The Loophole Heresy
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http://www.goodsalt.com/details/rbjas0041.html?r=ssnet

Okay, definition first:

Loophole – “an ambiguity, omission, etc, as in a law, by which one can avoid a penalty or responsibility”1

Probably, most of us don’t think about loopholes very often. If we think of them

Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

at all, it’s in the context of rich people trying to get out of paying taxes or a criminal avoiding jail time.

I’d like to suggest, though, that when it comes to the Ten Commandments, almost every one of us has [...]

Compelled
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http://www.goodsalt.com/details/pcmas0038.html?r=ssnet

Have you ever been “compelled” to do something? Have you ever “compelled” anybody else do to anything? Does the word “compel” have positive or negative connotations to you?

Image © Phil McKay from GoodSalt.com

It’s an important question because we are told in the Matthew 14 parable of the wedding feast, “…, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.’” Matthew 14:23

Does that mean that we’re to go grab people [...]

Why Does it Matter Which Day We Keep?
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New England Churches 074

A while back, my community Bible study group that meets Wednesday mornings at my church decided to have a luncheon and invite some friends and neighbors. As we began to have lunch the next Wednesday, one of our guests asked me why we go to church on Saturday. I explained to her that since we believe Jesus is our only example and our only source of salvation, we observe the day that He made holy and that He observed. For [...]

The Prodigal Son Is In Good and Regular Standing
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Prodigal

Whenever the subject of the prodigal son comes up, we picture a young person who has lost his way. We use this story, and rightly so, to show the dangers of a life of aimless, godless living. For many mothers and fathers this story gives hope to the day that their own “prodigal” child returns home. If it could happen for the young man in this biblical account, surely it could happen for us. Amen, somebody.

While all of the above [...]

A World Without Sacrifice?
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Jim and his wife Plessie, who knew you can't have paradise without sacrifice.

Has modern technology removed the need for sacrifice? Now everyone can have their own way. When I was growing up back in the  20th century, my family had one black and white TV. On Monday nights, at our house we had to make compromises.

Jim and his wife Plessie, who knew you can’t have paradise without sacrifice.

My dad and me missed the first hour of Monday Night Football so that my mom and sister could watch Little House on the [...]

A New Commandment That Was There All Along
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Image © Stan Myers from GoodSalt.com

Image © Stan Myers from GoodSalt.com

There is a trick question I love to ask people. What was the tallest mountain in the world before Mount Everest was discovered? I get all kinds of answers, like “Mount McKinley “and so forth, but you know what the answer is? Mount Everest!

Mount Everest was the tallest mountain in the world (Now I know a lot of geography buffs are going to tell me there are even taller mountains in the depths of [...]

Repairing the Potholes
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potholes2

We’ve had a tremendous amount of rain this year, with five inches just last Friday.  When I was driving in the pouring rain with the grandchildren, I told them we needed a boat, as every now and then, the water splashed up 20 feet or so on either side of the van. When the sun came out the next day, we saw washed-out driveways and big pot holes where the rain had washed away parts of roads. It [...]

Legalism vs. Temperance
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http://www.goodsalt.com/details/jtbps2020.html?r=ssnet

I have found that there are some important topics that nobody wants to talk about. I went to all my regular websites and found an entire category suspiciously missing. It goes by several names – temperance, moderation, abstinence, self-control, balance …

Part of my problem, I think, is that a couple of those terms have taken on very specific meanings even though they can be applied in lots of different situations.

Temperance, for example, has come to be used almost exclusively in relation [...]

Acts of Humanity
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As this week’s lesson talks about acts of inhumanity being sins against God, I would like to write about acts of humanity.

Taking a walk in Texas, I came across a beautiful patch of Texas Blue Bonnet flowers and Indian Paint Brushes. Among the flowers I saw some litter. I thought to myself, as ugly as sin has made this world, God still has His beautiful flowers for all to enjoy among the litter.

Not long after the New York World Trade [...]

Try a Little Love and Tenderness
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grandmahug

This week’s Sabbath School lesson is about Hosea and the relentless love of God. For me, one of the key verses is Hosea 2:14,

But then I will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her there.

I am so thankful for parents who understand this. I wish all parents understood this is the way to win their children’s loyalty to God and to themselves.

Several years ago I was preaching for Father’s Day, and I had a few people, [...]