4, 2006 Vol 6 #4
has said that the difference between
genius and stupidity is that genius has
limits. For years our family has
enjoyed vacationing in the Great Smokies
of eastern Tennessee. More recently,
we have lodged in mountainside
cabins. I remember one trip in
particular when rather frequent storms
interrupted our vacation. There we
were, in a cabin literally on the top of a
mountain. The view was nothing short
of spectacular as from those heights we
escaped the hectic rush below and enjoyed
the handiwork of our Creator. But
then came late Sunday night when we were
caught in a storm that seemed to pass just
inches from our roof. The wind
buffeted the windows and thunder cracked
just over us, lightning flashed so close
you could only shudder at its power.
Come morning the storm had passed and we
could once again enjoy the view of
Memories! Some say it's the stuff
life is made of, and some of the very
"best stuff" for us are the memories of
family, the love and the time we shared
together. Today our children live
hundreds of miles away from my wife and
I. Yet, we are so very thankful for
the precious memories of those great times
of togetherness that can uplift us as
parents and remind our children of our
unfailing love for them.
There are few things in life more
important than family. Family serves
not only an important role socially, but
for the Lord's church to be sustained in
future generations Christians must instill
in their family a deep love for, and
involvement in, God's Word and Christ's
church. This demands full-time
commitment from each family member.
Today we are reminded of the frequent and
serious admonitions God has extended to
fathers: "Husbands, love your wives, just
as Christ also loved the church" (Eph.
5:25); "and fathers, do not provoke your
children to anger: but bring them up in
the discipline and instruction of the
Lord" (Eph. 6:4). Marriage, and all
the relationships that go with it, must be
grounded in a lasting commitment that must
endure the storms along with enjoying "the
view" of life.
However, the world does not reflect these
truths. Unfortunately, the world's
perspective can easily creep into the
church. The items below will address
the importance of the family as viewed
from God's perspective, and qualities we
need to embrace to better serve our own
family. May God help us all to
understand the biblical pattern for our
lives and to take the vows of marriage
seriously. Then our marriages and
families will be equipped to weather the
storms and joys of life for better or
David Bragg, co-editor
A Father's Example
David A. Sargent
boy was consistently late coming home
from school. His parents warned him one
day that he must be home on time that
afternoon, but nevertheless he arrived
later than ever. His mother met him at
the door and said nothing.
At dinner that night, the boy looked at
his plate. There was a slice of bread
and a glass of water. He looked at his
father's full plate and then at his
father, but his father remained silent.
The boy was crushed. . . .
The father waited for the full impact to
sink in, then quietly took the boy's
plate and placed it in front of himself.
He took his own plate of meat and
potatoes, put it in front of the boy,
and smiled at his son.
When that boy grew to be a man, he said,
"All my life I've known what God is like
by what my father did that night." *
Because we ALL sin and fall short of the
glory of God (Romans 3:23), we ALL
deserve the wages of sin: DEATH (Romans
But THIS is what God is like: He is a
JUST God (Psalm 89:14), but He is also a
LOVING God (1 John 4:7-8). Because
He is a JUST God, He must punish
sin. Because He is a LOVING God,
He provided a way for us to have
forgiveness. That way was through
the gift of His Son, Jesus, to die on
the cross for the sins of the world (1
John 2:2). A wonderful exchange is
made possible through Jesus Christ: He
took the punishment for our sins and He
offers us His righteousness. "For He
[God] made Him who knew no sin [Jesus]
to be sin for us, that we might become
the righteousness of God in Him" (2
The "exchange" is activated when we:
believe in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31),
repent of our sins (Acts 17:30-31),
confess Jesus before men (Romans
10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed)
into Christ for the forgiveness of our
sins (Acts 2:38). Then, as we
continue to walk in the light of God's
Word, the blood of Jesus will continue
to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
(1 John 1:7-9).
In the exchange of dinner plates, that
small boy learned the meaning of GRACE
from his father. Grace is
something we NEED but we do not
DESERVE. The boy's example
illustrates what the Heavenly Father
offers to YOU and ME. We deserve
DEATH, but He offers us forgiveness and
LIFE! That's something we need but we
don't deserve; that's GRACE!
Won't YOU accept His grace through your
faithful obedience today?
God bless you!
- David A. Sargent, serves the church of
Christ at Creekwood in
Mobile , Alabama
. David also authors Living Water, of
which this is a sample. He may be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
My Sons, No Longer My Children
His name is
"Time." He's a stranger we would like to
ignore but cannot avoid, an intruder
from whom we cannot protect our
For years our family has been blest by
three wonderful sons! But, now, one has
been married for several years, a second
is to marry in a few days, and a third
is soon to make his way to college. What
happened? "Time" paid a visit to
our house, took our boys by the hand,
and escorted them into adulthood. That
has a way of sending one's thoughts down
memory lane." So, if you will indulge
the sentimental reflections of an ole
dad, when I look back on yesterday:
I'm glad that we, as a family, took the
time to say, "I love you." - - There is
something special about those words. I'm
glad that we, as a family, went to
elementary plays, summer baseball games,
high school football games, etc. What
memories! I'm glad that we, as a family,
went to Bible School
and worship without fail. - - It gave us
something to stand on and stand for. I'm
glad that we, as a family, learned the
value of hard work. - That's what
helps any of us rise above the
ordinary. I'm glad that we, as a
family, took the time to laugh together.
- - At best, life is serious and
difficult, but "a cheerful heart is good
medicine." I'm glad that we, as a
family, prayed together. - - How is it
possible to work through life without
talking to, with being close to God? I'm
glad that we, as a family, have been and
still are the best of friends! His name
He's a tough rascal to deal with, but
one thing can help: beautiful memories.
Not even death can erase the pictures of
happiness a family helps paint on the
canvas of one another's heart!
- Dan Winkler, who preaches in
article came to us from a number of
sources, indicating not only strong
support for this family but a
realization of the great need in our
hurting society to hear these timely
Did You Know My Mother?
a homemaker, not just a housekeeper. She
cooked, cleaned, and kept everything
under control. She was always great
under pressure-She could cook, clean,
wash, and get you to ball practice and
band camp, and fix food for the sick,
and rock a baby to sleep, all at the
same time-and never skip a beat. She ran
the house like a drill sergeant-you
followed orders, or punishment was swift
and you knew she would not forget what
she had promised. Many times on the way
home from church services, Megan and I
would ask, "Are you still going to whip
Fritzie when we get home?" We already
knew the answer, but we didn't want her
to forget. She kept four children quiet
and in order through every service, even
when Fritzie swallowed his money for the
collection basket (and he pretended he
had dropped it).
Well, Megan and I weren't always good.
When we were not pleased with the way
things were going, we would threaten to
run away from home-We were always told
not to cross the road. And you sure
never said, "Well, everyone else
is doing it." That
surely meant you were not going to get
to. Mom taught us to cook, clean, and do
our work first, then you had time to do
what you wanted to do. But, growing up,
that was not always the way we put
things in order of most importance.
Mom was not perfect, but she was a
mother with many talents. She was
a cookie baker, a banana-cake-baker, a
band-trip-chaperone, a Girl Scout
leader, a foster mother, a carpool
driver, healer of many cuts, scrapes,
broken bones, and hurt knees. She was
very proud of her family and always made
you feel special. She was a Bible class
teacher, a flower gardener, and the
first one there when you needed help of
any kind. She could make a costume out
of a few pieces of leftovers and you
felt like you were the best one in the
bunch. We were "the house in the
neighborhood everyone played at"-the
house where snacks and fun were always a
part of life.
But, most of all, she was a Christian.
That is what was important to her. She
taught us to live by example and not
word. Anyone who knew our mother knew
how important the church was to her. She
could not have made it through those
last two years without her friends and
So, if you helped in anyway, by the many
cards that were sent, the food, the
flowers, the phone calls, the visits,
and the words of encouragement-Sometimes
it was just a hug, or a look, or a
special touch of the hand-The many
prayers that were offered on her behalf
and ours. We could not have made it
without each and every one of you.
So, we thank you very much and hope we
can do the same for you when you are in
need . . . Because that's
what Mom taught us to do. . . I
hope you knew my mom.
- This was read at the funeral of
Michele Spiceland's mother, Patty
Metzger, on May 13, 2004 (via The Family
Friend, a monthly newsletter published
Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY.
It is an excellent resource for articles
relating to the family. To learn
more consult he congregation's website:
Making Time for Our Families
"And one of them, when he saw
that he was healed, turned back, with a
loud voice glorifying God; and he fell
upon his face at His feet, giving Him
thanks: And he was a Samaritan. And
Jesus answering said, "Were not the ten
cleansed? But where are the nine? Were
there none found that returned to give
glory to God, save this stranger?" And
He said unto him, "Arise, and go thy
way: Thy faith hath made thee whole."
"This beginning of His signs did Jesus
in Cana of
Galilee , and manifested
His glory; and His disciples believed on
Him. After this He went down to
He, and His mother, and His brethren,
and His disciples; and there they abode
not many days." (John 2:11-12)
"And straightway He constrained the
disciples to enter into the boat, and to
go before Him unto the other side, till
He should send the multitudes away. And
after He had sent the multitudes away,
He went up into the mountain apart to
pray: And when even was come, He was
there alone." (Matthew 14:22-23)
Luke's account described how Jesus had
cured ten men of leprosy, and only one
of them, a Samaritan who was considered
a foreigner, had bothered to come back
and thank Him. John recorded Jesus and
His disciples and family staying in Capernaum
immediately following Jesus' first
miracle. The passage from Matthew
occurred just after Jesus had
miraculously fed five thousand men, plus
women and children, with only five
loaves and two fishes. What lessons can
we learn from these scriptures?
First of all, I believe we can learn
that working can make one feel a sense
of euphoria, especially when one is
working for the Lord. Ministerial work
can be at times somewhat discouraging.
But either way, ministering is always
going to be dangerous work, and I am not
even talking about the physical harm
that can take place, as was the case
with Stephen. In fact, the highs that
come from working for the Lord can be
more dangerous than the times of
discouragement. There are many accounts
in the Bible of God's greatest servants
stumbling during their moments of
greatest victory and success. Jesus,
however, frequently chose to get away
from the mayhem of the pursuing
multitudes. Often He did so in order for
Him to commune with the Father alone.
Frequently He did so to draw nearer to
His closest disciples. Occasionally, it
is simply for time to spend with His
family and friends. Those are good
lessons to learn for those who wish to
remain fresh while serving the Lord.
Spend time with your family, and get the
rest you need. Receive the spiritual
nourishment provided by communing with
the Lord. We all need friendship, and we
all need the love and support of family.
Do not neglect your loved ones, whomever
they may be.
-- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church
of Christ in Mattoon, IL . He
may be contacted at email@example.com
The Influence of Mothers
John Maxwell has collected some notes
from children who have written to their
Moms on past Mother's Days. Here
are just a few samples. This is
from Angie, who is 8 years old:
"Dear Mother, I am going to make dinner
for you on Mother's Day. It's
going to be a surprise. P.S.
I hope you like pizza and popcorn."
Robert, age 8: "I got you a turtle
for Mother's Day. I hope you like
the turtle I got you this year for
Mother's Day better than the snake I got
you last year."
Eileen, who is 9 years old: "Dear
Mother, I wish Mother's Day wasn't
always on Sunday. It would be
better if it were on Monday so we
wouldn't have to go to school."
And here's my favorite. This is
from Carol who is 8 years old:
"Dear Mother, Here are two
aspirins. Have a Happy Mother's
Sunday, we will celebrate Mother's Day
in this country. And, while it's
not a "Christian holiday" in any sense,
I certainly think it's certainly an
appropriate celebration. Paul said
that we as Christians are to "give honor
to whom honor is due" (Romans 13:7), and
I can't think of anyone any more
deserving of honor than our mothers.
I don't know what image the word
"mother" conjures up in your mind.
Charles Swindoll has written, "For some,
this word brings up images of June
Cleaver, complete with lace apron and
pearls -- singing lullabies, baking
brownies, kissing away a child's hot
tears. Others envision the Erma
Bombeck model, who drives a wood-paneled
station wagon and whose hobby is
dust." Whatever the type, no one
has more influence than a mother." (You
And Your Child)
Nobody -- not teachers, not preachers,
not psychologists -- gets the same
chance to mold human minds and nurture
human bodies and emotions like a mother
does. For better or for worse, she
will forever impact the life of her
children. The results of mothering
can truly be seen for generations.
Abraham Lincoln once said, "All that I
am, or can be, I owe to my angel
mother." John Gray said, "The hand
that rocks the cradle rules the
world." Napoleon Bonaparte said,
have good mothers, and she will have
good sons." And I especially like
this Spanish proverb -- "An ounce of
mother is worth a pound of clergy."
All of those quotations have one thing
in common -- they all emphasize the fact
that mothers have such a powerful
influence, not only over their children,
but over the very course of history.
"Her children arise and call her
blessed; her husband also, and he
praises her." (Proverbs 31:28)
Have a great day!
- Alan Smith, author of the popular
"Thought For Today," and minister for
the White House church of
in White House, TN, may be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Eli as a Father (I Sam.
Gene Rowe, Jr.
may have various occupations that enable
us to take care of our families, but we
must not neglect one of our greatest
duties, which is to discipline and teach
Eli held the office of high priest, and
also judged Israel for forty years, but
with all the greatness he displayed, he
was an ineffective father when dealing
with his sons. The true legacy of
a father is the impact that he had on
his family. Eli will always be
known as a father who did not restrain
his sons, which led to their death as
warned twice by Almighty God. (I
Sam. 2:27-36; I Sam. 3:10-18)
Hophni and Phinehas, Eli's sons,
displayed a tendency to do wrong, as the
scripture refers to them as "sons of
Belial." (I Sam. 2:12) Also, they
were priests who disrespected God by
taking meat from sacrificial animals
before they were dedicated to God, and
they "lay with" women that assembled at
the door of the tabernacle. (I
Sam. 2:13-17; 22)
Eli heard of his son's actions and he
questioned his sons about their
behavior, and reproved them of their
actions, but they did not "hearken unto
their father." (I Sam. 2:22-25)
Their minds were already set on
mischief, and God had sentenced them to
Fathers, the tendency to do wrong
appears at an early age. A little
plant may be easily rooted up or bent in
a certain direction to grow, but when it
becomes a tree with solid roots it can
only be moved by extraordinary
efforts. Take time to know each
child and their tendencies, and DO NOT
turn a blind eye to their tendencies as
if they do not exist. If we wait
too long to reprove, it may be too
late. It is possible for one to
become hardened by sin, if it is not
dealt with in love, swiftness, and
Remember these scriptures as we reflect
on the situation of "Eli as A
Father:" PROV. 13:24; PROV. 15:10;
PROV. 19:18; PROV. 29:15; PROV. 29:17;
HEB. 12:6-8. Fathers, let us
be true to God and our families by
standing in our place, and thus fulfill
- Gene Rowe, Jr. is the minister of the
- Westward Ave.
Texas City, Texas
. He may be contacted
misc. goodies this issue
Making a Marriage Work
How can you
prevent a marriage from going bad, or
rescue one that already has? John
Gottman says, "What can make a marriage
work is surprisingly simple. Happily
married couples aren't smarter, richer,
or more psychologically astute than
others. But, in their day-to-day lives,
they have hit upon a dynamic. This
dynamic keeps their negative thoughts
and feelings about each other (which all
couples have) from overwhelming their
positive ones." (Say only positive
things, in public, about your
Four negative things that will lead a
couple toward divorce:
- Escalating a fight (Prov.15:1).
- Negative comments (Prov. 29:11).
- Invalidating comments (Prov. 25:20).
- Withdrawal and avoidance (Eph.
- Adapted by Charles Williamson ( Lewisburg , TN ) from an
article in the Eastside Informer, Columbia , TN ; via The
Family Friend, a monthly publication of
City church of Christ, Calvert Cit, KY.
Chamfort said "Do not suppose
opportunity will knock twice at your
The year was 1952, and Walter H.
Annenberg of Triangle Publications had
seen a newspaper advertisement for a new
weekly magazine called TV Digest, which
was to contain information about local
television shows. The idea hit him like
a ton of bricks. It was obvious that it
would be a success, but others might
just beat him to the punch. Annenberg
reasoned that such a magazine could be
put together on a national basis. It
would include local program listings
plus feature stories that would have
national appeal. Convinced that such a
publication offered enormous
possibilities, Annenberg vigorously
began to research the market. He found
that there were already local television
magazines in many major cities, and he
moved quickly to buy them all.
Annenberg put together a staff of
writers and began planning the first
issue. The most popular show of the day
was I Love Lucy, so star Lucille Ball
was designated to appear on the first
cover. Inside, there would be stories
about Lucy, husband Desi Arnaz, and
their new baby, who had already garnered
considerable television and newspaper
attention. The first issue of TV Guide
came out in April 1953 with ten local
editions, and its success seemed
assured. But as summer approached and
people began pursuing more vigorous
activities than watching television, the
publication's circulation started to
drop. To bolster its sagging
circulation, TV Guide devoted an issue
to the new fall lineup of shows, thus
beginning the publication's Fall Preview
tradition. Today, TV Guide is one of the
most widely read magazines in America.
When an idea comes, do something about
it right away, or it may be too late.
Don't let someone else beat you to the
You think about it!
- Kevin Rayner preaches for the Oak Tree
church of Christ,
, MN. He
may be contacted through this
A Lot of Truth in These Old
about how fast you run, or how high you
climb, but how well you bounce.
A bumble bee is considerably faster than
a John Deere tractor.
Words that soak into your ears are
whispered not yelled.
Meanness don't jest happen overnight.
Forgive your enemies. It messes up their
Do not corner something that you know is
meaner than you.
It don't take a very big person to carry
You cannot unsay a cruel word.
Every path has a few puddles.
Don't judge folks by their relatives.
Live a good, honorable life. Then when
you get older and think back, you'll
enjoy it a second time.
Don't interfere with somethin' that
ain't botherin' you none.
Timing has a lot to do with the outcome
of a rain dance.
The easiest way to eat crow is while
it's still warm, 'cause the colder it
gets, the harder it is to swaller.
If you find yourself in a hole, the
first thing to do is stop diggin'.
It don't take a genius to spot a goat in
a flock of sheep.
Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get
The biggest troublemaker you'll probably
ever have to deal with watches you shave
Good judgment comes from experience, and
a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole
lot easier than puttin' it backin.
If you get to thinkin' you're a person
of some influence, try orderin' somebody
else's dog around.
Live simply. Love generously. Care
deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to
--From the Internet; via THE SOWER, a
weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ,
. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister
and editor, may be contacted at - email@example.com
|Hearts of Gold
Mary Dow Brine
The woman was old and ragged
And bent with the chill of the Winter's
The street was wet with a recent snow
And the woman's feet were aged and slow.
She stood at the crossing and waited
Alone, uncared for, amid the throng
Of human beings who passed her by
Nor heeded the glance of her anxious
Down the street, with laughter and
Glad in the freedom of "school let out"
Came the boys like a flock of sheep,
Hailing the snow piled white and deep.
Past the woman so old and gray
Hastened the children on their way.
Nor offered a helping hand to her-
So meek, so tired, afraid to stir
Lest the carriage wheels or the horses'
Should crowd her down in the slippery
At last came one of the merry troops,
The gayest lad of all the group;
He paused beside her and whispered low,
I'll help you cross, if you wish to go."
Her aged hand on his strong young arm
She placed, and so, without hurt or
He guided the trembling feet along,
Proud that his own were firm and strong.
Then back again to his friends he went,
His young heart happy and well content.
"She's somebody's mother, boys, you
For all she's aged and poor and slow,
"And I hope some fellow will lend a hand
To help my mother, you understand,
"If ever she's poor and old and gray,
When her own dear boy is far away."
And "somebody's mother' bowed low her
In her home that night, and the prayer
Was, "God be kind to the noble boy,
Who is somebody's son, and pride and
The Road That Leads to Home
Sue Jones Horton
I've been on
a long, long journey,
And it's been a rough old road,
But I just keep pressing onward,
Tho I carry a heavy load.
Many times I've asked the question:
"Why do I keep plodding on?"
It's then I am reminded:
This old road will lead me home.
Tho I stumble on the pathway,
Tho I fall along the way,
There's still hope for my tomorrows,
And there's a Hand that stretches
Makes my feet to walk again.
Tho my journey may be rugged,
He'll be with me 'til the end.
Yes, this old road has been rocky,
But I travel not alone.
My dear Lord is ever with me --
As I cross each stepping stone.
Day by day, we're getting closer
To those gates that will swing wide --
Where I'll be "welcomed home" to Heaven,
As Jesus leads me safe inside.
- D. Sue Jones Horton; submitted by Mark
McWhorter, who may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
"No child of mine." I used to cry
(Before the stork had fluttered by).
"Will ever throw a temper fit,
Or bite or scratch or whine or hit,
Or take a bottle till she's three,
Or sit for hours and watch TV,
Or dawdle so he makes me late,
Or leave his spinach on the plate,
Or act (in short) like other kids
Who've made their parents
Flip their lids."
But with the patter of little feet
Come forty million words to eat!
& sayings for bulletins and signs
Teach a child to be polite and
courteous in the home and when he grows
up, he’ll never be able to merge his car
onto the freeway (via The Lantern,
"Life is like an ice-cream cone, you
have to lick it one day at a time." --
Charles M. Schulz, as "Charlie Brown",
Peanuts, cartoon strip
Some Thoughts on Love:
- "Life has taught
us that love does not consist in
gazing at each other, but in looking
outward together in the same
direction" (Antoine de Saint-Exupery).
- "Sometimes the
more love we give away, the more we
- "If there is
anything better than being loved, it
- "No one can love
who has not served."