BulletinGold #27
September 1, 2002   Vol 2 #7
 

Editor's Remarks
----by Donna Richmond

This weekend Americans will be celebrating Labor Day, a national holiday.  It has always seemed odd to me that on Labor Day most of us get together with family and friends and do anything but labor.  That is, we don't go to work at our regular jobs.
Then the thought occurred to me that even on Labor Day we are to work for the Lord.  No matter what we do, whether preaching the Word, holding a hand, praying with someone who hurts, speaking a kind word, or, as Jesus said, just offering a cup of cold water in His name -- it all counts for something in God's kingdom.  We know this, for Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:58, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord." Therefore, let us not grow weary in doing good, but "let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest." that is laid up for Christians (Hebrews 4:11).

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

Predestined for Glory
by: A. Jay Kelley

    For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.  Ephesians 1:4-5.
    Yes, this verse teaches predestination, but not in the way some claim.  Clear passages such as II Peter 3:9 teach us that it is God's will that all men be saved, and other clear passages such as Revelation 21:8 teach us that some will not be saved.
    Ezekiel 18 is a long discourse on the principle of personal responsibility that continues in the New Testament. Paul tells us in Philippians 2:12 to continue to work out our salvation, and Peter, in that first gospel sermon, exhorted the crowd at Pentecost to "save themselves."
    If it is therefore the responsibility and choice of each individual to accept Jesus as his savior, what, pray tell, does this passage teach us about predestination?  Simply that salvation was made available to each and every soul through the working of God
throughout all history in bringing Jesus to earth and fulfilling the need for a propitiation, or satisfaction, for sin. 
    Think about that great fact. God was working to bring about man's salvation even before man sinned.  God was bringing his great plan to bear as he created the earth those many years ago.
    The first prophecy of the savior is found in Genesis 3:15, some 4,000 years before the Lord walked the earth.  After the fall, Satan was told that he would not rule man, but instead, a man would destroy him.
    "Many are called, but few are chosen," said Jesus.  In fact, all are called.  Each human being may come to a saved relationship with God through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
    But only those who want to be saved are chosen.  Those who, upon hearing the message, are willing to submit their lives to Christ, putting him on in baptism and living according to his precepts are the chosen.
    Yes, salvation is available as a gift to all, but each of us must take hold of the great treasure. Trust me, it's worth
it.

 A. Jay Kelley is the evangelist for the church of Christ 
in Colby, Kansas. His e-mail is jkelley@nwkansas.com.

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What Does it Take to Shock You?
by: Lawrence Barr


Do you watch the evening (or morning) news?  Do you sometimes find yourself tuning out as the long litany of bad things are recounted?  Just today I was listening to the news about a bomb killing seven in Jerusalem, and the people at the scene started talking about another possible bomb blast in the city. As it turned out, the "explosion" heard was a bus tire blowing out!  But hearing all these things may
indeed make us numb.

We must never take the evil in this world as somehow "just the ordinary."  That is especially true when it comes to our own wrongdoing.  "I didn't mean to" can become just a way of ignoring something serious in our lives.

The goal (1 John 2:1) is to stop sinning and to walk in the light (1 John 1:7).  Getting there means we must recognize and acknowledge our sins (1 John 1:8-10).

An African evangelist told the story of a man who had a sore toe.  At first he refused to see a doctor until the toe was badly infected. When told it must be amputated, he refused, until the leg was full of gangrene.  Back to the doctor he went to be told that the leg had to go or he would die.  He chose to ignore the warning and...you know the rest! That's how Satan gets us to deal with sin.  "Oh, it will get better.  It really isn't that bad," we say. Then before long we are full of spiritual gangrene.  We are rotten.  Soon, without the amputation of our favorite sins, our spirits die!  Are you shocked?  God help us to be shocked by our sin!

Lawrence Barr preaches for the Church of Christ in Indiana,
Pennsylvania.

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Middle East Turmoil
by: David Bragg

The world's attention has been fixed recently on the escalating violence in the Middle East.  Nations scuffle as families suffer over the persistent loss of life. Some of this fighting takes place within a "stones throw" of  where the greatest tragedy was played out over 1,970 years ago.

Many were convinced then that peace was within reach. With eyes firmly fixed on the great prophecies of the past and with anticipation of a bright future, all hopes were pinned on the coming Messiah.  He would bring peace.  Imposters would NOT be tolerated.

Oh how quickly a throng of admirers is turned to a howling mob controlled by the envious elite.  "Crucify him! Crucify him!"  It was the blood of the Prince of Peace that was spilled that day in despised Golgotha.  Three days later Hope was born.

The day will come when they will no longer fight in the Middle East.  All carnal warfare will end when the crucified Prince returns to escort all humanity to the Divine Bar of Justice.  Blessed are they who can long for that day with sincere joy knowing that this Prince brings peace forever.

David Bragg preaches for the Cape Church of Christ, 328 S. West End
Blvd., Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  Website:
http://pages.sbcglobal.net/dbragg email:
capecoc@hotmail.com

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Redeemed! Redeemed!
by: Joe Fitch

"Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us.."(Lk.1:68). The New Testament prelude is praise to God for His Redeemer and redemption. The song of redemption reverberates through the ages -- "I'm redeemed! I'm redeemed! Praise the Lord."

Redeem means ransomed -- bought back by a price. Maybe some are silent during redemption's song because they do not see their disaster and thus can not appreciate their ransom. Look at redemption.

Redeemed is ransom from sin's guilt. Sin stains man conscience -- bars his approach to God. "...your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you "(Isaiah 59:2). How shall a sinner be clean? All his money is not price enough; all blood sacrifices can not atone. Hopeless? Yes! --- until Jesus appears! Now all who "sinned and fall short of the glory of God " can
be "justified freely .. through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus "(Rom.3:23-). The impossible becomes reality! In Jesus, "we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins "(Eph.1:7). We are ransomed! Redeemed from our sins! We are
washed "from our sins in his own blood "(Rev.1:5). How can we not loudly join the chorus -- "Redeemed how I love to proclaim it! Redeemed by the blood of the lamb."

Redeemed is ransom from sin's punishment. The sinner faces judgment without defense -- without a hope. The door of hell stares him in the face. Eternal sentence is soon to be pronounced -- irrevocable. Hopeless? Absolutely! --- until Jesus came! He came to pull the lost back from the fire -- to ransom them from Satan's claim. The absolutely necessary ransom? It could not be paid in gold or silver --  only in the body of Jesus. He "redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us "(Gal.3:13). He is our "scapegoat " to "bear upon him all their iniquities "(Lev.16:20- 26). Isaiah described our redeemer -- "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief "(Isa.53:3). The "Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all "(v.6) and he "shall bear their iniquities "(v.11). He ransomed all the redeemed -- "the chastisement (punishment) for our peace was on him"(v.5). The chastisement ransom? "...by his stripes we are healed "(v.5). Ask Peter to comment! "Christ also suffered for us "(1Pet.2:21). Peter quoted from Isaiah 53 -- "Who committed no
sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth "(v.53:9). Then Peter said that Jesus "Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree ..by whose stripes you were healed." Examine the back of Jesus; see the stripes left by scourging. The bruises? -- he "was bruised for our iniquities "(Isa.53:5). See his wounds? -- he was "wounded for our transgressions." Now, you know the price paid to close the door to
hell! -- to ransom lost souls from eternal ruin! -- to redeem you! 

Redeemed is ransom from slavery. Jesus does not just free from guilt and punishment -- not just a perpetual clean up after our sin. He does more -- much more. He delivers from the practice of sin -- breaks the shackles of sin's slavery. Paul personified the helpless sinner in his slavery: "I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members "(Rom.7:23-). "Captivity " -- slavery --  bondage. Hopeless? Ask sin's slave: "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? " The answer? -- the ransom? Who else but Jesus? "I thank God -- through Jesus Christ our Lord !" Baptized but sin addicted? Not in Jesus redemption! He "gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works."(Tit.2:14).

Redeemed exalts the ransomed. Around God's throne, "...they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood . . . And have made us kings and priests to our God "(Rev 5:9-). Redeemed "to our God " Redeemed to be kings and priests, no less! Yet, Jesus aims even higher! -- redeemed to be sons of the King of kings! Jesus came to "redeem those who were under the law, that we
might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons..."(Gal.4:5-). From outcasts to sons of God! What a redemption!

Redeemed glorifies the body. "..even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body " Jesus left an empty tomb and a resurrection promise. We are redeemed in hope -- in expectation. A vital core of hope is bodily resurrection. When our body is redeemed, we will be endowed with a
glorious body -- a spiritual body -- "we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is "(1Jno.3:2). What a prospect! What a redemption!

How can we be silent? Hearts of the redeemed swell; voices exalt. we joyfully sing! "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so; I'm redeemed! I'm redeemed! Praise the Lord!"

"Bible Comment" is edited by Joe Fitch, who preaches for the
Stonebriar Church of Christ in Frisco, Texas.  TO SUBSCRIBE: Send an
email to fitchj@augustmail.com and put SUBSCRIBE in the subject line.

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Quick Riches
----misc. goodies this issue

Dangerous Separation
by: Ron Adams

Sodium and chloride (chemical compound NaCl) are the components of common table salt.  Separate them and you no longer have salt. Chloride apart from sodium is a potentially dangerous chemical.

Rights and responsibilities are the components of life.   Attempting to separate rights from responsibilities is also dangerous.

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Some Observations
by: Ron Adams

The trouble with those who stand up for their rights is that they usually sit down when it comes to responsibility.

Attempting to shirk responsibilities is like trying to run away from your shadow.  It goes wherever you go.
 
The rights of others are seldom considered by those who demand their rights.

Everyone is responsible for what they say and do.  No exceptions!

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.  2 Corinthians 5:10.

Thursday's Thought is edited by Ron Adams 
Visit their web site: North San Diego The "Best of Thursday's Thoughts" are being posted on the internet at: http://thursdaythought.homestead.com
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Key Expressions Which Relate to Our Giving
by: Mel Martin

1. God giveth to all men liberally.
2. It is more blessed to give than to receive.
3. A willing mind.
4. According to that a man hath.
5. Not according to that he hath not.
6. She hath done what she could.
7. He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly.
8. He which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
9. According as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give.
10. Not grudgingly.
11. Or of necessity (being forced to).
12. God loveth a cheerful giver.
13. Upon the first day of the week.
14. Lay by him in store.
15. Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief.
16. Freely ye have received, freely give.
17. First gave of their own selves.
18. Beware of covetousness.
19. Man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things he possesseth.

Mel Martin preaches for the Lincoln & Tunnell Church of Christ in
Santa Maria, Califoria.
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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

Unworthy
by: H. L. Gradowith
08-19-2002

I am not worthy of what He's given me,
     It's by His mercy I now stand;
How helpless I would be but for Calvary:
     I live by the strength of His hand.

So often I've turned from the Heavenly Way,
     So often I have turned aside;
Oh, what is it that makes a man go astray
     Who longs with the Lord to abide...
I endeavor to do what He says each day,
     But still the Lord I have denied;
Though I have determined to trust and obey
     (And friend, I tell you, I have tried)...

Too often in His Word I've failed to abide,
     Too often I've turned from the Way;
In moments of weakness my Lord I've denied
     And shamefully I've gone astray;
In my heart of hearts I believe I have tried
     To faithfully serve Him each day,
But I fear not enough -- for I've turned aside:
     I have failed to trust and obey.

When that happens I get back on Heaven's Way,
     I determine there to abide;
I resolve that I'll nevermore go astray,
     I turn to Him I once denied;
And though I may fall again that very day
     At least I can say that I tried...
And when (with His help) I have not turned aside,
     This is still all that I can say:

I am not worthy of what He's given me,
     It's by His mercy I now stand;
How helpless I would be but for Calvary:
     I live by the strength of His hand.


H. L. Gradowith is the pen name for Tim Smith, who preaches for the
Church of Christ at Enon, AL.
View his poems at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gradowithspoems/  
 To subscribe one needs simply to send a note to gradowith@yahoo.com with the words SUBSCRIBE POEMS in the subject line or body of message.

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God's Vessels
by: Rose Ann Noey

There are vessels in God's great house,
And you and I, we count as two.
Come, sleepy one, you need to rouse
To work for God, not warm the pew.

Are you a vessel of gold or of silver?
Or perhaps you are of earth or wood?
Raise up your life to give to the Savior.
Prepare your life to be what it should.

The devil dangles his own bright lure
To tempt you off the Lord's Good Way.
Dear Christian friend, please keep yourself pure
And keep that evil foe at bay.

If pure you'll be, then of service you'll be,
A vessel to honour for Jesus' use.
Christ's man cannot a foul life lead.
For Heaven's Sake, that life let loose!

When your life is purged for the Saviour,
Then it's ready for the Master's need.
If you'll not from God's Way waver,
Then a useful vessel you will be!
Based from II Timothy 2:19-21

Rose Ann Noey worships with the Yorktown Road 
Church of Christ in Logansport, Indiana.

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Prayer
by: Sally Harris Cleghorn

Help us Lord, not to become bitter towards those who would wound us so deeply.  Help  us to become stronger and more devout Christians in the face of this carnage.  Help us to remember that our help comes from you and that you are in control of this universe.  Help us always be ready to reach out with help to those who are hurting so deeply.  Help us reach into the depths of our souls to make sure you are truly living in us.  Help us all learn from this tragedy that we are all one breath away from eternity and to behave accordingly.  In Jesus' holy name, amen.

Sally Harris Cleghorn, Secretary for the Hazel Park, Michigan Church
of Christ.  She wrote this prayer right after 9/11/01.
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Gold Mines
----quotes & sayings for bulletins and signs this issue

If you aren't living it, you don't believe it.
A Christian shows what he is by what he does with what he has!
Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the people
you can, in every place you can, and as long as ever you can.
Experience is one thing you can't get on the easy payment plan.
Don't be like a wheel barrow . . . always having to be pushed and very
easily upset.

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