Category Archives: Herald and Banner Staff

Warm Up the Outside First

The little boy walked into the church, shivering from the cold. His lips were so chapped it hurt too much to smile. Not that he had any reason to. It was Christmas day, and he was going to starve. He slipped into the unlocked foyer and curled up beside a heater vent – at least it was warmer.

Across the street a boy ran to the preacher. “There’s a little boy in the church, Daddy! Doesn’t he know we don’t have church on Christmas day?”

The pastor considered. A little boy? Why would he be in the church today? “Son, why don’t you get your coat and boots? We’ll go see if we can find out why he’s here today.”

The cold little boy was afraid of them when they first approached but finally agreed to go across the street to a warm home, delicious meal, and some hand-me-down clothes. As he sat waiting for some authority to decide his fate though, he became curious. “Mister, why didn’t you let me stay in the church? One time I heard someone say that the church always had the answer to your problems. And it was warmer in there than it is outside.”

“Would you rather have stayed over there?”

“Oh, no! It’s a lot better here! But you didn’t have to come get me.”

“Well, whoever told you that church has all the answers was right, but I think we could put it a better way.” And the young father began to explain the story of Christmas and the love of God to his new friend. This story is entirely fictional, but I like to think that something like this might happen. Sometimes you have to warm up someone’s outsides before you can thaw out the heart.

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Filed under Herald and Banner Staff, Michelle Avery

Don’t Bow!

Imagine with me what it would be like if you had been born in Egypt back when the Israelites were slaves there. Suppose your parents were slaves who every day had to make bricks for the Pharaoh’s pyramids. Suppose you never got to go to school and learn to read or write because for as long as you can remember, you have been collecting sticks under the watchful eye of one very stern looking master.

Then one day you hear your father telling your mother about a crazy man who used to be a prince of Egypt and had started causing trouble for all the slaves. He had gone to Pharaoh and said something that made him so mad, now all the slaves had to work twice as hard! The next days were filled with all kinds of strange happenings. The Egyptians complained of overwhelming frogs, flies, blood, disease, and all kinds of nasty things, but you saw nothing unusual in the slaves’ quarter.

Finally, it happened. Something you did not really think was possible. Pharaoh ordered all the slaves to get out of his country! Everybody grabbed what they could, and even took gifts from the Egyptians, and started walking out of the country. What a sight! There were slaves – but not slaves anymore – for miles around, just walking, walking toward freedom.

But something else terrible happened. Pharaoh changed his mind! The soldiers were coming for you again! Just when you were sure everybody was going to die, God jerked back the Red Sea and you and your family and all the other former slaves walked across to freedom. Finally safe from Pharaoh and his soldiers!

When God told Moses that the people of Israel should never make a “graven image,” He was talking about the statues and such that the Egyptians had worshiped. God wanted to make sure no one ever forgot that He had saved the slaves from Egypt. He had conquered Pharaoh and his army. Why would you ever want to bow down to anything else?

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Filed under Herald and Banner Staff, Michelle Avery

A Publishing Life

Imagine this: There is a knock on your front door. You carefully study the figure on your front porch then unlock the door. It is your neighbor’s teenage son. He has come with some mail that had been incorrectly delivered. He takes one look through into your home, sees the “Lord, make me a blessing today” wall hanging, smirks, and leaves. “Now did that look mean?” you wonder. “Does he not believe God exists?”

Maybe not. Or maybe what he finds amusing is you.

Have you been a blessing to him? Or have you been too busy putting out signs and campaigning about Christianity to answer God’s call to service.

Perhaps the real reason Christians often have trouble getting nonbelievers to trust what the Bible says is they do not see it working in our lives.

Have you been publishing the gospel with your life?

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Being The One Who Spoke With God

The Israelites had watched God decimate the empire that had so long held them captive. They had felt the spray of the waters as they were peeled back to let the people through. They had been filled by the manna and quail the Lord sent. But forty days without the man who spoke with God was too much for their faith, and they fell for a golden bovine. Why would we ever want to risk going too long without talking to Him?

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Did You Ask Any Good Questions Today?

Every afternoon when he got home from school, the little boy had to answer the same question from his mother. “Did you ask any good questions today?” That one question created a habitual curiosity in one small immigrant child who would grow up to be a well known physicist of the mid-1900s. In fact, in 1944, Isidor Isaac Rabi was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for his work with the magnetic properties of atomic nuclei.

Thanks to his mother, he asked some very good questions.

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Filed under Herald and Banner Staff, Michelle Avery

We Are Improving!

We Are Improving!

This year we have added a new full color press. Our printed material looks a bit different now. Praise the Lord for improvements!

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February 24, 2012 · 5:39 pm

The Day of Labor

In honor of Labor Day next week, a few verses on the blessings and promises of God.

Psalm 81:6
“I removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots.”

Isaiah 9:4
“For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.”

Matthew 11:29-30
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Acts 15:28
“For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things.”

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Who Changes?

“As I was with Moses, so shall I be with you.”

People often lament the passing or retirement of elderly church leaders with the question, “Who will fill their shoes?” At the beginning of the book of Joshua, God make a promise that proved this question to be misguided.

“As I was with Moses.” God  took Moses from his flocks in the desert to the throne room of Egypt. Moses stuttered yet God so blessed his farewell speech to the Israelites, we still have it available to us — the book of Deuteronomy.

“So will I be with you.” God did not command Joshua to lead the people as Moses had. They no longer needed a shepherd. They needed someone to lead them into battle.

God did not even promise the same miracles to Joshua. There was no king to convince any longer — only kings to defeat.

The promise was not to continue Moses’ life through Joshua. He was supposed to be different than Moses. God is the one who remained the same.

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Filed under Herald and Banner Staff, Michelle Avery

Mountaintops and Cream

In January 1860, a boy was born to a poor family in the mountains of Tennessee. He was one of thirteen children and could have easily have grown into a forgettable man.

In the summer of his twentieth year, the young man made a discovery. He walked the aisle at a local tent camp meeting and discovered the Source of joy and meaning in life. The same night he became a Christian, he was called to preach.

His preaching was not all fire and brimstone though. He was a brilliant storyteller and often made memorable points that way. For instance, he never thought becoming a Christian meant he would send the rest of his life fighting depression.

“My friend, if the devil can succeed in skimming the cream off of your religious experience, he will leave you with a bowl of clabber on your hands; and, as you rattle your bowl and eat clabber with a brass spoon, you will imagine, because nobody wants your clabber, that you are the only fellow in all this land of ours that has the real thing.

“Well, old boy, I don’t propose to eat clabber and drink skimmed milk when I can get cream at the same price. My, my! neighbor, why should I put clabber and skimmed milk on my strawberries when the waiter is standing by with a smile on his face and a pitcher of cream in his hand, saying, ‘Help yourself, there is plenty more'” (Bud Robinson in A Pitcher of Cream).

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The Press

“Religious truth is captive in a small number of little manuscripts which guard the common treasures, instead of expanding them. Let us break the seal which binds these holy things; let us give wings to truth that it may fly with the Word, no longer prepared at vast expense, but multitudes everlastingly by a machine which never wearies to every soul which enters life.” — Johann Gutenberg

Johann Gutenberg is best known for his invention that made the printing press more practical and books less expensive — the movable-type printing press. The first book he printed was a Latin translation of the Bible which was finished in 1523.

Centuries later we still have Gutenberg to thank for the access to such vital information that we have today.

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“God’s faithfulness was realized when the promise reached its fulfillment and was displayed at Calvary. Salvation is an eternally established gift that had been planned, provided, and determined to be offered to whosoever will receive it,” wrote Dr. Glenn McClure in the February Banner. “The debt owed to God was provided by God through His Son. The security of the restored relationship with God was made possible by God through His Son only. That was and still is God’s gift to man, and the only possession that man needs in order to receive this gift is faith. Now that is grace!”

Check out the February edition of The Church Herald and Holiness Banner to read more about this most wonderful gift of love.

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The Gift of Praise

Here is a gift idea for the kindest Recipient you will ever find. Give praise to God for all He has done. He does not need your gift, but He does deserve it. He has loved you with an everlasting love. He has blessed you in countless ways, but take a day this Christmas season to try counting them. Then present that list as praise to a Father who has everything and wants to share with you.

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