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Cabot Church of Christ

“Life Is Not A Highlight Reel”

Posted on: January 17th, 2019 by Chuck Ball No Comments

I love the highlights. Doesn’t matter if it’s golf, football, baseball or basketball, I just enjoy seeing the highlights of the previous night’s games. The highlights represent the best plays and shots of the game. Typically, the highlights are the most exciting parts of the game. The highlights are what everyone talks about the next few days.
Life has its highlights, but life is not just a highlight reel. In fact, life is full of difficult and discouraging times. Jesus even said, “in the world you will have tribulation”(Jno.16:33). But, today’s social media sure makes life seem like one highlight after another. People are literally a few clicks away from viewing any and everything that’s going on in a friend’s life. And, most people only post the highlights. So, Facebook becomes for some a modern highlight reel of their life. This leads to discouragement and even depression for the active Facebook junkie who views all the highlights of a friend’s life on a daily basis.
I’m not trying to be critical or judgmental. I’m not even encouraging people to stop posting life highlights or to start posting the bad with the good. My point is this, social media doesn’t reveal the whole story. When you view someone’s life highlights, understand that they have endured difficult times too that they didn’t include in their posts. Don’t feel bad about yourself or your life because of the posted highlights of others. At the end of the day, none of us are perfect so none of us have the perfect life, at least not this side of heaven.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”(Rom.3:23)

 

 

“Don’t Blame God”

Posted on: January 8th, 2019 by Chuck Ball No Comments

“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death”(Jas.1:13-15). No matter the situation or circumstances, it seems we always want to blame someone else. Has our culture conditioned us over the years to believe that it’s always somebody else’s fault? It’s not my child’s fault, it’s the teachers. My child wouldn’t dare do that, it must have been one of the other kids.
James says, if you’re talking about being tempted and sinning, don’t blame God. In fact, don’t blame anyone but yourself. That’s right, when it comes to yielding to temptations, you and I must take ownership. There’s no one for us to blame for our own personal temptations and sin struggles, but ourselves. It’s when we stop passing the blame and take ownership for our actions that we begin to see growth and change in ourselves. Reality is, if one never takes responsibility for his own actions, then he’ll never see the need to change his behavior. As Christians we should live every day with an attitude of repentance and a willingness to change whatever behavior is not pleasing to God.

 

 

“A Year For Spiritual Growth”

Posted on: January 2nd, 2019 by Chuck Ball No Comments

What if we made 2019 the year for spiritual growth? Many of us set goals and plans for the new year, but how many have anything to do with spiritual growth? For Christians today, it’s too easy to become lethargic in our faith. After all, we’ve been doing the same thing week after week and year after year for what seems like forever. Don’t allow the repetition of your faith practices to lull you into a spiritual coma. We need growth, spiritual growth. If we’re not growing, we’re dying.
Here’s the harsh reality about making 2019 a year for spiritual growth. Growing spiritually in 2019 will require effort. You can’t just sit and do nothing and expect to grow. You will grow spiritually if you will constantly gather with God’s people for worship and Bible study. And if you really want to see some growth, step out of your comfort zone and find a ministry in the church and get involved. Involvement in the church leads to deeper relationships with other Christians and more time spent in good Christian fellowship. It requires effort to find your ministry and your place to make a difference for the kingdom.
Finally, if your plan is to grow spiritually this year, then you need to be serious about studying the Bible and prayer. We hear a lot about Bible study and prayer but do we practice those spiritual necessities away from the church building in our personal lives? You don’t have to be a Bible scholar but you do need to be a Bible student. Pick a Bible book you’re interested in and commit to reading through it a few times and then move on to the next. Make it a practice to begin and end your day with prayer. You’ll be shocked at how your time reading and praying will become habits that you feel must be done daily. Spiritual growth doesn’t just happen, it requires effort.
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen”(II Peter 3:18).

 

 

“Holidays And Anxiety”

Posted on: December 6th, 2018 by Chuck Ball No Comments

“It’s The Most Wonderful Time of Year”, at least that’s what the popular Christmas song says. The holidays really are a wonderful time of year, but it’s also a time of increased anxiety. The holiday season is a busy time of year with extra shopping which could raise anxiety levels due to more spending than usual. Preparing your home for out of town guests or packing and preparing to travel and be the out of town guests can cause anxiety. Sometimes just being with family that you don’t see often can cause anxiety. Some spend much of the holiday season grieving the loss of a loved one which will cause anxiety. As fun and memorable as the holiday season is, it can certainly be a time of anxiety also.
The truth of the matter is that we deal with some level of anxiety on a daily basis and not just once a year during the holiday season. So, what are we to do with anxiety? How are we to cope with potential increased anxiety during the holidays? Some may say that we just have to grit our teeth and grind through the next few weeks and any anxiety that life brings our way. There certainly may be some truth to that, but there is another option that I believe offers us more support and success in overcoming anxiety. Simply put, give your anxiety to God. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you”(I Pet.5:6-7). Did you catch that? God cares so much for you that He’s willing to take on all of your anxieties.
We all deal with anxiety and we all like the thought and the opportunity of giving our anxiety over to God, but the problem is we want to take it back. Why? Why do we so desire to take our anxiety back from a God that has the ability to handle it, calm us and deliver us through it? Whatever time of year and whatever the cause of your anxiety, give it up to God and let go of it. How freeing it is to deliver our anxiety to God and allow Him to deliver us from the worries that ultimately distract us from Him. A popular jail house saying is “let go and let God”. My hope is that those of us who live in freedom will adopt that slogan and then experience true freedom from the anxieties that attack our faith on a regular basis.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”(Phil.4:6).

 

 

“Giving God’s Way”

Posted on: November 30th, 2018 by Chuck Ball No Comments

The holiday season is in full swing and with it comes much giving. In fact, some might say that this is the season of giving. Many are shopping for the perfect gifts for their loved ones and friends. Don’t you love the look on their face as they open your gift? I think most of us truly enjoy giving to others. Giving blesses those who receive and it blesses the giver. I love giving but I don’t want my giving to be seasonal and I definitely want to give God’s way.
“Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on”(Lk.21:1-4). The widow’s giving impressed and pleased Jesus as she gave all she had. One might say that the widow literally gave until it hurt. Her giving was completely selfless and full of faith. The widow’s giving proves that her faith was in God and not in money.
I think we should all be challenged by this short story of a widow who gave all she had. We should ask ourselves if our giving shows a deep faith in God or a trust in money. Truth is our money is God’s anyway. All that we have God has blessed us with, so we should be willing to give back to Him or to bless others. We will never be able to out give God as He gave the ultimate gift of His only Son to the cross for us. We should at least strive to be like the widow and give God’s way.
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”(II Cor.9:7)

 

 

“Giving God’s Way”

Posted on: November 29th, 2018 by Chuck Ball No Comments

The holiday season is in full swing and with it comes much giving. In fact, some might say that this is the season of giving. Many are shopping for the perfect gifts for their loved ones and friends. Don’t you love the look on their face as they open your gift? I think most of us truly enjoy giving to others. Giving blesses those who receive and it blesses the giver. I love giving but I don’t want my giving to be seasonal and I definitely want to give God’s way.
“Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on”(Lk.21:1-4). The widow’s giving impressed and pleased Jesus as she gave all she had. One might say that the widow literally gave until it hurt. Her giving was completely selfless and full of faith. The widow’s giving proves that her faith was in God and not in money.
I think we should all be challenged by this short story of a widow who gave all she had. We should ask ourselves if our giving shows a deep faith in God or a trust in money. Truth is our money is God’s anyway. All that we have God has blessed us with, so we should be willing to give back to Him or to bless others. We will never be able to out give God as He gave the ultimate gift of His only Son to the cross for us. We should at least strive to be like the widow and give God’s way.
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”(II Cor.9:7)

 

 

“Thanksgiving”

Posted on: November 14th, 2018 by Chuck Ball No Comments

Thanksgiving is a holiday that many look forward to all year. On that particular Thursday in November, families will gather for a meal and to enjoy quality time together. Old family traditions are honored and new traditions are made. The main thing is that the Thanksgiving holiday is about being away from work and your daily schedule and just being with your family. Thanksgiving is also an attitude or mindset. The word “thanksgiving” means giving thanks or being thankful. We tend to be a little more thankful this time of year with the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”(I Thess.5:16-18). Paul taught that we should “give thanks in all circumstances”. It’s easy to be thankful and give thanks when all is well and we’re sitting at a table full of food and surrounded by family and friends. But, “all circumstances” means just that. It’s God’s will for those in Christ to be thankful always. When things are good and when things aren’t so good, we’re to give thanks. As Christians we should have an attitude of thanksgiving all year long, no matter the difficult circumstances we face. This is no easy task but necessary and beneficial, as it helps us to stay focused on the One who blesses with all that we have to be thankful for.

 

 

“Obstacles That Test Our Faith” Part IV

Posted on: October 26th, 2018 by Chuck Ball No Comments

“So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was”(Jno.11:3-6). Lazarus was sick and his sisters were so concerned that they sent for Jesus and He waited two days to respond. We know that Jesus raised Lazarus from death, but his delay in getting there could’ve been an obstacle that tested the faith of Mary and Martha.
Divine delays can be an obstacle that tests our faith. If we’re honest, we want God to answer our prayers the way we desire and immediately, and if that doesn’t happen our faith is tested. We have to remember that God answers our every prayer according to His will and in His perfect timing. We tend to think that we know what’s best, but let’s not forget that God always knows what’s best for us. So, when your prayer isn’t answered when and how you want, remember that God is in control and He doesn’t necessarily give you what you want, but what you need. Divine delays shouldn’t test our faith, but instead strengthen it by challenging us to trust God more.

 

 

“Obstacles That Test Our Faith” Part III

Posted on: October 25th, 2018 by Chuck Ball No Comments

Friends are so important to our lives. We all need friends that we can count on no matter what. A true friend is one who always has your best interest at heart. Friends want you to succeed and are genuinely proud when you do. Friends celebrate life’s victories with you and grieve with you during times of mourning. We spend a lot of time in this life with our friends, so it is essential that we choose friends who are good for us. Another obstacle that can test our faith is having the wrong friends.
Our friends have a lot of influence on us, which is why it’s so important that we choose the right friends. Truth is, we become like our friends. One dad said if he could just make one decision for his kids, it would be who their friends are. That dad understands that our friends can be an obstacle that tests our faith. Our friends can lead us to do things that we never thought we’d do. Friends who don’t share our faith can even lead us away from God. Teenagers or adults, it matters who your friends are because your faithfulness to God may depend on it.
“Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals”(I Cor.15:33).

 

 

“Obstacles That Test Our Faith” Part II

Posted on: October 19th, 2018 by Chuck Ball No Comments

“And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them”(Mk.10:13). Can you imagine how the parents must have felt as the disciples turned them away. They just wanted Jesus to touch their children, but the disciples showed a lack of sympathy to them. Lack of sympathy from the church is an obstacle that can test our faith. What if you endured a tragedy and your church family didn’t show sympathy or concern for you? That would hurt any of us and test the strongest faith.
We all need sympathetic love and support from our church family at times. I’m sure there are times when we don’t know what to say to our hurting brother or sister, but avoiding them and their situation could hurt their faith beyond repair. It’s important that we all understand that there are times when there is nothing anyone can say. Also, know that you don’t have to utter a word to show sympathy to the hurting. A hug, handshake, a pat on the back and just being there are the acts that show true sympathy, love and support. I’m sure hurting Christians have been overlooked by the church at times, but I’m positive that is never done on purpose. My prayer is that our church family will diligently work together to never be a faith testing obstacle to others because of our lack of sympathy for the hurting.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep”(Rom.12:15).