Monday, September 23, 2013

Sarah Makes It Real

By John Gipson

    Sarah was young, beautiful, and she was going to die if she didn't get help.  That's why her parents brought her from Los Angeles to the Mayo Clinic.  She had cancer, and the only alternative seemed to be a hemipelvectomy, in which the entire leg and half of the pelvis would be removed-a horrible procedure.  The doctor looked upon this eighteen-year-old beauty with a perfectly proportioned body and "eyes that radiated innocence and trust."  Those eyes seemed to say, "You will cure me."  Dr. Michael J. Collins knew what a mutilation lay ahead and with only a 5 percent five-year survival.  He finally managed to haltingly say, "Sarah,.I.well, I'll do everything I can for you."  Sarah said, "I know you will.  Thank you."
    In his book, Hot Lights, Cold Steel, Dr. Collins describes the horrible operation.  It was long and bloody.  Sarah's post-op was stormy.  She ran a fever for four days.  But the thing that impressed everybody at the clinic was how Sarah kept thanking everyone for what they were doing and apologizing for being such a bother."  Her nurse related that Sarah was sad about losing her leg, "but she says it's made her realize how many things she hasn't lost.  She says it's like a millionaire who loses a thousand dollars; he's sad, but he's still not that bad off."
     With that attitude and spirit of thankfulness, Sarah was adored by everyone at the Mayo Clinic.  Sadly, this lovely girl died within the year. There is a picture of her hanging in the clinic.  It is taken from the back. She is standing on a hill looking forward.
    Now, what was it I was complaining about? The Bible tells me, "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
    Yes, the Bible says it, but Sarah makes it

- John Gipson, 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:

Lessons From a Lawn Tractor

By Michael P. Reese

     In the 1960’s my father-in-law, Ed McCullough bought a G10 Bolens riding tractor. For over twenty years this tractor faithfully mowed his lawn at 3637 McDowell Street in Canton, Ohio. In the early 1990’s Ed decided to replace his Bolens and passed the tractor on to me. For five or six years I used the tractor to mow the lawn at our antique mall. I then brought the tractor home where with the help of the mower doctor, Wayne Efaw’s masterful repairs, I was able to keep my grass cut on a regular basis. Each year I would charge, or replace the battery, tighten a belt, or if I couldn’t make the repair, Wayne could. Each year the mower faithfully performed its duty. I knew parts were getting hard to find and the tractor was getting harder to keep running. But somehow, each time I added gas and turned the key the Bolens would start and faithfully perform its grass cutting duties-until last night. The repairs had become more frequent and more detailed in recent weeks. I knew this might be the last season for the mower, but I wasn’t ready for the news I received from Wayne upon his diagnosis of the problem. The loud noise I heard just before the engine locked up was a piston rod coming loose. The mower was too old to repair. My faithful mower of over forty years was now junk.
     I can’t help but reflect on how my mower mirrors life. We start out all new and shiny at birth-our whole life in front of us. Then as the years pass, we need repairs or costly maintenance to keep going. As the Psalmist of old succinctly stated “The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10). If by strength we do reach eighty years we know it is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment.” Heb. 9:27
     My mower will soon be replaced. But there is no replacing the human soul. WE only get one chance at life on the earth, then eternity begins. Human destiny is sealed at death. There are no second chances. Are you seeking first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33)? Are you walking a faithful Christian walk (I John 1:7-10)? Are you a faithful Christian?
     Let us learn a valuable lesson from my lawn tractor. Just as Thursday, September 8, 2011 marked the last time the Bolens will mow my lawn, each one of us will someday spend our last day on earth. Are you ready for eternity?

- Michael P. Reese; - 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:

Enduring Trials

By David R. Ferguson

    Some of the hardest things for parents to do is watch as their child is slighted. But what is even harder for parents to do is watch their child get slighted and keep their mouths shut about it.
    Yes, this is a test that is hard to endure, but the Lord does promise rewards for those who follow after His righteousness. These times do make for excellent teaching opportunities, and there is hardly any better book to turn to and receive instruction in bearing all things with patience than is the Book of James. This general epistle was written by James, the Lord’s brother, who ended up being a leader of the church in Jerusalem. His epistle focuses on warning his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ that all Christians will suffer trials, so do not be surprised when this happens to you. “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him,” writes James (James 1:12 [NAS]). This is a great promise of encouragement to all Christians, indeed! But then James is quick to point out in the very next three verses, 

"Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death." (James 1:13-15 [NAS]) 
James reminded his readers that it is our own sin that convicts us, and it is our own sinful demise that brings about the punishment we deserve, which is death. As the Apostle Paul also stated, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 [NAS]).
    So the next time life throws you or your children a curveball and you go down swinging, just remember to take the advice of James:
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4 [NAS])

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

Monday, September 16, 2013

Change is Difficult

Change is Difficult
By Joe Chesser

    Changes are hard to make, and this is true in almost every area of life.  When a new coach is hired, the changes he brings with him are difficult to implement for the players who were trained by the previous coach. A new boss runs into the same problems when he tries to “improve” the business. The way a new preacher does things is usually compared to the ways of the previous preacher. The “new” is often resisted simply because it is different.  Change is difficult.
    This is even true in small things.  You’d think that little changes should be easy to make, but they’re often the most difficult.  Our school’s policy for using strobe lights on the school buses has been the same for years. Strobe lights were to be used only in fog or when visibility was very difficult, and then only when stopped to load or unload children. But the school administrator made a change this year.  In the mornings when the buses leave the bus lot before sun-up the strobe lights are to be on.  That was easy enough, but when are they to be turned off?  Well, that’s where the change became difficult.  Some thought they should be turned off when the sun came up and visibility was excellent. Others thought the strobe lights should be left on until the bus returned to the bus lot. So in the mornings some bus drivers were running their strobe lights in the bright sun light while others had turned them off.  Finally, a directive had to come from the administrator that strobe lights must be on when the buses leave the lot in the mornings and should not be turned off until the buses returned to the lot.  Nonetheless, change is difficult.
    If we can understand the difficulty bus drivers and football players have with changes in policy and practice, we should also have an idea why change was so difficult for the Jews after Christianity replaced Judaism. The things they had been taught and had practiced for centuries had changed.  Not only had the details of the Law been changed, but also who God accepted as His people had changed. The Law delivered by Moses was no longer valid.  The teaching of Jesus had replaced it (Hebrews 1:1-2).  In the past only the Jews were God’s special people, but now in Christ people from any nation can be God’s special people (1 Peter 2:9-10).  Still, change is difficult.
    Understanding the difficulty of change should also help us have patience with those struggling to accept the truth of the gospel.  A person whose family for generations had been taught that baptism is not essential for salvation will find the truth difficult to accept and practice.  The same principle is true with any erroneous teaching deeply entrenched in the minds of people.  Even when one learns what is true, change is difficult.
    God knows how difficult change is for us.  Peter tells us, “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  Since God is patient with us, shouldn’t we be patient with others?  Even so, change is difficult.

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

Remembered For Doing Good

By Jimmy Hodges

    “Remember me for this, O my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services.” (Nehemiah 123:14, NIV)
    Nehemiah wanted to be remembered for good.  This was more than just wishful thinking.  He was actively involved in doing good.  He hears that Jerusalem is in shambles.  The news leads him to weep and pray to God.  He plans to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall.  He asks his boss, the king, to help him with his plan.
    The king grants Nehemiah his request.  Off he goes to Jerusalem on his rebuilding project.  Unlike many today, he does not travel with a caravan of hype.  He surveys the work, and then he reveals his plan to the locals.  The citizens support him.
     Finally, Nehemiah has opposition.  Sanballat and Tobiah were leaders in the area.  A fortified Jerusalem would pose a threat.  So the two did all they could to delay construction.  Nehemiah would not be stopped.  Half the workers were on guard for attack while the other half worked.  Nehemiah even slept with his clothes on so he could be ready in a moment’s notice.
    When the rich Jews were putting the poor Jews into slavery, Nehemiah put a hasty stop to that practice.  Why should the Jews work so hard for independence if they sold each other back into slavery? Nehemiah points to his own example.  He was not a heavy tax burden to the people as governor, unlike his predecessors.  Even 2500 years ago, people appreciated lower taxes.
    While Nehemiah was leader, Ezra read the law to the people.  Upon hearing the law, the people were prompted to confess their sins.  After confession, the people renew the covenant with God.  So yes, Nehemiah is remembered for good.  In fact, he did so much good it is hard to remember it all.  I am sure I have left some of the highlights out in this article.  Thankfully, God has a good enough memory to recall all of Nehemiah’s good.
    How about you? Do you have the same desire? Do you want to be remembered for good? Follow Nehemiah’s lead.  Do good.  Do so much good that we have trouble remembering it all.  Even though all the details may evade us, we will remember you for good.  Thankfully, God will recall all your good.

- Jimmy Hodges, 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 Best Gift for Your Children

By Mitchell Temple

     To begin with, let me say that even though I am a Marriage and Family Therapist, even though we have two teens and one pre-teen, even though I have helped parents struggling with their kids for almost 20 years, even though my wife is an excellent mother . . . we do not have all the answers when it comes to raising kids. We thought we did, then our kids turned into teenagers! We struggle just like all parents with kids. We pray for daily wisdom from God. We tell our kids, “Look, we are new at this parenting thing, too! We have never raised kids before. We are learning just like you are. Let’s be patient with each other.” My wife and I often pray, “God, please don’t let us brain-damage our kids!”
     Of all the advice that we have given to  parents about building a healthy family, I think the best advice is when we tell parents: “The most vital thing you can do for your kids is not: giving great advice, disciplining perfectly, being consistent one hundred percent of the time. The best thing you can do, is give your kids the consistent, solid assurance that you love their mom, their dad, beyond a shadow of a doubt! You should consistently send the message that ‘neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present or the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us…’ from one another.”
     Kids today live in an ever changing and insecure world. They are constantly exposed to change. They are constantly hearing that their friends’ parents are splitting up. They wonder if their parents are next. They need to know that you love each other. And that means you are going to stick it out no matter what! They need your to explain that love is more than feelings. Even if you don’t feel great about their mother or dad, love means “I’m gonna stick it out till I do.”
     As a therapist, I grow weary hearing couples say, “I just don’t love my spouse anymore. I just am not happy.” My professional response: “So what!” (Pardon the direct response.” You probably don’t feel like you’re in love anymore because you are not behaving like you are in love anymore! We make friends by behaving friendly. You feel close to a friend because you both act like friends. Your friendship grows because of this behavior and because of your commitment to the friendship. The same is true in marriage. If you don’t feel in love anymore, you are probably not acting like it! Behave like you are in love and the feelings will come. Behavior does affect feelings. Thinking does affect feelings.  If you are not thinking the right things (attitude, perception, patience, etc.), you will not feel the right things. Change your thinking and behavior, and you will change how you feel. Right thinking + right behavior = the right feelings.
     We do not always feel good about our kids. In fact, we do not always like our kids! But, we love our kids with all our hearts and are committed to them for all eternity. Why do couples fall in love? They are exhibiting the right thinking and the right behavior (i.e., expressing love constantly, focusing on the good in each other, putting the other first, overlooking mistakes, saying “I’M sorry” even when it is not your fault, etc.) Marriages deteriorate when we forget to act and think the way we did when we were dating.
     God hasn’t called us to comfort and happiness; He has called us to holiness. Part of being holy is honoring our spouses and our commitment to each other for life, “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, till death do us part.”
     Do yourself, your kids, your God, and your country  a favor ...don’t give up on your marriage! Think about the effects on your kids of not having both parents together. They never get over it. Neither do you. Do whatever it takes: swallowing pride, going to counseling, giving up a hobby, throwing the TV in the dumpster, whatever! Give your kids the best gift you can give them: the security that comes from knowing that Mom and Dad are going to be together no matter what. That is what God wants; that is what they want. Most of all pray with and for your kids everyday. God can build Christ-like character in spite of our worst mistakes!

- Mitchell Temple, M.S., M.S., LMFT, via Our Families Magazine, Spring/Summer, 2007; copied from The Family Friend, a monthly newsletter published by the Calvert City Church of Christ, Calvert City, KY.  It is an excellent resource for articles relating to the family.  To learn more consult the congregation's website:

Monday, September 9, 2013

What’s More Important Than Jesus?

By Jim Murrell

     "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:16).
     The rich man asked Jesus, "Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" (Mark 10:17). Then Jesus asked him if he had kept the law. He said yes. In love Jesus responded, "One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow Me" (Mark 10:21b). But the rich man was "sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great
possessions" (Mark 10:22).
     Jesus let him go. Jesus didn't run after him. And there's another thing I want you to notice: Jesus didn't lower His standards.
     Is there anything you love more than Jesus? You must willingly lay it down to be saved.

- Via the weekly bulletin of the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. Clifton Angel preaches for the congregation and he may be contacted through that congregation's website: Support Jim Murrell’s work for the Lord by visiting

Watchmen and Mourning

By Eddie Parrish

    Without satellite imagery or drone aircraft, ancient cities were guarded by “watchmen.”  These brave men would stand guard in towers and constantly scan the horizon for potential danger (cf. Ezekiel 3:16-21).  In addition, because they had no spotlights or night-vision goggles, watchmen dreaded the dark.  It was their most vulnerable time.  So they longed for morning’s light.

    Drawing on this cultural phenomenon, the psalmist wrote, “My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning” (Psa. 130:6), just as those ancient soldiers yearned for the morning of a new day, so should we.  Let us long for the day when the darkness of sin is forever shattered by the light of eternal day!

-Eddie Parrish, 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:

“Don’t Be Deceived”

By Dan Chambers

     It never ceases to amaze me what goes on in some churches. Just when I thought I heard it all, along comes this newspaper story: “D.C. Church Brewing up Fellowship with its Own Brand of Suds”?
     The article reported how one church in Washington, D.C—St. Mark’s Episcopal Church—started brewing its own brand of beer last fall, and every Sunday after the 11 o’clock service there is a fellowship meal in the “parish hall” which consists of sandwiches, soup, salads, bread, soda, beer and wine.
     For many years the beer they served at these fellowship meals was “dominated by commercial brands,” but that changed last summer when one of the members started brewing beer especially for St. Mark’s. This “heavenly brew” is packaged as “Winged Lion Lager,” with the bottles featuring a winged lion, “the symbol of St. Mark the Evangelist.”
     Now get this—the priest insists that “we do not encourage or dissuade people from drinking” (beer or wine). To prove it, he said they also offer “non-alcoholic beverages in a way that is as attractive as alcoholic beverages.”
     There was a time when you could count on churches to warn people of the evils of drinking and exhort them to stay far away from it. There was a time when fellowshipping in public around alcohol meant going to the local bar, pub or saloon. As this article shows, though, times have changed. The truth about alcohol, however, has not changed. Proverbs warns of the deceitful attractiveness of alcohol and graphically portrays its brutal consequences:
Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints?
Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?
Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.
Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!
In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.
Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things.
You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging.
“They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt!
They beat me up, but I don’t feel it!
When will I wake up so I can find another drink?” (Proverbs 23:29-35)

- Dan Chambers; ia 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:

Monday, September 2, 2013

Two Types of Congregations: Cold and Warm

By Jason Hilburn

     One Lord’s day my family and I were out of town on vacation. We were in an unfamiliar area, but a few days earlier I had called and spoken to the preacher of a local congregation there. Based on my conversation with him, we had decided we would worship with them that Sunday morning.
     During our visit with this congregation, we noticed that the preacher was very friendly to us, but most of the members either simply stared at us or acted as if we were not there. I discovered that if there were going to be any communication between me and the members there, I would have to initiate the conversation by introducing myself to them. To be honest, it was an uncomfortable situation, and I felt like I was “forcing” them to speak to me!
     We decided that we would look for somewhere else to worship that evening, so we visited another congregation who were supposed to be meeting for worship at 6:00PM. We arrived about fifteen minutes early to find several members singing in the auditorium. We thought that we may have arrived at the wrong time, but we went in and sat down anyway. Apparently some of the members had met early to sing for a while before everyone assembled for evening worship. They stopped singing a few minutes before 6:00, and many of them came to where we were sitting and greeted us. Then others came in and worship began. Afterwards we had more members come to us and welcome us. We actually stayed for quite a while after worship, talking to them.
     There is no question that there was a great difference between these two congregations. While the first congregation gave the impression that they did not care much about visitors, the second congregation made it very clear that they cared and were interested in others.
     Although both congregations were about the same size, there were several children at the first congregation and very few or no children at the second congregation. Even so, my daughter remarked that she enjoyed being with the second congregation more than the first. I had not asked, but I suppose she felt so strongly about it that she volunteered that information. My son agreed with her. Normally my children would prefer to visit places where other children their age are present, but this was an exception.
     Dear reader, if you had a choice, assuming that both congregations were doctrinally sound, with which congregation would you worship? It is easy to answer such a question, but perhaps these are more difficult questions to answer: How do we treat visitors? Are we like those in the first congregation, or the second? Do we believe that it is “the preacher’s job” to greet visitors and be friendly to others? Do we get stuck in little cliques, forgetting or neglecting to reach out to others who are present? How would we want to be treated if we visited another congregation? Do we practice the golden rule towards our visitors? (Matthew 7:12). Do we show our visitors that we love and care about all people, not just our close friends and family members? Do we show impartiality regarding whom we treat with loving-kindness?
     Notice a warning James gave about how we might treat visitors:
My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect...
...of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
...If ye fulfill the royal law according
to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well. But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2:1-4, 8-10).
     James said some might treat a wealthy visitor better than they would a poor visitor. Hopefully we would not be guilty of such discrimination, whether it is because of a visitor’s financial situation, skin color, or other superficial distinctions. However, notice how the brethren in James’ example treated the wealthy visitor by giving him special attention and a warm welcome. Is it not implied that whether the visitor had been wealthy or poor, they should have eagerly greeted the visitor and treated him in a warm, loving way? The lesson for us is that no matter who visits the assembly of the saints, let us make them feel special, giving them a warm greeting filled with love! To refuse to do so is to refuse to “fulfill the royal law” in loving our neighbors as ourselves. Again, we must consider how we would want to be treated (Matthew 7:12).
     Although we understand that our main purpose for gathering is to worship God (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:20; 16:2), the Bible also says that there are other purposes accomplished when we gather, such as edifying one another, teaching one another, admonishing one another, exhorting one another, and comforting one another (1 Corinthians 14:3; Ephesians 4:16; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11). We are also commanded to “consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works,” but how could we do such things if we never spoke to one another? (Hebrews 10:24-25). Should we not also “consider” our visitors and “provoke” them “unto love and to good works”? How can we do such if we do not even speak to them?
     Whether a congregation is warm or cold is determined by the choice each individual makes regarding whether or not to reach out to visitors. Perhaps the first congregation assumed that since they had a friendly preacher, that was enough to make visitors feel welcome. However, the truth is that if a congregation is warm, it is because the congregation as a whole has purposed in their hearts to make visitors feel welcome. If a congregation is cold, it is because the members have not made such a determination.
     As an individual member of a congregation, how have you determined to treat visitors? Will you ignore them, or will you implore them to return? Will you look for visitors at the next assembly so you can approach them and greet them? May we all give our visitors a warm welcome, thus fulfilling “the royal law,” loving our neighbors as ourselves.

- Via the weekly bulletin of the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. Clifton Angel preaches for the congregation and he may be contacted through that congregation's website:

Our Lives From God's View

By Dave Grant

     Have you looked at the back of a tapestry or needlepoint? Usually, there’s a tangled-looking mess of threads of many different colors going in many different directions. But if you turn it over, the design has purpose and beauty.
     Our lives can be compared to a needlepoint in which the many different circumstances and directions look like there is no design, rhyme or reason. Many times we are unable to see how all those different things can be woven together to create a beautiful picture. I think that is because we are looking at the underside of the picture. God is looking down at how it all works out in creating something good.
     ”And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” ( Romans 8:28).
     Notice the Word says, “in all things God works,” which would include all the distractions and circumstances, both good and bad that we encounter in this life. God works it for good—not He makes it all good. He weaves together all our struggles, challenges and victories to accomplish His purpose. That’s where we get the beautiful picture of our lives from a jumbled mess of threads and colors—God works it out!
     His purpose is that we be conformed to the likeness of Jesus. Now that’s a beautiful picture! We may look at our lives and say, “No way!” But God looks at our lives and starts weaving and working it all out for good, and He sees Jesus!

- Dave Grant, 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:

"There Is Nothing Hidden”

By Dan Williams

     Gary Hart could well have been elected president back in 1988—until he got caught in some “Monkey Business” and had to drop out of the race in disgrace. John Edwards was a candidate for president during the 2004 and 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaigns—until it came to light that he was engaged in an affair while his wife Elizabeth was a cancer patient.
     Elliot Spitzer was governor of New York and was being promoted as presidential candidate for the next election—until the revelation that he was unfaithful to his wife by consorting with prostitutes.
     Mark Sanford was governor of South Carolina and was considered a promising candidate for president in the next election cycle—until it became apparent that he was committing adultery with an Argentine “soul mate.”
     Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, devoutly wants to be our next president, in spite of the trouble he has explaining why he dumped not one, but two, sick wives after beginning adulterous relationships. Now his campaign has imploded, in part because of tensions between his now-departed staff and his young “trophy wife.”
     Arnold Schwarzenegger managed to limp out the last years of his second term as governor of California before it was revealed that he had fathered a child with a housekeeper; now his marriage and his reputation are in tatters.
     Anthony Weiner was widely expected to run in, and win, the next election for mayor of New York, until it came to light that he had conducted lewd textual relations with numerous women. He became the punch line for countless jokes and was forced out of Congress.
     In a weird twist of fate, Bill Clinton conducted Anthony Weiner’s wedding ceremony last July. Clinton, of course, almost lost his presidency back in 1999 when he was impeached, but not convicted, after his extramarital affairs became public knowledge.
     So, what lesson are we supposed to take away from that dismal list? Is it:
A. If a politician is in town, you should lock up your wife?
B. Are some women especially attracted to men in positions of authority?
C. Does the arrogance of power lead office-holders to feel entitled and make them reckless?
D. Is the temptation of adultery so compelling that it leads men to sacrifice even their most cherished life goal?
     All of those suggestions have some validity, but Jesus suggests another lesson: “There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open” (Luke 8:17). An illicit affair thrives on the expectation that “We can keep it secret-no one will know.”
     As history has repeatedly demonstrated, however, the idea that adultery can be hidden is a fool’s dream.
     Learn from the sad examples of so many once prominent, now disgraced men: keep your heart pure, your moral boundaries high, and your marriage strong. Remember: “A man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself” (Proverbs 6:32).

- Dan Williams; - 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: