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Today's Little Lift

    by Jim Bullington

Robbery is a severe charge. In our legal system, there are two basic types of robbery, armed and unarmed. In either case, it involves the taking of something from another by force or the threat of force. In the Law of Moses, it was simply, “Thou shalt not steal.” (Exodus 20.15). There, it simply meant taking something that belongs to another, whether force was involved or not. The last book of the Old Testament speaks to the commission of this crime and the reaction of one of its victims. Consider this case.

The book of Malachi is different in that it is structured…  ( Click for more )

Form is not substance. A shadow is form but it is not substance. A photograph is form but it is not the substance. A digital image is form (virtual reality), but it is NOT reality. Paul’s warning to Timothy (quoted below) was, in part, a warning about those who display a “form of godliness” but who deny the power that is inherent in real godliness. Our study today will look at the issue of form and substance as it relates to some very practical aspects of the Christian faith.

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be…  ( Click for more )

I remember the day when I learned what contradict means. I did not learn the definition in a dictionary; rather, I learned it in life’s university when I was a young boy. I don’t remember the specific statement of my father that I openly contradicted, but I do remember his reaction! I recall his unambiguous direction that I was not to contradict him. I think he had every right to say what he did and that I needed to learn the principle of respect for one’s elders more than I needed anything else at that moment.

How do you like for someone to contradict you? What…  ( Click for more )

Hope speaks of the future. Hope speaks optimistically. Hope is always positive. “Hope that is seen is not hope.” (Romans 8.24b). Hope is not passive. Hope is founded on or in something other than oneself.

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone…  ( Click for more )

I really couldn't figure out why anyone would want to know the value of X. That was my real complaint when my mother insisted that I take algebra. I'm glad she didn't give in simply because there were things I didn't (and couldn't) understand at the time. I have since come to understand why knowing the value of X can be so important. There are many things like this in life. There are times when we simply have to trust others who are older and wiser to advise us to do what is best. I know that no generation likes to hear this, but it has been true in every generation from the beginning…  ( Click for more )

I remember a little about Qualitative Chemistry and also about Quantitative Chemistry. The first seeks to determine what elements/compounds are present and the second seeks to determine in what amounts they are present. John made a rhetorical statement, which we will consider in today's devotional, dealing with Qualitative Love. His comment was not about how much love was present ; it was about what type of love was present .

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did…  ( Click for more )

“And it had been revealed to him [Simeon] by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” (Luke 2.26).

Simeon was overjoyed to see the Lord's Christ. He had waited perhaps all his life to witness the events that unfolded in the temple when Jesus was brought there at the tender age of 40 days. Other than the fact that the Holy Spirit guided him, we do not know how Simeon was able to know that this particular child was the Lord's Christ. I would suppose that He looked like every other 40 day old baby being brought to the temple…  ( Click for more )

Was Jesus an ignorant man whose life was portrayed by ignorant men whose stories are only believed by ignorant men? Today’s headlines read: “Ancient Wall Possibly Built by King Solomon.” This current event is news because many scholars deny that David ever lived, or if he lived, he was not king of Israel, or if he were king of Israel, the biblical accounts of his reign are mostly mythical.

Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is leading the dig which unearthed the artifacts under consideration. She dates these items to the time period consistent…  ( Click for more )

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.” (Acts 2.22-24).

Most will recognize that the words quoted (above) are the beginning of the first Gospel Sermon ever delivered. Inasmuch…  ( Click for more )

There is a world of difference between something that appears to be wise and something that is truly wise. In fact, had I always been able to discern the subtle difference between the two, I would be much healthier, much wealthier, and much wiser! Hind sight is typically 20/20 but in spiritual matters, that can be of little consolation. That is why we need the wisdom that comes from above in all such matters; human opinions are simply not good enough.

Paul addressed the futility of religious decrees that seem to be wise when he wrote to the believers in Colossae. The practice…  ( Click for more )

Personal references are an essential if you want a good job. In fact, a well written personal recommendation can overcome several perceived negatives in a person's work history. As employers, we like letters of recommendation because they provide practical insight into a potential employee's work related behavior. A bad recommendation can trump an excellent interview experience and a great recommendation can overcome a less than stellar performance. Recommendations are important! Well, today's message is about a recommendation for all time and for all audiences. Consider what follows. …  ( Click for more )

Strangers just don’t get the same deal as the in crowd. A few years ago I moved to a small town known somewhat for its exclusivity. I tried to blend. After purchasing gasoline for a couple of years at a particular station, the owner called me aside one day and said, “You’ve been living here for quite a while now. I’m going to start giving you the two cent per gallon discount I give the regular folks here!” Honestly I wouldn’t have known that I wasn’t a regular folk had he not told me; I thought I was one of them!

The word stranger as used…  ( Click for more )

Bulletin: New program unveiled to absolutely eliminate all crime! OK, it isn't exactly new, but it will work! The first time I heard of it was about fifty years ago when a comedian proposed, “Let's just make everything legal then there wouldn't be no more crime.” Good idea? Bad idea? You say no one would be so silly as to actually try to implement this idea. Where have you been? Pardon my smart mouth, but crawl out from under your rock and walk into the twenty-first century!

This solution has and is being proposed for such things as drugs, prostitution, the age of…  ( Click for more )

“So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” (Colossians 2.16-17). This passage, though extremely technical in some aspects is also extraordinarily practical in application. Let me show you what I mean.

It is technical in that it contrasts two great theological systems. These systems are: 1) The system that prevailed from Moses to the coming of Christ's kingdom, and 2) The Christian system. The first was known for mundane ordinances regarding what…  ( Click for more )

Ruth’s reputation was admirable. Though she was a Moabitess, her kindness shown toward her mother-in-law was well known among the people of Israel. She could have opted to allow Naomi to return to her native land and no one would have thought the worse of her. Even Naomi’s thoughts on the matter were for her young daughters-in-law to remain in their homeland and remarry. But, Ruth was of a different mind. It was this attitude that led her to say to Naomi, “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever…  ( Click for more )

Truth is a controversial concept and word in our American culture. You can accuse me of being naïve, but I don't think it has always been that way. There have been times in which truth was a commodity that could actually be recognized. However, things have changed in the way our culture views truth. I probably am not smart enough to know why this has happened, but I believe I can see that it has.

Paul believed that the truth could be recognized and even handled. It was a commodity that could be identified and which had strict guidelines as to how one ought to treat it. For…  ( Click for more )

First steps are always an event to be remembered. Every baby album is almost certain to have photographs of baby’s first attempt to walk. These same snapshots will also contain, likely as not, one or more parents with outstretched arms encouraging the child to come to him/her. If it is a video, there will also be words of encouragement to assure the tike that mommy and/or daddy is there to catch him if he stumbles. Got the picture? Well keep it in mind as we explore today’s focus text.

Paul wrote to believers, “You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and…  ( Click for more )

Some rules have no exceptions! While it is true that some rules have exceptions, there are also some which have no exceptions. When God makes a rule (law), I cannot depend on that rule having an exception unless He has stated that to be the case. A few examples are in order: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3.3). “No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 16.6).“No one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son…  ( Click for more )

Talking to things is not as uncommon as we like to make it seem. I know I sometimes talk to cars that cut me off in traffic. I also talk to cats that cross my path as well as to checkbooks that do not keep up with my spending habits. There have even been a few times when I have talked to a hammer when it maliciously smashed my thumb!

Jonah was more than a thing, but God spoke to Him. He told Jonah to go preach to the people of Nineveh, but Jonah rebelled. His rebellion soon endangered the lives of his shipmates who were innocently drawn into the story. Soon Jonah found himself…  ( Click for more )

"I taught that class everything I know and they are still way below average!" This tongue-in-cheek one liner, or variants of it, have brought smiles for a long time. After all, if I impart all I know to someone else about a given subject and that person's level of understanding is still below par, is it the student or the teacher who is to blame? Lifting someone to my level may be a reality, but it just might not be a point of pride; it all depends on where I am on the scale! Today's message deals with someone lifting another person up and the amazing result.

We begin…  ( Click for more )

Glory is a legitimate English word, but when was the last time you heard it in day-to-day conversation? If you are a classic movie buff, you might recall Katharine Hepburn's role in a 1933 drama, Morning Glory. Or if you love flowers, especially those that thrive in poor soil and without special care, the Morning Glory might be one with which you are familiar. Besides these usages though, the word glory has little use in our common speech. Perhaps that's the reason for today's message; there is an aspect of Jesus that we miss if we do not understand the concepts inherent in the word…  ( Click for more )

February 23, 2021

Mere man cannot stand in the presence of Holy God. The contrast is so stark that it cannot be described nor fully understood by our finite minds. Moses was allowed to see a portion of God’s glory, but the effects of the event were such that the people who saw Moses later could not even look directly upon his face (see 2 Corinthians 3 for a fuller account). Both physically and spiritually there is such a gulf between God and man that a “bridge” is required to span this infinite gap. Jesus is that bridge even as today’s focus text assures us. You are invited…  ( Click for more )

Just to verify the facts, I looked at the web site of a brand name ice cream retailer. I was right! Ice cream comes in an infinite number of flavors and combinations. There is fat free, sugar free, dairy free, reduced fat, sorbet, light, yogurt, churned, ad infinitum (but not ad nauseam!). Words are like ice cream, they also come in all flavors and combinations. In fact, almost every great thought that has ever been communicated to another person has been conveyed with words. But on the other hand, so has almost every not-so-great thought. Today's devotional will take a look at a…  ( Click for more )

“Try it; you'll like it!” I don't know who first said these words. I do know that a well known antacid product used this catchphrase in some old TV commercials. I also know that a number of people know the success of such advertising. That is why it is commonplace to see samples of food being given away in grocery stores and mall food court areas. Their hope is simple: Take a bite and you will want more. “Try it; you'll like it!

Consider the following text and the “Try it; you'll like it” approach: “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit,…  ( Click for more )

Classroom note taking was not something I learned before graduating from high school. That is not to say it wasn't taught or that I shouldn't have learned to take notes, just that I didn't. I learned to write notes and pass notes to fellow students, but not how to take class notes. However, in work after high school, I learned the value of hearing and transcribing at least a part of what the instructor said. One point that became obvious was this: When an instructor repeats a statement, especially if it is repeated a number of times, it is important and will be on the test!

It…  ( Click for more )

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