Category Archives: Bulletin Articles

Words of wisdom from our weekly bulletin

“Jars of Clay”

Humans are made of dust (earth or clay) (Gen 2:7) (Gen 3:19) (Ecc 3:20).  It seems clear that the Godhead wanted a container which would hold the spirit, (breath of life) soul (Gen 2:7) and image of God (Gen 1:26).  Humans also were, “…made a little lower than the angels; and crowned with glory and honor…” (Heb 2:7).  God then “…made His light to shine in our hearts…” (2 Cor 4:6).  But to keep us humble, He put all these treasures in jars of clay (v7).

Most types of dust are considered a nuisance to be vacuumed up or washed away.  During the Dust Bowl in the Western States of the U. S. A., it was a choking plague.  My mother’s generation had to turn their plates over until just before eating.  It is amazing that God does not consider His “dust” a nuisance because of all their rebellion and apathy.  Instead He loves us (Jo 3:16) and has shown great patience towards us (2 Pe 3:9).

Jars of clay can be fragile, break and return to dust, even though they once were useful vessels.  Even though most were of little value and plain looking, at times their owners would hide treasures in them.  Very similar are humans who are frail and destined to return to dust (Ecc 3:20) yet have a soul that will last forever (Mt 10: 28) (Rev 21:3-4) (Rev 22:3-5).  One day we will graduate from dust to an imperishable body (1 Cor 15:42-44).

It was a special gift from God that He gave us “jars of clay” so we could move about and enjoy His wonderful creation.  He could have created mankind as fixed-location beings who would never run, swim or climb.  However, even the most sturdy jars are sure to crumble in time. Those who are wise will use these present “jars” to the glory of God (1 Cor 6:20).

-Jim Bailey


There are many types of codes using letters and symbols to hide a secret message.  Cryptograms and cryptoquizzes are a couple of fun challenges for word sleuths.  The goal is to break the code and reveal the hidden message or famous quote.  To solve the puzzle one has to have an understanding of the nuances of one’s own language.  (Imagine the frustration of trying to go from Chinese to Arabic without first learning the alphabet of one of them.)  The next step is to find a key letter that seems to be consistent throughout the entire puzzle, then build on that assumption.  A false assumption can totally derail the effort.  Trial and error and a good eraser are usually needed.  Some puzzles are so difficult that one must look for clues on the answer sheet.

For the serious seeker of the meaning of life, the Bible sometimes seems to be written in code.  Most people already have a basic knowledge of God because it can be clearly seen by what one can observe in creation (Rom 1:19-20).  The beginning key words are; God is (Gen 1:1) and I Am (Jo 8:58).  This should soon lead to Jesus (Lk 1:31) and the Holy Spirit (Jo 14:15-17).  The seeker may get sidetracked by assuming he must understand the WHY question like Job and his friends did (Job 1-37).  God simply points out the false assumptions (Job 38-41) and has them redirect to the key word again.

If the student is diligent he will continue the search even after many restarts and hints (2 Tim 3:15-17).  If he does not give up, he will solve the code and discover the message; God is love (1 Jo 4:8) and Jesus saves (Mt 1:21) (Jo 3:17).  As with the secular code, once one solves one Biblical code there will be a desire to work on others along one’s spiritual journey.  These will lead one to several areas of service and sanctification.                                                                             

–Jim Bailey


Most people expect a courtroom of calm dignity where there is respect for the judge and the legal process.  In fact, the judge is often addressed as Your Honor.  It would be counterintuitive to hold a trial dealing with people’s future in a chaotic setting.  However, the same judge is not expected to be a stodgy, solemn or dull person outside the courtroom.  He might well be a clown at his child’s birthday party.

Would not the same logic apply in a worship service of the Lord’s people?  The Apostle Paul does list some wise behaviors that keep the worship from becoming a chaotic endeavor (1 Cor 14:26-40).  One person at a time is to speak while the others listen quietly “…for the strengthening of the church.” (v 26) Things are to be done in a fitting and orderly way (v 40).

What about the verses that tell us to rejoice and leap for joy (Lk 6:23) (Php 4:4)?  Many other scriptures give the Christian reasons for great joy and celebration (1 Th 5:16) (1 Pe 1:8).  Indeed there are also several verses from the Old Testament where people shout and sing before the Lord (Lev 9:24) (1 Ch 16:33) (Ezr 3:12) (Ps 20:5).  Both Psalms 66 and 81 say, “Make a joyful NOISE (not a whisper) to the Lord.”  In the New Testament James tell Christians to sing songs of praise when they are happy (Jas 5:13).

A secular judge may preside over matters of life and death.  Christ’s elders do something much more important than that.  They watch out for the souls of their brethren (Heb 13:17).  They are worth more than the whole world (Mt 10:28).  They need to do this with dignity and concern, and yet, it can also be a joy not a burden.  Certainly our worship can be a joyful dignity.  Christians can be cheerful and happy while they worship in an assembly or in everyday life.

                                                                                –Jim Bailey

“Flaunt It”

Does it seem as if nearly every sports accomplishment these days has to be accompanied by an “In your face” celebration?  No matter if one’s team is far behind, the individual often flaunts conspicuously, disdainfully, and boldly his or her personal achievement.  The message appears to be, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.”  We can also see this behavior in many other fields.  “Look at my car, house, intellect or good looks, they are so much better than yours.”

This is far from a new development.  Satan delighted in tempting Adam and Eve into flaunting the blessing God had given them.  After all, they already ruled over the animals and cared for the Garden (Gen 1:26) (Gen 2:20) (Gen 2:15).  He may have reasoned that they would be susceptible to his lie about being equal with God (Gen 3:5).  Then they could really flaunt it.  All throughout history mankind has longed to be applauded, recognized, appreciated and rewarded.  This desire is not evil in itself, but if the motivation is to elevate oneself and demean others, it definitely is.

The Holy Spirit speaks through the Apostles of those who were selfish and uncaring to their brethren.  Ananias and Sapphira wanted the praise of others but not the sacrifice (Acts 5:1-11).    Paul admonishes the Corinthians for their divisions and quarrels (1 Cor 1:10-13) and their humiliation of the poor during the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:17-22).  Paul further teaches the sin of false pride in the analogy of the gifts of the Spirit and the parts of the human body (Rom 12:3-8) (1 Cor 12:14-26).  James forbids the favoritism of the brethren towards the wealthy and discrimination against the poor (Jas 2:1-6).

Of course Paul, Peter, John and even Jesus displayed their spiritual abilities, but always to edify and never to belittle anyone.  We can and should rejoice (Ps 118:24) (Php 4:4) (Lk 10:20) in our salvation, but in such a dignified and humble manner so that it could teach outsiders without flaunting our blessings (Col 4:5) (1 Th 4:12) (1 Tim 3:7).

                                                                    –Jim Bailey

“Full House”

There are several programs on HGTV now about flipping houses.  The usual format is to find a house with “good bones” and demolish the interior down to the outer walls.  With the help of a designer and many skilled laborers one can make the old house into a new home.  Unless one decides to walk away and abandon the house, it can be redone and filled with beautiful furniture and décor and end up being a forever home.

Something similar can happen in a person’s life.  God demolishes one’s old sinful self and gives one a new spiritual house called salvation (Eph 2:8-9) (Acts 2:38).  One starts with the “good bones” of a new spiritual life.  The Holy Spirit is the master carpenter with the inspired words of the New Testament as the blueprint.  He begins to redo one’s inner being (Eph 3:16) (Rom 5:5) with the qualities (Gal 5:22-23) which will make it full of things that are like Christ.

As with the physical home, there will always be maintenance and upgrades to even the most wonderful spiritual home (Php 3:12-14).  One must keep transforming the mind (Rom 12:2) and habits to reflect the Lord’s glory in one’s new home (2 Cor 3:14).  Some physical homes are not as full of fine features as others because of economic issues.  This appears to be what the Apostle Paul is saying about our spiritual home (1 Cor 3:12-15).

Unbelievably, some do choose to walk away from this wonderful gift (Heb 6:4-6).  Thankfully, most choose to transform and sanctify their new homes (2 Cor 3:17-18) (Php 3:21).  Sometimes the new homeowner will work alongside the laborers on the flipping process to expedite the move in date.  Christians are also told to do good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do (Eph 2:10) (Jo 9:4).  “…As we see the Day approaching (Heb 10:25),” and realize our new home is near (1 Jo 3:1-3) (Jo 14:2-3), we will also want to turn our house into a glorious home (Php 2:12).

                                                                     –Jim Bailey