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Following The Footprints

By Don Loftis | 10.18.17

In April of 1719,  Daniel Defoe published his fictional story about Robinson Crusoe.  It is a tale of a seaman’s exploits that finally land him on a seemingly deserted island where he will be marooned for seven years.  One day he saw a footprint in the sand that was not his, and he knew that he was not alone.   Ed Markquart suggests that Jesus’ coming into the world was a giant, divine footprint designed to tell us that we are not alone.  Paul described Jesus’ “footprint” to the Philippians by saying, “Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7).   Jesus came to [...]

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A Silver Anniversary

By Don Loftis | 10.04.17

We normally associate anniversaries with milestones in a marriage.  However, on Friday morning, Pam and I will celebrate our 25th year of work for the Lord here in Old Hickory.  We came with three children at home.  Now, they are all married, and we have 6 grandchildren and a seventh on the way.  I had darker hair, less weight, more energy, and the same bad singing voice.   Your encouragement has sustained a good ministry for a quarter of a century and has served as a great blessing to all of our family.  Together, we have celebrated births, baptisms, graduations, and weddings.  Together, we have mourned the deaths of those we love and wrestled with the spiritual struggles within our church family.   It would be an impossible task to thank all who have touched [...]

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Weeding the Garden of Life

By Don Loftis | 09.13.17

We are nearing the end of another gardening season.  Whether your garden produces beautiful flowers or tasty vegetables, you are fully aware of the danger of weeds.  They seem to thrive in all types of weather and choke out the growth and production of the desired plants.  There are “weeds” that can grow in our personal lives as well.  One of these weeds was recently identified by another preacher as the philosophy of “if it feels good do it.”   How much educational success would a student have if they only studied and attended class, when they felt like it?  How healthy would folks be if they indulged every desire the flesh presented?  What would relationships be like if we only did what we wanted to?  These weeds would, in time, choke out every good [...]

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Seeing God By Watching Jesus

By Don Loftis | 09.06.17

A young boy was asked to describe Jesus.  After some serious thought, he said, “Jesus is the best picture God ever had taken.”   That simple answer is   confirmed in the Bible.  In Hebrews 1:3 we read that God has spoken to us through His Son, and that “He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature.”  In John 14 the apostle Philip asks Jesus to show them the Father.  Jesus responded, “Have I been so long with you and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip?  He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”   The Gospel stories are not only helping us to understand our Savior, they are revealing the very nature of Jehovah.  We come to see God as caring and compassionate — [...]

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Overcoming Grief

By Don Loftis | 08.30.17

Two weeks ago the news carried a story about a Canadian woman who found her engagement ring which had been missing for 13 years.  The novelty was that she had lost it while weeding her garden, and her daughter-in-law found it attached to a carrot growing in the same garden.  Her joy at having it returned reminded me of the emotional pain that must have been experienced, when she lost it.   Grief is the natural response that we experience as result of a loss.  We typically associate it with deaths, but it occurs after any significant loss in our lives.  Every person will experience griefs during their lifetime.   The Bible is keenly aware of how God made us, and it deals very openly with the concepts of grief and hurt.  The recovery process [...]

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It Is Not For Sale

By Don Loftis | 08.23.17

Integrity is defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.”  It is measured in consistent behaviors through the years and is often tested in very difficult settings.   It certainly was that way for Coach Cleveland Stroud of the Rockdale County (GA) Bulldogs.  After 18 years as coach, his team won the state basketball championship.  He was carried off the court, his picture was on the front page of the newspaper, and the team incurred celebrity status in town.  However, two months after winning the trophy, the coach discovered that one of his players had been academically ineligible.  Though he had only played 45 seconds at the end of one game, the coach knew it had to be reported; they had to forfeit.  He told his team, “You’ve got to do [...]

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Let Your Light Shine

By Don Loftis | 08.02.17

If you ever toured Mammoth Cave, you likely recall reaching the largest “room” and having them turn out all the lights.  The darkness was amazing.  You literally could not see your hand in front of your face.  After everyone’s eyes had adjusted to the dark, the guide would light a match.  Amidst the cavernous darkness, the amount of light generated by a match or a candle was incredible.   Light appears its brightest in darkness.  The same is true for Christians who have been called to be the light of the world.  That radiance is beautiful on Sundays during the assembly or the Bible class, but it is even more beautiful shining in the darkness of the world.   I suppose this is the reason we are called to love our enemies, as well as [...]

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The Value Of Self-Control

By Don Loftis | 07.26.17

David Swagner recently wrote about a 14th Century duke named Raynald III, but was commonly called by his nickname Crassus, which meant “fat.”  In a family dispute Raynald’s brother, Edward,  revolted and imprisoned his overweight brother.   Rather than putting him in a cell or dungeon, he built a room around him that had windows and a slightly undersized door.  Raynald was told that as soon as he lost enough weight to fit through the door or window, he was free to leave.  However, Raynald never could control his eating habits and spent his life as a prisoner–truly a prisoner of his own appetite.   Our lives are often destroyed by our lack of self control as well.  Our anger may damage or destroy a relationship.  A poor diet may result in obesity or diabetes.  Poor [...]

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How Do You View Your Religion?

By Don Loftis | 07.19.17

I suppose folks might define “religion” in different ways.  To me “religion” is the day-to-day expression of my faith in God.  There are at least four ways people treat their religion.   For some it is a hobby.  They enjoy it — more at some times than others.  As time and finances permit, religious activities are a part of their lives.  Like most hobbies, though, it is discretionary in terms of commitment.   For others, religion is more like their job or career.  They attend services and give, because that is what one is supposed to do. They are very faithful, but also somewhat burdened by these responsibilities.  Retirement may be a valued goal.   Still others, view their religious lives as a passion being lived out both intellectually and emotionally.  Christianity is a Cause [...]

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Shifting Our Focus

By Don Loftis | 07.12.17

Genesis 5 heralds the great story of a man named Enoch.  Apparently, he walked so closely with God that the Lord took him on to heaven.  Hebrews 11:5 says “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up, for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.”   We certainly interpret this story in positive ways.  Enoch  was praised for his righteousness and escaped the pain typically associated with dying.  Like the apostle Paul thousands of years later, “it was very much better” to go be with the Lord.   I know all of that is true, but I wonder what his family felt?  I wonder what the community where he lived thought?  Based [...]

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