Archives for : November2009


No, not Enid, Kenya, or Enid, India.  Enid, Oklahoma.  The story slipped by me, as I was recuperating from the return trip from Cambodia.  On November 4, a Wednesday night, Bill and Deena Carpenter were returning to their home from church services.  Driving down the highway in their SUV, Bill at only the last second saw the 4,500 pound animal standing in the middle of the road.  He attempted to evade the pachyderm, but the eight foot Asian elephant was too big to miss.  The good news is that neither the humans nor the elephant were seriously injured.  The massive mammal had escaped earlier that day from a circus set up at a nearby fairgrounds.  It seems to me that there are a few important reminders to consider from this bizarre incident.

IT IS A REMINDER THAT SOME THINGS ARE OUT OF PLACE.  Enid  is an unusual place to (literally) run into an elephant.  Elephants just do not roam our countryside in America.  Some things are incongruous and not just elephants running free in Oklahoma.  Worldly Christians, aimless shepherds, inactive deacons, scriptureless preachers, warring brethren, and the like are more out of place than an elephant on the lam in Enid!

IT IS A REMINDER THAT SOME THINGS ARE TOTALLY UNEXPECTED.  When is the last time your friend or loved one warned you to be on the lookout for elephants on the loose as you drove home?  You just do not anticipate the need for such a warning.  Some things cannot be foreseen, can they?  How many of our trials and difficulties came with clear, sufficient warning?  Certainly some do, but many more do not!  Furthermore, what a reminder that the second coming of Christ will not come with signs or prescient warnings (1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10; Matt. 24:35). The problems and adversities of this life often cannot be prepared for, but that coming, great, and unexpected day can and must be anticipated.

IT IS A REMINDER THAT EVEN THE BIGGEST ISSUES CAN BE MANAGEABLE.  No doubt, Bill’s life flashed before his eyes.  As he yelled “elephant” at the last second, he might have had time to think that this would be his last word.  Mercifully, all parties escaped serious problems. What at first appeared catastrophic now makes for the story to end all dinner-party stories!  How often do our looming problems seem overwhelming and utterly devastating only to pass like a storm with dark clouds and thunder but no damaging winds, rains, or hail?  Too many times, we are so paralyzed by fear and worry over our personal challenges that we miss opportunities for spiritual growth and development (cf. 1 Pet. 5:7; 1 Cor. 10:13).  We do not face a difficulty too hard for the Lord to handle.

No, you almost certainly will never hit an elephant driving down the highway this side of an African safari.  Yet, you will be called to be salt and light in this world, a challenge that may make you awkwardly stand out at times.  You will face the unexpected, both now and ultimately.  You will also face supersized but surmountable issues in life.  Do what you can to prepare, then leave the rest of it in the omnipotent hands of God!

Neal Pollard

An overview of repentance

An overview of repentance  


 a)      In Mt. 3:2 John the Baptizer told people to “repent.”

b)      Jesus (Mt. 4:17) preached this same message:  repent

c)      In Lk. 24:46-47 Jesus said the prophets had predicted “repentance.”

d)     In Lk. 13:3 Jesus said “repent or perish.”

e)      The apostles, in places such as Acts 3:19, said “repent.”

f)       Later in the New Testament (2 Pet. 3:9) Peter said God wants all people to “repent.”

2)      Repent is a key word in the scriptures.

3)      What does this key word mean?

a)      Some would say repentance means “sorrow for sin.”

b)      Others say it is “regret” (remorse).

4)      Repentance goes deeper.

5)      This fact might cause some to think that repentance must be confession.

6)      As important as confession is, it is still not quite repentance.

7)      If all the preceding things do not adequately describe repentance, what about cessation from sin?

8)      Maybe repentance means a person is doing something bad and they quit that activity.

9)      Repentance does involve the cessation of sin.

a)      Repentance is a recognition of sin, a turning from sin, and embracing what is right.

10)  The jailer in Acts 16 typifies repentance.

11)  People at Ephesus had some books that were not consistent with the gospel (Acts 19:19).

12)  Think of the wayward son in Lk. 15 – he had sorrow; he was ready to apologize.

13)  The people of Ninevah “repented” (they turned from sin and turned to God).

a)      Repentance applies to the non-Christian; it is a step in becoming a Christian.

b)      When a Christian becomes involved with sin, he or she also “repents.”

14)  There are some motivations to encourage repentance.

a)      God’s love motivates us to repent as do God’s blessings.

b)      Concern about punishment will also cause people to repent.

15)  Repentance is really a process that involves all people (Acts 17:30).

a)      2 Cor. 7:9-10 as “godly sorrow.”

b)      With the human race there is “wordly sorrow” and there is “Godly sorrow.”

16)  Ps. 51:4.

17)  Rom. 1:16 says the gospel is God’s “power” to salvation.

18)  Eph. 6:17 refers to the Bible as the “sword of the Spirit.”

19)  Heb. 4:12 says the word of God is “living, active and sharper than any two edged sword.”

20)  God’s word “works” in people’s lives (1 Thess. 2:13) and the scriptures urge people to repent.

 21)  When we repent, the result is forgiveness.

a)      Lk. 15:10.

22)  Jesus once told a story about a man who had two sons (Mt. 21:28-32).

23)  Jesus also said this son later “repented” (he changed his mind for the better).

24)  Repentance is one of the least understood and applied commands in the Bible.

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Thanksgiving 2009!

This Thursday we enter what is traditionally called the “holiday season.”  Likely our busy schedules will become even more busy, and our hurry up pace will likely become a dead run for the duration of the year.  But still, all in all, this is a most pleasant season of enjoyment.  The reunion with loved ones, the abundance of food and the expression of thanksgiving during the holiday season bring joy and happiness to the truly appreciative. How grateful we should be for the blessings God has given us.

May I suggest two things for your consideration this holiday season?  (1) Consider what you have, not what you lack.  Most of us enjoy material possessions far and above that of the average world. Be grateful for God’s provisions, and even more thankful for those little “extras” that make life enjoyable.  (2) Spend some time this week to meditate upon God’s goodness to you. Get off by yourself and say a little prayer to Him from Whom all blessings flow, and that in rich abundance. (3) Finally, realize that with increased blessings come increased responsibility.  Read Luke 16:19-27, Matthew 25 and Luke 12:45-48.  Then ask yourself if you are properly sharing what you have with those who have not.

 I’ll close with this thought provoking analysis of how blessed many of us truly are:

 If you own just one Bible, you are abundantly blessed. 1/3 of the world does not have access to even one.

 If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive the week.

 If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people around the world.

 If you attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest or torture of death, you are more blessed that almost three billion people in the world.

 If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.

 If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the worlds wealthy.

 If your parents are still married and alive, you are very rare, even in the United States.

 If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

 If you can hold someone’s hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder, you are blessed because you can offer God’s healing touch.

 If you prayed yesterday and today, you are in the minority because you believe in God’s willingness to hear and answer prayer.

 If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read anything at all.

 Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

–by Tom Wacaster


The Letter "V" for "victory"

The Letter “V”

A student of Amherst College, soon after entering, put over the door of his dormitory room the letter “V.” Because of this he endured all sorts of ridicule and withstood frequent questioning. But he paid no attention to either, nor would he disclose the secret of the letter.

When he completed four years of education and graduation day came, the student was appointed to deliver the valedictory. Then the mystery of that letter V was revealed: it stood for valedictorian. That letter on the door held before him during his four years the ideal that he had set for himself.

Not every one of us places an actual letter over the door of our college room or over the door of our house. But nevertheless, somewhere, if only in our minds, there is a “letter” that we hold before us as an ideal.

Some put up the letter “M” that stands for MONEY.
Others put up “F” for FAME.
Others put up “S” which simply stands for SELF. *

The letter that we NEED to place before us is the letter “C” which stands for CHRIST.  Why is He so important?

Christ addresses our greatest need: salvation from sin.  Sin condemns, but Christ saves (Romans 6:23)!  He died on the cross so that we might have the forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:7).  We receive His forgiveness when we submit our lives to Him in faith (Acts 16:30-31), turning from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) in His name for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16).

Christ gives us our greatest purpose: to live for Him and urge others to do the same.  “He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:15).

Christ provides our greatest aspiration: eternal life with Him in heaven.  This is that for which the Apostle Paul looked forward: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Step outside the door of your heart and look at the letter you have placed there.  What letter is it? 

The right letter is “C” for Christ.  And, if we will place Him as the focus of our lives, then the letter “V” will also be OURS to own throughout eternity:
 “V” for VICTORY!

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Won’t YOU place the letter “C” above the door of your heart through your trusting obedience? 

David A. Sargent, Minister

Polly Want A Wake-Up Call?

Parrots can be a noisy nuisance sometimes, but there is at least one Muncie, Indiana family that may never complain about that noise again.

Shannon Conwell and his nine-year-old son awoke about 3 a.m. last Friday to find their home on fire after hearing their Amazon parrot, Peanut, imitating a fire alarm. The smoke alarm was functioning properly and had activated, but it was the bird’s matching call that awoke Conwell. Upon realizing the gravity of the situation, Conwell grabbed his son and the bird on his way out of the house.

Paul’s God-breathed words to the church in first century Corinth were as follows:
For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you then, be imitators of me.
1 Corinthians 4:15-16, ESV

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1, ESV

When you follow the example of a true-hearted Christian, you are following Paul. When you follow the Godly example of a Christian who is following the lead of Paul, you are following Christ. Your words stake claim to being in the light of Christ. When people imitate your faith and manner of life, are they (by connection) following Christ?

The Conwells of Muncie, Indiana learned how crucial an effective imitation can be. Men and women outside the body of Christ need an accurate imitation of Christ — sounding the warning cry, and leading others to safety.
When people imitate your faith and manner of life (and they will), will they be led toward or away from safety?

–Mike Benson


How to avoid sexual temptation

HERE ARE WAYS to avoid sexual temptations:
1.  DO keep visual reminders of your marriage contracts.  Always wear your wedding ring when in public.  Keep pictures of your spouse in your wallet, in your workspace, etc.  When you placed that ring on your mate’s finger, you promised your heart, affections, loyalty, and faithfulness until death.
2.  DON’T be overconfident.  Recognize your weak points (1 Cor. 10:12).  One is vulnerable after a major letdown or major success.  Those who are depressed or having marital problems can easily fall into illlicit relationships.
3.  DO avoid flirty people.  If a flirtatious woman or man is in the break room, go elsewhere.  A wise person avoids evil (Prov. 22:3).
4.  DON’T send mixed messages.  Avoid prolonged stares, lingering touches, or joking that may be construed as flirting.
5.  DO be on guard when out of your normal routine.  Business trips, vacations, new jobs, new memberships at gyms, sports teams, etc.  When away overnight, call home and talk to your spouse and children.  Block out the TV sex channels, or leave it off altogether.
6.  DON’T let friendships cross the line.  Never do anything when your mate is absent that you would not do in his/her presence.  If things are heading toward adultery, it is important to put emotional and physical distance between you and this person — right now.  Avoid them.
7.  DO be aware of the power that immodest dress has on you.  Don’t pick up the magazine; don’t click the web link; sit with your back toward indecently dressed women in a restaurant or office.  Don’t wear a garment that sends a message you don’t want received.
8.  DON’T let a person of the opposite sex confide in you about marriage problems.
9.  DO take drastic action if a line has been crossed.  Quit a hobby, change jobs, break a friendship, change congregations, move to a new city.  Completely avoid seeing this person.
10.  CELEBRATE your 25th and 50th anniversaries, you’ll be glad you kept your vows(Banner of Truth)
“Flee sexual immorality…” (1 Cor. 6:18).
–Mike Benson


[polldaddy poll=2292573]     A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband.

     Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen.

     “Careful,” he said, “CAREFUL!  Put in some more butter!  Oh no!  You’re
cooking too many at once.  TOO MANY!  Turn them!  TURN THEM NOW!  We need
more butter.  Oh no!  WHERE are we going to get MORE BUTTER?  They’re going
to STICK!  Careful.  CAREFUL!  I said be CAREFUL!  You NEVER listen to me
when you’re cooking!  Never!  Turn them!  Hurry up!  Are you CRAZY?  Have
you LOST your mind?  Don’t forget to salt them.  You know you always forget
to salt them.  Use the salt.  USE THE SALT!  THE SALT!”

     The wife stared at him. “What in the world is wrong with you?  You
think I don’t know how to fry a couple of eggs?”

     The husband calmly replied, “I just wanted to show you what it feels
like when I’m driving.”

     Criticism.  We’ve all experienced it.  Sometimes it is justified,
sometimes it is not.  But none of us like it.  No one enjoys being told they
are doing something wrong.

     Guy Woods has written, “Inasmuch as criticism is inevitable, we must,
in order to be happy, acquire an ability to rise above it.  He who is overly
sensitive to the opinions of others is at the mercy of every gossiper of his
acquaintance.  Some folks purr like a kitten when stroked by praise; but
when criticized, they become resentful, discouraged, and quit.  It is highly
essential that everyone discover a technique for dealing with the adverse
opinions of others, and use it regularly and effectively.”

     Let me offer several brief bits of advice when you are criticized:

(1)  Expect criticism.

     Realize that the more active you are, the more criticism you will
receive.  There’s an eminent British cabinet officer’s wife who is said to
have kept this embroidered motto on their living room wall:  “To escape
criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”  Who catches the criticism?
It’s the ones who are out there in the middle of things with their sleeves
rolled up.

(2)  Criticism can serve a useful purpose.  Learn from it.

     Recognize that some criticisms are certainly deserved.  Even when
critics are unkind and when they exaggerate our failures, there may still be
some truth in what they say.  So, when faced with criticism, we need to look
at the situation honestly and ask these questions:  Is it true?  If so, how
can I overcome the condition that caused it?  If not, is there something I
can do to eliminate future criticism of the same type?

     “The ear that hears the reproof of life will abide among the wise.  He
who disdains instructions despises his own soul, but he who heeds reproof
gets understanding.” (Proverbs 15:31-32)

(3)  Having gotten any benefit we can from criticism, we need to forget it.

     There are times when people will criticize you and the best thing you
can do is just to keep on serving God.  We’ve got to accept the fact there
is no way that unfair criticism can be dealt with.  In a lot of situations,
the more you may attempt to answer criticism, the worse the criticism

     Paul said, “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be
judged by you or by a human court.  In fact, I do not even judge myself.
For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but he
who judges me is the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)

     As we receive criticism in our lives, may God help us to be honest
enough and humble enough to look into our hearts and make changes that are
necessary, and gracious enough to ignore that criticism which is unfair.
–Alan Smith

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Too Many Engineers

One of the worst train disasters in history occurred in the El Toro Tunnel in Leon, Spain, on January 3, 1944. Over five hundred people died.

The train was a long passenger train with an engine on both ends. As the train entered the El Toro Tunnel, the engine on the front end stalled. When the front engine stopped, the engineer on the back engine started up his engine to back the train out of the tunnel. As he proceeded, however, the front engineer managed to get the front engine started again and attempted to continue the journey in the opposing direction. Neither engineer had any way of communicating with the other. Both engineers thought they simply needed more power. They continued to pull in opposite directions for several minutes. Hundreds of passengers on the train in the tunnel died of carbon monoxide poisoning because the train was stuck in the tunnel because it was being pulled in two different directions! *

This tragic incident illustrates what can happen in our lives when we are pulled in different directions, following the lead of different “engineers”…

Many of US struggle as to which way to go with our lives.  We often give in to different “engineers” like our friends, our society, our families, and our selves, even though they may be pulling in opposite directions!

Long ago, the inspired prophet Jeremiah said, “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).  In other words, we need direction – we need a wise engineer – to help direct our steps.

In short, we need Jesus to be our Savior AND our Lord (Master, Ruler, “Engineer”).  
In fact, Jesus cannot be our SAVIOR unless He is our LORD!

Hank Hanegraaff has written: “Christ died to be our Savior and lives to be our Lord.”

Christ died on the cross to pay the price for our sins (Ephesians 1:7).  We are saved from our past sins when we believe and trust Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16).  We continue to be cleansed from our sins as we continue to acknowledge Him as the Lord of our lives through our trusting obedience to His Word (1 John 1:7).  Jesus asked, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).

There are MANY engineers in the world that desire to control our lives, but there is only ONE Loving Lord.

Won’t YOU submit your life to Him so He can lead you to an eternal home?

David A. Sargent, Minister


Wii deal on black Friday

Have you found a “Black Friday deal” on a wii? Do you know of a wii combination deal that can shoppers some money? Post your wii black Friday deal here to help other shoppers this holiday season.

A Christian blog

Searching for good Christian blogs? I operate two Christian blogs–this one and a Christian blog on blogspot.  The blogspot blog offers site visitors an opportunity to participate in some “Christian surveys,” two of which are:  How often do you read the Bible? and How often do you attend worship?

Things that ruin a day

HOW OFTEN DO you let other people’s nonsense change your mood…?
Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day? The mark of a successful person is how quickly she can get back her focus on what’s important.
I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when, all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car’s back end by just inches! The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was friendly.

So, I said, “Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!”  And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, “The Law of the Garbage Truck.” Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you. When someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on.

I started thinking, how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me? And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people: at work, at home, on the streets? It was that day I said, “I’m not going to do it anymore.”

One of my favorite football players of all time, Walter Payton, did this every day on the football field. He would jump up as quickly as he hit the ground after being tackled. He never dwelled on a hit. Payton was ready to make the next play his best. Good leaders know they have to be ready for their next meeting. Good parents know that they have to welcome their children home from school with hugs and kisses. Leaders and parents know that they have to be fully present, and at their best for the people they care about.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take over their day.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?  Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:43-48).
–Mike Benson

Right Under Our Noses

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev used to tell of a time when there was a wave of petty theft in the Soviet Union . To curtail this problem, the authorities posted guards around the factories. At one timber works in Leningrad the guard knew the workers in the factory very well. The first evening, out came Pyotr Petrovich pushing a wheelbarrow and, on the wheelbarrow, a great bulky sack with a suspicious-looking object inside.

“All right, Petrovich,” said the guard, “what have you got there?” “Oh, just sawdust and shavings,” Petrovich replied.

“Come on,” the guard said, “I wasn’t born yesterday. Tip it out.” And out came nothing but sawdust and shavings. So he was allowed to put it all back again and go home. When the same thing happened every night of the week the guard became frustrated. Finally, his curiosity overcame his frustration.

“Petrovich,” he said, “I know you. Tell me what you’re smuggling out of here, and I’ll let you go.” “Wheelbarrows, my friend,” said Petrovich, “wheelbarrows.”

The wheelbarrow incident reminds us of how easily YOU and I can become easily distracted by things that are trivial and lose things of tremendous value. This is one of Satan’s greatest weapons against us. He tempts us to focus on those things that are temporary and sensual (the things of the world, 1 John 2:15-16), so that we will neglect the eternal and spiritual (the things of God, 1 John 2:17; 2 Corinthians 4:18).

While we are examining the worthless sack of wood chips and shavings, the devil is smuggling wheelbarrows!

What Satan seeks most to “rob” from us is a saving relationship with God. This relationship has been made possible through the Gift of God’s Son who died on the cross to save us from our sins (Ephesians 1:7). God has promised to redeem those who believe in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). And, those who continue to follow the Heavenly Father faithfully will be given an eternal home with Him in heaven (Revelation 2:10).

Don’t let Satan rob YOU of your opportunity of eternal salvation through Christ.

Don’t be distracted…. Give attention to those things that are eternal! Submit to the Savior today!

David A. Sargent, Minister

Get a FREE on-line Bible commentary on the book of Romans through today.  You may also get a FREE daily devotional by subscribing to my rss feed – – or follow me on twitter.  I also operate a Christian blog on blogspot.

Thanksgiving survey poll

What do you plan to eat this coming Thanksgiving?  Will you eat turkey, goose, duck, or some other meat?  What will you have for side dishes?  Will it be cranberry sauce, gravy and stuffing?  Will it be dressing?  Will it be  sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes?  What about rice or “corn on the cob?”  Maybe deviled eggs and green beans are your prefernece with pumpkin pie for dessert.

[polldaddy poll=2274280]

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The cheapest gas

Is it right to turn another’s misfortune into our gain?

The days of 38-cents-per-gallon gas are long gone.
Customers at a San Antonio convenience store found
Tuesday, however, that the good old days had returned.
It was too good to be true, and that may explain why no
one told store manager Jim Duke about the price on his
premium gasoline.

Duke became suspicious when he saw larger-than-usual
crowds at the premium pump. When he went out to
investigate, he realized an error had been committed.
The price should have read $3.89 per gallon. By the
time the pump was turned off, a substantial amount of
money had been lost to opportunistic customers.

On Monday of this week a motorcyclist suffered
misfortune when a bag he was carrying ripped. Money
began spilling out on Interstate 10 near Los Angeles.
In the midst of speeding traffic, many people stopped.
They didn’t stop to help the motorcyclist, though;
they were helping themselves to the cash. Most of them
sped off when the highway patrol arrived.

“Too bad,” many will say about such incidents. “They
should have been more careful with their property.”
But is that the response God wants His people to make?

Deuteronomy 22:1,2 addresses such a situation:

“You shall not see your brother’s
ox or his sheep going astray, and
hide yourself from them; you shall
certainly bring them back to your
brother. And if your brother is not
near you, or if you do not know him,
then you shall bring it to your own
house, and it shall remain with you
until your brother seeks it; then
you shall restore it to him” (NKJV).

We all suffer misfortunes and losses. Sometimes the loss
occurs because of our own negligence. Irresponsibility
doesn’t change God’s expectations, though. If we see that
another has suffered loss, we should not declare open
season on the misplaced loot.

The ultimate measure of our actions in any situation is
found in Luke 6:31: “And just as you want men to do to
you, you also do to them likewise.” Jesus’ Golden Rule
is an easy standard to apply. If we would not want others
to do something to us, then we should not do the same to

Instead of an opportunity to stuff our pockets, maybe this
is an opportunity to help a person recover or minimize
their loss. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do
good to all, especially to those who are of the household
of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

–Tim Hall

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Get a FREE on-line Bible commentary on the book of Romans through  You may also get a FREE daily devotional by subscribing to my rss feed – or follow me on twitter.  I also operate a Christian blog on blogspot.

Children's Greatest Fears

       Do you remember what your greatest fear was when you were a kid?  Maybe it still is your greatest fear today.  Thirty years ago, researchers at John Hopkins University reported that the five greatest fears of grade school children at that time were:
(1) Animals.
(2) Being in a dark room.
(3) High places.
(4) Strangers.
(5) Loud noises.

       As we all know, many aspects have changed over the past thirty years.  However, what children are afraid of today is very disturbing.  Compared to what kids were afraid of thirty years ago, today’s kids are afraid of the following:


(1) Divorce.
(2) Nuclear war.
(3) Cancer.
(4) Pollution.
(5) Being mugged.

       What a drastic change over this time period.  I was shocked that kids in grade school even knew what some of these are; much less know enough about them to be their greatest fears.  However, when we take a step back and take a look at our culture, what do we see?  We see the media hounding subjects like murder, war, cancer, pollution, crimes, politics, and other similar topics.  We see video games where the person playing the game has the freedom to run around streets and mug people, steal cars/possessions, kill police officers/other people, and other similar actions (Example – games like Grand Theft Auto).  We see movies, TV shows, and even some video games that are characterized by topics like divorce, cheating, war, cancer, and are exceedingly gory and violent.  We have also seen divorce happen so often that it has become ordinary.  It is no wonder our children are afraid of these types of situations.
       While it is not necessarily wrong for children to have some basic level of knowledge about these subjects, most of these should by no means be prevalent in their lives, especially during grade school.  This raises the question about what we are allowing to enter into our homes, our children, and ourselves.   Let’s re-familiarize ourselves with the following verses:


“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
– Proverbs 22:6

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”
– Deuteronomy 6:7

“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
– Joshua 24:15

       We simply cannot afford to let our households be filled with some of the sinful aspects of this world.  Let’s make sure we are controlling what our families and our children are experiencing from TV, video games, music, media, etc. as well as guard what they are filling their minds and hearts with.  Let’s bring more righteous and spiritual aspects into our lives and keep the sinful ones out (Romans 6:12-13).
Brett Petrillo 


Get a FREE on-line Bible commentary on the book of Romans through  You may also get a FREE daily devotional by subscribing to my rss feed – or follow me on twitter.  I also operate a Christian blog on blogspot.