Articles
The Keys to the Kingdom
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
The Apostle Peter is told that he would be given the “keys” to the kingdom in Matthew chapter sixteen. Jesus says, in verse nineteen, “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven…” What did it mean for Jesus to symbolically give the “keys” to Peter?  What does the Bible and secular history record about imparting keys to various individuals? full story
Christ: A Living Stone
When I worked with the summer staff at Short Mountain Bible Camp, I became very familiar with laying stone. I had done very minor mason work helping my father to lay cinder blocks in various types of foundations, but stonework was a different type of animal in nature. Much of the stonework that one sees at the camp was done by various individuals, but I had a hand in laying and helping with much of what was done. In many respects, there is an art to laying stone. It is almost like working a giant puzzle putting the sones in place to make some beautiful creation. In doing this work, I obtained a great education that was vocational in nature and learned a few spiritual truths along the way. full story
The Lyrics Were Wrong
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
Our family loves to listen to music on the radio. Sometimes my wife and I hear songs that we listened to when we were much younger. When we were children, we would sing along with those songs with a lack of understanding regarding the wording of the music. As we grew older, we learned that we had been singing the wrong lyrics for many, many years. full story
Why Was Paul Chosen?
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
Some have wondered why the Apostle Paul was chosen to serve Christ among the many that might have been chosen. Any answer that is offered might be speculative in nature, but we know that Paul was selected by Christ to serve and minister primarily among the Gentile nation. Acts 9:15 reveals, “But the Lord said to him [Ananias--JOT], "Go, for he [Saul or Paul—JOT] is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.” For a moment, one might consider some of the reasons why Paul was selected. full story
Thou Shalt Not Steal
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT

Just about any person who has internet access gets emails that contain fraudulent messages that attempt to trick a person into sending money to a third party or giving over sensitive account information. This has become commonplace, and it is disturbing on many different levels. A few days ago, I received one such email.

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Why Should Children Obey Their Parents?
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
Every parent has had to deal with at least one child who has tried the limits of parental authority.  Hopefully, parents step up and let their children know that they are in control of the home.  This is biblical and God expects parental leadership of children.  Ephesians 6:1-3 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: "That it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth."   Sadly, there are homes where there is no discipline or boundaries for a child’s behavior. full story
Mechanical Instruments of Music in the Worship Assembly
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT

One of the things that many people notice when they attend the services of the churches of Christ is the absence of mechanical instruments of music being used in the worship assembly.  In truth, this comes as a surprise to many, and much speculation ensues from those who might not fully understand why no instruments can be found in the context of worship.  This absence stands in contradistinction from denominational groups who use various instruments in their attempt to worship God.  What of this practice?  Does scripture, biblical language, history, or scholarship offer any insight into this topic?

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Learning to Be Content
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
My first car was a 1979 Pontiac Bonneville. It had a 350-horsepower engine with a four-barrel carburetor and had close to 200,000 miles on the odometer. The reason I obtained this vehicle was because it had formerly been wrecked when my mother was pulling into my aunt’s driveway. A boy that I played football with was the culprit. He hit her from behind and almost ripped the driver’s side rear quarter panel off the car. full story
Why Didn’t He Stop the Storm
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
Matthew chapter fourteen deals with an event in the ministry of Christ that many people are aware of in religious and secular settings. The fact of Jesus walking on the water has entered our vernacular to mean that one is perfect or has an inflated opinion of themselves if they can “walk on water.” This means that no person is as unique or as perfect as Jesus was and no person ever will be. That being the case, the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ walking upon the water deserve deeper investigation. full story
Transgenderism’s Attack Upon Children
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT

Just recently news outlets on a local and national level revealed that Vanderbilt hospital
has disclosed questionable motives behind its pediatric gender treatment department. In
most cases, people who work in the medical professions serve in a decidedly altruistic
manner. During the pandemic, doctors and nurses worked for the welfare of their patients
in an admirable, sacrificial way.

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The Truth—Up to a Point
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
The death of John the Baptist has many practical applications for the student of God’s word.  When one considers the dynamic that existed between John, Herod, and Herodias, it becomes apparent that their reception of God’s word varied as the message became more personal in nature.  Suffice it to say that all people need to love the truth to the extent that they gladly hear it and obey it—even when it is not easy to do.  Proverbs 23:23 says, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.”  full story
Do Not Lose Heart
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
The junior year of high school football in my hometown was terribly bad. During that season, we lost all our games. In one contest, we lost sixty-three to zero. After losing so many ballgames, practice and other things associated with playing football lost all its joy. In looking back on this time, one memory in particular stands out among the rest. full story
What Moses Gave Up
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
When Moses was dwelling in Egypt, it was a wealthy, world power.  As a superpower nation, it would have had a powerful standing military with chariots and trained soldiers.  Since Moses was a crown prince of Egypt, he experienced opulence, beauty, and splendor.  full story
The Complexity of Honeybees
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
When one studies the complexity of nature, systems, and organisms, he is left with the conclusion that there is intelligence in design. Considering intelligent design, all one has to do is stop and look around them. Everything in the created universe shows God’s invisible attributes and the intricacy of His creation. For instance, let us consider the honeybee, one small facet of God’s design. If you stop and watch these fascinating creatures, you can easily ask “How did honeybees and hives become so complex in our natural universe?” full story
Jacob: The Man Who Wrestled God
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
There is a passage in Genesis that many people have wondered about down through the centuries. While some speculation remains, there are some powerful spiritual truths that can be taken away from the ac-count that Moses offers regarding Jacob’s wrestling match with the Lord. full story
Christ: Better Than the Angels
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
Angels held a high place in Jewish theological treatise and thought. With this idea in mind, it is sometimes useful to consider a topic with writings that are contemporary with the subject matter under consideration. Considering writings that are not canonical (not part of the Bible) in nature is done to enhance one’s understanding of how ancient sources viewed these beings. It is not offered as an argument to accept any false view regarding angels or other topics that contradict scripture. The information in this treatise is offered to buttress our understanding of comparisons made between Christ and angelic beings. full story
The “Untowardness” of Our Generation
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
In the book of Acts, we read some interesting words as spoken by the Apostle Peter. Acts 2:40 says, “And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." From this one passage, many principles are gleaned concerning the nature of the generation we live in as well as Peter’s contemporaries and the nature of salvation. full story
Spheres of Influence
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
A sphere of influence is partially defined as “the domain…in which one can effectively exert influence.” People tend to exert an effect upon those that they spend time with, and most individuals spend time with those who are likeminded. This idea is cliché in much of the popular writing and literature one sees. More im-portantly, this idea is biblical in nature. full story
Esau: Exemplar of Contemporary Problems
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
The Old Testament if filled with examples (Romans 15.4) of people who made silly mistakes and acted in foolish sorts of ways. Esau, the son of Isaac and Rebekah, is one such example. The story of conflict between parents and sons and between the sons themselves almost reads like a modern drama. At the very least, it underscores the dysfunctionality of this patriarchal family. Genesis 25:28 “And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.” full story
Evil Men and Women: Wisdom from Proverbs
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
The Proverbs contain general truths about common situations in life. It is not always possible to take a specific set of circumstances and apply them to what one reads in Proverbs but the book still gives us general suggestions about various situations that God’s people will face in life. There are many passages that God’s people would do well to meditate upon and make application to in their own lives. The book of Proverbs has much to say about how people live their lives, especially evil men, evil women, and their behaviors. full story
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