BulletinGold #144
December 2012   Vol 12 #

BulletinGold #144
December 2012
Vol. 12 Num. 10
David Bragg
Edward Thomason
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In This Issue:
- From Heaven With Love, by David Bragg
- What Was Jesus Doing On December 25th? By Bill Brandstatter
- “And He Appeared,” by Cecil May Jr.
- He Came, by David A. Sargent
- Today, by Phil Sanders
- Thoughts On Worry
- Outlive Yourself, by Steve Higginbotham
- The Old Paths, by Ron Thomas
- Drawing Near to God
- A Prayer For Every Day
- The Way We Affect Others
quotes & sayings for bulletins and signs

New Postings At
Editorial by David Bragg
From Heaven With Love

    Jesus came from heaven. About that there can be no doubt. Time and again the New Testament reminds us of the eternal history of Christ in affiliation with God the Father. At this time of the year much of the world, even those who do not believe, will give nodding recognition to this fact as they celebrate Christmas. They will recognize His birth but will they stop to consider why He came?
    “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Jesus’ birth was an open expression of God’s love for the human race. His life illustrated that love in an even more dramatic way. The cross indelibly stamped that remarkable love on the pages of history. And after that, Jesus returned to heaven.
    The goal of God is not found in the Christmas season, transient holiday cheer or an annual acknowledgement of the birth of Jesus Christ. It is found in your readiness for heaven. For this reason, by His own words, Jesus died. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3).

David Bragg


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Panning for Gold Feature Articles:
What Was Jesus Doing On December 25th?
By Bill Brandstatter

     This December 25th many in the religious world will be celebrating the birth of Christ. Have you ever wondered where Jesus was on that day. The Bible tells us that He was at a feast and it was a national holiday. The feast was known as the Feast of Dedication. In John 10:22, 23 we read: “Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.”(NKJV)
     Brother Guy N. Woods notes the following about this day:
“The feast was an annual affair, lasting for eight days, beginning with the 25th day of the Jewish month Chisleu. Its observance was not restricted to Jerusalem, but was kept wherever Jews lived throughout Palestine. It was a national holiday, comparable to our Fourth of July and was celebrated with joy and strong feelings for patriotism.” (The Gospel According to John, Gospel Advocate Co. 1981, p.216).
     B.W. Johnson, in Johnson’s Notes of the New Testament, tells us: “The Feast of Dedication occurred in December, was not divinely appointed but was instituted by Judas Maccabaeus in B.C. 164 to commemorate the dedication of the temple  after it had been defiled by the Syrians.” (Page 370).
     So we learn from these two Bible scholars that this feast was (1) A national holiday, (2) it began on December25th, (3) was celebrated with joy, and (4) it was a religious holiday instituted by man. What was Jesus doing on this national holiday? He was teaching the people that came together in Jerusalem. There is no proof or indication that Jesus observed the holiday. He took the opportunity to use it as a time of teaching.
     Today, December 25th is (1) a national holiday, (2) celebrated with joy, and (3) a religious holiday instituted by men. On December 25th many will celebrate the birth of Christ. There is no real evidence that is the date He was born. But it is a time to teach people the true meaning of who Christ is and why He came to earth.
     We need to do like Jesus did and use December 25 as a time of teaching.  Let us be diligent in teaching others the simple truths of the Bible and that Jesus is the center point of the entire Bible. The Old Testament tells of His coming. The New Testament announces His arrival and that He is coming again.

– Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://marionchurchofchrist.com/

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“And He Appeared”
By Cecil May Jr.

     The gospel as defined in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 consists in the facts “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas . . .” What is often cited as three facts of the gospel are actually four: Christ died, was buried, was raised, and appeared. 1 Corinthians proceeds to name others who saw Him also. That He appeared is what enables Peter to say on Pentecost, “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses” (Acts 2:32).
     In writing Acts, Luke says Jesus presented Himself alive to the apostles “after His suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). Among the “many proofs” of the resurrection are the fact of the empty tomb and the reliability of the eyewitnesses.
     The witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection are for the most part men who had traveled, eaten, conversed and slept in His and one another’s company for a period of about three years. They would hardly have been fooled by an imposter. And they were men who were fearful, not believing that He would rise from the dead as He had said, running away from His accusers lest they be accused. However, after seeing the risen Lord, they were transformed and emboldened.
      Peter, who had trembled before a servant girl and denied he had even known the Lord, after the resurrection challenged the same Sanhedrin that had condemned Jesus to death with the words, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20), and “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
      Saul, an ardent Jewish persecutor, after witnessing Jesus’ resurrection by seeing Him alive “as to one untimely born” became Paul the apostle, even more ardently a preacher of the gospel of the risen Christ. In spite of beatings and stoning, he preached all across the Roman Empire. As he told the Thessalonians, “But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict” (1 Thess. 2:1-2).
      Such change of heart, from frightened skeptics in the case of the twelve and from a dedicated and violent opponent in the case of Paul, to emboldened and effective evangelists, courageously facing even death to preach what they obviously and fervently believed to be true, requires an explanation, a cause adequate to produce such an unlikely effect.
     The only reasonable explanation is that they saw what they said they saw. “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses” (Acts 2:32).

- via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Calvert City Church of Christ, Calvert City, KY.  Lance Cordle preaches for the congregation.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com

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He Came
By David A. Sargent

    During the American Revolutionary War, George Washington was riding on his horse one day when he passed by a group of soldiers who were busily engaged in raising a beam to the top of some military works.  It was a difficult task, and the voice of the corporal in charge of the men could often be heard shouting, “Now you have it!”   “All ready!  Pull!”
    Unrecognized by the corporal and the other soldiers, Washington asked the corporal why he didn’t help his men.
     “Sir,” replied the angered officer "do you not realize that I AM the CORPORAL?!?”
     Washington politely raised his hat, saying, “I did not realize it.  Beg your pardon... Mr. Corporal.”
     Washington dismounted his horse and went to work helping the men until the beam was raised.
     Before leaving, he turned to the corporal, and, wiping the perspiration from his face, said, “If ever you need assistance like this again, call upon Washington, your commander-in-chief, and I will come!” *
     Burdened by our sins and destined for eternal destruction (Matthew 7:13-14), Jesus, the Son of God, came to OUR rescue.  He left the glories of heaven, put on human flesh, and came to live among men (Philippians 2:5-8; John 1:14). Many did not recognize Him (John 1:10-11), but that did not deter Him from going to the cross and dying for the sins of the world (Romans 5:6-8).
     Having paid the price for sin, He invites US to accept the GIFT of salvation on His terms: believing in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turning from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) in His name for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).
     At the point of our greatest need, salvation from sin, Jesus came to us. And His invitation continues to be offered: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
     He came to us to SAVE us. Will YOU respond to His invitation: “Come to Me,” and enjoy the salvation that He desires for you?                                                

- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website: http://www.creekwoodcc.org

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By Phil Sanders

   Today, I will live as if it is the most important day I possess, because it is actually the only day I have.
   Today, I will whine and complain less. I will be thankful more, because I know that gratitude makes a better person out of me.
   Today, I will criticize less and praise more, because the people I love need to know that I love and approve of them.
   Today, I will take more time with God my Father and less with earthly pleasures. I know that I need His strength and guidance.
   Today, I will pray more and play less. I want my heavenly Father to know my heart, to hear my concerns, and to realize how thankful I am to be His child.
   Today, I will remember my brother more and myself less. I will consider his feelings, his needs and wants more and my own a little less.
   Today, I will speak of Jesus more and my other interests less. Today, He must increase, and I must decrease (John 3:30).
   Today, I will remember the souls of all men. I will remember the person who is rude to me still has an eternal soul. I will remember the youth and the weak might see me do something wrong and imitate it. I will remember that my good may encourage another to do right.
   Today, I will remember that I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. Today I will live by faith in the one who loved me and gave Himself for me.

- Phil Sanders; via The Contender, the weekly bulletin published by the Walnut Grove Church of Christ in Benton, KY.  Kevin Williams preaches for the congregation.  He may be contacted through the church's website: http://walnutgrovechurchofchrist.org/

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Nuggets & Quick Riches - misc. goodies

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Thoughts On Worry

    Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.
    Worry is stewing without doing.
    Worry is like a rocking chair—it will give you something to do, but won’t get you anywhere.
    Sleepless is the man who is too busy to worry in the daytime and too sleepy at night.
    Sign in a business executive’s office: “The fellow who worried yesterday about tomorrow isn’t here today!”
    Worry doesn’t empty the day of its trouble, but only its strength.
    If you cannot help worrying, remember that worrying can’t help you either.
    A person can’t change the past by worrying, but he sure can ruin a perfectly good present worrying about the future.
    You can avoid a lot of sorrow if you’ll work today and worry tomorrow.

If these quotes don’t tell you enough about the danger of worrying, then listen to Jesus: “…do not be worried…why are you worried…Do not worry…do not worry…” (Matthew 6:25-34).  So what should we do when trying times enter our lives?  “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (v. 33).  When we commit ourselves to serving God, we can leave our worries behind.

- From the Internet; via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

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Outlive Yourself
By Steve Higginbotham

     My wife and I just returned from a visit to Mt. Airy, NC, the home of Andy Griffith.  Since we’re fans of the Andy Griffith show, we thought it would be fun to go to Mt. Airy, Andy’s real-life home town, and the model town for the fictional town of Mayberry.  We went through the Andy Griffith Museum, took a few pictures, and headed home.  Within hours, we learned that Andy Griffith had passed away.
     Since hearing the news of his passing, I listened to an interview he gave a couple years ago.  The interviewer asked him if he could remember all the episodes of the Andy Griffith Show.  Surprisingly to me, he said, “no.”  Oh, he remembered many of them, had some favorites, but just didn’t remember all of them.  I found that amazing because there are thousands of people across the country who remember every episode, can tell you what’s going to happen next, and even quote lines.  But Andy, himself, couldn’t.
     That caused me to reflect on how our influence can long outlive our lives.  Some of the episodes that Andy Griffith actually participated in were not remembered by him, but thousands of people who simply “looked on” remember every detail.  What that tells me is that I had better be cautious about my words, attitudes, and actions.  What I might say or do today, and forget about tomorrow, may never be forgotten by an “onlooker,” even long after I am dead and gone.
     The passing of Andy Griffith reminded of a truth spoken by the apostle Paul, “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself” (Romans 14:7).  Make sure that the influence you have on others is the kind that you want to outlive you.

- Steve Higginbotham preaches for the Karns Church of Christ in Knoxville, TN. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at http://www.karnschurch.org

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The Old Paths
By Ron Thomas

The youth of just about every generation has much difficulty with the older generation’s way of doing things. I suppose this is the result of technology advancing and the youth thinking their parents are rooted (stuck) in old ways. However, unless the old ways have been shown to be inadequate there is no reason to dismiss it (them). This was the problem of Jeremiah’s time also. This problem was complicated because it was not the younger generation rejecting the old ways, but the nation! They refused to heed the Lord’s warnings and because they did this the Lord brought punishment to them. However, if they would have simply followed the “old paths,” that good way and walked in it, then their lives would have been spared (Jeremiah 6:16). The old path upon which many walked and prospered was rejected, and so was the nation. Can’t we learn something from that?

- Ron Thomas serves as preacher and an elder for the Highway Church of Christ, Sullivan, IL  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.highwaycofc.com

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Hearts of Gold - poetry
Drawing Near to God

  "Whoso draws nigh to God,
  one step through doubtings dim,
  God will advance a mile
  in blazing light to him."

- Author Unknown

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A Prayer For Every Day

Every day I need you Lord, but this day especially,
I need some extra strength to face whatever is to be.

This day more than any day I need to feel you near,
To fortify my courage and to overcome my fear.

By myself, I cannot meet the challenge of the hour,
There are times when humans help, but we need a higher power.

To assist us bear what must be borne, and so dear Lord, I pray -
Hold on to my trembling hand and be near me today.

- Author Unknown

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The Way We Affect Others

We may not always realize that everything we do,
Affects not only our lives, but touches others too.

A single happy smile can always brighten up the day,
For anyone who happens to be passing by your way.

And a little bit of thoughtfulness that shows someone you care,
Creates a ray of sunshine for both of you to share.

Yes, every time you offer someone a helping hand,
Every time you show a friend that you understand,

Every time you have a kind and gentle word to give,
You help someone to find beauty in this precious life we live.

For happiness brings happiness and loving ways bring love,
And giving is the treasure that contentment is made of.

- Author Unknown

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Gold Mines ---- quotes, sayings & sign messages
 ”Do not act as if you had a thousand years to live.” (Marcus Aurelius)

”Tact is getting your point across without stabbing someone with it.” (Shirley Zieve)
- via The Central Message, the weekly bulletin of the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY.  Jim Faughn serves as an elder and preacher for the congregation.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website at: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org
“Irresponsible power is inconsistent with liberty, and must corrupt those who exercise it.”  (John C. Calhoun)
- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com
Thoughts on Patience—
    Be patient with the faults of others; they have to be patient with yours.
    This would be a wonderful world if men showed as much patience in all things as they do in waiting for a fish to bite.
    Patience is the ability to throttle your motor when you feel like stripping the gears.
- via The Lantern, Highway Church of Christ, Sullivan, IL  Ron Thomas serves as preacher and an elder for the congregation and you may visit their website as http://www.highwaycofc.com
Temptation is sure to ring your bell. But it is up to you whether you shut the door, stand at the door and talk to it, or invite it to come in and stay a while..
When truth stands in your way it is time to change direction.
- via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Dongola Church of Christ, Dongola, IL.  Gerald Cowan serves the congregation as minister.  He may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com

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BulletinGold Extra ---- recent postings on our Blogsite
     - The Lord’s Supper, David R. Ferguson
     - Do You Smell That? By Austin Johnson
     - Such A Good Preacher,”Alan W. Fonville
     - An Impractical Prayer? By Bill McCormick
     - Run With Endurance, Michael E. Brooks
     - A Quick Comparison, Ryan Thornsberry
     - The Land of Beginning Again, Louise Fletcher
     - Outlive Yourself, Steve Higginbotham
     - Back to School, Austin Johnson
     - Football
     - Is Baptism Essential to Salvation? By Andrew Connally
     - Do Not Stop Halfway, Allen Webster
     - God's “GPS,” C. M. Callan
     - Little Things, Bill Smith
     - The Value of a Good Conscience, Bob Clardy
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