Going straight to the Cross
 

Conscience

by Mike Benson

Back in the mid 1980's, an Avianca Airlines jet crashed in the mountains of Spain. Investigators reviewing the incident made a startling discovery. Recordings from the black box revealed that several minutes prior to impact, a computer-synthesized voice from the plane's automatic warning system told the flight crew on repeated occasion to "Pull up!" The pilot, evidently thinking that the system was not functioning properly, switched the system off. Minutes later they plowed into the ground killing both passengers as well as crew.

As I think about it, that tragic story reminds me of some of the people I know. They hear the warning messages of their conscience telling them to make correction in their lives; instead they merely tune out or turn off what they hear (cf. Exodus 8:15).

Dear reader, it is possible for a person to silence his conscience to such an extent that he no longer hears or recognizes the spiritual peril he faces (cf. 1 Timothy 4:2). But because he does not hear the warning, it doesn't mean that the danger no longer exists.

Think about it.

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Eternity

by Mike Benson

Yesterday I stood at the bedside of a dear brother in Christ. His doctor recently diagnosed him with brain cancer and has given him only a few weeks to live.

I watched as he wept in sadness as he thought about leaving his family. I noticed streams of tears pour down his cheeks as he considered the end of his earthly existence. I listened as he asked a fellow gospel preacher if he would hold his funeral. I fought back my own tears as my preacher friend petitioned the Almighty for faith and strength on behalf of this godly brother.

Then as I left the residence, I couldn't help but wonder, "How do people face eternity without the Lord?" "How do they leave this world without the security found only in Jesus Christ" (cf. Ephesians 1:3)? Fortunately, this gentleman has been a Christian for many years, and he'll step into the next world with the calm assurance that Jesus is and has been Lord of his life.

Come to think of it, we're all terminal, aren't we (cf. Job 14:1)? The end will just come sooner for some of us than others. Dear reader, what preparations have you made for your step into eternity (cf. 2 Timothy 4:6-8; Matthew 25:46)?

Think about it.

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Sacrifice

by Mike Benson

In Old Testament times, God required His people to offer animal sacrifices. What exactly was involved in this religious rite?

First, the worshiper according to God's dictates, selected an appropriate animal to be sacrificed.

Second, the worshiper brought the animal to the place of offering, otherwise known as the altar.

Third, the worshiper bound the animal and placed it on the altar, thereby presenting it to God.

And fourth, after fire had consumed the offering, the worshiper then walked away.

Did you know that God still requires sacrifice today? No, He doesn't ask us to select an animal, bring it to the altar, offer it, and then walk away. Instead God insists that the child of God climb atop the altar and remain. Why? Because the worshiper is the sacrifice!

The Bible says, "...Present your bodies a living sacrifice to God..." (Romans 12:1; cf. 1 Peter 2:5).

Think about it.

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Good Communication

by Mike Benson

When my daughter Bethany was an infant she communicated a problem to me. She said, "Daddy, I am very, very hungry and I think a nice bottle of warm milk would really taste good and feel good to my stomach. I don't want to impose on you, but if you don't mind, since I can't walk or operate the microwave, I would really appreciate it if you might get me a bottle."

Okay, I confess, that's not actually the way she communicated with me. Instead, you guessed it ... she cried, as you would expect any baby to do.

But I never recall telling Bethany, "Now that's not the way to talk to your Daddy, young lady! That's not good communication. When you learn how to say the magic word 'please,' then I'll get a bottle for you." You see, I understood that behind the crying a legitimate problem existed.

Well, guess what? Just because folks are older, it doesn't mean that they communicate their problems like adults. Murmuring, whining, and complaining are often employed to get attention (cf. Ephesians 4:29ff).

Effective church leaders realize that behind inappropriate communication a problem really exists -- and needs to be addressed (cf. Acts 6:).

Think about it.

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Satan's Tackle Box

by Mike Benson

There's a creek that runs through Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. It's deep and cold and clear, and it serves as habitat for a fairly good size school of rainbow trout. I know that, you see, because I've fished there -- several times, in fact. And without sounding pretentious, I've had some pretty good success there. I've caught my daily limit of seven trout on many occasions. The reason for my good fortune is because I know what the fish like; I've learned what bait is most effective in the creek.

Satan is sort of a fisherman, and he knows what bait is most effective with you and me -- he knows what lure will work. Read passages like Genesis 3, Matthew 4 and James 1 (cf. Genesis 39; 1 John 2) and you'll discover that the Tempter has a "tackle box" full of lures (e.g., illicit sex, alcohol, drugs, food, internet pornography, etc.) that he can flash before us.

But as enticing as Satan's baits might appear, there's ALWAYS a hook embedded inside each of them. And if we ever actually take a "bite," we'll be hauled up on shore and fried (cf. James 1:14,15).

Think about it.

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Forthright Magazine continues, more dynamic than ever! We have groups created for FMag on Facebook and the Churches of Christ Network. Announcement blog is up and going on Preachers Files. Email lists about FMag and FPress are available both on Yahoo and GoogleGroups. And, to top it all off, we're twittering for both on Twitter.com.
by randal @ 1/20/09, 11:55 AM

How to Make Sure That Your Judgment Is Flawless


by Don Ruhl Read the Bible in a Year This evening read John 5:24--47 How to Make Sure That Your Judgment Is Flawless Yes, it is popular to say that we are not supposed to judge, but the truth is we all make judgments about many things daily. Otherwise, we would never succeed in life. The real question is what is our guide for judging. Why can we not simply follow the example of our Master and Lord? He said, 30 "I can of Myself ... more ...
by diane amberg @ 5/18/05, 5:08 AM

Do You Ever Feel Like Just a Name?


by Don Ruhl Read the Bible in a Year This morning read First Chronicles 1--3 Do You Ever Feel Like Just a Name? Think on the manner, in which the Book of First Chronicles begins, 1 Adam, Seth, Enosh (1 Chr. 1:1). In this way begins the longest genealogy in the Bible. The names continue to the end of the ninth chapter! Were these just names? Adam; who is he? You know there is more in the Bible than the mere mention of his name in ... more ...
by diane amberg @ 5/18/05, 5:05 AM
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by Don Ruhl Read the Bible in a Year This evening read John 5:1--23 Jesus healed a man. Praise God! However, Jesus healed him on the Sabbath. Uh oh. Some people were ready to kill Jesus for this perceived violation of the Sabbath Law. 16 For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath (Joh. 5:16). Jesus did a good thing. Yet, people criticized Him severely for it. And they were not people ... more ...
by diane amberg @ 5/18/05, 5:03 AM

They Were His Servants


by Don Ruhl Read the Bible in a Year This morning read Second Kings 24 and 25 They Were His Servants As the writer of Second Kings explains whom the Lord sent against Judah, the writer said that this was 2 ...according to the word of the LORD which He had spoken by His servants the prophets (2 Kin. 24:2). Those great men we have honored for centuries were nothing more than servants of the Lord God. What does that make us? Do you do something ... more ...
by diane amberg @ 5/18/05, 5:01 AM
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by Don Ruhl Read the Bible in a Year This evening read John 4:30--54 The disciples went into a town to buy food while Jesus remained out of the town. There He engaged a woman in conversation. When the disciples returned, here is what happened, 31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." 32 But He said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know" (Joh. 4:31, 32). As you read the Gospel According to John, watch ... more ...
by diane amberg @ 5/18/05, 4:59 AM

Having a Tender Heart


by Don Ruhl Read the Bible in a Year This morning read Second Kings 22 and 23 Having a Tender Heart When Josiah heard the word of God for the first time, he tore his clothes, knowing of the wrath that was upon Jerusalem for the idolatry of his forefathers. Therefore, he sent messengers to a prophetess to inquire of the Lord. He did have a message for Josiah. God said through the prophetess, 19 "...because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before ... more ...
by diane amberg @ 5/18/05, 4:56 AM
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