BulletinGold #184
May 2017  
Vol 17 #5 

May 2017                                      BG# 184                                      Vol. 17                                       Issue 05
BULLETINGold
Subscribe                     Website                     Submissions                      Editor: David Bragg
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In this issue ...
                                 
Waiting for the Lord's Return
by Larry Miles
                               

The Two Essential Questions for Planning
by J. Randal Matheny

Listening Ears
By Joe Chesser

Castle or Hastle?
By Robert Guinn

Characteristics of a Growing Church
By Joe Slater

Control
By Ron Adams

Will You Lead?
By Jim Faughn

A Change Has Taken Place
By Jeff Arnette

The Rule of Law
by Bill Brandstatter

I Can’t Do It!
By David A. Sargent

Reports of His Death
By David Bragg

He Won’t Be Coming Back on a Donkey Next Time
By David R. Ferguson


Happy Mother's Day!
By Ron Thomas

Remembering Jesus
By Rob Albright

Courage
By Donna Wittlif

Are You Thinking Like Jesus?
By Ron Bartanen

Waiting for the Lord's Return
by Larry Miles
 
    Jesus is coming again! We have His promise in John 14:1-6, the testimony of the angels in Acts 1:9-11, and many other promises in the rest of the Bible.
    In 1 Thess. 1:9-10, the Apostle Paul commends the church at Thessalonica for their service to the Lord. Since we serve the “living and true God,” since He could come at any moment—we must be ready at all times—we must be active in His work at all times. Mission work and evangelism does not stop with conversion—the more we learn about Jesus and His Church and the Word of God—we will be mission-minded.
    Jesus has told us to be waiting and watching for the time He will come back for us. Some in the New Testament were condemned because they were not active in the Lord’s service while waiting for His coming. That must never be said of us. He has provided much for us if we will only appropriate it. Let’s always seek to reach the lost and strengthen the saved.

- Larry Miles lives in Louisville, KY and publishes "Larry's Lines" several times a week. Copyright 2009. Visit his website: http://larryslines.com/
The Two Essential Questions for Planning
by J. Randal Matheny

    Another month gone that will never return. It cannot be undone, for good or bad, for joy or sadness.
    We hope to have another month ahead. We'll make plans to use it, possibly. We ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will do this or that" (see James 4). But we'll actually live it a day at a time, from moment to moment.
    Things will happen to cause changes in plans. We can wring our hands and cry tears of frustration. Or we can adjust and adapt and see in the changes possibilities and opportunities.
    Plans consist of intentions to use time and resources, hopefully, in a positive and constructive way, for maximum benefit.
    For a Christian, plans ought to reflect the spiritual priority of the two greatest commandments (see Matthew 22). So one ought to be constantly asking oneself:
* How can I use my time and resources to love God?
* How can I use my time and resources to love my neighbor?
Victor Hugo wrote, "Love is the only future God offers." Shouldn't the Christian plan to make the future revolve around love?

- 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) 2017 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.

Listening Ears
By Joe Chesser
 
     I love this time of the year. I love the vibrant flowers of spring and the green grass on the rolling hills. As I was driving down a highway one morning this week and as I was noticing the beauty of God’s creation, the song “This is My Father’s World” came to my mind. The lyrics of this well-known Christian hymn were written by Maltbie D. Babcock, a Presbyterian minister, and published after his death by his wife in 1901. Babcock lived in upstate New York, and took frequent walks to enjoy the scenery around Lake Ontario. He would tell his wife he was “going out to see the Father’s world.” In 1916 Franklin Sheppard, a close friend of Babcock, adapted 3 of the 16 verses of the poem to music.
     As I was singing this song to myself and admiring the beauty of the countryside, the first words of the song stood out like never before: “This is my Father’s world, and to my list’tning ears all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.” For those who have “ears to hear” (Matthew 11.15), all nature around us is singing the praises and glory of our Creator. As Babcock wrote in the 2nd stanza, “the birds their carols raise, the morning light, the lily white declare their Maker’s praise … in the rustling grass I hear him pass, he speaks to me ev’ry-where.” As it says of God in Psalm 50.12, “the world is mine, and all that is in it.” Earlier in that same chapter God said, “Hear, O my people, and I will speak” (Psalm 50.7).
     I love the song. I love even more the great privilege of having “list’ning ears.” Many people were driving down the same road as I was that day who I am quite certain didn’t have the privilege of hearing what I heard. I don’t say that in judgment of them, but in thanksgiving to God that I have been taught and am willing to have listening ears.
     On this Mother’s Day I am eternally grateful to God for giving me a mother who had listening ears and who taught me to have listening ears. I can still hear my mother singing around the house as she did her chores, and as she sat in worship singing praises to God. She taught me to listen to God however he spoke – through scripture, through teachers, through hardships, and, yes, through nature.
     You may not have had the privilege of being taught to develop listening ears.  That’s OK, because if you are willing to open your ears to God now, it’s not too late.  You can begin by training your ears to hear all nature as it sings of the glory of God.  “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth their speech … there is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the earth.” (Psalm 19.1-4 emphasis mine).
     But much more importantly, it is imperative that you open your ears to hear the gospel of Christ.  As God said of Jesus in Matthew 15.5, “Listen to him!”  Open your ears!

 - Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted at joeandareva@yahoo.com

Castle or Hastle?
By Robert Guinn

    While discussing the responsibilities that come with home-ownership, my neighbor made the following statement, "Your castle is your hassle."
    Being first-time home-owners, my wife and I are experiencing a slight learning curve when it comes to the maintenance and upkeep of our property. Though we try to keep a positive view of our home, things (like the AC going out) tempt that positive attitude.
    Attitude can change everything. A castle is a cherished monument and fortress; something that brings a sense of pride, accomplishment, and awe. A hassle, however, is something viewed as an obligation, bother, or something you have to "put up with." So, we can look at our house and see a lovely home or a never-ending source of chores and work. Our attitude not only affects how we feel toward our house but also our families.
    What happens when we view our spouses as a hassle, obstacle, or obligation? Will we cultivate an intimate relationship or be driven apart? When we view our spouse as a cherished blessing from God, it becomes easier to grow closer to God and each other. God revealed a plan for husbands and wives to live together with different roles and functions;  being united with a mutual love, respect, understanding, and submission (1 Corinthians 7;  Ephesians 5:22-23;  Titus 2;  1 Peter 3). This becomes very difficult when our attitudes devalue our spouse.
    What about our children? Do we look at them only as a "mouth to feed," or a hindrance to what we want? When we do, we prevent ourselves from fulfilling our roles as godly parents. Knowing that our children are a gift from God, we can see them as a blessing (Psalm 127:4-5;  James 1:17). Our attitude impacts our effectiveness to fulfill our responsibility to encourage, educate, train, and grow our young ones in a godly direction (Proverbs 22:6; Titus 2; Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21). Remember, there is no greater joy than to hear that our children are walking in the truth (3 John 1:4).
    How do we view our families? Are they a breathtaking castle built to the glory of God? Or, do we think of them as a mere hassle that gets in the way?
    May God bless our families and our attitudes toward each other. May we bring glory to Him through the family of God (Ephesians 3:20-21; 1 Timothy 3:15).
 
- 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
Characteristics of a Growing Church
By Joe Slater

    Phenomenal growth characterized the early church. Starting with about 3000 conversions on Pentecost Day (Acts 2:41), it wasn’t long until the number of men reached 5000 (4:4). When we get to 5:14, “believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women.” Dizzying, isn’t it? What characteristics produced such growth? Can we develop those same qualities?
    Obviously, our first-century brethren were intensely evangelistic. Even when threatened with severe punishment, they proclaimed the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and salvation through Him (Acts 3 & 4). But it doesn’t stop there. Evangelism bears fruit only when people are listening. What motivated the crowds to hear?
    The early church had credibility, and for good reason! Generous brethren gave bountifully to supply the needs of the less fortunate (2:44, 45). As a result, the church enjoyed “favor with all the people” (2:47). Someone has observed that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” By demonstrating the love of Jesus, the Christians in Jerusalem earned the right to be heard.
    A couple of them, however, sought to be praised rather than to be helpful. Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, lied about their contribution, claiming to have donated the full proceeds from selling a possession when, in fact, they gave only part of it. Peter affirmed that they had every right to keep a part for their own use (5:4). Their sin was in lying about it. Ananias was struck dead instantly, carried out, and buried without ceremony; Sapphira, appearing later, suffered the same fate. “So great fear came upon the church and upon all who heard these things . . . but the people esteemed them highly” (5:11, 13). Here was a church that upheld high standards! Even worldly people respected that. In our day, when so many are afraid to say or do anything that might seem “intolerant” or “judgmental,” we might take a lesson from Acts 5!
    Besides being evangelistic, being generous, and upholding high standards, these brethren were unified. “And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch” (5:12b). Nobody complained when Ananias and Sapphira were severely disciplined. None were introducing strange new doctrines or practices. Such unity attracts people who are weary of the world’s chaos. They crave the rest that Jesus offers. No wonder they listened to the gospel.
    No wonder the church grew!

- 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

Control
By Ron Adams

    Every time a catastrophic storm hits, once again we are reminded that we have no control over the weather. Experts can forecast, inhabitants can be warned, and people can prepare, but no one can stop or control a storm. Our power to control external forces is practically non existent. This includes the actions of others. We have no control over what others think and do. However, we have complete control over how we think, act, and react.
    The Apostles, after being beaten for speaking in the name of Jesus, “... went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” (Acts 5:41-42)
    Paul and Silas were in chains in the inner prison in Philippi with their feet fastened in stocks, “But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God.” (Acts 16:25). They were confined, but in heart, mind, and conscience they were free.
    Remember, we will be judged, not by what others do to us, but by what we do. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10).

- 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. © 2017
Will You Lead?
By Jim Faughn
 
    Recently, I came across some material I have had for years. In that material, I was reminded of a book written years ago by brother Norman Hogan. The book was entitled Leadership in the Local Church.
    Contrary to what you might imagine from the title, this book is not at all merely for elders, deacons, preachers, and others in “leadership positions” in a congregation. The book contains material that, if taken to heart and put into practice, could benefit every member of every congregation of God’s people.
    The very first sentence in the very first chapter of the book should serve as a “wake up call” for all of us. Please carefully and prayerfully read, reread, and consider the implications of these words:
“If the members of a local church refuse to lead for Christ, it is certain that others, whose philosophy of life is alien to that of Christians, will lead people away from Christ.”
Did you not see in that statement what I did not see?   
    I did not see in that sentence any of the following words: elders, deacons, preachers, Bible class teachers. The word I saw was members.
    How do you react to brother Hogan’s statement? How do you react to the word “members?”
    Do you believe that he is accurate in what he wrote? If so, what are you doing about it?
    As you (and I) consider that, let me suggest something else I did not see in his statement. I did not read that he was discussing leading people to Christ.   
    Please do not misunderstand. I am, in no way, meaning to leave the impression that leading people to Christ is not important. It is vitally important. It is eternally important.
    However, what is under consideration here is leading for Christ. It seems to me that what is called for here would be individuals who will do more than lament the deterioration and decline of what some have called the “moral fabric” of our society – and other societies in the world.  
    What brother Hogan thought was desperately needed were people who would take a stand based on firm convictions. They would do more than merely take a stand. They would move forward in the right direction and encourage others to follow.
    Leaders lead. They do not merely stand.
    Leaders act. They do not merely complain.
    Is our society all that you want it to be? What about your community? What about your workplace? What about your school? What about your congregation? What about your family?
    Are you leading for Christ?
 
- Jim Faughn, a retired preacher, serves as an elder for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org
A Change Has Taken Place
By Jeff Arnette

    A change has taken place!
    From the power of Satan to the power of God.
    Anyone who has repented and submitted to Christ in baptism has made the greatest choice this life can offer. A person whose faith is real and whose repentance is genuine has truly died, in a spiritual sense, to the old life of sin.
    Symbolically, he has died, been buried with Christ, and resurrected to walk in a new life (Rom. 6:3-4). They have become a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). All previous relationships, everything that makes up the old life should fade into extinction until all that remains is a new person created in the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). The true convert to Christ has been “born again”, “born of the water and the spirit” and now walks in “a new life” (John 3:3, 5).
    For the mind and the soul, conversion to Christ is a vast change. It is a change from having “no hope” and “without God in this world” to being a new born child of God (Eph. 2:12; Gal. 3:26-29). When one truly obeys the gospel of Jesus Christ (which is God’s power of salvation) he has been delivered from the power of Satan, the kingdom of Satan, to the power and kingdom of God (Acts 26:18; Col. 1:13).
    To be delivered from the power of Satan, from death and darkness, and translated (placed within) into the kingdom of God’s dear Son; is to be a recipient of God’s greatest act of love. It is a miracle with eternal possibilities (Rom. 8:12; Col. 1:13). Everything about the New Testament conversion to Christ is miraculous and amazing.
    Faith, for example, is a form of courage that cannot be measured. It is “assurance” and “conviction” that we need to approach a holy God (Heb. 11:1-6). It is a courage that dares to step out into the unknown simply because God exists. A courage that places all its hopes and dreams in God’s precious promises.
    Repentance (Mark 1:15; Acts 3:19) is also a profound and significant new reality for the Christian. Only a person who has been remade in the image of God can have the power to truly repent. It is the freedom to reverse previous choices. The power needed to submit all your life to Jesus Christ and simply follow him.
    Confession of faith in Christ as the Son of God is also a priceless privilege (John 12:42; Rom. 10:9). When we do this as an honest and open profession of our choice it strengthens us and the church. Confession is a constant reminder that we have believed and committed to living for Jesus for the rest of our life (Heb. 13:5).
    Baptism in water, for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16), gathers together and reflects for us, the truest meaning of faith, repentance, and confession in a new symbolic way (Rom. 6:1-14). It shows ourselves and others that we have died to sin and self and have resurrected to a new life of submission to God.
    Each of these (faith, repentance, confession, and baptism) are great by themselves but even greater is the fact that they place us in Christ (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3-4). There is no other way into Christ and no condemnation to those who are safe and secure in him. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:1-2).

- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://centralhaywoodchurchofchrist.com
The Rule of Law
by Bill Brandstatter

    When candidate Trump was running for President, he stated that he was going to enforce the current laws on immigration that were already on the books. A law in 1952 gives him the right to do what he is currently doing with immigration. Other presidents have done it, so is he. Yet there is a big outcry about his decision. Laws are made to be enforced. Laws are made for our good. Some hold the view, “Laws are made to be broken.” God’s people are ones who have laws that must be obeyed.
    In the Old Testament, laws were expected to be obeyed. .At the end of the Old Testament, the Lord speaking through Malachi stated, “Remember the law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded him for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments” (Mal. 4:4 NKJV). Mankind has always been reminded to obey the laws, not make new ones of their own. Many today want to make new laws on morality and number of other issues and ignore the law of God.
     Some today may believe there is no law in Christianity. They might emphasize the grace of God instead. However, we are under law today. That law is Christ’s law. Paul described it as “under law toward Christ” (1 Cor. 9:21). James described a law that all Christians are to obey as the “perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25). The Psalmist wrote: “the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul” (Ps. 19:7). Paul described the law of the Lord as “holy, just, and good.” (Rom. 7:12). All these adjectives describing the law indicate there is nothing better. There is no need to appeal to a higher court. There is no higher court. Christ has all authority (Matt. 28:18; John 5:27).  John writes, “For this is the love of God that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome.”(1 Jn. 5:3). We therefore cannot love God unless we keep His commandments or laws.
    The Bible plainly indicates we are under a law today. What does it mean to be under law? It means we are to obey the law or consequences will result. Laws are meant to be obeyed, not broken. Paul commands Christians to obey civil law (Rom. 13:1).  As with any law, a violation brings repercussions. This general principle is stated by Paul in Gal. 6:7 when he states, “Whatever a man sows, that will he also reap.” The punishment for obeying Christ’s law may not come in this life, however (Jn. 12:48) The punishment is far reaching and everlasting. Jesus will take vengeance on those who don’t know Him and don’t obey Him (2 Thess. 1:7, 8). However, God’s law is always superior to man’s law. That is why Peter and the other apostles stated,” We ought to obey God rather than men.”(Acts 5:29).
    We ought to be content with the laws that are given to us in the New Testament. Are we satisfied with them, or do we think we can change them to fit the situation? We don’t need any others. Christ has the perfect way. To follow it means heaven will one day be our home.

– Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://marionchurchofchrist.com
I Can’t Do It!
By David A. Sargent

    Keith Wishum recently wrote: “I’m afraid that we sometimes forget the obvious fact that we are not self-sufficient.” Then Wishum illustrated his point with the following story:
    A young construction worker was bragging that he was the strongest man on the job. He especially made fun of an older worker.
    After several minutes, the elder man had enough. "Put your money where your mouth is!" he exclaimed. "I'll bet a week's pay that I can haul something in a wheelbarrow over to the other building that you won't be able to wheel back."
    "You're on, old man," the young man replied. "Let's see."
    The old man grabbed the wheelbarrow by the handles. Then, nodding to the young man, he said with a sly smile, "All right. Get in."
    Wishum concludes: “We cannot carry ourselves. We did not give ourselves life. We cannot sustain life on our own. There is no such creature as a ‘self-made man.’”
    No, we are not self-sufficient. Whether we like to admit or not, we are dependent upon God and others for so many things in our lives. This is even true of our salvation from sin.
    In our “self-sufficiency,” we are sinners. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). What we “earn” from our sins is death, “for the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
    We cannot save ourselves from sin. We just can’t do it.
    But God loves us so much that He sent His Son to be our Savior! “For God so loved the world that He gave his One and Only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish” (John 3:16). Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sins (1 Peter 1:18-19).
    Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Jesus is the only way to the Father and to the eternal life that He promises.
    We cannot save ourselves, but we CAN accept God’s offer of salvation! This is the sense of Peter’s words when he told the Jewish audience on Pentecost Day: “And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation’” (Acts 2:40). They couldn’t be saved by their own merits, but they could be saved by accepting God’s offer of salvation on His terms.
    God has promised to save those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). God will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).
    Just as one cannot push himself while sitting in a wheelbarrow, we cannot save ourselves. We can, however, place ourselves in the arms of Jesus through our trusting obedience and be saved by and through Him.
    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

* From “I Can’t Do It.” By Keith Wishum in A Word from Williams Road. Wishum is the minister for the Williams Road Church of Christ in Americus, GA.

Reports of His Death
By David Bragg

    There are three dates you should keep in mind as you read this article: 1897, 1900, 2012.
    The first is the most debatable because the circumstances have, ironically, been exaggerated. One of the most popular versions has it that while Mark Twain was in London an American newspaper erroneously printed the humorist's obituary. When asked to comment on this mistake Twain reportedly replied, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." Twain would go on living for another 13 years.
    The second date, 1900, was the year that German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche passed away. He was 55 years old. He is perhaps best known for his observation, printed in various works, declaring that "God is dead." In intervening years his comment, and what various writers suppose he meant by it, have been widely debated.
    The third date is 2012. In that year American theologian William Hamilton died. Hamilton is perhaps best known for an article appearing in the April 8, 1966 issue of Time Magazine entitled "Is God Dead?" Liberal theologians, skeptics and atheists rallied around Hamilton's observations as if it somehow justified their anti-religious views.
    All three of these dates are important to consider. Let me state the obvious. There is one date that can not be given because it has not (and never will) exist: the date of God's death. Twain is in his grave. Nietzsche is no more. Hamilton is dead. Yet God, the eternal God, lives.
        Before the mountains were brought forth,
        Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
        Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. (Psalm 90:2)

- 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/ or his blog: http://davidbragg.blogspot.com/

He Won’t Be Coming Back on a Donkey Next Time
By David R. Ferguson

    Jesus came to the Earth the first time meek and lowly, and riding on the back of a donkey. But that’s not how He will return at His Second Coming.
    The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus is the “blessed hope” of the church (Titus 2:13). Throughout the centuries of church history, concerned believers have waited expectantly for this glorious event to happen.
    The Son of God came the first time in Bethlehem as a virgin-born baby. He was “despised and rejected of men” (Isaiah 53:3). He was arrested, ridiculed, and finally crucified. His death was a perfect sacrifice for sin.
    But some day He will come again – not to experience mocking and humiliation – but to reign as King over the universe. The Second Coming of Christ to the Earth is the bright and radiant hope of God’s people. The Apostle John, writing from the island of Patmos, says, “Behold, He cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him” (Revelation 1:7). Jesus Himself declares that people will “see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30).
    Jesus promised that He will prepare a place for us, and that He will come again (John 14:2b-3). There are scoffers who say, “Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Peter 3:3-4). They are not willing to take the promises of God’s word seriously. But the Angels declared to the disciples of Jesus who witnessed His ascension into Heaven: “This same Jesus, Which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven” (Acts 1:11). The Apostle Paul declares that “when Christ Who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4).
    The truth about the Second Coming of Jesus is clear – and we do not try to explain it away. Are you ready for that day? Have you come to the Lord in obedient, saving faith? If not, then why not?

- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation'sFacebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lakelandchurchofchrist/ or davidferguson61@yahoo.com
Happy Mother's Day!
By Ron Thomas

    Let me spell the word m-o-t-h-e-r, with a message to complement.
    M is for Mature. Do you remember when mom always seemed to have the right answer, and when she gave the answer, it was with the right spirit and attitude (I remember that).
    O is for Open. Mothers who love their children will have an “open door policy” with the kids. That simply means that when trouble is brewing in the youth, mom is there to lend a hand.
    T is for Teacher. Can hardly think of mom without there being some component of teaching involved. Mom taught things of importance like personal hygiene, laundry, or doing the dishes because that was women’s work! (Boy, did I learn about that!)
    H is for Health. I remember that when I got sick, I never wanted dad to tend to my needs or concerns. He would have been there and done what was needed, but gruff and “suck it up” just wasn’t the same as the tender “honey,” and “sweet heart.”
    E is for Expectations. Mothers who love their children will have expectation and, when they are not met, the child (or children) will suffer consequences. I learned early that suffering was less than pleasant.
    R is for Remember. Mom had (has) a memory that just doesn’t need to work as good as it did (at least when I was in trouble!), but on the other hand I am glad it works as well as it does. Let our “memory” work the same, and be sure to wish your mother (and all mothers) a HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

- Ron Thomas preacher for the Sunrush Church of Christ, Chillicothe, OH.   He may be contacted through the congregation's website. http://sunrushchurchofchrist.com/
Remembering Jesus
By Rob Albright

    As we take the bread and fruit of the vine, we remember Jesus. He died on the cross, not because of His
sins, but He died on the cross for our sins. 1 Peter 2:24 says, "He himself bore our sins in his body on the
tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed." (ESV)
    The nails that went through his hands and feet were not for any sins he had done. They were for my sins
and for your sins. The crown of thorns was placed on his head so that I might die to sin and live the new
life as a disciple of Christ. When you die to something you separate yourself from it.
    We separate ourselves from a life dominated by sin to live a live dominated by righteousness. (Romans
6:13).
    When we die to sin we do not live in it any longer. (Romans 6:1-2). Jesus died so you and I might have
that opportunity to live a Christ-like life. Shouldn't that be our goal? Jesus allowed himself to be sin for us
    Why? (2 Cor. 5:21) "So that, in him, we might become the righteousness of God"
    Let that sink in as we study about the Lord's Supper today and share in this time of remembering Jesus.

- Rob Albright serves as one of the ministers at the Northwest Church of Christ in Greensboro, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.nwchurchofchrist.com/
Courage
By Donna Wittlif

"For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline" (II Timothy 1:7).
    Rosa Parks said, "I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear." Rosa Parks was not rich, did not hold a doctorate degree, and was not famous when she made up her mind to stay seated in that bus. But she knew what was right, and was willing to act on what was right.
    One might say that the opposite of courage is a spirit of fearfulness. It is a disgrace to modern Christians, especially those in the United States where we have little persecution, that we let our little fears hold us back from telling others about God and Christ. What do we fear? Ridicule? Humiliation? Being called a "religious fanatic"?
    "You have not resisted unto blood, striving against sin," the author of Hebrews reminds us (12:4). No, we are not like the six newly baptized Christians who died in a public park in Pakistan last March 27. They were targeted because they believed in Christ and had gathered to celebrate Easter with other believers. American Christians have opportunities to show and tell their faith to others every day, but we are often afraid.
    "Be strong and of good courage," God told the Israelites over and over as they went to fight their battles. The Lord was their leader, and He fought for them and conquered their enemies. All they had to do was put their faith and trust in God and obey Him, and He discomfited the foreign armies that threatened them.
    The same God, our Heavenly Father, has promised to be with us always. Can we not have the same faith as the Israelites did as they watched God smite their enemies? Our Father will do the same for us as we go forth to tell His story.

- 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 and 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/

Are You Thinking Like Jesus?
By Ron Bartanen
 
    How do you determine what is right and what is wrong, what is godly and what is evil? Is the difference determined by the culture of the country you happen to live in? Or possibly by a church’s traditions? Or maybe by each person’s feelings as to what is right or wrong, letting one’s conscience and human reasoning be the determining factor? Or how about thinking like Jesus?
    A few years ago there was a book entitled “Thinking Like Jesus,” in which researcher George Barna concluded that while in earlier years most communities were Christian-oriented in their standards—Bible-based standards—in recent decades even those claiming to be Christians have largely abandoned the Scriptures as the norm for the Christian life and doctrine.  With 30 years of research, and thousands of interviews with people who claim to be “born again Christians,” he found 3 out of 4 shaped their world-view from sources other than the Bible.  Even of those who claimed they rely on Biblical truth, only one out of seven believed moral truth to be absolute and unchangeable.  Barna made this observation: “When people wonder why the church is losing out in American society—which seven out of ten contend—the reason is that so very few think like Jesus.”
    How did Jesus think? What was His standard? Read it in Matthew 4:1-10.  After Jesus’ baptism, He underwent a 40-day period of fasting, in which He was tempted three times by Satan.  He quenched the devil’s fiery darts by citing Scripture, saying each time, “It is written….”  The source of direction for His life was not human reasoning.  Nor popular religious tradition.  Nor the prevailing Jewish culture.  Nor what was then “politically correct.”  But Scripture.  Jesus berated the religious leaders of His day for their failure to adhere to the Scriptures as their authority.  He rebuked them for “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:7), declaring their worship to be “in vain.”  He then charged, “Full well ye reject the commandment of God that ye may keep your tradition” (v. 9).  This is followed by His reference to commands in the writings of Moses as Scripture for God’s authority.  Again, in Mark 12:24, He asked, “Do ye not therefore err because ye know not the Scriptures…?”  Would He not say the same to religious leaders today as they claim to honor the Bible, but, at the same time, cling to denominational creeds and dogmas that are without Scriptural warrant? There are even more and more preachers and denominations that adhere more to “politically correct” standards for morality than hold to the word of God.
    To think like Jesus, let God-inspired Scriptures—the Bible—be your guide.  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

- Ronald Bartanen preaches for Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com
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