BulletinGold #214
November
2019  
Vol 19 #11 

November 2019                         BG# 214                        Vol. 18 No. 11
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In this issue ...

 Building for Eternity By David Bragg

 Home for the Holidays By Bill Brandstatter

 Voting and Truth By David A. Sargent

 Thanks-Giving By Joe Chesser

 Some Post-Thanksgiving Ponderings By Johnny Hester

 A Lion In A Pit On A Snowy Day By Ed Wittlif,

 Who Benefits from Your Attendance? By Edd Sterchi

 Not by Works or Grace Alone By Gerald Cowan

 More Than Just Being Good By Joe Slater

 Who is in Charge? By Rob Albright

 4 Simple Steps to Improve Your Worship By Adam Faughn

 Deadly Conversation By Larry Pasley

Building for Eternity
By David Bragg

    Automobile executive Lee Iacocca died recently (July 2, 2019). He oversaw the development of the popular Ford Mustang (1965) which remains a very successful line. As the 1960's gave way to the 1970's Iacocca saw the trends developing for a new kind of car: smaller, economical, affordable. And so, with the 1971 model, the Pinto was born.
    Ford was not able to successfully repeat their success they experienced with the Mustang. Once of the Pinto's major problem arose with the car's basic design to have a small car with adequate truck space. To achieve that goal the choice was made to place the car's gas tank between the rear axle and the rear bumper. Accidents were followed by lawsuits which initiated a considerable amount of bad publicity and the resulting decline in sales led to the Pinto's quiet death in 1980 (autoweek.com).
    Some product design plans in the manufacturing world enjoy great success while others do not. The same is true in the realm of spiritual growth except in that area the plans can be clearly identified as of either divine or human origin. If it is made by man, beware. It will prove defective. If it is from God, it will lead you to heaven (Galatians 1:6-12).

- 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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Home for the Holidays
By Bill Brandstatter

    Home becomes a magnet for the heart at this time of the year. The holiday season is when Americans go home. Families separated by miles or years come together. Children who have left home to pursue dreams and careers come back trying to recapture whatever it was they left to escape! This human desire for home is a reminder of some great spiritual truths.
    1) God Gave Us Earthly Homes to Prepare Us for A Heavenly Home. We have an instinctive longing for home. That is due in part to the fact that the home and family are creations of God given for the good of mankind. (Genesis 2:18-19) God's intent is for the home to be one of the sweetest blessings which this world can provide. To that end, God has given us laws to regulate the home so it can be all He intended it to be. (Ephesians 5:22-23)
    The Bible tells us that “Those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. (Heb. 11:14 NKJV) Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that God has set eternity in our hearts. In all of us there is an instinctive longing for home. Later, Solomon writes, “For man goes to his eternal home.”  (Eccl. 11:5) That instinct is rooted in heaven.
    Popular wisdom says, "You can't go home again"; but God does not place any longing in us which He Himself cannot satisfy! We can't go back, but we can go forward to our greater home. (John 14:1-3) God gives us “A house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1).
    2) Christ Left Home So We Could Go Home. Being separated from those you love-especially at times like the Holidays is painful. Our most tragic, most serious separation is separation from God. God created us; He loves us; but we become estranged from Him through sin: Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. (Isaiah 59:1 -2, NKJV.). God devised a plan to bring us back home. To accomplish that plan, when the time was right, He sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law that we might receive adoption as His children. (Galatians 4:4-5)
    Jesus gave up His home in glory in order to come to this world on a mission of reclamation! In His last years on earth, Jesus had no home: "...The Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head..." (Luke 9:58) During those years of service and sacrifice and suffering...did He long for the home in which He had grown to manhood? Did He long for His mother’s cooking? More to the point, did He long for the home He had left in glory? He could have had it; but Jesus deliberately chose to leave home for  our  sake … "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.." (Luke 19:10) The real question is, will you be going home for eternity?
    3) Christ Gives us a Home Better Than Our Earthly Home. Christ is making mansions (John 14:1-4).  Paul identified the fact that we are not citizens here. (Phil. 3:20) The Bible often uses the term “stranger” or “pilgrim” to describe the Christian’s stay here on earth (1 Peter 2:11). Sometimes the word “sojourner” is used. All these describe the individual who is out of place. A “pilgrim” and “sojourner” gives the idea of someone just passing through an area on the way to somewhere else.
    Notice what Paul says in 2 Cor. 5:1- “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” Won’t it be great when some day we truly go home. Won’t it be wonderful there!!

- Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://marionchurchofchrist.com/
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Voting and Truth
By David A. Sargent

     Dan Williams reports: The top legislative body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) recently adopted a resolution to recognize same-sex marriage. The Presbyterian General Assembly members voted 429 to 157 to add language to their church constitution saying that marriage can be the union of “two people,” not just “a man and a woman.”
     The General Assembly had previously voted in 2011 to allow their clergy to have same-sex partners. Since that vote, 428 of the denomination’s more than 10,000 churches have left the PC USA. Some conservatives remained in the denomination in an effort to exert a moderating influence; this latest action may well accelerate their exodus.
     When I read the article describing the action of the Presbyterian legislative body, I was reminded of the story of a little boy who brought his new pet hamster to “show and tell” time at his school. As the children crowded around admiring the tiny creature, one student asked, “Is it a boy or a girl?” The hamster’s owner replied, “I don’t know. How can we tell?” There was a moment of puzzled silence, until one of the children suggested brightly, “I know – we can vote on it.”
     We chuckle at that child’s innocent suggestion, because we realize some matters cannot be determined by a show of hands, but the story illustrates an important spiritual principle. Votes taken in a denominational assembly can no more change the truths of the Bible than the children’s vote could determine the gender of the hamster. “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth,” Jesus prayed in John 17:17.
     News reports repeatedly emphasized that the same-sex marriage measure passed the Presbyterian assembly by an overwhelming margin, perhaps to signify that the matter is politically settled. Christianity is not based on politics, however, but on revelation. If the Bible is what it claims to be, the divinely inspired Word of God, it does not matter whether the final vote was 429 – 157 or 586 – 0. As Paul said, “Let God be true, and every human being a liar” (Romans 3:4).
     There is an underlying principle that goes far beyond this specific issue or denomination – the need to recognize and respect the Bible as our only standard. *
     “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for...
Doctrine – “What’s Right”
Reproof – “What’s Wrong”
Correction – “For Getting Right”
Instruction in righteousness – “For Staying Right”
...that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
     The TRUTH is ... Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2) and condemns us (Matthew 7:13-14). And, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
     The TRUTH is ... God loves us so much that He gave His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so that we might receive forgiveness and the gift of eternal life (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:7).
     The TRUTH is ... God will forgive and give eternal life to 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 be baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). The blood of Jesus will continue to cleanse those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).
     The Bible contains: Facts, Commands, Promises and Warnings - and there are two ways in which we can respond to each:
Facts: We can Accept or Reject them
Commands: We can Obey or Disobey
Promises: We can Receive or Forfeit them
Warnings: We can Heed or Ignore them
Truth is not determined by a vote! It is only to be acknowledged and accepted.
     Won’t YOU accept the Truth and submit your life to God, the Source of Truth?

- 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

* “Voting and Truth” by Dan Williams, Vice-President For Church Relations, Harding University, Searcy, Arkansas. Article shared in PreacherStuff (6/26/14).
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Thanks-Giving
By Joe Chesser
 
    Thanksgiving is a great holiday. It’s a time when families can get together to do things families should be doing: eating together, laughing and telling stories you’ve heard a hundred times, watching the Lions and Cowboys lose (well, maybe not this year), playing games, and then eating some more. You cook and clean and travel. You get too full, too tired and extend yourself too much, but it’s all worth it. It’s Thanksgiving. That’s what people do at Thanksgiving. At least it’s a part of it.
    But let’s back up for just a moment. Let’s not forget that the reason we have so much food and fun on Thanksgiving is because we have been so richly blessed by God. We have been blessed to live in a nation that allows us the religious freedom to have a holiday called Thanksgiving. We have been blessed with the financial resources to travel and to feast. We have been blessed with people in our past who have taught us about God and how He loves to give to us. We have been blessed with people, both past and present, who take seriously the need to protect our freedoms.
    So, perhaps this Thanksgiving we can take advantage of time off from work and time with family and friends to set aside a special time to truly give thanks to God for the countless ways He has blessed us.  Our God is a God who gives. Giving is a part of what makes Him God. Everything we have has come from God because He owns it all. “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1). “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father …” (James 1:17). If you have turkey and dressing for Thanksgiving dinner it’s because God has given you the turkey and dressing. If you spend time with friends and family on Thanksgiving it’s because God has given you the time, the people, and the means to get together. If you get some great bargains at the stores on Black Friday, thank God for those bargains. When it comes to thanking God, nothing is too trivial, even the peas and carrots. It has all come from Him, and we all need to give thanks to Him for it. When we do, we are blessed even more.
    When it comes to thanksgiving, there are two parts. The first is to recognize that it is God who has given us what we have. Our hearts respond with gratitude because our heads know the source of our blessings. We know the love that gave them, and we appreciate what He has done for us. But thanksgiving involves more than just knowing and appreciating, it requires a tangible response. We give to God praise and thanks for what He has given us.  e can speak it, sing it or pray it alone or with others. Certainly we are to live a life of thanksgiving. But there’s no thanksgiving without the giving. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good” (Psalm 118:1).

- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted at joeandareva@yahoo.com
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Some Post-Thanksgiving Ponderings
By Johnny Hester

    By the time you read these words the holiday designated as “Thanksgiving” for 2019 will have come and gone. However, for many of us there are lingering issues to be addressed, among them:
  • How do I manage to lose the pounds gained by my holiday overindulgence?
  • Devising an excuse for falling asleep shortly after the big feast rather than energetically leading efforts to gather up, scrape, wash and put away “the good dishes.” (Guys, the “tryptophan theory” was long ago debunked and the women are well aware of this fact.)
    Gloating over my favorite football team’s victory (or sulking and pouting over their loss).
    For me, the issue which looms largest and seems most significant is that of developing an attitude of gratitude that will line up better with the bountiful blessings made available to me by the grace of a loving God. William Arthur Ward succinctly declared: “Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” Shouldn’t we all want a life characterized by these things?
    In Philippians 4:6-7 the inspired Word teaches us how to achieve this life-transforming life change which results in even more abundant blessings. Let us heed and follow these instructions: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

- Johnny Hester preaches for the Matthews Church of Christ in Matthews, MO. He may be contacted at johnnyhester@yahoo.com
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A Lion In A Pit On A Snowy Day
By Ed Wittlif

"Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a mighty man of Kabzeel, mighty in deeds, struck down the two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion inside a pit on a snowy day" (I Chronicles 11:22 NASB).
     To jump down into a pit with a lion when the footing isn't the best is quite a deed. I wonder what Benaiah's motivation was. It certainly was a great deed.
     Most of us would like to do some great deed for the Lord. Because of that attitude we can feel like failures as Christians. Jesus said in the parable of the talents, "Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things" (Matthew 25:21).
     As we go through life, we fail to recognize the small deeds that we do – deeds such as going to work faithfully, being honest, meeting simple needs of others, and being consistent in assembling with brethren. Everyday things that aren't extraordinary please our Lord.
     When we do everyday things that are unimportant in the world's eyes, God is preparing us to be able to do more. If we are faithful to take care of the small things, then our opportunities to do good deeds in the name of Jesus will increase. Like the ones on the right in the judgment scene we might say "Lord, when did we?" (Matthew 25:34-40). When we submit to God's will and allow our lives to changed, we don't keep track of our deeds because we have a new nature, a servant heart. God keeps track and He is pleased.
     To hear Jesus, say, "Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into your Master's rest." When I stand before Him, that's what I long to hear. Knowing that I have pleased Him will be a great blessing.

- Ed Wittlif is from Denver, CO; via the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. Joe Slater serves as minister and he may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com
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Who Benefits from Your Attendance?
By Edd Sterchi

     I personally do not understand why some church members only come on Sunday mornings. After all, we worship the same God on Sunday evening as we do on Sunday morning. We study from the same Bible on Wednesday evenings as we do during all other service times. Maybe if those folks could see just who benefits from everyone coming to every service, they would desire to come more often.
     Let’s take a look at who benefits when members come to every service.
* God benefits. We come here to honor and worship Him. The more that we are here, the better our singing of praises to God and the more glory is given to Him. I realize that God doesn’t need us, but imagine how disappointed He must be when we decide not to come to a service in His honor.
* The church benefits. When we gather together, encouragement and edification takes place. The more that are here, the better the fellowship and the greater the opportunities for showing our love and concern for one another. When we choose not to come, the church suffers.
* Your family benefits. Coming to services is a family activity that can always be done together. The more of your family that are here, the better the influence and the closer your family will become. When we opt not to come, our family loses.
* You benefit. By bringing yourself, you are putting yourself in a position to increase your spirituality. The more that you are here, the greater the opportunity for you to grow and mature in Christ and find areas of greater service. When you don’t come, you are harming yourself.
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb. 10:24-25)                                                                                                  -

- 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/
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Not by Works or Grace Alone
By Gerald Cowan

If asked to prove that you deserved           
To be forgiven of your sin
How could you do it, where begin
To list your merits and be served
A pardon, heaven then to win?

Good works alone will not suffice,
Though countless ones you might declare,
To save your soul, your spirit spare
From punishment.  There is a price
That you must pay, a death to share.

But without works we are not free,
Approved by God.  For it is true
That He requires we be made new,
In faith and service constant be
In doing what He says to do.

Tears and prayers will not move God
Your soul from punishment to spare.
Though friends your praises may declare
God will not for their sake approve
Your place in heav’n or take you there.

Christ died for sin upon a cross,
A sacrifice, a ransom true.
There he was crucified for you.
All earthly riches count as loss,
They cannot purchase grace for you.

Faith is our part, not faith alone
But faith that works through love
Of him who dwells in heaven above,
The only one who could atone
For sins he was not guilty of.

Grace is God’s part, but not by grace
Alone.  Unless we do our part
By faithful service from the heart,
Though we may long to see His face
Salvation He cannot impart.

We take the grace that God does give.
And faith from us our Lord does take.
He hears the promises we make.
By faith in Him He lets us live
And saves us then, for Jesus’ sake.

By grace alone we’ll see God’s face,
Not by our works but by God’s hand.
By grace alone shall any stand –
Not by our works but by God’s grace –
With Jesus in the promised land.

You can with Jesus take your place
And with the Lord be crucified.
Though with him you will not have died,
Your debt of sin he will erase.
But other debts are multiplied.

His love and mercy you must show                       
Others. Grace and compassion give.
Teach them how God would have them live,
That to the Father they may go.
Their sin be willing to forgive.
   
When all you can do has been done
You have not overpaid your debt,
Your obligation is not met.
Until your victor’s crown is won
Salvation is not firmly set.

If you are asked to prove the Lord
In heaven has for you a place
Reserved where you will see His face,
Say you are trusting in His word,
Not in your works but in His grace.

- Gerald Cowan, a longtime preacher and missionary, is retired from full-time pulpit preaching. Gerald publishes an e-mail newsletter entitled GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICAL WRITINGS. He is available for Gospel Meetings and he may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com
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More Than Just Being Good
By Joe Slater

There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius . . . a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people and prayed to God always” (Acts 10:2, NKJV).
     If you aren’t being good, repent – quickly! And bring forth the fruit of repentance by mending your ways. God wants you to be good. Of that there is no doubt.
     But is “being good” all God requires? If ever there was a “good” man, Cornelius certainly was. As to “goodness,” few, if any, of us could hold a candle to him. He was a “devout” (i.e. religious) man. And he directed his devotion toward the right object: he “feared God” (i.e. he held God in reverence). Not only that, but he led his household in that same worshipful devotion. Then our text tells us he “gave alms generously to the people.” While  Cornelius was a Gentile, his charity was directed toward Jews (“the people” is used in contrast to the Gentiles). Finally, Cornelius “prayed to God always.” 
     What a good man! God Himself took note of him: “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God” (Acts 10:4). So Cornelius must have been saved, right? No, that would be wrong! God’s holy angel told him to “send men to Joppa , and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved” (Acts 11:13-14). Good as he was, Cornelius was lost! Unlike so many today, however, Cornelius wasn’t trusting in his own goodness. When Peter taught him the gospel, he believed and obeyed (Acts 10:44-48).
     Jesus taught that many sincere, “good,” religious people will be lost on Judgment Day. “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then will declare to them, ‘I never knew you: depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:22-23).
     doing His will includes being “good”; but goodness won’t cleanse you from sin. Only Jesus’ blood can do that when you, like Cornelius, believe and obey the gospel, and then “walk in the light” with Jesus (1 John 1:7).

- 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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Who is in Charge?
By Rob Albright

    We probably have met people who apparently have everything they could ever want or need, only to find out later they have become disillusioned and have their priorities all jumbled up. We read about a celebrity who has it all – fame, money and the hottest car in the world, but suddenly take their own life. The general public is left to ask, “Why?”
    One of the possible answers is because they have lost a reason to continue living. Money and fame leave people without a purpose to go on because all that is in this world is temporary. Yes, we are blessed to have many things in this world to use to the glory of God. But they soon are gone. So, what is important here?
    For the Christian who sees life with purpose under the Lord’s control, life is good. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
    When we put our trust in God, we find peace (Phil.4:7) and the reason for life. “Fear God; keep His commands” (Ecc. 12:13b).
     So, who is in charge of our life?

- 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/
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4 Simple Steps to Improve Your Worship
By Adam Faughn

     For nearly anyone, worship can become a bit rote at times. Although we know it is invaluable, we are human; thus, we struggle at times to stay truly engaged and thoughtful throughout the time.
     But some seem to think that it would take some major thing to get out of the rut or to make worship more meaningful. Tragically, some stop coming. Just as tragically, some think they must change God’s pattern (or worship where that pattern is not obeyed) and have bands, light shows, and more just to “up” the experience.
     But there are far simpler steps that each person can make to improve worship for themselves, while still making certain they worship “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Today, I share four that you can make this Sunday.
     1. Prepare Beforehand. I know Sunday mornings are busy. It is remarkable we have any sanity by the time we make it to worship. But could we not take even 5 or 10 minutes on Saturday night to sing a song and pray so that our mind is headed in the right direction? What about laying out clothes so that the Sunday morning rush is less crazy? On Sunday morning, on the way to the building, listen to some worship music or talk about what you are excited about concerning the opportunity you are getting ready to take part in! Just this one step, I promise, will revolutionize worship.
     2. Arrive on time (or a little early is even better). If you are constantly late, you are not even “settled in” before worship is partially over. When that happens, you spend the rest of the time playing catch-up in your mind. But if you are present on time, or a little early, and have visited with a few fellow Christians and had a chance to “settle” a bit, your mind is fresh and ready to worship from the first moment.
     3. Sit closer to the front. I have sat in the back before. I have sat in a balcony before. Let me just put it this way: it is a whole different world! It’s not a sin to sit in the back; after all, by definition, someone will be “in the back.” That said, if you are trying to get out of a rut, or are just struggling to stay engaged in worship, you will be completely amazed how much easier it is to stay focused if you just move up a few rows. There are fewer distractions (because there are fewer people between you and the leaders) and just the change of scenery is sometimes enough to trigger your mind to be more focused.
     4. Remember that God is the Audience. In the end, your goal is to give your best for Him; not just to see what you can get out of the worship time. If your mind is truly focused on that singular fact, your worship will improve, since you will be constantly striving to please Him with every action and every thought.
     None of those things changes God’s pattern for worship. Further, none of them requires a major overhaul on your part. Still, these four steps will change your worship for the better. Why not try them, even this Sunday, and just see if worship is not more encouraging for you than it has been in a long, long time.
 “…worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness” (Psalm 29:2b)

- 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
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Deadly Conversation
By Larry Pasley

     One day I felt the need to see a doctor. After checking me over, he asked to see my wife, Betty, in the next room. My ear happened to be next to the wall, so I heard some of the conversation. The doctor told Betty I needed a change of pace to insure that I would continue to live. He told her to have me quit work and never let me do any chores around the house -- to do everything possible for me and keep me comfortable and happy and to do everything he asked me to do. Naturally, on the way home I asked Betty what the doctor had said -- her reply, "You’re going to die."
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     Sometimes we are unwilling to do for others what they need most.
     We are limited in our language for “love.” We say we love ice cream, we love our dog, we love our spouse, we love God, etc. Surely, we don’t have the same feelings for each of those.
     The Greek was not so limited. It had four different words for “love.” One of those words was Agapao. That word carries with it the idea of seeking the highest good for the one loved. We refer to this sometimes as Godly love because God’s love seeks what is best for us.
     The scriptures tell us that as Christians, this is the kind of love we need to have for others. It is that word that is used when we are told to love our brethren, our fellow Christians. 1 Peter 1:22  Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,
     It is agapao that is used when we are told to love God and our neighbor. Mark 12:29-31 Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. 30  And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. 31  And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
     It is agapao that is used when we are told to love our enemies. Luke 6:35-36  But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
     It is that kind of love that makes Christianity so radically different from many religions. We don’t take vengeance on our enemies, we turn them into friends by loving them with a Godly love that is concerned about what is best for them. We want them to be saved also.
     May we always strive to be lovingly concerned about the well-being of all those around us, even our enemies.

- 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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Editor: David Bragg