The Gospel Observer (November 22, 2015)

Contents:

1) Are We Thankful? (Lewis Willis)
2) Tell Me the Old, Old Story (But Give it to Me in Digestible Bites!) (Greg Gwin)
3) News & Notes
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young girl with flowers
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Are We Thankful?
by Lewis Willis

Let me share a thought with you which someone here shared with me. (I wish I could remember who, so I could give him the credit.) Stop and think of all the things you have in this life: salvation, the church, family, health, house, food, clothing, etc. Now, imagine that tomorrow you lost every single one of those things. What an unspeakable loss that would be! But, to your surprise, the next day you suddenly got back all that you had lost. Would you be exceedingly thankful that you had all of those things again? Surely you would. But, is it necessary to lose and regain them, before we are thankful for them? Should we not be thankful already just because we are so richly blessed?

Next Thursday is the day set aside in our great country as a national day of Thanksgiving. For Christians, it should be very easy to find reasons for being thankful. We have so much of this world’s goods to enjoy, and we have such a fortune of spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3). How could we be anything but thankful? We certainly cannot limit our thanksgiving to one day a year! It is impossible to adequately express to God our thanks for the immeasurable blessings he has given to us. We often say to our families and friends who give us gifts, “Saying ‘thank You’ is just not enough!” Such is certainly true regarding God’s gifts to us.

I often wonder if our prayers to God do not consist too much in asking him to give us the things we want. Now, being able to ask things of God is one of the blessings he grants to his children (Matt. 7:7; 1 Jn. 3:22). It is absolutely right and proper that Christians request his blessings for their lives. But, a “Give me this; give me that” prayer practice can become very selfish. We must balance our prayers with praise, supplications, intercessions and giving of thanks (Matt. 6:9; 1 Tim. 2:1).

Also, it is not unusual to hear people, even Christians, who blame God for all of their troubles.  Their attitude seems to be, “I prayed and look what he did to me, or, look what he let happen to me.”  We must be careful that we not charge God foolishly. The Patriarch Job, who suffered through so many problems, “sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:22). What does God do for us?  What kind of gifts does he give? James said, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (1:17). “Good” and “perfect” gifts come from God. Let us never charge that he has given to us that which brings us pain and heartache. Blame the Devil for that! Until he was allowed into the lives of Adam and Eve, none of these bad things happened. Since then, the world is filled with his wickedness, and its attendant grief.

Fortunately, today our nation is at peace, though we do have troops stationed in dangerous places around the world. Economic hard times have beset us for several years and many wonder what the future holds. American industry continues to decline and many are losing their jobs and security.  An entire nation feels their hurt, and is helping. At the same time, more Americans are working than at any time in history. Our standard of living is better than most of the people in the world. In fact, it is almost equal to that found anywhere. It is certainly appropriate that we be thankful for our prosperity.

During the past year, many families have been touched with serious health problems. Some still struggle with these illnesses. Some families have had to deal with death, while others have known the joy of babies arriving. Given the disasters which have afflicted parts of our nation, and other countries, we can be thankful that things have gone as well for us as they have.

Remember, our prayers should not be used only “In the event of an emergency.” Do you find yourself negligent in praying, except when you have some problem, which you are unable to solve? Are you too busy, or too preoccupied with other things, to find a quiet time for prayer? The Lord taught us that we should always pray (Lk. 18:1). Paul taught us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). Let us never hesitate to pray in times of trouble, but let us not forget to also pray in times of peace and plenty!

The Bible teaches us the importance of prayers of thanksgiving to God for the bounty he has bestowed upon us:

Psa. 50:14: “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High.”

Psa. 105:1: “O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.”

Psa. 106:1: “Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.”

Col. 3:15: “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

1 Thess. 5:18: “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Heb. 13:15: “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”

Eph. 5:20: “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Col. 3:17: “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

1 Cor. 15:57: “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

2 Cor. 9:15: “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”

When we look at the Word of God, our duty is rather evident, isn’t it? In this case, we know we have received many blessings for which we should be thankful. It is hoped that God’s people will be thankful, not only on Thanksgiving Day, but every day!

— Via Guardian of Truth XXXVIII, No. 22, p. 1, November 17, 1994
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1 Chronicles 16:23-27

“Sing to the LORD, all the earth! Tell of His salvation from day to day.  Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and He is to be held in awe above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His place.”
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1885_Bible_3
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Tell Me the Old, Old Story
(But Give It to Me in Digestible Bites!)

by Greg Gwin

Knowing the best approach to use and the right things to say when teaching someone the gospel is a difficult challenge. Our judgments about how to proceed will be flawed from time to time, but good and honest hearts will be ready to accept God’s truth despite our failings.

One of the critical things in this process is determining a student’s basic level of knowledge.  We must be able to determine where to start with each individual learner.  Philip did this in an expert way when he encountered the Ethiopian eunuch.  A simple question, an observation of the text the eunuch was reading, a statement by the man himself, and Philip was ready.  He “began at the same scripture and preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35).  We will do well to follow Philip’s example.  Make no assumptions about what your prospect knows.  Find out where your student is in terms of fundamental knowledge and commence your teaching at the appropriate starting place.  Failure to do so will lead to confusion and frustration for both the student and the teacher.

Another essential component of effective teaching is to keep the instruction in manageable ‘bites.’  Too often we see well-intentioned Christians launch off into long discourses that incorporate way too much information.  It all makes sense to them, of course — and they sincerely want to share their understanding with the one they are teaching — but it is simply too much.  The student will not be able to take it all in.  They won’t be able ‘to see the forest for the trees,’ and they may very well throw up their hands in despair.  So, our best approach is to take it slowly.  Methodically walk the student through the necessary foundational truths.  While it may be possible to do this “in the same hour of the night” (Acts 16:33), it often will take several carefully planned sessions.  Knowing how much and how fast to ‘feed’ the student is a much needed talent in teachers.

The apostle Paul urged: “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6).  Salt, of course, is a good thing, but too much ruins the food.   The same is true of our efforts to inform others.  We need to be doing this essential work, but let us pray for wisdom (James 1:5) so that we serve up the truth in an effective way that does not overwhelm the one we are trying to teach.  Think!

— via The Beacon, November 17, 2015
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News & Notes

Danielle Howard, who recently received a kidney transplant, was admitted back to the hospital November 25, due to a blood clot in her jugular, which will take 3 to 4 days to dissolve. Her father also wrote that her condition is “Serious, but not panicky.”  Sometimes pain can be providential and lead to blessings.  Danielle’s mother had posted on facebook the following: “Her left arm has been swollen from surgery for a dialysis port since before transplant, but has gotten much worse since. Drs. ordered an ultrasound on the arm and in the process, they did one on the right side for comparison. They found a blood clot in her right jugular vein. So, she has been re-admitted for a few days to deal with the clot. God’s providence just amazes me! The Drs. do not view her swollen arm as anything really serious yet, because it persisted, they found a more serious, potentially life-threatening problem and are treating it. He keeps giving and giving. Remember Danielle and her wonderful gifts she has been given in your prayers of thanksgiving today. Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes. Our Father is listening!”

On November 6, Shirley Davis had fallen while at the hospital.  She was going there for her first antibiotic treatment to be received through an IV.  It was due to an infection in her toe, and these treatments are to continue every day for six weeks, about an hour each time.  In falling, the right side of her face hit the wall, putting a gash near her eye and badly bruising her face.  Her right arm was also bruised, and though the soreness from these injuries have subsided; the pain in her left hip, which she also landed on, continues about the same as initially; and pain pills do not give her much relief.  She is now housebound, but continues to receive her IV there and will continue to do so every day until December 14.
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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)
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html
(audio sermons)

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