BulletinGold #62
February 5, 2006   Vol 5 #12
 

Editor's Remarks
----by David Bragg

    The Apostle Paul was absolutely fearless when it came to conducting his ministry. He frequently seized evangelistic opportunities without regarding the life - threatening dangers facing him. New Testament records reveal his reluctant catalog of suffering (2 Cor. 11:23-27). So convinced was he of the veracity of the message he preached, Paul on a number of occasions emphasized his willingness to give up his own life, if need be, in the course of fulfilling his obligation as an apostle of the risen Lord, Jesus Christ (Acts 21:13; 25:12). Although not specifically attributed to Paul, the sentiment presented by the anonymous Hebrew writer effectively captures his attitude towards life and death: "Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," so that we confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?" (Heb. 13:5-6).

 

    Others shared Paul's faith and commitment, both in the first and twenty-first centuries.  It is that faith in the unwavering presence and promises of God that shines through the items which follow.  These are offered with the prayer that others will come to share such trust in Him.

 

David Bragg, co-editor

www.davidbragg.org

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

The Precious Name
by: Jimmy W. Cox

    When a young lady marries, she leaves her old name and adopts the name of her husband. She is called by his name, writes, speaks, transacts business, and honors his name. 
    When we become Christians, we are joined to Christ in spiritual wedlock. (Eph. 5:25-27). We left our old name and took upon ourselves the name of the Lord Jesus. Now, we wear His name, talking and working in His name that is, by His authority and for His glory.
    In His name ---We assemble. "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." (Matt. 18:20).
    We proclaim the Word. "And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:15-16).
    We were baptized. "Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38).
    We baptize believers. "And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord." (Acts 10:48). Also read Matt. 28:19,20.)
    We pray unto the Father, in the name of Jesus. (Read John 14:13‑14: John 15:16).
    We bow the knee and confess with the tongue. "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil. 2:10-11).
    We suffer persecution. " . . .rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name." (Acts 5:41).
    We glorify God. (Read 1 Peter. 4:15, 16).
    We enjoy salvation. (Read Matt. 1:21; Acts 4:11, 12).

- Jimmy Cox lives in Sandy Hook, MS and attends the Columbia church of Christ in Columbia, MS. He may be contacted at coxsandyhook@yahoo.com 

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Are We Listening?
by: Ron Thomas

    A couple of weeks back I preached from Hebrews 2:1-18 on "So Great a Salvation." I intended to express two primary points; first, the Christian is in danger of losing his (her) soul if that person does not take heed to the will of God and, second, that God's love toward man is great. Let me take a few moments and review some of these thoughts. The world in which we live sees disasters just about on a daily basis. The 24 hour news channels give us images across the world of some unfortunate people suffering hardships like we have never experienced. We can become hard to it all. We won't become hard to the experience as much as we can become hard to the images. Unfortunately, by doing so we are encouraged to not look or consider that a very real danger is ever before us. In the spiritual realm we have similar problems. On one hand we know how frail life is and then on the other hand we think we will survive for another day. This thinking encourages us to live in such a way that we can put off making things right with the Lord. We face a very real danger with this attitude. The Hebrews writer spoke of this very real danger when He said, "Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard." If we do not, then, note, "For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?" (from Hebrews 2:1-4) 
    The Lord does not desire that any of His creation suffer loss in eternal death. Yet He is faithful to His word and His word is very clear on this matter. More than that, though, is that God's interest in man is great. God's interest in man is so great that He gives us wisdom by which we can direct our lives. We simply must tap into that wisdom and make application to the Lord's will. Have you ever considered this exhortation from the Lord? "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother' (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land" (Ephesians 6:1-3). I think there are two significant reasons for these words. First, the Lord said those who obey will have the Lord on their side (quite a significant feature, wouldn't you say?). Second, listening to one's parents will help the youngster learn things about life that will make getting along in this world much easier. Pitfalls will be avoided.
    Knowing that it is God's desire that we not perish (1 Timothy 2:4) and the He has made provision for us to not perish, how shall we escape if we don't live according to His will? We won't. The danger is ever before us and no matter what disaster comes, if we are devoted to the Lord and living a life of righteousness, we will never have to fear. We will escape God's wrath and be welcomed into His eternal realm, "Well done thou good and faith servant; enter in into the joy of thine Lord." 

- Ron Thomas preaches for the Highway church of Christ in Sullivan, IL. He may be contacted at rthomas1@one-eleven.net 

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Busy Signal
by: Rick Woodall

    Horrible malicious words often come to the surface in this journey we call life. One can be endeavoring to do their very best. They pour their heart into all they strive to do with a positive spirit. The joy of the Lord's work is established in the fortitude and strength we find in a right relationship with God. Yet, in the shadows and cracks nearby we discover those who are fixed on quietly making life miserable. Jesus had to deal with this situation many times in His short 3 -year ministry. 
    "And as He sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with Him and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" But when He heard this, He said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick." - Matthew 9:10-12 
    There are many who have promoted themselves to higher positions with great imaginations. They see themselves as "watch dogs" for the faith. Many without knowing whom they are talking about or researching the facts spout off on unfounded gossip only to bring much impairment to the cause of the Gospel. Their winds blow furious like a raging hurricane and leave behind heaps of rubble to be cleaned up by the faithful. 
    While the attitudes in their statements do not leave us to wonder who is treacherous, the Bible clearly puts up the warning sign. This constant busy signal on the communication line reminding us that good people give clear proof of their thinking. 
    "The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks." - Luke 6:45 
    The way of thinking becomes a way of talking. 

- Rick Woodall is the minister for the Milan church of Christ in Milan, Michigan. His weekly devotional message, Life Thoughts, can be heard on the World Wide Web at this address: http://www.milanchurchofchrist.org/page3 

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How Beautiful Heaven Must Be
by: Stefano R. Mugnaini

 

  What does God look like? Can anyone answer this question?  I John 3 says "When He appears we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is."  The implication is that we cannot see God as He is because we are mortal and He is eternal.  It is only when we shed this earthly body for an eternal body that we will be able to see and to contemplate God.   

  The same question can be asked of Heaven, and the same concept applies: If Heaven is His dwelling place, than it must be that we cannot truly picture or understand what it will be like.  It was with this knowledge of our own limitations that John, through the Holy Spirit, described it this way:

"Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal clear jasper.  It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gate twelve angels, and names were written on them, which ware the names of the twelve tribes of Israel . There were three gates on the East and three gates on the North and three gates on the South and three gates on the West. The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper, the second; sapphire, the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysophrase; the eleventh, jacinth and the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass." (Revelation 21)  

  This description of gemstones and precious metals is not intended to make us believe that we are going to spend eternity in a high dollar jewelry store: rather, to describe, in words we can understand, the beauty, the perfection, the splendor of Heaven.  We can't picture the real thing, but we can all get a taste of it.  It is incredible to think that it will be even more beautiful than it is described!  

  Perhaps most significant and encouraging to the faithful is the passage that precedes this one, in verses 3-4: "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people and God Himself will be among them. And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain, for the first things have passed away."  

 This is truly the promise of Heaven, and that which we can understand now: an end to sorrow, to mourning, death and suffering.  There is much we cannot know until we get there, but of this we are sure: Heaven is where the faithful will spend eternity in the presence of the Creator free from death and sorrow.  How beautiful indeed.

 

- Stefano R. Mugnaini preaches for the Cairo church of Christ in Cairo, GA, He may be contacted at ssmugnaini@syrupcity.net

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Husbands and Wives
by: Mike Sullivan


   
Eph 5:24-33: [24] Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. [25] Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; [26] That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, [27] That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. [28] So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.[29] For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: [30] For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. [31] For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. [32] This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. [33] Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.  
    As we draw near to Valentine's day, this might be a good time to review how God wants us to treat our mates. I think it is quite obvious and clear from these passages in Ephesians that our commitment to our mates can be no less costly or dedicated than Christ's indescribable gift of salvation to the church (us). We see also how man and wife are one, Christ and His church are one, and Christ and the Father are one (Jn 10:30). There must be a spirit of harmony, unity, and respect within all of these unions for God's perfect will to be satisfied. Let us reflect on these matters in 2006 and recommit ourselves to our mates and the church. By doing so we will be pleasing to the Father and honoring Christ and His sacrifice for us.

 

- Mike Sullivan lives in Winfield Pa (central Pennsylvania) and attends the Susquehanna Valley church of Christ.  He may be contacted at dnddad@yahoo.com

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Nuggets and Quick Riches
----misc. goodies this issue


Taking a Firm Stand
by: Ron Adams


But Peter and the apostles answered and said, "We must obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29

 

Standing firm for what is right in the face of opposition will probably result in persecution. However, it also produces:

- intensified confidence

- strengthened faith

- satisfaction in the soul

- indefatigable spirit

- joyful countenance

- peace within

- peace with God

 

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

 

- Ron Adams, Editor of Thursday's Thoughts, a weekly inspirational message.  He may be contacted through this website: http://thursdaythought.homestead.com

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How Important is "Attending Church?"
by: Ron Bartanen

   Many reasonably good people seldom, if ever, "attend church".  Meeting with others to study God's word and to worship Him is something easily dispensed with in our busy world.  To these, church is where you go for a wedding or a funeral, but little more.

 

   The early Christians didn't just "go to church" -they were the church.  They were a community of believers, commonly referred to as the body of Christ.  In Christ they were bound together in the bonds of a common faith.  As such, meeting with other Christians to encourage one another and express their devotion to the Lord was not considered an option.  Had not their Lord said, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20)? Had He not instructed them in the partaking together of the Lord's Supper, saying, "Do this in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:17-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)?  From the first the church "continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine, in the fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers" (Acts 2:42).  Acts 20:7 says that "On the first day of the week, the disciples came together to break bread."  Christians who were becoming neglectful were admonished, "Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another." (Hebrews 10:25).

 

   The fact is, if one truly believes and loves the Lord, meeting with the church in study and worship is much easier.

 

- Ron Bartanen preaches for the Arthur church of Christ in Arthur, IL. He may be contacted at ron33dor@one‑eleven.net 

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23 Reasons to be Baptized
author unknown

1. Baptism stands between the sinner and salvation. (Mark 16: 16)

2. Baptism stands between the sinner and remission of sins. (Acts 2:38)

3. Baptism stands between the sinner and the washing away of sins. (Acts 22:16)

4. Baptism stands between the sinner and rejoicing. (Acts 8:39)

5. Baptism stands between the sinner and calling on the name of the Lord.

   (Acts 22:16)

6. Baptism stands between the sinner and the death of Christ. (Romans 6:3)

7. Baptism stands between the sinner and the blood of Christ. (Romans 6:3)

8. Baptism stands between the sinner and getting into Christ. (Romans 6:3;  

   Galatians 3:27)

9. Baptism stands between the sinner and the resurrection. (Colossians 2:12)

10. Baptism stands between the sinner and the new life. (Romans 6:4)

11. Baptism stands between the sinner and putting on Christ. (Galatians 3:27)

12. Baptism stands between the sinner and cleansing. (Ephesians 5:26; Rev. 1:5)

13. Baptism stands between the sinner and sanctification. (Ephesians 5:26)

14. Baptism stands between the sinner and justification. (1 Corinthians 6:11)

15. Baptism stands between the sinner and becoming a new creature. 

   (2 Corinthians 5:17)

16. Baptism stands between the sinner and the one body. (1 Corinthians 12:13)

17. Baptism stands between the sinner and receiving the blessings of the Holy 

    Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13; Acts 2:38)

18. Baptism stands between the sinner and regeneration. (Titus 3:5)

19. Baptism stands between the sinner and entrance into the Kingdom of God. 

   (John 3:3‑5)

20. Baptism stands between the sinner and relations with the Father, Son and Holy 

   Spirit. (Matt. 28:19)

21. Baptism stands between being called ‑ faithful and unfaithful. (John 14:15,23)

22. Baptism stands between the sinner and the example of obedience set by Jesus 

   our Lord. (Matt. 3: 13‑17)

23. Baptism stands between the sinner and Christ because He commanded it. 

   (Acts 28:20)

 

- Via the Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin for the Belvedere church of Christ in Belvedere, SC (Ken Chumbley, minister and editor, may be contacted at church@belvederechurchofchrist.org ).

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

He Can
by: H. L. Gradowith

When you've given your best

To stand up to life's test,

And you wonder just how long you can go on;

When your heart is breaking

And your soul is aching

There's nobody who can help you like God's Son!

Through it all He'll be there,

Anytime, anywhere,

And He'll give you the strength you need to go on;

Carry on, take your stand,

For He's holding your hand:

He can help you; He can, for He is God's Son!

 

When you're tired and weary,

And your eyes are teary,

And you wonder just how long you can go on;

When your friends turn away,

And you're filled with dismay,

There's nobody who can help you like God's Son!

Through it all He'll be there,

Anytime, anywhere,

And He'll give you the strength you need to go on;

Carry on, take your stand,

For He's holding your hand:

He can help you; He can, for He is God's Son!

 

When you're bowed down in grief

And you find no relief

And you wonder just how long you can go on;

It's then you really know,

The One Who loves you so

There's nobody who can help you like God's Son!

Through it all He'll be there,

Anytime, anywhere,

And He'll give you the strength you need to go on;

Carry on, take your stand,

For He's holding your hand:

He can help you; He can, for He is God's Son!

 

- For more information on H. L. Gradowith and GRADOWITH POEMS e-mail group visit http://www.geocities.com/fp5699/  - the website of Tim Smith, minister of the Enon Church of Christ in Webb, AL

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Open My Life
by: Gerald Cowan

Open my eyes Lord, help me see

People in need where e're they be.

Enlighten me and fill my mind

That I may be eyes to the blind.

 

Open my ears to all thy truth

And to the souls who cry to thee,

And may their cries so touch my heart

That I to them will grace impart.

 

Open my heart to share thy grace

With all the world so loved by thee,

And from my heart lift up my voice

With all who weep, all who rejoice.

 

Open my hands and let me work

That I may give to those in need.

Shelter and food so let me share

That none can doubt how much I care.

 

Open my eyes, my ears, my mouth;

Open my hands, open my heart;

Open my life that all may see

The blessed Christ who lives in me.

 

* Can be sung to the tune of "O Master, Let Me Walk With Thee"

 

- Gerald Cowan lives in Marion, IL.  Gerald remains actively involved in mission work and preaching.  He may be contacted at Olprchr@wmconnect.com

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Step By Step
by: Helen Inwood

 

If I can't give You all my heart,

Lord, please accept a little part,

And let your love transform it till

It yields entirely to Your will.

If I can't give You all my days,

Please work through me in little ways,

And let a fragment of Your light

Illuminate my mortal night

Until I gladly give the whole

All my life and all my soul.  

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

When the devil comes knocking at your door, simply say. "Jesus, could you get that for me please"? 

In a few minutes a computer can make a mistake so great that it would have taken many men many months to equal it.

Remorse is the egg that pleasure laid.

He who holds the stars in space will not let go of His promises to us.
Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought (Henri Bergson).

 

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