4, 2002 Vol 2, No 6
is such a busy, busy time! In spite
of how very busy you are,
I continue to be amazed that you remember
to send me articles for
Two brethren, Joe Fitch and Dave Hart,
articles for the first time. Many of
you send great articles every
week, and even though I don't always have
space for them, I
appreciate them very much. Please
keep sending your articles, poems,
and interesting websites.
I am starting a new feature with this
issue. It is a place for
members of the church all over the world
to ask for special help.
Each congregation has many shut-ins and
ill members. However, this
column is for the very seriously ill and
for those who have problems
that need extra consideration, more than
just prayers. The feature
is called "Ray of Hope." Look for
the first "Ray
of Hope" in
Panning for more Gold
preacher's articles this issue
(Bible Comment #86,
July 10, 2002)
Where there is no revelation,
the people cast off restraint; But happy
is he who keeps the law (Prov.29:18).
"No revelation" insures grievous
consequence. Yet, an encyclopedia of
facts is no cure; information is not the
goal. Information alone produces a well
informed pagan. Revealed truth
enables necessary steps to the goal.
"...these are written that you may
believe that Jesus is the Christ, the
Son of God, and that believing you may
have life in His name"
(Jno.20:31). Heaven's message
expects action -- compliance. "If you
know these things, blessed are you if
you do them" (Jno.13:17).
On the road to Damascus, Saul saw a
light from heaven and heard a message
from heaven --"I am Jesus, whom you are
persecuting" (Act.9:5). Saul knew
how to respond! "Lord, what do You
want me to do?" There was lots to
do! Saul understood compliance
from the very beginning.
Revelation expects immediate
compliance. Heaven's message rings
out with urgency -- "...now is the
accepted time; ..... now is the day of
salvation" (2 Cor 6:2).
Yesterday is gone forever; tomorrow may
never be. "A convenient time" will
likely never come. "Put off " is
Satan's deception. What
happens to "put off " stuff? Ends up in
a dark corner? -- forgotten? -- never
done? The gospel message was first
preached on Pentecost; listeners knew to
respond! That day, 3,000 were baptized
(Act.2:41). They immediately
complied with heaven's message. No
fluke! The very next scene
(Act.4:4), 5,000 promptly
responded. Urgency carried the
day! We are amazed by such quick
response -- don't be!
"Immediately" is God's time table; it
must become ours.
Heaven's message demands
absolute compliance. No half way
service -- no room for a King
Saul. He claimed, "I have obeyed
the voice of the LORD,. I have utterly
destroyed the Amalekites" --- except the
"sheep and oxen, the best of the things
which should have been utterly destroyed
" And then there was King Agag,
who should have been killed
(1Sam.15). Full compliance or
nothing! In society, people who do
"most " of the laws are criminals.
"He was a fine neighbor, good family
man, generous, etc. ...never did
anything amiss ---- except when he
murdered his wife." In scripture,
those who comply with "most" of the law
(Jas.2:10), are sinners -- lost sinners
-- and finally, banished sinners.
Repentance is unqualified. It is
commitment to "do all God wants" and "do
nothing God disapproves." Heaven's
message beckons us to full commitment."
We won't do that well !"
Right! Yet, we can -- and must be
willing! We must diligently
try! "How much will it cost to do
right?" is the introduction to saying "I
will not comply with heaven's costly
demands." We think compliance is
limited by ability, but the greater
limit to compliance is willingness and
commitment. A magazine salesman
solicited a farmer -- "This magazine
will show you how to farm better."
To which the lazy farmer said, "I ain't
farming half as good as I know how
now." Is that like our
Heaven's message elicits vocal
compliance. Remember the blind man
Jesus healed? Later, Jesus inquired: "Do
you believe in the Son of God?
" "Who is He, Lord, that I
may believe in Him?" "You have both seen
Him and it is He who is talking with
you." Not strange, his response is:
"Lord, I believe!" (Jno.9:35) What
else but to confess Jesus as Lord?
Vocalized compliance is natural.
"Doubting Thomas" demanded to inspect
the wounds of the cross in the body of
Jesus. When he saw, he naturally
cried out, "My Lord and my God! "
(Jno.20:28). Heaven's message
evokes natural and enthusiastic
compliance. The message was and is
good news -- so good it must be
shared. No one told Andrew to find
Simon Peter; no one told Philip to find
Nathaniel. The news of Messiah excited
and propelled them! Even when
Jesus commanded people to tell no one,
they could not stand it! They told
anyway! Likewise, disciples
scattered by persecution "went
everywhere preaching the word"
(Act.8:4). Heaven's message
naturally instilled awe in their
hearts. The blind man first cried
"Lord I believe" and then he "worshipped
Him." How can we not be
amazed? God has spoken to us! He
reveals spiritual things we could never
know -- things we can not see -- grand
things yet to come. He loved us even
while we were sinners! Jesus died
on the cross to save us. Even
without a command, how could we refrain
from enthusiastic worship? Shall
not praise be loudly sung? Shall
not the name of God be glorified?
Fitch preaches for the Stonebriar Church
of Christ in Frisco,
Texas. You may subscribe to "Bible
Comment" by sending an email to
and putting SUBSCRIBE in the subject
"What strength do I have, that I
should hope? And what is my end, that
I should prolong my life? Is my
strength the strength of stones? Or is
my flesh bronze? Is my help not within
Strength has been very important to me
most of my life. I grew up watching
larger than life heroes like Superman,
Batman and John Wayne. I always wanted
to excel in sports and be bigger and
stronger than other men. So, I spent
most of my younger life training with
weights in pursuit of that goal, and
have had modest successes over
the years. But now that I'm getting
older, I've noticed that my body is
starting to hurt from old injuries, and
no matter how hard I train, the strength
that I worked so hard for is slowly
ebbing away a little each year.
Like Job, my hope is not in my own
strength, intelligence, money, fame nor
anything else in this world which is
fading away, and one day will be no
more. My flesh is not bronze, but
instead is weak and vulnerable. My
hope does not lie within me in this
perpetually passing life.
Therefore, my hope will be in the
perfect and everlasting strength of
Jesus Christ. Our physical bodies and
all that is around us are perishing
little by little; nevertheless, because
of Jesus in our life, our sprit (the
inner man) can grow and be renewed each
and every day as we live. Do not put
your trust or your hope in your own
strength, but lean on the steadfast
strength of Jesus Christ, and He will
see you through. Philippians 4:13
"I can do all things through Christ
who strengthens me."
Hart preaches for the church of Christ
in Anderson, California.
I asked the children in my
Sunday school class, "If I sold my house
and my car, had a big garage sale and
gave all my money to the church, would I
get into Heaven?"
"NO"! The children all answered.
"If I cleaned the church every day,
mowed the yard, and kept everything neat
and tidy, would I get into Heaven"?
Again, the answer was "NO"!
"Well," I continued, "then how can I get
In the back of the room, a 5 yr. old boy
shouted out, "You gotta be dead"!
The wisdom of children never ceases to
amaze me; they seem to see the obvious
so easily. I remember hearing about a 5
year old that was sitting on the curb
watching the police, firemen and tow
truck operators trying to remove a
truck, which was wedged under an
overpass. He watched for a while and
then offered this suggestion, "Why don't
you just let the air out of the tires?"
They did and it worked. but why didn't
the adults think of it first? Probably
that is why Jesus said the kingdom of
heaven is made up of folks like
children, they see things differently.
Why is it that we leave things undone,
which really need to be done? Why do we
say hurtful things and then realize it
later? Why don't we see the folks around
us that are hurting and needing help
until it is too late? Why don't we care
more, pray more, trust God more at times
when we aren't in a crises?
Well, I can't say for sure, but I have a
strong belief that it is because we
haven't yet learned to say no to
ourselves! Regardless of all we say, we
often are more interested in our
welfare, our comfort, our reputation,
our time, our safety, more than we are
What do you have to do to go to heaven?
"You gotta die!" Paul said in Galatians
2:20. "I have been crucified with
Christ and I no longer live, but
Christ lives in me. The life I live in
the body, I live by faith in the Son
of God, who loved me and gave himself
How does that happen? Paul tells us that
too in Romans 6:3-4, "Or don't you
know that all of us who were baptized
into Christ Jesus were baptized into
his death? We were therefore buried
with him through baptism into death in
order that, just as Christ was raised
from the dead through the glory of the
Father, we too may live a new
If you want be what God wants
you to be, start dying! May God grant
each of us the ability to die to self
and live to Christ and others.
Lawson, Greenville church of Christ,
In Sheep's Clothing
Genesis 3 begins, "now the
serpent was more subtle (crafty, shrewd)
than any beast of the field which the
Lord God had made." We cannot be
naïve in dealing with Satan. We
cannot be forgiving in dealing with
Satan. We are not to think
charitably toward Satan. We are
not to see how close we can come to sin
without sin taking a hold. Why do
you think the Christian is arrayed with
the whole armor of God (Eph.
6:13-17)? We cannot go through
life without armor if we expect to stand
in the evil day quenching all the fiery
darts of the wicked, "for we wrestle not
against flesh and blood, but against
principalities, against powers, against
rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high
places" (Eph. 6:12).
Temptation is a deliberate attempt of
Satan to get us to sin (1 Peter
5:8). We are not accidentally
tempted; it is not something that
happens by chance. We cannot let
down our guard even for a moment.
Maybe we ought to rethink our
understanding of what things, people,
and places we are to avoid. We
need to expand the realm of Satan's
temptation from houses of ill repute to
fancy mansions on a hill, from unclean
and unkempt people in alleys to
well-groomed men in designer suits, from
drugs and illegal activity on the seedy
side of town to stocks and soy bean
futures in upscale business
districts. Why is it when we think
of Satan tempting, that we think just of
the disgusting and vile?
Martin preaches for the Lincoln &
Tunnell Church of Christ in Santa Maria,
What is Man?
goodies this issue
1. As dust
2. As the wind
3. As a worm
4. As a vapor
5. As grass
6. Man is nothing without God.
Man With God.
1. Wonderfully made
2. God's offspring
3. Treasure in earthen vessel
4. Co-worker with God
6. Man with God can attain
Hearts of Gold
things are not perfect
Because of trail or pain,
Continue in thanksgiving
Do not begin to blame
Even when the times are hard
Fierce winds are bound to blow
God is forever able
Hold on to what you know!
Imagine life without His love,
Joy would cease to be.
Keep thanking him for all the things
Love imparts to Thee.
Move out of "Camp Complaining!"
No weapon that is known
On earth can yield the power that
Praise can do alone.
Quit looking at the future;
Redeem the time at hand;
Start every day with prayer-
To "thank" is a command,
Until we see him coming,
Victorious in the sky
We'll run the race with gratitude
Xalting God most high.
Yes, there'll be good time and yes some
will be bad, but....
Zion waits in glory...where none are
by Marietta Slater who worships in
|A Little Place
where shall I work today?"
And my love flowed warm and free.
Then He pointed me out a tiny spot
And said, "Tend that for Me."
I answered quickly, "Oh no, not there,
Why, no one would ever see
No matter how well my work was done.
Not a little place for me!"
And the word He spoke, it was not stern.
He answered me tenderly:
"Ah, little one, search that heart of
Art thou working for them or Me?
Nazareth was a little place.
And so was Galilee."
& sayings for bulletins and signs
go up in price nor down in value!
The milk of human kindness never
Swallowing of pride seldom causes
Prayer is not a last extremity; it is a
He stands best who kneels best.
|Ray Of Hope
Jean Lawler, a member of the
Southern Oaks Church of Christ in
Chickasha, Oklahoma, writes: "My
husband, James "Jim" Lawler, is in need
of a liver transplant. Jim has
been unable to work since June of 2000,
and the doctors have told him that
without a transplant he will die.
To offset the costs involved with the
transplant, and to help cover the gaps
that insurance leaves behind, we are
asking for your support. Jim and I
have a number of children and
grandchildren and we are simply unable
to bear the total cost of the
transplant. Therefore, we are
turning to our friends and Christian
family. I have asked the Elders
where I attend worship services to
oversee whatever funds my be
donated. Any donation you are able
to make would be greatly
appreciated. If you are able to
help, please send your donation to:
Southern Oaks Church of Christ, Attn:
Elders/Lawler Fund, 3320 South 16th
Street, Chickasha, Oklahoma 73018.
Brethren, if every congregation which
helps this sister and her family, think
of the encouragement we would be to
them. Even a small check from each
church would add up to enough money to
help. Remember the words of Paul
in Galations 6:10, "As we have therefore
opportunity, let us do good unto all
men, especially unto them who are of the
household of faith." I ask you to
her request with prayer.
you know of anyone who needs a Ray of
Hope, please send the information to Bulletin.Gold@veriozon.net