BulletinGold #206
March
2019  
Vol 19 #3 

March 2019                         BG# 206                         Vol. 18 No. 03
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In this issue ...

 High Anxiety and Blessed Relief By Johnny Hester

 What Kind of Fool Am I? By Bill Brandstatter

 See Only Christ By Phil Sanders

 Complacency By Donna Wittlif

 Thankful for Good Friends By Rob Albright

 Trading Freedom for a Dorito By Adam Faughn

 Bitterness: Put it Away
By A. C. Quinn

 Jesus: Tempted ... Like As We Are By David Pharr

 Suffering ... Silently ... Secretly By Jim Faughn

 The Golden Rule By Ron Thomas

 Showing Up By David Bragg

 Will Heaven Be Worse Than Hell? By Steve Higginbotham

High Anxiety and Blessed Relief
By Johnny Hester

    Christians are not completely immune to anxiety. However, as Holy Spirit-filled followers of the will of God, we do have access to a God who cares for us and who will help us cope with this human reality. Consider, for instance, some things that have been discovered about human anxiety. Objective studies indicate that the average person’s anxiety is focused on…
        · 40% - things that will never happen. 
        · 30% - things about the past that can’t be changed. 
        · 12% - things about criticism by others, mostly untrue.
        · 10% - about health, which gets worse with stress. 
        · 8% - about real problems that will be faced.
    The greatest “real problem” is the reality of sin in the life and the consequences thereof. This is the heaviest burden one can bear. By grace, God gave us Jesus Christ who pleads: "Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30).

- Johnny Hester preaches for the Matthews Church of Christ in Matthews, MO. He may be contacted at johnnyhester@yahoo.com
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What Kind of Fool Am I?
By Bill Brandstatter

    Sunday April 1, 2018 was April Fool’s Day. But, Sunday April 1, 2018 was also Easter Sunday. I read a statistic that noted that this was only the fourth time since 1900 that Easter and April Fool’s Day fell on the same day. April Fool’s Day caused me to think the way the Bible uses the word “fool.” The tile of this article comes from the statement of the apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 4:10: “We are fools for Christ’s sake.” So, let us ask ourselves, “What kind of fool am I?
     The first kind is the one who says there is no God. The Psalmist stated, “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” (Ps. 14:1) This is the individual that would look for situations to disprove the existence of God. This may be the person who states, “If God is benevolent and kind, why is there so much evil in the world?” This person may be a Christian who has forsaken God for love of the present world. Are you this kind of fool?
     The second kind of fool is the one who professes to be wise but is not. Paul wrote to the church of Christ at Rome, “Professing to be wise, they became fools.” (Rom. 1:22) There may be many today who are wise in their own eyes. They don’t think they need God. They don’t do anything really bad. They live a good moral life. They oppose some of the same things Christians oppose but they have never become Christians. These folks are fools. Are you this kind of fool?
     The third kind of fool is the one who doesn’t handle time correctly. Here Paul writes, “Walk circumspectly, not as fools.” (Eph. 5:15) How many have learned the simple lesson that flying by the seat of your pants simply does not work. Many today are into spontaneity. It is the name of the game, morally, socially, and sometimes religiously. Whatever hits the person at any particular moment is all that matters. Yet the Bible tells us to watch and be careful in life. Caution is the mode of operation for all the Christian does in life. Are you this kind of fool?
     Finally, we come to 1 Cor. 4:10 where Paul writes, “We are fools for Christ’s sake.” Another way to put this would be to say that Christians look foolish in the sight of the world, yet they did it for Christ’s sake. This is the type of fool we all should be. Peter stated, “If any man suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.” (1 Pet. 4:16) The challenge to us today is to look like fools in the sight of the world in order to be pleasing to God. Are you this kind of fool?
     What kind of fool are you? Obviously, we should be none of the first three; but if we love the Lord and want Him to be master of our lives, we will deliberately become fools in the sight of the world. May God grant us the knowledge, strength and ability to do this.

- 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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See Only Christ
By Phil Sanders
 
    You are familiar, no doubt, with one of the most famous paintings ever done by any artist. The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, that classic portrayal of Christ and the twelve apostles at the table.
    Many students of art history believe that the painting, when first created, was somewhat different from the version which we now see. There was initially, it is believed, an exquisite lace border on the tablecloth. When, immediately upon completion, da Vinci invited a group of art students to view his masterpiece, they were immensely impressed by the delicate design of that lacework. They studied it intensely and praised it highly.
    Upon seeing the reaction of these young men, the artist took up a brush, dipped it, and made a few long strokes across the canvas, obliterating the lace. Then, with uncontrollable feeling, he shouted, “Now, look at the face of Christ!”
   How easily we take our view off of Christ and put it on some nice distraction. The Hebrew writer urged, “fixing your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. 12:2).
    Let us fix our eyes upon Him. Let us see His beauty, His love, His grace and His commitment to us. Then let us walk in His steps (1 Pet. 2:21-25)

- Phil Sanders is the speaker for “In Search of the Lord’s Way,” a nationally broadcasted television ministry of Edmond Church of Christ. This article is via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com
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Complacency
By Donna Wittlif

    Hezekiah was one of the most righteous kings of Judah. He turned to God often in his fight against the enemies of God's people, and God helped him. Then Hezekiah became very sick. God told him that he was going to die, but Hezekiah again begged for help from God, and God healed him and extended his life for fifteen years.
    Perhaps all God's help and endowment of riches went to Hezekiah's head. Under false pretenses, the Babylonians came to bring Hezekiah a present and congratulate him for getting well. Hezekiah let down his guard and showed them all his treasure stores. "There is nothing among my treasures that I have not showed them," Hezekiah told Isaiah in 2 Kings 20:15. Then Isaiah said, "All that is in thy house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left."
    Hezekiah's story serves as a warning for us. It is easy for us to be proud of the spiritual blessings we have from God. We are contented because we are children of God. We have salvation and eternal life. Maybe we even boast of our knowledge of God's word. Maybe we sit back and say, "I am a good Christian, and I've done lots for God." We become complacent.
    Our adversary, the devil, walks about and seeks whom he may devour. Has he lured us into a state of comfort and satisfaction in our own salvation? Have we forgotten that we are ambassadors of Christ, sent to lead others unto God? May we put on the whole armor of God and join His army to fight Satan. Let us give diligence lest we fall into negligence and disobedience in our duty to save the lost.

- Donna 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, and her newest book, Finding Her Heart, are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other book outlets. For more information visit her website. http://www.donnarwittlif.com/
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Thankful for Good Friends
By Rob Albright

    Facebook says I have 715 “friends.” Some are casual friends and others are good friends.  A good friend is one you can share your life with -your feelings, thoughts and frustrations. A good friend is one you can work with, share time with, and is patient with you. I cannot imagine living without good friends.
 Everyone needs good friends. We need the positive influence they provide and the help and support in our troubling times. Proverbs 17:17a says, “A friend loves at all times” and will make sacrifices for you. Jesus is the perfect example of that (John 15:13).
    Yes, we have to be careful about the influences around us (1 Corinthians 15:33).  We want good influences from a good friend. A good friend will be honest with you and not tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to hear (Proverbs 27:6,9).  Here again, Jesus does that for us.
    As the song says, “What a friend we have in 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/ Rob also serves on the board of directors of the Carolina Messenger. Please visit their website at: https://carolinamessenger.wordpress.com/
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Trading Freedom for a Dorito
By Adam Faughn
 
    Doritos are a favorite of many people. These potato chips come in several strong flavors, and the crunchy snack is often eaten at cookouts or on road trips. But can you imagine giving up your freedom for a bag of those tasty chips?
    That’s what a huge pig in Highland, California recently did. The pig, which was described as being the same size as a mini-horse, got loose and was wandering the streets of that community. It seems that this pig has a way of doing that from time-to-time, so some of the local police are used to calls about this particular animal. Knowing that, one deputy had a bag of Doritos in her lunch bag, and simply made a small trail of the crunchy snacks, which the pig followed right back to its pen, where it was secured again.
    This pig was free but gave it all up for a crunchy snack. We can laugh at that, or we can see a deeper picture about ourselves. How often do we trade so many great blessings in this life for things that are fun or enjoyable but of far less value to us? How many people trade a lifelong commitment with a spouse for a few moments of intimate pleasure with another? How many trade a reputation and integrity for a night of drinking and partying?
    The Bible makes it clear that sin has pleasure attached to it (see Hebrews 11:25), but that the pleasure is only passing; it is only “for a season.” After the moments of enjoyment comes the entrapment of sin. The addictions. The damaged reputations. The harmed relationships. The wasted money. The time that is no longer available. Above all, the sting of a marred relationship with our heavenly Father.
    When we think about it that way, that pig on the West Coast seems a little more like us. He got a few minutes of pleasure from those potato chips but ended up right back in the pigpen where he started.
    Maybe it is time we start looking past the temporary excitement that seems to accompany sin and start looking at where it will lead us in this life and, ultimately, in eternity. When we do, we will not trade our freedom in Christ for something insignificant.
 
“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover - up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (1 Peter 2:16)
 
- 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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Bitterness: Put it Away
By A. C. Quinn

    Often times brethren will have serious. even minor, disagreements which cause a great deal of controversy in the church. When those conflicts are allowed to “simmer” in the heart, unresolved, bitterness ensues.
    Bitterness is the degree to which one is bitter in his heart. Some of the synonyms which are associated with it are: acrid, abysmal, acrimonious, sour, anger. It is little wonder, then, that Paul would warn the Ephesians about this heart-rending problem: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31). Notice the words—conditions—with which bitterness is accompanied. Certainly, no Christian should ever want to allow such to dwell in his heart.
    Jesus gives the way for brethren to deal with disagreements before bitterness is allowed to develop: “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first and be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift”  (Matthew 5:23-24). Brethren, this is not practiced enough among us.
    Bitterness is a condition which will ultimately destroy the very heart and soul of an individual, if it is allowed a place in the heart; therefore, Paul tells us to put it away, separate ourselves from it lest it destroys our souls.

- A. C. Quinn preaches for the West Main Church of Christ in Wolfe City, Texas. He may be contacted at acuen30@gmail.com
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Jesus: Tempted ... Like As We Are
By David Pharr

    A story is told of a man whose wife had deserted him for another man. She had succeeded in taking away their children. The estranged husband had given in to depression and lost his business. Brokenhearted and ruined, he became obsessed with the enormity of his troubles and refused every offer of encouragement and hope. The day came when he heard a great sermon on Christ having been “in all points tempted like as we are,” but rather than being comforted, he resented the sermon and told the preacher, “Yes, Jesus suffered many things, but He never had a wife and family stolen from Him. He was never married, never had children, so that’s suffering He never knew.”
    The preacher wisely responded, “You have seen an accomplished violinist play a great variety of music. There are only four strings on his violin, but they can produce both dances and dirges. The same four strings can cover the whole range. No, Jesus did not experience your trials in the same details, but He endured the broad range of disappointment, desertion, grief, pain and even dying, so that the strings of His heart can vibrate with all the sad songs of life’s bitterest experiences.”

--David Pharr for many years preached for the Charlotte Avenue Church of Christ in Rock Hill, SC. Although he is retired from full time preaching, he is an active member of the board for the Carolina Messenger. Please visit their website at: https://carolinamessenger.wordpress.com/
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Suffering ... Silently ... Secretly
By Jim Faughn
  • She may have just received some very bad news from the doctor.
  • He may have just lost his job.
  • They may have just lost a child (maybe even in the womb).
  • Hopes and dreams may have vanished into thin air.
  • A seemingly permanent separation has occurred between or among family members or friends.
  • The loss of a spouse, though not recent, still hurts, and the one who remains is still lonely.
  • The aging process is not going well at all.
  • Repeatedly, prayers are sent heavenward, but a spouse, a sibling, a child, or a grandchild remains
  • unsaved or unfaithful.
He or she struggles with sin. Surrender has never been seen as an option, but Satan seems to win more
than his share of battles. Hopelessness has not been experienced, but there are times when a feeling of
helplessness creeps in.
  • The loss of a parent still has left a void --- even years after the loss has occurred.
  • An insensitive remark or a thoughtless act has cut to the very core.
  • Accusations have been made that, though far from true, are believed by some.
What do all of these people have in common?
    We see one or more of them every day. We work with them; we go to school with them; we run into
them in restaurants, malls, gas stations, banks, and other places of business; and we worship with them every Sunday.
    Their hurts, fears, insecurities, etc. may be displayed to us in all sorts of different ways. They may
come across as surly. They may appear to be withdrawn. They may put their “smiley face mask” on and hide behind it. They may try all sorts of things, but they cannot hide from themselves the fact that they hurt.
    While they will probably never ask, the fact is that they need a friend, a kind word, some companionship, and somebody to try to understand and help, if at all possible. They may be doing a good job of keeping it a secret and they may be silent about it, but they are suffering.
    Since they do such a good job of keeping their hurts to themselves, how will I identify the ones who
need a kind word, a pat on the back, a listening ear, or some of my time and effort? I’m not sure I have the answer to that, but I think I have a plan that might help.
    How about being kind, compassionate, considerate, and helpful to everybody? It surely can’t hurt, and
it just might help more than we can ever imagine.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2 ESV)

- 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
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The Golden Rule
By Ron Thomas

    There is a great bit of wisdom that has come from the lips of the Lord. We understand it as the “golden rule.” We are to do unto to others as we would want others to do unto us (Matthew 7:12).
    It is a sad occasion when Christians are encouraged to think that others have an attitude of coolness (or just plain cold) to a brother in Christ. To borrow the words of James, “my brothers, this ought not to be.” How can good come from such a way of thinking?
    It has been said, many times, that life, among other things, is a matter of interpretation. It is not possible for us to live is a world where we don’t interpret what we see and hear. We make evaluations based upon our way of thinking at the time of what we see and hear. But it is an entirely different matter when we interpret and make certain conclusions without important facts. The Lord encourages us to make righteous judgments. Be careful about interpreting the motivations and intentions of others (cf. John 7:24).
    Jesus said we are to judge righteously. That implies that we WILL make a judgment. But the standard by which we judge another must be the standard that we want another to judge us; this is the golden rule.
    Making judgments are not the problem; problems occur when we use a standard the Lord won’t recognize.

- 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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Showing Up
By David Bragg
 
    Canadians were mad! The price of gas had surged in Montreal and it looked like the high prices would last all summer. People were going to demand change. As outrage grew it became clear that a time and place need to be set to stage a protest.
    Organizers took to the internet and a date was set, May 30, 2018, and a place was designated, Marché Central. Protesters were motivated. As interest grew organizers were pleased with the response as 36,000 people expressed an interest in the protest and 5,000 made the commitment to attend. Police also were motivated to ensure the event was conducted peacefully. Image the relief of the police when, on the morning of the protest, the police outnumbered the protester. No, that is not a typo. One woman showed up (CTV News, Montreal)! The amused cops posed for pictures with the lone protester.
    It is always encouraging to see the brightly burning zeal of those who are obeying the gospel of Christ. Those of us who have been Christians for years can reflect on the time when we became Christians and experience that same determination to be “faithful until death” (Rev. 2:10). But baptism is just the beginning. The real question is, after our baptism, are we willing every day to “show up” as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ?
 
- 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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Will Heaven Be Worse Than Hell?
By Steve Higginbotham

    The renown Science Fiction writer, Isaac Asimov once wrote, "I don't believe in an afterlife, so I don't have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse."
    I think Asimov not only summed up his own thinking about heaven, but he also summed up the thinking of countless others as well.  Many people, like Asimov, envision heaven as an eternal worship service wherein the saved will sit on hard wooden pews, wearing uncomfortable neck-ties, suits, and dresses. There we will sit for all eternity singing every song in the songbook from cover to cover, only to then start all over again. In a word, many people think heaven will be BORING!
    While I cannot tell you all the things the saved will do when we get to heaven, I can assure you that it won't be "boring," and one won't prefer hell over heaven. How can I make such an assurance?  Because I trust God.
    Had I been with the Israelites when they were backed up against the Red Sea with the Egyptians approaching, I would not have known how God was going to save them, but hindsight revealed he parted the Sea so the Israelites could escape.
    Had I been present when God told Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, I would not have known how God was going to resolve that situation, but hindsight revealed that he provided a ram.
    Had I been present when Jesus was murdered on a corss, I would have been so confused, but hindsight revealed the resurrection.
    Likewise, while I don't understand how God is going to make heaven the place of eternal joy and happiness devoid of sorrow, pain, and death, I have full faith that someday, hindsight will reveal the answer to that question as well.
    As for me, I'm homesick for a city to which I've never been. As for Asimov, he has changed his thinking about preferring hell over heaven, but sadly, he changed his mind too late.

- 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 © 2019 MercEmail
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Editor: David Bragg