Monday, July 26, 2010

Extra Quotes

"If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants," Sir Isaac Newton observed.

- Count Your Blessings, Gregory Alan Tidwell, Gospel Advocate, February 2010, 14 (

"In films murders are always very clean. I show how difficult it is and what a messy thing it is to kill a man." -- Alfred Hitchcock (1899 - 1980)

It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power. David Brin

Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices - just recognize them. (Edward R. Muggow).

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith. (Franklin Delano Roosevelt).

But what happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads? (Albert Camus).

Your success and happiness lie in you ... Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties. (Helen Keller).

Cherish all your happy moments: they make a fine cushion for old age. (Booth Tarkington).

Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else. (Will Rogers).

There are no grades of vanity, there are only grades of ability in concealing it. (Mark Twain).

Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking. (Henry Louis Mencken)

My Soul…

By Trevor Tattersall

I once wondered why I seemed to have not much at all
even though I had answered the gospel call.
The things which others had, seemed so nice and good;
they told me what I had to do was get it any way I could.
I then asked God to give me something that was better than all that;
He said “Your soul’s already been saved” - which was a gracious act.
I then realized that my soul was truly of more worth
than all the things which you can get while you are on this earth.
I thanked God for my soul and that I am saved,
and the path to heaven is already paved.
Then the things of the earth seemed to fade away;
and I looked forward (when it comes) to that Judgment Day.
And I know that finally when death takes its toll;
that the thing that will live on is my saved soul.

- Trevor Tattersall (fourteen-year-old son of Glen and Kuin Tattersall, missionaries in Tasmania; via The Central Message, the weekly bulletin of the Central church of Christ in Paducah KY. Jim Faughn serves as an elder and preacher for the congregation. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at :

The Blessing of Faithfulness

By Derrick Coble

"One stormy night an elderly couple entered the lobby of a small hotel and asked for a room. The clerk said they were filled, as were all the hotels in town. 'But I can't send a fine couple like you out in the rain,' he said. 'Would you be willing to sleep in my room?' The couple hesitated, but the clerk insisted. The next morning when the man paid his bill, he said, 'You're the kind of man who should be managing the best hotel in the United States. Someday I'll build you one.' The clerk smiled politely. A few years later the clerk received a letter from the elderly man, recalling that stormy night and asking him to come to New York. A round-trip ticket was enclosed. When the clerk arrived, his host took him to the corner of 5th Avenue and 34th Street, where stood a magnificent new building. 'That,' explained the man, 'is the hotel I have built for you to manage.' The man was William Waldorf Astor, and the hotel was the original Waldorf-Astoria. The young clerk, George C. Boldt, became its first manager."

Faithfulness in the smallest things leads to rewards beyond the imagination. Note the promises of the Scriptures: "A faithful man shall abound with blessings" (Proverbs 28:20a) . . ."He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much" (Luke 16:10) . . . "His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord" (Matthew25:23). Faithfulness is moral fidelity, trustworthiness, and firm belief. God is faithful in all things (Hebrews 10:23) and expects no less from His saints (Revelation 2:10).

In other words, God wants everyone to live RIGHT. Dan Winkler has observed that means one must live by God's Revelation (2 Tim. 3:16,17), minding one's Influence (Matthew 5:16), giving God Glory (1 Corinthians 10:31), looking forward to Heaven (Philippians 3:14), and Trusting God by acting in obedient faith (Hebrews 11:6). Of course, the blessings that result from the "right" life are numerous. This is evidenced clearly in the life of "faithful Abraham" (Galatians 3:9).

First, he lived faithfully by God's revelation in leaving his home behind in search of a better country (Genesis 12:1-3; Hebrews 11:16). Can we honestly say that we are fully obedient to God's revealed will? The attitude of the bumper sticker should stick with us, "God said it, I believe it, that settles it." Second, he thought of his influence as he was circumcised at ninety-nine years old and kept the covenant with God by enforcing this command for all males in his house (Genesis 17:23-27; 21:4). Our influence in faithfulness is a great blessing to others in leading them to righteousness (Proverbs 4:11). Third, Abraham glorified God by respecting Him, magnifying, Him and honoring Him. He did not receive the glory but he gave it all to God (Romans 4:1-3).

Likewise, faithfulness will cause us to glorify God with our minds, attitudes, worship, and good works (Psalm 29:2). Fourth, Abraham "looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Hebrews 11:10). Every Christian who walks in faithfulness knows that there is a home awaiting beyond this life (2 Corinthians 5:1).

Finally, faithful Abraham trusted God in one of the most trying moments in his life. "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure" (Hebrews 11:17-19). Faithfulness demands a firm belief that God is able to perform what He says (Romans 4:21). God has promised a crown of life to all the faithful that love Him even through difficult times (James 1:12). With all this in mind, let us consider our own faithfulness in comparison to Abraham. Let us consider the blessings that will be ours if only we endure to the end (Revelation 2:10)!

- via The Contender, the weekly bulletin published by the Walnut Grove church of Christ in Benton, KY. Kevin Williams preaches for the congregation. He may be contacted at

An Inheritance Awaits!

By David A. Sargent

An old legend tells of an old lonely man who, one cold dark night, wandered along the Rhine River. Thinly dressed and half-starved, he noticed a huge mansion brightly lit. As he came nearer, he could see the warm fire burning in the fireplace, the table laden with food, and he could hear the music as it floated out on the breezes of the night. Driven by hunger and cold, he knocked upon the door to beg for shelter for the night. An old servant answered the door and through the weathered face recognized the long lost heir to the mansion and estate. Here was a man wandering without any idea that he would be warmed, filled with food, and comfortable because he suddenly became quite wealthy. *

Similarly, many wander through life not realizing that each of us can become an heir to an ETERNAL inheritance that is more valuable than anything on earth!

Unfortunately, due to our sin we are unfit and unqualified to receive the inheritance. In fact, our sin condemns us to eternal destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).

But God loves us so much that He gave His only Son to die on the cross for our sins so that we might have forgiveness of our sins (Colossians 1:14) and be made “heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7).

The Apostle Peter wrote about this inheritance that awaits Christians:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” 1 Peter 1:3-4

YOU can become a child of God and a co-heir with Christ (Romans 8:16-17), if you will place your faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be born again in baptism (immersion) for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; cf. John 3:3-5). Then, if you will follow Him faithfully (Revelation 2:10), one day you will receive the inheritance that He longs to give to you.

Because of Jesus, YOU can become a heir to an ETERNAL inheritance “that can never perish, spoil or fade.” God has something wonderful FOR YOU –IF- you will only accept it on His terms.

Won’t YOU?

- 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:

* Gene Cloer,

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Good Gossip"

By Dan Williams

"It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth" - 3 John 1:3-4

While attending a conference at Harding University last March I ran into someone from another city who recognized me, came over, and made a point of telling me about a young lady who grew up in this church family who was now a member of his congregation. He could not say enough good things about this young lady and her faithful service to God.

When I returned to El Dorado I promptly passed along his comments to the young lady's parents, who were understandably gratified to receive this positive report.

Not long after that two of our members separately came to me to relay comments that were made about our congregation by people in our community. One of our members told me she was working in a shop downtown when one of her customers asked:

"Do they teach about loving one another out of the pulpit there at College Avenue? That is one of the most loving churches I know anywhere. And another thing: you always have so many people there on Wednesday nights. What are you folks doing?"

Another of our members passed along this comment she heard from one of our worship guests:

"I have visited a lot of churches, and your church shows more love than any other place I have ever visited. I can tell you really are a family here."

In both cases these individuals were eager to pass on what they had heard. Receiving those positive reports caused me to reflect. There is a saying, "Bad news travels fast," but why only bad? Why can't we be as eager to pass along, and to receive, positive comments we have overheard? Can there be such a thing as "good gossip"?

Some Christians may be reluctant to repeat good reports about their brothers because they are afraid of making them proud or of causing others to be jealous. The apostle John, however, was glad to brag on Demetrius, saying he "is well spoken of by everyone - and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true" – 3 John 1:12

The Bible urges us to speak an encouraging word to our brothers and sisters (Ephesians 4:29; Proverbs 12:25) and yet all too often we wait until someone is dead before we openly commend their good qualities. I am reminded of the wry observation of humorist Garrison Keillor: "They say such nice things about people at their funerals that it makes me sad to realize that I'm going to miss mine by just a few days."

So go ahead and "gossip" – good gossip! When you know something good about your
brother, pass it along. If you appreciate someone, tell them so. As the old poem says:

If with pleasure you are viewing
Any work a brother's doing;
If you like him or you love him,
Tell him now!

Don't withhold your approbation
Till the parson's grave oration
As he lies with snowy lilies
O'er his brow.

Makes no matter how you shout it
He won't really care about it -
He won't know how many teardrops
You have shed.

More than fame and more than money
Is the comment, kind and sunny,
And the unmistaken handshake
Of a friend.

If you think some praise is due him
Now's the time to tell it to him -
For he cannot read his tombstone
Once he's dead.

- Dan Williams, El Dorado, Arkansas; 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:

"Sandwich" It in!

By Adam Faughn

Many of you can agree with this statement: "There is always something else to do." When we go to bed at night, we do so knowing there is something we didn't accomplish that day.

As Christians, there is always another person to encourage or teach. We always could read and study more of our Bible, or we could always spend a little more time in prayer and devotion. There is always another lesson to apply.

Amazingly, though, we often leave all of that out of our daily routine. While we known (as the song states), "There is much to do, there's work on every hand," we often put our relationship with God on hold while we finish other tasks.

It is commonplace for us to complete our tasks for our occupation while not taking a few moments to read God's Word each day. It is the usual practice for us to make sure our homes are clean and that we are caught up on laundry and bills, without ever thinking about taking a few minutes to pray.

This article is not meant to cause guilt; rather, it is meant to show us that there is time to do both! There are many times in each day when we have "free" time, but we nearly always devote that time to activities other than those dealing with God. I've told many folks, even if you'll just read the Bible for 5 minutes on your lunch break, you'll be amazed at the difference it makes in your life! That's just one simple suggestion; there are many other times when you could "sandwich" in some time with God.

Could you rise 10 minutes earlier? How about stay up 15 minutes later? Could you take a Bible to work and read on your breaks? How about listening to sermons in the car?

After some time, you'll find you want more and more time in these efforts, so start making the time now.

- via the weekly bulletin of the Lebanon Road church of Christ in Nashville, TN. Adam Faughn serves as the pulpit minister for the congregation, and he may be contacted through the congregation’s website at:

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Refiner of Silver

Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining Silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.

The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?"

He smiled at her and answered, "Oh that's easy--when I see my image in it."

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

- 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 through the congregation's website:

For Your Soul

By Paul L. McElroy

Jesus of Nazareth died for You, "and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." (1 Jn. 2:2). It is by His blood that You may be forgiven of your sins. "The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!" (John 1:29).
It does not matter how bad you have been, only that you are now willing to turn from your unrighteousness and submit to Lord’s will. (Acts 3:19, Heb. 5:9, Acts 2:38).

For people to be saved, They must hear the gospel. The apostle Paul said, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (Rom. 1:16). It is by the power of the gospel that a person may be born again. (1 Pet. 1:22-25). So, the gospel must be declared and is the reason why Jesus commands us to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." (Mark 16:15).

- Paul L. McElroy preaches for the Columbia church of Christ on Broad Street in Columbia, MS. Paul may be contacted at

Monday, July 5, 2010

To Obey Is Better

By Kevin Williams

Would anyone argue that there are no sacrifices involved in the practices of those in various religious institutions throughout the world? On the contrary, there are many sacrifices that are made by many religious people in many ways. Consider Buddhist monks. They sacrifice much socially and monetarily by living their lives in solitary temples. Consider the Amish. They sacrifice the comforts and conveniences of technology in order to live differently from the rest of the world. Consider those in “Protestantism.” There is a lot of sacrifice of time, efforts and money in order to exist and function in their religious affiliation. The same could, and should, be said of the Lord’s church.

Yet, consider the question “Is what is being sacrificed what God asks?” Asked in another way, “Are the sacrifices that are being offered based on the Word of God?”

In the text of 1 Samuel 15, King Saul (Israel’s first king) was told by God to “Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and to not spare them” (v. 3). He was talking about the Amalekites. They were the ones who ambushed the Israelites at Rephidim as they were coming up out of Egypt (Ex. 17.8ff). To “utterly destroy” them meant that they were to devote all the people and all their goods to destruction, to totally annihilate them in war (man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey). What did Saul do?

Saul proceeded to set an ambush in the valley near the city of Amalek. He allowed the Kenites to leave because they had showed Israel kindness when they left Egypt. He then attacked “from Havilah to Shur” (from Arabia across the Sinai Peninsula). However, since Saul and the people were unwilling to utterly destroy ALL of them they spared King Agag and the best sheep, oxen, fatlings, lambs, and all that was good to SACRIFICE to the Lord. The problem with the actions of Saul and the people was that God did not want them to be taken and sacrificed to Him, He wanted them utterly destroyed. Furthermore, Saul’s stark disobedience caused God to regret making him king in the first place.

Saul’s responses to Samuel are interesting. He continually insisted that he had done the Lord’s will even though the evidence suggested the contrary. First, Saul told Samuel, “Blessed are you of the LORD! I have performed the commandment of the LORD” (v. 13). Samuel knew that he had not done so because he heard the sheep and oxen he brought back. Saul did that part of God’s will that he wanted to do. He did not fully obey. Samuel describes Saul’s disobedience as “evil.” I wonder if we are ever like that? Do we pick and choose what we want to do? Or, do we have the conviction to do what God wants regardless of the circumstances? To do otherwise, according to the text, would be “evil!”

Second, Saul reassured Samuel that he had obeyed the Lord, but that “the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal” (v. 21). He tried to “pass the buck.” He blamed the disobedience on the people. I wonder if we are ever like that. When we come up with excuses for not obeying God (whatever those excuses are), we are the ones who are at fault. We cannot place blame on anyone when we fail to do what God wants us to do.

The text concludes with Samuel telling Saul, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams” (v. 22). The truth is that God delights more in obedience to His Will than to sacrifices that we might make that are not authorized in His Will! Furthermore, God does not accept just any sacrifice or worship, only what He prescribes in His Word. So let each of us remember that when we offer sacrifices to God in our daily Christian lives that those sacrifices must be based on His Word and not what we, or anyone else, decide to offer Him. If we follow this basic principle we will truly understand that “to obey is better!” Think about it.

- Kevin Williams preaches for the Walnut Grove church of Christ in Benton, KY. He may be contacted through the church's website:

Attitude Make a Difference

By Patrick Hogan

The story of Joseph, recorded in Genesis, is familiar to many people. One interesting aspect of Joseph's experiences is his response to them. His experiences include the following: He is Jacob's favorite son, which produces resentment in the minds of his brothers. Their resentment builds to the point of hatred. They sell him into slavery. Joseph is separated from his family and taken to Egypt. He is falsely accused by Potiphar's wife and imprisoned. He is forgotten by Pharaoh's butler and remains in prison for two additional years. Finally he is freed and exalted to the second most important position in all of Egypt. These years of disappointment and frightening situations could have caused him to become bitter, hateful and vengeful.

Instead of these negative reactions, Joseph is able to forgive his brothers. When they come to Egypt seeking food, they are eventually reunited with Joseph. His comment to them, recorded in Genesis 45:4-8, reveals a remarkable attitude. When his brothers were afraid that Joseph would avenge himself against them, he reassured them with these words: "I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved nor angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life." After the death of their father, Joseph again reassured them: "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive" (50:19-21). Joseph could see that even in adversity and undesirable circumstances, God was working to bring about good that could not be foreseen during the suffering.

From Joseph's words we can take a valuable lesson. Even in our darkest hours, God is at work to bring about results that we cannot image (see Romans 8:28). In whatever circumstance we find ourselves, let us resolve that we will continue to trust God and be faithful to Him.

- Patrick Hogan serves as a minister and elder of the Shady Acres church of Christ, in Sikeston, MO. He may be contacted through the church's website at

Thursday, July 1, 2010


TAKE RESPONSIBILITY (Phil. 2:12; 3:13, 14; 4:13)- Blaming others, parents, or the environment for one's difficulties or experiences in life is unreasonable (Ex. 32:22-24; Luke 14:28). Failing to accept the consequences of one's behavior is immaturity (cf. 1 Cor. 3:1-2; 13:11; 14:20). One should own up to taking responsibility for changing weaknesses into strengths. N.B. Hardeman said, "The best place to pray for potatoes is at the end of a hoe handle." What was his point? Prayer is more effective when coupled with action.

Across the Desk, Jacksonville, Alabama, 3-3-'05; 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 through the congregation's website:

The Comforter

One Sunday after church, a Mom asked her very young daughter what the lesson was about in Sunday school. The daughter answered, "Don't be scared; you'll get your quilt." Needless to say, the Mom was perplexed.

Later in the day she saw the child's class teacher and asked her what that morning's Sunday school lesson was about. She said, "Be not afraid; thy Comforter is coming."

- 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 through the congregation's website: