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Atonement

Forgiveness. Since the first sin in the Garden of Eden, there was a desperate need for a way to be forgiven. Throughout the Old Testament we see sacrifices of animals offered to deal with sin. When Israel was in the wilderness, God gave a command for a national Day of Atonement to be held each year (this is known by Jews today as ‘Yom Kippur’).

“This is to be a perpetual statute for you. In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you must humble yourselves and do no work of any kind, both the native citizen and the foreigner who resides in your midst, for on this day atonement is to be made for you to cleanse you from all your sins; you must be clean before the Lord. It is to be a Sabbath of complete rest for you, and you must humble yourselves. It is a perpetual statute.” (Leviticus 16:29-31 NET). Continue reading “Atonement”

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TV Church

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance?” (Micah 7:18).

How is it that we can come into the Lord’s presence to worship him, and come away with the image of someone or something other than God?

Whether it be the majesty of the architecture, the “entertainment” value of the worship “production,” or the charisma of the preacher, when we leave worship, and our enduring memory is something other than God, something was wrong! Worship should be in honor of the Lord, and the Lord alone! Anything less would be idolatry. Continue reading “TV Church”

Good Samaritan

The carpenter on the other side of the table

“Which of these three…was neighbor?” (Luke 10:36, NASB).

Did you hear about Lizzie Velaquez from Austin, Texas, a.k.a., “The World’s Ugliest Woman?” who was searching YouTube and stumbled upon a video (which had been viewed over 4 million times) urging her to kill herself because she was so ugly?

She decided to leave her self-pity behind, and parlayed her new-found fame to become an anti-bullying advocate all over the nation! What an admirable way to turn the tables on her bullies! Continue reading “The carpenter on the other side of the table”

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Fear – it could save your life

If society, culture and the church could just move past feeling fear, anger and pain, we would all be better off, right? If everybody could only be positive and happy all of the time, our lives would improve, correct? Wrong! If these negative emotions and sensations were eliminated, our lives would unravel.

If you object to that last sentence, I’m sure you are not alone. So let’s cut to the chase.

Continue reading “Fear – it could save your life”

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Christians are the spiritual Israel of God

Some people are surprised that the Old Testament is so much larger in size than the New. In my Portuguese Bible it takes up 764 pages out of a total of 994. That’s 76% of the whole Bible. Several explanations as to why may be adequate, but here is one thought, how the Lord was building up to, and preparing for, the time when Christ would come and fulfill his eternal plan.

In both Testaments, God created a people for himself. In the Old Testament, it was Israel, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Each of Jacob’s sons became a tribe in Israel. In the New Testament, God’s people is the church, and they are variously described as the body of Christ, the family of faith, the temple of the Holy Spirit. No more is there a physical connection to define God’s holy ones. We are born into God’s family because we respond to his message and obey his commandments, John 3.3, 5. Continue reading “Christians are the spiritual Israel of God”

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True Blue

What’s your favorite color? Chances are, if you are like the largest percentage of the population, it’s blue.

If you are a gardener, you are not in luck, if that’s the case. True blue color is not that common in the plant world. The color blue occurs in less than ten percent of the plant world’s 280,000 flowering species, according to a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida International University in Miami. Continue reading “True Blue”

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Cleansed by blood

“The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, ‘When a person has on the skin of his body a swelling or an eruption or a spot, and it turns into a case of leprous disease on the skin of his body, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests, and the priest shall examine the diseased area on the skin of his body. And if the hair in the diseased area has turned white and the disease appears to be deeper than the skin of his body, it is a case of leprous disease. When the priest has examined him, he shall pronounce him unclean.’” (Leviticus 13:1-3 ESV).

Throughout the Law of Moses we read about designations which may seem strange to us. People could become “unclean.” There were diseases which made you unclean, in particular skin diseases, including, but not limited to, what we know today as leprosy. Being in contact with certain animals and their dead carcasses, could also make a person”‘unclean.” And some foods were “unclean.” As we no longer use the designations of “clean” and “unclean,” these can be confusing to us when we read about them. Continue reading “Cleansed by blood”

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Repulsively right

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).

Consider the difference between the “Jonah” preacher and the “Jeremiah” preacher. Apparently one would have thrilled at seeing Nineveh burn under fire and brimstone; the other wept as his beloved Jerusalem burned.

In my opinion, churches of Christ have got it right for the most part over the last 170 years or so. I am saddened and disturbed by those brethren who feel we have been wrong to call men and women back to the Scripture and restore New Testament Christianity, who think there is a better way, a more noble plea. Continue reading “Repulsively right”

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Attaching or detaching the heart?

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).

The Christian assigns proper value, and prioritizes accordingly. The most valuable things in life are spiritual things. Worship, prayer, study, goodwill, example, influence, sharing the gospel.

These are easily lost in the mix of life’s activities.

These are easily shuffled to the bottom of the deck.

These are easily forgotten or misplaced. Continue reading “Attaching or detaching the heart?”