1, 2002 Vol 2 #7
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
Panning for more Gold
Predestined for Glory
preacher's articles this issue
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
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
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
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.
Jay Kelley is the evangelist for the
church of Christ
in Colby, Kansas. His e-mail is email@example.com.
|What Does it Take
to Shock You?
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
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!
Barr preaches for the Church of Christ
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
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
Bragg preaches for the Cape Church of
Christ, 328 S. West End
Blvd., Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
"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
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).
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
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
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
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 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
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
Comment" is edited by Joe Fitch, who
preaches for the
Stonebriar Church of Christ in Frisco,
Texas. TO SUBSCRIBE: Send an
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goodies this issue
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.
by: Ron Adams
The trouble with those who
stand up for their rights is that they
usually sit down when it comes to
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
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
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
Key Expressions Which Relate
to Our Giving
God giveth to all men liberally.
2. It is more blessed to give than to
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
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
16. Freely ye have received, freely
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.
Martin preaches for the Lincoln &
Tunnell Church of Christ in
Santa Maria, Califoria.
Hearts of Gold
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
So often I have
Oh, what is it that makes a man go
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
(And friend, I
tell you, I have tried)...
Too often in His Word I've failed to
Too often I've
turned from the Way;
In moments of weakness my Lord I've
I've gone astray;
In my heart of hearts I believe I have
serve Him each day,
But I fear not enough -- for I've turned
I have failed
to trust and obey.
When that happens I get back on Heaven's
there to abide;
I resolve that I'll nevermore go astray,
I turn to Him I
And though I may fall again that very
At least I can
say that I tried...
And when (with His help) I have not
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.
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/
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Rose Ann Noey
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
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
And keep that evil foe at bay.
If pure you'll be, then of service
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
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
Ann Noey worships with the Yorktown
Church of Christ in Logansport, Indiana.
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.
Harris Cleghorn, Secretary for the Hazel
Park, Michigan Church
of Christ. She wrote this prayer
right after 9/11/01.
& sayings for bulletins and signs
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