BulletinGold #155
November 2013   Vol 13 #

November 2013          BG# 155         Vol. 13         Issue 09
Subscribe     Website    Blog     Submissions     Editors: David Bragg and Edward Thomason
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- The Hardworking Farmer, by Larry Miles
- The Hooks Are Hidden, by Neal Pollard
- Houdini's Great Escape That Failed, by Alan Smith
- Fallout Shelters, Airport Security and Estate Planning, by Joe Chesser

- A Sympathetic Gesture
- Worship—“God Said,” by Franklin Camp
- Abraham Lincoln: Often a Failure
- I Have Decided I Will ...
- My Enemy, My Friend, by Gerald Cowan
- His Ears Are Opened Unto Their Prayers, by H. L. Gradowith
- It’s in the Valleys We Grow
- Advancing Point of the Spear, by J. Randal Matheny
& sayings

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Panning for Gold Feature Articles:
The Hardworking Farmer
By Larry Miles
   An approved servant of the Lord is one who endures for the Gospel—the hardworking farmer.  In 2 Timothy 2:3-7 Paul has used the examples of soldiers and athletes to show us how Christians need to endure for the Gospel if they want to be “An Approved Servant of the Lord.”  The third example in this passage is that of a hard-working farmer.
   Farmers must toil every day if they are going to be successful in farming.  John MacArthur writes the following: “Hardworking is from a Gr. verb meaning “to labor to the point of exhaustion.’  Paul is urging Timothy not to be lazy or indolent, but to labor intensely with a view to the harvest.”  Paul also reminded the Colossians that he, along with us, need to be striving in the Lord’s work (Col. 1:28-29).
   The farmer, as well as the soldier and the athlete, must not take any shortcuts in their labor.  Just like the farmer, we must be found sowing, planting, plowing and monitoring work.  The farmer is one who is devoted to his work at all times.  So it is with the Christian.
   Paul told the Galatians, “we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9).  We must all put all our efforts into learning more about God’s Word and not be lazy in our study of the Bible.  We must work hard and believe that God will help us.  We must have a heart of humility in our lives.  If we labor like a “hardworking farmer”, we will see the results in our lives that the Lord wants.  We will be ones who know what we believe and why.

- Larry Miles lives in Louisville, KY and publishes "Larry's Lines" several times a week. Copyright 2009. Visit his website: http://larryslines.com/
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The Hooks Are Hidden
By Neal Pollard

     Growing up in coastal Georgia afforded me many opportunities to fish in fresh waters directly and indirectly fed by the Ohoopee, Altamaha, and Canoochee Rivers, proud rivers known especially for their large mouth bass. Add to the fishing expeditions to local lakes and ponds, and you had the recipe for juvenile bliss.
     My buddy David used nice, expensive lures and Little Stinker spray if fishing for mud or channel cats. On a much more limited budget, I bought a dollar's worth of Crappie Jigs (that was usually four or five, figuring in taxes). Many days a cup of gizzards for thirty cents would provide fish food enough for half a day. If they were biting, the fish ate my fast food as often as Dave's five star cuisine.
     One of the keys to successful fishing, whether using lures, chicken parts, or live bait, is sufficiently burying the hook from sight. Those cheap jigs worked well with the first few casts, but soon the feathery thread tail bushing out of the painted wood body would mat down and the silver hook would shine brightly underwater. At that point, the jig lost its splendor. An exposed hook is the death of good fishing.
     The hungriest, savviest angler of all is Satan (cf. 1 Pet. 5:8). He is a master at burying the hooks. Gambling looks like a quick, easy way to financial freedom and enormous wealth. Pornography appears to be a private, harmless distraction from reality, an excursion into one's most exciting fantasies. Smoking seems like a calm, pleasurable enjoyment, a way to unwind, or a satisfying diversion. Sex outside of marriage looks like an exciting, passionate, even thrilling way to spice up one's life, live on the edge, and appeal to one's unbridled lust. There they dangle. No consequences. "Just swallow me," they say. "You'll love it!" they say. These and other sins shine like tinsel and are so enticing. Why not? Just one nibble. Eat and run. No harm. No shame.
     Then the barb sticks. Financial ruin and dark addiction. A warped and twisted mind, where nothing seems pure anymore. A man in his forties with an oxygen tank, needing five minutes to wheeze and gasp for air just to go from his car to the post office! In his pocket is a pack of cigarettes. Unwed pregnancies, shattered marriages, and untold embarrassment and shame. The perpetrators of sin are now victims of their own folly. They flounder in bad habits and draining depravity. They have been reeled in by Satan's devices (cf. 2 Cor. 2:11).
     By the time the lure is old and worn out--and the hook is in plain view--it may be too late. The hunter may have already captured his prey (cf. 2 Tim. 2:26). Yet, while willful and habitual sin may seem like a hopeless trip the other end of which is Satan's table, there is a way to "get off the hook." It takes a mighty struggle. You will have to fight for your life (cf. 1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7). You will have to become sober and alert (1 Pet. 5:8). You will have to be cagey enough to see past the bait and, by faith, see the barbed, painful hook underneath the temptation. Is a moment of pleasure worth the ride on which you will go that leads where you do not wish to be? God wants to provide all we need, but His way leads to safety and life. Let's remember that with Satan, the hooks are hidden!

- Neal Pollard preaches for the Bear Valley Church of Christ in Denver, CO. He also publishes an e-mail newsletter, Daily Bread. You can visit their website at http://www.bearvalleycofc.com/
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Houdini's Great Escape That Failed
By Alan Smith

    Harry Houdini's name is one that is recognized by almost everyone.  His claim to fame was that he was a magician and an excellent escape artist.  He would free himself from handcuffs, chains, ropes and straitjackets, often while hanging from a rope or suspended in water.  He escaped from coffins, riveted boilers and canvas bags.  Houdini was even locked inside a high security prison but, of course, Houdini always got out.
    But then on October 24, 1926, death laid its hands on Harry Houdini and he would never escape.  Houdini had told his wife, Bess, prior to his death, "If there is any way out. I will find it. If there is any way out, I will find you and I will make contact with you on the anniversary of my death."
    For ten years after Houdini's death, his wife tried to make contact with him.  Then, she finally acknowledged, "Houdini did not come through.  My last hope is gone. I do not believe that Houdini can come back to me, or to anyone...The Houdini Shrine has burned for ten years. I now, reverently... turn out the light. It is finished. Good night, Harry!"
    Bess Houdini was so right, and yet she was so wrong.  She was right to admit what people have been forced to admit for centuries -- we do not have the power to conquer death.  Not even the famous Harry Houdini.  Eventually death will win the battle over each and every one of us, and there is no escape.
    But Bess Houdini was oh so wrong when she said, "My last hope is gone."  For while none of us can escape death, we can find our hope in the one who overcame death.  Only one man has come back from the grave alive.  Only one man offers us hope of life beyond the grave.  His name is Jesus.
    "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you." (I Peter 1:3-4)
    Turn the light back on.  It isn't finished at all.......it's only just beginning!
    Have a great day!

- Alan Smith, author of the popular "Thought For Today," and minister for the Fayetteville Church of Christ in Fayetteville, NC, may be contacted at alansmith.servant@gmail.com
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Fallout Shelters, Airport Security and Estate Planning
By Joe Chesser

    What do fallout shelters, airport security and estate planning have in common? The answer is that they all are preparations we make today for possible disasters tomorrow.  When I was growing up, building fallout shelters was a hot topic.  Everybody knew that during the Cold War (often dated between 1947 and 1991) a nuclear attack was inevitable. So, to offer protection from radioactive debris, fallout shelters were built.  Virtually all of these shelters have now been decommissioned, and many of them have been turned into museums.  The threat never materialized.
    Airport security is one way our government is trying to offer protection from future terrorist attacks.  Estate planning is an attempt to anticipate and arrange for the disposal of an estate during your life, in the hopes of eliminating future uncertainties in disbursements and taxes.  All three of these concepts are something we do today to hopefully avoid disasters tomorrow.  Planning for the future in any area is wise and has many benefits.
    But as Murray Dunn recently wrote to me, how sad it is when people willingly spend time, energy and money trying to provide protection from future disasters of this life while never giving a thought about preparing for the future disaster in the life to come!  Fallout shelters did nothing to protect people from the affects of Satan’s influence. Airport security does nothing to protect people from the sinful terrorist attacks of the Devil.  Estate planning rarely gives thought to how our assets can be used for God’s glory. This is in no way undermining the importance of making these preparations for our future protection.  But it does serves to illustrate a greater truth: if we can see the importance of making future preparations for possible disasters in this life, how much more should we be making preparations for the certain disaster that is in a future without Christ!
    The story Jesus told about a man often called “The Rich Fool” (Luke 12:13-21) makes this lesson clear. To paraphrase the story, a farmer had a bumper crop and did not have enough storage to hold it all.  He took comfort in his decision to just build larger storage barns and found security in his surplus. Unfortunately for him, he gave no thought to how he should use his blessings for God. That very night God not only took his life, leaving his full barns for others, He also called him to give account for not thinking of God. Jesus concluded, “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).
     While this story focuses on how we might fail to use God’s material blessings, it also illustrates a larger principle: how we often fail to consider God in any of our future planning.  Whatever God gives us (our families, our time, our leisure, our jobs, our talents, and especially our souls), whatever He gives us in this life needs to be used in view of eternity. It’s ok, even wise, to plan for future disasters in this life, but we should never neglect to plan for eternity.  “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?  Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt. 16:26).

- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.cofcfruitland.com/
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Nuggets & Quick Riches - misc. goodies
A Sympathetic Gesture
   Edgar Guest, a renowned American poet at the turn of the century, tells of a neighbor by the name of Jim Potter.  Mr. Potter ran the drug store in the small town where Edgar Guest lived.  Guest recalled that daily he would pass his neighbor and how they would smile and exchange greetings.  But it was a mere casual relationship.
   Then came that tragic night in the life of Edgar Guest when his first-born child died.  He felt lonely and defeated.  These were grim days for him, and he was overcome with grief.  Several days later Guest had reason to go to the drug store run by his neighbor, and when he entered Jim Potter motioned for him to come behind the counter.  “Eddie,” he said, “I really can’t express to you the great sympathy that I have for you at this time.  All I can say is that I am terribly sorry,, and if you need for me to do anything, you can count on me.” (Next column)
   Many yeas later Edgar Guest wrote of that encounter in one of his books.  This is how he worded it: “Just a person across the way—a passing acquaintance. Jim Potter may have long since forgotten that moment when he extended his hand to me in sympathy, but I shall never forget it—never in all my life.  To me, it stands out like the silhouette of a lonely tree against a crimson sunset.”
   How will your friends and brethren remember you as they look back on their difficult days? I am reminded of the words of our Lord in Matthew 25:31-46. Friends, most importantly, will the Lord see you living a life of a benevolent spirit toward your fellowman? Will your friends and brethren encouragingly and joyfully remember your acts of kindness? Remember, “For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself” (Rom. 14:7).  A good daily Christian goal is to try to make a positive difference in someone’s life each day.  A visit, phone calls, emails, encouraging words, and notes of encouragement are valuable to this end.
- 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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Worship—“God Said”
By Franklin Camp

    God said is the basis of acceptable worship:
Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:22–24).
     Truth is essential for all acceptable worship. God said is the basis of the Truth that must direct all acceptable worship (John 17:17). If one cannot know God without revelation (and he cannot), then it also follows that one cannot worship God acceptably without the Truth that comes by revelation. The Samaritans worshiped God, but it was not acceptable, because it was based on partial revelation.
     One’s worship must be spiritual, from man’s own spirit, and it must be as the Truth of the Gospel directs. God said is the basis of all acceptable worship. Some brethren today need to reconsider this fundamental Truth. This will stop some of the foolish and hurtful things that are taking place in worship today.

- via the Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the Belvedere Church of Christ, Belvedere, SC.  Ken Chumbley preaches for this congregation, and he may be contacted at their website: http://www.belvederechurchofchrist.org
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Abraham Lincoln: Often a Failure

    Too often, it seems to me, people lose their courage in facing life because of past failures or fear that they may fail in the future. One good way to cure such fears is to remember the story of a man who actually built a life of accomplishments out of defeats.
     The following litany of failures, followed by victories that punctuated his life throughout 30 years, is a living and eloquent example of successful use of defeat in achieving victory. Abraham Lincoln's record is as follows:
¨ Lost job, 1832
¨ Defeated for legislature, 1832
¨ Failed in business, 1833
¨ Elected to legislature, 1834
¨ Sweetheart (Ann Rutledge) died, 1835
¨ Had nervous breakdown, 1836
¨ Defeated for Speaker, 1838
¨ Defeated for nomination for Congress, 1843
¨ Elected to Congress, 1846
¨ Lost renomination, 1848
¨ Rejected for Land Officer, 1849
¨ Defeated for Senate, 1854
¨ Defeated for nomination for Vice-President, 1856
¨ Again defeated for Senate, 1858
¨ Elected President, 1860
    Lincoln's deep conviction that God had given him a commission to fulfill accounted in no small way for his deep humility and ability to push on in the face of difficulties and failures that would have discouraged most people. His abiding faith was well summed up in this comment, which he made after becoming President: "God selects His own instruments, and sometimes they are queer ones; for instance, He chose me to steer the ship through a great crisis."
     Yes, you too, in God's providence, can be an instrument in bringing His love, truth, and peace to a world in urgent need of it. And with Abraham Lincoln, you can learn to say: "With God's help I shall not fail."

- via Does God Exist?, Jan/Feb, 2004; 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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I Have Decided I Will ...

I will do more than belong...I will PARTICIPATE.
I will do more than believe...I will PRACTICE.
I will do more than care…I will HELP.
I will do more than be fair…I will be KIND.
I will do more than forgive...I will FORGET.
I will do more than teach...I will INSPIRE.
I will do more than be friendly...I will be a FRIEND.
     The decision to do more with enthusiasm must be made by each one of us, therefore—I can, You can, We can!!

- 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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Hearts of Gold - poetry
My Enemy, My Friend
By Gerald Cowan

My friend revealed my secret things,
Things that to others made no sense,
Secret longings, secret fears
That I had shared in confidence
Believing I could trust in him
To share my feelings and desires,
To strengthen me to overcome
The shame of yielding in sin’s fire.
Now others hesitate and turn
Away from what they know of me.
The kind of friends I need they are
Embarrassed and afraid to be
In telling secrets about me
My friend became my enemy.

I looked upon the Lord my God
As One who could not understand
The shameful pull of human flesh,
The weakness of both mind and hand.
By depriving me of pleasure,
Requiring what I would not give,
I saw Him as my enemy.
But He has taught me how to live
Abundantly in Christ His Son,
With sin forgiven through his cross.
 I now can see what He has giv’n
 To me is greater than my loss.
 By love forgiven! In the end.
 My enemy became my friend.

- Gerald Cowan preaches for the Dongola Church of Christ in Dongola, IL.  He may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com
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His Ears Are Opened Unto Their Prayers
By H. L. Gradowith

I take your name with me when I bow to pray,
Our Heavenly Father hears of you each day;
He knows all your troubles and heartaches and cares,
And we know that He hears His Own faith full prayers.

Will you pray for me when you bow in prayer, too?
That I'll have the strength to do all I've to do?
I trust that if you'll ask Him He'll see me through...
So please pray for me as I oft to pray for you.

Let's speak of the Old Ship of Zion in prayer,
Her enemies bombard her from ev'rywhere;
If we do our duties - our own faithful share...
Our Lord will not turn from the faithful at prayer.

- H. L. Gradowith  For more information on H. L. Gradowith and
    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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It’s in the Valleys We Grow

Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
Full of sorrow, trouble and woe.
It’s then we have to remember,
That it’s in the valleys we grow.
If we always stayed on the mountain top,
And never experienced pain,
We would never appreciate God’s love
And would be living in vain.
We have so much to learn,
And our growth is very slow;
Sometimes we need the mountain tops,
But it’s in the valleys we grow.
We do not always understand
Why things happen as they do,
But I am very sure of one thing —
My Lord will see me through.
The little valleys are nothing
When we picture Christ on the cross;
He went through the valley of death;
His victory was Satan’s loss.
Forgive me, Lord for complaining
When I’m feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder
That it’s in the valleys I grow.
Continue to strengthen me, Lord
And use my life each day,
To share your love with others
And help them find their way.
Thank you for the valleys, Lord,
For this one thing I know,
The mountain tops are glorious,
But it’s in the valleys I grow.
—Author Unknown

- 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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Advancing Point of the Spear
By J. Randal Matheny

He lives his small routine,
Day in, day out, serene,
  No step awry,
  He keeps feet dry,
He sees the always seen.

He eats the self-same meal,
Potatoes, bread, and veal,
  No custard pie
  He'll ever try,
He keeps an even keel.

At six he rises from bed,
At ten he pillows his head,
  He varies none
  From sun to sun —
One day he'll wake up dead.

God save me from the fear
Of wandering far from here,
  Let me behave
  As bold and brave —
Advancing point of the spear.

Too short is life by half,
To cower from goof and gaffe,
  Afraid to fail,
  Too timid to sail,
Too dour to love and laugh.

This life should never lull,
And ne'er an hour be dull —
  Of tears and joys,
  Of tools and toys
Let heart and hands be full.

— ‹‹«»›› —

I'm not going to reveal the person who
inspired the first three stanzas. Poor guy!
I've embellished it, obviously, but he
doesn't seem to want to consider anything
outside his safe little box.

May we be inspired to do differently, and
shine to a world in need of shaking up.


- 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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Gold Mines ---- quotes, sayings & sign messages
Cowardice asks the question – is it Safe? Expediency asks the question – is it Politically Correct?  Vanity asks the question – is it Popular? But the Conscience asks the question – is it Right?

And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither Safe, nor Politically Correct, nor Popular, but one must take it because it[‘s RIGHT!

“Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil—it has no point.”

Home-school sign on Internet: “I home-school because I have seen the village and I don’t want it raising my children.”

OPPRESSION: “As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression.  In both instances there is twilight when everything remains unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air—however slight—lest we become victims of the darkness.” [Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas]

- 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

Nearly everybody has a cure for the troubles and a correction for the mistakes of nearly everybody except his own.

Mirror, mirror on the wall can you see Christ in me at all?

Self-righteous destroyers are not content to knock off inferiors. To feel really good about themselves they must topple those the mighty who are above them.
Better to prepare and prevent than repair and repent.
It’s a good thing justice is blind. She might not like some things done in her name if she could see them.

- 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

All things in life are temporary. If going well, enjoy it, they will not last forever. If going wrong, don’t worry, they can’t last long either.

When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them, and sometimes, when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.

What if you woke up today with only the things you “thanked” God for yesterday.

- 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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