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Today's Little Lift

    by Jim Bullington

Every verse of the Bible is true, but only if taken with every other verse of the Bible. Today's text will be used to illustrate this point. More definitively, when one reads the Bible he/she can be assured that the truth is before him/her, but it can only be grasped if the passages being read are taken in their larger biblical context. Consider this fact as you read the balance of this devotional.

Jesus said, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks…  ( Click for more )

Motives, expectations, and attitude are usually tied together. In fact, they frequently are inextricably linked. To put it another way, we usually find what we are looking for. It is frequently the case that two people see the same things, but their opinions vary widely and even contradict on another. For instance, I have heard someone comment about a particular church and how extraordinarily friendly they are; on the other hand, I have heard others say the exact opposite about the same congregation. Our view of things is easily influenced by our expectations and attitudes. For example,…  ( Click for more )

An old adage: “Don’t complain about the food with your mouth full!” A small sign in the kitchen reads, “Complaints to the cook can be hazardous to your health.” These are what we might call “Common Sense” proverbs; they are so obvious that no one should have to teach us that they are to be observed.

Yet, this common sense lesson (along with scores of others) was totally missed by the Israelites both before and after their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. Take the following passage for example: “Now the mixed multitude [Egyptians…  ( Click for more )

September 30, 2020

How do you perceive God’s personality? Is He an old man who sits grumpily in the skies just waiting for someone to foul up so He can bring down His wrath upon the wretched being? Is He ever pleased with anything or anyone? Is He a perfectionist who demands that all things be done just the way He would do them or else they are unacceptable? Just who is God?

Consider the following passage: “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found, because God had taken him’; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased…  ( Click for more )

According to Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, Dead Men Tell No Tales. However, according to the scriptures, dead men do speak, and in so doing tell their stories long after their demise. Such was certainly the case with the long list of people mentioned by the Hebrews writer in the eleventh chapter of his book. One person who spoke long after his death was Abel. Our devotional today will take a look at this ancient character and what the implications are regarding his continued speaking, though dead!

We now quote an inspired text: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,…  ( Click for more )

Progress can be defined as “to develop in a positive way,” or “to move forward toward a common goal.” The problem with each of these definitions is they leave it up to the speaker/writer to determine what is positive and whether or not the attainment of the goal is really progress. For instance, a gang of bank robbers might move forward with their plans to rob a bank, but is that really progress. Or, a new subdivision might be planned which destroys hundreds or thousands of years of natural phenomena.” Is that really progress? Not to argue the case one…  ( Click for more )

“In the LORD I put my trust; How can you say to my soul, 'Flee as a bird to your mountain'? For look! The wicked bend their bow, They make ready their arrow on the string, That they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart. If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do? The LORD is in His holy temple, The LORD’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The LORD tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain coals; Fire and brimstone and a burning wind Shall be…  ( Click for more )

Religious debates are, for all practical purposes, a thing of the past in our culture. This is not to say that they were good or bad, but to recall a point that I saw made in a debate in the early 1970’s. The debate was between two men, both of whom claimed to be Christians and believers in the Bible. One of the men was Trinitarian (subscribed to the belief that the Godhead consists of three persons) and the other was Unitarian (subscribed to the belief that God exists as only one person). As the debate was winding down, Mr. Patterson, the Unitarian introduced his son who was…  ( Click for more )

As a young man I remember hearing a brash, up-and-coming boxer recite a poem which contained the line, “I am the greatest.” This same fighter had several nicknames, one of them being The Louisville Lip. There is no doubt that he was a great fighter even as his record and championship belts bear witness. Was he the greatest? That’s an argument that may never be settled.

The word greatest is a word which involves comparing one thing with others things. The word greater involves comparing one thing with one other thing. Like similar words in the English language…  ( Click for more )

Quoting Jesus: “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” (John 10.28-30).

The dispute was over whether or not Jesus, the Man who stood robed in flesh before them, was more than a mere man. There was no argument that He…  ( Click for more )

September 23, 2020

The word if isn’t always conditional; sometimes it affirms a rule. For instance, I might say, if we heat the water to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, it will start boiling. In this sentence and in the past tense, it has the same meaning as the word since. Since we heated the water to 212Fahrenheit, it started boiling. There is no maybe about it; the rule is preceded by the word if and it forms a positive affirmation of fact.

Paul was beyond the questioning stage when he wrote these lines: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He…  ( Click for more )

Many years ago I used to hear my father talk about memory gems. Being only four or five years of age and being named Jim did not help me to comprehend what he was saying. To me gem sounded an awful lot like Jim! Since that time, however, I have learned a bit about memory gems. Today’s message involves a classic memory gem from the Bible.

“O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.” (Jeremiah 10.23). I ask you to pay special attention to the phrase, “It is not in man…” These words were…  ( Click for more )

"Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash…  ( Click for more )

September 20, 2020

I remember a sermon or an article by Franklin Camp that was entitled Sorrow That Could Have Been Avoided. That message was based on today’s focus text. There is sorrow in every person’s life at one time or another, however sometimes the sorrow which we experience is “self-inflicted” sorrow. Such was the case in the account which you are about to read. However, in this case the sorrow that could have been avoided was brought on by the lack of only one thing. Sometimes one thing stands between us and happiness or success. Consider this reality in today’s…  ( Click for more )

The Bible is often called The Word of God. This designation sets it apart from all other books and writings. It is not generally called A Word of God, again setting it apart as unique and unlike all human productions. If this book consisting of 66 books and 1189 chapters merits this descriptor, i.e. The Word Of God, there must have been some very special processes involved in its production and its preservation. Today's message will deal with one of the important processes that make the Bible totally unique.

Speaking specifically to the twelve apostles as they were being sent…  ( Click for more )

September 18, 2020

Ten plagues were needed in order for God to force Pharaoh's hand into releasing the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. Today's message will focus on a statement made about the 8th of these plagues. It is a remarkable statement and one which must have come for one of two sources. It either came from an all-powerful God or someone who should be given no credibility whatsoever. You can be the judge.

“Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land--all that the…  ( Click for more )

September 17, 2020

“‘I [Jesus] am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.’ Therefore…  ( Click for more )

Clean? “Who says so?” Consider the following paragraph:

“The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, ‘Rise, Peter; kill…  ( Click for more )

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Ephesians 3.14).

The point of this devotional message is not to look at the things for which Paul prayed on this occasion. Rather, it is to look at the phrase “I bow my knees…” and some of the implications of this phrase. The point of the phrase is not to depict a sanctified position of prayer, but rather to indicate the sanctified attitude of prayer displayed by Paul. This does not deny that Paul literally bowed his knees in prayer, for that seems to be the case –…  ( Click for more )

It is safe to say that almost everyone trusts in someone or something. A skeptic might say that he trusts in no one, but chances are good that his mistrust is not as universal as he would have us believe. He may not believe in [trust in] doctors, politicians, lawyers, preachers, and a thousand other entities that he names, but chances are far better than even that he really does trust in someone. God spoke to His people through Hosea and observed the following: “You have plowed wickedness; You have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of lies, Because you trusted in your…  ( Click for more )

“And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10.11-14).

The book of Hebrews contrasts two great systems, both of them authored and authorized by Almighty God. One of them, the first covenant, was inferior to the other in as much as it was designed…  ( Click for more )

Two haunting questions had arrested the mind of Habakkuk. They were: 1) How long do I have to wait before You [God] will heed my call for help and avenge my cause? (see Habakkuk 1.2) And 2) Will You [God] use a more wicked person to discipline a righteous person? So distraught was he for an answer that he dared to confront God and stand on a watchtower awaiting a response from the Lord (see Habakkuk 2.1). The answer came and it is the pivotal point of Habakkuk's 3 chapter book. We will examine that answer and its implications.

In effect, Habakkuk had asked, “God are you…  ( Click for more )

Job probably lived during the patriarchal period of biblical history, yet some of his insight far exceeds the “ordinary” knowledge of the time. Today’s message treats one passage where he spoke things that were impossible to know except by Divine revelation. Consider the following text: “Your hands have made me and fashioned me, An intricate unity.” (Job 10.8a; NKJV).

Some translations almost totally miss an important part of this verse. They truncate the wording to read things like, “Your hands shaped me and made me” (NIV) or, “Your…  ( Click for more )

Life is truly full of surprises. One of the things that we see frequently is the “weird bounces” that life takes. Another way of saying this is expressed in the saying, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” This was much of Solomon's opine in the book of Ecclesiastes. Things that he wanted to be, planned for, and worked to achieve just didn't work out. This, according the The Preacher was vanity. In his most troublesome moments, he would say, “All is vanity!” One such expression of surprise from his pen reads, “I have seen servants…  ( Click for more )

September 9, 2020

“There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, ‘Cornelius!’ And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, ‘What is it, lord?’ So he said to him, ‘Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon…  ( Click for more )

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