The 45th President Of The United States

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Hate him? Love him? Have absolutely no idea where you stand on him? Wherever your feelings are, I bet those emotions are pretty strong ones. And all for good reason. President Donald Trump doesn’t exactly have the best track record. He hasn’t exactly instilled the highest confidence in us from some of his previous decisions. However, he has proven to be very capable in leading huge financial corporations, and our country shouldn’t be too out of place for him. If he consistently stands for what he stood for while running, then he will be a man who stands much closer to the Bible than Hillary ever would have on issues such as abortion, homosexuality, and several others.

All of these mixed feelings aside; it’s time for people to drop the pity party. It’s time to pick ourselves up and move on. It’s time to start being part of the solution instead of the problem. It’s time for people to stop stirring up so much dissension. Many have even gone so far as to publicly call on Trump to fail and to become the worst President in history. As some unknown writer pointed out, “Wanting Trump to fail is like wanting the pilot to crash the plane that we are all riding on.” Shouldn’t we all be hoping Trump will become the best president in history?

Like it or not, we must remember that God has allowed Donald Trump to come into power (Romans 13:1). Like it or not, we must remember that God calls on us to be in subjection to Donald Trump unless he commands something contrary to God’s Word (Romans 13:2ff; Acts 5:29). Like it or not, the 45th President of the United States is now in power.

Worried? Then pray.

Concerned? Then petition the Lord.

Happy? Then praise the Lord.

Somewhere in-between these emotions? Then express those feelings to the Heavenly Father.

Only the Lord knows why Trump is now in Power. Only God knows what the next 4 years will look like. But as far as we are concerned, let’s follow the Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 2:2, “…I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”

Brett Petrillo

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This house was built on a very sandy cliff which is eroding away.

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In 2004, a couple built an incredible mansion. It’s an 8,300-square-foot home with seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a massive basement, a bowling alley, a guesthouse, a huge garage, and much more. It even sits near a bluff and provides a beautiful ocean view. The problem is, this house was built on a very sandy cliff which is eroding away. It’s just a matter of time before this mansion slides off the cliff and into the ocean. To fix the problem, they had to take their $7.6 million dollar home, purchase the $4 million dollar lot next to them, and pay an estimated $1 million to have professionals slowly move their home 275 feet away from the cliff.

Even with all of the modern knowledge, experience, and technology in construction and engineering, it seems people are still ignoring the age-old advice about building on solid foundations. Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus uttered these well-known words:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell-and great was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27).

While Jesus was discussing the importance of a good physical foundation, the main point was about having a solid spiritual foundation. People place their hopes and dreams on different sandy foundations like money, power, and self. The only truly solid foundation is on Jesus Christ and through obedience to His words (1 Corinthians 3:11; Matthew 7:24-25).

Now is the time to check for foundation problems. Are our spiritual houses built on the Rock, Jesus Christ, or will it soon slide off the sandy cliff?

–Brett Petrillo

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“WHAT’S THE EARTH WORTH?”

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This week the History Channel aired a special episode about the value of our planet. They examined aspects such as diamonds, gold, lumber, water, and nearly everything on earth and came up with a price tag. From their calculation, our earth is worth $6,873,951,620,979,800, or to put it in words, nearly seven quadrillion dollars.

It is very hard to comprehend just how much money this is. Millionaires and billionaires are incredibly wealthy, but their wealth is pocket change compared to the value of the earth. When we think about what the earth is worth, it really makes the words of Matthew 16:26 come to life, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” In other words, it would be futile for a person to give up his soul, even if he gained all seven quadrillion dollars of the earth’s value.

This should serve as a reminder to examine where our focus is in this life. There is little value in gaining wealth and prominence. The most worthwhile way to use our time and effort is on the spiritual and eternal. Let’s close with the familiar words of Jesus’ in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Brett Petrillo

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What about the church? What should our disposition be?

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On January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy gave his inaugural address as president of the United States.  In it, he ends with these famous words: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”  What a great challenge to a nation, for each citizen to see his or her responsibility and place and to center on service rather than self-service.

What about the church?  What should our disposition be?  Should we take the tack of entitlement or encouragement?  Could we not borrow a page from the late president’s playbook and reframe the question?

Ask not, “What is the church doing for me?”  Ask, “What can I do for the church?”
Ask not, “Why aren’t you serving me?” Ask, “How can I serve you?”
Ask not, “What are you doing?” Ask, “What can I do?”
Ask not, “Why aren’t you better/more?” Ask, “Where can I improve?”
Ask not, “Why aren’t you?” Ask, “Why am I not?”

May we never fall into the trap of setting up a double standard, especially if we expect of others more than we can or are willing to produce ourselves.  The old folks would call that “sweeping around your own front door.”  Jesus said it this way, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Mat. 7:1-5).

This is an oft-abused passage, but surely its application here is unmistakable. Let us recognize each other as fellow-strugglers, but also fellow-servants.  None of us have been called to walk the red carpet, but rather to use the servant’s towel.  We have been called to serve, not be served (cf. Mat. 20:28).

–Neal Pollard

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This old wicked, sinful world is not our permanent dwelling place

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For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)

 As a child of God, we are not exempt from the burdens and cares that are common to all mankind. As we walk this pathway we will be burdened and we will often groan under the load that falls upon our shoulders. While we must endure a certain amount of suffering in this present time we know there will come a day in which every adverse condition we have had to contend with will be replaced with a glory beyond anything we can imagine. In that day we will be free from fears, anxieties, and doubts  that arise in our lives. In that day there will be no diseases to cause pain, heartache and sadness. In that day we will dwell in a land where joys will never end. Our future happiness far outweighs any burden or suffering that besets us today (1 Corinthians 2:9; 2 Corinthians 4:17). It just does not matter how long our struggle may be or how short it may on this side of eternity; it does not matter how painful the wounds of this life may be because one day if we are a faithful child of God, we will gain the greatest victory imaginable (1 Corinthians 15:51-57).

One of the great truths of God’s word centers around the fact that this old wicked, sinful world is not our permanent dwelling place (1 Peter 2:11; Hebrews 11:13).  The most important aspect of our lives is not where we have been. It is not even where we are right now even though where we are right now may very well determine what the greatest aspect of our lives is, namely where we are one day going to be in eternity.

Through the eye of faith I can see that wonderful city of God in which there will be no suffering. There we will live in joy and peace forever. All who now read these words should have their eyes fixed on that wonderful city (Colossians 3:1-2). I love the words of 2 Timothy 4:6-8: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing”. There was a time when these words did not hold a lot of meaning for me but now at the age of 82 they are most meaningful. These are words that tell us there is a certain way in which we should be living every moment of every day. Regardless of age, all of us should be living in such a way that we can with conviction in our hearts say, “I am ready”.

Charles Hicks

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“MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE…”

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My good friend, the late Bill Snell, enjoyed telling a story about a preacher who was staying for several days with a brother in Christ, his wife, and their little 5-year-old son.  Every morning, the woman of the house made a hot breakfast that included the flakiest, fluffiest biscuits he had ever tasted.  Each morning, the little boy would get to the table before the preacher.  As the preacher sat down to eat, the little boy would touch the top of all the biscuits and say, “Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine….”  Finally, the preacher was fed up enough to get to the table just before the boy.  As the boy sat down, the preacher touched the top of all the biscuits and said, “Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine….”  The little boy smiled impishly, licked the palms of his hands, and said, as he touched the top of each biscuit, “Yours, yours, yours, yours, yours….”

Selfishness may seem childish, but it is not just a problem for children, is it?  Too often, we allow others to provoke us into childish actions.  We lower ourselves to their level, but we come out looking just like them.  In the book of Philippians are several, well-known statements warning against the follow and hurtfulness of selfishness.  Paul writes that some preached out of selfish ambition (1:17). He further says, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit” (2:3). Some “seek after their own interests” (2:21).

James warned, “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy” (3:14-17).

However cute you did or did not think that little boy, selfishness is anything but adorable.   It is evil and chaos.  It is arrogant and dishonest.  May we ever strive toward a spiritual maturity that does away with this sort of behavior.

— Neal Pollard

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Song of Solomon Marriage Tips

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Sometimes couples wonder “what went wrong in our relationship?”  Perhaps these ‘love birds’ in the Song of Solomon can offer a few tips.  Just in chapter one we see how considerate they were of one another.  Note these loving acts of consideration:

1)    He took the time to make sure he had a pleasing scent (1:3).  She did the same (1:12).

2)    While he obviously had a national reputation and major responsibilities (after all, he was the king!), he still took time for her (1:4a).

3)    He succeeded in making her feel like she was the only woman he cared about (1:8).

4)    When she had concerns about where he was and what he was doing, he didn’t chastise her for her lack of trust.  He lovingly explained where he would be and what he would be doing (1:7).  She was welcome to come join him, if she so desired!

5)    Both were very vocal in expressing how much they thought of the other.  Some say, ‘flattery will get you nowhere.’  Well, in the Song it worked well! He said she was “beautiful” (1:15), even saying it twice.  She said he was “handsome” and “pleasant” (1:16).  Of course these words were spoken in all genuineness and sincerity.

6)    She took the time to dress up, just for him.  Any guy will appreciate the effort his gal would make for his benefit, and visual pleasure! (1:9-14).

— Denny Petrillo

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What are we willing to risk?

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I stepped out of Home Depot just like I have done hundreds of times over the past few months. Before I even reached the parking lot, three guys and a girl came sprinting out of the store. At first glance, it was hard to understand what was happening. I thought these were just some teenagers goofing off. Then punches started being thrown and the guys were throwing each other to the ground. I then wondered if these people had a past with each other, maybe even gang related. However, there was also a car waiting right outside the exit. The girl already made it to the car and the two other guys were struggling with the third guy. It was only then that I suspected shoplifting.

As two of the guys continued to wrestle and fight, the other guy made it to their rather tiny getaway car. He reached around in the car and pulled out a crowbar. Things took a very serious turn at this point. Then man threatened to hit the third guy and began screaming profanity. The third man who was trying to stop them backed off and pulled out his phone, probably to call the police. This is when the comedic part of the heist began. The three perpetrators were now trying to get away. Two were already in the car and the third was trying to get in. He was skinny and pretty tall; I’d guess around 6′ 5″ or so. The problem was, either the car doors didn’t work or the car was locked. So the man was left standing there, fumbling around with the car handles. Then the car rolled forward a little bit, the driver probably thought the man made it into the car. Instead, he had actually just rolled on top of the other man’s foot. So now, he was trying to get into the car, but the car tire had him pinned to the pavement. Finally, the driver rolled forward more, but the guy still couldn’t get into the car. At long last, they rolled down the rear window. I watched as this guy went face first and slid his tall frame into the tiny vehicle. And the car took off as the man tried to get the rest of himself into the small car. Thankfully, one of the ladies in the hot dog shop just outside the store had everything on video, including the license plate. It’s likely these thieves victory will be very short lived.

As it turns out, the man who was trying to stop the others was a Home Depot employee, even though he wasn’t wearing their iconic orange at the time. This man’s heroic actions might have slowed things down just enough for the hot dog people to capture the license plate.

After I left, I began reflecting on the situation and talked it over with some others. This employee put himself at tremendous risk. Was it really worth it? I mean, at most those thieves made off with around $1,000 in merchandise. Was that enough to put his body on the line? To the Home Depot employee, it was! He took pride in his job. He cared enough to stand up to those thieves. He was willing to fight for what was right.

This was a man who put tremendous effort into something that, in the grand scheme of things, is worth very little. Unlike this situation, as Christian’s we have things of eternal significance on the line! We are working for the most gracious, loving, and compassionate Boss (Psalm 103:8), and yet sometimes we’re not even willing to search His Holy Word to see what He asks of us (Acts 17:11). We’ve been rescued out of the darkness of our own sinful actions (Colossians 1:13), and yet sometimes we’re not even willing to lift a finger to pray to our loving heavenly Father (Matthew 6:9-13). We have been entrusted with the most powerful saving message in the history of humanity, and yet sometimes we’re not even willing to utter a single word of the saving message to help save someone we care about, much less those we don’t (Matthew 28:19-20).

The Home Depot employee was willing to put his life at risk for very little, simply because it was right. What are we willing to risk? What are we willing to give up? What are we willing to sacrifice? When we became Christians, we committed to give the Lord our all (Colossians 3:17; Luke 10:27). Perhaps it’s time to show it (Luke 9:23).

Brett Petrillo

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DON’T SEND YOUR CHILDREN TO BIBLE SCHOOL!

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Many of us have fond memories of going to Bible School as a child:  we can recall the coloring and pasting, the flannelgraphs and class picnics, and of course, learning all those grand old stories of the Bible that grounded us in our faith.  Those of us who were able to attend Sunday School as we were growing up received a precious blessing indeed.

A study of 10,000 adults in this country, however, revealed that – when it comes to building a strong faith – the most important classes are those designed, not for kids, but for grown-ups!

Surprised?  We shouldn’t be.  After all, the Bible itself takes the spiritual formation of adults very seriously.  Hebrews 6:1 is talking to adults when it says “let us leave the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to maturity.”

We need to make it our constant goal to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).  Far too many Americans stop learning when they are adults and become intellectually passive.  Recent research has abundantly demonstrated that we continue to need mental stimulation throughout life (the phrase “Use it or lose it” comes to mind).

More than that, we need the social stimulation of engaging in regular interaction with our fellow believers.  Hebrews 10:25 urges us, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.”  The format of Bible school is ideally suited to build strong bonds of soul-strengthening fellowship.

Most of all, we continue to need the spiritual stimulation of in-depth Bible study.  Even as he neared the end of his life, the apostle Paul was still engaging in searching the Scriptures (2 Timothy 4:13).  Why? Because life doesn’t get any easier as we grow older – the devil certainly doesn’t abandon his dogged determination to destroy us – and Paul was determined to “finish well” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

So don’t send your children or grandchildren to Bible School this Sunday – take them with you!  Remember – BIBLE SCHOOL IS FOR GROWN-UPS WHO WANT TO “GROW UP” IN THEIR FAITH!

Dan Williams

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THE WHITE RAINBOW

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There are few things more fascinating than a rainbow. Several months ago at my daughter’s 2nd birthday party a bright, vibrant, and colorful rainbow appeared. The rainbow drew every friend and family member outside to see it. Several of our neighbors also came out to witness this beautiful sight. Rainbows are awesome all by themselves, but this morning I read about a photograph taken of a very rare white rainbow in the arctic. This white rainbow is actually known as a “fog bow” because it appears in foggy conditions instead of rainy ones. The picture’s caption explained, “It appears white because the water droplets in fog are much smaller than raindrops and as the droplets get smaller, the colors disappear” (Yahoo Snapshots – Best Images of Week of December 16th)

After researching fog bows, I found there are also fog bows that can be seen from the clouds, called “cloud bows” (typically when flying above them), and there are fog bows that can be seen at night, called lunar fog bows (using the moon’s light). No matter what form it comes in, these are all just different types of rainbows. They all use light and water droplets to make a beautiful arch in the sky.

So, whether you are at the arctic or in America, in an airplane or on the ground, during the day or night, God’s beautiful rainbows can be seen. There is almost no time or place on earth where a rainbow can’t be seen. Clearly these have a great importance. We are reminded of this importance in Genesis 9:12-15:

“And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.'”

It’s wonderful that no matter where we are on the earth, rainbows are there to remind us that there is a God and He keeps His promises.

Brett Petrillo

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