BulletinGold #76
April 2007   Vol 7 #2
 

Editorial
----by David Bragg

     William Beedle was born into a wealthy family on April 17, 1918 in O'Fallon, Illinois.  Pursuing one of his great loves, William, after changing his last name, became an actor.  Over his life he starred in seventy-one films and won an Academy Award for his role in Stalag 17.  Leonard Maltin wrote of him, "There are very few "over night" stars in Hollywood history ... but William Holden beat the odds by achieving instant stardom with his first leading role."

     A very popular leading man, best man in his friend Ronald Reagan's wedding, William Holden's own marriage did not last.  He had a public reputation of being infatuated with his current leading actress.  Maltin, referring to Bob Thomas' biography on Holden, stated, "The handsome, self-assured actor so admired by men and women alike on screen was in fact a man fraught with insecurity who essentially drank himself to an early grave."

     In 1981 the 63-year-old actor, accompanied by his current lady friend, rode a motorcycle to a scenic southern California mountain.  It was here that he remarked to her as he reflected on his life and career, "As I see it I have about fifteen more good years, and I'd like to spend them with you."  However, just a few days later the actor fell in his apartment severely cutting his forehead.  The injury could have easily been treated at the nearest hospital emergency room but the drunken actor did not think it to be that serious.  It was five days before he was discovered.  Alone with his alcohol, William Holden had bled to death.

     His "fifteen good years" had evaporated into a handful of lonely days and lonely nights.  His plans and dreams for the next 5,475 days were forever abandoned.  The life of privilege and popularity of this successful actor is today a startling reminder of the brevity of life and the importance of each and every day (James 4:13-17).  It is that thought that becomes the theme of this month's BulletinGold.  I greatly appreciate the many authors who contribute their work for us to share with you.  Thanks also to each of our subscribers who utilize the combined efforts of so many by sharing BulletinGold with others.

David Bragg, co-editor
http://davebragg.blog.com/

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Panning for Gold
- Feature Articles:  


Written in Heaven
by: Gene T. Rowe, Jr.

     Many times I believe members of the Lord's church take for granted the blessings of being Christians.  It is not like being part of a club, or any other organization in this world.  There was a very popular  credit card slogan a few years ago that said, "membership has its  privileges."  It is high time for members of the church of Christ to  realize what awesome blessings, responsibilities, and access to  privileges we enjoy because of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
 
     When an individual has rendered obedience to the gospel call, and is baptized for the remission of their sins the Lord himself adds them to the  church of Christ.  (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38-47)  Being added to the church also results in each member having access to "all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."  The heavenly place in Christ Jesus here on Earth is the church of Christ.  (Heb. 12:23)
 
     Hebrews 12:23 states "to the general assembly and church of the first  born, which are written in Heaven."  The general assembly can be defined in the Greek as the "ekklesia," which literally means the assembly of called out believers.  Members of the church were called out of the world and darkness by the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  When we obeyed that gospel call the Lord added us to the church, which is his spiritual kingdom here on  Earth. (Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 2:44; Mark 9:1; II Thessalonians  2:14; Colossians 1:13; Matthew 16:18-19)  The church of the  firstborn can have reference to no one else but Christ.  The  scriptures describe Christ as the first born of every creature, and as the firstborn from the dead because he is the only one to ever die, be buried in the grave, and be resurrected to never die again.(Col. 1:13-18; Rev. 1:5-18)   Thus the church of the firstborn is the church of Christ.

     The place where the church of the firstborn are written in Heaven is the Lamb's book of life. (Rev. 21: 23-27)  You might ask just who is the Lamb?   John the baptist described Jesus Christ as "the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."  (John 1:29; 35-36)
 
     Those souls (the saved of the nations) who will enjoy eternity in Heaven will be found written in the Lamb's book of life. (Rev. 21:27)  So  please don't take your membership in the church of the firstborn lightly, nor  for granted.  BE YE THANKFUL, AND TRY TO HELP SOMEONE ELSE BECOME A MEMBER OF THE LORD'S CHURCH!   

- Gene Rowe, Jr. is the minister of the church of Christ (Westward Ave.), Texas City, Texas.  He may be contacted at Office@calvertchurchofchrist.com

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Help For Those Who Mourn
by: David Ferguson

     The death of a young child is one of the most difficult pains in life to bear. Young children bring so much joy and blessing into a home. They help a home to burst at the seams with enthusiasm and joy. When a young child dies, the entire family atmosphere is altered and never quite feels the same again.

     When you are not sure what to say during times such as this, the wisest course of action would be to say nothing at all. There is nothing wrong with that! But do not be afraid to give your grieving friends a hug. Cry with them, if that is all you can do (Romans 12:15)!

     There are a few things that I believe we can say that can be very beneficial for those who mourn. Remind the grieving parents that out of all the billions of people in the world, God chose them to be the ones who would be able to provide the love and care this child so desperately needed, even if it was for only a short time! Jesus had special regard for children as He demonstrated in Matthew 18, and this little innocent one is with the Father now.

     King David in the Old Testament faced the tragic grief of having a newborn infant become very sick unto death. The Bible tells us, "...David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. So the elders of his house arose and went to him, to raise him up from the ground. But he would not, nor did he eat food with them." (2 Samuel 12:16-17) After seven days of tears, prayers and fasting, this child of David and Bathsheba died. When David found out that the child was gone, "…he arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshipped..." (2 Samuel 12:20)

     David knew he could someday be with his child for he said later, "... he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." (2 Samuel 12:23)

- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL.  He may be contacted at 
davidferguson61@yahoo.com

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Wrong Funeral
by: Kevin Rayner

     Consumed by my loss, I didn't notice the hardness of the pew where I sat. I was at the funeral of my dearest friend - my mother. She finally had lost her long battle with cancer. The hurt was so intense; I found it hard to breathe at times. Always supportive, Mother clapped loudest at my school plays, held a box of tissues while listening to my first heartbreak, comforted me at my father's death, encouraged me in college, and prayed for me my entire life. When Mother's illness was diagnosed, my sister had a new baby and my brother had recently married his childhood sweetheart, so it fell on me, the 27-year-old middle child without entanglements, to take care of her. I counted it an honor. "What now, Lord?" I asked sitting in church. My life stretched out before me as an empty abyss. My brother sat stoically with his face toward the cross while clutching his wife's hand. My sister sat slumped against her husband's shoulder, his arms around her as she cradled their child. All so deeply grieving, no one noticed I sat alone.

     My place had been with our mother, preparing her meals, helping her walk, taking her to the doctor, seeing to her medication, reading the Bible together. Now she was with the Lord. My work was finished, and I was alone. I heard a door open and slam shut at the back of the church. Quick footsteps hurried along the carpeted floor. An exasperated young man looked around briefly and then sat next to me. He folded his hands and placed them on his lap. His eyes were brimming with tears. He began to sniffle. "I'm late," he explained, though no explanation was necessary. After several eulogies, he leaned over and commented, "Why do they keep calling Mary by the name of 'Margaret'?" "Because that was her name, Margaret. Never Mary. No one called her 'Mary,'" I whispered.

     I wondered why this person couldn't have sat on the other side of the church. He interrupted my grieving with his tears and fidgeting. Who was this stranger anyway? "No, that isn't correct," he insisted, as several people glanced over at us whispering, "Her name is Mary, Mary Peters." "That isn't who this is." "Isn't this the Lutheran church?" "No, the Lutheran church is across the street." "Oh.""

     I believe you're at the wrong funeral, Sir." The solemnness of the occasion mixed with the realization of the man's mistake bubbled up inside me and came out as laughter. I cupped my hands over my face, hoping it would be interpreted as sobs. The creaking pew gave me away. Sharp looks from other mourners only made the situation seem more hilarious. I peeked at the bewildered, misguided man seated beside me. He was laughing, too, as he glanced around, deciding it was too late for an uneventful exit. I imagined mother laughing.

     At the final "Amen," we darted out a door and into the parking lot. "I do believe we'll be the talk of the town," he smiled. He said his name was Rick and since he had missed his aunt's funeral, asked me out for a cup of coffee. That afternoon began a lifelong journey for me with this man who attended the wrong funeral, but was in the right place. A year after our meeting, we were married at a country church where he was the assistant minister. This time we both arrived at the same church, right on time. In my time of sorrow, God gave me laughter. In place of loneliness, God gave me love. This past June we celebrated our twenty-second wedding anniversary. Whenever anyone asks us how we met, Rick tells them, "Her mother and my Aunt Mary introduced us, and it's truly a match made in heaven."You think about it!
 
- via Kevin Rayner preaches for the church of Christ in Tecumseh, OK.  He may be contacted at otchurch@hotmail.com or through this website:  http://www.geocities.com/otchurch/index.html
http://home.windstream.net/highlandcoc/

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Vaccination Against Death
by: Glenn Sargent


     In the late eighteenth century, hundreds of people were dying in England of smallpox. The disease ravaged the country and seemed unstoppable. There was little hope for anyone who became infected with the deadly virus....

     Dr. Edward Jenner noticed that very few milk-maids in England were susceptible to the disease and, in fact, seemed immune to it. Further investigation revealed that their immunity was developed by having been sick with what was called "cowpox", a disease found in cattle and sometimes contracted by humans who were in close contact with infected animals. Cowpox was a milder virus that made people sick for a while, but was seldom fatal.


     With this knowledge in mind, Dr. Jenner, in 1796, courageously injected live cowpox virus into an eight-year-old boy named Jamie Phipps. Six weeks later, he took an unbelievable risk by injecting Jamie with live smallpox virus. Jamie was unaffected by the virus and the rest is history. By 1979 the World Health Organization declared smallpox completely eradicated from the world! Inoculation against smallpox was indeed a "vaccination against death."

     When we come to understand the difference between right and wrong and that we are ALL infected with the "deadly disease" of sin, we find ourselves in need of a vaccination against death. Paul wrote in Romans 3:23 – "for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Then in chapter 6 and verse 23, he wrote – "For the wages of sin is DEATH, but the gift of God is -ETERNAL LIFE- in Christ Jesus our Lord."

     God has provided a vaccination to protect US from -ETERNAL DEATH- because of SIN. To be made immune to that "second death" (Revelation 20:6), we must believe in Jesus, God’s Son who died to atone for the sins of the whole world. (John 8:24). We must acknowledge our faith in Him before men. (Matthew 10:32-33). Then, we must repent of sin and turn away from it, (Luke 13:3,5). Finally, by being baptized (immersed) for the forgiveness of our sins, we can be saved from the deadly "disease" of sin which would otherwise bring us -ETERNAL DEATH- (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38)

     Have YOU availed yourself of this wonderful, free gift of -ETERNAL LIFE- and freedom from certain -ETERNAL DEATH- because of sin?

- Glenn Sargent writing in "Living Water," a series of devotionals presented by the church of Christ at Creekwood, Mobile, Alabama.  Please visit their Web site,www.creekwoodcc.org AND share a drink of "Living Water" with a friend!

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Inheritance Reserved
by: David A. Sargent

     Jimmy Cox writes: "My great-great-grandfather was a medical doctor, who also owned a large plantation in Virginia . When his son, Henry, was 16 years old, he told him, 'I'm putting you in charge of supervising my farm employees, so that I will have more time for my medical practice.' But Henry had other plans – he was going West to seek his fortune. He went to lots of places and did lots of different kinds of work, but he never achieved the kind of success like that of his father. When his father died, Henry even refused to accept the large inheritance his father left him. Many of his descendants said, 'That was a bad decision.'"

     "But today, many people make a far worse decision when they REFUSE or NEGLECT to "qualify" for an eternal inheritance that has been offered by our heavenly Father." How VERY tragic indeed!

     WE BELONG TO GOD. . . by right of creation! God created us in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27). But all of us, as we grow and mature, separate ourselves from God by sin (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:1-2). But God sent His Son, Jesus, as a sin offering. Jesus shed His blood and died so that we might be reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:20).


     God wants you to BECOME His child. He wants to bless you with spiritual blessings that are far greater than anything this world has to offer. He wants to give you an eternal inheritance "that can never perish, spoil, or fade… [that is] reserved in heaven" for His children (1 Peter 1:4).

     To "qualify" for this inheritance, you must BECOME a child of God. . . The process of becoming a child of God (and heir) is called a "new birth" (John 3:1-5). Since Jesus shed His blood to redeem us from sin, YOU can be "born" into His family if you will believe in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), repent of your sins (Acts 17:30), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) – "BORN of the WATER and the SPIRIT" (John 3:5) – for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).

     Once you have been BORN into His family. . . God wants you to continue to live faithfully to Him in ALL things (Rev 2:10). When we do so, "the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we ARE CHILDREN of God, and IF children, THEN heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together" (Romans 8:16-17).


     So many people have lonely lives searching for riches and pleasures of this world while the love of God is unnoticed and an ETERNAL inheritance is unclaimed. . . . An inheritance reserved for YOU!

     God has made this offer available to YOU through His Son. Won't YOU accept His offer through your faithful obedience?

     God bless you!

- David A. Sargent, minister for the church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website: www.creekwoodcc.org  [Jimmy W. Cox wrote: " I wrote this article about four years ago to print in The Columbian-Progress in Columbia, MS. I don't know just how the Creekwood Church of Christ (in Mobile, AL) received it, but I am glad they have printed this in their weekly bulletin, so that the message may be shared by many more people.  He may be contacted at coxsandyhook@yahoo.com]

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Nuggets and Quick Riches
-    misc. goodies this issue


Growing Through Grief: 10 Suggestions That Often Help 

1. Talk about it.
2. Cry if you feel like it.
3. Challenge your negative, irrational thinking.
4. Read good books including the Bible, especially the Psalms.
5. Force yourself to get back into circulation. Work.
6. Allow others to help you.
7. Do something constructive in memory of your loved one (scholarship, library books, city park.)
8. Be of service to others.
9. Keep a journal. Process your thoughts and feelings.
10. Deepen your relationship to God—church, prayer, Bible  readings, relationships.

—"Appendix A" from the book, Restoring  My Soul, by Bill Flatt as appearing in The Family Friend, a monthly newsletter of the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY.  The church may be contacted at Office@calvertchurchofchrist.com

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Lessons Learned in Hades (Luke 16:19-31)

     If the dead could communicate with the living, what might they say?

     They could tell us nothing we are not told in the scripture. Even those who died and were brought to life again did not tell the living anything about the place of the dead. If they remembered anything God would apparently not allow them to tell it.

     The two men who died and went to hades, in the story Jesus told (Luke 16), represent two classes or categories of people. The rich man represents those who are not faithful to God. The beggar Lazarus represents righteous persons who are faithful to God.

     We are suggesting ten lessons the story teaches. Each of them is found in other parts of the scripture as well.
1. Death is no respecter of persons.
2. Death separates one from the physical world but does not end one's existence.
3. The doctrine of universal salvation is not true.
4. Life in the body determines the nature of life after death.
5. A child of God can fall from grace.
6. There is no second chance for salvation after death.
7. The only way to salvation is by hearing and obeying the word of God.
8. The living may come to death unprepared, but the dead can do nothing to warn them.
9. Nothing can alter the prospects of the dead.
10. Hades is not eternal.
 
- via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Dongola church of Christ, Dongola, IL.  Gerald Cowan serves the congregation as minister.  He may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com

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Death! You will die!
by: Jim McGuiggan

     I believe that those that die in favor with God in and through the life and work of Jesus Christ go to be with the Lord when they die.

     But their condition after the death of the body has been called "the intermediate state". This is a useful phrase. It doesn't matter where they are or who they're with-they're in a disembodied state. Before they die they're embodied beings, after the resurrection they're embodied beings, but in between now and then they're in "the intermediate" and not their "final" state.


     Even while they are with Christ in the "after life" they are "robbed" by death of their full human experience. Death affects the entire person. To destroy the body is not to destroy the soul (spirit) but it is to render the person "bodiless" and that is not God's purpose for humans. So the body will be redeemed in the resurrection and the redeemed person will experience death never more! Death will exist no more for them even as it exists no more for Jesus Christ.

     We want, and in and through Jesus we can, gain not just "life after death" but the destruction of death through a glorious resurrection to immortality.

-Jim McGuiggan, via The Sower, THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted at - ron33dor@one-eleven  Visit the church's website at www.arthurchurchofchrist.com [Of this articel Ron adds: "It reminds us that death loses its sting as we have come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord in our lives.  While only in the most dire circumstances of our lives would we desire death, yet what the Lord has promised on the other side of death provides great comfort to our hearts.  Read it, and thank God for "the blessed hope."]

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Obituary:   Someone Else

     Our church was saddened to learn this week of the death of one of our most valued members, Someone Else.

      Someone's passing creates a vacancy that will be difficult to fill. Else has been with us for many years and for every one of those years, Someone did far more than a normal person's share of the work.

     Whenever there was a job to do, a class to teach, or a meeting to attend, one name was on everyone's list, "Let Someone Else do it." Whenever leadership was mentioned, this wonderful person was looked to for inspiration as well as results;
"Someone Else can work with that group." It was common knowledge that Someone Else was among the most liberal givers in our church. Whenever there was a financial need, everyone just assumed Someone Else would make up the difference.

     Someone Else was a wonderful person; sometimes appearing superhuman. Were the truth known, everybody expected too much of Someone Else. Now Someone Else is gone! We wonder what we are going to do.

     Someone Else left a wonderful example to follow, but who is going to follow it? Who is going to do the things Someone Else did? When you are asked to help this year, remember - we can't depend on Someone Else anymore.

May you always have
Love to share,
Health to spare
And friends that care.

- via The Lantern, Highway church of Christ, Sullivan, IL  Visit their website as www.highwaycofc.com

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue


When Words Begin to Fail You
by: Clay Harrison

When words begin to fail you,
A simple hug will do
To lighten someone's burden
And give them hope anew.

Heartaches often leave us speechless
With nothing wise to say.
Just "being there" speaks volumes
And friends can save the day.


We can cry with those in mourning
And hold each other tight,
For joy comes in the morning
If we make it thru the night.

Tears shared are not as bitter
As teardrops cried alone,
For friendships' soil is fertile
For seeds of kindness sown.

Love can expedite a healing,
And faith can light the way...
When words begin to fail you,
God taught us how to pray!

- submitted by Mark McWhorter, who may be contacted at mtmcvb@concentric.net

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Captain Jesus
by: Rick Woodall

Don’t fret because you cannot control,
Waves in life - that stir your soul.
Troubled hearts - as the sea in the storm,
Make us weary with its scorn.


Rushing to the sandy shore,
Winds of change make them roar.
You stand and watch as they burst and push,
Taking control, like an ambush.

The raging waters in the inner self,
Rob the soul of precious wealth.
Water smashes onto the deck,
Life becomes a bitter wreck.

The ship begins to toss and turn,
Bringing on yet more concern.
Sails must drop. Pull the ropes,
Lost are all the dashing hopes.

But just when you think all is gone,
Stillness comes before the dawn.
You rise and thank Him with all your heart.
For controlling the stern and sketching the chart.


Maneuvering the ship can be so hard,
So please, don’t let down your guard.
When you have done all you can do,
Don’t forget who will get you through.

He stands with you against the waves.
Only He has the power to save.
His face stands strong against the wind.
My Captain Jesus who is my friend.

And he said to them, "Why are you afraid, you of little faith?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?" - Matthew 8:26-27

- Rick Woodall is the minister for the Yorktown Road Church of Christ in Logansport Indiana. His weekly devotional message, Life Thoughts, can be found through this address:  http://mysite.verizon.net/yorktownroadchurchofchrist/

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Life's Little Surprises
by: Rahya Montuori

Life's little surprises come on butterfly wings,
Bringing sunshine and laughter till the heart fairly sings!
Life's little surprises come out of the blue,
Bringing courage and hope and joy, Lord, from You!
The little surprises that can do so much,
Can be ours to give as a caring touch!
Or to lift a heart that is full of pain,
And give it strength to go on again!
The little surprises seem to float from the skies,
Bringing laughter to hearts, dispelling the cries!
The little surprises that God sends our way
Are stepping-stones to a brighter day!
For God is preparing such wondrous things,
That far surpass even butterfly wings.

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Ready To Leave?
by: H. L. Gradowith
                  

I'm an old man, though my years don't disclose it,
I've lived a hard life but I guess I chose it,
I have always done my best and God knows it
Now Im getting ready to leave.
Who knows what the future may or may not hold?
Our lives are a tale that has not yet been told.
Some people die young and some live to be old,

But one thing is true of us all: we shall die.
Do not waste your time guessing how, when or why,
Good or bad, rich or poor: from this world well fly.
 Just be sure you're ready to leave.
Each of us lives and does the things that we do
And then when we die all our doing is through;
So we have suffered others have suffered, too
You've a broken heart? Do you think its the first?
Your lots a hard one Do you think its the worst?
You have aches and pains? In hurting you're well versed?
You think these are reasons to leave?
You lost someone dear and spend your time grieving?
You're tired of the lies, the constant deceiving?
None of these offer us reason for leaving
Age is not measured by days, weeks, months or years,
Nor is the outcome known when at first it nears,
You'll laugh a few laughs and you'll shed a few tears
And then someday from here you'll leave.
And you'll win a few fights and you'll lose some too

And you'll likely grow weary before you're through,
Remember: It doesn't just happen to you
You didn't choose to enter this world, you know,
And you don't get to choose just when you will go;
Many things happen to us while here below
Over which we find ourselves without power,
Some make us happy, some bitter or sour,
But they all work to fit us for that hour
When before our Savior in judgment we'll stand
And be given, or not, a home in that land --
That's the great truth evryone must understand!
What matters is not how you may feel today,
Or, for that matter, even what others say,
What matters? Are you ready for Judgment Day?
Are you getting ready to leave?

- H. L. Gradowith  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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Gold Mines
----quotes & sayings for bulletins and signs this issue

On a church sign:  Heaven: An Eternity Without Sunset -- Hell: An Eternity Without Sunrise

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Someone asked C. S. Lewis, "Why do the righteous suffer?"  "Why not?" he replied, "They are the only one's who can take it."

- via the Main Street Monitor, the weekly bulletin for the Main Street church of Christ in Manchester, TN.  They may be contacted via their website: www.mainstreetcofc.org

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People who are afraid of death are usually uncertain about the life they are living.

- via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Dongola church of Christ, Dongola, IL.  Gerald Cowan serves the congregation as minister.  He may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com

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"Most of us go to our graves with our music still inside of us."


"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint" (Mark Twain).

- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted at - ron33dor@one-eleven.net

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"Sleep after toil, port after stormy seas, ease after war, death after life does greatly please." (Edmund Spenser, 1590)

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"Destiny is no matter of chance.  It is a matter of choice: it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved" (William Jennings Bryan).