BulletinGold #161
May 2014   Vol 14 #3

May 2014          BG# 161         Vol. 14         Issue 03
Subscribe     Website    Blog     Submissions     Editors: David Bragg and Edward Thomason
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- Temptation or Test? By Ron Thomas
- Why Worry? By Aaron Veyon
- Works of Obedient Faith, by David R. Ferguson
- Anger Management, by Robert Guinn
- Drive Friendly, by Ron Adams
- God Doesn't Care, by Neal Pollard
- Room For All, by Gerald Cowan
- If You Had Died for the Sins of the World How Would You Feel? (Author unknown)
- God’s Answer
- The Reward of Perseverance (Author unknown)
- Lord, Show Me How
- I Took a Piece of Plastic Clay (Author unknown)
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Panning for Gold Feature Articles:
Temptation or Test?
By Ron Thomas

When one experiences the way of life in a tumultuous sea, a sea that seems never to be calm, He who sees life as it actually is has a way of calming the roughest of seas. Often, however, we fail to see this because the waves roar, the weight of the water is heavy and bone-chilling cold as the winds blows with force. To complicate the situation the skies are dark as the clouds touch the horizon in the distance. “Lord, don’t you care that we are perishing?!” Thinking on this in relation to Exodus 15, it seems to me that the Lord will test each of those who belong to Him, but it is up to each of us as to whether or not it becomes a temptation.

- 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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Why Worry?
By Aaron Veyon

     I dare say that there’s not a single one of us that hasn’t been overwhelmed with worry at one time or another. Yet with some people, worry is a daily occurrence. Let me ask you, friend: are you a worrywart?
     Some time ago I read an interesting article that I believe puts worry into perspective. Evidently (according to the National Bureau of Standards), a dense fog covering seven city blocks to a depth of 100 feet is composed of something less than one glass of water. Now I don’t know much about fog (other than the fact it’s often a burden to drive in), but if that is true, that’s an amazing statistic. I believe this illustration is a fair comparison to our worry or anxiety about worldly matters. If all our worry about earthly things were reduced to its true value, most of it wouldn’t be worth our time.
     According to Luke 10:41 Martha was much like that fog: “And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.” Jesus tells us not to worry (Matt. 6:25-34). Put God first, and things will fall into place. Paul puts it this way, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6).

- 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/ [Originally from http://www.churchofChristarticles.com]
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Works of Obedient Faith
By David R. Ferguson

     The Epistle of James is a wonderful letter full of down-to-Earth wisdom with practical advice for Christian living. James tells us in verse 22 of Chapter 1 [NAS], “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”
     This epistle from James so refutes the doctrine of “faith only” that it is laughable that any sane person would continue to teach such a false doctrine. In fact, the ONLY time the words “faith only” appear in Scripture come from the Epistle of James, and listen to what he has to say about it: “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24).
      James, the Lord’s brother, cites Old Testament characters in Chapter 2 that illustrate these individuals were justified by their works of obedient faith, not merely from proclaiming a mental assent of belief. Whether it was Abraham or Rahab the harlot, James tells us these people acted upon their faith, and those works of obedient faith are what justified them before God. If we are unwilling or refuse to act obediently then our faith is absolutely meaningless. It is a dead faith. James sums up this section of his letter by stating, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” (James 2:26 [NAS]).
     James points out in his rather whimsical manner the foolishness of those who do not act upon the word of God once they hear it. He writes,  "For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was." (James 1:23-24 [NAS])
     Just as it is a silly notion for a man to look at himself in a mirror and then turn away and forget what he looks like immediately afterwards, it is just as silly for a person to hear the word of God, say “I believe!”, and then not act upon that belief in obedient faith. It is nonsensical for anyone to teach or believe anything other than obedient works of faith are required by God if we are to stand justified in Christ before Him. As James puts it, “But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25 [NAS]).
     May the Lord bless you and your family!

- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://lakelandchurchofchrist.web.officelive.com/default.aspx
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Anger Management
By Robert Guinn

     It is truly amazing what you can learn, relearn, and be reminded of when studying God's word with another person.  Recently, I have been studying with a young man who desired to investigate what the Bible says about the issue of anger.  Together, we discovered and relearned several biblical principles that helped us realize the necessity of anger prevention and management.
     Anger is a natural human emotion.  The New Testament instructs Christians to "Be angry and do not sin," (Ephesians 4:26, ESV), highlighting the fact that anger itself is not sinful.  Consider that the Bible mentions both the anger of God and Jesus (Exodus 4:14;  Mark 3:5). Anger, like any emotion, can be manipulated, misdirected, perverted, and mismanaged.  Poorly managed anger can be the stimulus that causes sinful behavior.  That is why the Bible warns about anger's connection to evil activity.   It is something that requires self-control, direction, and de-escalation.
     Anger is like kindling and wood for a fire.  A campfire or fireplace requires fuel to keep the fire going.  Anger can fuel one's actions, both positively and negatively.  When our internal furnaces begin to heat-up, we need to consider the question "Why am I angry? " Investigating the 'why' helps us evaluate what is causing our anger.  Knowing this allows us to prevent and prepare ourselves for the situations that cause our anger to ignite.  Also, it allows us to see if our anger is just or purely reactionary.  Jesus stressed this by saying, "whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment," (Matthew 5:22, NKJV).  This helps us to understand why the rest of the Ephesians passage says to, "not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil," (Ephesians 4:26-27, ESV).  Anger, left unchecked and unattended, allows Satan, and others, the opportunity to encourage sinful behavior. Remember, Cain's anger grew from jealousy to the murder of his brother, Able (Genesis 4:3-8).
     Anger can be hindered and/or prevented.  "A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls," (Proverbs 25:28, ESV).  In Biblical times, walls were the primary defense and integrity of a city.  Likewise, self-control protects our integrity from being compromised.  This is why the Bible instructs us to "be slow to anger," (James 1:19-20).  It becomes rather difficult to keep anger kindled when words are stated slowly and our tone remains calm.  Consider that it is written, "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger," (Proverbs 15:1, ESV).  Angry words can be calmed with a gentle answer.  Does spending time with certain individuals cause your frustration to ignite?  Why?  It could be that, for whatever reason, those people get on your nerves.  In that case, we can investigate the reason and tactfully find a calm resolution.  On the other hand, it could be that the people we spend time with are angry people.  The Bible says, "Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare," (Proverbs 22:24-25, ESV).  This passage has two lessons:  1) the influence of others can cause us to become an angry person and 2) if we are given to anger, we are not "friend-worthy."
     All of this might sound easy, but, for those who struggle with anger and aggression, it can be an epic battle.  Patience is key for both those who are working through their anger and those attempting to help.  Though "venting" is discouraged by some counselors, talking through the issues, in a calm constructive fashion, has benefits.  Perhaps we can lend the angry an ear to listen and an open mind to assist them in sorting through their frustrations.
     All-in-all, as Christians, we remember the words of Christ when we struggle, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible," (Matthew 19:26).  Let God be your  strength;   and,  remember,  Jesus  also  said,  "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," (Matthew 11:28).
- Robert Guinn preaches for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org
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Nuggets & Quick Riches - misc. goodies
Drive Friendly
By Ron Adams

     Highway signs along the roads in Texas read: “Drive Friendly.” (Friendly defined: favorably disposed; not antagonistic; amicable.)
     One may obey the rules of the road out of obligation. (The law requires consideration of other drivers.) However, this sign encourages consideration based on relationship, not obligation. There is a lesson here in our dealing with other people, not only on the roads, but in everyday life.
     One may consider others out of obligation (compelled: “have to do ...”). However, the Scriptures teach that our consideration of others should be based on relationship. In living with others, and before God, it takes more than right actions. It takes the right attitude: “love” combined with “law.”
     And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:3
     James sums it up well: "If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law, according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well." James 2:8
     Live friendly!

- F.Y.C. is a monthly publication by Ron Adams. Bible references are from the NASB except where another translation is referenced. Back issues are archived at http://ra10ar.com Be thoughtful and kind. All rights reserved. © 2014
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God Doesn't Care
By Neal Pollard
   But wait! The Scripture says, “Casting all your care upon him: for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5;7).
   That’s true! But it’s also true that God doesn’t care about some things—some of the very things about which we care.  Recently Brett Petrillo wrote about some things concerning which God doesn’t care.  Here is part of his list:
  •    God doesn’t care how many Facebook friends you have.  His concern is that we are Jesus’ friends.  “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
  •    God doesn’t care how many Twitter followers we have.  He only cares that we ourselves take up our cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23).
  •    God doesn’t care about the minutes on our cell phone plans.  He care about the minutes we spend talking with Him (1 Thess. 5:17; Eph. 6:18).
  •    God doesn’t care about the important celebrities and athletes we know.  His primary concern is that we know Him and the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
  •    God doesn’t care that we have the fanciest watch.  He wants us to watch the use of our time (Eph. 5:16).
  •    God doesn’t care if we wear the latest fashion or best clothes.  He wants us to be clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:26-27).
  •    God doesn’t care about the size of our homes or how much money we have.  He wants us to realize that material things don’t last, so we need to lay up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21; 1 Timothy 6:17-19).
  •    God doesn’t care what work we do.  He wants us to do all things in His service (Colossians 3:23-24).
  •    God doesn’t care about the color of our skin.  He cares about the content of our character (Galatians 5:22-23).
   God doesn’t care about a lot of things that we care about! But God does care about us! He cares about us so much that He gave His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins that we might have forgiveness of our sins.       
- 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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Room For All
By Gerald Cowan

“Lord, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.”  – Luke 14:22-24

    Our efforts to reach others with the gospel of Christ are sometimes limited by physical facilities: not enough space in the classrooms or auditorium, not enough teachers, not enough Bibles, lesson guides, or songbooks. But in the invitation Christ wants extended in His name there is no such limitation (Mark  16:15-16, Mt. 28:18-20). Millions have accepted Christ and His gospel, but there is still room for more.
     There is room in the Lord’s heart for all who will come to him. John 3:16, Rom. 5:7-8
     There is room in the in the Lord’s power for all who will come to him. Rom. 1:16-17, Heb. 7:25
     There is room in the Lord’s church for all who will come to him. Acts 2:47, Col. 1:12-20
     There is room in the Lord’s heaven for all who will come to him.  John 6:37 and 14:1-3
     The way the Lord offers to all is only by the Lord’s cross. There is room at the Lord’s cross for all who will come to him. There is room at His cross for you.

- Gerald Cowan, a longtime preacher and missionary, is retired from full-time pulpit preaching. He is available for Gospel Meetings and he may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com
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If You Had Died for the Sins of the World How Would You Feel?
Author Unknown

When men took your name in vain? When men damaged their bodies dabbling in sin instead of glorifying you as their savior in their bodies? When men fussed and got angry among themselves in which you had established and thus brought reproach upon you? When men chose to go somewhere else on the day which you had set aside for men to worship you? When men refused to obey what you said they had to do to gain the benefit of your death? When men did not appreciate your sacrifice enough to stay for the supper you had left as a memorial of it? When men did not respect you enough to wear your name? When men did not care whether their conduct caused anyone else to stumble? Did you ever stop to think? The Son of God probably would think the same as you would about such thoughtless people.

- 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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Hearts of Gold - poetry
God’s Answer 

I know not if the blessing sought 
Will come in just the way I thought, 
But leave my prayer with Him alone 
Whose will is wiser than my own, 
Assured that He will grant my quest
Or send some answer far more blessed.

- 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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The Reward of Perseverance 
Author Unknown

There's no skill in easy sailing 
When the skies are clear and blue. 
There's no joy in merely doing 
Things that anyone can do. 

But there is great satisfaction 
That is mighty sweet to take 
When you reach a destination 
That you thought you couldn't make.     

- Edd Sterchi preaches for the Broadway Church of Christ in Campbellsville, KY. He may be contacted at eddsterchi@comcast.net
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Lord, Show Me How

If I can do some good today,
If I can serve along life’s way,
If I can something helpful say,
Lord, show me how.

If I can right a human wrong,
If I can help to make someone strong,
If I can cheer with smile or song,
Lord, show me how.

If I can aid one in distress,
If I can make a burden less,
If I can spread more happiness,
Lord, show me how.

- 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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I Took a Piece of Plastic Clay
Author Unknown
I took a piece of plastic clay
And idly fashioned it one day-
And as my fingers pressed it, still
It moved and yielded to my will.

I came again when days were past
The bit of clay was hard at last.
The form I gave it, still it bore,
And I could change that form no more!

I took a piece of living clay,
And gently fashioned it day by day,
And molded with my power and art
A young child's soft and yielding heart.

I came again when years were gone:
It was a man I looked upon.
He still that early impress bore,
And I could fashion it never more.
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Gold Mines ---- quotes, sayings & sign messages
“There are no great people in this world, only great challenges which ordinary people rise to meet.” – William Frederick Halsey, Jr.

“It is not enough to have knowledge, one must also apply it. It is not enough to have wishes, one must also accomplish.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Defeat? I do not recognize the meaning of the word.” – Margaret Thatcher

“Apologizing does not always mean that you are wrong and the other person is right. It just means that you value your relationship more than your ego.” – Anonymous

- 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/

There’s no limit to the amount of good one can do when he doesn’t care if someone else gets the credit for it. But he won’t do much good if he insists on getting credit for everything.

Marriage is a contract, not a ninety-day tryout with opt-out clauses.

Floating anchors will not keep your boat from drifting. Floating church members will not keep the church afloat. They will probably sink it.

By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right he has a son who is sure he is wrong.

- via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Dongola Church of Christ, Dongola, IL. 

“ Opportunity : A thing which keeps some people from succeeding because it’s disguised as hard work.”

“Rely on our dear Savior.  He will be the Father of the fatherless and husband to the widow.  Trust in the mercy and goodness of Christ, and always be ready to say with heartfelt resignation, ‘May the Lord’s will be done.’”  (Andrew Jackson)
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all school boards would require all graduates to prove they can read their diplomas?”  --Trib-Bits, Decatur Tribune

“It takes courage to stand up and be counted, but to keep on standing after being counted is the real test.”

- 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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