Monday, April 29, 2013

What a Crazy, Mixed-Up World!

By Ronald Bartanen
   The longer I live (over 79 years already!) the more crazy and mixed up the world becomes.  It seems day by day new craziness emerges.  Not too long ago I would never have imagined that courts would be considering placing animals on a par with man.  A report I read less than two weeks ago spoke of a lawsuit that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has filed in a San Diego court in behalf of Tilikum, Katina, Corky, Kasatka and Ulises, 5 whales they claim are employed at Sea World in violation of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits slavery.  Their concern for constitutional rights is amazing, as we realize these are a part of the same crowd that gives no right even to life for unborn babies, would see a right to homosexual marriage in the 14th Amendment, and not see a right to arms for self defense in the 2nd Amendment.  PETA’s general counsel said, “Slavery does not depend on the species of the slave any more than it depends on race, gender or ethnicity.  Coercion, degradation and subjugation characterize slavery, and those orcas (whales) have endured all three.” In other words, all species are equal to man.
   I’m wondering.  If they’re entitled to the same rights as humans, should they not also be bound by the same laws? Should carnivores, for instance, be prosecuted for murder and cannibalism? And since man is classed among the carnivores, will we be charged with murder if we include meat on our diet? It reminds me of one of the “doctrines of demons” spoken of by Paul: “commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:1, 3).
   Don’t get me wrong.  Animals should not be abused.  From a biblical standpoint, man is to be a steward of all of God’s creatures (Gen. 1:26). However, PETA is not coming from a biblical view when they would make an animal’s life of equal value to a human’s.  Such is the result of their not wanting to retain God in their knowledge (Rom. 1:28).  They have sought to make themselves their own god, and evolution the heart of their worldview and creed. 
    Indeed—what a crazy, mixed up world we live in!
- Ronald Bartanen preaches for Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

What Does It mean to “Wait for His Son From Heaven?”

By Larry Miles
     The Apostle Paul commends the Christians in Thessalonica for their faithfulness.  He tells them that the news of their faith was spread beyond their home.  Other Christians have heard of the commitment to the Lord Jesus (1 Thess. 1:6-8).  In 1 Thess. 1:6 we are told that they were imitators of the Lord.  It was not a “bed of roses” for them when they accepted the Lord Jesus and began to follow Him.
     They became an example to others—Oh that it could be said of us today that we live lives so close to Jesus that others will want to “conform to the image of the Son of God.”  They left a life of idol worship with no hope of salvation and no hope of an eternity outside of the “ Lake of Fire .”  We are told in 1 Thess. 1:9 that they made a complete turn around in their lives and identified with the Lord Jesus Christ.
     1 Thess. 1:10 gives us the words in our title.  Jesus is coming again! That is not just a pipe dream; it is a reality! We don’t know when He will come; it may be today.  We are told here to be “waiting” for His return.  What does that entail? Watching for the Lord Jesus in the Scriptures means that while we are waiting we are “watching,” and working for Him.  We sing a song written by Fanny Crosby: “Blessed are those whom the Lord finds watching.  In His glory they shall share.  If He shall come at the dawn or midnight, Will He find us watching there?” True waiting involves working for the Lord Jesus, not a working to be saved but working because you are saved.  We are saved by grace through faith, in baptism, unto good works.  Let’s be like the Thessalonians and be a people who live our lives for the Lord so that others see us and glorify God (Matthew 5:14-18).
- Larry Miles lives in Louisville, KY and publishes "Larry's Lines" several times a week. Copyright 2009. Visit his website:

How Can You Influence Someone for Christ?

By Lance Cordle

* Live for Christ.
* Know your Bible.
* Invite them to worship, as well as other activities of the church.
* Discuss spiritual things with them in private and relaxed settings.
* Express genuine affection for your family of origin and your immediate family.
* Think about and express approval of noble things.
* Participate in wholesome and uplifting activities.
* Express concern and disapproval of sinful things.
* Refrain from workplace gossip.
* Be wise and cautious in relationships with those of the opposite sex, especially if you are married.
* Work hard and honestly at your occupation.
* Let the discovery of your personal habits of prayer, Bible study, etc., come about naturally, rather than by your own assertions.
* Express genuine care and concern for other people.
* Demonstrate genuine care and concern for other people.
* Strive to make your private life and public life consistent, both in speech and practice.
* Answer questions about God and the Bible with gentleness and respect.
* Freely admit the truth when you don’t know the answer to a religious question.
* If you are challenged with a religious question and you don’t know the answer, volunteer to lead a diligent and honest study of Scripture about the subject.
* Pray that your friend will have an honest and open heart.
* Praise and encourage your friend.
* Be friendly and courteous to everyone.
* Courageously stand for what is right
* Be content in knowing that any glory goes to God.

- Lance Cordle preaches the Calvert City Church of Christ in Calvert City, KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Worship God

By John Gipson
    As the book of Revelation opens, the apostle John had been banished to the island of Patmos “because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”  On the Lord’s Day he received a revelation of Jesus Christ.  Marvelous indeed are the things which are told! By the time one reaches the nineteenth chapter of the book an angel reveals to John some wonderful things about the marriage supper of the Lamb.  John then describes his reaction to the angel: “Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus.  Worship God.”
    The call to “worship God” is heard repeatedly throughout the Bible, and believers have responded eagerly, both individually and corporately, because God is worthy of our praise and adoration.
    Have you considered how all of us can enhance our corporate worship of God?
    Be present.  You can’t fellowship an absentee.  Let us take sweet counsel together and walk “unto the house of God in company”(Psa. 55:14).  How beautiful is the picture of the early church in Jerusalem .  With one accord they met together.
   Invite others.  The sincere heart seeks others to join in with him, as did the psalmist: “O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!” (Psa. 95:6)
    Be reverent.  “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28).
    Be involved.  Don’t just go through the motions.  True worship must be done in spirit and in truth.  Participate by listening, singing, praying, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, and giving liberally.  Worship, which is worthy of the name, demands involvement.
    “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” (1 Chronicles 16:28).           –John Gipson, Windsong Notes, Little Rock , Ark.

- 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:

That Wasn’t Very Nice

By Joe Chesser

    Somehow or other many of us have bought into the notion that a Christian has to be nice to all people all the time.  After all, haven’t we been taught all our lives that love should never be rude, but should always be kind and patient and trusting (1 Cor. 13:4-8)?  So, why is it then, that sometimes the disciples in the New Testament, and even Jesus on occasion, seemed to say or do things that were not very nice?  For example, in just one speech, Jesus called the Pharisees “hypocrites” and “blind fools” and “brood of vipers” (Matt. 23: 13, 17, 33).  That wasn’t very nice.  Another time Jesus made a whip out of cords and drove everyone from the temple area, scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables (John 3:12-16).  That wasn’t very nice either.  Later, Jesus’ disciples were accused of causing trouble all over the world, which threw the city of Thessalonica into a riot (Acts 17:5-8).  Hardly a nice reputation or a pleasant situation.
    The fact is, as much as we’d like to always be nice, there are times when following Jesus is offensive to others.  Sometimes being a Christian requires us to boldly do or say some things that will cause others to hate us.  Of course, this does not mean we are to ever be hateful in the way we say it.  There is never a time when being hateful is godly nor will be helpful to the cause of Christ.  No matter how hateful and vindictive others may be, Christians should never stoop that low.
    But ironically, preaching / teaching the good news about the cross and salvation involves some very bad news about human sinfulness, which, for many, makes the cross an offense. Like it or not, people will get ticked off at the cross and those who tell them about it. Jesus warned that this would happen.  He warned his disciples that being hated and persecuted would be a part of being his disciple (John 15:18-21).  It happened to him. It will happen to us.
    Randy Alcorn wrote regarding this: “The danger (for us) comes when we live in such fear of being mislabeled that we don’t step forward as unapologetic and unashamed all-out followers of Jesus … We should do what we believe pleases our Lord, regardless of how it pans out in opinion polls.”  Of course we should be as nice as we possibly can. But being nice is not what saves souls.  We can be kind and pleasant to everyone around us.  We can be well-liked and appreciated for our humanitarian efforts. However, unless the lost are confronted with their sin by the cross and are saved by the blood of Jesus, all the nice things we do for others will make this life more enjoyable, but it will not save their soul. Neither will it be helpful to alter the contents of the gospel to make it some-thing that everyone will agree with.  They may like you better, but they will still be lost.
    Telling people how they can get to heaven is the nicest thing you can ever do for them.  They may think that you weren’t very nice to talk about their sin to them.  But the Lord knows, and you know, that there is no nicer thing you can ever do for the lost.
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Rust Protection

By Jim Faughn


    The plant was shut down.  The product had not been selling.  The man on the television was reporting on certain factors in the economy that had negatively affected his particular industry.  As the camera focused on a machine that was still operating, the reporter said, “These machines are kept running just to keep from rusting.”

    The observation has been made that some Christians rust out instead of wearing out.  If this observation is true, could the reason be that many of us do not see the need to keep busy in the Lord’s service? Not only have some “ceased production,” but they are so rusty that they may never again be active in the world’s greatest cause.

    It is very easy to fail to see any advantage in operating a machine that’s not producing anything.  With a little more reflection, it may begin to make a little sense.  That machine could possibly be used in another plant, and/or for another purpose.

    What makes no sense to me is to observe a child of God who has “shut down” when there is so much to do for the Lord.  Maybe I cannot do what I once did, but I can still be of service to my Master as long as I live.
    Are you preventing rust in your service to our Lord? 
- Jim Faughn serves as an elder and preacher for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Individual Responsibility

By Gerald Cowan
    I heard a humorous story – a true one – about the adjustment that takes place in the life of a retired person. It seems that, after a life filled with responsibilities and demands an older man had finally reached retirement. He soon realized he had too much time on his hands, so he looked  for a way to keep himself busy by helping someone else.
    The first place he started helping was in his wife’s kitchen – probably not the best choice he could have made. To his way of thinking things were not well organized in the kitchen. So he set out to organize it for her. When his wife found out about it she complained and set about reorganizing the kitchen, back to the way she had it and wanted it. A few days later he was at it again, and this time he did an even more thorough job than before – he re-reorganized the kitchen. When his wife saw it she devised a way to stop all such efforts on his part. While he was gone she slipped out to his work area in the garage, where he spent a lot of time fiddling with stuff. She organized  the area and the stuff to fit her standards. Of course he didn’t like it! But he never again tried to reorganize things for his wife.
    The story reminds me of how much we all dislike having people interfere in our lives. Nothing will put us on the defensive faster than for someone to start making decisions for us. Children reach a point where they are able to make decisions and choices and can be held responsible for them. All of us accountable people are responsible for ourselves. That is what accountable means: able to decide and choose and answer for one’s own attitudes and actions (John 9:21).
    We often try doing to others what the man in the story did to his wife. We want to reorganize the lives of others and make sure they recognize their failures. We explain to them what they should and should not be doing. We want to make choices for them in almost every aspect of their lives: family, school, work, society, recreation – and especially in the church. And pretty soon, if they don’t conform to what we think is necessary, we start trying to do it for them. We do this especially with children. It will not work! And it doesn’t take long before they let their resentment show.
    Don’t misunderstand. I am not saying we have no responsibility to point out to others, especially brothers and sisters in the church, what God’s expectations are for them and for all of us. As Christians we have responsibility – God expects us to do it (Gal. 6:1-2). But when it comes to doing or not doing, complying with God’s will or not, and fulfilling one’s personal responsibility, each one of us has to do it for himself. You can’t do it for anyone else, and nobody else can do it for you. Each one bears responsibility for himself (Gal. 6:5).
    Maybe the old gentleman’s problem was that he was retired from his own life and was trying to live somebody else’s life. He was no longer busy about the things of his own life, so he had to find someone else to work on. Actually, if one has eyes to see it, he can work on himself as long as he lives. He can always find room for growth and development, and improvement too.

- Gerald Cowan preaches for the Dongola Church of Christ in Dongola, IL.  He may be contacted at

Up From the Grave He Arose

By Douglas Hoff
    The resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone of the Christian Faith. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then Christians are following a hoax. However, it can be proved that he did indeed come forth from the grave. Because of this, Christians have the hope (assurance) of one day being resurrected also and enjoying eternal life in heaven with him.
     Proof for the resurrection is found in the four accounts of the Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). Each writer presents testimony regarding the empty tomb. The New Testament documents are historically accurate accounts. Over the centuries they have been repeatedly verified as being without error. The four accounts of the Gospel were circulated in the first century. If they were not true or contained errors, people would have spoken up to discredit them. Paul reminded king Agrippa and Festus that the crucifixion of Jesus and His resurrection from the grave were not done in a corner, but were well known historial facts (Acts 26:26). Since Matthew, Mark, Luke and John record the tomb was empty, the modern reader can be sure of it.
     The stone door sealing the tomb of Jesus had been rolled away and His body was gone. Who did it? There are only two possibilities. Either Jesus was resurrected by God as the Bible says or his dead body was removed by men. But, who among men would want to remove his body from the tomb? None would.
     Certainly the unbelieving Jews would not want to. They had specifically requested a guard to watch the tomb. They knew Jesus had claimed he would rise the third day. They were even afraid the disciples would come and steal his body to make it appear he had been resurrected. If they had removed his body, they could have shown Jesus to be a fake by presenting his corpse to the public after the tomb was empty on the third day. But they did not do it because they could not. They did not remove his body.
     The Roman soldiers guarding the tomb would not steal the body of Jesus. The sepulcher had been sealed and they had been ordered to keep it secure. Soldiers who had a man to escape while in their care would lose their lives (cf. Acts 12:18,19; 27:42). Thus, when the body was gone, they were fearful of what might befall them (Matt. 28:11-15).
     The disciples of Jesus would not have stolen the body. Though the guards were bribed to tell people that his disciples had taken his body, such a story is full of holes. The guards were to say they had fallen asleep while on duty. But, here’s the problem. How would sleeping guards know who stole the body? They would not because they would have been asleep! Also, consider this. How likely would it be for all the guards to be asleep at the same time? Even if they had been asleep, would they not have awakened when they heard someone rolling away the massive stone that covered the mouth of the tomb? Matthew 28:1-5 shows the guards were quite awake when an angel of the Lord rolled the stone away. When they saw the angel they became like “dead men.” Another thing this passage shows is that the two Marys came to the tomb at this time. Thus, they would have seen if the guards were sleeping.
     When John came to the tomb the third day and saw that it was empty, he believed (John 20:8). It is not necessary for the modern Bible reader to personally see the risen Christ before he can believe. The risen Savior told Thomas, “...because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed” (John 20:29). Belief comes by examining the credible evidence found in the Scriptures.
     Since men did not remove Jesus’ body from the tomb, the only alternative is that Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of God. 

- via the Nile Street Notes, the weekly bulletin of the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL; R. W. McAlister preaches for the congregation and may be contacted through the congregation's website:

The Children of Eber

By David R. Ferguson
    Moses writes in Genesis 14:13, “Then one who had escaped came, and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother or Eshcol and of Aner; these were allies of Abram.” This is a very significant verse because this is the very first time the word “Hebrew” is used in Scripture, and it is specifically applied to Abram. It was to be through Abram that the Promised Seed, Jesus Christ, would come, the One God said in Whom the entire world would be blessed.
    The word “Hebrew” comes from “Eber” and it means “the other side.” I believe there are at least three reasons why Abram became the first man designated as “the Hebrew.”
    First of all, Abram was a stranger “from the other side.” Born east of Canaan in Ur of the Chaldees of Mesopotamia, Abram had come “from the other side” of the Jordan River before settling in Canaan.
    Secondly and more importantly, Abram stood on “the other side” in opposition to the entire pagan world. His recognition of the One True God, Yahweh, and his adamant refusal to comply with the “modern” ideology of the time, set him at odds with the rest of humanity and their false worship of idols created by men.
    Finally, Abram was a descendant of Eber from which the word Hebrew is derived. Eber was the great-grandson of Noah’s son, Shem, and Eber is given special recognition as a man of worth and honor by Moses, who states in Genesis 10:21 [RSV], “To Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the elder brother of Japheth, children were born.” Noah, waking up from his drunken stupor, realized that Shem had not dishonored him as had Ham, and Noah said, “Blessed by the Lord my God be Shem, and let Canaan be his slave” (Genesis 9:26 [RSV]). Just as Abram and the Messiah were to come through the line of Shem, so, too, was the world to be blessed through “the children of Eber.”
    Moses words his commentary in a manner that shows us he fully expected his original audience to know what was so special about this man Eber, and why he and his offspring were mentioned specifically as they were. According to Jewish tradition handed down since before the time of Moses, Eber refused to help in the building of the Tower of Babel as ordered by Nimrod, who had set himself up as world emperor. Later, he went further in declared himself to be god, claiming that he had vanquished the God Who had sent the Flood. Consequently, because of Eber’s righteous stance against the evil Emperor Nimrod, Eber’s and his family’s language was not confused when the building of the Tower was abandoned through the intervention of Yahweh, and Eber and “the children of Eber” were given the special blessing of retaining the original language given to Adam by God at the beginning of time. Therefore, God further honored Eber by designating his called out man, Abram, “the Hebrew,” the one from whom the entire world would be blessed, and also naming the original language of the Earth after him also, Hebrew.

- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Monday, April 8, 2013

What Would It Take???

By Bill Brandstatter
     I have noticed in the really cold weather that there are some people who do not wear coats. I saw one man a few days ago in shirt sleeves when the weather was in the thirties. I noticed a man recently that was wearing shorts outside when I had a coat and hat on. That same man later, when it got really cold, finally wore a coat. I am asking myself, “What would it take for those folks to wear warm clothes?” Let’s ask that question regarding our spiritual lives.
     What would it take for some people to obey Christ? There are many good individuals who know the truth about salvation. They understand Jesus’ statement in Mark 16:16: “He that believes and is baptized will be saved;” yet for some reason procrastination sets in and they wait. I know of one man who obeyed the Lord just 10 days before he died. I thought about all the years he could have enjoyed living the Christian life. I thought of all the promises to Christians that could have been his; yet he almost waited too late.
     What would it take for some people to start attending worship again? Some who are reading this article have not been in worship services in a long time. What has kept you away? What would it take to get you to come back? The church is made up of people who are not perfect; but who need one another. The term “fellowship” is a very important word in the Bible. It is first used in Acts 2:42 where the early church “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and in fellowship.” When a person misses the assembly he/she is adversely affecting their own fellowship and the fellowship of the church.
     What would it take for some people to be reconciled? There are many people that have been at odds with others for years. This is found in many areas of life. Reconciliation brings peace and tranquility. God wants us to be reconciled to Him and to each other. (2 Cor. 5:19-20)
     What would it take for me? Everyone must answer that question. Whatever it takes, I should be willing to sacrifice to be pleasing to God & to make heaven my home. (Matt. 16:24)

– Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: 

Revelation Made Easy

By Austin Johnson
     Addressing the book to the “seven churches that are in Asia” (Rev. 1:4), John recorded that “the time is near” (Rev. 1:3). Jesus spoke through John to His church because he wanted them to be prepared for his second coming and therefore Christians needed to be godly in an ungodly time. I believe Revelation was recorded by John when Nero, known as one of the most evil rulers in the history of Rome, was in power. During his rule Christians were threatened, tortured, and torn into pieces. John’s message to the first century Christians give us clues as to what Jesus was saying: The church needed to stand strong despite any intimidating violence (the beast).
     The church needed to stand strong despite any false teachings (the false prophet). The church needed to stand strong despite any enticing affluence (the prostitute).
     As one reads through this highly symbolic book keep in mind that Christians were under persecution and Jesus was urging them to be strong during trials both individually and as His church. The seven churches in Asia were given these specific instructions: To remember the love they had at first, repent, and do the works they did before. To be faithful during tests and temptations. To teach the true teachings of Christ and nothing else. To rid themselves of sexual immorality and false teachings. To wake up and strengthen themselves because their works are not complete in the Lord. To hold fast to what they had, so that not one would seize their crown. Be hot or cold but not lukewarm!
     All these instructions were followed by this clause; the one who conquers will have eternal life. It is within that clause the understanding of Revelation is made easy for us. Be faithful to God until death and through his grace Heaven will be our home!

- Austin Johnson serves as youth minister for the Calvert City Church of Christ in Calvert City, KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Children are a Heritage of the Lord

By Alan Smith
     One of my daughters recently gave birth to a son!  This is my third grandchild, but it is her first child, so she is discovering the joys of parenthood.  Like most first Moms, she tends to get a bit stressed at the overwhelming responsibility of taking care of a child.  So, I share this bit of advice with her (and with you) on how having a second and third child differs from having your first (the author of this piece is unknown to me):

1st baby:  You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.
2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
3rd baby:  Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.

1st baby:  You pore over baby-name books and practice pronouncing and writing combinations of all your favorites.
2nd baby: Someone has to name his or her kid after your great-aunt Mavis, right?  It might as well be you.
3rd baby:  You open a name book, close your eyes, and see where your finger points.

1st baby:  You practice your breathing religiously.
2nd baby: You don't bother practicing because you remember that last time, breathing didn't do a thing.
3rd baby:  You ask for an epidural in your eighth month.

1st baby:  You pre-wash your newborn's clothes, color-coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau.
2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains.
3rd baby:  Boys can wear pink, can't they?

1st baby:   At the first sign of distress - a whimper, a frown - you pick up the baby.
2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn.
3rd baby:  You teach your 3-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.

1st baby:  You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, and Baby Story Hour.
2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
3rd baby:  You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaner.

1st baby:  The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home five times.
2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.
3rd baby:  You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.

1st baby:  You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby.
2nd baby: You spend a bit of every day watching to be sure your older child isn't squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby.
3rd baby:  You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.

     Parenthood is quite a challenge.  But it is a blessing from God (though we sometimes have to keep reminding ourselves!).

     "Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth.  Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them." (Psa. 127:3-5)

     Some quivers are larger than others, but there is no more awesome responsibility in all the world than the responsibility to instill within our children a love for God and His Word.  May all of you who are parents be blessed and encouraged as you raise your children in the Lord.

- Alan Smith, author of the popular "Thought For Today," and minister for the Fayetteville Church of Christ in Fayetteville, NC, may be contacted at

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Matter of Perspective

By Lance Cordle

    Walking past the house in which I grew up, brought several things to my mind. The yard in which I played baseball, and which seemed so big to me as a boy, seemed much smaller through the eyes of an adult. The driveway, which seemed so long to a young and inexperienced driver (especially when driving in “Reverse”) appeared much shorter to one who has been driving for many years.
    The distances, however are the same (even though a fence now invades part of the yard); it is my perspective that has changed.
    If we understand perspective, it can be very useful. However, we must not allow our view of life to be distorted by an imperfect or improper perspective. Indeed, we must maintain the perspective of looking to and through Jesus in all that we do or say (Hebrews 12:1-3). Please consider the following matters of perspective:

  • Joshua and the Israelites undoubtedly appeared strange to the people of Jericho, marching around the city, but from God’s perspective, they were going to win a great victory (Joshua 6:16)
  • Goliath towered over David and felt utterly confident in his size and ability, but David went through the confrontation as an instrument of God (1 Samuel 17:45, 46).
  • To the people of Judea during the time of John the Baptizer, his death in his early thirties must have seemed a waste, but to God, it was a mission accomplished (Matthew 11:7-14).
  • To the people passing by the cross, Jesus was a failure. They said, “He saved others, let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” (Luke 32:35). To Christ, it was completing the will of God (John 17:4).
  • To the arrogant, self-reliant, religiously blind world, preaching of the cross was foolishness, but to penitent sinners, it was (and is ) the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18).
  • To the arrogant Christians in Corinth, Paul and the other apostles were “spectacles” and “fools for Christ’s sake,” but to God they were faithful and successful servants (1 Corinthians 4:8-13).
  • To the world, Christians are losers (because all things taken into consideration are worldly), but to and through Christ, we are “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:31-39, Revelation 2:10)!
- Lance Cordle preaches the Calvert City Church of Christ in Calvert City, KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:


By Larry Pasley
    Flattery is saying positive things about people that you do not really believe, and it is condemned in the bible.
    Flattery is a trap. Proverbs 29:5 A man who flatters his neighbor Spreads a net for his feet.
    Flattery is used to gain advantage over someone. Jude 1:16 These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage.
    Flattery is deceptive. Romans 16:17-18  Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.
    Flattery brings ruin. Proverbs 26:28 A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, And a flattering mouth works ruin.
    It is important that we are truthful in our speech toward others. But we need to be kind in speak that truth.
    Our words should be filled with grace. Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
    Our words control our destiny. Matthew 12:36-37  But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
    Say what you mean and mean what you say but don’t be mean with what you say.

- Larry Pasley serves as a minister with the Jackson Street Church of Christ in Alexandria, LA. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at

God Rewards Trust

By Joe Chesser

            Some people just don’t get it.  If you tell them that the stove is hot, they have to touch it see if you are right.  If you tell them they ought to save for a rainy day, they just keep on spending everything they make.  If you tell them not to drink and drive, they think you mean someone else.  Some people just don’t trust anyone but themselves.
            The Israelites who were given their freedom from Egypt were that way.  They had seen the mighty works of God as He brought plague after plague on the Egyptians.  They had seen how God had parted the Red Sea for them and how He had drowned the powerful Egyptian army in the same sea.  They had seen water come from a rock and food form like dew every morning except the 7th day.  But when the time came for them to conquer the Promised Land, they cowered in fear, thinking of themselves as grasshoppers before the giants of Canaan (Num. 13:33).  They rebelled against God and against Moses and refused to do what God told them to do.  In spite of all that they had seen, they did not trust in the Lord and do what He told them to do (Deut. 1:32).
            As if that weren’t bad enough, when they were told that God was going to punish them for their fear and rebellion by wandering in the desert until their death, they replied “We have sinned against the Lord. We will go up and fight, as the Lord our God has commanded us” (Deut. 1:41).  But it was too late for that.  In fact, God this time told them specifically, “Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you.  You will be defeated by your enemies” (Deut. 1:42).  Once again they rebelled against the Lord.  In their arrogance they marched up to the hill country to fight their enemy, but were soundly defeated.  They wept before the Lord, but He “turned a deaf ear” to them (Deut. 1:43-45). Some people just don’t get it.  Some people just don’t trust God.
            But some people do.  Joshua and Caleb got it. They were the only Israelites who were 20 and older at the time of this rebellion to enter the Promised Land.  The reason why God allowed them to enter is simple – they followed the Lord “wholeheartedly” (Deut. 1:36).  They didn’t argue with God or go against His command. They trusted God. They didn’t analyze the opposition to determine if the mission could be accomplished.  They trusted God.  It didn’t matter that there were giants in the land.  They trusted God. And God rewarded their trust (Deut. 1:36-37).
            God still seeks and rewards people like this: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths strait” (Prov. 3:5-6).  God still seeks and rewards people who are not afraid to step away from the crowd to do His will regardless of how bizarre it may seem. God still seeks and rewards people who choose to do His will when He says instead of waiting until it’s too late. “Since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it” (Heb. 4:1). God rewards trust!

- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: