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Showing posts from 2015

The Pagan Origins Of Spring Cleaning

"Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled." - Titus 1:15 (KJV)
The season is coming upon us again.  That means it's time to revisit this subject once more.  

Speaking of the December season and related celebrations both religious and secular, Edward Pola and George Wyle wrote a song in 1963 titled, "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year."  In it they lauded the roasting of marshmallows, the joy of children playing and, yes, even the dreaded pagan term "Christmas."  Lately this song has been playing on the radio and in retailers across America. And so, once again, we are made aware that the world is turning its calendars nearer to the 25th of December and we are left to debate whether or not this time of the year is wonderful at all.
To some it is shunned as Saturnalia (even though that event was actually commemorated on the 17th of December, not…

Cause of Death: Divorce

"For the entire Law has been obeyed when you have kept the single precept, which says, 'You are to love your fellow man equally with yourself.' But if you are perpetually snarling and snapping at one another, beware lest you are destroyed by one another." - Galatians 5:14-15

It is Sunday morning at First Church and Sister Emily sits in her car in the parking lot debating whether she should try to go inside or turn back to her own home.  She has already spent most of the morning in deep internal conflict.  On the one hand she understands the Biblical command that Christians must not neglect to assemble together.  On the other hand is a pale circle around one finger serving as a reminder of what has been lost.  Two years of courtship, five years of marriage, three months of turmoil and fifteen minutes before a judge last Friday added up to the dreadful and shadowy specter of abandonment, lost love and divorce.

It wasn't her choice.  When she walked down the aisle …

"It's Just The Devil" And Other Things NOT To Tell Someone Who Is Depressed

"Then Job spoke again: 'I have heard all this before.  What miserable comforters you are!  Won’t you ever stop blowing hot air?  What makes you keep on talking?  I could say the same things if you were in my place.  I could spout off criticism and shake my head at you.  But if it were me, I would encourage you.  I would try to take away your grief.  Instead, I suffer if I defend myself, and I suffer no less if I refuse to speak.'" - Job 16:1-6 (NLT)
The normative Pentecostal reaction to depression has been curious to say the least.  If someone comes to us with a gaunt appearance, having lost much weight and energy and wearing a forlorn expression we would know something was wrong.  If they were to say, "Yes, I'm suffering from cancer," we would be immediately moved with compassion.  Our reaction would be the same if they were to tell us they were suffering from any number of physical ailments.  We would understand if they were quiet, withdrawn or even i…

The Ricochet

"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak."  - Matthew 12:36 (ESV)

A few years ago a man in an American Atlantic Coast State was walking down the road of his rural neighborhood over the Independence Day holiday when he was struck suddenly by a bullet.  The bullet made contact with deadly accuracy and the man lost his life.  The fatal shot had been fired from several hundred yards away by a target shooter who had failed to secure an adequate backstop.  The bullet went through the paper target, ricocheted off the top of the embankment and, maintaining a modified trajectory, entered the body of an innocent man.  

The incident resulted in a child losing her father, a wife losing her husband and a careless shooter losing his freedom.  The shooter was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in accordance with the statue of his state.  Involuntary manslaughter was not considered an accurate charge because the shooter failed…

If The Christian Graves Could Speak

Dear 21st Century Christian Brethren,

Much time has passed since we walked the earth and enjoyed, in life, those riches in Christ which we now enjoy to a fuller measure in death awaiting the time of our resurrection to eternal life.  Yet, our hearts are sorrowful because of that which has been found in too many of you which we cannot readily understand.  We do not presume to have the answers.  Our sincerest hope is that our words might give you reason to pause, introspect and find the answers for yourself.

In our time there were divisions.  Our Apostle Paul wrote to your Brethren in Corinth because of their divisive behavior.  But we were all encouraged to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There were differences among us.  Some of us ate meat while others were repulsed at the thought of it.  But we were warned by the Holy Spirit not to judge one another and divide based on those things.  If we were to divide it would be over issues of heresy and the perversion …

Church Kid...It's Time We Had A Talk

Editor's Note:  This article was written by my wife, Sis. Elaine Hood, from the perspective of a generational Christian as well as a tenured Sunday School Teacher, Children's Church Instructor and Youth Leader.  The points here outlined are articulated, and perhaps far better, by someone who has the experience of growing up in the Church from birth as well as being the child of a preacher.  While the target audience for this article is those who have been raised in the Church, especially young people, the lessons herein are applicable to all Christians.  By: Elaine Hood
I was privileged to grow up in church and it's a blessing I don’t take lightly.  It afforded me some benefits many of those who come into truth later don’t have.  But along with the blessings came some hindrances that often go overlooked.  There were things everyone assumed I knew and experiences we all thought I had that, in reality, I was lacking.  In working with young people through the years I have conc…

Hymspirational Moment #6

TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY
Verse 1 Take time to be holy, speak oft with the Lord,  Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word. Make friends of God's children; help those who are weak,  Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek. 
Verse 2 Take time to be holy, the world rushes on, Spend much time in secret with Jesus alone. By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be, Thy friends in they conduct His likeness shall see.
Verse 3 Take time to be holy, let Him be thy guide, And run not before Him, whatever betide. In joy or in sorrow, still follow thy Lord, And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.
Verse 4 Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,  Each tho't and each motive, beneath His control. Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love, Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.
Holiness.  So misunderstood.  For some it is declared as a list of rules to be obeyed while, for others, it is a state imputed requiring nothing of the recipient.  Biblically speaking, holiness is the state of being sepa…

One Year of The Bruised Reed Blog

This blog began because of the encouragement of a few individuals.  Throughout the past year, God has used it in ways that I never would have imagined.  The Bruised Reed Blog is being read by 5,491 users in 951 cities in 90 nations around the world.  The purpose remains the same:  Reaching the world with messages of truth learned in the school of brokenness.  
I would like to thank a few special people who have been instrumental in pushing this blog forward:  Sister Maxine Locklear of Menard, Texas who has consistently encouraged me to write, Pastor Ron Townsley of Princeton, Illinois who told me, "If you ever throw anything you write away, make sure I'm your trash can", Missionary Tim Joiner of Belize, Central America who has rained more praise on my writing ability than I ever deserved, Pastor Kevin Archer of Hollywood, Florida who has reminded me of the need for Apostolic writers in our time and, last but not least, my wife Elaine who, as a scholar in her own right, is…

God Uses Consequences

"When the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, like snow. And Aaron turned toward Miriam, and behold, she was leprous. And Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, do not punish us because we have done foolishly and have sinned. Let her not be as one dead, whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes out of his mother's womb.” And Moses cried to the Lord, “O God, please heal her—please.” But the Lord said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut outside the camp seven days, and after that she may be brought in again.” So Miriam was shut outside the camp seven days, and the people did not set out on the march till Miriam was brought in again." - Numbers 12:10-15 (ESV)

Aaron and Miriam, two individuals who had been called of God along side Moses to bring about the deliverance of the Hebrews and guide them in the wilderness, were now walking in the footsteps of rebels.  They were offended beca…

Dying For The Lack Of A Wound

"Wounding blows cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the innermost parts." - Proverbs 20:30 (WEB)

Several years ago I fell victim to a very severely ingrown toenail.  My right big toenail had ingrown on both sides, curled upward and was cutting a path through the meat of my toe.  The podiatrist had me lie down on an examination table, pulled a screen over my lap to obscure my view, sprayed my toe with a deadening agent and, with the assistance of two or three injections of local anesthetic, removed the toenail.  In the process, my toe was laid open in three distinct pieces which had to be put back together.  The wound was horrible.  The doctor bandaged my wounded toe and sent me on my way with strict orders as to what I could and couldn't do and with a followup appointment in two weeks.

Permit me a moment to focus your attention away from the details of the operation and on to that which caused it to become necessary.  It was brought about by my own negligence.  Severa…

Hymspirational Moment #5

WHERE JESUS IS 'TIS HEAVEN
Verse 1 Since Christ my soul from sin set free,  This world has been a Heaven to me;  Amid earth's sorrows and its woe,  'Tis Heaven my Jesus here to know. 
Chorus Oh, hallelujah, yes, 'tis Heaven, 'Tis Heaven to know my sin's forgiven; On land or sea, what matters where? Where Jesus is, 'tis Heaven there.
Verse 2 Once Heaven seemed a far-off place,  Till Jesus showed His smiling face;  Now it's begun within my soul,  'Twill last while endless ages roll. 
Verse 3 What matters where on earth we dwell? On mountaintop or in the dell,  In cottage or a mansion fair,  Where Jesus is, 'tis Heaven there.
Heaven is often seen as a place very high up and far away.  It is considered a lofty mountaintop of brightness and glory where the sun never sets, the chill of winter wind never blows and the child lives perpetually in youthful immortality.  Heaven is looked upon as the place where tears are absent, pain is abated, death is defeated and all remna…

Things We Believe For All The Wrong Reasons

"The Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered around Him when they had come from Jerusalem, and had seen that some of His disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders; and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots.)"  - Mark 7:1-4 (NASB)

Sadly, I must confess to feeling the overwhelming pressure to write a disclaimer at the beginning of this article.  Such an opening statement is not necessary for those individuals who actually know me.  But for those who don't, please indulge me in this very brief preface.  I believe, preach, teach and live the precepts of the Word of God to the best of my knowledge and ability.  Holiness, modesty and mod…