The Gospel Observer (August 23, 2015)

Contents:

1) Should a Christian Gamble? (R.J. Evans)
2) Historical & Literal (Cougan Collins)
3) The Dreaded Task (Richard Massey)
4) News & Notes
——————–
gambling
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Should a Christian Gamble?
by R.J. Evans

In 1931, the state of Nevada legalized most forms of gambling.  The city of Las Vegas, in particular, became the center of gambling in the U.S.  Over the course of time, it has been referred to as “Sin City,” which is not surprising.  Now, the city has developed a marketing catchphrase —  “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”  Need I say more?

Since 1931, many forms of gambling have become a thriving “vice” in America, especially casinos.  At present, Nevada and Louisiana are the only states where casino-style gambling is legal statewide.  In other states, casino-style gambling is restricted to certain small geographic areas like Atlantic City, New Jersey, the Mississippi gulf coast,  or the American Indian reservations.

I have never been to a gambling casino (and I have no desire to go to one), but I have seen enough TV commercials to get an idea of what they are like.  I find it interesting what they use to lure people in — the bright lights, the glitter, entertainment, prizes, and especially the food.  The buffet-style food is a big draw. The commercials displaying colorful scenes of appealing foods give evidence of the fact that they know they can get to people’s wallets or pocketbooks through their stomachs. In these establishments, it is as if the average person is playing against a “stacked deck.”  The “odds” are always in the casino’s favor.   Games of chance are like that — if that were not so, casinos would lose so much money they would have to go out of business.  The gambling patrons win just enough to whet their appetite to keep coming back — it is always “wait till the next time — I’m going to hit it big!”  The sad part is that a good percentage of these folks are already having financial difficulties.

At this point, we raise the question of our title: Should a Christian gamble?   To gamble is “to play games of chance for money or some other stake; to bet on an uncertain outcome.” Some reason that since the word gamble is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, then it must be okay.  Of course, there are other terms not specifically mentioned in Scripture, but are still in violation of what the Bible teaches.  Words such as “rape,” “abortion,” or “suicide” would come under the category of what is considered wrong, based upon Bible teachings and principles.

In this article, let us observe some biblical principles that are violated when someone gambles, what it can lead to, and why it is a sinful vice.  Consider the following:

1. Gambling destroys the incentive to   work.  (Gen. 2:15; 3:19; Eph. 4:20; 2 Thes. 3:10; Acts 20:34-35)

2. Gambling is unjust gain.  (Prov. 28:6-8; Ezek. 22:12-13)

3. Gambling is a form of covetousness.  (Eph. 5:3; Jer. 22:13; Hab. 2:6)

4. A gambler is greedy and becomes a lover of money.  (1 Tim. 6:5-10; Col. 3:5)

5. Gambling breaks the second greatest commandment.  (Matt. 22:37-40; Rom. 13:10)

6. Gambling violates the “golden rule.”  (Matt. 7:12)

7. A gambler robs his family.  (Eph. 4:28; 1 Tim. 5:8)

8. A gambler destroys his influence for good.  (Matt. 5:13-16)

9. Gambling is a form of evil. (1 Thes. 5:22)

10. Gambling is addictive. (1 Cor. 6:12-13)

Based upon the biblical teachings mentioned above, Christians need to stand firmly against all forms of  gambling.

— Via bulletin for the Southside church of Christ (8/16/15), Gonzales, Louisiana
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Genesis
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Historical & Literal
by Cougan Collins

Those who attack the authenticity of what the Bible says about creation will say that Genesis 1-11 is mythology. In other words, they say it did not really happen and it is nothing more than a fairy tale. They understand if they can convince people that it is mythology, they can destroy the credibility of the Bible and promote their man-made teaching of evolution with its billions of years.

Let’s see what the Bible says. In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus quotes from Genesis 1 & 2 as being true.  In John 8:44, Jesus called Satan the “father of lies” referring back to Genesis 3:4.  In Matthew 23:35 Jesus spoke of Abel in Genesis 4:2-10 as a historical person. In Matthew 24:37-38, Jesus spoke of the Flood of Noah in Genesis 6-9 as a historical event.  If Genesis 1-11 is a myth, then Jesus was mistaken in all of these instances.

In 1 Corinthians 11:8,12, Paul states that man was created first, then woman just as Genesis 2:18-23 states.  In 1 Timothy 2:13, Paul called Adam & Eve by name, and in Romans 5:14 he says “death reigned from Adam to Moses.”  In 1 Corinthians 15:45, Paul says, “The first man Adam became a living being.”  If Adam was only a mythological character, then everything Paul said is false.  In 2 Corinthians 11:3, Paul says, “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted.”  I am afraid many minds have been corrupted by believing that Genesis 1-11 is nothing but a fairy tale.

The New Testament shows that the first 11 chapters of Genesis are historical and literal. In fact, there are more than 100 references in the New Testament that refer back to the first eleven chapters of Genesis. Besides this internal evidence, there is ample proof of the global flood as described by the Bible because over 100 cultures historically record a global flood. Also, the fossil record proves that every mountain on earth was covered by water. For example, marine fossils have been found high in the Himalayas, the world’s tallest mountain range. When one begins to examine the internal and external evidence of Genesis 1-11, one will be overwhelmed with proof that the Bible is true and not mythology.

— Via The Beacon, October 28, 2014
——————–
lecturer
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The Dreaded Task
by Richard Massey

“I found the task that I had dreaded so,
Was not so difficult when once begun;
It was the dread itself that was the foe,
And dread once conquered means a victory won”
(The Dreaded Task by Margaret E. Brown).

How true is the above statement. The first time brethren asked me to teach a Bible class (it was fifth and sixth graders), I recoiled — grimly dreading even the thought. I guess the elders were hard pressed for teachers, so my arm was twisted until I finally relented. Once I got started, however, the task became such a joy that I did not want to stop. I even enjoyed decorating the classroom with my own homemade posters. I have been teaching ever since, and enjoying every minute.

It is the “getting started” that seems to be the real hurdle. If we can get past that, the rest goes easier. Is there a hurdle between you and attendance at Bible class, or attendance on Sunday nights? Is there a hurdle for you in leading a public prayer, or inviting your neighbor to church? There are precious benefits that accompany each victory we win over dread. One result is we become a fruitful and stronger Christian. Dread makes us weak and unproductive.

Are there important things that you should be doing, but because of dread you have not accomplished them? Let me encourage you to get past the dread. Look to the Lord for strength (Ephesians 6:10-11; Philippians 4:13). Lean on your brethren for support (Galatians 6:2). Remember, it is “not so difficult when once begun.”

— Via articles from La Vista church of Christ
——————–

“…I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.  I will sing to the LORD, Because He has dealt bountifully with me” (Psalm 13:5,6).
——————–

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News & News

Let those of us who are of the family of God be praying for the following people:

Dexter Roberts was diagnosed with cancer back in March 2014.  It appeared that he had been improving, but then took a turn for the worse a few weeks ago.  The cancer had been in his throat, but now has also gotten into his lymph nodes, lungs, stomach, and back.  Recently, he had radiation treatment on his back.

The catheterization Shirley Davis recently had to eliminate the blockage in her leg went well, but has left her with some pain for the time being. She is also to be very careful on that leg for a while.

Pat Joyner’s surgery last Friday for breast cancer also went well.  Probably by the end of this month, she will hear an update on her condition.

Let us also remember:

Jewell Wilson (hospice care), Rex Hadley (bypass blockage and possible stone), Steve Vesta (critically ill), Eleanor Roberts (Alzheimers’), Henry Roberts (pain in back and feet), Brittany Royals (recovering well from surgery for broken hip), Judy Daugherty (slowly recovering from a  fall to the head which caused a pea-size tumor), Mary Vandevander and  Sue Wooten (shut-ins), Dolly Moody (fractured bone), Benny Medlock (mild stroke), Sunny Nichols (Parkinson Disease), Jean Beach (gastrointestinal problems), Michelle Rittenhouse (PVCs) Raylee Metts and Lexi Crawford (cancer), Betty Miles (stroke), Buddy Gornto, Don Hill (cancer), Colleen Henson, Donell Wells, and Kelsey Williams

There will be a gospel meeting at the Oak Grove church of Christ in Jennings, Florida, September 6-11 with Paul Earnhart (from Louisville, Kentucky) as the guest speaker.  The church meets at 2922 NW 76th Terrace, Jennings, Florida.  Weeknight services will begin at 7:30.  For additional information, call 386-938-5047.
——————–

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).
——————–

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)
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html
(audio sermons)

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The Gospel Observer (August 16, 2015)

Contents:

1) When “Best” Goes Beyond Our Understanding! (Tom Edwards)
2) Truth’s Consequences (Bill Hall)
3) News & Notes
——————–
Beyond Understanding
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When “Best” Goes Beyond Our Understanding!
by Tom Edwards

While praying recently, it occurred to me that, due to limited ability, the term “best,” when referring to God and His ways, does not fully describe or convey to us just how much greater God’s wisdom, His virtues, and His ways actually are. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts,” says the Lord (Isa. 55:9).

Often I have prayed for God’s will to be done, not only on earth as it is in heaven, but also everywhere else as well — in whatever the realm, whether physical or spiritual.  For His will is, and always will be, the “best.”  But, with our limited understanding, does that word adequately indicate just how much greater God’s ways are?

Though using the term “best” would be true in comparing what God does and who He is to that of humanity, yet that of God would be far greater than our comprehension of “best.”  For our everyday usage of “best” does not usually imply perfection.  For instance, if you had three apples that were going bad, but at different stages of decay, one would be the worst, two would be better than that, and one of those would be the best of all.  But, in this case, even the best would still have a little rottenness to it and probably not be one you would want to eat.

So God and His ways are not just “best” in any comparisons made with that of us; but, rather, a “best” to the greatest of all degrees and without even the slightest room nor need for improvement.

God Himself is so much greater than us that it actually goes beyond comparison.  The psalmist realized this: “Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which you have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You…” (Psa. 40:5).  Job also acknowledged this superiority of God by saying, “Who does great things, unfathomable, And wondrous works without number” (Job 9:10).  And, going along with this, Paul also, in his doxology, speaks of God as being One “…who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).

God’s work of creation, in bringing about a vast universe with all that is in it, is certainly a manifestation of some of His greatness.  As Jeremiah declares in prayer, “Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You” (Jer. 32:17).  And God begins His response to Jeremiah by saying, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” (v. 27).  After speaking of that which would be impossible for man, Jesus goes on to show that it would not be that way for God, “for all things are possible” with Him (Mark 10:27).  And would we not think that anyone who could simply speak a universe into existence (cf. Gen. 1), and to create that out of nothing (cf. Heb. 11:3), would definitely not have any difficulty in bringing into reality whatever else He would so desire?  For the universe was not formed by pre-existing matter; but that which was not was simply commanded to be.  Notice, if you would, all the repetitive phrases in the account of creation that precedes and shows how the various things that God had created came about: “Then God said” (Gen. 1:3,6,9,11,14,20,24, and 26).  In this first verse, for example, “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.”  How marvelous!  Imagine if you could make a reality out of any beautiful thing you could think up by just commanding it to be!  But even if you had that ability, would you not still rather let God be the one to bless you with whatever He would so desire for all eternity?  As Jesus told His apostles, “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14:1-3).  Isn’t it wonderful that it is Jesus who will prepare that place — and not just something the apostles would have to do for themselves?  For as we saw, God is a God who “…is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…” (Eph. 3:20). I find great comfort in that and in allowing the Lord to do whatever He desires for me.

And though we haven’t seen that spiritual realm of heaven where God dwells, we have seen some of the physical heavens that He has made and which attests to His reality and greatness (cf. Rom. 1:19,20).  As David declares, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is expressing the work of His hands” (Psa. 19:1).  Paul speaks of God’s power as being a “surpassing greatness” (Eph. 1:19), and how that is clearly seen in the creation.  For who can even come close to doing what the Lord has done — and at such a grand, astronomical scale?  The rhetorical question, “…For who in the skies is comparable to the LORD? Who among the sons of the mighty is like the LORD…?” (Psa. 89:5-8), must be answered in the negative of “no one.”  For whether we are talking about angels or men, how inferior we are to the Almighty God.  For if God’s greatness would be represented with infinity, then ours would be likened to nothing more than a grain of sand in comparison.  And can we not, therefore, also say that to be able to fully comprehend the totality of God’s greatness would be as impossible to us as to imagine all of infinity?  For that is something that we just cannot possibly do.  It goes beyond our mental ability.

The Lord says to His people, “To whom would you liken Me And make Me equal and compare Me, That we would be alike?” (Isa. 46:5).  Jeremiah’s declaration can accurately be used to answer this.  For he states, “There is none like you, O LORD: You are great, and great is Your name in might” (Jer. 10:6).

In this statement, it appears that Jeremiah did not include, in his consideration, Jesus Christ, nor the Holy Spirit — for they are exactly like God the Father when it comes to the essence of Deity and are the other two persons of the eternal Godhead who were also involved in the great work of creation (cf. Gen. 1:1 — “God” is from “Elohim,” the plural form for God; Gen. 1:26, “…’Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…'”; cf. Jn. 1:1-3,14; Psa. 104:30; Matt. 28:19; Matt. 3:16,17; 2 Cor. 13:14).

Not only is God’s greatness beyond all we can fully fathom, but also that beautiful place called “heaven,” where He forever dwells, is described as being “far beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17).  And isn’t it wonderful to know that this same God  is “…not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9) and “…to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4).  To be able to enjoy forevermore that which goes beyond all we can even now conceive, certainly can make the trials of life — and whatever sacrifice that needs to be made along the way — very much worthwhile as we strive for that heavenly home (cf. 2 Cor. 4:16-18).
Jesus paved that road by His own blood, in a manner of speaking; but we have the responsibility in turning to God’s roadmap, the Gospel, to see where we pick it up at, how to stay on it and to avoid those wrong turns that we are not to make.  For that great destination is still up ahead.  We must all, therefore, hear the gospel (Rom. 10:17), believe in the deity of Jesus (Jn. 8:24), repent of sins (Luke 13:5), confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38), and be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21), which is all necessary to be forgiven and become a Christian; and then to continue in the faith as we press on for that glorious goal of heaven (Rev. 2:10; Heb. 10:36-39; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).  And heaven is not just the best, but also a “best” that goes way beyond human comprehension to the utmost degree of blissfulness in a supreme state of perfection!
——————–
profile sketch
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Truth’s Consequences
by Bill Hall

The consequences of truth are sometimes bitter. Many a man has lost his job, or home, or friends, or life because of his stand for truth. Many a preacher has been ousted from the pulpit, having neither house nor salary, because he preached the truth. Many a person has had his name slandered and maligned because of truth. With all such people, love for truth is greater than love for comfort, security, or even life itself.

Unfortunate indeed is the man who looks ahead to evaluate the consequences of a position before evaluating the position itself. Such a man will rarely come to a knowledge of truth. His thoughts concerning “What will my wife think?” Or “Where will I preach?” Or “Won’t I be condemning my good mother to hell?” Or “How will I explain my change to good ole Brother Jones?” or “How will I support my family?” or “Everybody will think I’m crazy,” may well blind his mind to whatever evidence is at hand. The man who really demonstrates a love for truth is the man who studies every subject objectively and then lets the consequences — whether they be good or bad — take care of themselves.

Unfortunate too is the man who complains and grieves over the consequences of truth, for truth must bring joy to the heart, whatever may be its consequences. Self-pity may lead one to “sell the truth” and to profane this precious commodity. If pity is to be felt, it must be felt for that person who has never suffered the consequences of truth, for such a man has obviously loved the praises of men more than the praises of God.

No men ever felt the consequences of truth to a greater degree than did the apostles, but they faced all such consequences “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41). Worthy! There’s the key! The man who lets a fear of consequences dictate his position on every question never suffers, for he is not worthy to suffer. Pity him! But the person who stands for truth regardless of the consequences shall suffer, for he is worthy to suffer. Rejoice with him!

What a difference between the man who is “heaven” oriented and that one who is “this world” oriented!

— Via The Beacon, August 16, 2011
——————–

-3-

News & News

May we who are Christians be mindful in prayer of the following:

We extend our condolences to all the family and friends of Betty Warnock who passed away August 17.  For 52 years, she had been the wife of Weldon E. Warnock who had been a gospel preacher in the church of Christ for more than 55 years in several states and preceded her in death in October 2009.  She is also the mother of Julie Adams of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Jewell Wilson has now been several days in the Hospice House. 

Dexter Roberts was diagnosed with cancer back in March 2014.  It appeared that he had been improving, but then took a turn for the worse a few weeks ago.  The cancer had been in his throat, but now has also gotten into his lymph nodes, lungs, stomach, and back.  Recently, he had radiation treatment on his back.

Shirley Davis
will be having a catheterization August 20 to eliminate some blockages in her leg.

In June, Don Hill had been experiencing reoccurring headaches that kept getting worse.  It was soon discovered that he had a brain tumor which he then received surgery for, went through it well, and is now undergoing radiation treatments.  From additional cat scans, it was also discovered that he has two inoperable tumors on his lung, which will be treated with chemo and then radiation.  

Michelle Rittenhouse had an adverse reaction to the dye that was used in her recent heart catheterization.  She was treated for it and improved after two or three days.  The pain in her chest is also gone, but she is still having PVCs every day.  

Let us also be praying for the following:

Rex Hadley (bypass blockage and possible stone), Steve Vesta (critically ill), Eleanor Roberts (Alzheimers’), Henry Roberts (pain in back and feet), Brittany Crosby Royals (recovering well from surgery for broken hip), Pat Joyner (breast cancer), Judy Daugherty (slowly recovering from a fall to the head which caused a pea-size tumor),  Mary Vandevander and  Sue Wooten (shut-ins), Dolly Moody (fractured bone), Benny Medlock (mild stroke), Sunny Nichols (Parkinson Disease), Jean Beach (gastrointestinal problems), Raylee Metts and Lexi Crawford (cancer), Betty Miles (stroke), Buddy Gornto, Colleen Henson, Donell Wells, and Kelsey Williams

——————–

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).
——————–

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)
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html
(audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (August 9, 2015)

Contents:

1) Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things (Jerry D. Curry)
2) 21 Reasons Why You Should Be Scripturally Baptized (Kenneth E. Thomas)
3) The Sum of God’s Word (Frank Himmel)
4) News & Notes
——————–
Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things
-1-

Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things
by Jerry D. Curry

God’s people have always been called upon to take action. As Joshua made his farewell speech he exhorted Israel, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15). Haggai exhorted Israel, “Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house” (Haggai 1:8). Jesus, our ultimate example of a servant, says, “My meat is to do the will of Him Who sent Me” (John 4:34). Many times we are hesitant to accept difficult challenges, consequently, opportunities to render great service to God are lost. God has not always looked to great people to serve in great ways. Be encouraged to accept great challenges as we notice how God has used ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Moses was asked by God to appear before Pharaoh and demand that he let the people of God leave Egypt. As Moses contemplated this extraordinary challenge he demonstrated his ordinary character as he made the following excuses: “Who am I that I should go unto Pharaoh? What shall I say unto them? But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice. I am not eloquent” (Exodus 3:4). Moses was able to rise above some ordinary traits and successfully meet the extraordinary challenges of confronting Pharaoh, leading Israel out of Egypt and through the wilderness for forty years.

God spoke to Joshua and said, “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them” (Joshua 1:2). After wandering with the murmuring nation of Israel for forty years, Joshua is given the extraordinary challenge of leading Israel into the Jordan and across to the promised land. Following Israel’s defeat by Ai, Joshua demonstrated an ordinary lack of trust as he stated, “O Lord God, wherefore hast Thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us?” (Joshua 7:7). God calms the ordinary fear of Joshua by saying, “Fear not, neither be thou dismayed; take all the people of war with thee, and arise and go up to Ai; see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai” (Joshua 8:1).

David demonstrated an extraordinary faith as he went out to the battlefield and defeated the giant Goliath with a sling and small stones (See 1 Samuel 17:17-51). He is paid the extraordinary compliment in Acts 13:22 where God says of David, “I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart.” Yet, what painfully ordinary traits were exhibited as he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed in the heat of battle. Please take time to read II Samuel 11:1-17.

We could write further of 1) Esther, though afraid of death, appeared before the king to ask that Israel be spared (Esther 4:16). 2) Abraham, who left his homeland and later raised the knife to offer his son upon the altar, yet earlier lies about Sarah as he feared for his life (He- brews 11:8, 17-19; Genesis 20:9-13). Or 3) Peter, who walked on water and was with the Lord at Gethsemane, yet later cursed and denied Christ (Matthew 14:27-31; 26:69-75). May we be encouraged to accept great challenges as ordinary people striving to do extraordinary things.

— via The Sunny Hill Bulletin, Vol. 5, No. 8, April 15, 2001
——————–
baptism 2
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21 Reasons Why You Should Be Scripturally Baptized
by Kenneth E. Thomas

1. Because God commands it. Acts 10:48

2. To fulfill all righteousness. Matthew 3:15

3. To be a friend of Christ. John 15:14

4. Because you love God. I John 5:3; John 14:15

5. Lest you reject the council of God against yourself. Luke 7:30

6. To COMPLETE the “new birth.” John 3:3-5; Titus 3:5

7. To enter the kingdom. John 3:5

8. For remission of sins. Acts 2:38

9. To receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

10. In order to be saved. Mark 16:16

11. To wash away your sins. Acts 22:16

12. To get into the death of Jesus where blood was shed. Romans 6:3

13. To be buried with Christ. Romans 6:4

14. To be raised with Christ. Romans 6:4; Colossians. 3:1; 2:12

15. To rise to walk in the newness of life. Romans 6:4

16. To be a child of God by faith. Galatians 3:26-27

17. To get into the body, which is the Church. I Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 1:18

18. To have a good conscience. I Peter 3:21

19. To get INTO Christ. Galatians 3:27

20. Because “baptism doth also now save us.” I Peter 3:21; Mark 16:16

21. To be “reconciled unto God in one body by the cross.” Ephesians 2:13-16

— Via Articles from  La Vista church of Christ
——————–

It's Not Rocket Science

-3-
The Sum of God’s Word
by Frank Himmel

Do you remember math class? We were taught that in multiplication the answer is call the product; in division it is called the quotient; in subtraction it is the remainder; in addition it is the sum.

Psalm 119:160 says, “The sum of Your Word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.” The emphasis is on totality. Everything God says is right. Every one of His ordinances is binding. And the truth about any subject is determined by adding up all He says about it.

The principle of adding together all God’s revelation is vital in Bible study. It is easy to err if one teaches a conclusion before weighing everything the Scripture says on a topic. Consider a few examples:

Some folks act as though Matthew 7:1 says everything there is to be said about judging: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” They seem to think this verse prohibits any and all judgments that one might make about another. However, I Corinthians 5:12 requires churches to judge their members with reference to fellowship. Jesus Himself said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). The fact is, there are a number of situations in which we must assess one’s character, position, or conduct.

If one reads Jesus’ teaching about divorce only in Mark 10:2-12 or Luke 16:18, he would conclude that divorce is not allowable for any reason. Any remarriage following a divorce would constitute adultery. Matthew’s account however, reveals one exception: divorce for fornication (Matthew 19:9).

When the Philippian jailor asked Paul and Silas what he must do to be saved, they replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Is that all there is to it? Many think so. But when the Jews on Pentecost asked Peter the same question, He answered, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38). Further reading in Acts 16 implies that Paul went on to tell the jailor the same thing. Neither Acts 16:31 nor John 3:16 nor any other verse contains all that God says about salvation. The sum of God’s word is truth.

— via Gospel Power, Vol. 15, No. 25, June 22, 2008
——————–

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News & News

Jewell  Wilson was taken to the Hospice House Friday.  Let those of us who are Christians be keeping her and all her family and friends in prayer.

Let us also be praying for the following:

Steve Vesta’s health is very poor.

Rex Hadley was taken to the VA Hospital (8/6) due to pains in his arm.  They performed an EKG and then sent him to Shands for a heart catheterization (8/7).  He has had bypass surgery before.  It was detected that one of these bypasses on the front of his heart was blocked.  But they will first try to medicate it for the next couple weeks, while he is now back home.  He has also been experiencing some extreme pain in his side, below his ribs, which will need to be checked out with a sonogram for a possible stone.

Eleanor Roberts has been suffering from Alzheimer’s and also not able to do the work around the house as she once did.  So her husband Henry has been doing that for her, but it has been difficult for him being in his 80s with pain in his back and feet. It is their son, Dexter, whom we have also been mentioning, who has been undergoing treatments for cancer.

Brittany Crosby Royals, who recently had surgery for a broken hip, has been progressing well.

Pat Joyner will soon be having surgery for breast cancer.

We were glad to hear that the spinal tap for Judy Daugherty showed no signs of cancer.  She is also now doing better in getting around, though it does  require using a walker.

Shut-ins: Mary Vandevander and  Sue Wooten

It was also good news to hear that a scan for Dolly Downs Moody showed again that she is cancer free.  But in overdoing it with exercise while recuperating, she had fractured a bone and is to take it easy for the next six weeks.

Others to remember in prayer: Benny Medlock, Sunny Nichols, Jean Beach, Michelle Rittenhouse, Raylee Metts, Lexi Crawford, Betty Miles, Buddy Gornto, Colleen Henson, Donell Wells, Dexter Roberts, and Kelsey Williams
——————–

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).
——————–

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)
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html
(audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (August 2, 2015)

Contents:

1) Encounters at Jericho (Mark Mayberry)
2) Preparing for the Storm (Greg Gwin)
3) News & Notes
——————–
palm trees 3
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Encounters at Jericho
by Mark Mayberry

Introduction

Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary offers the following description of Jericho: It is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. Situated in the wide plain of the Jordan Valley (Deut. 34:1, 3) at the foot of the ascent to the Judean mountains, Jericho lies about 8 miles northwest of the site where the Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea, some 5 miles west of the Jordan.

Since it is approximately 800 feet below sea level, Jericho has a climate that is tropical and at times is very hot. Only a few inches of rainfall are recorded at Jericho each year; but the city is a wonderful oasis, known as “the city of palm trees” (Deut. 34:3) or “the city of palms” (Judg. 3:13). Jericho flourishes with date palms, banana trees, balsams, sycamores, and henna (Song 1:14; Luke 19:4).

There have been three different Jerichos throughout its long history. Old Testament Jericho is identified with the mound of Tell esSultan, a little more than a mile from the village of er-Riha. This village is modern Jericho, located about 17 miles northeast of Jerusalem. New Testament Jericho is identified with the mounds of Tulul Abu el-‘Alayiq, about a mile west of modern Jericho and south of Old Testament Jericho.

By far the most imposing site of the three is Old Testament Jericho, a pear-shaped mound about 400 yards long, north to south, 200 yards wide at the north end, and some 70 yards high. It has been the site of numerous archaeological diggings and is a favorite stop for Holy Land tourists [Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, s.v. “Jericho”].

Old Testament

The city of Jericho, first mentioned in connection with the conquest of Canaan, symbolizes divine judgment and mercy (Num. 33:50-56; Josh. 6:1-5; Heb. 11:30).

The Faith of Rahab

The faith of Rahab was evident when she protected the spies and pledged her loyalty to the God of Israel (Josh. 2:1-24; 6:17, 22-25). Accordingly, she is praised in the New Testament as an example of obedient faith (Heb. 11:30-31; James 2:24-26).

The Faith of Israel

The faith of Israel was evident as, in obedience to the Lord’s commandment, they marched around the city once a day for six days, and seven times on the seventh day (Josh. 6:2-21; Heb. 11:30-31).

The Failure of Achan

The failure of Achan occurred when, in disobedience to God’s command, he took of the spoils of Jericho, i.e., items that had been placed under ban and should have been given into the treasury of the Lord (Josh. 6:17-19; 7:1). As a result, he brought defeat to the army of Israel (Josh. 7:2-15) and destruction upon his own house (Josh. 7:16-26).

The Folly of Hiel

After the destruction of Jericho, Joshua made all Israel take an oath, saying, “Cursed before the Lord is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates” (Josh. 6:26- 27). Centuries later, in the dark days of Ahab’s reign, Hiel the Bethelite rebuilt Jericho, laying its foundations with the loss of his firstborn, and setting up its gates with the loss of his youngest son (1 Kings 16:29-34).

New Testament

The Baptism of Jesus

The baptism of Jesus likely occurred in the vicinity of Jericho (Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-34).

The Temptation of Jesus

Afterwards, our Lord was tempted by the devil in the nearby wilderness of Judea (Matt. 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13).

The Ministry of Jesus

Herein, we focus upon Jesus’ encounters at Jericho: first, in healing the blind man/men, next, in teaching on the necessity of brotherly love, and finally, in converting a most unlikely prospect.

Giving Sight to the Blind: The Lord’s mercy and might were manifested in the healing of the blind man/men at Jericho (Matt. 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43). The blind repeatedly cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him. Such miraculous power demonstrated that Jesus was from above (Matt. 11:2-6; John 10:19-21).

Teaching Neighborly Responsibility: In the parable of the Good Samaritan, occurring on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, Jesus makes practical application to the second greatest commandment: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:25-37; cf. Deut. 6:4-9; Lev. 19:18). The New Testament repeatedly emphasizes this important principle (Matt. 5:43-48; 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34; Rom. 13:8-10; Gal. 5:13-15; James 2:8-9).

Seeking and Saving the Lost: The conversion of Zaccheus, chief tax collector in the district, affirms the universality of the gospel, and the necessity of our bearing fruit in keeping with repentance (Luke 19:1-10; cf. 3:7-9; 13:22-30; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).

Conclusion

Recognizing that whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope, let us learn from these examples, emulating the faith of Israel and Rahab, avoiding the failure of Achan and the folly of Hiel (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11).

May we also benefit from Jesus’ encounters at Jericho. Recognizing His mercy and might, let us be thankful that He gives sight to the blind (Rev. 3:17-22). Making proper application of His parable of the Good Samaritan, let us “Go and do the same” (Rom. 13:9-10). Following the example of Zaccheus, let us likewise be converted; following the example of our Lord, let us also endeavor to seek and save the lost (Acts 3:19-26).

— Via Truth Magazine, November 24, 2013
——————–
prepare
-2-

Preparing for the Storm
by Greg Gwin

We’ve seen it many times: the report on the news tells of a big storm approaching.  Predictions are made of wide spread damage and devastation.  Images of people boarding up their homes and evacuating threatened areas flash across the screen.  But, did you notice? The sun is usually shining brightly while all of this is taking place. The skies are wonderfully blue. Why all the fuss? The answer is simple, of course. You can’t wait until the storm hits to make your preparations. So, while the storm is yet hours, even days away; the necessary precautions are being taken.

There’s an important spiritual lesson to be learned from this. Life is a constant cycle of periods of relative calm followed by often violent storms. It is essential that we prepare for these turbulent times, even when it appears for the moment that all is well. If we wait for the storm to hit, it will be too late!  Jeremiah said, “If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, how will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?” (12:5). His point is an obvious one. If you can’t stand firm when the going is easy, you’ll never make it when the going gets tough.

Our strength for living comes to us through the Bible. It provides the “power” for our salvation (Rom 1:16), and gives us hope which is a sure “anchor of the soul” even in the raging tempest of life (Heb. 6:19). The question is: are you using it, learning it, so that you can endure the coming storms? Think!

— Via The Beacon, July 7, 2015
——————–

-3-

News & News

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Jesse Franklin Bailey, Jr., who passed away July 25 at the age of 75 and had been living in Blackshear, Georgia.  Let those of us who are Christians be praying for all the family and friends.
Let us also remember the following in our prayers:

Rex Hadley was taken to the VA Hospital (8/6) due to pains in his arm.  They performed an EKG and then sent him to Shands for a heart catheterization (8/7).  He has had bypass surgery before.  It was seen that one of these bypasses on the front of his heart was blocked.  But they will first try to treat it with medicine for the next couple weeks; and before he returns home, they will be doing a sonogram to check for a possible stone that has been giving him additional pain.

Brittany Crosby Royals, who recently had surgery for a broken hip, has been progressing well.

One of  Judy Daugherty’s test results for her pea-size tumor came back negative, and we are still waiting to hear the result on the other.  She had a PET scan, as well as a spinal tap.  She is also now doing better in getting around, though it does require using a walker.

Jewell Wilson,  who is now back in the home of her daughter (Joyce Rittenhouse) and son-in-law (Doyle), had a difficult night last night (8/7), which required a hospice worker coming to their home as 1:30 AM.

Eleanor Roberts has been suffering from Alzheimer’s and also not able to do the work around the house as she once did.  So her husband Henry has been doing that for her, but it has been difficult for him being in his 80s with pain in his back and feet. It is their son, Dexter, whom we have also been mentioning, who has been undergoing treatments for cancer.

Pat Joyner will soon be having surgery for breast cancer.

Michelle Rittenhouse, who began taking treatment a few weeks ago for fibromyalgia and has also recently been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, had been in the hospital for a few days recently.  Her blood pressure and pulse had been high and her heart had been functioning irregularly, so tests were run.  Though it showed that her heart was fine, and she was released, yet she is still having some pain in the chest area.

Other shut-ins: Mary Vandevander and  Sue Wooten

Others to remember in prayer: Ronnie Crews, Benny Medlock, Sunny Nichols, Jean Beach, Raylee Metts, Lexi Crawford, Steve Vesta, Betty Miles, Buddy Gornto, Dolly Downs Moody, Colleen Henson, Donell Wells, and Kelsey Williams
——————–

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).
——————–

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)
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html
(audio sermons)