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Monday, January 26, 2009

As I Grow Older

By Johnny Hester 

     Finally I think I’m getting a handle on this thing.  Growing older.  We are all doing it and it will happen as long as we continue to live.  That being the case, we have no choice in this matter of growing older.  So, why fret?

     Certain privileges come with old age – enjoy them!  Brag on your grandkids – it’s allowed, even expected.  Openly voice your opinion on politics and the economy – you’ve earned the right.  Claim the most comfortable chair for yourself in a room full of youngsters.  You’ll fit that big old recliner better than those skinny young folks anyhow.  Speak up without embarrassment at Burger King and boldly inquire, “Hey, what about my senior citizen discount?”

     While we have no choice about growing older, we can choose to age well.  With the old year winding down and a new year set to begin, consider how we might realize that goal as a part of our resolutions.

     Clyde Slimp wrote:  “There is a responsibility that comes with age … Christians ought to be men and women who ‘age well’ – in areas such as maturity, spirituality, knowledge, wisdom and the fruits of the Spirit.”

     You know, that is what I want to do.  As I grow older I want to grow closer to God so that others may see Him in my life.  As people observe the obvious – wrinkles, a slowed page, a silvery head – I also want them to see the example of a righteous life – a man aging well.  The Heavenly Father’s plan for growing older is beautifully stated in Proverbs 16:31, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.”

     Since we’re all in this thing together, I have an idea.  Let’s “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess” and “encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:23, 25).  In the wonderful fellowship of Christ we can all manage to age well.

 

- Johnny Hester preaches for the Shady Acres church of Christ, in Sikeston, MO.  He may be contacted through the church's website at http://www.shadyacreschurch.com

Monday, January 19, 2009

Let Your Light Shine in 2009!

By Kevin Williams

    In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5.16). It is the responsibility of every Christian to shine the light of Christ in this world of darkness. If people in the world are going to see the light and come to Christ it will be through His followers. People of the world do not lead other people of the world to Christ! Like the city set on a hill our light for Christ cannot be hidden. Like the light of the lamp on its stand our light must shine to all who are in the house. Therefore, as followers of Christ our goal for the New Year should be “Let your light shine in 2009!”

     Decisions, decisions, decisions! We make so many decisions on a daily basis! We decide what time we will get up, when we shower, what and when we eat, what we wear, where we go, what kind of day we will have, whether or not we will be kind to others, how we will perform the smallest of tasks, among a multitude of other things. Some decisions we make well in advance (where we will go on vacation this year); others we make with little thought (adding salt to our food); still others we make on the spur of the moment (taking an alternate route to avoid traffic).

      Being a Christian, a follower of Christ, is a decision that we make as well. It is not, however, a decision that is to be made in a hasty or thoughtless manner. Jesus, Himself, said that we should count the cost before making the decision to follow Him (Luke 14.25ff). Since baptism is the point at which we come into Christ (Galatians 3.27), receive forgiveness for our sins (Acts 2.38), and are added to His church (Acts 2.47); it is also the point at which our decision to become a Christian, to follow Christ, and to let our light shine is made. That means that whatever one does as a Christian is based on his decision to live for Christ that he made when he was baptized into Christ.

      We must also realize that we make decisions daily concerning various ways in which we live our lives for Christ and honor the decision we made at baptism. Since our subject under consideration is found in Matthew 5.16, and since we are talking about decision-making, the following suggestions are offered as ways that each of us can “let our lights shine in 2009”…

Decide to draw closer to God through personal study of His Word and increased prayer life. 

Decide to joyfully participate in every worship service and activity of the church.

Decide to contribute to the unity of the congregation and peaceful progress of the church by encouraging others and solving problems before they fester.

Decide to faithfully support the work here with an increased regular contribution as God has blessed you.

Decide to show your loving care as you have opportunity to do so to those in the church and to those in the community who have needs that you can help meet.

Decide to have the courage to talk to others about the blessings that they, too, can enjoy in Christ.

Decide to live your life the way God wants you to live it without letting the world influence you to do things differently.

Decide to always speak well of your brothers and sisters in Christ and give them the benefit of the doubt.

Decide to let the Cross be the center of your life and bear your own cross as you follow Jesus.

Remember: Let your light shine in 2009!

Kevin Williams preaches for the Walnut Grove church of Christ in Benton KY.  He may be contacted at wgcoc@bellsouth.net




Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Religion To Die By

A father on his deathbed called his two sons.  They gathered around him, and to one he said, "Good-night, son;" and to the other he said, "Good-by, son." The second boy noticed the difference and asked his father, "Father, why did you say 'good-by' to me?" The dear old man who loved both of them said to the boy, "Son, John is a Christian; I will meet him in the morning of eternity, so it is just 'good-night' to him.  But you son, are not a Christian.  I will never meet you again, unless you change.  It is 'good-by' my son, throughout all eternity."


- Bulletin Digest, via Easthill Bulletin, Pulaski, TN and The Shady Acres Servant, Shady Acres Church of Christ, Sikeston, MO


Monday, January 5, 2009

A New Year - A New Life

By Ronald Bartanen

     Did you ever think that you would like to begin life all over again? Maybe you wouldn’t make the same mistakes that you have made the first time around.  The fact is, God gives us that opportunity.  Jesus taught that this new life is the result of a new birth—not physical, but spiritual.  Jesus, in conversation with Nicodemus, a Jewish teacher, said, “Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.... Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, 5).
     The new life is accomplished through the gospel, “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16), the incorruptible seed, “the word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).  The gospel calls us to accept this new birth provided through the blood of Christ in our response of a trusting faith, repentance and baptism (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38).  Paul speaks of the coming forth from the waters of baptism as a resurrection to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4)
     Have you yet begun the new life? If so, are you still walking in it?

- Ronald Bartanen preaches for Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL.  He may be contacted at ron33dor@yahoo.com or via the congregation's website at http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com