BulletinGold #153
September 2013   Vol 13 #7

September 2013          BG# 153         Vol. 13         Issue 07
Subscribe     Website    Blog     Submissions     Editors: David Bragg and Edward Thomason
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- “Let Brotherly Love Continue,” by Cecil May Jr.
- Confused about Creation, by Eugene Adkins
- The Book Without God, by Garrett McGilvray
- Freedom From Temptation! By Gary Knuckles
- The Doily Box
- Watch Your Words, by Roger Rush
- Bucket Optional, by Seth Myers
- What Condition Is Your Bible In? By Travis L. Quertermous
- A Song Of Fidelity, by H.L. Gradowith
- God Must Have Known, by Helen Lowne Marshall
- In The Echoes of Praise, by J. Randal Matheny
- What Makes A Great Church?
& sayings

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Panning for Gold Feature Articles:
“Let Brotherly Love Continue” (Hebrews 13:1)
By Cecil May Jr.

    “Brotherly love” in this passage translates Philadelphia (same as the name of the city), a combination of two words: one for a particular kind of love and one for brother.
     Agape in the New Testament usually speaks of a love that does not require anything lovable in the ones being loved (Rom. 5:8). It is a matter of willing to do good for the ones loved rather than having sweet and fuzzy feelings toward them (Matt. 5:44-45).
     Phile,  on  the  other  hand,  denotes  friendship,  brotherly  love.  It  exists  because of something each partner in the relationship finds enjoyable or satisfying   in  the  other.  Outside  of  the  religious  realm  we  find  “golfing  buddies,” “fishing buddies;” during football season “tailgating families” follow the same team.  It might be chicken  foot, Mexican  train or  rook, or  junking  together at yard  sales. The point  is,  there  are  things people  enjoy doing,  and  they  enjoy doing  them  together  better  than  doing  them  alone. As  a  result  of what  they share in common they have love (phile) for each other.
     One preacher used to preach unity, saying, “Doctrine divides; love unites; so let’s just love one another and forget about the doctrine.” One thing wrong with that is that it is just wrong.
     Have you had the experience, as I have, of being in a large gathering, at a convention, say, and learning accidently that someone else in the crowd was a fellow Christian, or as we would  say, “a member of  the church”? Do we not immediately feel an affinity for that person we had not felt before, and still did not  feel  for  anyone  else  in  the  crowd? When we  saw  one  another  later, we sought each other out,  to  sit  together or  to  eat  together. What brought us  together? I  suggest  it  was  brotherly  love,  phile;  but  what  produced  it? What could it have been but the common faith we share?
     The love we have for our brothers and sisters in Christ—love that is not the same agape love we are to have for strangers and enemies, but a love that includes mutual affection and enjoyment of association—is based on the realization that we are one in Christ, that we gather on the Lord’s day around a common table, that we have in common “one LORD, one faith, one baptism.”
     Once I was registered in a hotel where some World War II veterans of the 82nd Airborne were enjoying a reunion. The obvious love, mutual respect and camaraderie  those  folks had  for each other was a powerful model of  the care and  love  Christians  ought  to  have  for  one  another  as  members  of  Christ’s body. But absent any faith, any hearing or knowing of the gospel, any teaching (doctrine) about or from Christ, it is exactly what we would have if we “forget about  doctrine  and  just  love  one  another.”  It  isn’t  Christianity.  It  isn’t  the church. It isn’t the company of the redeemed.
     Both love and doctrine are required, but it is the common faith and doctrine we share that produces the special love as brothers and sisters we enjoy.

- 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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Confused about Creation
By Eugene Adkins

   There was a little boy who returned home from Sunday school very excited about the lesson on creation he was taught and he told his parents about all that he learned concerning Adam and Eve. A few days later, he came home from school apparently distressed about something. When his mother asked what was bothering him, he said, “Mom, my side hurts; I think I’m going to have a wife.” I have heard a lot of jokes stemming from the Bible’s account of creation, but that one is probably the cutest. Life is an amazing thing. The Earth is an amazing place. The universe is an amazing space. God is an amazing Creator. From the billions of plants and animals to the billions of people and on up to the billions of the stars that are always out there, God has shown us His handiwork (Psalm 19:1).
    Today, more than ever before, God can be seen in all of these things due to the increase of our technology. We can see the inner workings of plants, animals and people and see the heavens up close with our amazing microscopes and telescopes. You would think that the amazing intricacies of life that we have discovered would convince even more people of the existence of a Grand Designer of life. Sadly this is not the case. Like the Bible says of the generations of old: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools," (Romans 1:22).
   The biggest joke I have ever heard about the creation of life is the one that begins by, and stop me if you have heard this one,, “long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away there was some big explosion…” and you know the rest. The only thing sadder than an atheist denying the Bible’s account of creation is a "self-confessing Christian" that is "confused" about the first and second chapters of the great book of Genesis and its account of God’s creation of Adam and Eve. Deny if they want, deny if you want – but God created Adam and Eve. It thoroughly amazes me how a "Bible scholar" can deny with a plain face what the Bible so plainly teaches about life. I thoroughly believe that every person you see today came from one man and one woman. I am not worried about the critics and naysayers because I am in good company. Moses believed in Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:26,27); Ezra believed in Adam and Eve (1st Chronicles 1:1); Job believed in Adam and Eve (Job 31:33); Luke believed in Adam and Eve (Luke 3:38); Paul believed in Adam and Eve (1st Corinthians 15:45, 1stTimothy 2:13); Jude believed in Adam and Eve (Jude 14); and Jesus not only believed in Adam and Eve, He created them (Matthew 19:4,5; John 1:1-3). Do not be deceived or confused, when man strays away from God as our Creator we stray away from God as our Ruler and Savior. One God, one book, one man, one woman and one answer. That doesn’t sound too confusing to me.
    Think about it. 

- Eugene Adkins preaches for the Keltonburg Church of Christ in Smithville, TN. You may visit his blog at http://keltonburgpreacher.wordpress.com/ or the congregation's website at http://web.blomand.net/~j1s/Index.htm
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The Book Without God
By Garrett McGilvray

     With a title such as that, you probably will be surprised to find that the book to which this article refers is in fact one of the books of the Bible. The Book of Esther has the curious distinction of being the only book in the Bible never to mention God, faith, obedience, or the like. In fact, there is no mention of religion at all, except for the possible exception of Esther’s request that all the Jews fast for three days on her behalf. Trusting in the inspiration of all Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16), we then wonder to what purpose the Divine Author saw fit to include such a book in the Holy Canon.
     Perhaps if the reader can remember back to his lessons in elementary school, a helpful analogy can be made. A frequent element appearing early in the learning of mathematics is the word problem. For example, Bill wanted to sell his 100 apples for 7¢ each, and it probably required him to take a train heading 280 miles west at 45 mph (for some reason). During the lesson, the teacher would demonstrate the solution. Later during the quiz, the student would find some other problem, such as Sarah who has made 6 chocolate pies for the county fair that she wants to sell for $4 each, and she must ride her bike 4 miles southwest at 15 mph to get to the fair. Unlike Bill’s problem in the lesson, Sarah’s problem in the quiz does not come with the answer. Although the details in the second problem are different, the student must apply what he learned in the first to solve the second.
     Instead of talking about Bill and Sarah, let us now move on to Joseph and Esther. The story of Joseph (Gen. 37-50) is one of the Bible’s greatest lessons on Divine Providence. Anticipating an upcoming famine of enormous proportions, God needed some way to preserve Israel’s growing family from starvation before it had a chance to become a nation. Meanwhile Israel’s ten oldest sons became exceedingly jealous of their younger brother Joseph, and they decided to sell him into slavery. Through no fault of his own, Joseph then had to endure several great injustices, including betrayal, slavery, a false accusation of rape, and two years in prison. At the time when Joseph became a slave in the house of a prominent Egyptian, we read, “The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man….And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight” (Gen. 39:2-4). Later when Joseph was thrown into prison, we again read, “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and he gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison” (Gen. 39:21). In time, Joseph came to be second in command over all of Egypt and was therefore in a position to provide grain for his family during the famine. He was later able to tell his brothers, “Do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life” (Gen. 45:5). Another time he told them, “As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Gen. 50:20). Though God is not to be faulted for all the injustices that happened to Joseph, he was able to use those circumstances to bring about much good.
     If Joseph is the lesson, Esther is the quiz. Like in the two word problems, the details have changed: instead of a famine, the Jews in the days of the Persians were facing a decree that every Jew throughout the empire should be killed. As the king of Persia began his search for a new queen, the young Jewess Esther was selected to be presented for consideration. First she was put in custody of Hegai, one of the King’s officials in charge of the women. There we read that Esther, “pleased him, and she obtained his favor” (Esth. 2:9). In fact, “Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her” (v. 15). As it turned out, “The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight” (v. 17). Later when Esther the Queen needed to approach her husband with a request, by which she risked death, we read, “She found favor in his sight,” (5:2) so that she was then able to plead the case of her people to save them from the edict.
    Each time we have read that Esther “found favor” as with Joseph, but this time, the text never says why. Instead, the Bible student must remember the lesson of Joseph to better understand the quiz of Esther. From that lesson, the Bible student then realizes that when Esther “found favor,” there goes along unstated, “And the Lord was with Esther.”
     Though never mentioned, the reader who has learned the lesson of Joseph can also find God’s work throughout the Book of Esther: that Mordecai (Esther’s older cousin) just happened to overhear of a plot to assassinate the king; that later during the same night the wicked Haman built a gallows for Mordecai, the king just happened to not be able to sleep, so he just happened to have the records read to him, and it just happened that the record of Mordecai’s good deed was selected, so that it just happened that when Haman came to the king intending to execute Mordecai, the king was in mind to glorify him; and that it just happened that the book ends with Mordecai as second in command of Persia (like Joseph). Having learned the lesson of Joseph, we see that God is the real hero of the Book of Esther.
     The quiz of Esther is more like our daily lives than the lesson of Joseph. If, for example, a brother in Christ loses his job, there is no divine narration to say, “But the Lord is with him.” Yet when he obtains favor with a new job, we should have learned to look to God as he who bestowed the favor. Mordecai approaches the subject of providence in a way that serves as a model for us. To Esther, he said, “Relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews…yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esth. 4:14). He had faith in God’s plan and an awareness of God’s providence, yet he was not so arrogant as to suppose he knew the unsearchable plans of God.
     A book without God? No! God was there every step of the way. So we learn the lesson: “The Lord your God, he is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6).

- Via the weekly bulletin of the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. Clifton Angel preaches for the congregation and he may be contacted through that congregation's website: http://www.coldwatercofc.com/
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Freedom From Temptation!
By Gary Knuckles

     Scripture is filled with references to Satan and his work of temptation. He is referred to as our adversary, the accuser of the brethren, a liar and a murderer, the tempter, and so on. All of which is intended to help us understand that he is not our friend and that he works against us, not for us. I doubt if many of us want a friend like that!
     Satan’s greatest work is done through temptation to sin. Regardless of the sin, you can be sure that Satan has a method to employ in causing your fall. He may tempt you by making sin look good, telling you there is no harm in it or that it will actually benefit you in some way. In some cases the appeal is so strong that we give in without a moment’s thought or by thinking that we will not let it become a habit. After all, one or two things are not bad as long as we don’t engage in them too regularly...right?
     In truth, all sin will cause us to be lost and any sin practiced on a regular basis will eventually become a part of our lifestyle. Once wrapped up in it, we may find escape almost impossible. We will never have total freedom from temptation, but we can handle it when it comes our way. Here’s a few things to consider in our efforts to be free from temptation.
  • God’s Word—Jesus used scripture to stave off Satan’s advances. (Mt. 4:4, 7, 10)
  • Prayer—Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…” (Mt. 6:13)
  • Learn Satan’s Methods—Paul said that we are ignorant of Satan’s devices. (2 Cor. 2:11)
  • Active Resistance—Telling ourselves we will NOT give in. (1 Cor. 9:27)
  • Avoid People/Situations That Lead To Sin—Some things are just “too close for comfort.” (1 Cor. 15:33; Gal. 5:13)
  • Remember the Judgment—All of us will face it and answer for what we have done! (2 Cor. 5:11)
- Gary Knuckles preaches for the Briensburg Church of Christ in Benton, KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://briensburgchurchofchrist.org/
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Nuggets & Quick Riches - misc. goodies
The Doily Box
    As a new bride, Aunt Edna moved into the small home on her husband’s ranch near Snowflake.  She put a shoe box on a shelf in her closet and asked her husband never to touch it.
    For fifty years Uncle Jack left the box alone, until Aunt Edna was old and dying.  One day when he was putting their affairs in order, he found the box again and thought it might hold something important.
    Opening it, he found two doilies and $82,500 in cash.  He took the box to her and asked about the contents.  “My mother gave me that box the day we married,” she explained.  “She told me to make a doily to help ease my frustrations every time I got mad at you.”
    Uncle Jack was very touched that in 50 years she’d only been mad at him twice.  “But what’s the $82,500 for?” he asked.
    “Oh, that’s the money I made selling the doilies.”

- Cybersalt Digest; 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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Watch Your Words
By Roger Rush

     At one time or another, we have all said things we later regretted. No one is immune to the foot-in-mouth disease. James wrote: “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2). The tongue is a dangerous thing when unbridled.
     Paul warned against the misuse of the tongue when he wrote: “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another” (Colossians 3:8,9). Christians should not slander others, should not use profanities or vulgarities, and should not lie. In a positive way, what we say should be kind, pure, and true! Every word we speak should be examined to make sure it passes this threefold test. Is it kind? Is it pure? Is it true?
     It is not only important that we say the right things but that we say them in the right way. “A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). When someone shouts at us, “I’m not angry!” we can be confident they are. That is why James also wrote: “…let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath” (James 1:19).

--Roger Rush preaches for the Sixth and Washington Street Church of Christ in Marietta, Ohio. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at http://www.sixthandwashingtonchurchofchrist.org/
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Bucket Optional
By Seth Myers

     If each one of us had a quarter for every time we have heard a person say, “I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket,” we would be supporting missionaries in more foreign countries than even a globe could fathom. However, luckily for these people, God does not command His worshipers to carry anything in a bucket in order to please Him.
     In his letter to the church at Ephesus, the apostle Paul instructs the congregation (Eph. 5:19), “speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord”. Likewise, to the church in Colossae (Col. 3:16), “teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
     One key implication here is the plurality of the terms used to refer to the people: “yourselves” and “one another.” This tells us that every individual worshiper must be active in the singing of praises. For how can I admonish you and you me if you and I leave the singing to those better equipped?
     Furthermore, “singing in your heart” does not mean it is acceptable to merely sing on the inside while letting others provide the audible melody. Again, how can we “speak to ourselves” and “teach one another” if nothing comes out from our mouths? Therefore, let us all make sure we participate in the song services of worship and sing praises to our God who is in Heaven. For God does not require us to earn a one million dollar recording contract. As long as we are singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord, the Lord is well pleased.

- 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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What Condition Is Your Bible In?
By Travis L. Quertermous

     My hobby is collecting comic books. Four factors combine to make a comic book valuable: (1) age; (2) rarity; (3) demand; (4) condition. In other words, the older it is, the rarer it is, and the more in demand it is, the more valuable the comic book will be to collectors. But the most important factor is the condition the comic book is in. Collectors grade comics on a scale of .5 to 10; .5 being in poor condition and 10 being in gem mint condition. Needless to say, truly mint condition comic books of any age are rare treasures indeed.
     But when it comes to our Bibles, exactly the opposite is true. You may have heard it said, "A Bible that is falling apart belongs to someone whose life is not." If our Bibles are in mint condition, that means they are not being studied. It means it is not being carried to church and Sunday School. It means it is not being opened to study with others. It means we view the Bible as something of a collector's item, to be put up on a shelf and just be looked at, but never read.
     That is not what God gave us the Bible for. The prophet Hosea lamented, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge ..." (Hosea 4:8). The Berean Jews were praised because "they received the word with all readiness, and searching the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). So what kind of condition is your Bible in?

- Travis L. Quertermous preaches for the Church of Christ in Dexter, MO.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.dexterchurchofchrist.com/
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Hearts of Gold - poetry
A Song Of Fidelity
By H.L. Gradowith

Troubles and trials seem to be ev'rywhere,
Sometimes we may wonder if anyone cares;
Our eyes fill with tears and our hearts fill with fears,
And we wonder whether now the end draws near...

We pray and resolve to live life as we should,
Eschewing all evil and promising good...
Our hearts quake within us and we are brought low,
We then seek that Favor He only bestows...

But then the storm passes and we soon forget
The promises made and soon come to regret
Our former resolve; then storms once more descend
And we're made afresh to fear life's sudden end...

Why can we not just live the lives that we should?
Why can we not just trod the paths that are good?
He's the Same in peace as He is in despair...
Why is it in peace that we seem not to care?

May we humble ourselves 'neath His Mighty Hand,
And with Him and for Him resolve then to stand!
Though troubles and trials appear ev'rywhere
We know He'll protect us with His Loving Care!

- H. L. Gradowith  For more information on H. L. Gradowith and GRADOWITH POEMS e-mail group visit http://www.geocities.com/fp5699/ - the website of Tim Smith, minister of the Enon Church of Christ in Webb, AL.
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God Must Have Known
By Helen Lowne Marshall

God must have known how we would need
Some dear one close at hand;
Someone that we could count on,
Who would always understand;
Someone whose love would rise above
Our faults—our negligence;
One who would know no sacrifice—
Expect no recompense.
God must have known that other loves,
Though precious they might be,
Could never quite fulfill this
Special need of you and me.
He must have known that sometimes, too,
We’d need a gentle prod,
A quiet close reminder of
The constant love of God.
God must have known we’d need one love,
Steadfast above all others,
A love more likened to his own—
And that’s why he made Mothers.

- 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
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In The Echoes of Praise
By J. Randal Matheny

What God will do in the echoes of praise,
We’ll see beyond fast Jordan’s shore;
For years cannot tell, nor numbers of days,
The powers at work God holds in store,
Nor time can show his hidden ways.

— ‹‹«»›› —

     Faith acts without seeing results, in the knowledge that God will produce from its action the good that he desires. Faith acts confident that God's will is being done and that God will be glorified in the doing. This is enough. Eternity will open the works of man for all to see, and God's hand will be wonderfully evident.
     Do you believe this?


- J. Randal Matheny edits and writes UPLift, an inspirational ezine. He
may be contacted here: <http://randalmathenycom/>. When reprinting this
material, please include the following: 
Copyright (c) 2013 J. Randal Matheny
All rights reserved. You may forward the
email to friends as is. You may not alter
it in any way or remove any text or
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What Makes A Great Church?

What makes a great church?
Not big budgets, but big hearts;
Not money received, but service rendered;
Not tall buildings, but lofty vision;
Not record-breaking attendance, but God’s presence;
Not frantic motion, but dedicated action;
Not soft seats and bright lights, but courageous leadership;
Not loud talking, but quiet doing;
Not members in beautiful clothes, but members stressing truth,
Not actions in the past, but things being done now!

- 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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Gold Mines ---- quotes, sayings & sign messages
“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”  (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

If you want to change the world, forget about Wall Street—occupy church.

The only thing worse than growing old is to be denied the privilege.

The word listen contains the same letters as the word silent.

- 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

You are now as young as you will ever be. You are also older than you’ve ever been before. Just hope you aren’t as old as you are ever going to be.

Those who shrink from personal responsibility shrink in usefulness and reward as well.

Real charity does not care if it is deductible or not.

Reputation is a bubble that usually bursts when you try to blow it up yourself.

To err is human. To blame somebody else for it is even more human.

- 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

“It is the man who has done nothing who is sure nothing can be done.” - Anonymous

“I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.” – Martha Washington

- via the Nile Street Notes, the weekly bulletin of the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL; R. W. McAlister preaches for the congregation and may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.annachurchofchrist.com/
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