BulletinGold #181
February 2017  
Vol 17 #2 

February 2017                                      BG# 181                                      Vol. 17                                       Issue 02
BULLETINGold
Subscribe                     Website                     Submissions                      Editor: David Bragg
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In this issue ...
                     
‘It Is Written ...’
By Ron Adams
                        

The Greatest of These
By Jim Faughn


The Origin of Valentine's Day
By David Bragg


The Eyes Have It
By J. Randal Matheny


Let Me See
By J. Randal Matheny


The ABC’S of Successful Parenting
By Edd Sterchi


Not Too Bad
By Donna Richmond Wittlif


Let Us Do Evil That Good May Come?
By Joe Slater


Combating the Lazy
By Ron Thomas


An Obvious Truth
By Jeff Arnette


Monuments to Ourselves?
By Gerald Cowan


How Deep the Father's Love
By David A. Sargent


The Fleeting Years
By Alan Smith


The Church and the Christian Life Cycle
By Brian Mitchell


Times Have Changed
By A. C. Quinn

How Do We Know Sunday is the Christian Day of Worship?
By R. W. McAlister

‘It Is Written ...’
By Ron Adams

    In Matthew 4:1-10 we have the account of Jesus being tempted by the devil. The three temptations briefly summarized are as follows:
  • The first temptation: “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
  • The second temptation: “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down [from the pinnacle of the temple]; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you’; and ‘on their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
  • The third temptation: “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”
While there are a number of lessons that can be learned from this exchange, here is one that is not usually considered: He didn’t use His power to turn stones into bread. He didn’t use the power of angels to bear Him up. He didn’t accept the devil's offer of a shortcut to power. Jesus’ answer to each temptation was “It is written.” He steadfastly relied on the Scriptures not His power.
    ‘It Is Written!’
    Here is a lesson for all Christians. Jesus used the power of the Scriptures in resisting temptation; and we have the same power at our disposal! If we are willing to apply the teachings of the scriptures when tempted, that is sufficient power to resist. We don’t need supernatural power, we don’t need the host of heaven to intervene for us.
    Jesus has shown us by His example that the Word of God is powerful. Powerful enough to resist the devil. Powerful enough to protect us in times of trials. Powerful enough to save us. Let us wield the sword of the Spirit (the word of God, Eph. 6:17) to combat Satan when we are tempted. Know the Scriptures. Know them well. Know how to use them.
    Remember, that Jesus’ goal was to do His Father’s will, and our goal should  be to do His will. Remember, there is power in “It is written.”

- 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. © 2016
The Greatest of These
 By Jim Faughn

    We will probably hear more about love today than at any other time during the year. After all, it is Valentine’s Day. Flowers, candy, jewelry, cards, perfume, and other gifts will be exchanged in order for people to demonstrate love to each other. All of that is done because somebody decided a long time ago to designate this date as the appropriate time for such activities. (Actually, it originally had religious connotations.)
     Most of us are familiar with the Holy Spirit’s words as He inspired Paul to write, 
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13).
I thought that today might be an appropriate time to spend a few minutes with the greatest expression of love the world has ever known. Consider with me some of the things that makes the love of God, truly the greatest of these.  
    As we read what is arguably the most familiar verse in the Bible (John 3:16), we read about:
  • For God --- the greatest being
  • So --- the greatest degree
  • Loved --- the greatest motivation
  • The world --- the greatest of God’s creation (mankind)
  • That He gave --- the greatest expression of love
  • His only begotten son --- the greatest and most precious gift
  • That whosoever --- the greatest and broadest invitation
  • Believeth --- the greatest opportunity and challenge
  • In Him --- the greatest source of comfort
  • Should not perish --- the greatest danger
  • But --- the greatest contrast
  • Have --- the greatest possession
  • Everlasting life --- the greatest future
 - 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
The Origin of Valentine's Day
By David Bragg

    February fourteenth is one of American's favorite holidays as they spend about twenty billion dollars as an expression of love towards "that special someone." According to IBISWorld, $866 million will be spent on cards, $2.9 billion on candy, $1.8 billion on flowers and nearly $10 billion on romantic dinners. But what is so special about Valentine's Day?
    Like many modern holidays, Valentine's Day has deep roots in religious and secular history. Many secular scholars trace it back to pagan religious observances called Lupercalia. Among Roman Catholic scholars the roots of Valentine's Day are often traced to religious leaders martyred in the third Christian century (498 A.D.).
    According to History.com, while imprisoned just for being a Christian, Valentine is said to have fallen in love with a young maiden (some accounts identify her as the jailer's daughter). Just prior to his death on February fourteenth, Valentine sent a letter to his beloved confirming his affection for her. The note concluded with the words, "From your Valentine."
    In reality, there is much confusion about the specific identification of this man named Valentine, with many opposing and contradictory legends surrounding his imprisonment and death. Once recognized as the patron saint of love and marriage February fourteenth began to flourish as St. Valentine's Day.
    Today Valentine's Day is a completely secular holiday observed with long standing traditions. Its history reveals roots in religion, but not in the Bible, which is sad, because our modern world REALLY needs to understand true Biblical love.

- David Bragg serves as one of the ministers at the Northwest Church of Christ in Greensboro, NC and is co-editor of BulletinGold. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.nwchurchofchrist.com/

The Eyes Have It
By J. Randal Matheny

    A friend in Guarulhos asked me to write for the monthly church paper he edits for the congregations in his city. The theme for January is "Challenges for 2017." My assigned topic is about the challenge of controlling the eyes.
    We can control our eyes when they are focused on the right things. So we need:
        1. The look of love. John talks about loving the brother we see, 1Jn 4.20. We're familiar with that romantic look, not so much with the serving look. This look says, "How can I help you be whom God wants you to be?"
        2. The look of salvation. Instead of looking at people as objects for personal advantage, look at them as targets of God's love, possibilities for meaningful relationship, souls with an eternal destiny. "[L]ook up and see that the fields are already white for harvest!" Jn 4.35.
        3. The look at Jesus. If the Lord is our leader, if the Savior is also our example, then we fix our eyes on him, Hb 12.1-2. Remember Peter walking on the water for what happens when we take our eyes off him.
        4. The look at heaven. We need to get a fix on what is invisible and eternal, 2Co 4.18. We seek things above, "where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God" Col. 3:1.
    People talk about having the right look for a wardrobe. Christians are concerned to have the right look in their focus. This is our challenge and our blessed task.

- 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) 2016 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
attributions.
Let Me See
By J. Randal Matheny

Let me look straight ahead,
Where Jesus walks and leads;
Let eyes not veer aside, instead,
From blessed and perfect deeds.

Lord, let me see how I may serve
In mercy's exercise;
With heaven's sight may I observe
With wise and loving eyes.

- 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) 2016 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
attributions.
The ABC’S of Successful Parenting
By Edd Sterchi

     Attention - Spend much time with your children and give them plenty of thoughtful attentiveness.
      Bible - Use God’s Word to guide you and teach its eternal truths to them.  It’s the best child care manual in existence.
      Care - Provide everything they need for satisfaction and success in life.  Provide a happy, healthy environment for them to grow.
 
      Discipline - Children need discipline in a disciplined manner. Discipline, but do not be too harsh.  Correct them in a loving way.
 
      Example - Be an example to your children.  Make sure they see in you the way you want them to speak and act.
 
      Fun - Children need to understand there is a time for having fun. Play with your children and laugh often.
       Guidance - Lead them.  Make sure you are always pointing them the right direction.
 
      Help - Be your children’s biggest fan.  Support them in everything and help them to gain proper self-esteem.
       Inspire - Help to create within them the thought that they can do great things.  Encourage them to reach their full potential.
 
      Joy - Make your home one of rejoicing and thanksgiving regardless of the circumstance and situation.  Praise God at all times.
 
      Knowledge - Increasing your understanding in many areas of life will enhance your child’s life, as well.  Never stop learning.
 
      Love - “The greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Children need to be shown lots of love.  Love conquers all.
 
      Memories - Do things as a family that create many positive memories.  Remind your children from time to time of past events.
      Network - Create a “network” within the family, making sure all members have responsibilities and duties.
 
      Order - Stay in control.  Families fall apart when children are given the rule.  Don’t let life get so hectic that your children suffer.
       Patience - Be patient with children – they are young and vulnerable. Patience is a virtue, and virtuous homes have plenty of patience.
 
      Quality - Provide quality time and advice for your child.  Encourage them to be a person of quality – always doing their best.
 
      Respect - Make your home one of mutual respect.  Children must also learn the importance of respecting others and respecting God.
 
      Stability - Children thrive on consistency.  Make sure your home is a stable one.  Develop good habits with them.
 
      Teaching - Training and instruction are one of the primary parental duties.  Don’t shrug this responsibility.  Teach your children well.
 
      Understanding - Work hard at understanding your children.  Get to know their personalities and interests.
 
      Virtue - One of the most important things that can be taught to children is the value of honesty, morality, and character.
 
      Warning - Our children must be warned of the evils of sin, the ways of the world, and that choices always carry consequences.
 
      X-factor - No child can be reared exactly the same as another.  Learn their traits and what works and customize parenting for each child.
       Yes - Your children will hear “No” a lot in their lifetime – make sure they hear “Yes” also.
       Zeal - Seeing a parent that is excited about life makes a profound impression upon children.
 
 - Edd Sterchi preaches for the Broadway Church of Christ in Campbellsville, KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.broadwaychurchofchrist.net/ [NOTE: Taken from Edd's booklet for new parents, Congratulations on your new baby!
Not Too Bad
By Donna Richmond Wittlif

"Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; thought they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18). 
    If we read II Kings chapter 21, we learn what kind of person King Manasseh of Judah was. He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. He built up the high places, he reared up altars to Baal, he made an Asherah (female counterpart to Baal), and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. Furthermore, he built altars to false gods in the house of the Lord, and he made his son to pass through the fire and practiced sorcery. God says he seduced the Israelites to sin more than all the foreign nations that God had destroyed. 
    After reading about how wicked Manasseh was, one might think that surely there is no place in heaven for this king. But as Paul Harvey used to say, we need to know "the rest of the story." We can read the end of Manasseh's story in II Chronicles 33. Verse 11 tells us that Manasseh and the people would not repent, so God sent the king of Assyria, who bound Manasseh in chains and took him to Babylon. 
    What did Manasseh do? He humbled himself before God and prayed to Him. God heard his supplication and brought him again to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, Manasseh tore down all the altars to idols and built up the altar of the Lord, where he offered sacrifices to God. He truly repented and turned back to God. 
    When we sin, we may think we are too bad for God to forgive. However, it is just not so. John reminds us in I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." God is always looking for His people to come back to Him, and He is more than willing to forgive us.

- Donna Richmond Wittlif, the founder and first editor of BulletinGold, lives in Denver, CO. Donna is also a writer of fiction. Her novels, World Eternal: Promises, World Eternal: Proselytes, and World Eternal: Perils are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other book outlets. For more information visit her website http://www.donnarwittlif.com/
Let Us Do Evil That Good May Come?
By Joe Slater

     “They are going to be destroyed anyway, so why not use them for research that could benefit the rest of us? After all, they’re not really human persons. And think of all the suffering that could be alleviated by the knowledge gained from these experiments.” 
    Does this line of reasoning sound familiar? If you have been following the controversy over Planned Parenthood selling the body parts of babies it has killed in its abortion chambers, then you have heard this very same argument from the lapdog media and other defenders of the abortion industry. We have been assured that Planned Parenthood violated no laws, and that it is a wonderful, benevolent organization eminently worthy of taxpayer funding. 
    Do you realize, though, that the first paragraph of this article expresses the gist of the rationale used by the Nazis to justify their medical experiments and research on concentration camp inmates? Jews, Poles, Gypsies, and others, were viewed as sub-human beings who were going to be killed anyway. Some of the research actually was directed toward alleviating the suffering of the Nazi military. Lauren Howell has observed that “the image of killing in the name of healing was crucial to that terrible first step in reconciling their actions with their conscience.” 
    The infamous “Angel of Death,” Josef Mengele, brutally tortured and killed numerous sets of twins in the name of medical research. Though he escaped and was never prosecuted, 23 of his colleagues were tried at Nuremburg; sixteen were found guilty, of which seven were executed in 1948. The judges rightly rejected the
argument that these inmates were going to die anyway, so the living might as well benefit from their deaths. How ironic that so many Americans are now using the very logic Hitler’s SS used to justify outrageous barbarism! 
    The apostle Paul was once accused of upholding the principle, “Let us do evil, that good may come” (Romans 3:8). He called the accusation slander, and said that those who falsely accused him deserved to be condemned. 
    Tempting as it is, we are never justified in doing evil, even if we intend to bring about a good result. The end simply does not justify the means. Killing vulnerable, defenseless human beings and using their body parts for medical research is no more justified today than it was in the concentration camps in the 1940s. 
    May God help this country to wake up before it is too late!

  - Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com
Combating the Lazy
By Ron Thomas

    The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, But diligence is man's precious possession (Proverbs 12:27, NKJV).
    The Scriptures are clear with regard to one who is lazy: he is not to be given food by those who work for their living; rather, he is to be forced to provide for himself (2 Thessalonians 3). There is no help given to a lazy person who refuses to work, or even to one who feigns working, but is a sluggard. Neither does it help when some sort of handout is received from those who are charitable. How can this be of any help to him if it only feeds him for a day? On the other hand, the man who is diligent, the one who puts forth effort to provide for himself and his family is not only an asset to his family, but to the community also. When he renders charity – now that’s help!

 - Ron Thomas preacher for the Sunrush Church of Christ, Chillicothe, OH.   He may be contacted through the congregation's website http://sunrushchurchofchrist.com/
An Obvious Truth
By Jeff Arnette

    I have been a member of the church for many years now. One of the issues that has caused problems for the church for generations is finding balance between the truth about doctrine and the truth about love. We are really good at searching out the truth, understanding the nuances of how it works, and determining what is important or not. Yet we are not as good at understanding how it works within the context of Christ-likeness and a love for others. I have learned that having the truth of Christ without the heart of Christ is a dangerous weapon that often hurts others.
    Jesus was and is the perfect example of what it means to hold to the absolute truth of God without allowing that to cause him to hurt others. In John 4, we have an outstanding story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman. When the conversation began she calls Jesus a Jew and implies that He is no different than all the rest. By the end of the conversation she was convinced that He was the Messiah and went into town to tell others. He was able to talk about her inaccurate worship of God, about her disastrous marriages, and the man she was currently living with and yet did not offend her to the point that she walked away without listening to Him.
    How was He able to confront her sins without turning her off from listening? How was He able to address such obvious sins in such an obvious way without making her walk away?
    The answer is as obvious as Jesus' approach. He loved her and her soul. He did not speak to her about her sins because she was a sinner and needed to change. He didn't speak to her because it was something that needed to be done. He spoke to her about her sins because He loved her so much that the thought of her dying and going to hell was unbearable. He reached out to her with all the love that He could contain, with hands that would soon be pierced that proved His love.
    Church, when we learn to love like Jesus; we will be able to preach like Jesus, and reach people like Jesus. The key to it all is not truth vs. love but the truth with all the love we can contain for a people that will die and be condemned to a devil’s hell if we don't reach them.
    That is why Jesus Himself said that the greatest command was to love God with everything you have and to love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27). Anything less is not Christ-like and will not be effective at reaching others. Please take some time and let these words sink into your mind and heart.
    John 3:17 "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."
    If God didn't act because we were sinners and stood condemned but because He loved us so much, surely we can strive to do the same.

- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://centralhaywoodchurchofchrist.com
Monuments to Ourselves?
By Gerald Cowan

     I’ve borrowed this story from Douglas F. Parsons, something he wrote about fifty years ago. According to him, on a plot of ground near a small town in a certain state,  stands a group of gravestones that are a real challenge to imagination and belief. A man there, a determined “self-made” man, managed to amass a considerable fortune, but he had very few friends and no relatives he cared for, other than his wife. When she died he had an elaborate statue erected, showing her and himself seated at opposite ends of a love seat. This monument pleased him so much that he decided to  commission another, this time showing himself kneeling at her grave with a wreath of flowers in his hand. That one made a fine impression upon him too, and so he erected yet another tombstone depicting his wife kneeling at his future grave with flowers in her hand. Because she was “already an angel in the other world” he had wings placed on her back. As time passed one idea led to another. He ultimately spent more than a quarter million dollars on the monuments to himself and his wife. He had no interest in helping his fellow men or his community. Nor did he ever become a blessing in the church. He used all his resources on himself. He died at 92, a lonely and bitter man. His cherished monuments, ravaged by time and weather and damaged by  vandals, are slowly sinking into the soil. Nothing but a curiosity to some, but a monument to a man’s folly, when understood.
     How many people today live out their lives in much the same way, building monuments to themselves while ignoring the needs and the good of others? Some try to make a place for themselves in the hearts and lives of others. They do things for which others will build monuments to them, and that is surely more honorable than building for oneself. Some have made such indelible marks upon our minds and hearts that we will never forget them – they live on in our memories. It is not difficult to find monuments raised to those whom a grateful community or nation desires to commemorate.
     But there is something better, far better, than that, something that will outlast any earthly monument man can build. Notice what Jesus said about the woman who poured an expensive ointment upon him. “She has done what she could (for me)....Wherever the gospel is preached this will be told as a memorial to her” (Mark 14:8-9).  You and I can have the Lord build a monument to us that will last forever. Just obey the gospel and remain faithful to it and to the Lord – be an overcomer of life’s troubles and temptations, with help that Lord provides. Stay faithful all your life and die with your faithfulness intact (Rev. 2:10). Here’s what the Lord will do: Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of God, and I will write upon him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God. ...and I will write upon him my own new name” (Rev. 3:12).
     To have a monument raised to one in the temple of God, to be fixed in place for eternity in God’s heaven, to be identified with God and His Christ forever – what could be better or greater than that? Who could ask for more than that? But you cannot do it for yourself. There will be no self-promoting monuments to self-made men in heaven. Any monument you build for yourself will crumble and disappear with the world that is passing away (1 John 2:17). To have the Lord build an enduring monument for you, you must give yourself to him in obedient faith and trust.

- 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
How Deep the Father's Love
By David A. Sargent
 
    It's a fascinating story that comes out of the 1989 earthquake which almost flattened Armenia. This deadly tremor killed over 30,000 people in less than four minutes. In the midst of all the confusion of the earthquake, a father rushed to his son's school. When he arrived there he discovered the building was flat as a pancake.
    Standing there looking at what was left of the school, the father remembered a promise he made to his son, “No matter what, I'll always be there for you!” Tears began to fill his eyes. It looked like a hopeless situation, but he could not take his mind off his promise.
    Remembering that his son's classroom was in the back right corner of the building, the father rushed there and started digging through the rubble. As he was digging other grieving parents arrived, clutching their hearts, saying: “My son!” “My daughter!” They tried to pull him off of what was left of the school saying: “It's too late!” “They're dead!” “You can't help!” “Go home!” Even a police officer and a fire-fighter told him he should go home. To everyone who tried to stop him he said, “Are you going to help me now?” They did not answer him and he continued digging for his son stone by stone.
    He needed to know for himself: “Is my boy alive or is he dead?” This man dug for eight hours and then twelve and then twenty-four and then thirty-six. Finally in the thirty-eighth hour, as he pulled back a boulder, he heard his son's voice. He screamed his son's name, "ARMAND!" and a voice answered him, “Dad? It's me, Dad!"
    Then the boy added these priceless words, “I told the other kids not to worry. I told 'em that if you were alive, you'd save me and when you saved me, they'd be saved. You promised that, Dad. ‘No matter what,’ you said, ‘I'll always be there for you!’ And here you are, Dad. You kept your promise!” *
    Our SIN leaves us in a seemingly hopeless situation..., but God loves us so much that He sent His Son to rescue and redeem us (Ephesians 1:7). Jesus, God’s Son, died on the cross to pay the price for our sins and to give us the gift of eternal life (John 3:16; Romans 6:23).
    In order to receive the forgiveness of our sins and the gift of eternal life, we must place our faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) into Christ (Acts 2:38). Then, as we continue to walk in the light of His Word, the blood of Jesus continues to cleanse us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
    Stuart Townend has written a song entitled, “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” that contains these words:
How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
    Even though WE were in the depths of sin, God reached down to us through His Son Jesus to save us – if only we’ll accept His offer on His terms.
    Won’t YOU?

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

The Fleeting Years
By Alan Smith

    I read two humorous stories lately with a similar theme:
    A 5-five-year-old boy was discussing with his father some of the differences between their childhoods. The father pointed out that when he was young, he didn't have things such as Nintendo, cellphones, computers or digital cameras.
    He realized just how huge the generation gap was when his son asked him, "Did you have fruit?"
----------------------------------------
    A 12-year-old girl asked her mother, "Mom, do you have a baby picture of yourself? I need it for a school project." Her mother gave her one without thinking to ask what the project was.
    A few days later she was in the classroom for a parent-teacher meeting when she noticed her face pinned to a mural the students had created. The title of their project was "The oldest thing in my house."
-----------------------------------------
    I am always amazed at how young people view those who are older. I can remember when I was in my early 20's (35 years ago!) thinking of a couple at church as being very old, almost ancient. That couple is in their 80's today, which means that 35 years ago.......they were a lot younger than I am now! I can't help but wonder, is that how young people view me? Do they think that I am very old, almost ancient? Needless to say, my perspective of what constitutes "really old" has changed through the years.
    I'm also amazed at how our perspective on the passing of time changes as we get older. Looking ahead as a young man, it seemed as if being in my 50's was an eternity away. Now, looking back, it doesn't seem that long ago that I was in my 20's. How quickly the time has gone! And every year seems to pass with even more speed.
    Peter was so right when he said, “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away..." (I Peter 1:24). Job put it this way: "We grow up like flowers and then dry up and die. We are like a passing shadow that does not last." (Job 14:2, NCV).
    The glories of this life are indeed fading and before we know it, they will be gone. Which would be depressing if it were not for the realization that those who are in Christ have an inheritance waiting for us "that does not fade away" (I Peter 1:4). 
    So, while you are on this earth, make good use of your time (as short as it may be). It will be gone before you know it. But make sure you live your life in a way that gives you something to look forward to when this life is over.
    Have a great day! (especially you "really old" people in your 80's!)  :)

- Alan Smith, author of the popular "Thought For Today," and minister for the Cruciform Church of Christ in Spring Lake, North Carolina, may be contacted at alansmith.servant@gmail.com or through the congregation's website: http://www.cruciformcoc.com/
The Church and the Christian Life Cycle
By Brian Mitchell
 
    Who Needs the Church? And, Who does the Church Need? Do you need the church; does the church need you? Do the lost need the church; does the church need the lost? Does your family need the church; does the church need your family? Do children, singles, young families, older families and retirees need the church; does the church need them?
    The fact of the matter is that all of these groups need the church and the church needs them. The church is about people—all people—but churches are only as strong as the people that they are composed of. And the people they are composed of are only as strong as they and the church working together enable them to be. That is why it is so important for the local church and the family to work hand in hand for the betterment of both institutions. 
     The Church is a part of God’s eternal plan—Eph.3:10-12. That church in the local sense was designed to bless God’s people with emotional, social and spiritual well-being, regardless of what group they might fall in (seniors, children, families w/children, singles etc.). Even though the Bible does not record it, I can imagine that when the Lord saw the church founded that He had a similar reaction that He had to His creation of the world. I believe as our Lord looked at His church He probably said that “it was good” because of the positive effects it would have on mankind. 
    The truth is that when organized properly and conducted biblically, the church provides great benefits to all who are a part of it. When it isn’t, well the opposite is generally true. The local church offers many blessings to people that simply cannot be obtained anywhere or in anything else—not drugs, power, fame or material wealth—Just ask Solomon if you don’t believe me.
    I say all of this because in this church we have: Children, Singles and Singles Again, Young Families, Families with Teens and Retired/Senior Members. Here is the question; does the church here have anything to offer—emotionally, socially and most importantly spiritually—to those who fall into these various groups? It should!!! The church that is strong will offer something for people in all of these stages of life in order that they might become stronger in their faith and more fruitful in their service.
    The church is always the strongest when every part of the body is working together for the benefit of the whole. “But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Eph.4:15-16).
    Though composed of many members—in different stages of life—the church is still one body in Christ. Thus, it is important that we work together as one body while acknowledging the fact that certain segments of the church have certain needs, abilities and opportunities that are specific to their place in life. Thus, let us as a church make sure that we do all we can to meet these needs, cultivate those abilities and provide them with opportunities for growth and fruitfulness.

- Brian Mitchell preaches for the Jackson Church of Christ in Jackson, MO.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.jacksonchurchofchrist.net
Times Have Changed
By A. C. Quinn

   "Times have changed" is a common refrain from those who find themselves in contradiction with the Word of God. This happens especially when moral standards are involved.
   First of all, one might question what folks mean when they say “Times have changed.” Are they talking about a changing culture? Are they talking about changing attitudes—one’s view of the world? It is most likely the latter.
   The idea that times have changed seems to indicate to many folks that somehow God’s standards have changed with regards to the sanctity of marriage, sexual improprieties, and myriads of other sins. There is a fundamental truth that is lost in this thinking which leads many to lives of sin: “Whosoever commiteth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). Clearly, sin is sin, regardless how much human attitudes may change. Not only so, neither God nor his Word changes: “For I am the Lord, I change not…” (Mal. 3:6); “God is not man, that he should lie; neither the son of man that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Numbers 23:19); “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:34).
   It is certain that there will be the judgment day coming. Sadly for many, what people think will not be the standard. Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge hm in the last day” (John 12:48).

 - A. C. Quinn preaches for the West Main Church of Christ in Wolfe City, Texas. He may be contacted at acuen30@gmail.com
How Do We Know Sunday is the Christian Day of Worship?
By R. W. McAlister
 
    In the Greek language, the names of the days Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mean "second", "third", "fourth", and "fifth" respectively. This leaves Sunday as the first day of the week. The current Greek name for Sunday, Κυριακή (Kyriake), means “Lord’s Day” coming from the word Κύριος (Kyrios), which is the Greek word for “Lord” (Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:2) 
    Some hold – even today – that the Sabbath is the day for Christian worship, but where is the evidence that the early church, under the Lord’s guidance, came together to worship God on the Sabbath day? 
    The kingdom of Christ was established on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1), which always fell on “the morrow after the Sabbath” (Lev. 23:15-16), hence, on Sunday. So the church started out meeting for worship on the first day of the week (Acts 2:42). 
    Consider Acts 20:7: “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” Some English translations, such as the King James, say, “when the disciples came together.” In the original language, the meaning is better rendered, “The disciples were gathered together” (that’s in the passive voice) upon “the first day of the week” to break bread, i.e., to worship, (Acts 20:7). The specific day of meeting was no accident. Though Paul was anxious to get to Jerusalem (Acts 20:16), he waited seven days for the opportunity to assemble with the church. 
    Moreover, the passive voice indicates that the assembling together was instituted by someone other than the disciples. It was by God’s design. 
    According to I Cor. 16:2, the saints in Corinth were assembling and contributing into the church treasury, “every first day of the week.” 
    On the isle of Patmos, John was “in the spirit” on “the Lord’s day” (Rev. 1:10). The term for “Lord’s” is kupiakos, which is defined here as “relating to the Lord.” Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says: “the day devoted to the Lord, sacred to the memory of Christ’s resurrection.” In other words, Sunday, the first day of the week. Dear Soul, where are you normally found on the first day of the week when the saints assemble?

 - R. W. McAlister preaches for the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL.He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.annachurchofchrist.com/
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