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Christian Living

62 Items

Spiritual Growth

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Spiritual Growth Mike Johnson Although numerical growth is significant, spiritual growth is also essential for churches today.  Someone once asked a fellow Christian if the congregation where he attended had grown any.  He responded by saying, “yes.” However, he then added, “We have not grown numerically, but we have grown spiritually.”  He was saying they […]

Be Very Careful (Eph. 5:15)

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Be Very Careful Mike Johnson Ephesians 5:8-14 emphasizes the importance of walking in the light, as opposed to darkness (9), which manifests itself in goodness, righteousness, and truth. Paul tells them they were to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” (11). Verses 15-16 then admonishes, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not […]

Abide in the Doctrine of Christ

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Abide in Christ’s Doctrine (II John 9-11) Consider a warning found in II John 9-11. These verses say, “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not […]

Let Us Therefore Fear

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LET US THEREFORE FEAR (Hebrews 4:1) Mike Johnson Hebrews 4:1 says, “Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.” The verse starts with the word “therefore,” which connects it to what has previously been said. In chapter 3, the writer […]

Do Not Judge Me

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“Do Not Judge Me” Mike Johnson Matthew 7:1 says, “Judge not, that you be not judged.”  Many people know this passage, but often misunderstand it. They have the mistaken idea that if we do not agree with them on specific Bible questions or their manner of life, we should not say anything about it.  If […]

Where Should We Pray?

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WHERE SHOULD WE PRAY? Mike Johnson Should people pray in a particular location for their prayer to be acceptable or effective?  Many think they must be in a specific place, such as a church building, for God to hear their prayers.  What does the Bible teach on this question?  Is the location of prayer significant? […]

Bridle That Tongue!

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BRIDLE THAT TONGUE! Mike Johnson Many are familiar with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 15:8-9, where He says we can make our religion vain by “teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.  However, there is another way we can make our religion vain, which people may not be as familiar. James 1:26 says, “If anyone among […]

So You Think You Have Problems?

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SO YOU THINK YOU HAVE PROBLEMS? Mike Johnson Christians have hardships from time to time. Some face social ostracism. Some have difficulties with their families because of their religious beliefs. Other Christians may have to suffer economically because of their stands for righteousness. There are times when a person might suffer physical abuse or even […]

Applying God’s Word

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Applying God’s Word Mike Johnson People often hear the Word of God but are not willing to obey it.  Some may intend to obey, but they never seem to get around to it.  It is not enough to be a hear only or know God’s Word: we must be willing to obey it. Notice an […]

The Importance of Words And Thoughts (Ps. 19:14)

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The Importance of Words and Thoughts Mike Johnson (Psalm 19:14) Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” This verse is at the end of a magnificent Psalm.  In verses 1-6, the writer spoke about the […]

Presumptuous Sins (Ps. 19:13)

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Presumptuous Sins Mike Johnson Psalm 19:13 says, “Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression.” What is a presumptuous sin?  A presumptuous sin is a sin that is committed with arrogance and grows out of […]

Are You Frozen?

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Are You Frozen? Mike Johnson Consider a story, which I have had for many years in my files.  I do not know the name of the author, but the message is evident. The story is called “Waiting too Long.” Once a man standing by Niagara saw an eagle sitting on a lamb frozen in a […]

My Sin Is Always Before Me (Ps. 51:3)

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My Sin Is Always Before Me (Psalm 51:3) Mike Johnson In II Samuel 11 and 12, we can read the story where David committed adultery with Bathsheba.  To cover up his sin, he had her husband, Uriah, murdered.  Nathan, a prophet of God, eventually confronted him.  At this point, David admitted he had sinned against […]

Restore Unto Me the Joy of Your Salvation (Ps. 51:12)

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Restore Unto Me the Joy of Your Salvation (Ps. 51:12) Mike Johnson According to the beginning notes of Psalm 51, David is its author, and he wrote the Psalm after his sin with Bathsheba.  Engulfed with emotion, he is asking God to have mercy on him and extend His forgiveness.  In the first part of […]

Everything I Have Is for Sale . . .

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“Everything I Have Is for Sale . . .” Mike Johnson Many years ago, a friend of mine had a classic automobile.  He took care of that car.  Every so often, he would have it painted and would keep it polished to a showroom shine.  He took good care of it mechanically; any work needed, […]

Pray Without Ceasing

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Pray Without Ceasing Mike Johnson I Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.” This verse is in the midst of a series of short admonitions given by Paul near the close of the book of I Thessalonians. He had just said that Christians should “rejoice always.” These two admonitions can be connected, as often obstacles that stand […]

Uphold the Weak

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Uphold the Weak (I Thess. 5:14) Mike Johnson Paul closes the book of I Thessalonians with some very important and practical exhortations. In chapter 5:14, he “exhorts” (NASB — “urge”) the brethren to, among other things, “uphold the weak.” Christians have a responsibility to “uphold the weak.” The weak are those who are spiritually weak. […]

Priorites

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Priorities Mike Johnson  “We need to put first things first.”  “You need to get your priorities straightened out.”  These are common expressions in our society.  Certainly, priorities do need to be kept in mind.  There are some things that are more important than others. The Bible has a lot to say concerning priorities.  God expects […]

Profane & Vulgar Speech

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PROFANE AND VULGAR SPEECH Mike Johnson The use of vulgar and profane language is at an all-time high in our society today.  Profanity is everywhere, and it is difficult to escape from it. Without a doubt, the media (specifically television and the movies) has had a major impact on the way people talk.  “Hollywood” has […]

A Lesson from a Squirrel

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A LESSON FROM A SQUIRREL Mike Johnson  A few years ago while walking; I saw a squirrel fall from a tree.  This is something that I never expected to see.  I have often watched squirrels perform all kinds of amazing acrobatic feats.  I have seen them do a tightrope walk across a telephone wire; I […]

The Enslaving Power of Sin

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The Enslaving Power of Sin Mike Johnson People today often pictures sin as a pleasant delight.  Sin, according to many, is not something to be “avoided” but is something to be “pursued.”  People view the moral teaching of God’s Word as “old-fashioned,” and those who try to adhere to the high standard of the Bible, […]

Are We Complacent About Sin?

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ARE WE COMPLACENT ABOUT SIN? Mike Johnson Many years ago, my wife and I moved into a house, which was very close to a well-traveled train track, and trains traveled on the tracks throughout the night. At first, the whistles from the trains woke us up. Before long, however, the passing trains rarely disturbed our […]

Don’t Treat Prayer Like a Spare Tire

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DON’T TREAT PRAYER LIKE A SPARE TIRE Mike Johnson  Do you spend a lot of time thinking about the spare tire in your automobile?  Many people do not.  In fact, many do not even check to see if they have a spare tire in their trunk.  However, there is a time when all attention is focused […]

Peer Pressure

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PEER PRESSURE Mike Johnson  A woman who had reached the age of 102 was discussing her longevity.  She said, “Well, at least I don’t have to worry about peer pressure.”   Someone 102 probably does not have any peers left.  However, peer pressure influences most people, to one degree or another, and it is a great […]

Patience

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Patience Mike Johnson The term “patience” frequently occurs in the Bible. Patience is a painful lesson to learn in the age in which we live, but Christians must have this trait. Christ praised the church at Ephesus for their patience (Rev. 2:2-3).  Hebrews 12:1 says that Christians are to “run with patience” the race that set before […]

Our Regard for Others

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OUR REGARD FOR OTHERS Philippians 2:3 Mike Johnson The book of Philippians emphasizes the importance of unity.  Paul, in Philippians 1:27, encouraged the Christians at Philippi to “ . . . stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel . . . .”  In Philippians 2:2, he […]

Put Away Lying (Eph. 4:25)

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Put Away Lying (Ephesians 4:25) Mike Johnson Ephesians 4:25 says, “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another.” This verse tells us Christians are to put away lying.  The context shows the need to put off the “old man” and to put […]

Lying

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Lying Mike Johnson  The Bible has a lot to say on the subject of lying.  Lying is clearly disapproved of by God and certainly should be avoided by Christians. The Old Testament frequently speaks of lying.  Proverbs 16:17 makes it clear that a “lying tongue” is one of the things that the Lord hates.  Further, […]

Loyalty

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LOYALTY Mike Johnson Several years ago I saw a bumper sticker on an automobile which said: “101% Bama— I’ll Never Change.”   The sticker expressed the extreme loyalty  the owner of the car had for his favorite football team, the University of Alabama Crimson Tide.  I take it  his loyalty would not be affected by how […]

Lie Not to One Another

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LIE NOT TO ONE ANOTHER Mike Johnson The sin of lying is prevalent.  However, this does not make it right.  A famous preacher, while preaching to a large audience, used as his text the story of Ananias and Sapphira and told how they lied, which resulted in God striking them dead.  The old preacher proclaimed, […]

Lasciviousness

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Lasciviousness Mike Johnson  The sin of lasciviousness is mentioned several times in God’s Word.  It is important to discuss this sin, especially in the times that we live in. It seems that there are several definitions which can be given for lasciviousness.  The Greek word in the original is apparently a fairly broad word which […]

Jesting

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JESTING Mike Johnson  Ephesians 5:3-5 has a list of sins that Christians are to avoid.  Such sins as fornication and covetousness are listed.  Verse four mentions the sin of jesting (KJV). It says, “neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient:  but rather giving of thanks.”  The NASB translates the expression “not […]

Hate Father & Mother

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Hate Father and Mother Mike Johnson  Luke 14:26 says, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”  Why does Christ say that we must hate our fathers and mothers and other family members?  […]

How Well Do You Listen?

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HOW WELL DO YOU LISTEN? Mike Johnson How well do you listen? Some of the most famous statements ever made would not be remembered if someone had not listened carefully to what was said. Listening, and listening properly, is very important to learning. One person put it like this: “Talk and you say what you […]

Love for God

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Love For God Mike Johnson  The Bible teaches we are to love God.  Matthew 22 reveals a case where some Pharisees were questioning Jesus. A scribe asked Him what the greatest commandment was.  In verse 37, Jesus replied, “. . . You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your […]

Ignoring Sin

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IGNORING SIN Mike Johnson A very common statement made by many people today is, “I just don’t let it bother me.”   In many areas, we would all be better off taking this approach.  With sin, however, this is a very dangerous approach.  Many people are very complacent regarding their sins, and  instead of seeking a […]

Hate Sin!

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Hate Sin! Mike Johnson The Bible has a great deal to say about the subject of hate. People typically think that Christians are not supposed to hate, and generally, this is true. However, the Bible teaches that Christians are to hate sin! Many passages speak about hating evil or sin. Romans 12:9 says that we are to […]

Flattery

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FLATTERY Mike Johnson At a reception in Washington, a widow asked a young man to guess her age.  “You must have some idea,” she said, as he hesitated.  “I have several ideas,” he admitted with a smile.  “The trouble is that I hesitate whether to make it ten years younger on account of you looks, […]

Evil Surmising

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Evil Surmising Mike Johnson I Timothy 6:4 speaks of the sin of “evil surmising.”  The passage says, (KJV) “He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings.”  What is evil surmising?  We need to know what it is to see if we are guilty […]

Buy the Truth & Sell It Not

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BUY THE TRUTH & SELL IT NOT Mike Johnson Proverbs 23:23 says, “Buy the truth, and sell it not . . .” This passage shows the extreme value of truth.  We are to spare no pains or costs to obtain it, and once we have it, we are to keep it safe.  We should not be […]

An Important Choice

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AN IMPORTANT CHOICE Mike Johnson Life is full of choices, and we must make decisions every day. Some decisions we must make are not as important as others are. However, the most important choice we face is in the spiritual realm. Jesus spoke of options that every person faces in Matthew 7:13, 14. Here he said, […]

Warn the Unruly

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WARN THE UNRULY Mike   Johnson  In  I  Thessalonians  5:14,  Paul  gave  some important teaching that all Christians need to listen to.  He stated that Christians are to,  “be patient toward all men,” they are to  “support  the weak,”  and they are  to  “comfort  the feebleminded.”   The first responsibility that  he  enjoins, however, is to “warn […]

Good from Bad (Phil. 1:12-14)

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GOOD FROM BAD (Philippians 1:12-14)  Mike Johnson Paul wrote the book of Philippians while in prison.  His trial had probably already taken place, and he seemed to be waiting for the verdict.  It appears he expected to be released but was uncertain about it.  Paul, no doubt, did not enjoy being imprisoned.   Nevertheless, it is […]

A Faithful Man Who Feared God Above Many

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A FAITHFUL MAN WHO FEARED GOD ABOVE MANY  Mike Johnson The book of Nehemiah tells about the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem by the Jews who returned from the Babylonian captivity.  After the completion of the walls, Nehemiah appointed Hanani, his brother, and Hananiah as rulers of Jerusalem. It is interesting to note the statement made […]

Watch Out for That Lion!

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Watch Out for That Lion! Mike Johnson Proverbs 22:13 says, “The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.”  If a lion were really outside of a person’s house, he would be wise to stay inside.  However, in that it is a slothful (or lazy) man speaking, it […]

Instability

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INSTABILITY Mike Johnson  “O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee?  O Judah, what shall I do unto thee?  For your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew that goeth away.” (Hosea 6:4) Hosea uses two figures in this verse to describe the spiritual condition of Ephraim (Israel) and Judah.  Their […]

Evil Company

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Evil Company Mike Johnson The story is told of two parrots who lived near each other. The one was accustomed to singing hymns while the other was addicted to swearing. The owner of the latter obtained permission for it to associate with the former in the hope that its bad habit would be corrected. Instead […]

In Everything Give Thanks (I Thes. 5:18)

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IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS (I Thessalonians 5:18) Mike Johnson I Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks. . . .” This teaching occurs during a series of short admonitions near the end of the book of I Thessalonians. Earlier, Paul had told them they needed to “rejoice always,” and that they were to “pray without ceasing.” […]

Slow Paced Favors

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SLOW PACED FAVORS Mike Johnson  Proverbs 3:27-28 says, “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.  Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.” The verses make it clear […]

Conviction

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CONVICTION Mike Johnson Are you a person who has strong conviction?  Once you learn what the Bible teaches, are you willing to believe and practice it no matter what?  In the Bible, we can read of many people who were like this.  At all costs, they were determined to follow God.  For example, Paul, Stephen, […]

What is Repentance?

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WHAT IS REPENTANCE? Mike Johnson  What is Repentance?  This is a very important question.  It is important to understand the meaning of repentance because repentance is essential to salvation.  In Acts 2:38 the people were told that they needed to repent (in addition to being baptized) for the remission of sins.  Thus repentance is certainly […]

Blaming Others for Our Sins

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BLAMING OTHERS FOR OUR SINS Mike Johnson It is widespread for people to try to blame their mistakes on others; we tend to want to shift responsibility. People also blame SIN on other people. Many did this in biblical times; regrettably, the blaming of sin on others also takes place a lot today. Commonly blamed for […]

Cheetahs and Christians

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Cheetahs and Christians Mike Johnson The fastest land animal is a large cat called a cheetah.  It can run like a car driving down the interstate—almost 70 miles per hour.  The cheetah is built for running.  It has long legs, a strong, flexible spine which works like a spring, bending up and down, allowing it […]

Rejoice Always

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Rejoice Always Mike Johnson I Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Rejoice always.”  In the Greek, this passage is the shortest verse in the Bible.  In contrast, the shortest verse in the English deals with the opposite emotion, which is sorrow.  This verse is John 11:35, which says, “Jesus wept.” It is incredible how many times the concept […]

Thinking About the Hereafter

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Thinking About the Hereafter  Mike Johnson  A man once asked, “Do you ever think about the hereafter?”  He thought a few seconds and said, “I go in a room in order to get something, but once I get there I can’t remember what I went to get.  So I think, ‘what am I here after?’” […]

A Useless Religion?

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A USELESS RELIGION?  Mike Johnson James 1:26 says, “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.”           Do you know that our religion can become vain? First, Jesus pointed out that our worship is futile if we […]

Concern for Others (Phil. 2:4)

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CONCERN FOR OTHERS  Philippians 2:4  Mike Johnson  An often overlooked yet significant passage, Philippians 2:4 says, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”  The NASB says, “your own personal interests.” This concept is contrary to the popular notion espoused by humanists and others […]

Swift to Hear, Slow to Speak, Slow to Wrath

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SWIFT TO HEAR, SLOW TO SPEAK, SLOW TO WRATH  Mike Johnson In James 1:19, James addresses his “beloved brethren” and gives a vital warning. The verse says, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.“ Contextually, this appeal seems to refer mainly to our disposition […]

The Silent Killer

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The Silent Killer Mike Johnson  High blood pressure is sometimes referred to by doctors as “the silent killer.”  It is referred to in this way because people often do not even know that they have high blood pressure until it has already done its damage. This is not an article about high blood though, but […]

Carried by Angels

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Carried by Angels  Mike Johnson An interesting line occurs near the end of Hamlet, as Shakespeare has Horatio saying these words as Hamlet dies: “…Good night, sweet prince, / And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!” (5.2.361-2).  Shakespear’s idea of angels being near when an individual dies does not conflict with what we […]

Bad Language

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Bad Language Mike Johnson Once a farmer drove his team of mules into town. He was very late in returning, so his wife asked him what had taken so long.  The farmer replied, “Well, on the way back, I had to pick up the preacher, and from then on, these mules didn’t understand one word […]

Bad Company

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Bad Company Mike Johnson There is a story told of two parrots that lived near each other.  One parrot often sang hymns while the other was addicted to swearing.  The owner of the latter obtained permission for it to associate with the former in the hope that its bad habit would be corrected.  Instead, the […]