BulletinGold #164
August 2014   Vol 14 #6

August 2014          BG# 164         Vol. 14         Issue 06
Subscribe     Website    Blog     Submissions     Editors: David Bragg and Edward Thomason
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- The Monotony of Life, by Alan Smith
- Some Practical Benefits of Suffering, by Bart Warren
- “Be Careful What You Say,” by Bill Brandstatter
- Abandoned? By David A. Sargent
- Friendly Fire, by Jim Faughn
- Antique Chairs and Old Bibles, by Ron Adams
- Longest Speech, Shortest Term, by Neal Pollard
- What Does It Mean to “WAIT FOR HIS SON FROM HEAVEN”? By Larry Miles
- A Touch of Loveliness
- The Hero of Calvary, by H. L. Gradowith
- An Ode to the Dislocated, by Dalton Key
- Walking With God, by Gerald Cowan
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Panning for Gold Feature Articles:
The Monotony of Life
By Alan Smith

    Several years ago, I read about the world's longest foot race.  It's called the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race, held between the months of June and August every year.  According to a Reuters report, "The longest foot race in the world is 3,100 miles, long enough to stretch from New York to Los Angeles. Those who run it choose a different route: they circle one city block in Queens -- for two months straight.
    "The athletes lap their block more than 5,000 times. They wear out 12 pairs of shoes. They run more than two marathons daily. In the heat and rain of a New York summer, they stop for virtually nothing except to sleep between midnight and 6 a.m."
    You can read more about this race here: 
    I find it incredible that anybody can run that far for that long.  But perhaps what I find even more incredible is that it is done by running the same half-mile stretch over and over and over.  If the running didn't kill me, the monotony would!
    But I thought of what a great picture that is of life.  We often talk about how the Christian life is a "race" (I Cor. 9:24; 2 Tim. 4:7; Heb. 12:1).  And it is a long, long race.  But I don't know how often we have considered that the difficulty in the race is not only in its length, but also in its monotony.  So much of what we do is repetitive and "mundane."
    A Christian mother works hard to demonstrate her faith in taking care of her husband and children.  But, every day seems just like the day before -- diapers to be changed, clothes to be washed, dirty dishes to be cleaned, a house to be vacuumed and swept.  The same thing over and over and over.
    A Christian father works hard to demonstrate his faith by providing for his family and living out his faith in the workplace.  But every day seems just like the day before -- fighting the traffic to and from work, working on an assembly line doing the same job repetitively day after day, dealing with hard-to-please customers.  The same thing over and over and over.
    One of the difficulties in living life (and the Christian life in particular) is in hanging in there through those difficult times when it seems that you're running across the same ground over and over.  Be assured, though -- if you can survive the monotony and continue to run, the finish line lies ahead.  Continue to plod on.  And keep this promise in your heart:
    "Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." (I Cor. 15:58)

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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Some Practical Benefits of Suffering
By Bart Warren

     Quite obviously, nobody wants to suffer. Nobody prays for hardship and ruin. However, such is certainly a part of our lives on this side of eternity (John 16:33). The positive news is that this world with its difficulties is not all that there is to existence (Rom. 8:18, 28). In fact, we are told that our suffering can help us to grow stronger (1 Peter 1:6-7). So, practically speaking, how can the bad things that happen to us be used to build our faith?
     Suffering should drive the child of God to pray. In 2 Kings 20:1, Hezekiah was told, “[You shall die; you shall not recover.” What was his reaction? “Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord” (2 Kings 20:2). What did God do? He said to the king, “I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you” (2 Kings 20:5). Remember: God loves, listens, and understands! Cast your burdens on Him (1 Peter 5:7)!
     Suffering should drive the child of God to study. The Psalmist said, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes” (Psalm 119:71). And again, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word” (Psalm 119:67). The answers to many of our questions are found in the revealed will of God, the Holy Bible (John 6:68).
     Suffering should open the eyes of the child of God to his own weaknesses. It was the “thorn in the flesh” that helped Paul to realize his dependence upon the power of God and that “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
     Suffering should lead the child of God to a more confident hope. “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5). “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). 
     Our hope is in the God that rules…the God that wins. D.A. Carson wrote: “Christians will take refuge from their questions about suffering not in bitterness, self-pity, resentment against God, or trite clichés and religious cant, but in endurance, perseverance, and faith in the God who has suffered, who has fought with evil and triumphed, and whose power and goodness ensure that faith resting in him is never finally disappointed” (How Long, O Lord? 246). 
- 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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“Be Careful What You Say”
By Bill Brandstatter 

     Recently the owner of the LA Clippers, Donald Sterling, got in hot water over something he said. He made some remarks that were insensitive. He has received a harsh penalty. What we say is important. Our words mean a great deal.  
     Words are accountable. We are accountable for what we say. Jesus said, “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matt.12:37 NKJV) What we say matters a great deal. Do we speak before we think? James advices us to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” (James 1:20) How many times have we said something only to regret it later? In a Bible class recently, a lady stated, “We need to think twice and speak once.”  
     Words are authentic. Words tell something about us. Jesus stated, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) If a person talks long enough, the heart is revealed through the words that are spoken. Someone once stated, “It is better to keep silent and thought of as a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”  
     Words are appropriate. Often there are the right words to say at the right time. Do we use appropriate words? Sometimes a person can say the right thing at the wrong time. There are right words to use at the right time. The apostle Paul helps in our understanding by stating “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Col. 4:6) Peter states Christians should be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in them. (1 Pet. 3:15).  
     Words are aped. Our words may be copied or imitated. I was reminded of this recently when my two year old granddaughter visited us. The way a toddler learns words is to repeat what is heard. If I don’t want my children to say certain words, I shouldn’t say them. I have heard individuals respond to a child’s language by stating, “Where did he hear that?” The best statement to follow about saying the right thing so it won’t be copied is found in Eph. 4:29. Paul writes, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Someone may be listening to what we say. Do we want it repeated?  
     Let us always remember that God knows us. He knows what we say. He knows who we are. Do we want God to hear what we say? Let us be careful to speak the words that will please Him. 

– 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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By David A. Sargent

    Thirty-three years ago, Taya Lee was left as an infant by her birth mother on the doorstep of St. Edwards Catholic Church in Shelton, Washington. According to an anonymous letter sent to the Shelton Police Department two weeks later, the girl’s mother was only 16-years-old. "I know she was 16, she had no job, [was] leaving town, and wanted a better life for me," Lee told ABC News.
     Recently, Taya put out a call on Facebook, searching for her birth mother. She posted a photo of herself holding a sign with a handwritten message: “Looking for my birth mother. She abandoned me in Shelton, WA on Jan. 25th 1981. I was found on a church doorstep at St. Edwards Catholic Church. Please help me find her by sharing my picture.”
     She hasn’t found her birth mother yet, but she was thrilled to meet someone that she calls her “first friend.”
     Taya’s “first friend” is 47-year-old Stephen Henry who was 14 at the time when he was walking near the St. Edwards Catholic Church on his way to school when he heard an unsuspected sound. "I could hear it, a baby crying in the distance," Henry, 47, told ABC News Seattle Affiliate, KOMO News. Following the sound, "I went and found a baby covered up in a basket. I knew I needed to do something about it." And he did. He walked across the street and told an adult at Mason County Courthouse about the baby. That was the last time he saw or heard of that abandoned baby until earlier this month.
     Another Facebook user began investigating to try to help Taya. She found an article about St. Edwards Catholic Church being torn down in 2009, and it came with a comment by Henry that said, "I found a little baby on the doorstep one morning on my way to school!" When Taya learned about it, she sent immediately sent a Facebook friend request to Henry and followed up with a blunt email: "I think you found me on the doorstep." And he responded, "Yep, I think that was me."
Taya and Henry met outside his Shelton office on Tuesday, for the first time since he found infant Taya 33 years ago.
     Lee has received some scrutiny for using the word "abandoned" on her original Facebook post. Some commenters say that her birth mom will never come forward because she chose to use a "negative" word. Taya responds: “I hope my birth mom can see past that. I know that she did it in a loving way, leaving me at a church, that obviously good people would find me, and … I know that deep down in my heart… I just want her to know, ‘It's okay, I would love to meet you, I would love to learn about you and your family and your life. I respect you for what you did. I hope that you don't carry any guilt.’”
     You and I were created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:26-27). In that sense, we are His offspring (cf. Acts 17:26-29).
     However, because of choices WE have made, our sins have separated us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2) and left us in dire and deadly circumstances.
     We may feel abandoned by God, but nothing could be further from the Truth....
     God loves us so much that He sent His Son to live among men and then to die on the cross for the sins of the world (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2). Through His death on the cross, Jesus paid the price for our redemption so that we might be reconciled to God (Ephesians 1:7; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
     God will save and give the GIFT of eternal life to those who will place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized(immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). The blood of Jesus will continue to cleanse those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).
     Abandoned in our sins? NO!  Separated from God? YES.  But God is searching for us. Jesus is the “First Friend” who wants to save us and give us an eternal home.
     Won’t YOU accept His offer on His terms?

- 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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Nuggets & Quick Riches - misc. goodies
Friendly Fire
By Jim Faughn
       Military spokesmen and the news media seem to use a variety of phrases in an attempt to sanitize some of the unpleasant aspects of war.  From time to time, we hear reports of troops being wounded or killed by “friendly fire.”  That somehow sounds better than having to report that the damage was done by one of our own bullets, missiles, bombs, etc. 
       Sometimes, the evidence indicates that the fire was not so friendly.  At times, some apparently take advantage of the confusion caused by the intensity of a particular battle to settle some personal grudge with a fellow soldier (maybe a superior officer). 
         I have wondered at times how often “friendly fire” damages the Lord’s army.  Could it possibly be that some of our wounds and casualties come from our own ranks? 
          We know that Paul had to deal with “…perils among false brethren” (2 Cor. 11:26).  He also warned that:  “...if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another” (Gal. 5:15). 
        Sadly, it seems that some have neither learned from Paul’s experience, nor heeded his warning.  Some in the Lord’s army seem more intent on fighting a brother or sister, discrediting them, spreading gossip about them, and/or ignoring them than they are on waging war against our real enemy. 
         “Friendly fire” among us may cause the loss of two souls.  The one “fired at” may be so wounded that he or she never recovers.  The one who does the “firing” is most certainly damaged beyond measure until and unless he or she repents. 

- Jim Faughn serves as an elder and preacher 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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Antique Chairs and Old Bibles
By Ron Adams
     Someone once said the reason many antique chairs are uncomfortable is because all the comfortable chairs wore out long ago. Well, that may or may not be true, but old Bibles that have survived the years in good condition certainly didn’t get much use.
     Bibles that are used wear out. Even Bibles of excellent craftsmanship deteriorate when used frequently. What better sight than to see someone with a Bible showing signs of heavy use.
     Better to have a Bible with the pages falling out than to have one with the pages still stuck together. An unused Bible may last a lifetime, but what good is a book that is seldom read?
     Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. John 20:30-31
     For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4
     Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so. Acts 17:11

- 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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Longest Speech, Shortest Term
By Neal Pollard

     The shortest inaugural address was George Washington’s second, in 1793, and it was comprised of 193 words! William  Henry Harrison, though raised a cultured, educated man,  campaigned on a folksy ticket symbolized by the log cabin. To set a different, more cultured tone for his presidency, Harrison decided to give a lengthy, erudite speech on a bitterly cold, early March day in 1841. He spoke for nearly two hours, doing so without benefit of a topcoat or hat. Historians are generally agreed that Harrison’s motivation was to show himself not be a country bumpkin or simpleton. While it is unclear if his exposure led to the pneumonia that killed him exactly a month later, it still boils down to a lot of talk and very little execution.
     How often do we, as congregations, spend a seemingly endless amount of time outlining, discussing, and rehashing grand plans? Goals and planning are vital to a church’s existence, but so often much talk produces little action. In any congregation’s mind, they are going to be a fast-growing, active, moving, and shaking bunch. Yet, so few churches are that. We spend our time laying out the plan and give ourselves so little time to do it.
     We do that in our individual lives, too. We make big plans for tomorrow (cf. Jas. 4:13-15). Like the poet expressed it, “He was going to be all that man should be. . . tomorrow; no one would be kinder or braver than he. . . tomorrow.” Yet, the poet depicts the dreamer as one who died today while hoping for tomorrow. Are we making grand, long-winded speeches about all we are going to do? Are we spending so much time outlining it that we have so  little time left to execute it?
     Thinking of all you know about William Henry Harrison compared to George Washington. Both were thinkers and planners, but oh the difference in how we remember each of them. Think, then do!       

- 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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What Does It Mean to
By Larry Miles
   The Apostle Paul commends the Christians in Thessalonica for their faithfulness.  He tells them that the news of their faith was spread beyond their home.  Other Christians have heard of their commitment to the Lord Jesus (1 Thess. 21:6-8).  In 1Thess. 1:6 we are told that they were imitators of the Lord.  It was not a “bed of roses” for them when they accepted the Lord Jesus and began to follow Him.
   They became an example to others—O that it could be said of us today that we live lives so close to Jesus that others will want to “conform to the image of the Son of God.”  They left a life of idol worship with no hope of salvation and no hope of an eternity outside of the “ Lake of Fire .”  We are told in 1 Thess. 1:9 that they made a complete turn-around in their lives and identified with the Lord Jesus Christ.
   1 Thess. 1:10 gives us the words in our title.  Jesus is coming again! That is not just a pipe dream; it is a reality! We don’t know when He will come; it may be today.  We are told here to be “waiting” for His return.  What does that entail?  Watching for the Lord Jesus in the Scriptures means that while we are waiting, we are “watching,” and working for Him.  We sing a song written by Fanny Crosby:
“Blessed are those whom the Lord finds watching.
In His glory they shall share.
If He shall come at the dawn or midnight,
Will He find us watching there?”
   True waiting involves working for the Lord Jesus, not a working to be saved but working because you are saved.  We are saved by grace through faith, in baptism, unto good works.  Let’s be like the Thessalonians and be a people who live our lives for the Lord so that others see us and glorify God (Matthew 5:14-18).

- 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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Hearts of Gold - poetry
A Touch of Loveliness
Add a touch of loveliness
To the things you say and do.
Give pleasure to more people
By a happy smile, won’t you?
Be thoughtful of the people
Whom you meet in shop and store,
Then to God you will be dearer,
He will love you even more.
Aim higher, think kinder,
Be a better, nicer you.
Aim higher, think kinder,
For this world has need of you.

-Poet unknown

- 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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The Hero of Calvary
By H. L. Gradowith

The light of my life has been shielded from me,
In darkness I stumble and barely can  see...
The Prince of the dark is now lurkung about,
He's trying to fill my very heart with doubt...

He would hold back all of life's goodness from me,
All comfort and respite he'd fain let me see...
Not a moment's rest and never any peace
And from his devices he'd grant no release!

So long, long ago he set his sites on me
From his vileness not one  relief can I see...
And from early morning on 'til dark of night
Each moment is for my very life a fight!

Then I met him! The hero of Calvary!
And from this fight he finally set me free!
No more must I be tossed about like a wave,
He fought for me... Fought my very soul to save!

- 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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An Ode to the Dislocated
By Dalton Key

I looked around our Bible class
   Last Sunday, and ‘tis true;
Familiar faces greeted me,
   But I couldn’t locate you.
And Sunday night – it was the same –
   It made me feel so blue
Though heartened by the ones who came,
   I couldn’t locate you.
Then Wednesday evening brought us back,
   The usual mid-week crew;
I searched and hoped and searched some more,
   But I couldn’t locate you.
It seems so often when we meet
   And find our favorite pew,
That something’s missing; something’s wrong –
   We just can’t locate you.
You’re missed, you know! We want you back!
   You need to be here, too.
We’d hate to search through heaven,
   Unable to locate you.

- Submitted by Joe Slater, who serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com
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Walking With God
By Gerald Cowan
In every part of your life,
In calm and peace or in strife,
Hold fast the hand of God
Throughout every day.
No prayer of yours will be in vain.
His grace will your heart sustain,
His power will relieve your pain,
While you walk in His way.

No matter what the world
May say or do,
Christ is your blessed hope;
He’ll see you through.
May God the Lord bless you!
Go with Him to eternity
And be what He wants you to be.
Life will have no boundary.
While you’re walking with God.

On Christ you can depend;
His word is true.
Life that will never end
He’ll share with you.
Now may our God bless you!
Go with Him through eternity
And be forever free.
Be in heaven’s company
By walking with our God.
- Gerald Cowan, a longtime preacher and missionary, is retired from full-time pulpit preaching. Gerald publishes an e-mail newsletter entitled GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICAL WRITINGS. He is available for Gospel Meetings and he may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com
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Gold Mines ---- quotes, sayings & sign messages
“If the world is cold, make it your business to build fires.” - Horace Trubel

“If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.” – Anonymous

“The starting point for all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind.” – Napoleon Hill

- 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/

It is not chance but the choices you make that determines your destiny.

Those who invite trouble find that it generally accepts the invitation and often brings some uninvited company along with it.

A compromise is a deal in which two people get what neither of them really wanted.

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

HISTORY: The past recorded by winners.

“SELF RESPECT can never be bought, but it can always be sold.”

“A FRIEND is someone who thinks you’re a good egg even when you’re half-cracked.”

 - 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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