Be Wise Small, Dee Bowman


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Be Wise Small

by Dee Bowman

Short Stops

“Love you” loses part of its force when you leave the “I” out of it.

You have to figure out where you are before you can get where you’re going.

If you can’t thank God for it, you better not do it.

Life is just like the weather–it changes every day.

How would you live your life if you knew exactly how much of it you had?

The true quality life is not material, it’s spiritual.

The person who flaunts his talent flouts the law of humility (Proverbs 16:18-19).

1 Jno. 3:4-10

John’s First Epistle

1 Jno. 3:4-10

You Can’t Go On Sinning!

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.  Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.  By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

– 1 Jno. 3:4-10

Christians, in the ordinary course of daily living, may make mistakes, then immediately recover and repent. We are all in the process of growth, which means doing better, correcting our course, repenting of sins promptly.

In this passage, John is talking about those who make a practice of sinning, very similar to the statement in Heb. 10, concerning those who keep on sinning. The point John is making is (1) Jesus’ life and work was “to take away sins,” and (2) “no one who abides in him keeps on sinning.” John is concerned that his readers might be deceived into thinking sin is compatible with being a Christian.

He wants to take them back to the value of Christ’s life and death – and rely on that truth to motivate them to never excuse sin or keep on sinning without repentance.

In John’s typical bold (black and white) manner, he says that “whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”

My recent “experiment” with audio with slides was well received. Here is another one. The subject is – FEARLESS PARENTING. Click Here.

Please visit the Laurel Heights Church of Christ Website, Click Here.

Romans 12:1,2 Audio w/ Slides

Romans 12:1,2 – An Experimental Episode

In July I delivered a sermon at Laurel Heights (McAllen, Tx.) based on Romans 12:1,2, with first emphasis on this as a “therefore” passage. Then from that, I raised three questions for us. The audio is here (Click).

Then I recorded an Mp4 video. The advantage is, the listener can see the slides while listening to the sermon. The video w/ audio is here (Click). Not certain I can do this every week, but I’ve posted here and will welcome your feedback.


The Cost of Popularity

14680744_10210878994876731_4888788966367405210_nJohn 12:43

The Cost of Popularity

“For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”

Stepping outside my comfort zone, I’m going to make this personal. From an old man to my younger Christian friends.

When I was in High School (mid-1960’s), I was popular. In those days you became popular in one of three ways: (1) Star Athlete. No. Not me. (2) Strikingly Handsome. No. (3) The Class Clown. That’s what I was. I made people laugh. Even if it meant crossing some boundaries, taking some risks and going against what I knew was proper, I loved to make people laugh. I was good at it. And I reached the highest symbol of popularity. I briefly dated the head cheerleader.

The life of High School popularity felt good. I was well-liked. During this time, I was a Christian. I attended churche services faithfully and everybody there thought I was a fine young man.

I had the best of two worlds. My peers thought I was great. And the brethren thought I was great.

Yet, this “greatness” had a price. It nagged at me, that my ambition for popularity did not fit my profession of faith in Christ. I could not engage in serious personal evangelism. Getting people to take me seriously about anything was tough. I was the class clown, therefore not a good representative of Christ.

I was accepted by my brethren and my peers, but there had to be compromise. That compromise nagged at me. I knew I couldn’t spend the rest of my life seeking favor with everyone. After High School, wisdom was chosen and spiritual maturity took me to a better, spiritually healthy place.

To teenagers and young people – Be friendly as the Bible defines kindness and goodness; if that isn’t sufficient to attract friends, don’t move from healthy friendliness over to compromise. It will plant a thorn in your conscience. The longer that thorn remains, the harder to remove it. Seek His glory above all other relationships. You cannot afford the cost of popularity.




Strive To Enter, Heb. 4:8-16


“Strive To Enter”

Hebrews 4:8-16 (ESV)

For if Joshua had given them rest, God[a] would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. 11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I have marked in my Bible, one phrase that captures the main thought of this section: “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest.” Just as God rested after His creative work. Just as a rest was promised to the Israelites. There is a rest from the burden of sin in Christ. And that promised rest has a heavenly destination.

What could keep Christians from that rest? There is a single word back in Heb. 4:6 – DISOBEDIENCE. So, “let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.”

Do we struggle against temptation? Are there weakness in our earthly existence we must overcome? Do we need help while engaged in our works here, before the final rest? Yes. But listen to this:

14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

My Entire Hebrews Podcasts Series is Here.

About Angels

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Angels, Sorry: Second Place

Warren E. Berkley

The Jews, for many generations before Christ came, held angels in high esteem. There was a basis for this. Angels have long enjoyed a place in God’s order, like Gabriel and Michael in the book of Daniel.

Today there is a heightened fascination for “the spirit world” of demons and angels. Mostly this interest revolves around claims of personal experience, dramatic encounters and dreams which could never be verified, but carry some sensation.

When Bible classes come to any mention of angels (as in Hebrews chapter one), there is a temptation to stop everything, unpack everything the Bible says about angels and add to the discussion all the subjective options and stories about these mystic beings.

If you let that happen in Hebrews chapter one, you have acted in direct defiance of the point of the passage. The main thing in Hebrews one is not angels. In fact, the affirmation of the writer is, they are second place to Jesus Christ. What is said and claimed about Jesus Christ could never be said of angels. Our Savior is totally different and stands at a different level. It is our great privilege to be subject to Him.

“Let all the angels worship Him,” (Heb. 1:6; Psa. 97:7).


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Warren E. Berkley

 Do you remember this from junior high school? A student comes to you and says, “will you tell Sally that I like her?” Or, “will you tell Mary to tell Jane that Henry said he likes Sally?” You were being asked to deliver a message someone else didn’t want to deliver. Perhaps you complied with the request in junior high. But as an adult you recognize that as juvenile behavior.

Yet in offices occupied by adults, a form of that adolescent method may be attempted. “Will you tell the boss that Bob told Bill that Joe didn’t like his annual evaluation. I just think the boss should know.” While you may reluctantly comply with that chain of tittle-tattle, you know there are better ways to communicate.

This happens in families. Shunning straight communication and perhaps with an equal absence of maturity and courage, one family member may ask another to get another one “told.” Though the approach often backfires, it seems to be perpetuated through several generations. It solves no problems and could create many.

Then there are churches. The rule in many places seems to be, if you want to complain about the elders, go to the preacher. If you have something against the preacher, say nothing to him; take it to the elders.

Preachers are targets of this. Many times in 49 years, I’ve been approached by someone and told plainly, “somebody needs to correct brother _____.” The object of this criticism may have mis-worded a prayer, said something out of place or failed to correct a child. The preacher is supposed to fix all of this.

Personally, I just don’t do this. I don’t let people use me to fix people they think should be fixed. If a complaint is valid, take it up with the “guilty party.” If the complaint is just idle talk, I don’t want to hear it. The only time you can bring me in would be in cases where specific application of Matt. 18:16 or 1 Tim. 5:19 are objectively apparent.

Cristians should be people of such maturity, we don’t use the communication methods of a 7th grader. Strife is often the result, when you talk about people in their absence. If you really care about the “guilty party,” and you are convinced they are in spiritual jeopardy, speak directly to the person. Don’t hand off challenging situations to others. That’s cowardly, immature, fosters ill will and often backfires.

I like what Henry Van Dyke said: Never believe anything bad about anybody unless you positively know it to be true; never tell even that unless you feel that it is absolutely necessary — and remember that God is listening while you tell it.

I really like what James said: If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless (Jas. 1:26).

From the archives of Expository Files, Jan. 2009

Men Needed

Found this written by Jim R. Everett

Men Needed

There are times when informative lessons are not needed – like the old farmer said when approached by the young agricultural graduate who wanted to sell him a book on how to farm better – “I already know more about farming than I use, so don’t need your book.” Frequently lessons have been presented that have addressed with great clarity and thoroughness (at least I think so) what the Bible teaches about the man’s responsibilities as a husband, as a father, and in the congregation as a leader. How many times have you heard Ephesians 5:25-27; 1 Timothy 3-ff; or 1 Peter 5:1-5 expounded? Sometimes, we admit, “Yes, I know what I should be doing” – and then go our separate ways, neglecting leadership responsibilities.

We don’t need lords, masters, kings or bosses. Nor do we need men who want to lead from secluded offices and only see members at the assembly. We need fathers in our homes who don’t shout directions from their recliners but who take an active part in the training of their children. Being a Godly father is not the result of the power of procreation but of a conscientious man who understands, loves and does the best to train his children (Cf. Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4) – the right kind of provider is not just someone who earns money to dole out to the wife and children.

We need men who are compassionate, insightful, and personally involved in relationships with God’s people. They must take the initiative and be good examples of what they teach. And, in order to do that they must establish spiritual values over prosperity, recreation, entertainment, and even education.

Men must want to lead. A reluctant leader is no leader at all. However, wanting to lead is not prompted by being a “control freak” but, rather, because one is aware of God-given responsibility. Literally, Paul says of one who would be qualified to lead in the congregation – “If a man aspires to oversight, he desires a good work…” (1 Timothy 3:1). Whether in the home or in the congregation, men must understand the accountability for not accepting responsibility (Matthew 25:14-29). But, when you accept the leadership, be prepared to accept the flak and criticism that go with it. Complainers and gossips want leadership for the wrong reasons. Can you imagine what kind of a mess Israel would have been in if Korah had led? A word to the wise is sufficient — if you are inclined to complain and murmur, try to imagine what it would be like if you were the object of your own criticism. Would things really be better, if you were leading?

If a husband doesn’t lead in the marriage, it forces the wife to take the lead – that comes with a price for the man and the woman. If a father won’t take the lead in the family, it forces the mother to shoulder extra work and reflects on the father in the eyes of the children. If men don’t take the lead in the congregation, it either goes without direction or women take the lead – confusion, strife, division or spiritual death is most often the consequence. In every instance, it is to the shame and disgrace of the man!

We need young men who are preparing to be good husbands, fathers, preachers and elders. Without early preparation the future looks dim for God’s people. Please, God, give us men who will act like men. – Jim R. Everett

1 Jno. 3:1-3

John’s First Epistle

1 Jno. 3:1-3

Love, Hope & God’s Children

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

– 1 Jno. 3:1-3

On a very simple level, John wants us to see something; appreciate it and hold to it: See what kind of love the Father has given to us. This love the Father has bestowed finds expression in our relationship and identity: that we should be called children of God, and so we are!

If there were nothing else to see and appreciate, this would be sufficient ground for us to sing, praise God, be content and continue our obedience to Christ, even though the world does not know us. God knows us. Christ died for us.

While we do not have an exact description of what we will be in heaven, we have assurance that we will be like Him.

So these opening verses in 1 Jno. 3 contain love, bestowed by God to enable us to be in His family. Hope, that we will be like Christ eternally.

And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure. Those who really appreciate what John has written here, and who cherish this hope purify themselves through the blood of Christ. Remember what is stated back in chapter one? If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

When was this said?

Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and the servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all.

A.W. Tozer, THE PURSUIT OF GOD, 1948