Sunday, May 29, 2022

Dads: Define Your Success the Right Way

By Adam Faughn

    Looking at the world through the lens of the Bible, it is obvious that our culture is in very dangerous times. Morally speaking, the larger culture in which we find ourselves is seemingly running headlong away from any sense of Biblical morality and is trans-planting it with perversion, rebellion against authority, and a "no one can tell me what to do" attitude.
    One sign of that dangerous trend has been going on for a long time, and that is the subversion of fatherhood in the culture. A man who would strive to just be a good dad is the brunt of countless jokes.  Because he might not be the richest or the strongest or the wildest, he is treated as weak and boring. He is the idiot in the sitcoms. He is the punching bag in many gossip sessions. He "can't do anything right."
    This is a very dangerous sign because, when we look at the Bible, a man who would simply be a good and faithful dad is held up as a lynchpin in the home and in society.  It is fathers who are told to "bring [your children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).  Do mothers not have a role in that?  There is no doubt that they do, but the primary weight of responsibility lands squarely on the shoulders of the father. A real man, no matter what society says, is a man who shoulders that responsibility with every fiber of his being.
    Years ago, Clifton Rogers wrote a poem that expresses the heart of a dad who has his priorities in order:

I may never be as clever as my neighbor down the street,
I may never be as wealthy as some other men I meet,
I may never have the glory that some other men have had,
But I've got to be successful as a little fellow's dad.

There are certain dreams I cherish that I'd like to see come true,
There are things I would accomplish ere my working time is through,
But the task my heart is set on is to guide a little lad,
And to make myself successful as a little fellow's dad.

I may never come to glory, I may never gather gold,
Men may count me as a failure when my business tale is told,
But if he who follows after shall be manly, I'll be glad,
For  I'll  know  I've  been  successful  as  a little fellow's dad.

It's the one job I dream of; it's the task I think of most;
If  I  fail  that  growing  youngster,  I'd have nothing else to boast;
For though wealth and fame I'd gather, all my future would be sad,
If I failed to be successful as that little fellow's dad.

My "lad" is not so little anymore (nor is my girl), but I fully get the feeling of that poem. Certainly, there are wishes and dreams I might have that my children could "hold me back" on, because it takes a tremendous amount of time and energy and money to raise children.  But when my priorities are aligned with the will of God, my children are not holding me back at all, because I am doing the most important work any dad could ever do when I spend time with them and in-still Biblical values in their hearts.
    Dads, if you are being a faithful and godly dad, society will make fun of you and try to tell you to feel as if your role is nothing but outdated, overbearing, or just drudgery. But we know better! We know that God gave us these children to raise, teach, discipline, and disciple, and if we are doing that with every ounce of our bring, we are a true success.
- Adam Faughn preaches for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: Visit the Faughn Family blog, A Legacy of Faith.

Lessons From the Old Testament

By Ron Thomas


    What value is there in the existence of the Old Testament for New Testament saints? To begin, for whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the scriptures we might have hope (Rom. 15:4, ASV). Secondly, though related to the first point, now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come (1 Cor. 10:11). Third, those under the Law of Moses are taught to move toward the New Covenant, so that the law [Law of Moses] is become our tutor to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith (Gal. 3:24).

    It is unfortunate New Testament saints will speak of the Old Testament as something we don’t follow, even though in the New Testament there are frequent references to it. Yet, there is some truth to this “we don’t follow” idea. That truth is the Old Covenant was given exclusively to the people of Israel; it was not given to any non-Israelite who lived at the same time, whether in close proximity to Israel or some distance away.

    If we don’t follow it, but the New Testament says we learn from it, how should we use it? Two things to keep in mind. First, the Old Covenant was exclusive to the nation of Israel; it was the will of God to Abraham, Jacob (Israel), and through this nation the Lord’s messiah would come to the world (cf. Galatians 3:22-29). Second, from the Old Testament we can learn a great deal. Not only do we learn how the Lord addressed His people with their corresponding obedient / disobedient approach to life, but we also learn the Lord’s termination point with regard to the duration of His commands to Moses and the nation (cf. Jer. 31:31-35).

    There is much to learn from the Old Covenant, and one of those great lessons comes from Deuteronomy 29:29. The secret things belong unto Jehovah our God; but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law (ASV).

    The principle teaching of this verse is simple enough: if the Lord revealed something to man, He felt it necessary for man to know, learn, and put into practice (as a way of life). If the Lord said nothing on a topic, then let us not presume on the Lord and think it will be acceptable to Him when it is not possible for any to know whether it is or not. This, by implication, condemns “oral traditions” codified as the law of God, especially as practiced by the Jewish and Catholic communities. The force of this is clearly understood by the rabbis, so they insert the word “sins” in the verse, saying the Lord is only talking about sins that are revealed and / or not revealed (Onkelos, p. 325). Here is an English translation of the Hebrew text, The hidden [sin] are for HASHEM, or God, but the revealed [sins] are for us and our children forever, to carry out all the words of the Torah. The word “sins” are in brackets, meaning they are not in the biblical text. They are inserted without justification and by doing this, it alters the meaning of the verse. This is the nature of man-made laws, how they are brought into competition with the Lord’s revealed will and corrupt man’s thinking.

    The secret things belong to the Lord, so let us not presume to think we can know what the Lord will accept or not accept. Why is that? Simply put, For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). Some resist the application of these two verses in a New Testament context, but their resistance will not stand. It is still the case that we (the created) do not think like Him who is the Creator. Since the Lord does not think like us, and since we need to be taught to think like Him, we will do best if we adhere to His written word and not go beyond it.

    Why does the New Testament saints stand opposed to the use of the mechanical instrument in worship? Here is your answer. 

- Ron Thomas preacher for the Sunrush Church of Christ, Chillicothe, OH. He may be contacted through the congregation's website.


By Joe Slater


    Jesus and the inspired New Testament writers had far more to say about our speech (words, tongue) than about baptism or the Lord’s Supper. That takes nothing away from the importance of immersion or communion. It simply exposes the need to pay heed to what we say.

    Is this a salvation issue? Listen to Jesus: “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37). “Idle” literally means “without work.” We speak idle words when we’re too lazy to do the work of thinking first. We carelessly “shoot from the lip!” We would do well to “start brain before engaging mouth.”

    It’s hard work to control our speech. James observed that “no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). Though we can’t tame it, we must control that terrible tongue! “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless” (1:26).

    Paul exhorted, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). Apply that to your keyboard too! Take a second look before you send that post on social media. Are you glorifying God when you post vulgar words? Surely your vocabulary isn’t so limited that you can’t make your point without using crude language!

    “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6).
- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

Too Concerned About It?

By Bill Brandstatter


    During a recent health situation, I was calling the doctor’s office and asking a lot of questions. I over think things and worry too much about stuff. Recently, I did that with a question I had. One of the nurses told me I was too concerned about it. I thought about that statement in regard to man and his salvation. Some men may not be concerned about their salvation at all. Others may be unsure. The Bible teaches that I can know some things that will assure me, I don’t need to over think it.

    First, we are saved by grace. Understanding the grace of God is too deep for man to fathom (Rom. 11:33). How could He send His son to die for man while the world was full of sin and still is? (Rom. 5:8). The graciousness of God was revealed to all men when Jesus came and died for us (Titus 2:11,12). We are truly saved by grace (Eph. 2:5). Understanding the grace of God helps us to understand our standing with Him. I must have faith in Him and His grace. Paul wrote; “We are saved by grace through faith, it is not in ourselves, it is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8).

    Next, we must do something. God’s grace is made available to all mankind; but man must do something. The Bible teaches man must believe in God (Heb. 11:6). I must believe the gospel and its saving message (Mark 16:15,16). Just believing in God’s grace is not enough. I must also believe Jesus is the Son of God and confess that before men (Acts 8:37). I then must be baptized to have my sins forgiven (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 1 Pet. 3:21). My faith must be put into action in my life. Faith manifests itself in the works that I do (James 2:22:26).

    Next, I must work on my salvation. Once saved, I must continually strive to do what I can to make my call and election sure (2 Pet. 1:10). Peter gives us supplements to make sure. These include: virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love (2 Pet. 1:5-8). Then, he assures us: “If these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:8). He further adds: “If you do these things, you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:10,11). Paul adds a statement to help us when he writes: “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12).

    Finally, I must spend my life serving and worshipping God. Paul tells the church at Rome to “...present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1 NKJV). Then he adds: “...and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2). We should present our lives as a living sacrifice. Regarding worship, Jesus says the Father is seeking true worshippers to worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23,24). Worship matters to God and it should to us also.

    Do I need to be concerned about my salvation? Absolutely! All I can do is what the Bible indicates—live for God according to His Word. The rest is in His hands.
Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

A Word Not in the Bible

By Clifton Angel


    I am thinking of word that needs to take priority in our lives, yet nowhere in the English Scriptures will you find it.  It is the word "Bible."  That's right. Nowhere in the English Scriptures of the Bible will you find the word "Bible." However, you CAN find the Greek words biblos or biblion in the original language of the New Testament and in the Greek translation of the Old Testament. These words are the origin for our English word "Bible."  Interestingly, these Greek words are not typically used to refer to the Scriptures as a whole, as we do with the word "Bible" today (and have been for a few centuries now). The simple definition of its word of origin is book, or books.

    Even if you cannot find the word "Bible" in the English Scriptures of your Bible, it is a word that still needs priority in our lives.  Why? First, it needs priority in our lives because it is one of the most common words we have to refer to our copy of God's Word. Second, the word "Bible" needs priority in our lives because its contents are what teach us so many vital answers to life's questions. Where do we come from? Who are we? Who is God? What is right? What is wrong? What is sin? Why do people die? How can we be saved from our sins?  Where do we go when we die?  Will I be judged by God? These are only a few of the vital questions that are answered in the Bible.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

— 2 Timothy 3:16–17 —

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain

unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:  that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

— 2 Peter 1:3–4 —

    According to the Bible: Our desire for salvation begins with faith that is produced  from hearing the Bible (Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:6); Our desire for salvation begets repentance—change which begins in the mind, but is manifested in our lives (2  Corinthians 7:10;  Acts  2:38);  Our  desire for salvation brings about a public confession of Jesus as Savior (Romans 10:10; Acts 8:37); Our desire for salvation becomes reality in the waters of baptism (Mark 16:16). Our indebtedness for salvation bolsters our faith unto death (1 Corinthians 15:57; Revelation 2:10).  May we all look to the Bible, obey its teachings, and sing the words written by Priscilla J. Owens:

Give me the Bible,

star of gladness gleaming,

To cheer the wand’rer

lone and tempest tossed;

No storm can hide that

radiance peaceful beaming,

Since Jesus came to seek and save the lost. 


Give me the Bible,

when my heart is broken,

When in and grief have

filled my soul with fear;

Give me the precious

words by Jesus spoken,

Hold up faith’s lamp to

show my Savior near.


Give me the Bible,

holy message shining;

Thy light shall guide me

in the narrow way; 

Precept and promise, 

law and love combining,

Till night shall vanish

in eternal day.

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

Monday, May 23, 2022

About YOU

By David A. Sargent


    Keith Wishum reminds us, “What people say about you does not determine what you are.”

    "As a composer," declared the music teacher, "he is hopeless!"  The student's name was Ludwig van Beethoven.

    At 21, he got a job at a department store, but he wasn't allowed to wait on customers. The manager said he didn't have enough sense to know how to serve a customer. The clerk's name was F.W. Woolworth.

    A young newspaper writer was fired by his editor who said the boy just had "no good ideas." The youngster was Walt Disney.

    He got a "C" on his student project in his college business class. The professor said his proposal for an overnight delivery service wasn't feasible. The student was Fred Smith, founder of Federal Express.

    What has been said about YOU?

    You may have been told, "You'll never amount to anything!" Or, "You're just no good."  Perhaps it has been in the form of a question that your failure has been predicted, "Can't you do anything right?" *

    Consider…  What has GOD said about you?

    God says… you are His special creation.  After all, every person was created in His image (Genesis 1:26-27).

    God says… because of sin, that image has been marred.  “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  Unless the problem is resolved, that sin will destroy you (Matthew 7:13-14).

    God says… “I love you, and I want you to be my child.”  God loves you so much that He gave His Son to die on the cross to pay the price for your sins (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:7).  Because of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, you can be forgiven of your sins and be born into God’s family.

    God will cleanse you by the blood of Jesus and add you to His family when you place your faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of your sins (Acts 2:38).  The blood of Jesus will continue to cleanse you as you continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).

    In the words of Wishum: “People may be telling you that you aren't worth much - that you can't make it.  The person most likely to be telling you that is YOU!!

DON'T LISTEN..... God says otherwise.”

     “And HIS opinion of you is the ONLY one that matters.”

    Won’t YOU accept His offer of salvation and eternal life by surrendering your life to Him today?
- 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:


* Keith Wishum, “What People Say About You,” in A Word from Williams Road, provided by the Williams Road Church of Christ, Americus, GA.  See

Some Things You Should NEVER Be Sorry For

By Gerald Cowan


Being honest with God.

Always telling the truth.

Your faith in Christ.

Living a pure life.

Acknowledging and repenting of sin.

What you give to the Lord’s cause.

What you do in service to Christ.

Doing your best.

Hearing before judging.

Thinking before acting.

Being patient.

Being courteous and kind.

Helping a fallen brother.

Being merciful.

Correcting those who are in error.

Being willing to forgive.

Being loyal to the church.

Standing upon your principles.
- Gerald Cowan, a longtime preacher and missionary, is retired from full-time pulpit preaching. Gerald publishes an e-mail newsletter entitled GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICAL WRITINGS. He is available for Gospel Meetings and he may be contacted at

The Greatest Story: The Greatest Salvation

By Ron Bartanen


     The greatest story ever told is a true story.  It is the story of how God has provided salvation for man through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Obviously, this story would be without significance was it not for the fact that man is lost in sin and in need of a Savior.  “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), while “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

    Looking at the Bible as a whole, it is one story.  It is the account of creation, the fall of man, the promise of a Deliverer, the coming of the Deliverer, His death for man’s sins, His resurrection, His ascension into glory, and His promised return to “judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:1).  The writer of the book of Hebrews wrote, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation: which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him?” (Heb. 2:3). 

     There were other salvations in the Scriptures.  Noah and his household were saved when God destroyed the world by the Great Flood.  By faith, being warned and instructed by God, he obeyed God “to the saving of his house” (Heb. 11:7).  God saved Israel from Egyptian bondage as His servant, Moses, was empowered to miraculously lead them forth by faith and obedience, from Egypt toward the Promised Land.   The story of these salvations, while great, serve as prophetic types of the greatest story—the great salvation wrought through Christ. For those who will step out in faith and obedience to Christ, there is deliverance from the guilt and the eternal consequences of sin, with a far more glorious hope.  Truly, He is “the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him” (Heb. 5:9).

     The greatness of this story of salvation is based on a number of factors, among which are the following:

·       God is its author (Heb. 5:9).

·       The greatest price was paid to make it a reality—the blood of God’s Son: “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us..  Much more then, being now justified by His blood…” (Romans 5:9).

·       We are saved from God’s wrath: “…we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Rom. 5:9).

·       We have the greatest hope, established upon God’s promises: “We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).

·       It is eternal in its duration (Heb. 5:9).

·       It is guaranteed by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us…by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:21).

     The greatest story is that found within the pages of your Bible.  The greatest story is His story.  In His words: “Search the Scriptures: for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).  The greatest story is the great salvation that is available to all through Jesus Christ.  “How shall we escape?” if we neglect it?

- Ronald Bartanen is a retired minister who for many years served the Lord's church in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee. He may be contacted at:

The Test of a Church

By Seth Myers


    Did you know there are over 30,000 various “Christian” “churches” in the world today? Did you know that—in the New Testament (NT)—there is only ONE church (Matt. 16:18; Rom. 12:4,5; 1 Cor. 12:12,13,20; et al.)? That leads to this eternally important question: HOW DO I KNOW WHICH CHURCH IS THE CHURCH?

    In the New Testament—especially in the book of Acts and the epistles of Paul (Romans – 2 Timothy)—we can read of the various characteristics of THE church that belongs to Christ:

  • ·       Its Teachings
  • ·       Its Practices
  • ·       Its Pattern of Worship
  • ·       Its Organization
  • ·       Its Government

To put a church to the test, simply compare/contrast the characteristics of any given church to the characteristics of Christ’s church (which can be found nowhere but the New Testament). Here is the kicker: if a church differs, in any capacity (e.g., teaching, practice, worship, organization, gov’t, etc.), with CHRIST’S church (according to the descriptions found in the New Testament) —then that church is NOT Christ’s church, which He built and purchased with His blood (Matt. 16:18; Acts 20:28).

    A great key is found in Acts 2:42:

“And they continued steadfastly IN THE APOSTLES’ TEACHING…”


·       “Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all SPEAK THE SAME THING and that there be NO DIVISIONS among you…” (1 Cor. 1:10).

·       “Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received FROM US” (2 Thess. 3:6).

·       “If anyone does not obey what WE say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed” (2 Thess. 3:14).

·       “If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are A COMMAND OF THE LORD” (1 Cor. 14:37).

The only way any church can be THE church which THE Creator purchased with THE blood of THE Son of THE God is if it “continue[s] steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching.” A “denomination” (i.e., “division”) is born when men stop “continu[ing] steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42). Thus, any church that is not “continu[ing] steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching” is NOT Christ’s church, but is just another “self-made religion” (Col. 2:23)—and no self-made religion has ever gotten a single soul to heaven (cf. Matt. 23:15).

    Study the New Testament and read about Christ’s only church: if YOUR church varies, in any capacity from THAT church, I urge you to get out, and find one that operates strictly and solely according to the pattern found in the New Testament, with nothing added or subtracted—i.e., one that is “in Christ” (Gal. 2:6) and “of Christ” (Rom. 16:16).


Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, DOES NOT HAVE GOD.

Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

2 JOHN 9

- Seth Myers preaches for the Highway Church of Christ in Sullivan, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

What Will Your Epitaph Say About You?

By Al Behel


    I love reading old headstones. That may sound morbid, but I have found that the epitaph written may reveal a lot about the person whose body lies beneath the ground. Some are very sad, and some are rather comical. I recall one in New England which advertised that the widow was mourning as one who could be comforted. One I read in Barren County, Kentucky reads, “Behold, my friends, in passing by, as you are now so once was I, as I am now one day you’ll be. So, prepare for death and follow me.” Someone had written below these words: “Before I follow you of my own consent, I’d like to know which way you went.”

    Probably the most appropriate epitaph for any of us would be these simple words, “To Be Continued…” All of us will exit our physical bodies and they will return to dust, but, inside our bodies is a living soul which will never die. That soul will live eternally somewhere. There are only two choices: heaven or hell. Your life will “be continued.”

    We hope others will say good things about us when we are gone. But, more important is what God will say. Will He say, “you fought a good fight, you finished the course, you kept the faith”? Will He say, “Well done! Good and faithful servant”? Or, will He say, “I never knew you”? The choice is ours.

    We are writing our own epitaph each day we live. Decide now what you want yours to say about you.
- Al Behel served the Great Smoky Mountains Church of Christ in Pigeon Forge, TN, for many years prior to this death in April 2022. The congregation may be contacted through their website -

Sunday, May 15, 2022

The Shroud of Turin And Other “Relics”

By Joe Slater


    Was Jesus’ body wrapped in a linen shroud before being placed in the tomb? If so, is the “Shroud of Turin,” housed in a Cathedral in Turin, Italy, that shroud? And if it is, should this shroud be venerated as a “holy relic”? The short answers are no, no, and no!

    John 19:40 informs us that Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea “took the body of Jesus and bound it in strips of linen, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.” Jews didn’t use shrouds. They wound the body with strips up to the shoulders, then tied a handkerchief around the face.

    Even if Jesus’ body had been wrapped in a shroud, it wouldn’t be the one atTurin. That cloth was first revealed in 1354 and denounced as a fake 35 years later by the local Catholic bishop. Carbon 14 testing says it dates to the Middle Ages (1260-1390), over 1200 years too late to have been used on Jesus’ body.

    But again, even if the “Shroud of Turin” could be shown to have been used to wrap Jesus’ body for burial, that would not mean we should venerate it as a “holy relic.” Sincere but misguided souls have long sought for some tangible object to help them connect with God. In the movie, Indiana Jones found the “holy grail,” the cup Jesus used at the last supper. Splinters from the cross, vials of blood from Jesus’ pierced side, and countless other “relics” are also viewed as having miraculous powers. None are genuine. Most border on idolatry.

    At God’s direction, Moses constructed a bronze serpent in the wilderness. Its legitimate use brought healing to sinful Israelites bitten by serpents. Centuries later their descendants began worshiping it. Good king Hezekiah destroyed it, calling it “Nehushtan” (a piece of bronze, 2 Kings 18:4). If ever there was a genuine “relic,” surely this was it. But, in reality, it was just a piece of bronze. Just so, the “Shroud of Turin” is a piece of linen, nothing more and nothing less.

- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

We are Not Invisible

By Gerald Cowan


    Everything a Christian says and does must be designed to lead others to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31-32). There is nothing about the Christian life that is neutral or unimportant. In everything a Christian does he is to be “the light of the world,” a light that is not hidden. He is told, “Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Mt. 5:14-16). Notice that Jesus does not beg his disciples to become lights in the world. He merely states a fact: you are lights in the world (compare also Phil. 2:15-16). We ought to understand these words to mean, “If you are truly my disciples (John 8:31) you are the light of the world.” There can be a great difference, you know, between Christians and professed Christians. God used the obedient examples, the piety and good works of the true disciples of Christ to enlighten the world. Christians are living examples of what God can do with a person’s life.

    Jesus does not mean that we should try to impress people with our own righteousness and good works. But he reminds us that no one is really invisible. If one lives for God, others will see it. If one lives without God, that will be apparent too. When a person becomes a Christian he is committed to a new way of life. Changes become obvious in his attitudes – especially toward other people, in his sense of values, and in his use of his time, energy, money and other resources. In many other ways he will be visibly and conspicuously different. Not because he is trying to attract attention to himself, but only because God calls Christians to be obedient to Him in ways that cannot easily be kept hidden from others. You cannot hide a city that is built on a hillside, and you cannot hide the kind of obedience that God requires of all followers of Jesus Christ. So do not try to hide. Just go on and shine!

    Others will be impressed by your life. When they know that it is obedience to God that makes the difference they will glorify God for your good example. They may not become Christians themselves, but they will give God credit for your improvement. And no doubt there will be some, encouraged by your faith in God and your trust in His promises, who will place their own lives in God’s hands too.

    You are the light of the world, the light the world needs to see, if you are a Christian, because when the world looks at you the world sees God.

- Gerald Cowan, a longtime preacher and missionary, is retired from full-time pulpit preaching. Gerald publishes an e-mail newsletter entitled GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICAL WRITINGS. He is available for Gospel Meetings and he may be contacted at

Assaulted Savior

By David A. Sargent


    Two San Diego, California firefighters responded to a 911 call reporting an intoxicated man who had become ill on the downtown trolley platform.  As the firefighters were trying to help the drunken man, a bystander attacked them with a knife, stabbing both of the rescuers multiple times.  Both firefighters were hospitalized.

    The suspect was arrested and is being held in county jail without bail and faces charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest.

    Police are trying to determine a motive.  Chief Shelley Zimmerman told reporters that the suspect, who did not appear to be acquainted with the drunken man, began crowding the firefighters and telling them what to do as they tried to render aid.   “He was asked several times by the firefighters to move back,” she said. "He continued to interfere with the firefighters rendering the aid, and an altercation occurred."

    How awful!  Two men were attacked while trying to help someone else!

    But consider…

Jesus, the Son of God, came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).  He came to save US!  We desperately need a Savior because our sin separates us from God and puts us on the path to eternal destruction (Isaiah 59:1-2; Matthew 7:13-14).  God loves us so much that He gave His One and Only Son to come to our rescue (John 3:16).

    And how was the Rescuer received?  He was rejected, beaten, and crucified!  Sinners killed the only One who could save them!

    Yet, it was through His crucifixion that Jesus is able to save us from our sins.  Our sins demand punishment from a just God: “for the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).  But because of His great love for us, God gave His Son to die on the cross for OUR sins so that we can be forgiven and receive the gift of eternal life (2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:7).

    On Pentecost Day, The Apostle Peter preached to some of the very ones who had cried out for Jesus’ crucifixion:  “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).

     Many of them realized that they had crucified the Promised Messiah – the Great Deliverer that had been promised by the prophets of old.  The murderers, convicted of their sins, cried out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37).

     Peter answered, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).  The penitent believers “who gladly received his word were baptized” (Acts 2:41).  They were saved from their sins by the blood that was shed by Jesus on the cross – the blood that they spilt, but was also spilt for them, according to the eternal plan of God (Acts 2:23; 1 Peter 1:18-20).

    Jesus came to save YOU, too.  Don’t reject the Savior.  Accept His offer of salvation and eternal life in the same way that they did on that Pentecost day: place your faith and trust in Jesus (see Acts 16:30-31), confess Jesus before men (see Romans 10:9-10), “repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 2:38).  Then God will give you His Spirit, add you to His church, and prepare a place for you in Heaven.  And, if you will continue to walk in the light of His Word, the blood of Jesus will continue to cleanse you from sin (1 John 1:7) and prepare you for your heavenly home.

    Won’t YOU accept His offer on His terms?
- 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:* Information gleaned from “Two San Diego firefighters stabbed while aiding ill man on trolley platform,” Published June 26, 2015 on

Memorial Day and The Lord’s Warrior Spirit

By Ron Thomas

    1 Sam. 17:26-27 And David said to the men who stood by him, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
     And the people answered him in the same way, “So shall it be done to the man who kills him.” ... 1 Sam. 17:32-36
    And David said to Saul, “Let no man's heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”
    And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.”
    But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” .... 1 Sam. 17:45-47
    The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.”
    Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hand.”
    It’s not possible for us to remain standing as a country without the Lord on our side. 
- Ron Thomas preacher for the Sunrush Church of Christ, Chillicothe, OH. He may be contacted through the congregation's website.

The Beauty of the Snow

By Bill Brandstatter


    The weather forecast for our area is calling for a winter storm. There are advisories and warnings issued for much of our area. Some of the area is going to get freezing rain and sleet to start with and then most of the area will get snow. I like to see snow at least once a year. Snowflakes are special and beautiful.

    Each one is different. No two snowflakes are exactly alike. I am reminded that everything God makes is special. Man is the crowning point of God's creative work. David wrote: “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works” (Psa. 139:14). Every person is different. Each one has a unique personality and characteristics.

    Each one is special. As each snowflake falls, it forms a special bond with the other ones to produce the snow we shovel. It is the whole work we see not just the single snowflake. Likewise, each person is special. Jesus spoke about the special nature of man when He stated, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matt. 6:26)

    Each person is special to God. Each person is special in the church. Paul mentioned how each person playing a part causes the church to grow in Eph. 4:16. The church is made up of individuals (1 Cor. 12:20), but each one is important. Each Christians is special, although different. Paul wrote, “So we being many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another.” (Rom. 12:5)

    Each one is similar. Although different, each snowflake has a similarity with another one. They are the same color. They all fall from the sky. They all land on the ground. They all accumulate. Humans, although different, bear a striking similarity. We are all made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26). Every human has a body and a spirit. (1 Cor. 6:19, 20) Humans have the power and ability to choose. (Deut. 30:15-19) This makes humans different from animals. There is a special connection each man has with another. Paul told the idol worshipers in Athens, “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.” (Acts 17:26)

    Each one has a designer. Snowflakes don't just happen. They were designed by God. When we look at the weather, do we see the evidence of God? David tells us that God is seen in nature. He stated, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” (Psa. 19:1) We read in the book of Job that “He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth'” (Job. 37:6). When we see the snow, we should see one of the many works of God. (See verses on next page, right column)

    Each one is white. It is the bright white nature of the snow that attracts our attention. The Bible compares the purity of snow to the purity a man can have when God forgives him of sin. When a person is obedient to God, Isaiah writes, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow” (Isa. 1:18). Let us think of God when we see the snow. Let us think of how special we are and how special we can become when we obey God and become one of His children (Gal. 3:26,27).

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

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Are You One with the Lord?

By David R. Ferguson


    This past Sunday around the globe many people celebrated what is commonly referred to as Easter, the anniversary of that great and glorious day in which our Lord and Savior defeated Death and rose triumphantly from the grave.

    His tomb had been sealed and a huge stone had been placed in front of it in the hopes of holding His dead body inside it, but there was absolutely nothing devised by the mind of man, no stratagem clever enough, that would prevent Jesus from rising from the dead, just as He Himself had prophesied.

    In 1 Corinthians 15, the Apostle Paul describes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus as being the defining, foundational principles of our faith. These are the gospel itself (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Without the fact of the risen Savior “our faith also is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14 [NAS]) because “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17 [NAS]). If Christ didn’t rise from the grave and leave that tomb empty, there would be no hope of salvation for anyone. As Paul states it, “If we have hoped in Christ only in this life, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19 [NAS]).

    Have you, in obedient, saving faith, identified yourself with Jesus and His death, burial and resurrection, visually proclaiming the very gospel itself? In the words of Paul, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:3-5). By allowing ourselves to be immersed in that watery grave of baptism, when we rise up out of those waters, we are considered a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17 [NAS]), one who is no longer God’s enemy, but an adopted child of His (Ephesians 1:5). As a child of God, we are “heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17 [NAS]). We become “fellow partakers of the promise in Christ” (Ephesians 3:6 [NAS]) which means that since Jesus lives, then we no longer need to fear death, either. We, too, will be resurrected and Death will not keep us from our reward of living with Him in Heaven forever!
- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Mentor Church of Christ in Mentor, OH.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: or

Jesus and Him Crucified (Acts 2)

By Ron Thomas


    Those chosen by the Lord were to wait in Jerusalem for the special day the Lord Jesus told them about.

    They therefore, when they were come together, asked him, saying, Lord, dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know times or seasons, which the Father hath set within His own authority. But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:6-8).

    So, they did. The Lord’s chosen (the twelve apostles) gathered together in one place. Suddenly, from heaven the Lord’s gift, His promise mentioned above came to them. These men spoke in languages (called “tongues”) that perplexed all those who were there and heard. They did not know what to think about this, so they falsely accused them of being drunk. When people do not know, it’s not possible for them to understand how to interpret what they see. Just as it was then, so it is the same today. Without evidence, without understanding, they assert they do know what is going on by accusing them of something not true. Peter and the others dismissed this and explained what was going on.

    Making reference to the words of the prophet Joel, Peter said that what was occurring before their eyes was a fulfillment of what Joel said (2:16). Since the people in the crowd had no counter to what Peter said, they listened. Peter continued by preaching that what the people of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas experienced the last 3 years, what they were seeing now was a culmination of the life lived and a resurrected body going to the glories of heaven. With Him now gone, the words of the prophet are fulfilled. Hearing “the words of the prophet are now being fulfilled” would not have escaped their attention. Coupled with what they knew of Jesus in this midst (as He once was), they would have started to put “two and two together”, coming to a reasonable conclusion on the matter.

- Ron Thomas preacher for the Sunrush Church of Christ, Chillicothe, OH. He may be contacted through the congregation's website.

Some Items to Remember on Memorial Day

By Bill Brandstatter

    This is Memorial Day weekend. During this time of year, we pause to remember. We remember the ones who died for our nation's freedom. We remember the loved ones in general who have gone on before. The basic idea of remembering is to look back. We are looking back this weekend. Let us go through some biblical accounts and take a look back. All these will begin with word “remember” or “remembrance” and are in no particular order.
    Remember the Word I have spoken: John 15:20: There is an idea here that Jesus not only wants us to remember but also to do. Jesus’s word will judge us (John 12:48). How is our spiritual memory? Many people have a memory problem. Sometimes we remember what the scripture says, but we don’t believe it applies to us. Let us remember the following from the Word of God: The wonderful works of God (Rom. 11:33); the death of Christ (1 Cor. 11:25-26); the teachings of the gospel (Rom. 1:16). To remember Christ’s words would include obeying them and incorporating them into your life. The words of Christ are very important to salvation (John 12:48, John 14:24, 1 Tim. 6:3, Matt. 24:35).
    Remember Me: Luke 23:42: This is the statement of the thief on the cross. We often focus on the statement made by Jesus in response to the thief: “Today you will be with me in paradise"; but the statement the thief made is very important. What does this statement say? He wanted to do what pleased Jesus. He wanted to be where Jesus was. He wasn’t afraid to confess something about Christ even while facing certain death. He had an attitude of repentance. Certainly, we want the Lord to remember us when the crowns are handed out. (1 Cor. 9:25; 2Tim. 4:8; Rev. 2:10). We cannot be saved like the thief on the cross. He didn’t have to believe anything about Christ’s death. I do! (Rom. 10:9) He couldn’t be baptized into the death of Christ; (Rom. 6:3); I must be. The thief on the cross lived and died under the Law of Moses. That law was nailed to the cross and taken out of the way. (Col. 2:14). When God “remembers” us He looks back at what we have done.
    Remember that Jesus was raised from the dead: 2 Tim. 2:8: This gives us hope beyond the grave (1 Cor. 15:14). Some in New Testament times thought that the resurrection had already past (2 Tim. 2:18). The Sadducees said there was no resurrection of the dead. (1 Cor. 15:12) The whole basis of the Christian experience is based in large part, not only on salvation, but on the hope of a resurrection someday. The Lord’s Supper is to be taken every Sunday for this purpose. (1 Cor. 11:24, 25)
    Certainly, there are other passages that contain the word “remember.” These three are significant and should get our attention as we remember this weekend.
- Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

It’s All About the Lord

By Edd Sterchi

The Lord’s people,
     having been baptized with the Lord’s baptism,
     cleansed with the Lord’s blood,
     and added to the Lord’s body,
     gather around the Lord’s table,
     in the Lord’s name,
     upon the Lord’s day,
     to remember the Lord’s death and resurrection,
     until the Lord comes.

Are you the Lord’s?

- Edd Sterchi preaches for the Broadway Church of Christ in Campbellsville, KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: