Chasing empty things

BY JOHNNY O. TRAIL — What is success? The dictionary defines success as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” People have varying definitions of what successful living is all about. Sadly, many are chasing a definition of success that has no spiritual underpinnings.

Those living in the age of Samuel were guilty of chasing “vain” or empty things, 1 Samuel 12:19-21. These Israelites were guilty of chasing vain things when they departed from following the Lord God with all their heart. They wanted a king so they could be like all the nations around them, 1 Samuel 8:5. The crucial point they missed was that they already had a king—Jehovah God, 1 Samuel 8:7. In their request for a human king, they rejected the king of the Universe!

Christians do the same thing when they allow their affections to be divided. Paul cautioned the brethren at Colossae against this very problem. He writes in Colossians 3:1-3, Continue reading “Chasing empty things”

A conversation with my mother before her death

By Glenda Williams — I recently found a note I had written about mother. She lived with us ten years before her death, and during that time I tried to keep records of things she said. This note pulled at my heart strings once again.

Mother woke me at 12:55 a.m. on that date. She hugged me close and asked, “Will you be all right without me?” Continue reading “A conversation with my mother before her death”

Ramifications of our actions on future generations

By Johnny O. Trail — People tend to show off what they have.  When I took General Business in high school, we talked about a concept called “conspicuous consumption.”  Conspicuous consumption is defined as “expenditure on or consumption of luxuries on a lavish scale in an attempt to enhance one’s prestige.” (Bing online dictionary). The idea is that a person purchases or possesses certain items to show off their wealth.

Maybe the Judahite king, Hezekiah, wanted to show off this wealth when he entertained certain emissaries from Babylon. Isaiah 39:2 says, Continue reading “Ramifications of our actions on future generations”

How do I choose a church?

By Johnny O. Trail — One radio station in Nashville does nothing but talk radio.  As an avid listener to talk radio, I am always interested in the questions and comments of those who call in to the radio station.  On one show in particular, the host deals with e-mails that are sent in by listeners.  Last week, one e-mail in particular caught my attention.  The lady who sent the e-mail asked the host, “How do I choose a church?”

The host then gave her some suggestions for finding a church to suit her needs.  He proceeded to tell her to look at churches as communities and that she simply needed to find one that had people who most met her needs for friendship. Continue reading “How do I choose a church?”

A futuristic autobiography

By Johnny O. Trail — A few months ago, I was asked to write a biography for a notable person in the history of the church, N.B. Hardeman.  As I read about his life and wrote a brief biography, I wondered what biographies of the future might look like.

You might not realize this, but you can give another person control over you Facebook page at the time of your death.  I have made provisions for my wife to have full authority over what happens to my page at the time of my passing.  In all honesty, I would love for future generations to have access to my page for the purpose of letting them know about my religious convictions—to potentially help them in finding Christ and other truths revealed in scripture. Continue reading “A futuristic autobiography”

The box does not matter — the memories do

By Johnny O. Trail — During this season of quarantine, I have taken on projects that I have not had the time to complete.  One of these projects included cleaning out the garage.  Going through old boxes and other items that were quickly stowed away awoke memories from the past.  Among the fondest of those memories, was the re-discovery of my father’s old fishing tackle box.

Upon opening the box, it was determined that the contents were in a very rough condition.  My father rarely fished with artificial lures, so most of the items were hooks, sinkers, floats, and fishing line. The box had not been opened or used for about fifteen years, so the items were rusted and stuck to various parts of the box. Continue reading “The box does not matter — the memories do”

Stay home!

BY BRETT CHRISTENSEN —

The response to the pandemic has led to people in many parts of the world being confined to their houses. The degree of restriction varies from place to place, but in some parts people are forbidden even to leave their houses, except for essential purposes like getting food or medical attention. Very commonly, gatherings of more than two or three are banned.

Most understand why governments deem this necessary. We’re trying to stop the spread of a virus that is remarkably adept at spreading. Continue reading “Stay home!”

Shaking with fear

BY VALDIR JOSÉ DA SILVA —

“Now, announce to the men, ‘Whoever is shaking with fear may turn around and leave Mount Gilead.’ 22,000 men went home; 10,000 remained'” Judges 7.3

The feeling that appears so much in the adventures of our hero Gideon is fear. In this chapter 7, the Lord recognizes Gideon’s fear in verse 10 and once again gives him a sign that he, the Lord God, will be present in battle.

But what strikes me most in this chapter is that 32,000 men volunteer to attack the Midianites. However, when it is proclaimed that those who are afraid may leave, an astonishing 22,000 return and 10,000 brave men remain. Continue reading “Shaking with fear”

Rough road ahead

By Johnny O. Trail — On I-24 going toward Clarksville between exits twenty-four and nineteen, there was an electric road sign that read “Rough Road Ahead.”  This stretch of highway has been problematic for years.  It continually washes out and needs constant patches and repairs.  Suffice to say it is a very rough road—our vehicle’s suspension and tires can attest to that fact.

Would it not be nice if we had various road signs in our lives to warn of “Rough Roads Ahead”?  In the lives of many, this would be a continual warning about situations they encounter down life’s pathway.  What type of signs might one see in their travels?  Of course, signs only work when they are read and heeded. Continue reading “Rough road ahead”

The noble goal requires removal of practices

BY JERRY HILL — One thing was becoming clear:  the Lord’s church did not require a full-time preacher in each location in order to exist and thrive, as our custom seemed to demand.  By 1965, penitent, baptized believers were seen to be able to speak to others in a convincing way.  Churches began and grew, in which there were no full-time preachers

The last wishes expressed on earth by our Lord require his followers to “make disciples of all the nations” (Mathew 28:19), “preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15), “that repentance and forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all nations” (Luke 24:46), and “tend” and “shepherd” “my lambs” and “my sheep” (John 21:14-17).  This was to start with the apostles “in Jerusalem“, and would go to “all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Continue reading “The noble goal requires removal of practices”