The Gospel Observer (April 26, 2015)

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Contents:

1) Be Optimistic (R.J. Evans)
2) When You Feel Like Giving Up (Jesse Flowers)
3) What Can the Righteous Do? (Joe R. Price)
4) News & Notes
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optimism

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Be Optimistic
by R.J. Evans

Optimism is defined as “an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and happenings or to anticipate the best possible outcome” (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary). To be successful in most any endeavor, we must look at the bright side with a spirit of optimism. The physician, the engineer, the accountant, and the lawyer are all successful because they made up their minds as to what they wanted to be, and then pursued that field with an optimistic attitude. Many are failures because they never make up their mind as to what they are going to do. Paul said, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2). We need to optimistically set our minds on the spiritual course that God has outlined for us. Some never do this. They remain in a constant state of indecision and never commit themselves to a responsible position in service to Christ.

The apostle Paul suffered so much for the cause of Christ. He was imprisoned frequently, beaten, shipwrecked three times, often hungry, thirsty, cold and naked (2 Cor. 11:23-28). Yet, Paul was able to put the most favorable light on all these happenings, and “anticipated the best possible outcome.” He stated, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17). It is indeed a remarkable thing, after all he suffered, that Paul called these afflictions light. I’m afraid that if we were suffering only a fraction of what he suffered, we would be inclined to call it a “dreadful load.” But the most severe tribulation and affliction are nothing compared with the glory awaiting us. Hence, Paul could be optimistic (and so can we, if we are faithful to God).

The Christian has so much for which to be thankful – redemption, forgiveness, joy, hope, contentment, peace (just to mention a few). He also has something wonderful toward which to look forward – Heaven! Surely, this engenders optimism. We can have the attitude of Paul: “I can do all” things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13). With the strength derived from the Lord, we can face everything in life with an optimistic spirit.

There is no adverse power greater or mightier than God. Therefore, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31) When we contemplate all that is meant in this passage, a warm, secure feeling is produced in our hearts. How wonderfully bright things become! We may lose our relatives, our earthly friends, our health, but the Lord remains, “for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5).

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8). If our faith is in God, knowing he is indeed able, we can and should have an optimistic outlook toward the various aspects of life. He has provided salvation (Acts 4:12). In time of temptation, he provides a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13). In teaching and attempting to convert the lost, he gives the increase (I Cor. 3:7). When we die in the Lord, there is rest provided from our labors, and our works will follow us (Rev. 14:13). We could go on and on!

Let’s be optimistic! We have reason to be. Make the best of every situation, set your spiritual goals, and then, reach forward and achieve them! “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).

— Via Guardian of Truth XXXII: 14, p. 429, July 21, 1988
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dispair

When You Feel Like Giving Up
by Jesse Flowers

1) When you feel like giving up because of the trials you are suffering, remember righteous Job. He lost everything: his children, his wealth, and his health (Job 1:13-2:8). In spite of all this unimaginable grief and loss, Job held to his faith in God (Job 13:15). As James wrote of him: “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord–that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful” (5:11). Indeed we may suffer great trials in this life, yet we must never forget that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Like Job, let us endure.

2) When you feel like giving up because it seems like your righteous efforts are to no avail, remember Elijah. This faithful prophet of God boldly condemned the evil ways of Ahab and Jezebel. Demonstrating great courage and faith he took on the 450 prophets of Baal, proving them to be completely false (I Kings 18:17-40). In spite of all his courageous efforts for good, he had to flee for his life from Jezebel. In his great discouragement and distress he expressed how he felt no better than his fathers, and that he was the only man left in Israel that had remained loyal to God and His covenant (I Kings 19:4,10). Elijah had done much good, and it was not in vain. Seven thousand in Israel had not bowed the knee in allegiance to Baal. He was not all alone. Furthermore, God still had important work for him to do (19:15-18). In spite of disheartening set backs, we must remember that we have work to do — the Lord’s work. So “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58).

3) When you feel like giving up because you’re weary and discouraged in your soul, remember Jesus. Although one can receive much strength and inspiration from the likes of Job and Elijah, there is no better example that we can look to than Jesus Christ. “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Hebrews 12:1-3). Look to Jesus every day. When you feel weary and discouraged look to Jesus even more. Consider all that He endured on our behalf that we might be saved from our sins. So let us run this spiritual race with endurance never losing sight of the joy that is set before us! When you feel like giving up, remember Job, Elijah, and especially Jesus. When you feel like giving up, don’t! It will all be worth it in the end (Rom. 8:18; Rev. 21:1-7)!

— via The Word of Life, Dec. 19, 2010, (Vol. 3, No. 51)
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“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY'” (1 Pet. 1:14-16).
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What Can the Righteous Do?
by Joe R. Price

Cries of intolerance and discrimination were heard this week in an attempt to silence religious conscience in a small Indiana town. It was all hypothetical. Memories Pizza in Walkerton, IN has never even catered a wedding, much less been asked to do so by a same sex marriage couple. Yet, when asked, the owners expressed their faith and were labeled with all sorts of intolerant, hateful words and deeds, forcing them to temporarily close.

How are Christians to react when they are challenged or even attacked for their faith? Does “turning the other cheek” mean remaining silent about one’s convictions, if speaking out will offend a particular group of sinners? Hardly. If that were the case, then the gospel could never be preached, since some will always hate the truth!

What are Christians to do in the face of increasing pressure to give in and be “tolerant” of social sins?

1) First, realize the issue is not correctly defined by those who do not know God. Do not be deceived by the one-sided charges of those who do not respect God, as if they are the authorities on all matters civil. The Scriptures are our standard of authority for faith and practice. They teach us how to conduct ourselves, not LGBT activists, the media, politicians, intellectuals, etc. (Col. 3:17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).

2) Live your faith and stand up for truth. We cannot leave this world of sin; we engage in commerce and many other activities with sinners every day (1 Cor. 5:9-10). That does not mean we must be silent; we must speak (Acts 5:19-20).

3) Like Jesus, lovingly call sinners to repentance. When Jesus ate with sinners He was teaching them and they were following Him. He was calling sinners to repentance (Matt. 9:9-13; Mk. 2:13-14; Lk. 15:1-2). He was falsely charged with tolerating sin when He ate with sinners. He did no such thing. He spoke truth, and these were listening to Him. We should do the same — even when some refuse to listen.

4) Like Jesus, do not have fellowship with sin. Condoning sin instead of exposing it for what it is never saves the lost. By doing so you compromise your faith (Eph. 5:8-13).

5) Pray for your enemies and be at peace with all as much as it depends on you (Matt. 5:43-45; Rom. 12:17-18).

— Via The Spirit’s Sword, April 5, 2015, Volume 17, Number 39
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News & News

The pictures above are from public domain and added by me.  They are not of the writers in these articles.

As mentioned in our last three bulletins, today is the day that begins our gospel meeting with Phillip Owens.  Phillip will be presenting three lessons today, and then a lesson on each of the three following nights, Monday through Wednesday.  Sunday services will be at the regular times, but we will be meeting at 7:30 for the weeknights.

Jewell Wilson (Joyce Rittenhouse’s mother) had a slight stroke last Sunday and was admitted to the hospital.  Her condition as of yesterday was still very poor. Her gall bladder is not functioning well and also contains a stone.  Plus, she also has other health problems.

Here are also some others for us who are Christians to be remembering in prayer for their health: Myrna Jordan, Melotine Davis and her mother Mary Vandevander, Marie Pennock, Danielle Howard, Penny and Deborah Medlock, Jim Lively, Shirley Davis, Doyle Rittenhouse, Jean Beach, Sunny Nichols, Dexter Roberts, Betty Miles, Steve Vista, Buddy Gornto, Dolly Moody, Rex and Frankie Hadley, Jesse Bailey, Sue Wooten, and Colleen Henson.  
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21)
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street

CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (Gospel Observer website)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

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