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In Christ Alone

Read: Acts 4:8-12

    In Acts 3 Peter and John encountered a lame man begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Jerusalem Temple. Seizing upon this chance encounter, Peter not only performs a miraculous healing on the lame man but finds yet another opportunity to speak to the multitudes in the name of Jesus Christ.
    Before he could finish his address, however, Peter and John were arrested and brought before the Jewish Sanhedrin (Acts 4). Faced with the overwhelming presence of the most revered Jewish leadership of their day, these fishermen-turned-evangelists exhibited no trace of fear. They could be, and were, threatened by torture and death to cease preaching Jesus to the multitudes. But their threats proved ineffective. Why? Because in the showdown between Jesus and the Jewish leadership, they lost and Jesus lived!
    In Christ alone is found the power to preach the truth in the face of the world’s relentless opposition. In Christ alone is found the power to forgive sins. In Christ alo…

Speak to One Another

Read: Ephesians 5:19

    In May of 2017 a 67-year-old woman in Plainfield, NJ was caught on surveillance video walking down the street focusing on a cell phone. Her walk turns tragic as she bumps into, and then falls over, an open basement access door. Landing amid workers repairing gas lines six feet below, she was ultimately lifted from the basement with serious injuries (mcall.com).
    We live in a world that has grown dependent on our smart phones. If we are honest with ourselves we have all seen it and even at times been guilty of it: friends and family sitting together and, instead of talking to one another, everyone is intently focused on their favorite electronic device. Are we in danger of losing the social skills of interpersonal communication?
    Thankfully, there is one aspect of Christian worship that consistently reminds us of the value of verbally sharing our faith. Every time the church gathers to worship in song the astute believer understands that our singing has more…

FIRE!

    At 10:48 on Sunday morning, February 7, 1904, fire was reported near the heart of Baltimore, Maryland. The effort to bring it under control would eventually take 1,231 firefighters from Baltimore, surrounding communities, and even fire units from out of state. Each crew responding to the fire brought along their own equipment, primed and ready to assist. As these various units converged to tackle the rapidly spreading fire they stumbled over a nagging barrier that hindered their efforts: "the lack of national standards in firefighting equipment" (Wikipedia). Many of the firefighting units that responded to the disaster could offer little actual assistance because the couplings on their hoses didn't fit the connections on Baltimore's fire hydrants.
    When the fire was finally tamed over 1,500 buildings lay in ashes. Before long the National Fire Protection Association adopted national regulations requiring standardized equipment for all firefighting equipment, es…

The Value of Our Past

    It is just a penny. You get change for your coffee or a quick trip to the convenience store and drop it into your pocket or stash it in your pocketbook and don't give it much thought. But what if that penny is not what you think? What if that penny has a value far greater than it seems?
    In 1995 the Philadelphia mint struck a number pennies with what www.collectorsalliance.com describes as a "Double Die Error." The master of the coin's desired image requires more than one stamping. On this particular coin the stamping process resulted in a slight imperfection in which the words "Liberty" and "In God" are blurred. A similar mistake was made on the 1955 penny. That coin has been highly sought by coin collectors who have valued it at $20,000. The 1995 coin has not achieved such a high value, as of now. It is valued closer to the $200 mark. But specialists expect the coin to rapidly increase in value as the decades pass.
    Our nation's past…

The Origin of Father's Day

    In 1911 Anna Jarvis achieved her dream of a national day honoring Mothers. But decades would pass before fathers would be so honored. The state of Washington was the first to have a Father’s Day, thanks to Sonora Dodd whose own father, Civil War veteran and widower William Jackson Smart, reared six children as a single-parent (history.com). While Dodd pushed for June 5, 1910, her father's birthday, she was content when Gov. M.E. Hay designated July 19, 1910 as the first Father's Day (history.com).
    This spawned national efforts to establish a Father's Day with advocates like William Jennings Bryan and presidents Wilson, Coolidge and Lyndon Johnson. However, an all-male Congress was hesitant, fearing that if they passed such a resolution it would appear to be self-serving. So Father's Day had no official, national observations until 1971 when President Richard Nixon appointed the third Sunday of each June as Father's Day. On that day, at the age of 90, Sonora …

Absentee Fathers

    The father's image may have been reflected in Timothy's face and build.  His mannerisms may have been mimicked by his young son. He may have given his name to the boy who so quickly grew to manhood. It doesn't take much of a man to give those things.
    Eunice taught Timothy how to live (2 Tim. 1:5). She introduced him to a loving God and molded his heart by divine truths (2 Tim. 3:15). At her knees he learned right from wrong, to respect God and to serve others.
    Timothy grew, thanks to his mother, to be respected by all who knew him (Acts 16:1-2). Paul saw in him the spark of a servant kindled under a mother's loving touch.
    Meanwhile Timothy's father is noticeably absent. It is as if his contributions ended at birth. Could his father appreciate the man Timothy had become? Was this man, shrouded in a world Timothy chose not to share, the one who planted in Timothy the fear that would dog his every step as an adult (1 Tim. 5:12)?
    Timothy is an object le…

What is a Dord?

    The second edition of Merriam-Webster New International Dictionary (1934) included an entry for the word "dord," which was defined as a synonym for density. The problem, however, is that the word "dord" wasn't really a word. How could such a thing happen? The answer seems to be a misplaced note card on which an editor requested that an abbreviation, "d" for the word "density," be inserted for the next edition. Somehow, that card marked "D or d, cont/ density" was mistaken by the next editor as new word. It remained in the popular dictionary for five years before finally being removed (www.snopes.com).
    Words are powerful. They can break one’s spirit and uplift the broken hearted. Words can incite anger and reconcile estranged friends. A thoughtless word can easily offend while a tender, sensitive word can endear. They can be infused with emotions, whether for good or ill.
    The gospel, the good news of salvation in Christ, i…