BulletinGold #103
July 2009   Vol 9 #5

----by David Bragg

     Hershel Dyer tells the story of a boy from a family of seven who lived in poverty.  For them hunger was a daily reality.  "Even a glass of milk, when such could be afforded, had to be shared by at least two or more.  A finger would be placed on a certain spot and the child who was about to drink would be cautioned, "Only to here!""
     When the boy suffered a broken leg he was taken to the nearest hospital emergency room.  An attentive nurse brought the waiting child a large glass of milk.  As the glass was handed to the child he asked, "How deep can I drink?  Brother Dyer concludes, "With tears welling up in her eyes, the nurse replied, "As deeply as you desire!""
     Jesus, who offered to the woman at the well "living water" (John 4:14), died thirsty (John 19:28).  Because of what He did, the redeemed can drink deeply into the manifold wisdom of God (Eph. 3:10).  Because Jesus makes His disciple "citizens" (Eph. 3:19), they can plumb the bottomless wells of God's love (Eph. 3:19).
     The ultimate blessing embraced by the faithful child of God is the one they will enjoy the longest, an eternal, heavenly home (John 14:1-4).  This is the recurring theme in this month’s issue of BulletinGold.  Our Lord died thirsty so that His faithful followers would never again thirst (Rev. 22:17).

David Bragg, co-editor

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Panning for Gold
- Feature Articles:  

A Heavenly Perspective

by: Alan Smith

     It is reported that the German controllers at Frankfurt Airport expect pilots to know their gate location and how to get there without any assistance from them. This conversation is said to have taken place between the control tower in Frankfurt and a British Airways 747 (radio call Speedbird 206) after landing:
     Speedbird 206: "Good morning Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of the runway."
     Ground: "Guten morgan, taxi to your gate."
     The British Airways 747 pulls onto the main taxiway and stops.
     Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?"
     Speedbird 206: "Stand by, ground, I'm looking up the gate location now."
     Ground (with impatience): "Speedbird 206, have you never flown to Frankfurt before?"
     Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, in 1944. But I didn't stop."
     Things look different from the ground than they do in the air(especially when the view from the air has crosshairs that get in the way :-)!  Our perspective makes all the difference in the world.
     Which raises an interesting question -- what is our perspective?
 Do we tend to look at things from an earthly point of view or from a heavenly point of view?
     "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth." (Colossians 3:1-2)
     Erwin W. Lutzer once said that, "Worldliness is excluding God from our lives and, therefore, consciously or unconsciously accepting the values of a man-centered society."  If things in your life aren't looking so good from "ground level", perhaps it will help to take a look at things from a heavenly perspective.
- 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@gmail.com

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Finding Our Father; Knowing Our God - He Is My Peace
by: Bryan McAlister

     God has made Himself known to us!
     If you have taken nothing more from this brief article, please embrace this one truth. Our lives can be filled with great struggles, and there can seem to be from time to time, a lack of understanding shown toward us, by those whom we expect to know us the best, including our God. You surely have experienced uncertainty in your personal life. If you found peace, how did you do that? Was the circumstance removed which brought the uncertainty? Man requires this in order to obtain peace in one’s life. Yet with God, this is not so. Storms do not have to be ceased, calamities of life do not have to be eradicated, sorrows and hurts do not have to be extinguished in order for one’s heart and soul to possess peace, know peace, and find the comfort of peace which is of God.
     Of all that men seek and desire, want and wish for, peace in one’s life is sought more readily than any other aspect one could conceive. Yet, given the pursuit of peace, it still seems to be the one thing which alludes men the most in their lives. Some may seek peace in possessions, but sadly the Lord would call these souls, “fools” (Luke 12:20). Some may seek peace by insisting others never offend them. In their pursuit, they never truly find peace (Romans 12:18). Peace is greatly desired, but possessing it is different than simply desiring.
     Isaiah made Judah a promise. There would come a day when Judah would sing a song throughout their land, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).  This song was to come to Judah during a time when they may have felt like doing anything besides singing.  Isaiah tells Judah of the song which will come, after their captivity has ended, and after their lives are thrown into chaos. “The land shall be entirely emptied and utterly plundered, for the Lord has spoken this word” (Isaiah 24:3). Only God could send a promise of peace in the midst of chaos.
     Notice the unique location of this peace which God would send. This peace did not rest in the emotional core of man. This peace did not make its home in the physical core of man.  Peace did not come as a result of no experience of pain, the absence of conflict, or the presence of trial. The peace which God would send came as a result of a fixed and settled mind.
     “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3). The reason the survivors of captivity could sing, the reason they had to rejoice, was found exclusively in their mind being fixated, consumed, settled, anchored, and stayed on God, the God of peace, the God of strength, the God of refuge, the God of creation, the God who is the Most High.  When our minds are stayed on God, there is a focus. This does not mean we will never again be subject to the threat of worry, or the trouble of anxiety. In fact, just the opposite is true. For those who are burdened heavily by the worries, anxieties, fears, and guilt of life, they now have an anchor, a guide, and a compass, securely pulling them back to focus, God. God establishes peace in His children by reminding them of His power, His control, and the work He accomplishes through His providence and love. “Lord, You will establish peace for us, for You have also done all our works in us” (Isaiah 26:12). Worry, fear, troubles, and pain need not consume us, when our lives are consumed with the guidance of our God through His revealed will, His presence in prayer, and His compassion by His people. Who is God? He is our peace.

- Bryan McAlister preaches for the Centerville church of Christ, in Centerville, TN.  He may be contacted at bryan@centervillechurchofchrist.org or through the congregation’s website: http://www.centervillechurchofchrist.org

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Don't Just Hope
by: David A. Sargent

     A few years ago a man was waiting for a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon.
As he was straining to locate his friend among the passengers leaving the plane, he noticed a man coming toward him carrying two light bags. He watched as the man stopped to greet his family.
     First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he lay down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other's face, the father said, "It's so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!"
     His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, "Me, too, Dad!"
     Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son's face in his hands said, "You're already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!" They too hugged a most loving, tender hug.
     While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one-year-old) was squirming excitedly in her mother's arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, "Hi, baby girl!" as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.
     After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, "I've saved the best for last," and proceeded to give his wife a long, passionate kiss. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed, "I love you so much!" They stared at each other's eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands.
     The bystander then realized how totally engrossed he was in the wonderful display of genuine love beside him. He suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if he were invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear his own voice nervously ask, "Wow!
How long have you two been married?"
     "Been married twelve years," the man replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife's face. "Well, then, how long have you been away?" the bystander asked. "Two whole days!" came the reply...
     TWO DAYS?? The bystander was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, he assumed the man had been gone for at least several weeks, if not months. Almost offhandedly, hoping to end his intrusion with some semblance of grace the bystander said, "I hope MY marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!"
     The man suddenly stopped smiling. He looked the bystander straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into his soul, said something that left the bystander a different person. He said, "Don't hope, friend ... DECIDE!"
     Consider YOUR relationship with God… Some may respond, “Well, I hope I am right with God.  I hope I will go to heaven.”
     LISTEN: Jesus has made it possible for US to be reconciled to God through His death on the cross for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).  We CAN be reconciled to Him through Christ by: believing in Him (Acts 16:30-31), repenting of sin (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Christ (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) in His name for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  He will CONTINUE to cleanse us from sin as long as we CONTINUE to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).
     YOU CAN BE SAVED by the grace of God, -IF- you receive that grace on His terms.  The choice is yours.....
     "Don't hope, friend ... DECIDE!"

- 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: http://www.creekwoodcc.org 
Adapted from Oz Sermon Illustrations -- http://www.ozsermonillustrations.com/frames/choices,_decisions_frameset.htm

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Carried by Four at the Eleventh Hour!
by: Kevin Williams

     “And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house.  Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them. Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you” (Mark 2.1-5).
     While we do not know all of the circumstances surrounding the above text, we do know several things. We know that Jesus not only healed this paralytic, but He also forgave his sins. We know that for him to be healed he had to come to Jesus.  And, we know that in order for him to come to Jesus he had to have help. Furthermore, even though he had help, it was still difficult to get the man to Jesus.  Instead of carrying him right up to Him the four men had to take him up on top of the house, remove part of the roof and let him down on his bed. Now, file that away for the moment.
     “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said to them, You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you. So they went.  Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, Why have you been standing here idle all day? They said to him, Because no one hired us. He said to them, You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive. So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first. And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, saying, These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day’ But he answered one of them and said, Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good? So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen” (Matthew 20.1-16).
     One of the lessons often gleaned from the above parable that Jesus taught concerns salvation. People are saved at various times in life. Some are saved “early in the morning.” Others are saved at various times in their lives. And still others are saved at “about the eleventh hour.” Whether one is saved early, in the middle, or late in life, each one is still saved. Even though they may be improperly resented, and even though they did not come to Christ until late in life, if they are truly converted to Him they will be saved (“the last will be first”).
     Now, let me tell you about a wonderful event last Wednesday afternoon sometime after 5:00 p.m. (by the way, that would be the Jewish 11th hour, their day was 12 hours, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.!).  Ralph Little (Wanda’s husband) expressed his desire to be baptized. Due to his long-time health problems he was wheel-chaired into the building and taken down front to the baptistery. At that point, and throughout the process of baptism, he was not only “carried by four”; but also by five and even six!  And, yes, it was difficult to get him in a chair up into the baptistery, but he made it and he was forgiven! One more interesting tidbit: Brother Ralph is 90 years old! Now you see why the above passages are so pertinent for this occasion. On a personal note, it was truly encouraging to witness two of my elders take his confession and baptize him into Christ at such an advanced time in his life.  And, we are so happy for Wanda, Steve, and all of the family!

- Kevin Williams preaches for the Walnut Grove church of Christ in Benton, KY.  He may be contacted at wgcoc@bellsouth.net

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I’ve Been Working Toward That Day
by: Bill McCormick

     “A good name is better than a good ointment, and the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.” Ecclesiastes 7:1
     The doctor came to his bedside and softly told him they had done all they could. He would die in three to six weeks. The doctor was taken aback by brother Gholson’s calm and even welcoming response to the prognosis. How could he take it so calmly? Brother Gholson’s response: “I’ve been working toward this for the best part of my life.”
     We are encouraged, having put on Christ, to “set our affections on things above not on the earth” (Col.3:1,2). Abraham “looked for a city which has foundations, whose maker and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10). If we have built up our treasure in heaven rather than on earth (Matt. 6:20,21) through faithfully living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4), walking in the light (I John 1:7), we too can face with hope that time appointed to all men (Heb. 9:27). If we live in peace with God, we can die in peace with Him (Psa. 37:37).  

— Bill McCormick; 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 website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com

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Nuggets and Quick Riches
-    misc. goodies this issue


by: Mike Benson, KneEmail Editor

     IT WAS A fog-shrouded morning, July 4, 1952, when a young woman named Florence Chadwick waded into the water off Catalina Island...
    She intended to swim the channel from the island to the California coast. Long-distance swimming was not new to her; she had been the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions. The water was numbing cold that day. The fog was so thick she could hardly see the boats in her party. Several times sharks had to be driven away with rifle fire. She swam more than 15 hours before she asked to be taken out of the water. Her trainer tried to encourage her to swim on since they were so close to land, but when Florence looked, all she saw was fog. So she quit. . . only one-mile from her goal. Later she said, "I'm not excusing myself, but if I could have seen the land I might have made it." It wasn't the cold or fear or exhaustion that caused Florence Chadwick to fail. It was the fog.
     THOUGHT: Many times we too fail, not because we're afraid or because of the peer pressure or because of anything other than the fact that we lose sight of the goal.  By the way, two months after her failure, Florence Chadwick walked off the same beach into the same channel and swam the distance, setting a new speed record, because she could see the land!
     KneEmail: "...I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14).
- Mike Benson edits an on-line devotional entitled KneEmail.  To subscribe, send ANY message to: kneemail-subscribe@welovegod.org  Mike may be contacted at mlbenson@wowway.com

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Humor is the best medicine: He has a plan!

     An exasperated mother, whose son was always getting into mischief, finally asked him, “How do you expect to get into heaven?" The boy thought it over and said, "Well, I'll just run in and out and in and out and keep slamming the door until St Peter says, 'For heaven's sake, Jimmy, come in or stay out!'"

- via The Lantern, the weekly bulletin of the Highway church of Christ, Sullivan, IL  Ron Thomas serves as preacher and elder.  He may be contacted at rthomas1@one-eleven.net or via the congregation's website: http://highwaycofc.com/sullivan/

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The Shepherd Psalm
The Lord is my Shepherd—that’s a Relationship!
I shall not want—that’s a Supply!
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures—that’s a Rest!
He leadeth me beside the still waters—that’s a Refreshment!
He restoreth my soul—that’s Healing!
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness—that’s Guidance!
For His name sake—that’s Purpose!
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death—that’s Testing!
I will fear no evil—that’s Protection!
For Thou art with me—that’s Faithfulness!
Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me—that’s Discipline!
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies—that’s Hope!
Thou anointest my head with oil—That’s Consecration!
My cup runneth over—that’s Abundance!
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life—that’s Blessing!
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord—that’s Security!
Forever—that’s Eternity!

-Selected; 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.com  You may also visit their website at http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

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Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

     There are two days in every week that we should not worry about, two days that should be kept free from fear and apprehension.
     One of them is YESTERDAY, with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed, forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed. Nor can we erase a single word we’ve said--yesterday is gone (Psa. 90:4).
     The other day we shouldn’t worry about is TOMORROW, with its impossible adversaries, its burden, its hopeful promise and poor performance. Tomorrow is beyond our control. If God wills, tomorrow’s sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds--but it will rise. And until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is yet unborn. For you do not know what a day may bring forth (Pro. 27:1; Matt. 6:34; Jas. 4:14).
     This leaves only one day--TODAY. A person can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when we add the burdens of yesterday and tomorrow that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives people mad--it is the remorse of bitterness for
something which happened yesterday, and the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us, therefore live but one day at a time!  “Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts...” (Heb. 3:7-8).

- Selected; via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL.  You may visit their website at http://www.harrisburgchurchofchrist.org

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue


by: Bess Samuel Ayres

When sailing through the storms of doubt,
Discouragement, or pain,
I shall not fear the lashing wind,
Nor fury of the rain.

Three anchors hold my little craft;
I tested them with care;
There's one of faith, and one of hope,
And one of daily prayer.

With these to hold my ship secure,
What danger can betide,
I know that I shall reach at last
A harbor safe and wide.

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He Is Mine
by: Sancie Earman King

Whenever crushing be my cares,
I take God's loving hand;
Who walks beside me day by day
And fully understands.

For his dear hand, which strengthening
Be, is always kept in mine;
Because He's won my contrite heart
And truly is He mine!

The love of God, who is my forte,
Means more to me each day;
And just because He's always near,
He hears me when I pray!

So sweet this fellowship with God,
That I can scarce explain;
Just what it means to me, His child,
Because His grace I've gained!

So even when the skies are dark
And sunlight I can't see;
I still can see God's loving face,
Who is the whole of me.

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Great is God's Mercy
by: Louise Pinkerton Fritz

Great and merciful is our Lord,
A gracious God is He;
His mercies are new every morning,
They're there for you and me.
So often we fail our Savior
As onward through life we go
But if we will ask Him for mercy,
Mercy to us He'll show.

God says He is rich in mercy
And mercy so oft' we need.
Toward each and all those who fear Him
His mercy is great, indeed.
'Twas according to His mercy
He saved us, made us new;
Since merciful is our Father,
May we be merciful, too.

- Submitted by Mark McWhorter.  Mark may be contacted at mtmcvb@concentric.net

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No Worries
H. L. Gradowith

I've no time to worry about what I've not
I'm too busy praising Him for what I've got...
Like the sunshine around me; the honey bees;
The shade of an oak tree; an afternoon breeze;
The birds when they're singing; the fish when they bite;
The rest that's so welcome when day turns to night...
I’ve no time to worry about what I've not
I’m too busy praising Him for what I've got...
Like a kiss from my wife when the day is through,
Or a smile or a touch or an, “I love you”...
A “good morning, daddy,” starts my day off right,
It ends with, “Sleep tight! Don't let the bedbugs bite!”
I’ve no time to worry about what I've not
I’m too busy praising Him for what I've got...
Like the Blood He shed on the old, rugged cross,
Or the peace that comes from counting all things loss;
For the One Who loved me and died on the tree
That I from my many sins might be set free!

- 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

For a small reward, a man will hurry away on a long journey; while for eternal life, many will hardly take a single step.

- via Hillcrest church of Christ, Baldwyn, MS.  Visit their website at http://thelordsway.com/hillcrestms

Our Lord has written the promise of the Resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime (Martin Luther).

Nature is too thin a screen; the glory of the omnipresent God bursts through everywhere (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

There is something definitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter (Rachel Carson).

In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous (Aristotle).

- Decatur (IL) Tribune; 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.com  You may also visit their website at http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

Sin pays!   What it pays is death.

- 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

Aspire to inspire before you expire.

Let thy hope of heaven master thy fear of death (William Gurnall, The Christian In Complete Armour; 1665).

We all want to go to heaven, but nobody wants to do what it takes to get there (Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes).

God has two dwellings:  one in heaven, and the other in a meek and thankful heart (Izaak Walton).

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