June 2009 Vol 9 #4
The sense of national pride,
patriotism, is a quality many modern
Americans seek to instill in the
subsequent generations, was strangely
absent in the days of Jesus. The
Jews held the Roman government, and
any who would represent it, in
derision and sought every opportunity
to undermine its influence.
were running naturally high, then,
among the chosen people of God for the
Messianic arrival. The Christ,
it was supposed, would set the record
straight by putting the Romans in
their place. Thoughts of
revolution ran rampant. Visions
of a world-wide empire revolving
around Jerusalem were cherished in the
mind of every loyal Jew.
Messianic kingdom of the anxious
populace anticipated would share
little resemblance to the "Golden Age"
of their dreams. It was
something much better that God had
prepared for them. For that
kingdom was built not on wealth and
military strategy but on love and
forgiveness. The stark
difference between their dreams and
the reality might have begun to dawn
on some because of a coin.
requested a coin when someone asked
about the controversial subject of
paying taxes to the Roman
government. He pointed out that
this coin bore the image of Caesar who
issued it. The image and
inscription declared its proper
ownership and allegiance. His
point, although unpopular, was
hour of Israel in the New Testament
came in the failure of these people to
grasp the inescapable conclusion made
by the Lord on that day. They
failed to see, indelibly stamped upon
their hearts, the image of God marking
them as His own. They failed to
express towards God the allegiance due
stirred in the
hearts of many Americans with the
coming of summer. Our
nations just recently celebrated
Memorial Day, and Independence Day is
fast approaching. These are
fitting reminders of the high price
that has been paid in blood, sweat,
and tears. But an even greater
price has been paid for us to enjoy
citizenship in God’s Heavenly Kingdom
(Philippians 3:20). Where have
you placed the supreme patriotism of
which Jesus spoke in Luke 20:25?
A Service Greater Than to the President
With the inauguration of our new
President, we have had another glimpse
into the inner workings of the
Executive branch of our Federal
Government. Including the services of
Air Force 1, there are thousands of
individuals who, with admirable
distinction, serving at the will and
pleasure of the President. Upon
greeting the President at the
beginning of a new day, the aide will
ask, “What can I do for you today, Mr.
President?” Each staff member, each
aide is prepared to give his or her
greatest efforts in faithfully
executing the orders of the President.
For the Secret Service, no effort is
counted too great, no expense is too
costly to protect and secure the
President and his family.
What if you and I approached our
service to the Prince of Peace, the
prince of the kings of the earth, with
even equal determination, diligence
and care? Isn’t the person who wears
the name above all others (Philippians
2:9) worthy of greater loyalty and
loving obedience? In the person of
Jesus, the Christ, we serve a higher
calling with a greater, nobler
purpose. Suppose we began our new day,
everyday, asking the Lord of lords,
and King of kings, “What can I do for
you today, my Lord?”
With due respect to our Commander in
Chief, what so many of us apparently
fail to realize is that everything
about Jesus, the Son of God,
transcends every facet of the person
and the power vested in “the leader of
the free world.” For instance, Jesus’
message overshadows any message
formulated by the President and his
speech writers, although it is
delivered with precision and the
greatest oratorical skill. Jesus’
message of peace through
righteousness, hope and deliverance is
a universal message that transforms
lives and makes all the difference
both now and in eternity. Jesus
declared, “I am come that they might
have life, and that they might have it
more abundantly” (John 10:10, KJV).
Jesus’ message of sanctifying truth,
the gospel, is the seed that
germinates, breaking forth into life
Our Lord, and Master, has great work
for you and me. The nations and
kingdoms of men may rise, fall and
return to dust, but the kingdom of
heaven endures forever. “And in the
days of these kings shall the God of
heaven set up a kingdom, which shall
never be destroyed: and the kingdom
shall not be left to other people, but
it shall break in pieces and consume
all these kingdoms, and it shall stand
for ever” (Daniel 2:44). Discouraged,
down and depressed, we have hidden
with Elijah in the cave long enough (1
Kings 19). God is asking still,
“What are you doing here?” With a
renewed mind and higher sense of
purpose, it is now time to spring
forth in haste and diligence with the
everlasting gospel of our Lord and
Saviour, Jesus Christ. The Prince of
Peace is counting on you.
Childs preaches for the Hillcrest
church of Christ in Baldwyn, MS.
He may be contacted at email@example.com,
or through the congregation’s website:
A Prayer for
We are grateful for the honor of
living in the United States of
America. We are thankful that you have
blessed us with the privilege of
electing our officials at all levels
of government. May we never take this
This week, we will say goodbye to
President George W. Bush and we will
welcome President Barak Obama. We are
grateful that each of these men has
given his life to public service, and
we respect the rise to the “top” of
our system each has made. Thank you,
Father, for the good President Bush
has done. Though not a perfect man, we
are grateful he has served us to the
best of his ability.
Now we ask you to be with our new
President and each one who will aid
him. President Obama needs Your help,
and we pray that he will seek You
daily. Though he has stood for some
things that are against your Holy Word
in the past, we know that even kings
can be moved by your power (cf.
Proverbs 21:1). Mold Barak Obama into
the kind of man who will stand with
You and who will stand for Christians.
Be with us, Father, that we may
support him where he is right, and may
lovingly but boldly oppose him where
he opposes You. Keep us
vigilant, and keep us respectful of
the office to which he has attained.
help President Obama and us understand
that You are ultimately in control.
Guide this country toward
righteousness again, and use us to
help bring the USA back to You.
- Adam Faughn serves as the pulpit
minister for the Lebanon Road church of
Christ in Nashville, TN. He may be
contacted through the congregation’s
website at: http://www.lebanonroadchurchofchrist.org
It’s about this time of year that many
people begin longing for spring.
After an especially long, cold, icy,
and snowy winter, springtime sounds
pretty good, doesn’t it?
According to Punxsutawney Phil there
are still at least five more weeks of
winter, but that doesn’t keep us from
hoping he’s wrong. Right now
memories of the sunny mid-70s,
dogwoods and forsythias give us hope
that warmer weather will come.
For most of us, spring can’t come too
are a natural part of humanity. God
has given us this ability to long for
things, to hope and to wish and to
dream. An interesting fact about
longings is that they rarely occur
when our circumstances are good, when
we are satisfied with things the way
they are. But when times are
tough, when we are not happy with
things the way they are, our hearts
can be stirred for something
better. If you love the cold,
icy winter, you are probably not
longing for spring. If you are
happy with your current job, you are
probably not thinking about a better
one. But, if you hate winter or
are afraid of a layoff, then you are
more likely to long and dream for
Almost from the time Moses promised
that God would raise up a leader like
himself, the Jews longed for the
Messiah to come and re-establish the
Israelite nation. Even after
Jesus’ death and resurrection you can
sense the hope in Peter’s question,
“Lord, are you at this time going to
restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts
1:6) Jews of old “were longing
for a better country – a heavenly one”
(Heb. 11:16). Paul wrote to people who
were facing difficult times, even
death, and said of them that they were
“longing to be clothed with our
heavenly dwelling” (2 Cor. 5:2).
It was David who said, “I open my
mouth and pant, longing for your
commands” (Psalm 119:131).
For what is your heart deeply
longing? A stimulus
package? Warmer weather? A
basketball championship? There’s
nothing wrong with hoping for things
like these, but are they your deep
longings? Or, do you long for
God to rule in the hearts of men (Rom.
10:1)? Do you long to be clothed
with the power and purity of
Jesus? Do you long for a better
country, a heavenly one? Do you
long for the word of God to satisfy
your thirst like a deer pants for
water (Psalm 42:1)? Do you long
for the company of your fellow
Christians (Phil. 2:26)? Do you long
to be in the presence of God?
Let your longing for spring stir your
longing for spiritual renewal.
Chesser preaches for the Fruitland
church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.
He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org of the
congregation's website: http://www.cofcfruitland.com/
Exalts A Nation
David R. Ferguson
Proverbs 14:34 makes the point that
"Righteousness exalts a nation, but
sin is a reproach to any
people." If there is such a
thing as righteousness, then Someone
sovereign must determine what it
is. Humankind has a varied idea
of what constitutes
righteousness. We could never in
a million years agree on what is
righteous and what is
unrighteous. God, however,
is an authority on righteousness, and
fortunately for us, God tells us what
righteousness means in His holy
word. Psalm 71:19 says, "Your
righteousness also, O God, is very
high, Who has done great things: O
God, Who is like unto You!" "All
Your commandments are righteousness,"
says the psalmist in Psalm
119:172. Psalm 98:2 adds, "The
Lord has made known His salvation: His
righteousness has He openly showed in
the sight of the heathen."
It is a mark of a nation in decline
that calls evil good and good
evil. As Isaiah 5:20 says, "Woe
to those who call evil good and good
evil, who put darkness for light and
light for darkness, who put bitter for
sweet and sweet for bitter!" The
"bad guy" is now the norm; the "good
guy" is the potential hypocrite who
bears watching and extreme scrutiny.
"Sin is a reproach to any
people." What is sin?
Again, the Bible defines it: "Sin is
the transgression of the law" (1 John
Our society is in trouble because
God's laws are just as real as the
physical laws of science. They
are just as real as the law of
gravity. A society that is lying
and cheating and stealing and
promoting what God clearly has called
a sin, homosexuality, as a civil
right, then that nation is sowing the
seeds of disruption and the seeds of
its own destruction of everything in
it that is solid and that is
real. For Jesus Christ is the
ultimate arbiter of what is right,
what is wrong, and what is true, for
He said to Pilate in John 18:37, "You
say that I am a king. To this
end have I been born, and to this end
am I come into the world, that I
should bear witness unto the
truth. Everyone that is of the
truth hears My voice." He also
stated earlier in John 14:6, "I am the
way, and the truth, and the life: no
one comes unto the Father, but by Me."
Bible tells us, "By the blessing of
the upright the city is exalted, but
it is overthrown by the mouth of the
wicked." (Proverbs 11:11)
"If the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?"
(Psalm 11:3) What we can do is
turn to God as a people, and trust in
Him. God tells us in 2
Chronicles 7:14, "If My people who are
called by My name humble themselves,
and pray and seek My face, and turn
from their wicked ways, then I will
hear from Heaven, and will forgive
their sin and heal their land."
May the Lord bless you, and may He
continue to bless us as a people as
long as we are a nation turned to Him!
R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland
church of Christ in Mattoon, IL.
He may be contacted at email@example.com
You may also want to visit the
congregation's website at http://lakelandchurchofchrist.web.officelive.com/default.aspx
Pursuit of Happiness
The Declaration of Independence states
that all men have the right to life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
This phrase, likely a derivative of
John Locke’s philosophy of the
protection of life, liberty and
estate, reminds each of us as
Americans of the rights and
responsibilities we have today. The
problem with happiness is that it is
elusive when it’s pursued. In other
words happiness is really a byproduct
of doing something else. In fact, if
we have to temporarily be unhappy in
order to ultimately find greater
happiness, this is a wise decision.
The wisdom of delayed gratification
rings true in love, finances and
especially religion. God has always
been interested in our ultimate
personal happiness (John 10:10). Here
are some practical suggestions on how
each of us can find happiness today:
1. Learn to enjoy life. Happiness is
connected to the journey, not the
destination. Until we can enjoy the
daily experiences of life, we will
never enter a state of happiness.
2. Be responsible for your own
happiness. If we shift the
responsibility of our happiness to
someone other than ourselves, we’ll
end up disappointed and frustrated. I
cannot ultimately be responsible for
my spouse’s happiness. She must be
responsible for her own happiness. I
will do everything I can to contribute
to her happiness, but I can’t make her
a happy person. This might be the
reason why so many relationships fail.
People want others to make them happy.
That’s immature and unfair. I’m happy
because I choose to be that way. I’m
happy because I choose to serve God
and others. Too much self-indulgence
leads one away from true happiness.
3. Associate with happy people. The
Bible says, “Bad company corrupts good
morals” (I Corinthians 15:33). We
become like the people we associate
with in life. If you’re feeling
miserable, pessimistic, and cynical
about life, you might need to seek out
people who are optimistic, joyful, and
grateful. It is important that we stay
around people who teach the right
doctrine and have the right attitude
about life (John 4:24).
God wants you to be happy. The
ultimate pursuit is not the fading
happiness that this world offers, but
the true and eternal joy that we find
in a good relationship with Jesus
Christ, Galatians 3:27.
Ray; via The Encourager, the weekly
bulletin for the Calvert City church
of Christ, Calvert City, KY.
Lance Cordle preaches for the
congregation. He may be
contacted through the congregation's
misc. goodies this issue
The Declaration of Independence, in my
opinion, is one of the greatest
documents man has ever produced in the
history of this world (not withstanding
its corruption with strange ideologies
now existing). As great as that
piece of work is, it cannot compare to
the liberty declared by God to all His
creation that humbly submit to His
were in “bondage” to Great Britain; man
is in bondage to sin. As the
peoples of the colonies recognized the
mother country’s yoke, they sought to
get out from underneath its hold.
As people begin to recognize the yoke
placed on them by Satan, they begin the
process of getting out from his
hold. His hold, however, can only
be broken by One greater than he.
That One is Jesus.
of Independence, man’s greatest
production for a civilized
government. The Lord Jesus, man’s
only Savior. To borrow the words
of a great man in history, “Free at
last, free at last. Thank God
Almighty, we are free at
- Ron Thomas serves as preacher and an
elder for the Highway church of Christ,
Sullivan, IL Visit their website
A young man went in to a jewelry store
and asked the jeweler, "Please engrave
this engagement ring, `From Tim to
Cindy.'" The Jeweler replied, "Take
some advice, son, and just have `From
Tim.'" The point is clear: “From Tim”
allows for a change of plan.
Too many people want to receive the
benefits of Christ’s awesome work, and
yet they want to allow for a change of
plan; they want to keep their options
open. However, Jesus taught that it is
impossible to do so.
To be a disciple of Christ means to be
a "student of Christ." Not a
"follower," not a "believer," not a
"churchgoer"; rather, a student. The
most important lesson every disciple
of Christ must learn is the cost of
being a disciple. Jesus plainly
taught that if any one wants to be His
disciple, he must follow Jesus’
example of dying. Remember that to
take up your cross means that you must
die to yourself so Christ can live in
you. To take up your cross does not
mean that you must bear a burden. It
means that you must die.
To be a true disciple of Christ we
must die to ourselves, our way of
thinking, our way of living because
our thinking and living are efforts in
futility and, paradoxically, they
bring death. So to truly live now and
to live eternally with God, we must
die to ourselves.
To live we must die. This is the call
of being a disciple. The cost of
being a disciple is not total
commitment (that puts the emphasis on
us), but total and unconditional
surrender of ourselves to God.
McNamara preaches for the Silver
Spring church of Christ in Silver
Spring, MD. He may be contacted
through the church’s website: http://www.silverspringchurchofchrist.org/index.php
Depends on Christianity?
Much disagreement exists regarding the
foundations of civil government and
the perpetuation of civilization and
society. The current
“politically correct” viewpoint
insists that the strength of America
lies in its pluralism—the acceptance
and celebration of differing
religions, ideologies and
philosophies. The widespread attempt
to sanitize American schools, courts,
and government by eradicating all
references to God, Christ, and the
Bible are a manifestation of this
belief. The thought is that the
stability and continuance of the
nation lies in its willingness to
embrace diversity, toleration and
acceptance. In stark contrast,
the architects of American
civilization stated just the opposite.
Morse was born in Woodstock,
Connecticut on August 23, 1761, the
son of a Congregationalism
minister. After being
homeschooled, he graduated from Yale
in 1783-the year the Revolutionary War
ended. Morse published the first
American textbook on geography:
Geography Made Easy, in 1784.
His work in that field earned for him
the title, “Father of American
Geography.” His works were
adopted widely in schools, colleges,
and libraries and were used in
thousands of homes. His eldest
son, Samuel F.B. Morse, became a
famous inventor, even developing the
Morse Code” (“Morse, Jedidiah,” 2007,
Encyclopedia of Britannica [on line]).
In an election sermon given at
Charlestown, Massachusetts on April
25, 1799, this American patriot
offered the following chilling
warning—an observation not unlike many
of the founders:
kindly influence of Christianity we
owe that degree of civil freedom and
political and social happiness which
mankind now enjoys. In
proportion as the genuine effects of
Christianity are diminished in any
nation, either through unbelief or the
corruption of its doctrines, or the
neglect of its institutions: in the
same proportion will the people of
that nation recede from the blessings
of genuine freedom and approximate the
miseries of complete despotism.
All efforts to destroy the foundations
of our holy religion, ultimately tend
to the subversion also of our
political freedom and happiness.
Whenever the pillars of Christianity
shall be overthrown, our present
republican forms of government, and
all the blessings which flow from
them, must fall with them” (1799, p.
9, emp. Added).
If Morse was correct, America is in a
dire predicament—literally entering on
the brink of national disaster and
exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach
to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
“Blessed is the nation whose God is
the Lord” (Psalms 33:12).
Reason & Revelation, July 2007;
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 - firstname.lastname@example.org You
may also visit their website at http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com
How Poor Are
One day, a father of a very wealthy
family took his son on a trip to the
country with the firm purpose of showing
his son how poor people can be.
They spent a
couple of days and nights on the farm of
what would be considered a very poor
family. On their return from the
trip, the father asked his son,
“How was the trip?”
see how poor people can be?” the father
yeah,” said the son.
did you learn from the trip?” asked the
answered, “I saw that we have one dog
and they have four. We have a pool that
reaches to the middle of our garden and
they have a creek that has no end.
We have imported lanterns in our garden
and they have the stars at night.
Our patio reaches to the front yard and
they have the whole horizon. We
have a small piece of land to live on
and they have fields that go beyond our
sight. We have servants who serve
us, but they serve others. We buy
our food, but they grow theirs. We
have walls around our property to
protect us and they have friends to
With this, the
boy’s father was speechless.
Then his son
added, “Thanks, Dad, for showing me how
poor we are.”
Too many times
we forget what we have and concentrate
on what we don’t have. What is one
person’s worthless object is another’s
prize possession. It is all based
on one’s perspective.
wonder what would happen if we all gave
thanks to God for all the bounty we have
been provided by Him instead of worrying
about wanting more.
May God bless
each and every one of you. Take joy in
all that He has given us, especially our
Friends and Family.
angels who lifts us to our feet when our
wings forget how to.
- Arthur Unknown
|Hearts of Gold
Freedom is Not Free
Cadet Maj. Kelly Strong
the flag pass by one day.
fluttered in the breeze.
Marine saluted it, and then
stood at ease.
looked at him in uniform
young, so tall so proud,
hair cut square and eyes alert.
stand out in any crowd
thought how many men like him
fallen through the years.
many died on foreign soil?
many mothers' tears?
many pilots' planes shot down?
many died at sea?
many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
freedom is not free.
sound of taps one night,
everything was still.
listened to the bugler play
felt a sudden chill.
wondered must how many times
taps had meant "Amen,"
flag had draped a coffin
brother or a friend.
thought of all the children,
mothers and the wives,
fathers, sons and husbands
thought about a graveyard
bottom of the sea,
unmarked graves in Arlington.
freedom is not free.
Maj. Kelly Strong, Air Force Junior
ROTC, Homestead Senior High School,
Homestead, FL, 1988.
A Song For
Of all the costly
wars of men, both righteous and unjust,
Waged for freedom or for power by the
scourge of human lust,
Rages war for souls in heaven after
armies turn to dust,
Our God is marching on.
We for battle have been armored with the
Spirit's sword and shield,
Wearing righteousness for breastplates
on the world's wide muddy field,
With our weapons out and flashing,
Satan's fate forever's sealed,
For God is marching on.
Though we're human, we do not conduct
our war the carnal way,
Weapons are not tanks and rockets, but
the Spirit's mighty sway,
By the word of God for Christ we capture
every thought to obey,
While truth is marching on.
Let the light shine out in darkness and
the Word be given rein,
Sing the song for war and justice, let
His grace be our refrain,
While one soul still dwells in bondage,
on the field we will remain,
Our Lord is marching on.
Comes the Lord again in clouds to gather
all His saints alive,
He'll seek faithfulness in Christians
when angelic hosts arrive,
From the grave the sleeping dead of ages
past He will revive,
His time is marching on.
- J. Randal Matheny edits and writes
UPLift, an inspirational ezine. He may
be contacted here: <http://randalmathenycom/>.
reprinting this material, please include
the following: Copyright (c) 2009
J. Randal Matheny. All rights reserved.
It’s Not What
is not what we eat
but what we digest
that makes us strong;
It is not what we gain
but what we save
that make us rich;
It is not what we read
but what we remember
that makes us learned;
And it is not what we profess
but what we practice
that makes us Christians.
It Is The Soldier
Charles M. Province
"It is the
soldier, not the reporter,
given us freedom of the press.
the soldier, not the poet,
given us freedom of speech.
the soldier, not the campus organizer,
given us the freedom to demonstrate.
the soldier, who salutes the flag,
serves beneath the flag,
whose coffin is draped by the flag,
allows the protester to burn the
SOME VIEWS OF
& sayings for bulletins and signs
“I contend that
for a nation to try to tax itself into
prosperity is like a man standing in a
bucket and trying to lift himself up by
the handle.” (Winston Churchill)
which robs Peter to pay Paul can always
depend on the support of Paul.” (George
the great fiction through which everybody
endeavors to live at the expense of
everybody else.” (Frederic Bastiat,
French Economist, 1801-1850)
“Giving money and
power to government is like giving whiskey
and car keys to teenage boys.” (P.J.
cheap—except when Congress does it.”
“I don’t make
jokes. I just watch the government
and report the facts.” (Will Rogers)
-Submitted by Don Henwood
"Do not let anyone claim the tribute of
American patriotism if they ever attempt
to remove religion from politics." (George
Washington from his Farewell Address to
Don’t give God instructions—just report
The task ahead of us is never as great as
the Power behind us.
The will of God never takes you to where
the Grace of God will not protect you.
“Freedom of the press belongs to the man
who owns the press.”
“Someone has said that freedom is like a
handful of sand. The second you
relax any of your fingers, it starts
slipping away from you."
IN THE BALANCE:
“It is freedom itself that still hangs in
the balance, and freedom is never more
than one generation from extinction.”
THINK ABOUT IT—
“It never occurs to fools
that merit and good fortune are closely
“Taxation has become an
instrument for the transfer of power,
freedoms and treasure from the people to
Abraham Lincoln once said: “It is your
business to rise up and preserve the Union
and liberty, for yourselves, and not for
me…. I appeal to you again to constantly
bear in mind that with you, and not with
politicians and office-seekers, but with
you is the question, ‘Shall the Union and
the liberties of this country be preserved
to the latest generation?’” - Trib-Bits,
A person who stays in office, not by
solving problems, but by subsidizing them.
A NOTABLE QUOTE: "It is an infallible
reminder that our greatest hope and faith
rests upon two mighty symbols-the cross
and the flag; the one based upon those
immutable teachings which provide the
spiritual strength to persevere along the
course which is just and right-the other
based upon the invincible will that human
freedom shall not perish from the earth."
--Gen. Douglas Macarthur
“The riches that are in the heart cannot
be stole” (Russian Proverb)
“The principal objective of American
government at every level should be to
see that children are born into intact
families and that they remain so.”
(Daniel Patrick Moynihan)
- 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 the
Democracy arises out of the notion that
those who are equal in any respect are
equal in all respects; because men are
equally free, they claim to be
absolutely equal. (Aristotle, 384 -322
Diplomacy is the art of making your
guests feel at home when you wish they
The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for
the Calvert City church of Christ,
Calvert City, KY. Lance Cordle
preaches for the congregation. He
may be contacted through the
congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com
is often an arbitrary veneration of
real estate above principles. (George
Jean Nathan; 1882 - 1958)
secret of success is sincerity. Once
you can fake that you've got it made.