2007 Vol 7 #4
has always reminds me of marriage.
June is the month my parents will
celebrate their 61st wedding
anniversary. It will also be the
month my wife and I celebrate our
26th. But this year is special for
us as it will witness the marriage of our
oldest of two children to his High School
sweetheart. How quickly time
passes. What a blessing it has been
to see our children grow to maturity,
physical and spiritual.
When it comes to better parenting there
seem to be experts everywhere.
Shelves are filled to overflowing with
“self-help” books on discipline, rearing
children and marriage enrichment.
All of these topics are integral in
successful parenting but only the Bible,
God’s Word, adequately defines successful
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your
children to wrath; but bring them up in
the nurture and admonition of the Lord”
(Eph. 6:4). Everything a parent is
called to be and do in rearing children is
directed towards this one great moment of
eternal significance: entrance into the
presence of God. “For we must all
appear before the judgment seat of Christ”
(2 Cor. 5:10) was written with both you
and your children in mind. Only with
this in your mind can the task of
parenting be properly understood.
Modern society has its share of unprepared
parents. The Bible is clear as to
their ultimate goal. The goal of a
parent is not to bring life into this
world, nor is it to deposit children
safely at the threshold of
adulthood. The parent’s job is
incomplete until together, parent and
child, enter into glory. God has
given us the ingredients in His Word, the
support of his Church and the strength of
the family, but the responsibility
ultimately rests at the parent's feet
The selections below, bulletin articles,
fillers, poems and quotes all revolve
around the lofty theme of the home,
parenting, the marriage bond, and the
Christian family. May God bless
those who, through your use of this
material, have the opportunity to impact
our society through their example of more
closely following God's Word.
A Father's Instinct
David A. Sargent
Three weeks ago, Johan Otter
and his daughter, Jenna, 18, were hiking
in Montana ’s
Glacier National Park
. While coming up on a blind
switchback, the pair surprised a grizzly
bear with two cubs just feet away. *
“This bear is coming right at me,” Otter
describes the bear charging him,
“and mouth wide open, you see the FANGS
and you see the huge CLAWS.”
The grizzly bit Otter to the bone in his
right arm, his left arm and thigh. It
also trampled upon Otter’s back.
“I think at that point I actually
grabbed it by the throat,” says Otter.
“I mean I was holding onto the bear
itself, yeah because I want to hold it
I didn’t want it to go after my
daughter. . . ”
Then the bear bit Otter’s head, removing
After a five-minute battle, bitten and
broken, Otter finally played DEAD. He
hoped his daughter had time to find a
safe place to hide. -Reacting
instinctively- the bear
was trying to protect her cubs. Otter,
also -Responding instinctively-
protected his daughter.
“The main thing going through my mind at
that point is like, ‘don’t get to my
daughter, just stay with me.”
Briefly, the grizzly turned her
attention to Jenna. The grizzly bit her
in the cheek and on the left shoulder,
but Jenna played dead and the bear
eventually left. Discovered by other
hikers, Otter was airlifted to
Seattle . He was found
to have seven broken vertebrae in his
neck and back, three broken ribs,
numerous puncture wounds, his scalp torn
off at the bone, and his right eye
socket crushed. Though battered and
broken right now, Otter expects a full
recovery. He figures the only thing that
matters is that his daughter is okay and
ready to start her first year of
Consider. . . A Father’s Instinct. It is
a loving father’s instinct to protect
his children at all costs, even if it
means giving his life!
YOU and I are under constant attack by a
fierce predator: SATAN (1 Peter 5:8).
Satan seeks to DESTROY us by using our
own weaknesses against us, tempting
us to sin (James 1:14-15). But it is in
the Heavenly Father’s nature to LOVE us
and to seek to SAVE us. “Instinctually”
He has responded to OUR critical
situation by sending His Son to give His
life so that we might be saved (John
3:16-17; 1John 4:9-10).
He will save us IF we will: place our
faith in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), repent
of our sins (Acts 17:30-31), confess
Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and
be baptized (immersed) in the name of
Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins
(Acts 2:38). And,
He will CONTINUE to keep us safe as long
as we CONTINUE to follow Him (1 John
It’s a loving Father’s instinct to SAVE.
Will YOU accept His offer?
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 sargentd@juno.
* Information based upon report by
Tracy Vedder, http://www.komotv.
Mothers Make A Difference
A teacher gave her class of second
graders a lesson on the magnet and what
it does. The next day in a written test,
she included this question: "My full
name has six letters. The first one is
M. I pick up things. What am I?"
When the test papers were turned in, the
teacher was astonished to find that
almost 50 percent of the students
answered the question with the word
A woman had
quit work to stay home and take care of
her new baby daughter. Countless
hours of peekaboo and other games slowly
took their toll. One evening she smacked
her bare toes on the corner of a dresser
and, grabbing her foot, sank to the
floor. Her husband rushed to her side
and asked where it hurt. She looked at
her husband through her tear-filled eyes
and managed to moan, "It's the piggy
that ate the roast beef."
I wrote in
yesterday's thought that mothers have a
powerful influence, not only over their
children, but over the very course of
history. You may have thought that
was an exaggeration. But, think
for just a moment about Jochebed.
Jochebed is not
one of the better known characters in
the Bible. In fact, when I mention
her name, you probably have to think for
a moment about who she was. But
Jochebed was the mother of Moses.
And here was a woman who made a vast
difference in what Moses became.
Her faith and her courage led to a plan
of action whereby Moses was saved
instead of being killed as a baby.
Though Jochebed served only as Moses'
nursemaid, she used that opportunity to
teach Moses about God, about truth,
about righteousness. She taught
him about what his heritage was, what it
meant to be a Hebrew. Imagine what
this world would be like if there had
been no Jochebed. Her influence
set the course for Moses' life and, in
turn, influenced the entire course of
history. She made a tremendous
difference in this world.
many righteous mothers have made a
difference by their good example and
their powerful teaching.
Unfortunately, the opposite is also
true. Many mothers have made a
difference in the wrong direction by
their bad example and inadequate
teaching. One of the most tragic
passages in all the Bible is found in II
Chronicles 22:3-4: "He [Ahaziah,
one of the kings of Israel
] also walked in the ways of the
house of Ahab, for his mother advised
him to do wickedly. Therefore he
did evil in the sight of the LORD, like
the house of Ahab; for they were his
counselors after the death of his
father, to his destruction."
I wonder how
things would have been different if
Ahaziah had had a mother like
Jochebed. But Athaliah, his
ungodly mother, made a difference that
was tragic. Her mothering led to
her son's destruction and the decline of
the whole nation of Israel
Mothers make a
tremendous difference. The church
needs to make every effort to train and
develop godly mothers who will make a
difference in their homes and in this
world in the direction of
righteousness. Thank you for those
of you mothers who do. Though you
may not realize it at the moment and you
get frustrated as you wonder what good
it does to chase down children all day,
cleaning up messes and changing dirty
diapers, never forget that you make a
difference. A bigger difference
than you will ever know. May God
strengthen you and bless you!
child, to what your father teaches you.
Don't neglect your mother's teaching.
What you learn from them will crown you
with grace and clothe you with honor."
(Proverbs 1:8-9, New Living Translation)
Have a great day!
- Alan Smith, author of the popular
"Thought For Today," and minister for
the White House church
of Christ in
White House, TN, may be contacted at alansmith.servant@
Work, Stress, And Marriage
Stress is contagious. In this
age of high expectations and long work
hours, it’s easy for a man to bring his
worries and frustrations home and spread
them all over the house.
A dad might treat his family like his
boss treats him, which can be very
destructive. Or, some men might start
resenting their family responsibilities
and expect to just relax on the sofa
when they get home. Of course, that’s an
insult to wives, since they have
stresses of their own after a day
corralling the kids or working somewhere
What can you do?
First, recognize the value of
“decompression time.” Take some time in
the car—or in your first few minutes
home—to adjust your frame of mind.
Exercise, read the paper, shower, change
clothes. After a few minutes alone, you
can shift gears and be ready for family
Second, keep communicating—even about
the stresses you’re facing. It’s easy
for a wife to feel like she’s going
through the stressful work situation
with her husband. But if she is informed
about your work situation and she
believes in the value of the work you
are doing., that will be a positive
factor. Communicating will help both of
you stay aware of the stresses and can
make you both more forgiving when one of
you is in a bad mood.
Third, realize that sometimes bigger
steps are necessary. If you’re
stressed out or blaming your family for
your tension, or if there’s a growing
distance between you and your wife, it
may be time to start thinking about a
Looking for a less stressful, more
flexible position may cause more stress
for a while, but you know you’re doing
it for the right reasons. Even if the
new position pays less, there’s
adjustment that most families can make.
And isn’t your marriage worth it?
You know, there are a lot of divorced
men and fathers right now—still working
in high stress jobs —who regret not
making changes sooner to try to save
Dad, don’t let a stressful job slowly
erode the foundations of your marriage
and family. Take steps to protect it,
- Ken Canfield, President of the
National Center for
Fathering; via The Family Friend, a
monthly newsletter published by the
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: http://www.calvertc
How To Fight Fair
This may seem like a strange
topic to put in church bulletin, but I
was reading Eph. 4 the other day, and
when I came to a certain section, it
dawned on me that it can be used to
teach us to “fight” fairly. Now, by
“fight,” I mean handling disagreements.
If you are in any type of a relationship
- family, friend, business, or even
church - differences are bound to arise.
How do we handle ourselves and the
situation when they come up? Eph.
4:25-32 gives us some great pointers:
Let truth rule. “Let each of you speak
the truth” (v.25). Falsehoods and
dishonesty are weapons of Satan, and he
delights in differences tearing people
apart. Always speak the truth about the
situation and how you feel.
Speak with and not to. “Speak...with his
neighbor” (v.25). Make sure the
discussion is a two-way street. Speak
and listen with an open mind and heart.
Remember the relationship. “We are
members of one another” (v.25). Remember
that you are speaking to someone you
have something in common with. Honor and
respect them properly. Keep the greater
picture in mind.
Stay in control. “Be angry and do not
sin” (v.26). Not all anger is wrong, but
anger is always wrong if we let control
us. Keep a cool head.
No festering. “Do not let the sun go
down on your wrath” (v.26). Resolve to
get squabbles taken care of quickly. The
longer Satan is given to work, the more
damage he can do. Satan’s brew becomes
more potent when brewed in our hearts.
Recognize what is from Satan. “Nor give
place to the devil” (v.27). Recognize
the areas of your life where Satan is at
work and avoid those places. Recognize
Satan’s devices and do not let him use
them. Recognize if Satan is the one
driving the wedge and deal with it
Be part of constructive solutions. “Let
him who stole steal no longer, but
rather let him labor, working with his
hands what is good” (v.28). Don’t spend
your time doing destructive things.
Also, in this is recognizing that we may
be a part of problem and we may be who
needs to change. Always be willing to do
Build up with positive words. “Let no
corrupt word proceed out of your mouth,
but what is good for...edification”
(v.29). Say things that will help, not
hurt; that will heal, not harm. Stay
optimistic and express your optimism.
Remember God’s will. “And do not grieve
the Holy Spirit” (v.30). The Spirit of
God inspired the Bible. Honor Him by
honoring His words. Don’t say or do
anything that would violate His will.
Check your attitude. “Let all
bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and
evil speaking be put away from you”
(v.31). Don’t put up your dukes, put up
love. Make sure you are acting out of a
sincere heart. Get rid of preconceived
Make sure it ends with kindness
and forgiveness. “And be kind to one
another, tenderhearted, forgiving one
Now, shake hands and come out “fighting”
- Edd Sterchi preaches for the
Harrisburg church of Christ in
Harrisburg , IL
. He may be contacted at sterchi@midwest.
TLC gave us “Trading Spaces”
and “While You Were Out”; ABC has a hit
with “Extreme Home Makeover.” In western
couple of years ago, local news media
sponsored a “Trading Spaces”-type
project. All of these programs have one
thing in common: People saw conditions
in their houses that they knew could be
improved, and they were willing to work
to make those improvements.
An interesting thing is that some of the
same people who are so willing to make
changes in order to improve the physical
dwelling place of their family are not
willing to make necessary changes to
improve their family. The divorce rate
is just one of the indicators of
such an existing condition. There are
also many marriages where
the mates are emotionally detached—just
going through the motions of staying
married, but remaining miserable. Why
not take the same initiative evident in
physical home improvement and put it to
work in improvement of the family—the
Here are some ways to begin the
Communicate clearly with your mate. It
is truly amazing how long a person
can go in marriage and not realize that
something is wrong. Their mate will
know, but either that mate will not
communicate clearly, or the other
ignores the signals. As one family
expert says, communication is the
“lifeline of your marriage.”
Read books on marriage and the family.
The subject of family relations is a
“hot” issue. (Everybody’s got a family,
and all of them have issues!)
Consequently, there are many books
on this topic.. Not all of them are of
equal value. Do some research; ask
friends if they have read useful books;
seek advice from someone you trust.
Search for information on the internet
about family relationships. Again, be
selective in your choices. Seek
advice, and keep your primary sources on
the web to about two or three good solid
Set aside large blocks of time to be
with your mate and children. There is no
substitute for dedicating time and
energy to the most
important people in your life. You will
not regret doing this; you will regret
not doing it.
Pray for your family. Please
remember that your marriage vows were
made before God as well as human
witnesses. To borrow another phrase, “If
something (your family) is worth
worrying about, it is worth praying
- Lance Cordle preaches for the Calvert
City church of Christ,
Calvert City , KY.
He may be contacted
through the congregation' s
God's Plan For Families
God’s plan for families has
always been that of intimacy. One of the
greatest things we have to be thankful
for is the gift of our family. Godly
families provide an environment whereby
we can discover intimacy with ourselves
as we discover ourselves through our
It was in the first eleven chapters of
the Bible that God divulged His
sovereignty as He revealed Himself as
Creator and Ruler of the universe. When
God disclosed Himself to Abraham in
Genesis 12, God’s desire for intimacy
with us began to unfold throughout the
history of God seeking salvation for His
Intimacy is essential for our families.
Paul says, "He who loves his wife loves
himself" in Ephesians 5:28b. You can't
love your wife without loving yourself.
You can't love your husband without
loving yourself. If we would love each
other in the family the way Christ loves
the church each of us would get the love
and respect we seek.
God fully revealed Himself to us through
Jesus Christ in order that He might have
an intimate relationship with each of us
as we become members of His heavenly
family. God held nothing back as He
fully revealed the full force of His
love through His Son. The love God
reveals for us is the one sure way that
God truly magnifies His glory.
Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40, " ‘Love
the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your
mind.’ This is the first and greatest
commandment. And the second is like it:
'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All
the Law and the Prophets hang on these
two commandments." (NIV) Love for others
generates a deeper love for ourselves,
for true love will discover
reciprocation. Christianity is the only
religion that truly teaches us how to
love ourselves as we seek to love
others. This is the heart and core of
Christianity. Discovering God’s love for
yourself is possible through the gospel
of Jesus Christ, for it is this message
that fully discloses God’s love for us.
That is why Paul admonishes us to love
our wives as Christ loves the church.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:25-28,
"Husbands, love your wives, just as
Christ loved the church and gave Himself
up for her to make her holy, cleansing
her by the washing with water through
the word, and to present her to Himself
as a radiant church, without stain or
wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy
and blameless. In this same way,
husbands ought to love their wives as
their own bodies. He who loves his wife
loves himself." (NIV)
May the Lord bless you and your family!
- David R. Ferguson preaches for the
Lakeland church of Christ in
Mattoon , IL
. He may be contacted at davidferguson61@ yahoo.com
misc. goodies this issue
A Family Is. . .
Not a house, but a home.
Not strangers, but friends.
drudgery, but opportunity.
- Via Families 2000 & Beyond, March
2001; via The Family Friend, a monthly
newsletter published by the 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: http://www.calvertc
Fathers To The Rescue
The year was
1940 . . .
The French Army had just collapsed under
Hitler’s onslaught. The Dutch had
folded, overwhelmed by the Nazi regime.
The Belgians had surrendered. And the
British Army was trapped on the coast of
France in the channel
port of Dunkirk
Two hundred and twenty thousand of
Britains ’ finest young men
seemed doomed to die, turning the
English Channel red with their
blood. The Fuehrer’s troops, only miles
away in the hills of
France , didn’t
realize how close to victory they
Any rescue seemed feeble and futile in
the time remaining. A “thin” British
Navy—”the professionals”—told King
George VI that, at best, they could save
17,000 troops. The House of Commons was
prepare for “hard and heavy
tidings.” Politicians were paralyzed.
The king was powerless. And the allies
could only watch as spectators
from a distance.
Then as the doom of the British Army
seemed imminent, a strange fleet
appeared on the
horizon of the English Channel—the
wildest assortment of boats perhaps ever
assembled in history: trawlers, tugs,
fishing sloops, lifeboats, pleasure
craft, smacks and coasters, sailboats,
even the London
fire-brigade flotilla. Each ship was
manned by civilian
volunteers—English fathers sailing to
’s exhausted, bleeding sons.
William Manchester writes in his epic
novel, The Last Lion, that even today,
what happened in 1940 in less than
twenty-four hours seems impossible—not
only were all the British soldiers
rescued, but 118,000 other Allied troops
Today the home is much like those troops
at Dunkirk .
Pressured, trapped, and demoralized, it
needs help, your help. With the highest
divorce rate of any nation on earth, we
need an “all-out” effort by men and
women “sailing” to rescue the exhausted
and wounded family casualties. We need
an effort by common Christian couples
with faith in a common God.
- Story told by Bob & Jan Horner,
via Jacksonville, AL church bulletin;
via Families-2000 & Beyond; via The
Family Friend, a monthly newsletter
published by the 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:
The Marriage Myth
Most people get married
believing in a myth; they imagine that
marriage is a beautiful box full of all
the things that they have longed for:
companionship, sexual fulfillment,
intimacy, friendship. The truth is that
marriage at the start is an empty box.
You must put something in before you can
take anything out. There is no love in
marriage; love is in people, and people
put love into
marriage. There is no romance in
marriage; people have to infuse romance
into that marriage. A couple must learn
the art, and form the habit, of giving,
loving, serving, keeping the box full.
If you take out more than you put in,
then the box will be empty.
- Author Unknown; via the weekly
bulletin of the Harrisburg
church of Christ in
Harrisburg , IL
. Edd Sterchi serves as one of the
congregation' s ministers. He
may be contacted at sterchi@midwest.
net or through their website: www.harrisburgchurc
The Ring Bear
A little boy
was in a relative's wedding. As he was
coming down the aisle, he would take two
steps, stop, and turn to the crowd.
While facing the crowd, he would put his
hands up like claws and roar. So it
went, step, step, ROAR, step, step,
ROAR, all the way down the aisle. As you
can imagine, the crowd was near tears
from laughing so hard by the time he
reached the pulpit. When asked what he
was doing, the child sniffed and said,
"I was being the Ring Bear."
- Richard Hill is an elder at the
congregation. He may
be contacted at hill@dtnspeed.
|Hearts of Gold
A dreary place would be this
Were there no little people in it;
The song of life would lose its mirth,
Were there no children to begin it.
No little forms, like buds to grow,
And make the admiring heart surrender;
No little hands on breast and brow,
To keep the thrilling life-cords
The sterner souls would grow more
Unfeeling nature more inhuman,
And man to stoic coldness turn,
And woman would be less than woman.
Life's song, indeed, would lose its
Were there no babies to begin it;
A doleful place this world would be,
Were there no little people in it.
Honor Thy Father
Alvis B. Christiansen
Somehow a fellow can't
The feelings he has had
While through the years he's walked
And laughed and played with Dad.
He cannot put in words the love-
The pride that wells within,
The admiration in his heart
Whene'er Dad looks at him.
Dad is the hero of his
The king upon the throne,
The pattern for that ideal life
Which he would make his own.
He knows that Dad well understands
The conflicts in his breast,
And shared the problems he must face,
Though often unexpressed.
How could a fellow go astray
Who with his Dad has stood
Within the secret place of prayer
Before a holy God!
And this my constant prayer shall be,
That until life is done,
My conduct shall honor him,
Who proudly calls me "Son."
- 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@yahoo.
The Prayer of a Military Wife
I held my breath as the
President began to speak
I had to sit down for suddenly I was
I listened so intently, I hung on
What he said would determine all my
When he talks of disarming, I have a
Because one of those who will fight is
my own soul mate.
He's over there, I'm over here, just
waiting for the news
When will the battle start? How
many lives will we lose?
I know that I must be strong, I must
maintain my faith
But it's so hard when he's in harms'
way, working in Kuwait
With shaking hands I bow my head and
say the thousandth prayer.
"God hold my husband in your hands
while he is over there."
"Bless the President and give him
strength to do what he must do.
I know it's complicated so give him
Protect the other soldiers who are
stationed so far away.
Give them courage to face the duties
of the day."
"And don't forget the innocent ones
who must see this war.
Just like during the Passover, keep
harm away from their door.
I know that it is so selfish, but
could you help me too?
I need more faith to trust in You, my
fears to subdue."
"I know that You are in
control, You know what is the best.
I pray for Your guidance while we go
through this test.
And when the fighting is over, the
battle is at an end,
May we have peace at last. In
Jesus' name. Amen."
Within Your Power
Distressed by circumstance,
Afflicted at bad turns,
Disturbed by fateful chance,
Or worried with sad concerns?
The burning pain you feel
Comes not from truthful facts,
However stark or real,
but from how your mind reacts.
Perspective colors all,
Interpret as you will,
Not things that may befall,
But thoughts that harbor ill.
Within your power lies
The choice to change belief;
Inside you, realize
The shift to bring relief.
- J. Randal Matheny, missionary and
minister, is the publisher of Uplift, an
on-line and e-mail devotional. He
may be contacted through this website: http://randalmathen
When reprinting this material, please be
sure to include the following:
Copyright (c) 2006 J. Randal Matheny All
rights reserved. You may forward the
email to friends as is. You may not
alter it in any way or remove any text
& sayings for bulletins and signs
One purpose of a wedding ring
is to cut off your circulation.
The smallest good deed is better than
the grandest intention
"Experience teaches slowly and at the
cost of mistakes." -- James A. Froude
Be good for something. Being good for
nothing will never be good enough.
- 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@
If you marry the child of the
devil, you will have trouble with your
What we obtain too cheaply we esteem
-- Thomas Paine
- via The Lantern, Highway
church of Christ ,
Sullivan , IL
Visit their website as www.highwaycofc.
Humans are the only animals
that have children on purpose with the
exception of guppies, who like to eat
-- P. J. O'Rourke
You make 'em, I amuse 'em. [children]
-- Dr. Seuss a.k.a. Theodore Giesel