BulletinGold #199
August 2018  
Vol 18 #8 

August 2018                         BG# 199                         Vol. 18 No. 08
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In this issue ...

 Submission to God’s Word
By R. W. McAlister

 Suggestions for Living a Balanced Life
By Lance Cordle

 Taste and See!
By Johnny Hester


 Behind Blue Eyes
By Ron Thomas

 Fine
By Larry Pasley

 We Are Family
By David Bragg

 Redeemed! How I Love To Proclaim It!
By Joe Slater

 All Aboard!
By David A. Sargent

 Does God Speak to You?
By Seth Myers

 No One Spoke Like Jesus
By Adam Faughn

 God’s Way
By Kevin V. Rutherford

 If Jesus Couldn't, Could I?
By Steve Higginbotham

Submission to God’s Word
By R. W. McAlister

    Webster defines “submission” as, “yielding to another” or, “giving in to another.” Submission also has something to do with authority – not the position of authority, but the exercise of authority. Submission is humble and obedience to authority. It isn’t being a door mat, or being a weakling. It’s inward control that expresses itself outwardly.
    Spiritually speaking, submission is “subordination to God’s authority principle.” Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (I Cor. 11:3).  
    Submission to God is where it must start. James wrote, “Submit yourselves therefore to God” (Jas. 4:7), and Paul told the Ephesians, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (Eph. 5:21).
    Isn’t it amazing that most people will accept some rule book written by men over the rule book written by God? Countless millions profess to believe in God and the Bible and then they put their faith and trust into man-made creeds – they won’t submit to God! It’s truly amazing that these people either can’t or don’t desire to see the error in their reasoning. The Scriptures plainly declare (II Tim. 3:16-17), “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.”
    The players on a sports team must conform to the rules that govern that sport. The rule book does not conform to the player’s wishes.
    The same thing is true in regard to God’s Holy Word. The Bible does not conform to the thoughts and wishes of men, but men must conform to the Word of God (Rom. 12:2). No one will save his soul or enjoy God’s blessings by refusing to submit to the Holy Scriptures. Man must accept the truth that his thoughts are not God’s thoughts and his ways are not God’s ways (Isa. 55:8).
    Dear Reader, it’s essential that we respect the Scriptures and live by them. Our eternal destination depends on it.
 
- 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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Suggestions for Living a Balanced Life
By Lance Cordle

• Live a godly life when you are young and when you are old, so there will be few regrets (Ecclesiastes 12:1).
• Don’t live in the past, but acknowledge it and learn from it as you face the future (Acts 26:9; Galatians 3:12-14).
• Emphasize the importance of knowledge and education in a school setting, but raise your children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Luke 2:52; Ephesians 6:4).
• Be obedient and submissive to government officials and laws, but understand that ultimately, when there is conflict between the government and God, “we must obey God rather than men” (Matthew 22:21; Acts 5:29).
• Take care of, and nurture your body, but also know that godliness is most important and your attitudes and actions should reflect that understanding (1 Timothy 4:8; Philippians 4:8).
• Understand and emphasize the private aspect of your life (prayer, giving, etc.) and devotion, but also realize that God wants His children to come together regularly in the assembly (Matthew 6:14; Hebrews 10:24, 25).
• Provide for and nourish your spouse and children, but also know that we are to honor and care for our mothers and fathers throughout their lives (Ephesians 5:22-6:2; 1 Timothy 5:4, 8).
• Work hard and enjoy the fruit of your labor, but do not neglect your family and their emotional and spiritual needs—and don’t forget to “rest awhile” (Colossians 3:18; 21, 23; Mark 6:36).
• Have proper concern for earthly matters and possessions, but do not continually worry about them and do not let “stuff” rule your life (Matthew 6:34; 1 Timothy 6:17, 18).
• Honor and love your physical family, but realize your ultimate allegiance is to your heavenly Father and your brothers and sisters in Christ (John 19:26, 27; Matthew 12:46-50).
• Laugh when you can; cry when you need to (Proverbs 17:22; Ecclesiastes 3:4). 

- Lance Cordle preaches for the Calvert City Church of Christ in Calvert City, KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com
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Taste and See!
By Johnny Hester

    In Mark chapter sixteen Jesus confronted and convicted the eleven for their lack of faith in the first reports of His resurrection from the dead. Then, on the heels of this rebuke, He gave them the monumental task to: “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned’.” That undertaking has been passed down to us. Our mission as the Lord’s church is to take that same saving message of Christ to a lost world in our day. Even with the marvelous twenty-first century communication tools at our disposal, it is still a colossal task to “Preach the gospel to the whole creation” (Mk. 16:15). 
    A question to ponder: What will it take to motivate us to action? Genuine, lasting evangelistic fervor is seldom if ever produced by guilt or coercion. Rather it is born of experience. Once an individual has personally encountered the goodness of God and has leaned heavily upon His mighty arm, then trust grows along with a joyful desire to share this wonderful discovery with others.
    In Psalm 34:8-9 the psalmist is recommending to others what he has learned through his own personal walk with God. He had often been delivered from temptation, trouble and trial; so now he heartily recommends his Savior to those about him. “O, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! O, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.” How did the Psalmist know that God is good—that those who trust Him are blessed—that a relationship with Him dispels crippling fear? Because he had experienced it firsthand! So now he could energetically encourage others to “taste.” The Hebrew word for “taste” is taa`am and it simply means to try just a little of something to test its flavor. He knew that once they tasted, they would want to partake as well.
        “A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
        He taketh my burden away;
        He holdeth me up and I shall not be moved,
        He giveth me strength as my day.” 
    Dear brothers and sisters, let us tell others of our Savior, inviting them to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” Will you consider reaching out to someone you know? Will you do it now? Be emboldened by love (1 John 4:18) to invite a friend to join us this Lord’s Day as we worship God and feast upon the bread of life.

- Johnny Hester preaches for the Matthews Church of Christ in Matthews, MO. He may be contacted at johnnyhester@yahoo.com

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Behind Blue Eyes
By Ron Thomas

    I have always liked the song with the title “Behind Blue Eyes” by the rock group The Who. It is a song the singer, writer and just about anyone else can relate to in a special way. Not everything in the song relates, but the general tenor of the song connects with people very well, perhaps like the song by Keith Whitely, “I am no stranger to the Rain.”
    Both musical tunes in different genres connect with the struggles people have regularly. No matter how vibrant a person appears on stage, on television, or in public in a different venue, the same struggles are present.
    A young lady lost the “love of her life” because she made a choice and it did not include him. He moved on, but she struggled more than she realized when she saw him again. A young professional man is about to get married because “it’s the logical step” to a long relationship, and all the while the young lady does not feel loved, but only lonely. A powerful woman in the business world can’t seem to connect with a male because she is always afraid the male (now boyfriend) is interested in her because of her position.
    Each one presents themselves in a façade sort of way, allowing others to think that behind those blue (any color) eyes, all is well, when things are not well at all.
    Blue eyes crying in the rain!
    When Solomon was standing in front of the people praying to the Lord, dedicating the newly built Temple in Jerusalem, he used a word any thoughtful person can relate to. “What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house” (1 Kings 8:38, KJV).
    Did you notice it? The word is “plague.” When every person knows the plague of his own heart, when that person prays, in this case toward the Temple, Solomon appeals to the Lord to hear and heal. Other translations use words and terms like affliction, wound, heartfelt sorrow, pain, their troubles, but most (that I have) uses the word plague.
    That word conveys to me in a most accurate way what the Lord wants me to understand. That which I have in my heart, that with which I continually contend with is a plague, a disease that if not addressed will kill me, and in this case, spiritually. When Solomon prayed, he prayed the Lord would hear and heal, but the one who prays must first heed.
    Behind blue eyes that are crying in the rain – there is a solution, and the solution is not within self. The solution is the Lord. It always has been, and it will never be anything but Him. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

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

    The Sheriff pulled up next to the guy unloading garbage out of his pick-up into the ditch. The Sheriff asked, "Why are you dumping garbage in the ditch? Don't you see that sign right over your head."
    "Yep," he replied. "That's why I'm dumpin' it here, 'cause it says: 'Fine For Dumping Garbage.' "
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
     Sometimes we see things out of context, miss the punctuation or miss the intent of what was said.
    An example is with the little boy who came home from Bible class, excitedly telling his parents that he heard a story about eight people milking a bear. His parents were shocked that he would come up with such a thing. They asked their teacher about it and she said they had been studying Genesis 22. They looked through the chapter and found the problem in verse 23. "And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she also hath borne children unto they brother Nahor. 21 Uz his first-born, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram. 22 And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel. 23 And Bethuel begat Rebekah. These eight did Milcah bear to Nahor, Abraham's brother" (Genesis 22:20-23).
    The little boy had only heard the phrase, “These eight did Milcah bear.”
    Sometimes we do like the little boy, we hear someone say something and only pick up on a certain phrase that caught our attention.
    Another example of this is found in Galatians 3:26-27. Many only hear verse 26, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” And they conclude that we are saved by faith only.
    But notice what the next verse says, 27, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
    So, when we put those verses together in context, it is saying, “We are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For (because) as many of us as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” We are sons of God because we were baptized into Christ.
    The only time the two words “faith only” are found in the Bible is in James 2:24, “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”
    The Bible never teaches that we are saved by faith only, but on the contrary it teaches that we are justified (made right with God) by our works in addition to our faith.
    Jesus is the source of salvation to those who obey Him, not to those who simply believe in Him. Hebrews 5:9 “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”
    We will be judged, not by our faith, but by what we have done here on earth. Romans 2:5-10  “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who "will render to each one according to his deeds": 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness--indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
    May we always strive to be sure we are seeing all God wants us to know about His will for us.

- Larry Pasley serves as a minister with the Jackson Street Church of Christ in Alexandria, LA. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at http://www.JacksonStAlex.com
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We Are Family
By David Bragg

    Police, responding to a domestic disturbance call in a tiny Key West Florida community, found an aunt and her niece fighting. It seems that a board game led to an accusation of stealing some money which broke out into a fight. Her aunt had hit her in the mouth with a piece of wood, stabbed her ear with a screwdriver, and bitten two of her fingers. The niece also had gotten in a few punches of her own. The game they had been playing? The home edition of Family Feud (www.miamiherald.com).
    God has a clear plan when it comes to the family. The home is the central institution of any society and the bedrock of any nation seeking to please God. It is designed around, according to Paul, the husband's self-sacrificial love for his wife and the wife's willing submission to her husband (Ephesian 5:22-25). Because every husband and wife are mere mortals, the devil will do his utmost to disrupt their relationship with sin. Still, by keeping their focus of loving and obeying God, our homes can be havens of healthy and happy lives.
    But there is a more important design in God's establishing the family. Paul concludes his observations on the marital relationship with these words from Ephesians 5:23: "This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church." In the Christian husband's role in the family Christ's greater love is reflected. Likewise, in the Christian wife's role in the family the church's love and obedience is portrayed. It is no wonder, then, that the New Testament church is portrayed as a spiritual family, the house of God (1 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 3:6; 1 Pet. 4:17). There’s no way around it, we are family!
 
- 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/
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Redeemed! How I Love To Proclaim It!
By Joe Slater

“in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14)
    Ever since Eden, sinful humans have needed redemption. To redeem something is to buy it back; in many cases, it is the equivalent of a ransom. We enslave ourselves to sin; once we have done so, how can we ever be free again? We have nothing with which to redeem ourselves. All the good works we could pile up in a thousand lifetimes couldn’t pay the first penny of interest on our sin debt. The price is too high! “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
    Fortunately for us, our loving God doesn’t want us to suffer the penalty for our sin. While we cannot redeem ourselves, He paid the price Himself, giving His precious Son to die on our behalf and in our place. The blood Jesus shed on the cross purchased our redemption. He freed us from the slavery of sin!
    Redemption from sin includes forgiveness, also known as remission. To forgive means to “send away.” First, our sins are sent away – we no longer have to bear them. Under the Mosaic Law, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest put his hands on a goat’s head, confessed Israel’s sins, and sent the goat away. We commonly call it the “scapegoat” (one who takes the blame for another’s wrongdoing).  Jesus literally did for us what the scapegoat symbolically did for Israel.
    But second, we ourselves are “sent away,” not in the sense of being banished, but being released. God no longer holds our sins against us (see Hebrews 8:12, 10:17). We are forgiven!
    Only “in Christ” is redemption found. Are you “in Christ”? (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27)

- 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
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All Aboard!
By David A. Sargent

    In 1891, the directors of the World’s Columbian Exposition issued a challenge to American engineers to design a monument for the Exposition that would rival the Eiffel Tower, the centerpiece of the 1889 Paris Exposition. The planners wanted something “original, daring and unique.”
    George Washing Gale Ferris, Jr., a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, bridge-builder, had an idea that he shared with the directors of the Exposition which was to be held in Chicago, Illinois, in 1893. Ferris, who also founded G.W.G. Ferris & Co. – a firm that tested and inspected metals for railroads and bridges, wanted to build a giant steel wheel from which passengers would be able to view the entire exhibition. The Exhibition planners feared that his design for a huge rotating wheel towering over the grounds would not be safe.
    But Ferris persisted. He was able to obtain some endorsements from several established engineers. He also secured the backing of several local investors to cover the $400,000 cost of construction. The committee agreed to allow Ferris to construct the wheel.
    When construction was completed, the Ferris Wheel stood with a height of 264 ft. It had 36 cars, each fitted with 40 revolving chairs and able to accommodate up to 60 people. This gave the Wheel a total capacity of 2,160. Now it was ready for passengers. But who would be the first to ride the monstrous rotating wheel of steel?
    Ferris invited a newspaper reporter to accompany him and his wife for the inaugural ride. It was a windy July day and a stiff breeze struck the wheel with great force as it slowly began its rotation. Despite the wind, the wheel turned flawlessly. After one revolution, Ferris called for the machine to be stopped so that he, his wife, and the reporter could step out. The evidence was in: the Ferris Wheel was safe for passengers.
    The Ferris Wheel was opened to the public on June 21, 1893. In its operation, the Wheel carried some 38,000 passengers daily and took 20 minutes (including stops) to complete two revolutions. Passengers paid 50 cents to ride the wheel. *
    Consider the following application: In braving that one revolution on the windblown Ferris wheel, the initial occupants demonstrated genuine faith. Mr. Ferris began with the scientific knowledge that the machine would work and that it would be safe. What motivated the reporter and Mrs. Ferris to ride the Wheel? It must have been that they trusted in what the inventor had said. And, they trusted him enough to put their faith into action and ride and the reporter believed the machine would work on the basis of what the inventor had said. Perhaps Mrs. Ferris also knew that because of her husband’s love for her that he would never allow her to do something that was unsafe.
    God is looking for that kind of faith! He has stated that He wants all people to be saved from sin and the destruction to which it leads (1 Timothy 2:4). He has made provision for our salvation and demonstrated His great love for us by giving His own Son to die on the cross for our sins so that we might have forgiveness and receive the gift of eternal life (John 3:16).
    He has promised that if we will place our faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) into Christ, that He will forgive us and give us an eternal home in heaven. He has promised that if we will continue to follow His Word faithfully, that He will continue to cleanse us from sin (1 John 1:7).
    Will YOU believe what He says in His Word? Will YOU trust that He loves you dearly? Will YOU trust His promises?
    Will YOU trust Him enough to “get on board” and do what He says?

- 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

* Information gleaned from Wikipedia.com and www.sermonillustrations.com
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Does God Speak to You?
By Seth Myers

    Does God speak to you? Has God ever spoken to you? Do you know someone who claims that God has spoken to them?
    Many claims about God today can be easily countered by what God Himself has said in His word. One of those claims is that of God “speaking” to men directly today. But let us read the words of the Holy Spirit Himself in this connection: "Long ago, God spoke to our fathers at many times and in many different ways. But in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world" (Hebrews 1:1-2).
    Let us “unpack” and consider these “God-breathed” words:
           “Long ago,” something happened.
           This thing happened “at many times and in many ways.”
           This thing was that “God spoke” to men, primarily via prophets.
           “But in these last days” (the Christian age), it is different.
           It is different in that God no longer SPEAKS to man “in many ways.”
           Instead, “He HAS SPOKEN to us by His Son.”
When we pair this with many other relevant statements in the New Testament, it becomes abundantly clear that God has already given us the word that He wants us to have, for all things spiritual, and for all time. He does NOT speak to people directly or verbally today.
    The apostle Paul once reminded some Christians that he had received the gospel by direct revelation from the Lord (Eph. 3:3; cp. Gal. 1:11,12); but he did not lead them to believe that they should expect the same. Rather, he told them how they could “perceive“ what he had received: “when you read this [what I have written]” (Eph. 3:4).
    And so it is for all of us. God does speak to man today—but He does it exclusively through His written word. Do you let God speak to you by studying His word?
“The one who rejects Me and does not receive My words has a judge;
the word that I HAVE SPOKEN will judge him on the last day.” (John 12:48).

- Seth Myers preaches for the Highway Church of Christ in Sullivan, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: https://hwycoc.com/
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No One Spoke Like Jesus
By Adam Faughn
 
    One of the more enduring statements made about Jesus in Scripture was said by the officers of the Jews. Some of the leaders were seeking to bring in Jesus Christ (presumably, to “bring Him to justice,” as they would have seen it), but the officers could not do it. Why? They heard Jesus speak, and they had to conclude, “No one ever spoke like this man!” (John 7:46) The King James Version famously words it, “Never man spake like this Man!”
    There are countless reasons why that statement is true but consider just this one basic reason: every single word meant something. That may seem like a simplistic statement, but contrast that with “experts” of our day, who often have to go back and correct themselves, or have to clarify what they meant by a previous statement.
    Not so with Jesus of Nazareth! Every word He said is to be examined, thought about, and has great meaning. Just as one example of that, brother Wayne Jackson takes one statement Jesus made and brings this to bear for us. In John 7:37, our Lord said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”
 
    Brother Jackson points out that, in that one statement, you have:
           • Contingency (“if”);
           • Universality (“anyone”);
           • Satiation of a need (“thirst”);
           • Recognition of volition (“let him come”);
           • Source of relief (“unto me,” i.e., the Savior); and
           • Remedy (“and drink”). (1)
Is that not remarkable? When we come to any word of Scripture, we need to realize that we are reading something important and invaluable. However, when we come to the words of Jesus, we must remember that it is true: no one ever spoke like Him! Every word matters. Every word has meaning.
    And we will be judged by the words of this Man of Galilee (cf. John 12:48). Are you taking His words--each one of them--with that level of seriousness?
 
- Adam Faughn preaches for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org

NOTE: (1) Jackson, Wayne, Jesus Christ: The Master Teacher. Stockton, CA: Christian Courier Publications, 2013. Page 1.
 
 
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God’s Way
By Kevin V. Rutherford

    God is the Creator (Genesis 1:1). We are a part of His creation (John 1:1-4). It is inherently right for the creation to worship and serve the Creator (Romans 1:18-23). There are many who call themselves Christians who would agree with the facts just stated above, and yet who live, and worship in such a way that would indicate they are not truly convicted of these important facts. There are many self-professed Christians who believe and teach what they want to regarding their faith, despite the fact that so much of what they identify as Christian practice and doctrine contradicts plain teaching in the Scriptures. It’s as though they choose what they want to believe and practice, then expect God to accept their preferences. When this happens, the creation is not properly serving and worshipping the Creator. Rather, the creation is expecting the Creator to bow to their own desires and preferences.
    The Creator has revealed His existence to us in the natural creation that is all around us (Psalm 19:1-6). The Creator has revealed His will for mankind through the Bible (Psalm 19:714). The Bible is from God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible is the standard of authority from the Creator to the creation. The only way for us to absolutely know what God wants from us as we serve and worship Him is for us to go to the Scriptures. When people rely on what feels good to them, what they like, what the culture wants, or what the majority says is right they are making a terrible mistake. It is a terrible mistake that destroys cultures, and it is a terrible mistake that causes people to be lost eternally. Those who call themselves Christians, but who define and embody Christianity the way they feel is right, rather than the way God says is right, are in sin. The created have no right to oppose what the Creator commands, and then demand the Creator accept what they want. The arrogance of this approach is extreme. The consequences are disastrous. 
    Every man did that which was right in his own eyes before the days of the Jewish kings (Judges 17:6; 21:25). The consequences were grotesque and perverted fornication, extreme violence, and deadly chaos (Judges 19:21). People refused to obey God’s word in the days of Jeremiah, but instead chose to follow the dictates, or imaginations of their own evil hearts (Jeremiah 7:23-28). God rejected them and punished them because of this. When people live by what feels good in their hearts, rather than what God has told them to do, they are rejected by God. They may claim to be followers of God all they like, but unless they humbly submit themselves in obedience to the will of God they are actually the enemies of God (James 4:4).
    When it comes to worship, we must worship God as God demands, and not as we feel (John 4:23-24). When it comes to Christian doctrine, we must teach as God has instructed, and not as we feel (1 Corinthians 14:37; Colossians 3:17). When it comes to practical, every day Christian living, we must live as God’s Word instructs us to live and not the way we feel we should live (Matthew 7:21-27).
    In His inspired Scriptures, God tells us over and over again that we must obey Him. Peter said, “we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Paul told us those who do not obey God will receive indignation and wrath (Romans 2:8). Those who do not obey God will experience the fiery vengeance of God on the last day (2 Thessalonians 1:8). Jesus Christ will save those who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9). We are told that we must live as “obedient children” (1 Peter 1:14).
    We have no right to establish our own religion and call it “Christianity” or anything else. We have no right to establish our own church and expect God to be happy. We have no right to teach that which conflicts with God’s Word. We have no right to create God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, or Christianity in accordance with our latest, subjective, fleeting, feelings. We are the Creator’s creation. We must do everything God’s way!
 
- Kevin Rutherford preaches for the Warners Chapel church of Christ in Clemmons, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://warnerschapelchurchofchrist.org/
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If Jesus Couldn't, Could I?
By Steve Higginbotham

    Expectations have much to do with our contentment. One who places unrealistic expectations upon himself is generally discouraged, and feels as though he is a failure. I’m convinced that if a person had proper expectations, he would not be so soon moved to discouragement, depression, and despair. An obvious step to “reeling in” our expectations is to understand the fact that “if Jesus couldn’t do something, we need to stop believing we can.
    Consider:
  • Jesus couldn’t make His own family believe that He was the Son of God (John 7:1-6), so why then do we beat ourselves up for sometimes failing to do the same?
  • Jesus couldn’t avoid sadness and sorrow (Isaiah 53:5), so why do we sometimes act as though we expect life to be a bed of roses?
  • Jesus couldn’t go without rest (Mark 6:31), so why do we feel guilty if we aren’t on the go 24/7?
  • Jesus couldn’t avoid making enemies (John 15:18), so why are we so surprised when people hate us for our faith?
  • Jesus couldn’t cause all men to repent (Matthew 23:37), so let’s be content with our best efforts. We can’t obey for others.
  • Jesus couldn’t even forgive all men of their sins, though He was willing (John 8:24; Luke 17:3), so why do we think we can forgive those who will not repent?
Maybe the first step to contentment is in shedding the guilt that comes from the unrealistic expectations we place upon ourselves. After all, if Jesus couldn’t do it, why do we think we can?

- Steve Higginbotham preaches for the Karns Church of Christ in Knoxville, TN. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at http://www.karnschurch.org Copyright © 2018 MercEmail
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