Monday, August 31, 2009

On Priorities

By H. L. Gradowith

We plan and we work and we scrimp and we save,
It is thus from our youth clean on to the grave;
There's so little time and we've so much to do,
Why, sometimes it seems that we'll never get through!
We're told, "Early to bed and early to rise."
Is sure to make us "healthy, wealthy and wise;"
But I've lived long enough to see that's not true!
Well, it's not been for me, I don't know 'bout you.
I've known good men who worked hard and did their best.
Some were young and poor as they were laid to rest.
It's good advice that I've followed all along,
I'm not knocking it, so please don't take me wrong;
But if you follow it, there's no guarantee
That healthy, wealthy and wise is how you'll be.
I've known lazy men who seemed to manage well.
Just how they did it, well, I never could tell.
But one thing, yes one thing, happened to them all:
Ev'ry one of them had to answer death's call!
We plan and we work and we scrimp and we save
And for what? For we all end up in a grave!
And the buzzard who's ever circling the sky
Neither plans, nor works, nor scrimps, nor saves; and why?
For in time he'll get his - that's just nature's way,
I guess, in a sense, that's how he draws his pay.
Now, why do we worry about money so?
We leave it behind when we die, don't you know?
Somewhere there's reserved an heavenly treasure
With riches and blessings beyond all measure!
Let's spend more time thinking about going there
Than our troubles and trials, complaints and cares.
I've heard the pretty words the ministers said,
But no matter how pretty, the man's still dead!
So live while you may, and always do your best;
And remember: some day you'll be laid to rest.
Then what you have will give way to who you are,
(Over there, money won't get you very far!)
You'll stand in the presence of Jesus, the King,
And long for just one thing, yes, only one thing:
For Him to look at you and lovingly say,
"Enter in, for your sins have been washed away!"
Then, whether in life you were wealthy or poor,
Or cute or ugly, won't matter anymore.
Who liked you and who you liked won't matter then,
Only whether or not you died in your sins.
The buzzard, though ugly, has something to say:
"Your time will surely come, all men die someday!"
It's not a matter of "if," for you will die;
The question is, "Have you a home in the sky?"
O, my friend, now's the time for you to prepare!
Don't you want to be with the faithful up there?
Life is so uncertain; O, why do you wait?
When death overtakes you it will be too late.
Come, O Come, for the Master's Table is spread;
It will be too late when your body lies dead.

- H. L. Gradowith For more information on H. L. Gradowith and GRADOWITH POEMS e-mail group visit - the website of Tim Smith, minister of the Enon church of Christ in Webb, AL

Monday, August 24, 2009


by Bob Spurlin

Doubt and fear have caused many, including Christians, to fail in completing their responsibilities to almighty God. The word “doubt” suggests fear, confusion, and a lack of faith. Jesus often reprimanded his disciples for the doubt and fear that hindered their service to the Lord. One of the original disciples chosen, Peter, began walking on the water when suddenly he began to drown. This disciple of Jesus cried for help as he began to fall in the sea and Jesus reached out his hand to save Peter. Jesus punctuated the cure for fear and doubt as he stated to Peter, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt” (Mt. 14:31). This disciple of Jesus cried for help because there was an anemic faith in his life. Is it any surprise the disciples asked, “Lord, increase our faith” (Luke 17:5).

“Faith is the Victory,” an old gospel hymn, shows God’s formula in surviving the doubts and difficulties faced in a faithless world. From the writings of Hebrews come the words, “Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him” (Hebrews 11:6). The result of Peter sinking into the sea and the Lord saving him from this near tragic episode was the rebuke for his lack of faith. Overcoming doubt is a difficult chore and needs complete trust in the Creator of all things. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). This indispensable item comes through the word of God (Romans 10:17), and one grows in measure to our enthusiasm, and spiritual enlightenment (II Peter 1: 3-8). Three inescapable results come from an increased faith:

1. A CERTAIN STATE OF OPTIMISM WOULD RULE OUR LIVES. The more faith we have in God, the more cheerful and positive the outlook we will have in life. Faith in God will enable us to launch in waters of responsibility and challenge the impossible. Peter and his resourceful fishing partners labored throughout the night and caught nothing. Jesus said, “Launch out into the deep,” and this group of fishermen responded by faith resulting in the two ships overflowing as the multitude of fishes caused both vessels to sink (Luke 5:1-11). What great faith Peter and his partners had and performed the impossible. Also, Paul working in Troas had a vision in the night; a man begging him to come over in Macedonia to help them (preach the gospel) Acts 16:9. The faithful Paul immediately went to the land of Macedonia believing God wanted him to go and preach the gospel to these people (Acts 16:10).

The faith of the early Christians gave them an optimism that would realize the impossible, even evangelizing the world (Acts 17:6; Colossians 1:23). Someone has said that optimism is a person taking the cold water thrown on his ideas and the fires of his enthusiasm produces the heat to perform the unattainable. Remember success comes in “cans” not in “cant’s.” The promises of God will produce an optimism filling every child of God. We can rely on the Lord’s commands to be genuine without fear (Hebrews 13:6). Let us all remember the familiar words of Paul, “I can do all through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13).

2. WE WILL DILIGENTLY SEARCH FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO DO GOOD. Matthew chapter 26 reveals two separate people looking for an opportunity. Mary was searching for the opportunity to anoint Jesus head with an alabaster box of fine anointment. When Mary finished anointing the Savior’s head the disciples spoke out with resentment toward her stating that it was a “waste.” Jesus rebuked these disciples saying, “Why trouble ye the woman? For she hath wrought a good work on me” (Matthew 26:6-10). Often we see those criticized for doing a good work when we should encourage such a deed. Let us always have our eyes opened to do well (Matthew 9:36-38).

Judas Iscariot “sought opportunity to betray him” (Jesus), and met secretly with the chief priests consummating the wicked deed for thirty pieces of silver (Mt. 26:14-16). Tradition reveals that this price of betrayal was the cost of a common slave. Satan looks for every opportunity to exploit the weakness of his prey. Judas had his weak points and Satan knew how to take advantage of his victim. Judas like Mary had the freedom of choice as one sought the good while the other looked for the evil.

Among an evil society with standards of right and wrong becoming blurred we desperately need the saving gospel more than ever (John 4:35). We must open our eyes and like Paul, “As we have the opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). Obeying the Great Commission involves devoted followers of the Lamb who will teach those that are sick in sin (Acts 5:42).

God’s people face a great opportunity with those needing our help. Souls lost in the sea of sin need the lifeline of the gospel by public and private teaching. Giving strength and encouragement to the weak and fainthearted serves those needing our support (Eph. 3:13; Gal. 6:9). Let us not fail to supply help for the sick, needy, poor, widows, and orphans (James 1:27; Mt. 25:34-36). Pray that our God will give us more faith to recognize our unlimited opportunities. Someone has given the following equation: potential + opportunity = responsibility. Study the equation carefully and search diligently for opportunities to serve.

3. WE CAN OVERCOME THE WORLD BY FAITH. The Bible tells us “Satan is the prince of this world” (John 12:31). Defeating the enemy of truth is possible through the “shield of faith.” Among the defensive weapons available to the Christian soldier Paul writes, “Above all, take the shield of faith, where with ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16). Let us never forget that Satan is the most cunning, subtle creature of all-time described as “deceiver of the world” (Revelation 12:9). We can overcome the world as John the apostle said, “Ye are of God, little children, because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4). Christians must “Fight the good fight of the faith” if we would overcome the world (I Timothy 6:12).

John provides encouragement to the faithful in Revelation 7. The multitudes wearing white garments came through the power of an obedient faith. To transform Saul of Tarsus to Paul the missionary comes from a deep faith in Christ. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). An enduring faith in God will give us the power to overcome the difficulties and trials we may experience. Regardless of the trials and suffering thrust on us having our name on the Lamb’s book of life will become the victory for which we yearn. This is the supreme blessing of an enlarged faith.

- Bob Spurlin, the "horizontal" preacher, has been bedridden with Multiple Sclerosis for a number of years, yet continues to faithfully serve his Lord through a number of avenues, most notably his writing. In addition to his website,, you may contact Bob via his email: (©2000-2006 BOB SPURLIN).

Monday, August 17, 2009

How Much Time

By Ronald Bartanen

How much time does it take to read from Genesis to Revelation? If you would read the Bible at standard pulpit speed (slow enough to be heard and understood), reading time would be 71 hours. If you would break that down into minutes and divide it into 365 days you could read the entire Bible, cover to cover, in only 12 minutes a day.

Is this really too much time to spend reading about God? (Source: The Almanac of the Christian World, 1991-1991, p. 225)

A Bible-reading schedule is on the literature table, and posted on our website.

- Ronald Bartanen preaches for Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. He may be contacted at or via the congregation's website at

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bible Brain Twister (solution)

One of our subscribers has inquired regarding the Bible Brain Twister in the August issue of BulletinGold. It is not so diffucult to discover 16, but the 17th seems to be more camouflaged. So I searched online to find the following solution ...

Bible Brain Twister (solution)

I once made a remark about the hidden books of the Bible. It was a lulu, kept people looking so hard for facts, and for others it was a revelation. Some were in ajam, especially since the names of the books are not capitalized, but the truthfinally struck home to numbers of readers. To others, it was a real job. We want it to be a most fascinating few moments for you. Yes, there will be some really easy ones to spot. Others may require judges to help them. I will quickly admit it usually takes a minister to find one of the 17, and there will be loud lamentations when it is found. A little lady says she brews a cup of tea so she can concentrate better. See how well you can compete. Relax now, for there really are the names of 17 books of the Bible in these sentences. One preacher found 16 books in 20 minutes. It took him three weeks to find the seventeenth one.

The elusive 17th book is the word "preacher," which is technically the English translation of the the Hebrew title of the book Ecclesiastes.

I am interested in any insight other subscribers may have regarding the puzzle and possible solutions.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Biblical Scholar

A nice girl brings home her fiancé to meet her parents. After dinner, her mother tells her father to find out about the young man. He invites the fiancé to his study for a chat.

"So, what are your plans?" the father asks the fiancé.

"I am a Biblical scholar," he replies.

"A Biblical scholar. Admirable, but what will you do to provide a nice house for my daughter to live in, as she's accustomed to?"

"I will study," the young man replies, "...and God will provide for us."

"And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring, such as she deserves?"

"I will concentrate on my studies, God will provide for us."

"And children? How will you support children?"

"Don't worry, sir, God will provide."

The conversation proceeds like this, and each time the father questions, the fiancé insists that God will provide.

Later, the mother asks, "So? How did it go?"

"He has no job and no plans, but the good news is he thinks I'm God."

Kevin Rayner preaches for the Highland church of Christ, Tecumseh, OK. He may be contacted through the congregation’s website:

Monday, August 3, 2009

Burglar and Preacher

A burglar broke into a minister's house and told him, "One move and you're dead. I'm looking for money."

The preacher replied, "Hang on, let me get a light and I'll help you."

--Adapted from Cybersalt Digest

- 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 - You may also visit their website at