BulletinGold #26
August 4, 2002   Vol 2, No 6
 

Editor's Remarks
----by Donna Richmond

Summer 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
BulletinGold.  Two brethren, Joe Fitch and Dave Hart, have sent
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 this
issue.

__________________________via BulletinGold

Panning for more Gold
---- preacher's articles this issue

Responding to God's Revelation
(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 compliance?

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?

Joe Fitch preaches for the Stonebriar Church of Christ in Frisco,
Texas.  You may subscribe to "Bible Comment" by sending an email to
fitchj@augustmail.com and putting SUBSCRIBE in the subject line.

__________________________via BulletinGold

Strength
by: Dave Hart

Job 6:11-13
"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 me?

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."

Dave Hart preaches for the church of Christ in Anderson, California.

_________________________via BulletinGold

First Things First
by: Russ Lawson

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 to Heaven?"

In the back of the room, a 5 yr. old boy shouted out, "You gotta be dead"! (Author unknown).

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 about others.

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 for me."

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 life." 

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.

Russ Lawson, Greenville church of Christ, Greenville, OH
Email: rlawson@bright.net

__________________________via BulletinGold

In Sheep's Clothing
by: Mel Martin

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 na├»ve 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?

Mel Martin preaches for the Lincoln & Tunnell Church of Christ in Santa Maria, California.

__________________________via BulletinGold

Quick Riches
----misc. goodies this issue

What is Man? 
Psalm 8

Man Without God.
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
5.  Saved!
6.  Man with God can attain marvelous heights!

__________________________via BulletinGold

Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

ABC's
Author Unknown

Although 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 ever sad!

Contributed by Marietta Slater who worships in Augusta, Kansas.
__________________________via BulletinGold

A Little Place
Author Unknown

"Father, 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 thine,
Art thou working for them or Me?
Nazareth was a little place.
And so was Galilee."

__________________________via BulletinGold

Gold Mines
----quotes & sayings for bulletins and signs this issue

Smiles never go up in price nor down in value!

The milk of human kindness never curdles.

Swallowing of pride seldom causes indigestion.

Prayer is not a last extremity; it is a first necessity.

He stands best who kneels best.

__________________________via BulletinGold

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 receives BulletinGold 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 consider
her request with prayer.

If you know of anyone who needs a Ray of Hope, please send the information to Bulletin.Gold@veriozon.net