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Monday, January 11, 2021

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

The Most Valuable Book

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

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

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

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

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

    God’s Word teaches us that He will save those who place their faith and trust in Christ (Acts 16:30-31), turn from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  God will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7-9).
    Paul Batura has a great recommendation: “So if you have a Bible in your house, open it up. You might just be surprised what you find inside. And you might never be the same afterward.”
- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled "Living Water." To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website: http://www.creekwoodcc.org

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


The Pursuit of Happiness

By Edd Sterchi

When I lay my head at the end of the day
Having pursued self and selfish play
My mind is restless and preoccupied
And my heart’s uneasy and ungratified.

When I rest my head at the end of the day
Having helped another push burdens away
My mind is content and satisfied
And my heart is happy and fortified.

So as we go about our busy day
Interacting with others along the way
It may seem strange, but take note of this gem
True happiness stems on what we do for them.
- Edd Sterchi preaches for the Broadway Church of Christ in Campbellsville, KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.broadwaychurchofchrist.net/


Anger (#1)

By Joe Slater

    We usually think of anger as a bad thing. Would it surprise you to know that when Scripture speaks of anger, wrath, and the like, it usually refers to God? So anger isn’t necessarily sinful. In fact, Paul quoted Psalm 4:4, “‘Be angry and do not sin’: do not let the sun go down on your wrath.”
    While it’s possible for us to be angry without sinning, let’s be honest – that doesn’t happen often. Our anger, unlike God’s, is usually unjustified and involves us in sin. A few questions will help us determine whether our anger is righteous or not.
    The first question may be the most complex of all: “Why are you angry?” God asked this very question of Cain in Genesis 4:6. By reading the first five verses of that chapter, we can summarize the reason for Cain’s anger in one word: ENVY! His brother, Abel, had been accepted by God after offering a sacrifice by obedient faith. But the Lord rejected Cain and his self-willed offering. So Abel had something Cain didn’t have: God’s approval. Cain demonstrated the childish attitude, “If I can’t have it, nobody can have it!” So envy, itself a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:21), produced its evil fruit, anger.
    Is there ever a good reason for anger? Throughout Scripture, God’s anger resulted when people didn’t’ respect and obey His word. Jesus became angry when God’s Temple was defiled and God’s people abused. In the same way, sin (including our own) ought to make us angry. When God’s word is held up to ridicule, when sin is flaunted, when innocent people are abused, we ought to become angry – yes, angry enough to take steps to correct the situation. And that leads to the next question which we’ll cover next week!
- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com


Anger (#2)

By Joe Slater

    Anger isn’t necessarily sinful. Jesus Himself became angry, but always with legitimate reason. For example, the hard hearts of His critics drew his anger in Mark 3:5. Asking, “Why am I angry?” helps me to determine whether my anger is righteous or sinful.
    Another question to ask is: “What fruit comes from my anger?” When Cain became angry (Genesis 4:1-8), he ended up murdering his brother! In Ephesus, the Diana-worshipers were “full of wrath” because Paul taught against idolatry (Acts 19:23-34). They rioted two solid hours!
    Jonah the prophet became angry when the Lord didn’t destroy Nineveh, the capital city of Assyria. He became even angrier when the plant that had been shading him withered. So he sat outside the city and pouted like a child! (See Jonah 4:1-8.)
    In Jesus’ parable of the lost son, the older brother became angry when the father celebrated the lost son’s return. He complained bitterly and refused to join in the festivities! (See Luke 15:28-30.)
    By contrast, Jesus’ anger produced good fruit. On both occasions when He cleansed the temple and drove out the money-changers and merchants, who can deny His anger? But He vindicated the holiness of the temple. Likewise when He denounced the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23), He was doing exactly what was needed! They deserved the scolding, and those who witnessed it learned about righteous indignation.
    Christians, above all others, ought to be outraged at ungodly behavior (abortion, racism, pornography, and others). That involves not only feelings, but appropriate actions to effect positive changes.
- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com


Anger (#3)

By Joe Slater

    Anger can be righteous or sinful. How can you tell the difference? Thus far we’ve asked, “Why are you angry?” and, “What fruit comes from your anger?” Now consider a third question: “How quickly are you angry?
    Wise Solomon wrote, “He who is quick-tempered acts foolishly” (Proverbs 14:17). The same author said, “Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9).
    In stark contrast David wrote, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy” (Psalm 103:8). And James 1:19-20 admonishes us in “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
    A short temper is no laughing matter! One may pass it off, saying, “Yes, I blow up, but I calm right back down.” Perhaps so, but the same is true of a stick of dynamite! And the damage from the explosion remains.
    Finally, we should ask, “How long to you stay angry?” Quoting David in Psalm 4:4, Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:26-27, “‘Be angry, and do not sin;’ do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” A grudge harms no one but the person holding it. Harboring ill will serves Satan’s purposes shows a lack of trust in God. Rather than follow such a destructive course, let’s heed David’s counsel as his psalm continues, “Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Offer the sacrifices of the righteous, and put your trust in the Lord” (Psalm 4:4b-5).
- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com           


Monday, January 4, 2021

Coping in 2021

By Ronald Bartanen
 
    What will we be facing in this new  year? Will it be a year of good health, or of illness? Will there be a stabilizing economy or a stock-market crash?  Will there be an increase of unity as a nation or an increase of chaos, looting, burning and physical violence? As individuals, will we learn to cope with life’s illnesses and failures or will we collapse under the stresses of life? We don’t know all the answers to the situations we must face.  As our fears mount up, it becomes more and more difficult to cope.
    Even those who are people of faith find it difficult to face personal, national and global problems confidently.  We need daily to be reminded of the words of Jesus: “In this world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer.  I have overcome the world” (John 1`6:33).
    Our ability to cope begins with faith in Jesus. The apostle Paul wrote, “We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:37). Is your trust in Him who died for you, and was raised again? Have you, in faith, repented of sins, confessed faith in Christ, and been baptized?  (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 22:16). Are you faithfully following Him? (Revelation 2:1`0) When united to Him who died for us, we are encouraged and strengthened by His Spirit to cope with the problems of life, and to rejoice in the new life He has promised those who follow Him.
- Ronald Bartanen preaches for Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://arthurcoc.com/