Join us on Facebook

Monday, January 18, 2021

If the Devil Had a Social Media Account

By Adam Faughn

    Just a few years ago, we never could have imagined having such a resource as social media. Although email was a big deal, the reach and impact of such sites as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is nothing short of remarkable. None of these sites is good or bad in themselves, but how they are used decides the proper use of them.
    Knowing this I just wonder how it would look if our enemy, the devil (1 Peter 5:8), opened an account. I wonder what would populate his social media feed. Here are some possible things he might share with the world:
  • I imagine he would share things that might not be true but that simply prove his point. After all, he is the father of lies (John 8:44), so why would it matter if what he shared wasn't "fully" true?
  • I imagine he would share things that made people think less of each other instead of things that built others up. He might even do so through subtle or innocent-sounding comments, so as not to be obvious in what he is trying to do.
  • I imagine he would find it helpful to chime in on virtually every big event, news story and movement, trying to make sure people know how right he was and how he always looks so righteous. That way, people would be drawn to him as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14)
  • I imagine he would share things that promote shows, movies, music, books, and games that aren't "that bad" but that contain some level of questionable morality. After all, if he can tempt us with just something little and get us hooked with the plotline or cool characters or great beat, he can slip in a little darker material soon enough (and, who knows, maybe we will even promote it ourselves).
  • I imagine he would share things that constantly show how awful the world is, so we would distrust virtually anyone who is not just like me. And he would consider it a bonus if he could get Christians to distrust each other because then they will not work together to save souls. They would be too busy arguing among themselves about politics or economic matters or other news items for all the world to see.
  • I imagine he would share things that are snarky, sarcastic, and cutting, just to see if he can get under people's skin, especially if it is over an issue that is multifaceted. However much he can get people to not think and, instead, just react, his job gets far easier. And, if they react with other cutting and sarcastic comments, it becomes even easier.
  • I imagine he would share things that, in the long run, do not matter. After all, he does not have to get Christians to hold sinful positions; he just has to keep them distracted from their real work of preaching the Gospel to the whole world.
    I do not follow the devil on social media, but I do have my own personal accounts. Have I, in the things I share and the way I interact, given my enemy a voice to do his work through my social media?

"When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent." (Proverbs 10:19)
- Adam Faughn preaches for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org Visit the Faughn Family blog, A Legacy of Faith.


Simon the Samaritan Sorcerer

By Joe Slater

    Obeying the gospel doesn’t make you immune from temptation. The case of Simon the Samaritan Sorcerer clearly illustrates the life-long tug-of-war between sin and righteousness, pride and humility, faithfulness and disloyalty.
    All we know about Simon from Scripture comes from Acts 8:9-24. Before hearing the gospel from Philip, Simon practiced sorcery (literally “magic” – not cute tricks like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, but occult magic). Simon proudly claimed to be someone great, and the astonished people of Samaria proclaimed that he was “the great power of God” (8:10).
    When Simon saw Philip performing real miracles, he grasped the difference between true miracles and the fraudulent ones he had used to deceive people. Having heard Philip preaching the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, Simon humbled himself enough to believe and submit to baptism (immersion) (Acts 8:13).
    Satan wasn’t finished with Simon, though. When the apostles Peter and John came, Simon saw them laying their hands on the new Christians to impart supernatural gifts. He offered the apostles money if they would enable him to give miraculous gifts through the laying on of his own hands (8:18-19). His prideful craving to be seen as someone great had returned!
    Peter rebuked Simon, telling him to repent and pray for forgiveness (8:20-22). Note that he didn’t tell him to be immersed for the remission of sins again; nor did he tell him that he had never been saved in the first place. Simon humbled himself and pleaded with Peter to pray for him (8:24).
    We aren’t immune from temptation. When we yield to it, then we, like Simon, must repent and pray.
- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com


Blessings and COVID-19

By Joseph D. Chase

    These days seem filled with trouble. Job said, “Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). We have seen COVID-19 take the lives and good health away from loved ones and friends. Many homes and much property were destroyed by wildfires. We have seen cities across our nation ravaged by violence. We have even witnessed the hallowed halls of our nations capital building attacked by rioters. These things have not been seen in our country in our lifetimes.
    Many people are saying that our world is coming to and end and the Day of Judgment is soon to come. I don’t know if that is true because the Bible says, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Matthew 24:36). Certainly, we all should be using these dreary and unsettling days to warn men of the day when the Lord will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31).
    However, don’t let your heart be troubled for, “he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). God knows how to rescue the godly from trials (2 Peter 2:9). Jesus still loves us and is providing His grace to all who will come to Him. It is time for us all to lean fully upon our faith in the Lord, that in every hardship there is a blessing. “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).
    Let us all lift our heads, hearts and voices in that old hymn by J.P. Webster,

To our bountiful Father above,
We will offer our tribute of praise
For the glorious gift of His love
And the blessings that hallow our days.

And let us pray as the Psalmist did,
Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants! Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil. (Psalm 90:13-15).
- Joseph D. Chase serves the North Loop Church of Christ in Gladewater, TX. He may be contacted through their website: http://northloopcoc.com/


Longing for Home

By Joe Chesser

    Longing for home. We all know the feeling. We plan a vacation for months, excitedly detailing each day’s activities. We can’t sleep the night before we leave because we are so anxious to get started. We are having a wonderful time, but invariably somewhere along the way our thoughts begin to turn toward home. Vacations are fun, but it’s not home. It’s nice to go camping or stay in a hotel on the beach, but it’s not home. How often have you said and heard, “It’s great to get away, but it’s sure good to be back home.” Why? Because home is where we belong, where life is most genuine and fulfilling.
    It’s great to have company over the holidays. It’s great to have family visit for several days. But I’ve often thought, “It was sure great to see them come, but it’s also great to see them go.” Why? Longing for home as it is meant to be.
    I believe the Apostle Paul might have been in that frame of mind when he wrote 2 Corinthians 5. In a sense, our life on earth can be compared to going on a vacation. We live in temporary housing. There is much to do, much to experience and enjoy, but it’s not like being home. The older we get, the nearer we come to ending our vacation here on earth, the more we long for home. At least that’s the way Paul describes it for Christians.
    In 2 Corinthians 5:1-9 Paul speaks of life as being in an “earthly tent.” Yet, while in this tent, we “long to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling.” ... “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.” ... “Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
    Sometimes we are enjoying our vacation so much that we don’t want to go home. We don’t even want to think of home. Instead, we long to stay another day or week. We may even wish for our vacation to be permanent. That’s what Satan is wanting us to believe about vacation here on earth. He wants us to long for a few more days here more than longing to be at home with the Lord.
    That’s why we are to walk by faith, not by sight. Do you “prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord”? Does your faith allow you to see that the heavenly dwelling is so much better than this present tent? Are you longing for home? Then make it your goal to be pleasing to Him (2 Corinthians 5:9).
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted at joeandareva@yahoo.com


The Family Name You Carry

By Ron Thomas

    Ephesians 1:3-14 is one sentence in the Greek New Testament (as the New English Translation Bible study note tells us). Thus, trying to get a handle on understanding is not always easy. Through the years I have worked on trying to summarize Paul’s point. I think I have something that may be helpful (I hope anyway). Paul wrote his letter to the saints (Christians) in Ephesus. He reminded them of their privileged status because of God’s grace. Consequently, they are to remember this.
    In summary, here is what they are to remember: Since all (1) spiritual blessings are in Christ, we are reminded by Paul that those who are in Christ (2) are chosen to be holy and blameless. This mean that each Christian is to make a concerted effort to live after the pattern of Christ (Gal. 2:20). This does not allow us to “go to church” and be a part of the congregation and do whatever it is we want to do that is not patterned after Christ. There are way too many people who are Christian in name but not in the way they choose to live life (cf. Luke 6:46). Because we are in Christ and are chosen to be holy and blameless, the Lord (3) adopted us as His children, which brings responsibilities with the family name we carry. If a family member soils (desecrates) your family name, how do you respond to this? With resignation? The Lord doesn’t. It was Peter who wrote, “...but like as he who called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living; because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16). Remember your name.
- Ron Thomas preacher for the Sunrush Church of Christ, Chillicothe, OH. He may be contacted through the congregation's website. http://sunrushchurchofchrist.com/


Monday, January 11, 2021

BulletinGold on Facebook

BulletinGold has undergone some changes with the start of 2021. With the close of YahooGroups the newsletter can not be sent out via e-mail. So please bookmark this page and check back at the first of each month to see the most recent newsletter. And you might want to check back more frequently as I plan to post five new entries each Monday.
Also, I have set up a BulletinGold Facebook page where new items will be posted on a weekly basis. As part of the Facebook page I have started a BulletinGold Facebook Group were the full monthly newsletter will also be posted. You can join this group and not miss a single issue.

The Most Valuable Book

By David A. Sargen
 
    Paul Batura has a friend named Ben that owns a bookstore in Colorado Springs.  The bookstore, which features used books, is called 2 Buck Books.
    Explaining to Batura where he obtained the books in his shop, Ben said, “All of these things come from the boxes of books people bring in — you’d be amazed what you find.”
    “Ever find anything really valuable?” Batura asked him.
    “My old colleague, Sandy, once took in a big box of books, most likely from an estate sale.  It contained a Bible,” Ben replied.
    “A valuable Bible?” Batura asked.
    “Once she opened it up, she realized it was hollowed out — and it contained $2,000.”
    “I think Sandy tried to find out the owner, but never did,” Ben added.
    Reflecting on his conversation with Ben, Batura wrote: “I’ve been thinking about the person who brought those books to Ben’s store, never realizing that the Bible had $2,000 in cash inside — because he or she never bothered to even crack the cover of the most powerful and most important book ever written.  A book that has changed countless lives for the better.”*
    The Bible is “the most powerful and most important book ever written” because it is the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Through His Word, God reveals Who He is, what He has done and will do, and what He expects of us.  In the Bible we learn of God’s great power and His great love.  We learn that God loves us so much that He gave His one and only Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16; 1 Peter 2:24).  God’s Word teaches us that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
    John Fawcett wrote these lyrics in 1782 extolling the value of God’s Word:

How precious is the Book Divine,
By inspiration given!
Bright as a lamp its doctrines shine
To guide our souls to heaven.

It's light, descending from above
Our gloomy world to cheer,
Displays a Savior's boundless love
And brings his glories near.

It shows to man his wandering ways
And where his feet have trod,
And brings to view the matchless grace
Of a forgiving God.

This lamp through all the tedious night
Of life shall guide our way
Till we behold the clearer light
Of an eternal day.

    God’s Word teaches us that He will save those who place their faith and trust in Christ (Acts 16:30-31), turn from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  God will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7-9).
    Paul Batura has a great recommendation: “So if you have a Bible in your house, open it up. You might just be surprised what you find inside. And you might never be the same afterward.”
- 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

* Information gleaned from “An old Bible held a shocking surprise that turned out to be an enriching experience” by Paul Batura, www.foxnews.com.