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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN



    Comedian Milton Berle reminds us that people sometimes put up with serious problems even when help is available. A man went to a doctor and said, "Doc', you have to help me." The doctor asked, "What's your problem?" The man responded, "I have some dimes stuck in my ear." The physician then asked, "How long have they been there," and the man responded, "About a year." Agitated, the doctor asked, "Why didn't you come in sooner?" The man answered, "I didn't need the money." In Revelation 15-16 people on earth have some serious problems. In a vision the apostle John sees seven angels pouring out seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God. Bible students are divided about how to interpret these apocalyptic symbols, but one message seems clear: human sin had deeply affected the world of John's day and had deeply offended God. His wrath is being poured out, and the result is pain for people on earth. But sin has a blinding power that often keeps men from turning to God - even when it is clear that their suffering is sin-induced. When the 1st bowl is poured out, it causes "a foul and loathsome sore" on those who wear the mark of the beast; the 4th bowl is poured out on the sun and "men were scorched with great heat"; the 5 5th bowl caused people to "gnaw their tongues because of the pain." In spite of excruciating pain the wrath of God brings, the text records a most remarkable thing: "they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory .... they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds" (vs 8-11). Instead of turning to God and giving Him glory, these people apparently blamed God for their problems!

    News headlines and human experience continue to teach us what the Bible has affirmed for thousands of years: sin is not good for human beings. It creates sores and sicknesses and problems and pain in society. Adultery, homosexuality, dishonesty, greed, unbridled ambition, selfishness, love of money and materialism-all these and other popular vices have created pain for millions. Morals have disintegrated even as divorce, drugs, drinking and all-around deviancy have alarmingly increased. The foul and loathsome sores caused by godless living surround us. We feel the scorching heat of our own rejection of God. We gnaw our tongues because of the pain , if not physically, at least spiritually and emotionally. Are you experiencing a sore caused by sin in your own life? Sores caused by sin can be cured-not by blaming or blaspheming God, but by turning to Him. God is ready to cure. Are you ready to come?

    Dan Gulley
    Smithville church of Christ