Category Archives: Jesus

Come Home

Maria and her daughter, Christina, lived in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of a Brazilian village. Maria’s husband had died when Christina was an infant and she never remarried. Times were tough but at last Christina was old enough to get a job to help out.

Christina spoke often of going to the city. She dreamed of trading her dusty neighborhood for exciting avenues and the city life. Just the thought of that horrified her mother, who knew exactly what Christina would have to do for a living. That’s why her heart broke. That’s why she couldn’t believe it when she awoke one morning to find her daughter’s bed empty. Knowing where her daughter was headed, she quickly threw some clothes in a bag, gathered up all of her money, and ran out of the house.

On her way to the bus stop she entered a drugstore and got one last thing. Photos. She sat in the photograph booth, closed the curtain, and spent all the time she could on making photos of herself. With her purse full of small black-and-white photos, she boarded the next bus to Rio de Janeiro.

Maria knew Christina had no way of earning money. She also knew that her daughter was too stubborn to give up. When pride meets hunger, a human being will do things that were before unthinkable. Knowing this, Maria began her search. Bars, hotels, nightclubs, any place with the reputation for street walkers or prostitutes. She went to them all. And at each place Maria left her photo–taped to a bathroom mirror, tacked to a hotel bulletin board, fastened to a corner telephone booth. And on the back of each photo she wrote a note. Then her money and the pictures ran out, Maria went home.

A few weeks later young Christina descended the hotel stairs. Her young face was tired. Her dreams had become a nightmare. But as she reached the bottom of the stairs, her eyes noticed a familiar face. She looked again, and there on a lobby mirror was a small picture of her mother. Christina’s eyes burned and her throat tightened as she walked across the room and removed the small photo. Written on the back was a compelling invitation, “Whatever you’ve done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. Please come home.”

I am pretty sure this is a fictional story, but it has truth in it.
In the Parable of the Prodigal Son ( Luke 15:11-32) we have a story that parallels this one. In v12, the son asks for his inheritance, which is saying to his father I am not waiting for you to die just give me what I want. He wasted it on reckless (sinful) living (v13) of which his father obviously wouldn’t approve. After squandering everything the son realizes that even being the hired servant of his father would be better than how he is living now. He returns to his father knowing that he is unworthy to be a son. But while he was still a long way off (v20), his father sees him and runs to him and hugs him. The only reason that his father say him a long way off was because he was anxiously waiting the return of his son. Even though he didn’t deserve it, the son restored to his place as a son (v22).

So what does this mean to you and me? If we have been forgiven, we are then restored to our place as a child of God.

If you doubt that, you doubt the power of the blood of Jesus. If you doubt that, you doubt the truth in the promises of God.

Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

So release your doubt, release your worry, and release your pain and believe in the forgiveness and love of God.


During the holidays we often congregate with close family and friends. Gifts are exchanged, laughs are shared and large amounts of food are devoured. We are grateful for these times and show our appreciation and thanksgiving. Thoughts of thanksgiving flood our minds because we are given many physical things. The trinkets and toys we are blessed with are much less important than the spiritual blessings we are given through Christ. How much thanksgiving do we give for these spiritual blessings?
In Luke 17:11-17 Jesus heals 10 lepers on his way to Jerusalem. All ten lepers yelled “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” But how many returned to Jesus to show their gratitude for His act of love? Verses 15-17 of this passage tell us that “one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed. But the nine-where are they?” One returned. Just one. And a Samaritan foreigner at that. Matthew Henry writes in his commentary
“A sense of our spiritual leprosy should make us very humble whenever we draw near to Christ. It is enough to refer ourselves to the compassions of Christ, for they fail not. We may look for God to meet us with mercy, when we are found in the way of obedience. Only one of those who were healed returned to give thanks. It becomes us, like him, to be very humble in thanksgivings, as well as in prayers. Christ noticed the one who thus distinguished himself, he was a Samaritan. The others only got the outward cure, he alone got the spiritual blessing.”
Let us NOT be like the nine (the vast majority) and forget to give thanks for the blessings God gives us. He has blessed so much more spiritually than physically but we too often forget that fact. Our heart and our actions should be that of this Samaritan leper.

— Brian

Bothered in Christ?

No it isn’t a typo. Are you bothered by a brother in Christ? Does the continual lack of dedication and lack of attention of other Christians really annoy you?

This is a trap I get caught in occasionally and I can’t find a way to justify it by the standard of Jesus Christ. What do I mean by this? Find a time in Jesus’ life when he was annoyed or bothered by the lack of knowledge or the failings of his followers. This is different than the hypocritical Pharisees. We are talking about people who are trying but lose heart, lack knowledge, or are struggling to find their way. Jesus looked on them with compassion (Mark 6:34). He loved to help more than he needed physical food (John 4:32). He loved them enough to hurt his reputation among the leaders of the day (Luke 15:2). How did he do this? He never lost sight of the preciousness of a soul! He never lost sight of God’s will (John 10:25-30).

So when I am faced with this situation what do I do? I try to get back into the Christ-like mind set. I do this by asking myself which of the two descriptions best describe me:

1. I am worthy of anything and everything that God has done and will do for me. Since I am so perfect I have every right to be annoyed that others just can’t seem to catch up with my spiritual superiority.

2. I am unworthy of anything and everything that God has done and will do for me. He loved me as a sinner and only through the perfect sacrifice of His Son do I have any hope of seeing Him one day in heaven. Any spiritual heights that I may attain are the work of His grace and enduring love for me.

The obvious answer is that I am unworthy to be called by the name of Jesus Christ. So what would Jesus say to me in these moments of spiritual blindness? He would most likely tell me the parable of the unmerciful servant (Matt 18: 21-35)

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” (ESV)

Note: A denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer.

This parable teaches me the attitude I need to have with my brother. I have to remember that God has forgiven me so much. My brother can do nothing against me that will compare to what I have done against God. So when my brother is stumbling, struggling, or sinning, what should I do? The simple answer is to respond with love. In I Cor. 13 we learn that love hopes, endures, is patient, and kind. So instead of annoyance, we should feel concern and sadness. Jude 22 & 23 gives us our directions: “And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” (ESV) I don’t see any indication that we should be bothered by a brother’s struggles.

Today’s personal challenge: I will have a more Christ-like attitude toward my brothers.

— Zane

Is The Bible Reliable?

Is the Bible a reliable source of information? How did we get the Bible? How were the scriptures handed down through the centuries? If the Bible isn’t reliable then we shouldn’t bother studying it. If it is reliable then it should trump everything else. The Bible is reliable and the following books will hopefully help you in coming to a better understanding of how the Bible that you have got there. It is an interesting story and will strengthen your faith.

How We Got the Bible by Neil R. Lightfoot

Gospel Argument for God by Kenneth Chumbley

The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus by Lee Strobel

The Case for the Real Jesus: A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks on the Identity of Christ by Lee Strobel

Sermon on the Mount

In this series of sermons, Paul Earnhart who preaches for the Douglass Hills church of Christ shares his insights on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, addressing the very heart of what it means to be a Christian.

Sermon on the Mount 1
Sermon on the Mount 2
Sermon on the Mount 3
Sermon on the Mount 4
Sermon on the Mount 5
Sermon on the Mount 6
Sermon on the Mount 7
Sermon on the Mount 8
Sermon on the Mount 9
Sermon on the Mount 10
Sermon on the Mount 11
Sermon on the Mount 12