Archives for : November2015

Tell us what the unstrung bow implies


       According to a Greek legend, in ancient Athens a man noticed the great storyteller, Aesop, playing childish games with some children.  The man laughed and jeered at Aesop, asking him why he wasted his time in such frivolous activity.  Aesop responded by picking up a bow, loosening its string, and placing it on the ground.  Then he said to the critical Athenian, “Now, answer the riddle, if you can.  Tell us what the unstrung bow implies.”  The man looked at it for several moments but had no idea what point Aesop was trying to make.  Aesop explained, “If you keep a bow always bent, it will break eventually; but if you let it go slack, it will be more fit for use when you want it.”

In many ways people are like a bow. We put a lot of strain and pressure on ourselves.  If we continue on for a long period of time with this type of stress, we too will break.
When we are tired, how much easier is it to snap at someone (usually a family member)?  Why do arguments and problems seem much more serious right before bed? When we are worn out, it is amazing how much worse things seem to be in contrast to how they really are. Sometimes we just need to take extra time to refresh our mind and body.

Here are a few listed benefits to a bit of R&R:

It reduces blood pressure.
It decreases muscle tension.
It reduces stress.
More energy.
Increased concentration.
Better problem-solving abilities.
Smoother emotions (Less anger, crying, anxiety, frustration, etc).

Several times throughout scriptures we find indications that we need to take time and rest.  In Exodus 20:8-11, God commanded for there to be a day of rest. Genesis 2:2 and Hebrews 4:4 indicate that even God rested from all the work He did after creating the universe. Also, in Mark 6:31, Jesus told His disciples, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.”

Obviously there is much to be gained by taking some time to rest and relax.  When we take time to rest we will have a better relationship with our family, friends, co-workers, and just about everyone else.  When we take time to rest we will be at our best physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  We will be at our best for the Lord, if we take time to “loosen the bow.” In this fast pace life and society in which we live, let’s remember that even the Bible tells us that sometimes we need a little R&R.

–Brett Petrillo


Always be thankful

“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have
learned in whatever state I am, to be content”
(Philippians 4:11 NKJV).

While traveling through a rural area I passed a field where cattle were grazing. One cow had her head through the fence eating the grass in the ditch beside the road. Another cow, only a few feet away, was outside the fence in the ditch. The second cow also had her head through the fence, eating the grass from the pasture.

That is the best illustration I have ever seen of the principle, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

No matter where we are, or what we have, we can usually find something that we do not have which we think would make us happier, if we could only attain it. It may be another job, a different spouse, or a move to a far country (see Luke 15:11-32).

The truth is that those things will not make us happier or more successful. The roots of happiness are within ourselves.

Paul expressed it perfectly through his own experience as well as through inspiration. He had learned to be content in any circumstance, because he had learned to trust Christ for everything (see verses 12-13).

An American pioneer traveled west to relocate his family. At a frontier outpost he asked a store owner about the country to which he was moving, and the people he would find there. The storekeeper asked him, “What kind of people were in your old country?” The traveler replied, “A poor sort, unfriendly and unhelpful.” The storekeeper responded, “That is about the same kind you will find where you are going.”

Soon another traveler came to ask him the same question. When the storekeeper asked him about the people he left behind he answered, “The best people in the world, helpful, generous, and kind.” The store owner then responded, “You will be glad to find in your new home people of that exact type.”

An observer had heard both conversations. When the second man left he asked, “Were those two men not going to the same place? How could you tell them there would be two opposite kinds of people there?” The storekeeper responded, “Each will find people who will respond to his own expectations and attitudes. They will determine how others will treat them.”

We carry the seeds of our own success wherever we go.
If we determine to find happiness and contentment, we almost certainly will. If we expect disappointment that is what we will have.

Whenever we insist on gazing longingly over the fence, seeing better things just beyond our reach, we have laid the foundation for misery. Let us learn to accept the reality of our circumstance, making the very best of those blessings God has given us. We will always find they are more than sufficient.

— by Michael E. Brooks

One of the richest mines ever found in Colorado

DURING THE GOLD rush days in Colorado, a man named R.U. Darby and his uncle went west in search of gold…

With only a pick and a shovel, they dug and dug until they finally struck the shiny gold ore. But they needed specialized machinery to bring the gold to the surface. They quietly buried their small mine and went back east to Williamsburg, Maryland and told a few relatives and neighbors of their find. They convinced them to invest and loan them the money they needed to buy the equipment and have it shipped to the mine.

They brought up the first car of ore and shipped it to the smelter. The results showed that they had one of the richest mines ever found in Colorado. A few more cars of this gold would pay their debts and then they could start reaping enormous profits. But then tragedy struck. The vein of gold disappeared. They searched and searched — desperate to pick up the vein of gold again. But no luck. They continued drilling in vain and after a few more weeks of frustration, they gave up. They sold the machinery to a junk man for a few hundred dollars and took the train back home.

In the meantime, the junk man called a mining engineer to look at the mine. The engineer took some calculations and concluded that the project had failed because the owners were not familiar with “fault lines.” The junk man took over drilling and found the vein of gold within three feet of where the Darbys had stopped drilling. The mine turned out to be one of the biggest gold mines ever discovered in Colorado.

Thomas Edison wrote, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” When you quit, you create a permanent solution to a temporary problem. When you quit, you guarantee the result you fear most — that you won’t succeed. The fact is, success makes all your suffering count for something. Turn your pain into a purpose. Daniel R. Castro, “Heroes Focus on the Purpose on the Other Side of Pain,” Critical Choices, 87-88

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9

Mike Benson

Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day

“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow…” Philippians 2:10

MOST WOMEN WHO have given birth know that the worst part of labor is what is referred to as “transition”…

This is the point in the delivery process where women feel the most excruciating pain they’ve ever experienced in their life. This is the point in the delivery process when most women scream out, demand drugs, yell at their husbands, and swear they can’t take it anymore. This is also the last critical stage before the baby is born. When the baby is born and laid gently in the mother’s arms, her tears of anguish turn into tears of joy.

Sometimes, the best and highest purpose of our life cannot be realized until we’ve gone through a very difficult time. But this is life’s way of molding us into what we need to be in order to go into the next phase of our life. We must be molded and shaped into what we are to become. If clay had feelings, how do you think it would feel while it was being slammed down on the table, beaten, pulled in all directions, spun round and round as it was being shaped into a pot, and put into the oven where it would harden? If the clay could speak, would it yell? Would it blame others? Would it try to throw itself off the table? How would you feel if you were the clay? Would you be angry at the potter? The transition process is often very painful, frustrating, and confusing. We yell. We blame others. We just want to quit. But there’s victory on the other side of every transition — if you choose to focus on it. Daniel R. Castro, “Heros Focus on the Purpose on the Other Side of Pain,” Critical Choices, 92-93

“Therefore we do no lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16; cf. Revelation 2:10

Mike Benson

One of Aesop’s fables tells of a competition between the rain, the wind and the sun

Gentle Persuasion

“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” ( Proverbs 16:32, ESV).

One of Aesop’s fables tells of a competition between the rain, the wind and the sun. All three were looking down at a man walking along the road on a cold day, his coat and collar pulled tightly around him.

“Let’s see who can take the man’s coat off,” they said. The rain began, pelting the man with a heavy downpour. But the man simply pulled his coat up higher in an effort to protect himself from the elements.

So the wind began to blow, gusts of wind tearing at the man’s clothes in an effort to blow the coat off. But the man simply pulled the coat around himself tighter.

Then the sun began to shine. The sky was blue, the warmth began to seep into the miserable man’s body, and it comforted him. It took a little time, but inevitably it happened. It was so warm and pleasant that the man took off the coat himself.

Many times we try to dominate others, to demand that they do things our way. Not surprisingly, our kids, our spouses and our churches simply pull their coats tighter, in a defensive posture. There is a saying that honey accomplishes more than vinegar. Sometimes where force fails, patience produces.

When manipulation doesn’t work, warm them with the sunshine of your love.

by Stan Mitchell

If you’ll just open your little brain and listen to me, you’ll see what an incredible blunder you have made and then repent

Some of my preaching brethren seem, dare I say it, “eager” to pick a fight. Virtually every sermon that emanates from their pulpit is an attempt to expose falsehood, refute error, or uncover a deceptive wolf among the sheep.

Folks in the assembly are taught implicitly, “If you’ll just open your little brain and listen to me, you’ll see what an incredible blunder you have made and then repent.” The preachers may not intend to sound harsh and intellectually superior, but they do. It’s as if they’re saying, “I’m right, your wrong, and I’m tickled.”

It has always been confusing to me how teaching false doctrine is wrong, and it is ( Matthew 7:15; 2 Peter 2:2), but practicing false doctrine is not only permitted, but endorsed!

Brethren, we can’t tell saints in the pew that we ought to be loving and kind ( Ephesians 4:31), but then sound anything but loving and kind in our delivery.

Paul said, “But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ” ( Ephesians 4:15). The phrase, “in love,” addresses how preachers are to communicate; it has to do with the manner in which they attitudinally deliver the Word. They can’t argue, force, coerce, or browbeat people to cherish, love and obey the Lord.

On another occasion Paul wrote:

“And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil…” (2 Timothy 2:24-26a).

Watch it–“must not quarrel…” The Greek word here means to fight. It was used of armed combatants, or those who engaged in hand-to-hand struggle. Gospel preachers aren’t to be argumentative and hostile, but gentle, patient, and humble because they deeply love people and their souls.

Sometimes preachers will say, “We’re going to tell you this because we love you, even though it will hurt.” It is true that truth sometimes hurts.

When a Christian is told that he is endorsing fallacious views, it hurts him. When he is told that he is living in a sinful relationship, that hurts him. When he is told that his life is not in harmony with the revealed will of God because he is not serving and using his God-given talents, it hurts him.

But what is said from the pulpit ought to prick his conscience because of the content of the message and not because of the contentious, cantankerous spirit of the messenger.

Are preachers to be bold?Yes (2 Corinthians 3:12; 10:1). Are preachers to compromise the truth in order to placate certain hearers? Absolutely not (Galatians 4:16).

Are preachers to preach doctrine? A thousand times, yes (Romans 16:17; 1 Timothy 1:3)! Are preachers to defend the gospel? They better (Romans 1:16). Should preachers ever expose false doctrine and warn fellow saints about smooth-talking, articulate false prophets in and out of the church who draw souls into perdition? Yes!

In fact, they have an obligation to inform and warn (Ezekiel 33:1-7; 1 Timothy 1:20; 2 Timothy 2:17). But when people come to the assembly and constantly feel as though they have been emotionally skinned-alive, horse- whipped, or “knocked to the mat,” it probably says more about the how of the messenger than the what of the message.

–by Mike Benson

Each ant would bring a grain of sand

For a week or so a florist had been bothered by ants that got into a box of seeds on a shelf. To get rid of the ants here is what he did: He put a very meaty bone close by, which the ants soon discovered; every one deserting the boxes of seeds. As soon as the bone became thickly inhabited by the little creepers, the florist tossed it into a tub of water. After washing off the ants, the bone was again used as a trap. Then the florist thought that he would save trouble by placing the bone in the center of a sheet of fly-paper, thinking the ants would get caught on the sticky fly-paper while trying to reach the food. The florist was surprised to find that the ants, upon discovering the nature of the paper trap, formed a working force and built a path on the paper clear to the bone. Each ant would bring a grain of sand, place it on the fly-paper and let the next ant do the same. For hours the ants worked, and when the path was completed they made their way over its dry surface in couples, as in a march, to the bone.

As we think about this illustration about these incredible ants, some spiritual applications may come to mind. In this world, we are the ants, and the bone is heaven. The devil will throw all sorts of obstacles in our way to keep us from reaching our goal. Thankfully, God has already laid the path that we need to take in order to reach this goal, all we have to do is follow it. However, when we step off of the trail, we take a serious risk of getting caught in the sticky traps this world has to offer.

It can be so easy to step off of the path. There are many things that pull our attention away and attract us off of the path. As we know, there is terrible danger in doing this. Let’s remember this illustration about the ants and keep in mind the sticky traps this world has for those who stray off of the path of righteousness. Let’s keep pressing towards the goal and keep on the path that leads to heaven.

–Brett Petrillo

Someone else’s happiness was more important than her temporary pain

ON THANKSGIVING, ELEANOR Roosevelt was serving food at a local soup kitchen…

More street people showed up than anticipated. They were running out of food and worried that not everyone would get to eat. As Eleanor was delivering two plates of food, her thumbs slipped in the gravy on the plates. The gravy was extremely hot. Her natural reaction was to drop the plates instantly, but she knew that if she did so, two people would go without their Thanksgiving dinner. So she held on. She made a decision that someone else’s Thanksgiving was more important than her desire to avoid the pain. She found meaning in her temporary suffering and decided to keep going. In that split second, she chose where to put her focus. Someone else’s happiness was more important than her temporary pain.

Heros choose to focus on the purpose on the other side of pain. Daniel R. Castro, “Heros Focus on the Other Side of Pain,” Critical Choices, 75

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Mike Benson

It seem like marriages lasted longer in those days?

My grandmother liked to tell the story of her wedding day. The preacher conducted the ceremony without incident, then while the wedding party milled around, he told the newly weds an interesting story that had happened to him recently. He had married a couple in one county, but their certificate had been procured in another. They had to drive to the right county and undergo the ceremony all over again.

Because she always possessed a sunny disposition, my grandmother saw the humor in the situation, and laughed at the thought of the couple having to get married twice. Did they pay the preacher twice? Is the knot a little tighter when double tied? Did they get two gifts at their anniversary from then on?

Then she noticed something: My grandfather wasn’t laughing!

You guessed it; they tied the knot twice that day!

Those finicky magistrates! All it would take is for one thing to be wrong – just one – and the marriage would not be official. If the groom’s name was “Ross” and the certificate said “Horace,” the document would be blanked! If the certificate said “Washington County” and the ceremony was held in Osage, then according to the bureaucrats the wedding didn’t happen!

Is it my imagination, or does it seem like marriages lasted longer in those days? In our day we seem more concerned about the wedding than the marriage. Our weddings cost twice as much, but our commitment to each other is only half as strong. Do you suppose my grandparents remained married for life because both were perfect? Or because both understood what it meant to be faithful?

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12, ESV).

It’s not just about tying the knot, or even tying it twice. It was about tying the knot tight. Perhaps it was that (and her sense of humor) that kept that knot tied, happily, for over sixty years!

by Stan Mitchell @

A lesson from prostitutes (and Paul)

It was a coastal city with more than one half a million people living in it. History says that sailors would frequent the city hawking their goods searching for fame and fortune.

When visiting the city they would find prostitutes on the street who would come down from the acroCorinth seeking “customers.”

While touring the ancient ruins several years ago our guide said that these “temple prostitutes” would write on their dusty sandals the words, “follow me.” Those two words would then be “inscribed” on the streets to lead the men up to the mountain.

The Apostle Paul came to Corinth with an altogether different message. His message was focused. It was singular. During his eighteen to twenty month stay he proclaimed the message of salvation.

The heart of his message is written in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2: “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom…For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”

Nothing but the Cross. That was the heart of everything Paul taught. The centrality of the Cross needs to become a reality in the life of every Christian. We should sing more about the Cross, we should teach more about the Cross, we should think more about the Cross.

When we meet together around the Table as God’s gathered people, the Cross becomes central to our worship. Paul reminded the Corinthians and all of us that when we partake of the Lord’s Supper we are to proclaiming the message of the Cross until Jesus comes (1 Corinthians 11:26).

For a short time in our busy lives we need to block out everything in the world around us that would distract us and focus completely on the Cross. Thinking about the Cross will instill within us a desire to live better lives every day.

Dear Father, help us to focus more on the Cross of our Savior. Help us to know only, “Jesus Christ and him crucified.” Help us dear God, to carry the message of salvation with us always. Help us to center all of our life around Jesus and the Cross.

by Jeff A. Jenkins

It stabs the back, oh who can stand

Neal Pollard

What’s small and blunt and often overran?
The sharpest weapon known to man.
It cuts so sharp, like nothing else can
The sharpest weapon known to man.
It stabs the back, oh who can stand
The sharpest weapon known to man?
It wounds its victims through a devilish plan,
The sharpest weapon known to man.
So hard to control and it can’t be outran,
The sharpest weapon known to man!
It’s widely used on “friends” and on clan,
The sharpest weapon known to man.
So many misuses yet impossible to ban,
The sharpest weapon known to man.
It will cost so many a home in that heavenly land,
The sharpest weapon known to man.
More damage has been done by it through history’s span,
The sharpest weapon known to man.
Please handle with care, for naught’s deadlier than
The sharpest weapon known to man.
The tongue, the tongue, when not firmly in hand
Is the sharpest, deadliest weapon known to man.

What’s small and blunt and often overran?
The sharpest weapon known to man.
It cuts so sharp, like nothing else can
The sharpest weapon known to man.
It stabs the back, oh who can stand
The sharpest weapon known to man?
It wounds its victims through a devilish plan,
The sharpest weapon known to man.
So hard to control and it can’t be outran,
The sharpest weapon known to man!
It’s widely used on “friends” and on clan,
The sharpest weapon known to man.
So many misuses yet impossible to ban,
The sharpest weapon known to man.
It will cost so many a home in that heavenly land,
The sharpest weapon known to man.
More damage has been done by it through history’s span,
The sharpest weapon known to man.
Please handle with care, for naught’s deadlier than
The sharpest weapon known to man.
The tongue, the tongue, when not firmly in hand
Is the sharpest, deadliest weapon known to man.

There were no beds, table nor chairs in the house.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21, NKJV).

When we parked our van and got out to visit the congregation in the hill tracts of Bangladesh, I noted that they were assembled in a shiny, new looking, tin sided building. A smaller building with tin roof and bamboo mat walls, also looking new, was nearby.

It was only when we saw the burned timbers and crushed tin of previous buildings, and spoke with the members, that we realized the story. Twice over the past several months the church building and preacher’s home have been burned by opponents of Christianity.

Each time the preacher has quietly rebuilt, and begun anew. Each time the members persistently rejoined him, and continued worshiping God as he has instructed them to do.

We noted during our visit the absence of material goods. There were no beds, table nor chairs in the house. Very few clothes hung from the nails in the wood framing. We saw no linens, and few dishes or cooking utensils — few possessions of any kind.

The church building had a newly packed dirt floor, still soft, with a couple of bamboo mats to protect clothing from stain as the congregation sat on the ground to worship.

Yet while we were there we heard remarkably few complaints or requests. I asked the preacher, “Are you afraid that if you replace your furniture they will come and burn you out again?” His answer was simply, “No, I just have no money.”

I did not get the impression that this situation was greeted with resignation or despair. Rather it was an acceptance based on trust, and the conviction that these physical hardships were not of great importance.

The preacher and his church are convinced that God is in charge and that he will care for them. Their treasures are stored in the right place.

Sunday school classes often read and teach Jesus’ instructions to “lay up our treasures in heaven.” Preachers often elaborate upon the meaning of this phrase, and attempt to make relevant application to the situation of their audience.

Rarely, if ever, have I better understood its importance and its true meaning, than in that brief visit.

This small group of Christians could have vented anger and frustration at their persecutors. They could have complained that God had not properly protected them, or rewarded their faithfulness.

They could have presented their guests with a long list of material needs. But they did none of these things. They simply welcomed us, and worshiped God.

There is no doubt as to where that group’s goals and desires lie. They are not impervious to physical need, or desire. But they know what is most important. And they know the one who has promised to provide for their eternal prosperity. They have treasure that cannot be burned or stolen. It is safely awaiting their arrival, even as it continues to provide for their temporal reward.

–by Michael E. Brooks

How Do We Use the Lord’s Name?

In this day of email, text messaging, and Twitter, nearly everything goes by an acronym. Acronyms are abbreviations where each letter stands for a word, such as FBI, the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Using acronyms saves time and space, making our electronic communications more efficient. However, latecomers to cyberspace and wireless may become frustrated when they have no clue what LOL means (laughing out loud).

They may have a low opinion of acronyms as they wonder what IMO (in my opinion) and IOW (in other words) stand for. Acronyms can be annoying!

The aggravation of most acronyms vanishes once we understand their meanings. However, one common acronym is irritating when you do know its meaning and that is OMG! (Oh my God!)

Reverent men such as David, who were actually crying out to God, use the expression, “O my God” repeatedly in the Old Testament. “Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God” (Psalm 3:7). Even Jesus cried out to the Father from the cross: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46, quoting Psalm 22:1).

However, are those who use OMG!, whether in an acronym, or spelled out, or verbally, actually intending to call upon God in a respectful way? No, they are abusing God’s name as an expression of shock or surprise. If something wonderful has happened, “OMG! That’s great!” If a disaster occurs, “OMG! That’s awful!”

Jesus taught us to revere God’s name. “Hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9). Hallowed is the same word as sanctified or holy. God’s name is special, and must not be used lightly or carelessly.

Exclaiming “Oh my God!” when we are not calling upon him, but merely expressing our shock, anger, or amazement, is disrespectful and borders on blasphemy. We can do better, and our God deserves better.

Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me bless His holy name! (Psalm 103:1)

by Joe Slater @

We all joke about getting gray hair from hard times.

Letting It Go Gray

“Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life” (Proverbs 16:31, ESV).

Jeff buried his head in his hands. What a day! His teenager had been sullen and uncommunicative at breakfast, answering inquiries with grunts and monosyllables.

His boss met him first thing in the office and berated him for forgetting a tiny, insignificant detail. Then his wife phoned him and whined about his lack of generosity.

“These people,” Jeff thought, “are going to give me gray hair!”

We all joke about getting gray hair from hard times. Or for men, there is the fear that frustrations will make us lose hair.

“I don’t mind letting my hair go gray,” we say, “I just don’t want to let my hair go!”

In reality, of course, we would as soon neither took place. However, the Bible suggests that gray hair is a sign of something rich and wonderful, wisdom. Perhaps those hard times teach us something, give us depth and character, humility and insight.

Of course, gray hair may simply stand for age, not wisdom. The critical question is not will you have tough times (this is a guarantee for all those with a pulse), but will you learn from those difficulties?

If so, wear that gray hair like a crown!

by Stan Mitchell

We must be people who love one another patiently, kindly, and without jealousy.

I HAVE BEEN to youth rallies, gospel meetings, seminars, lectureships, and so many other church venues, when the topic of evangelism has been discussed…

I have spent hours listening and reading articles from gospel preachers about how we can get people to the building. However, the answer is so simple — by love. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). If we want people to know that we are Christ’s disciples, then we must have love for one another, and not just any love. We must have the kind of love that edifies; a kind of love described by the inspired Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4-6. We must be people who love one another patiently, kindly, and without jealousy. We cannot brag or act arrogantly toward our brothers and sisters. We must always act righteously and not seek our own. We must never provoke and never take into account wrong doing. We must only rejoice with our brothers in the truth and never in unrighteousness. Living love-filled lives that edify others will not only change the church, but it will change the world! Garrett Best, “Love Is Edifying,” Freed-Hardeman University 2010 Lectures, 39

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7

Mike Benson


As Christians, the one thing we all look forward to is heaven. It is always interesting to read others’ thoughts and feelings about what they think it may be like. Despite all of the pleasant thoughts and speculation, not a whole lot is known about this wonderful place. However, it is always very encouraging to reflect on what we do know. 1 Peter 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” It is from this passage that we can see 4 points about heaven.

(1) It is Imperishable. Everything we have on earth is perishable. Everything from our food, clothing, houses, cars, buildings, and even everything in nature. We know that one day all that we have will perish by fire (2 Peter 3:12). Despite what is normal for us here, it will be quite the opposite in heaven. Things are temporary here, but heaven is permanent. When we get to heaven, we will be in a place that will never go away.

(2) It is Undefiled. Once again, the world we live in today is full of corruption and dishonor. This is not something that we will find in heaven. There will be no sin and no corruption. Things will not become soiled and defiled. We will not have to worry about tears, hurting, and other negative aspects.

(3) It Will Not Fade Away. We already know heaven will be eternal and not fade away, but this can go even further. This is talking about something that never fades, never becomes dull or boring, and never corrodes. Even though we sometimes get tired of being in the same house or city, we will never get tired of being in heaven even though it is eternal. This will be the perfect home.

(4) It is Reserved in Heaven. Just like fancy hotels and restaurants, we have to make reservations if we want to be there. There are no tickets at the gate to get into heaven. We cannot buy it, and we definitely cannot earn it. This is something that is freely given by those who are baptized and obey God’s commands (2 Peter 3:9; Matthew 7:21; etc). When we obey God, we essentially get a place in heaven reserved for us. We get or names on the “guest list.”

Heaven truly sounds wonderful just from the little we can learn from 1 Peter 1:3-4. This is something we do not want to miss out on. Have we reserved our spot in heaven yet? Have we given up our reservations? Heaven is one thing we simply cannot afford to miss. Let’s makes sure we are doing what it takes to receive this wonderful inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, will not fade away, and can be reserved in heaven for us.

Brett Petrillo

“It’s a book?”

When Juan leaves home, he puts peace in his pocket. As he walks through his day, and adversity confronts him, he plucks it from his pocket and examines it, calming his nerves.

Juan walks away from the staff room, while others rant around him. They were angry about the cutbacks in their department. Management expected them to maintain their same level of production with fewer workers and vacations were on hold.

“Can you believe this?”

Juan turned to his left at a red-faced Ralph.

“I had tickets to Disney! Now my kids and wife will hate me!” Juan could tell that the man desperately needed nicotine. In a moment, Ralph was bounding through the door with his hand in his shirt pocket.

Juan headed past the roiling mob as they entered the break room, breathing flames. He headed to his cubicle for a moment alone.

Later, Darnell passed by Juan to get to his own cubicle.

“Hey, Juan. You must be the only calm one here. “You all screamed out?”

“Nah, I’m fine. I’ve been glancing through the paper before getting back to work.”

“Man, how can you stay so calm? Do you have special powers?”

Juan crossed his legs. “I have peace that gets me through.”

“Where do you have peace?”

“In my pocket. I carry it with me everywhere I go.”

Darnell laughed. “I need some of that!”

“Then do it. Find that peace like I did.”

Darnell became serious. “Tell me about it.”

Juan smiled and pulled something from his pocket and handed it to Darnell. The big man received it and sat up straight. “It’s a book?”

Darnell opened it and noticed that it was a pocket Bible and Juan had photos of his wife and children taped in the front. The book was well worn and flexible.

Juan began to explain, “When I face a storm, I find the peace in my pocket and turn to the Psalms, the Gospels or Philippians four and I feel better. My peace in the pocket never lets me down.”

Darnell stared into nothingness, before turning back to Juan. “Will you teach me about the peace? I haven’t had any in quite awhile.”

“Let’s have lunch tomorrow and talk about it.”

A handshake sealed the deal and Darnell was on his way to the peace that “surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). He would never be the same.

–by Richard Mansel

A Million Dollar Hammer

On November 16, 1992, retired gardener Eric Hawes was asked to help his neighbor, a farmer, find his hammer. Using his metal detector, Hawes found something else instead. He found “15,000 gold and silver coins, gold jewelry and numerous small items of silver tableware, including pepper pots, ladles and spoons” ( It is estimated that this Roman treasure, better known as the Hoxne Hoard, was buried around 407-408 A.D. as Roman rule in Britain was deteriorating. The coins represent eight different emperors and all were in excellent condition. The British Museum purchased the treasure and a reward was paid to Hawes. Hawes gave the hammerless farmer, Peter Whatling, a cut of the 1.75 million British pounds paid him.

A Military Police officer once found “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ” (cf. Col. 2:1-3) when he pulled over a preacher that was driving one mile per hour over the speed limit on a military base. The MP agreed to study with the preacher and obeyed the gospel. People have been given or bought for nearly nothing a Bible containing a Searching For Truth or a Jule Miller video and through that found something much more precious than fine gold (cf. Ps. 19:10). Co-workers have humored Christian co-workers, accepting an invitation to come to a seminar, gospel meeting, or other worship service, and by that have found this eternal treasure (cf. 1 Tim. 6:19; Mat. 13:44). People searching for something of meaning and value in their lives may not realize what a great treasure there is to be found, buried among so many rivaling things. Yet, we know the great value of living the Christian life. Let us put ourselves in a position to help people uncover the heavenly hoard we ourselves, by His grace, have found. Treasure is not meant to be hoarded. Eternal reward is meant to be shared.

–Neal Pollard

We urge all of our young people to avoid becoming used and soiled

A TEACHER HAD twelve students in his class…

He brought into the room a box of thirteen roses. Taking one of them out of the box, he passed it around the class asking each student to handle and smell it. Afterwards, he placed it back into the box. When the class period came to a close, he passed the entire box of roses around the room for each student to get one for themselves. With twelve students and thirteen roses, naturally there would be one left.

Which do you suppose it was?

It was the one everybody had touched — the one whose petals was falling off that did not look very fresh anymore.

In like manner, we urge all of our young people to avoid becoming used and soiled. Rather, we encourage them to preserve their chastity and purity at all costs, giving themselves to one man or one woman for life. (Allen Webster, “Why Not Be a Prodigal?”)

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification, that you should abstain from sexual immorality.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3

Mike Benson

A waste of public funds to build

ABOUT 350 YEARS ago a shipload of travelers landed on the northeast coast of America…

The first year they established a town site. The next year they elected a town government. The third year the town government planned to build a road five miles westward into the wilderness.

In the fourth year the people tried to impeach their town government because they thought it was a waste of public funds to build a road five miles westward into a wilderness. Who needed to go there anyway?

THOUGHT: Here were people who had the vision to see three thousand miles across an ocean and overcome great hardships to get there. But in just a few years they were not able to see even five miles out of town. They had lost their pioneering vision. With a clear vision of what we can become in Christ, no ocean of difficulty is too great. Without it, we rarely move beyond our current boundaries. Via Sermon

“Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach. 18 And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, ‘Let us rise up and build.’” Then they set their hands to this good work. Nehemiah 2:17-18

Mike Benson