Religious

Come and dine

John 21:12 KJV:
[12] Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine.
It’s the third meeting Jesus is hosting for some of his disciples after his Resurrection. Like any good host, Jesus wants everyone to be relaxed before they really get into the serious business at hand for them. So he starts his meeting with a fish fry as it were. Fish sandwiches to be exact or at least their version of a fish sandwich, which was simply bread and fish—a highly appropriate meal for a meeting with a bunch of fishermen, cooked by someone that once said, “man does not live by bread alone.” (Matthew 4:4)

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Christian grub worms

Some sermons, or at least the sermon titles, just get stuck in my mind. An experienced preacher will often give their message a catchy title to help drive the point home.
I’ll never forget a sermon the Reverend Ronnie Beeler once preached which he entitled, “Wallowing Around Under a Log with the Mully Grubs.”
I’m fairly sure Reverend Beeler just made up the word “mully,” but I understood what he meant, having turned over many logs as a boy searching for fishing bait.

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A study of Peter and John

[1] Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. - Acts 3:1 KJV
I like to do character studies of the Bible patriarchs, because it helps me to better understand the context of their stories. A common theme of these character studies is that all the men and women of the Bible were subject to the same passions as we are today.

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From one fisherman to another

I’ve been a fisherman all my life.
My first vivid memory is of pulling back some cattails to see a stringer full of fish, which my Dad had staked out on some waterway someplace. Needless to say, I love to fish!
Four of the 12 Apostles Jesus called were professional fishermen and at least three others liked to fish.
In John 21:2-8, that “disciple whom Jesus loved”* tells us of seven Apostles fishing together when Jesus appeared to them after his resurrection.

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Scratch my ears, please

2 Timothy 4:3 KJV
[3] 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;
Have you ever scratched a hound dog behind its ears? Dogs just can’t seem to get enough ear scratching. I can recall countless times when my boyhood hound dog Sam would cozy up to me, nudge my hand and encourage me to scratch behind his ears. Seems like Sam especially enjoyed this if I told him he was a “good dog.”

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What’s wrong with Jesus?

Perhaps I should have entitled this article “What’s Wrong with Christianity?”
The answer to both questions are not synonymous, but they are related.
Plus questioning what is wrong with Christianity is too subjective, as evidenced by the various Christian denominations found throughout the world. Denominations, including religious sects, are greatly influenced by personal feelings or opinions.

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Anxious for nothing

Philippians 4:6 is one of those verses which many Christians have hidden in their hearts. It is Paul the Apostles version of 1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.”
We find Paul once again in prison for preaching the Gospel. He has written this letter to the Philippians so that they will not lose hope in Christ, because of the situation in which Paul finds himself.
Let’s think about what is going on by imagining ourselves as part of a possible conversation between two first century new believers in the city of Philippi:

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Keys to the Kingdom

Matthew 16:19 - And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Please be aware it is not my intent to be divisive, to exclude anyone or any church denomination. The Gospel itself will take care of that in due time. However, I don’t think I could pick a better chapter than Matthew Chapter 16 to jump flat-footed right in the middle of the fray regarding divisions within the Christian church over doctrinal differences.

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Reflect, refocus and reset

2 Timothy 2:15 KJV: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
It’s a new year! Go ahead and call me Captain Obvious, but sometimes stating what is obvious is simply necessary. While I try not to make flippant New Year’s resolutions, regarding spiritual matters I do like to take the occasion as another opportunity to reflect upon my relationship with God. When I see my shortcomings through reflecting upon God’s Word, it benefits me to sharpen my focus and reset my path in accordance with Biblical principles.

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Now that’s why you don’t have any friends

Hebrews 11 is the famous chapter affectionately known as the “Roll Call of Faith.”
Countless messages have been preached about the “Heroes of Faith.” Every believer has heard moving sermons detailing the blessings God poured out upon faithful Abraham and Sara. Moses has often been celebrated in inspirational messages as leader, deliverer and miracle worker.

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The Straight Truth

Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

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The man of God

You cannot trust the man of God. Many people waver or lose faith in God, when a “man of God” fails. Men of God fail all the time. We have a recent example of an immoral failure of the leader of one of the largest Christian colleges and churches in America.

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Qualified to be a devil

The Apostle James in his letter says, “faith without works is dead.”
The Apostle Paul tells the Ephesians that salvation is: “Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Do we have a contradiction in the pages of the Bible? Is James disagreeing with Paul regarding salvation?
At first glance it seems Paul and James do disagree and we have a contradiction, which is often the problem with first glances without knowledge.

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In my Father’s house are many mansions

John 14:2 “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (KJV)
Jesus spoke the words recorded in John 14:2 during the final week of His earthly ministry before His crucifixion! Jesus had been dropping hints to his Disciples about his true intentions as the Lamb of God from the moment he first called his Twelve Apostles, nearly three-and-a-half years earlier.

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Child of the King

One of my favorite praise and worship songs is “Child of the King,” and no one leads it better then Mrs. Beeler and the worship team at my home church. I get fired up every time I hear the music and lyrics performed. While reading Paul the Apostle’s letter to the Colossians the other day I immediately thought of that song when I read the following verse:
Colossians 3:3
“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

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The Mark of the Beast

Revelation 13:16-18
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. (KJV)

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Lone wolf Christians

Have you ever encountered a so-called “Lone Wolf Christian?
Some people think they can worship God all by themselves without assembling together with other like-minded believers. The mere concept of worshiping God apart from communal worship is contrary to sound Biblical teaching.
While it is true that each of us must have a personal encounter via the Holy Spirit with Jesus, he never said after you are saved go into your house, hole up, and become an antisocial hermit.

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The spirit of fear: Part 2

By Archie Wilson
Almost one year ago to the day, I sat at my computer and typed an article entitled “The Spirit of Fear.” Nearly 2,000 years ago, the Apostle Paul sat in a Roman prison and penned the following words:
2 Timothy 1:7 KJV
(7) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

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The Supersessionism debate is complicated

Shot who?
Although most Christians may have never heard the term “Supersessionism,” it is a doctrine that has been hotly debated in theological circles for centuries.
Supersessionism, also called “Replacement Theology,” is a Christian doctrine which asserts that the New Testament or Covenant through Jesus Christ has replaced the Old Testament or Covenant, that was exclusively made with the Jewish people. As usual, I don’t have the print space to ferret out all the implications of this doctrine, but I am going to try my best to simplify it. Wish me luck!

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Bible has a lot to say about earthquakes

Mark 13:8 - For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows. (KJV)
Earthquake. That word strikes fear at the hearts of mankind, especially in the heart of anyone who has ever been in and survived a major earthquake.

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