BulletinGold #210
July
2019  
Vol 19 #7 

July 2019                         BG# 210                         Vol. 19 No. 07
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In this issue ...

 Improving Your Personal Prayer Life
By Edd Sterchi

 The Real King
By David A. Sargent

 Learning to Serve
By Rob Albright

 A Relative?
By Larry Pasley

 The Lord Will Provide
By Travis Robertson

 Lord Mine
By J. Randal Matheny

 Are You Faithful?
By Caleb J. Rutherford

 Dwell in Him
By David R. Ferguson

 God’s 5-Point Checklist for Religious Unity
By Seth Myers

 Is My Worship Praise?
By David Bragg

 The Promise of the Lord is Heaven
By Gerald Cowan

 Worry Robs Life By Joe Chesser

Improving Your Personal Prayer Life
By Edd Sterchi

    If we would be honest with ourselves, we will admit that we all could improve our personal prayer lives. Maybe remembering a few important principles will help.  
    It Is Not Motion in Prayer, but Emotion in Prayer That Is Important. Jesus’ example in prayer was one of thanksgiving (John 11:41), humility, righteousness, emotion (Matt 26:36-44), solitude (Mark 1:35), forgiveness (Luke 23:34), believing, and on behalf of others (John 17). It is important to pour it all out before God when we pray.
    It Is Not Frequency in Prayer, but Attitude in Prayer That Is Important. We can follow the attitude that Christ had in His prayers. His main emphasis in prayer was that God’s will be done (Matt. 26:42). If we worship God properly and do His will, we can be assured that He will hear and answer our prayers (1 John 3:22).
    It Is Not What We Have, but That We Have God (and Can Go to Him in Prayer) That Is Important. If a Christian has nothing else, he needs to remember that he always has prayer as a connection to his Maker. Prayer is about faith, worship, confession, adoration, praising God, thanksgiving, making requests, and inner health. Praise is a natural outgrowth of our faith in God (Psa. 105:2), and prayer is an important part of our faith in God. How wonderful that we can turn to Him in prayer at any time!
    It Is Not the Giving of Prayer, but the Giving of Self in Prayer That Is Important. In Psa. 109:4, David proclaims that he always gave himself to prayer. It didn’t matter how many enemies he had or what situation he was in, David always gave himself to prayer. The idea of giving oneself in prayer is that of a 100% commitment. No matter what condition arises (or doesn’t arise), we need to take time, thought, dedication, commitment, and readiness to pray.
    We need to rest assured that God is there, that He is concerned about our needs, and that He answers prayer – that’s what’s important. Knowing that, maybe we should spend more time in sincere, personal prayer to Him. “The LORD has heard my supplication; The LORD will receive my prayer” (Psa. 6:9).

- 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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The Real King
By David A. Sargent

    Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, was visiting school children earlier this week at a Primary School in Acton in London. As he approached Emmanuel Osei, a four-year-old student, Emmanuel asked the Prince, “When is Prince Harry coming?”
    “But I’m Prince Harry,” the prince replied.
    “When is the real Prince Harry coming?” the boy said back.
    “I’m the real Harry. I’ve just had my hair cut for the occasion,” Harry reportedly said in response.
    Eventually, Emmanuel was convinced that Harry was indeed the prince.
    Why didn’t he recognize Prince Harry immediately? Apparently he didn’t look the part.
    “They think a prince should have a crown,” Diane Redmond, a learning mentor at the school, told People magazine.
    The Prince himself has been on record as saying, “Every time I get to meet kids and they have been told a real-life prince is coming, [there is] disappointment on their faces when they see me without a crown or a cape.” *
    Most did not recognize the real King of kings either. A prophet predicted His rejection by men. Around 700 years before the King came to this earth, Isaiah prophesied, “For He grew up before Him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not” (Isaiah 53:2-3 ESV). Isaiah uses the past tense (called prophetic perfect tense) to describe the situation because it was so certain to happen. And that is exactly what happened (see John 1:10-11).
    Why did most reject Him? Jesus did not look the part. He looked like an ordinary man. His reign was not the kind that they expected. In fact, Isaiah described Him as “a Suffering Servant.”
    But this Man who didn’t look like a king would accomplish what no one else could. Jesus, the King of kings, gave Himself for us so that we can have the forgiveness of our sins and receive the gift of eternal life.  Observe Isaiah’s prophecy:
Surely He has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed Him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced for our transgressions;
He was crushed for our iniquities;
upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed."
-- Isaiah 53:4-5
Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. By His “wounds” we can be “healed.”
    God will save 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 Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). He will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to submit to His reign by walking in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7-9).
    He looked like an ordinary man. But this Man was God in the flesh. Jesus was and is the real King of kings.
    Won’t YOU submit to His reign so that you can be saved and live with Him forever?

- 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 “Prince Harry reportedly asked by boy, 4, when the ‘real Prince Harry’ would arrive” by Madeline Farber, Fox News, published 3/21/19, www.foxnews.com.
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Learning to Serve
By Rob Albright
 
    Our oldest granddaughter is working now part time serving customers at a local restaurant. This is her first real job (she loves the tip money). She is learning what it means to serve others. Not all the customers are alike or have the same needs as far as food orders are concerned.
    Most customers are friendly but every now and then she gets an unfriendly customer. When that happens, her servant minded mentality gets tested.
    With our service to God, there will be difficult times for us. I am thankful we have the perfect example of what it means to be a servant. Jesus said He came, not to be served, but to serve (Mt. 20:28). Following Him in attitude and actions leads us to become a servant. Jesus also said we are to follow Him and learn from Him (Mt. 11:29). In doing that, we also learn to “serve one another” (Gal.5:13). Going on to maturity means serving “the living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9b) and serving one another (Gal. 5:13).

- 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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A Relative?
By Larry Pasley

    A husband and his wife were riding along together in a car. They had been quarreling and hadn't spoken for a long time. Finally, they passed a mule in a pasture. The man pointed to the mule and asked his wife, “A relative of yours?” Without a moment’s hesitation, she responded, “Yes, by marriage.”

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    It is inevitable in relationships that we have conflict. If we are not careful, we allow our negative feelings to cause that conflict to escalate into a downward spiral and we say things which are very harmful to the person we should love most in this world.
    Can you imagine Christ and His church carrying on a conversation like that above?
    The apostle Paul tells husbands in Ephesians 5:25-28,  “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26  that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27  that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28  So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
    He then concluded the section by admonishing the wives to respect their husbands. - Ephesians 5:33  Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
    Paul told the Roman Christians in Romans 13:10, “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
    Guess what your husband or your wife is your neighbor. Every command that we have on how to treat our fellow man or fellow Christian, also applies to how we treat our mate also.
    Sometimes we find ourselves treating our mate in ways that we would never treat a stranger on the street. How sad that is.
    We are one flesh. We have a relationship in marriage like no other on earth. That’s why Paul said, “He who loves his wife, loves himself.” Eph. 5:28. He implies that, “She who respects her husband respects herself.” We are one flesh. When we harm (physically or emotionally) our mate, we are harming our self.
    The husband/wife relationship should be a place of peace and comfort, a place where we can come together and renew and recharge from the ravages of life.
    Living joyfully with our wife is God’s gift to us, but it’s up to us to keep it joyful. Ecclesiastes 9:9  Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun.
    Someone said marriages may be made in heaven but the maintenance work is done here on earth.
    May we strive to make our marriage what God intended for it to be.

- 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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The Lord Will Provide
By Travis Robertson

    I have had many people speak these words to me when I was going through a difficult time in my life, “The Lord will provide." In one way it was very comforting to hear these words, it encouraged me to put my faith in God and His plans for my life. In another way I was struck with guilt that I hadn’t been looking to God to provide. God has been providing for us since the beginning and we need to put more faith in Him as our provider.
    One of the earliest times we see God provide is found in Genesis 22 with Abraham’s sacrifice. Despite the level of difficulty in God’s command, Abraham remained obedient in his faith. As a result of this obedience, God not only blessed Abraham, but provided for him. Scripture says, “and Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns” (Gen. 22:13).
    After Abraham made the sacrifice of the ram, he named the site, “The Lord Will Provide” (Gen. 22:14). Likewise, we can lift our eyes and look around to see how God has blessed us. What is the ram in your life? How has God provided for you? Certainly, God giving His Son would top the list, because of our eternal salvation, but God doesn’t stop there with His blessings. What about everyday life? Consider these verses in Matthew 6:11, 30 where Jesus encourages us to rely on God to provide our daily needs. Take a moment today to reflect on God’s provision in your life. Don’t stop short and forget to praise Him with thanksgiving!

- Travis Robertson preachers for the Lake Norman Church of Christ in Huntersville, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at http://lakenormancoc.org/
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Lord Mine
By J. Randal Matheny

Lord mine, pour out in me your grace!
Your love — how deep and wide and great!
This vessel fill — my heart transform —
To hope in Christ may I hold fast!

Lord mine, through me the wanderer find!
With me the rushing river ford!
And enter in the promised land
Where all your saints on you rely.

Lord mine, give me your awesome power!
Your glory is my every prayer!
From heart to heart, and soul to soul —
Let your salvation widely sound!

- 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) 2019 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.

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Are You Faithful?
By Caleb J. Rutherford

    A used car dealer said to a potential customer: “This one has very low mileage. The former owner drove it only when he could get it started.” The church of Christ at First Century Sardis had some members who were like that. All cleaned up and looking good on the outside, but hard to get started. Saying all the right things at church. Showing up on Sunday and singing the songs and praying the prayers and eating the bread and drinking from the cup. Looking alive and well.
    And not only that, but the congregation as a whole had a widespread and good reputation. Jesus referred to this in Revelation 3:1 where He said of the saints at Sardis: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” This group of Christians had all the appearances of being a vigorous, flourishing church. 
    Brethren in other places had talked about how sound and faithful they were. Perhaps her elders and preachers were invited from time to time to speak at workshops or lectureships to tell about all the wonderful things that were going on. But it’s hard to fake Jesus out. After all, He is the One with eyes like a flame of fire that see right through all the shallow pretenses and superficial put-on’s and spiritual games people play (Revelation  1:14b; 2:18b).
    Did you catch Jesus’ divine diagnosis of this congregation: Actually, it is not a diagnosis but an announcement of death - YOU ARE DEAD. A dead church. Still going through the motions -but they were already dead. Like the old preacher who said of the man whose funeral he was performing: “The  deceased has been a member of this church for thirty-five years.” In Revelation 3:2-6, Jesus seeks to perform a spiritual “CPR” on this congregation as He calls them to watch, hold fast, and repent. But wait a minute. Unlike some human critics of the church, Jesus is not content simply to condemn and see the negative. Revelation 3:4 reveals there were some unnamed and unsung heroes in the church at Sardis: “You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.” 
    All my life as a Christian, I have listened to preachers and members of the church talk about “the faithful few.” Some preachers and members of the church insist that 90% of the Lord’s work is done and financed by 10% of the members while the other 10% is done and financed by the remaining 90%. I don’t know about all that. But I know Someone who does. Whether there are many or few where you worship. Jesus is looking for the faithful, and He knows who they are; and He commends them. Whether there are many or few, are you one of the faithful?

-  Caleb J. Rutherford is the Associate Preacher 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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Dwell in Him
By David R. Ferguson

    Buying a house can be a daunting task. You almost need to learn a completely new language just to pretend to understand all the terminology suddenly being thrust upon you, with words such as escrow, closing costs, appraisal, title search, balloon payments, adjustable mortgage rate, down payments, etc., etc.
    If buying a house is getting you down, you might want to take a few moments to relieve that stress and ask yourself, “Do I want a house for my soul?”
    You may ask, "How much does it cost?"
    This is a house that no money can buy. It isn’t something you can rent, for it is without price. Jesus Christ is neither purchased or rented. But you can actually live in the Master's House for all eternity, with nothing to pay for it, for it has already been bought and paid for by the blood of the Lamb of God. In return, you can receive His eternal love and riches and joy as you lovingly serve Him forevermore in joyful songs of praise.
    Will you take Jesus and dwell in Him? His House is furnished with all you want; it is filled with riches more than you can spend as long as you live. In His House you can have intimate communion with Christ and feast on His love. His tables are well-laden and His cupboards are well-stocked with spiritual food and drink to sustain you forever. In His house the weary will find rest with Jesus; and from it you have an unbelievably marvelous view of Heaven itself.
    “In My Father’s House are many dwelling places,” says Jesus. “If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2 [MEV]).
    Will you have the House Jesus is preparing for you? Jesus has paid the price in full. All you have to do is do as He says. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me. For I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29 [MEV]).
    "But," you say, "I am too shabbily attired for such a grand House." Don’t you worry about that! There are garments inside which will fit you perfectly, washed completely clean in the blood of the Lamb of God (Revelation 7:14), and shining brighter and whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7), for they are His garments He will clothe you with at baptism (Galatians 3:27).
    If you feel guilty and condemned, come to the Lord. Although the Master’s House is far too good for you, Jesus Christ will still accept you as a brother or sister, and share His inheritance with you whereby you can live forever in His House. He will wash you and cleanse you, purifying your soul, and you will yet be able to sing, Abide with Me.

- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lakelandchurchofchrist/ or davidferguson61@yahoo.com
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God’s 5-Point Checklist for Religious Unity
By Seth Myers

    What is religious unity? Many would say that the essence of “religious unity” is “agreeing to disagree,” or getting along despite your differences. Well, God is certainly a proponent of “getting along” despite differences (cf. Rom. 12:18); but He is NOT a proponent of “agreeing to disagree” in matters of religion.
    Look closely to what Paul had to say in 1 Corinthians 1:10:
Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all SPEAK THE SAME THING, and that there be NO DIVISIONS among you; but that you be PERFECTED TOGETHER in the SAME MIND and in the SAME JUDGMENT.”
    Here, then, is God’s five-point checklist for religious unity:
1. ALL SPEAK THE SAME THING
2. NO DIVISIONS
3. PERFECTED TOGETHER
4. SAME MIND
5. SAME JUDGMENT
    In short, true religious unity is not “getting along” despite differences in doctrine; the single most important element of true religious unity is doctrinal unity. Aye, that dirty old “four letter word”—“doctrine.” Where there is not doctrinal unity, there can be no religious unity—nor should there be! The same apostle that commands Christians to have absolute doctrinal unity also commands Christians to “withdraw from” and have “no company with” any “Christian” who is NOT in conformity with the doctrine of the NT (2 Thess. 3:6,14)—i.e., those who do not “continue steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching…” (cf. Acts 2:42)!
    No one has ever, nor will anyone ever be, accepted by God in spite of his doctrine; for God—through the teaching of His Son and His apostles (Matt. 28:18; Heb. 1:1,2; John 17:20)—has given us HIS doctrine, and only those who “continue steadfastly” in HIS doctrine are pleasing and acceptable to Him (2 John 9). Read it; study it; know it—for by it we will all be judged (John 12:48; cf. 1 Cor. 14:37).

- 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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Is My Worship Praise?
By David Bragg
 
    The famous composer Franz Haydn attended the performance of one of his great works, The Creation, at the Vienna Music Hall in Austria. The audience, aware of Haydn's presence among them, were caught up in the excitement of the orchestra's performance and burst forth with an explosion of applause for the composer. But the elderly Haydn, struggling to stand from his wheelchair, motioned for silence. When the crowd became quiet the composer pointed toward heaven and said, "No, no, not from me, but from thence comes all!" Having given recognition to God, Haydn collapsed into his wheelchair in exhaustion (Daily Bread, September 20, 1992).
    God, the only true audience of worship, is the One (and only One) who has the right to demand how He is worshiped. He has authorized in the New Testament the form and modes of worship He will accept. But in addition to that, our worship must go beyond the physical acts. There is a mental, emotional, and spiritual aspect to worship. Each individual worshiper must transform the acts and words of worship into personal praise directed to a loving and majestic God. Think about the words you pray and sing. Exalt God in your worship and then your worship will be praise.
 
- 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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The Promise of the Lord is Heaven
By Gerald Cowan

It was cold that January morning
But the fire of God was in my heart.
The pressing guilt of sin had given warning
That I should turn and make a fresh new start.

My wife was there, the one who introduced me
To the Lord and to this friendly man
Who with love and endless patience helped me see
How to fit my life into God’s great plan.

I have forgotten who was in the crowd
Or what the preacher’s sermon was about.
I wanted to confess the Christ out loud
And in baptism wash the devil out.

Identified with Christ was my obsession,
My strength and mind and will to him be bent.
To be the Lord’s particular possession,
And to be only his was my intent.

My old man of sin was left behind
When from my watery grave I did arise.
“Brother, thanks,” I said with grateful mind, 
To that first smiling face who met my eyes.

Then with my wife, my sister in the Lord
Who had brought us together to be one
In him, according to God’s holy word,
I gave my thanks for what the Lord had done.
   
Both life and outlook now are much improved,
But I remember still the sordid past.
God gives me strength so I shall not be moved
And promises the joy of heav’n at last.

- 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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Worry Robs Life
By Joe Chesser

    Every one of us has the same amount of time each day – 24 hours /1440 minutes. Time is what life is made of. So, since time is so precious, why waste a single minute of it in useless worry? What’s the point of worry? What good does it accomplish? None whatsoever! Read carefully what Bob Proctor has written:
Clearly understand, there isn’t any situation that isn’t made worse by worry. Worry never solves anything. Worry never prevents anything. Worry never heals anything. Worry only serves one purpose ... it makes matters worse. How? Well, quite simply, when you are focused on worrying about something you’ll never be able to focus on a solution. Be aware that your mind can’t focus on two things at the same time ... it can either focus on the current situation and worry, or on a solution. The choice is always yours.
     James Kurtz says, “If we worry, we don’t trust; if we trust, we don’t worry. Worry does not empty tomorrow of its grief, but it does empty today of its joy.”
     More importantly, the Bible tells us that we are not to worry about anything (Phil. 4:6 ; Matt. 6:25-34). God wants us to trust Him to provide the things we need in life. But even more, He wants us to allow Him to fill our lives with peace by giving Him all our anxieties and concerns. That sounds like a pretty good trade: my anxieties for His peace!
     Instead of wasting your precious time in useless worry, displace the worry with its positive opposite. Everything negative has a positive opposite, including worry. Instead of fretting over people and problems, work with God toward good solutions. But by all means, don’t allow worry to rob you of life and its joys.
     Most of the things we worry about are a total waste of time. According to Bob Proctor, 40% of the things we worry about never happen, 30% of the things we worry about are over and done with and cannot be changed, 12% are over needless concerns about our health, and 10% are just petty miscellaneous worries. Only 8% of the things we worry about are legitimate concerns; 92% of our worries rob us of a joyful and peaceful life. But, as always, the choice is entirely yours!

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