the story of Jesus stilling the storm on the
Sea of Galilee. You remember, Jesus had been teaching the people and got
into a boat to go to the other side of the lake. He promptly lay down and
fell asleep. While Jesus was sleeping, "Without warning, a furious storm
came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat." (NIV Matthew
8:24) The disciples were so afraid that they woke Jesus and with a word he
stilled the storm.

OK, so you know the story, but here is a question. Was there anyone else
with them? Were there other folks in other boats accompanying them? Come on,
don't shy away from the question or assume that just because I asked there
must be a secret to the story. The bible really gives us a little more
information, but it's one of those little parts we sometime miss.

You may be a better scholar than I and know the answer, but for me it was
the first time it registered that maybe there was something I missed in the
telling of this story.

Do we ever learn it all? Of course not! Well how much is enough? I don't
know, but I do know that God expects us to be searching the scripture daily
and showing ourselves approved workmen for Him. Paul writes: "Study to show
yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly
dividing the word of truth." KJV 2 Timothy 2:15) or "Be diligent to present
yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly
dividing the word of truth." (NKJV)

Oh, just in case you are wondering, the answer to the question is found in
the parallel record of the story in Mark 4:36.

May God bless you in your ongoing search of His word!

Russ LawsonBooks by Russ Lawson @

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