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Former Days

Friday, November 10, 2023

Former Days

By Larry Coffey

We read in Ecclesiastes 7:10, “Say not, why were the former days better than these? For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.” Yet, we often speak of the good old days as though life was much better in past years. While there will be things we remember with great fondness, we tend to overlook how much our lives have improved. Of course, older folks may think about their former health and strength, but are living conditions really not as good as former days?

Christians will remember that more people seemed to be interested in spiritual matters, and the number of people who attend church services has been declining over the last 50 years. We have also seen a decline in morals. Abortion and homosexual marriage would have never become law in the 1950’s.

In Christianity Magazine’s September/October, 1996 issue, Ed Harrell said this: “The past was never as good as we remember it being. There is bad and good in every time. The present is probably better than we are able to admit. I see more fine young people in the universities today than ever before in my career as a teacher.”

Going way back to the days of Noah, we read in Gen. 6:5, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” The Lord allowed life to continue until only eight people in the whole world were faithful. Move forward several hundred years, and the Lord told Abraham he would not destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah if he could find 10 faithful people there, but Abraham couldn’t even find 10.

Today we have many more than eight or 10 people serving the Lord at the Douglass Hills church alone. And just think of the thousands and thousands of churches in this country and around the world with people serving God. I hear members of the church say times are getting so bad the Lord may return soon to end life here. Of course, neither I or anyone else knows when Christ may return, but based on history, it is going to be a long time before that happens.

According to my notes from a Wednesday night talk I gave at DH in 1998, I made these comments: “I want to praise the young people we have here at DH. In my opinion, we now have as good a group of young people as we have ever had. They are involved in our worship, and they are involved in visiting and helping others outside our assemblies.” And I believe today, 25 years later, we have a great group of young people. They are involved in our work and their interest was further demonstrated by their participation in our recent Youth Forum.

So, former days are not always better than present days. And I believe there is a lot to look forward to in our future days.

What Is Truth? - Part 2

Friday, October 06, 2023

What Is Truth? - Part 2

By Boyd Hurst

In Part 1 of this article, we began to discuss how one should answer Pilate’s question “What is truth?”  We discussed how Jesus is full of grace and truth (Jn. 1:14) and is thus the purveyor of truth and we should listen to Him.  However, the devil is doing everything within his power to confuse and destroy the truth just as he did in the garden at the beginning of time.  We need to be mature enough to discern good from evil as we face the challenges of our increasingly ungodly environment.

Everyone surely realizes there are fundamental truths that do not change.  In the morning the sun is seen first in the east, 2+2=4, water at sea level freezes at 32°F and boils at 212°F, etc.  God is like that according to Mal. 3:6 which states, “I am the Lord, I do not change.”  Daniel prophesied that the Roman empire would “speak pompous words against the Most High, persecute the saints of the Most High and intend to change times and law” (Dan. 7:24).  However, he goes on to say that this kingdom will be destroyed and the kingdom of the Most High will arise as an everlasting kingdom that all dominions shall serve and obey.  Not even the powerful Roman empire could change God’s law nor can any other.  It is not up to a nation or individual to determine what is truth.  God’s truth is always victorious and is a “lamp to my feet and a light to my pathway” (Psa. 119:105).  Jesus told His apostles that He would send them the Spirit of truth (Jn. 15:26) who will “guide them into all truth” (Jn. 16:13) and Jesus prayed for them to be sanctified by the truth of God’s word (Jn. 17:17).

Even though we may think we understand the principles stated previously, the Scripture teaches that the devil is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8) and false prophets appear as wolves in sheep’s clothing (Mt. 7:15).  Just like Satan manipulated the language in Genesis 3 to entice Eve to sin, we see the same thing happening today.  Society has given the right for biological males to declare they are female and vice versa.  The medical world has assisted by creating drugs and surgical procedures that cause women to appear more masculine and men to appear more feminine.  As members of this society, we are called upon to address these “changed” individuals by specific pronouns, either the opposite gender or neutral to not offend them.  It is clear that these superficial changes have not rendered a fundamental change since DNA is still the same.   Also, male athletes who were only mediocre competing against males have risen to the top of women’s sports by declaring they are female even though they have obviously not lost their maleness.  Just as Jeremiah prophesied against Jerusalem when it fell into sin, “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination?  No!  They were not at all ashamed; nor did they know how to blush” (Jer. 6:15). 

When asked to define “woman”, the latest supreme court justice, Ketanji Jackson, refused to answer thereby underscoring the confusion that is being perpetrated by an ungodly society.  In fact, articles and even books have been written to try to define a woman according to the latest academic ideologies.  It used to be very simple (and still is), but it has been made very complicated in order to satisfy a current narrative/agenda.  It makes one wonder what the next redefinition of terms will be to contradict the clear and obvious meaning of a descriptive term.

This redefining of terms would be laughable if it was not so serious and detrimental to a belief in God.  The very fact that this is being embraced in our culture reveals the depravity that now exists.  When we condemn the practice of homosexuality and same-sex marriages, we are called homophobes because society has changed the definition of marriage such that it can be between a man and a woman or between two people of the same sex.  When we say only women can give birth, we are called transphobes.

At the creation, God created everything to serve His purpose and He proclaimed them good.  All things created were holy and distinct and perfect.  Male and female were created to complement one another and to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.  It is incredible that feeble men have the audacity to even consider the alteration of God’s plan.  Paul, in the Colossian letter, warned of this very thing: “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and vain deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ”, Col. 2:8.  Just as the cucumber can be turned into a pickle by vinegar, we can be changed by this world if we allow ourselves to be immersed in it.  As Paul states in Rom. 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

It is time that we realize and proclaim that “truth” is not subjective.  In religion, there is not your truth and my truth or our truth and their truth, there is simply truth.  God’s truth is universal and absolute since He is the originator and purveyor of truth.  In answer to Pilate’s question “What is Truth?”, we can surely and confidently answer that God’s word is truth.  Let us all seek, find and courageously follow the truth of God’s word.

What Is Truth? - Part 1

Friday, September 29, 2023

What Is Truth? - Part 1

By Boyd Hurst

You may recognize the title of this article is taken from Pilate’s reply to Jesus in Jn. 18:38. Jesus has just stated that His purpose for coming into the world was to bear witness to the truth and that everyone who is of the truth listens to His voice.  The question that Pilate raised, perhaps cynically, is a question that faces us daily in our current society.  Indeed, we need to embrace the idea of “truth” even more as we see the erosion of adherence to an absolute and true standard and the befuddlement of truth.

First, we must recognize that Jesus is the expert on truth.  In Jn. 1:14 we read that Jesus is “full of grace and truth.”   Jesus told His disciples in Jn. 8:31 that they would know the truth and the truth would make them free.  He uses the term “truth” seven times in this discourse emphasizing that He is the purveyor of truth, and they need to listen to Him.  The King of truth tells us how to be part of His kingdom, and it is this truth that will save us.

In Jn. 8:44 Jesus references how truth has been under attack by Satan since the beginning of time.  We all know the story of Gen. 3.  God had placed Adam and Eve in a beautiful garden, and they had a wonderful relationship with each other.  However, a choice tree had been placed in the garden, and God warned them not to eat it or touch it lest they die.  Satan enters and creates doubt by manipulating language and using lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and the pride of life to entice Eve to sin. 

As someone has said, “sin is not hurtful because it is forbidden, it is forbidden because it is hurtful.”  In Isaiah’s prophecy against the northern kingdom in Isa. 59:14-15, he describes how truth was being maligned.  He states there is no justice or righteousness because “truth stumbles in the public squares” and is therefore “lacking.”  “And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.”  Earlier in the book of Isaiah we have the familiar woe pronounced upon those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, and who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter, Isa. 5:20.  Does this remind you of some in our current society who have chosen to redefine terms to satisfy their agenda?

Propagandists in power have long known that if you boldly lie to the public and loudly proclaim the lie often enough, you will convince many that it is the truth.  Or if the facts are ignored or suppressed along with the objections of some who are trying to expose the truth, then the lie will prevail.  It is clear that truth is not being reported today in the mainstream media, only the narrative that the media wishes us to hear.  Those who would try to speak the truth are deplatformed, shouted down and/or canceled, and their words go unreported…they have become a prey.

We need to be mature and able to discern between good and evil as exhorted by the Hebrew writer in Heb. 5:14. The apostle Paul instructs to “abhor evil and cling to good,” Rom. 12:9.  And also he states in Rom. 3:4 “let God be true and every man a liar.”  In our increasingly ungodly environment, we have a challenge to find truth.  However, the Christians in the first century faced similar obstacles as they dealt with the bias of the Jews and idolatrous pagans.  The gospel was not “good news” to the people of the day who were determined to continue in their ways in spite of the truth of the gospel.  We know that even within the early church there were Judaizing teachers wanting to hold on to the old law and Gnostics who introduced their own standard of religion based on the eradication of ignorance rather than sin.  They rejected the idea of creation by a supreme being and had various ideas about the origin and deity of Christ.  They promoted the freedom of the individual to develop their own philosophical view of religion which they referred to as enlightenment.  This is similar to the situation we find in the book of Judges where the statement is made that there was no king in the land at that time and everyone did was right in their own eyes (Jdg. 21:25).

People of my age and even younger are amazed at how rapidly our country is moving to the left or liberal side of the spectrum.  We have seen this tendency over the last few decades but are shocked at the current progression.  Certainly, one of the major contributors to this shift is the introduction of “Values Clarification” in the curriculum of public schools.  This idea is nothing but a thinly veiled cover for the “religion” of humanism, the objective of which is to do away with traditional beliefs that place God as the ultimate authority and replace this with the individual standard of each person.  The idea that “I’m OK, you’re OK” and “if it feels right, do it.”  Thus, if there is no objective standard, one can engage in immorality, theft or even murder if it is satisfactory by their standards.  By introducing these concepts in the minds of impressionable young students, it becomes a familiar philosophy that is embraced when the traditional values have either not been taught or emphasized enough by parents and Bible teachers.  (to be continued)

A Season of Healing

Thursday, June 10, 2021

A Season of Healing

By Wyatt Taylor


This Sunday, as the elders have announced, we will end most pandemic protocols and assemble for worship as a full congregation for the first time in 15 months.

I'm grateful that the elders took the precautions they did and that the congregation has weathered this time as well as it has. I very much appreciate the elders' judgment and the good work done by so many to facilitate our church life in a time of pandemic.

But while tools like live-streaming were blessings, and separate services were necessary for a time, I don't believe anyone has dared claim these arrangements are superior to, or even on par with, the traditional gathering of the church in the same place at the same time.

After all, God does not call us to join a virtual church, but a local church.


The last 15 months have been a trying time for the church. The pandemic lockdowns and precautions forced upon us a separation and an isolation that disrupted the common rhythms of church life, and this took a heavy toll on our relationships and bonds. As a society, and as a church, we labored to overcome the separation. We had “drive-by” parties and “quaran-teams” and “bubbles” and countless Zoom gatherings. But it was not the same. To say that our congregation has endured the pandemic relatively well is not to say that there has been no negative impact. And though the physical distance that has separated us for these 15 months may be gone on Sunday, the emotional and spiritual distance will not automatically disappear along with it.

Our isolation has taken its toll on our bonds of fellowship. Amid the pandemic, we had to navigate a slate of cultural controversies using social media tools that drive our outrage and division. We've seen pitched debates over the pandemic and pandemic precautions, racism and policing, and a heated presidential campaign. In times past we may have had these debates in-person around a table, a setting that more readily lends itself to resolving conflict. But in this time of isolation, we too often relied on online interactions that fed misunderstanding, hasty judgments, suspicion, cynicism, and distrust. I know I did, and I suspect I’m not the only one who feels some alienation has developed between myself and other brethren.

Now, I believe it is critical that Christians discuss these topics and that it will not do for us to throw up our hands at the first sign of disagreement, accepting an equivalence between both sides in the name of peace rather than doing the hard work of engaging, discerning, and making a judgment about truth. But I would suggest we ought to be doing this together, with our bond in Christ at the front of our minds.

In every relationship, people disagree and get frustrated with one another. Especially in marriages. My wife and I aren't the type to have vocal arguments. Instead, when we get angry with one another, we tend to do something maybe even worse - we withdraw. We say nothing and retreat into a kind of Cold War. In a marriage book we studied some years ago, this kind of phenomenon was likened to building a wall between the spouses. We build a wall between us, brick by brick, with every little disagreement or disappointment that goes unaddressed. Until, over time, we can no longer even see one another. Understanding this tendency has helped us to counteract it. And we do so by confronting our feelings and sharing them in a healthy way. We strive to keep the lines of communication open, to not let a single brick be laid between us.

Brethren, we don't have to look far among the brotherhood to see the walls that have been built in the last year. It is time to bring them down.

  • Behind them we may just find folks suffering in isolation, in need of burden bearers and fellow soldiers to lift them up.
  • We may find folks who have gotten a little too comfortable in isolation, in need of a reminder of the joys of brotherhood.
  • We’ll surely find difficult conversations and the need for forgiveness.

We may feel safe behind the walls we've built, justified in having built them, not sure we're ready to re-engage and deal with the messiness of community. It won't be easy to bring the walls down, and we might be fooled by the lack of open conflict into thinking we have nothing to worry about. But we must not mistake the quiet for genuine peace.

We all long for peace, and God has called us to be at peace as a church. Yet this never happens by accident, peace is made by peacemakers who employ the meekness of wisdom.

  • James 3:13-18: "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."

We must carefully examine our attitudes toward one another, put away the bitterness that may have built up, and soften our hearts toward our brethren, esteeming them above ourselves.

  • Ephesians 4:31-32: "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."
  • Philippians 2:1-4: "Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."
  • Colossians 3:12-14: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”


As I’ve reflected on the last 15 months and the meaning of our coming back together, I believe the lesson is simple: we need one another. As sojourners and exiles in a world that does not believe, God's people must walk together.

I want to spend these coming months re-building bonds that may have weakened through neglect and separation, breaking down walls and healing wounds I may have caused, practicing hospitality to get to know brethren at a deeper level, and taking opportunities to be of service and encouragement to my brethren. I want to widen my circle. I realized during the pandemic that there were far too many brethren whom I know of, but hardly know well. I want to correct this, and I ask everyone to take up this challenge.

May this be a time of breaking down walls. May these next months be a season of healing, of repairing the bonds of fellowship that have frayed, of drawing one another out of isolation and into a community of grace where we will "stir one another up to love and good works". May the spirit of grace and forgiveness be mighty among us and overcome the cynicism and anger that may have prevailed. May the disagreements of the last 15 months recede into the past and unity in our love for God and desire to serve Him be elevated.

As we once again assemble in full, let us not forget the loss we felt in separation. And let us celebrate the beauty and joy of our coming together, which is but a foretaste of the joy we will one day share when gathered in heaven around the throne of God.

Divisiveness & Social Media

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Divisiveness & Social Media

By Brent Lykins

We live in an era where social media plays a large role in our communication with each other.  It’s very easy for us to type away, letting our fingers put our thoughts out in the open for the whole world to see.  

Unfortunately, when we are behind keyboards and not face to face with someone, it becomes slightly easier to let opinions and dialogue flow that may not have flowed otherwise.   We all have opinions, right?  We have opinions about current news headlines, politics, the status of the country, and we even have opinions about how others should think, act, or speak.  

Satan loves this.

Satan loves this because it’s just one more way that he can slide a toe in between the door and the doorpost.   Once a toe is in, it becomes easier to get a foot in…then a leg…and then eventually Satan is standing in the middle of us, making himself a full divider between brethren because of a social media post.

In an election year, there are literally thousands of posts across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and whichever news outlet that you may frequent online.  Everyone is eager to get their point across.  Everyone is eager to “one-up” the other and then “drop the microphone.”   It’s so easy for us, brothers and sisters, to be tempted to “one-up” someone else or feel the satisfaction of dropping the mic in front of everyone who may be reading at the time.  

Satan loves that.

In a year full of racial disturbances, protests, riots, shunning the police, and wearing masks, everyone is eager to speak their opinions and viewpoints.  And once again, everyone is eager to “one-up” the other and then “drop the microphone”.  Once again brothers and sisters, it’s easy for us to be tempted to partake in those actions.  

Satan loves that.  

Let me remind everyone reading that even though we are the body of Christ, each of us have our own will and each of us have our own thoughts.   Your thoughts may not represent the majority.  Your opinion may not represent the majority.   We may not all agree.  There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, but let me also remind everyone that sometimes we get caught up in some very sensitive subjects that may also tie into our pride, our upbringing, or even our underlying beliefs.  It should be understood that once you publicly make a hit on someone else’s pride or underlying belief that it probably will not be accepted with open arms.   In fact, you may hurt someone’s feelings or possibly provoke someone to lose their temper.   Just as we all don’t share the same opinions, we also don’t share the same personalities.   One may let a criticism roll right on by.  Another may hold that criticism deep in their heart and it may cloud their future view of the one who wrote it.  

May I be rogue and suggest that it may be better for Christians to keep their personal opinions about the hot topics of the times to themselves?

I have already seen brothers and sisters “defriend” and “unfollow” each other over differences of opinion.  I have seen public arguments between brethren that will be saved forever and are able to be viewed by people who look to us to be examples.  

A few on-topic passages to leave you with:

Romans 12:18 – “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Galatians 5:14-15 – “ For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command:  ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.  If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”

Proverbs 17:14 – “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam, so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.”

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