The Gospel Observer (February 10, 2019)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
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February 10, 2019
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Contents:

1) Thanksgiving and Singing (David Maravilla)
2) A Greased Pole (Ken Green)
3) News & Notes
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Thanksgiving and Singing
David Maravilla

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations (Psa. 100:4-5).

As God’s people, we have many reasons to be thankful. What is the correct way for us to voice our thanks to God? Prayer is usually the answer, but the Bible reveals that thanksgiving through song is just as valid as giving thanks through prayer.

Thanksgiving Through Song

The two most famous New Testament passages about singing discuss thanksgiving. Paul wrote, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16). Singing “with grace” means to sing with “gratitude” (N.I.V) or “thankfulness” (N.A.S.B). Therefore, singing is obviously a way to give thanks.

Likewise, singing and thanksgiving are connected by this passage: “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:19-20).

Singing or Praying?

Some think Paul changed the focus from singing to prayer in these passages when he mentioned thanksgiving in Jesus’ name. Indeed, without the preceding verse, Colossians 3:17 sounds like a reference to prayer: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Likewise, Ephesians 5:20, apart from verse 19, could be mistaken for a description of prayer: “Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

However, these passages are about singing, not prayer. Even in passages about singing, we tend to think of prayer when we see “giving thanks” in connection with “in the name of the Lord” because we have not fully considered that singing is as legitimate a way of giving thanks to God in Jesus’ name as prayer is. We have developed a tradition of stating aloud that our public prayers are “in Jesus’ name.” However, as Paul wrote here, singing, and everything else we do, must be “in the name of the Lord,” regardless of whether we state it every time.

Similar Actions

Though we distinguish between “acts of worship,” it is clear that various actions can serve the same purpose. In this case, thanksgiving in Jesus’ name can be done through song as well as prayer. Though prayers and songs are, by definition, not the same thing, similarities exist. The difference is simply music—remove the melody, harmony, and timing from many hymns and what remains is a prayer. We can give thanks through song or prayer, and God takes one as seriously as he does the other.

Similar Seriousness

We take prayer seriously. Those who arrive late to services do not usually come down the aisle to find a seat during a prayer. People do not habitually walk to the bathroom in the middle of a prayer, nor do deacons leave their seats to adjust the thermostat. We wait until the prayer is over to do some necessary things because we do not want to distract others. If thanksgiving through song is just as valid as thanksgiving through prayer, should we not show the same courtesy when singing? Whether our heads are bowed in prayer while the leader says, “Lord, we thank you for this day and all of its blessings,” or we joyfully sing “Lord of all to Thee we raise, This our hymn of grateful praise,” we are voicing our thanks to God in the way he prescribed. We must be reverent, regardless of the method used to give thanks.

— Via Truth Magazine,  November 2007, Vol. LI, No. 11, p. 10
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A Greased Pole
Ken Green

Ever tried to climb a greased pole? Even if you haven’t, you know that it’s almost impossible, even for an excellent climber in tip-top shape. For the rest of us it’s just downright impossible.

Well some have put salvation at the top of a greased pole and are constantly exhorting folks to climb right up and enjoy the benefits.

This extreme has probably been occupied as a reaction to the idea of escalator salvation. Once one steps onto the escalator, no effort is necessary whatever. One might expedite matters by taking a few steps, but one does not need to do so to reach the destination. Such is the view of those who hold to the doctrine of unconditional security. The doctrine is certainly contrary to many simple and clear passages in God’s word. Heb. 4:11 exhorts us to “be diligent to enter that rest.” Rev. 2:10 demands that we “be faithful unto death.” Escalator religion is contrary to sound doctrine.

Equally erroneous, however, is the concept of conditional insecurity. Perhaps such a doctrine has not been actively taught. But it has been accepted by way of default. I would think that the great assurance that is constantly given the faithful, striving, child of God should be administered in equal doses, at least, in our teaching as the warnings
against falling or drifting away from so great a salvation.

Even before the plan of salvation was consummated at the cross, the people of God expressed great assurance: “The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe” (Prov. 29:25); “The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forever” (Ps. 121:7-8); “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Ps. 23:6).

Do we who are privileged to live under a better covenant, established upon better promises, possess less confidence than the people of a darker age? May it never be!

Paul lived in the security of God’s love. Because life to him was Christ, he could declare confidently that to die was gain and to depart was to be with the Lord (Phil. 1:21-23; 2 Cor. 5:6-8). He could say this in spite of the fact that he had not reached perfection in this life (Phil. 3:12-16).

He exulted in the knowledge that a crown of life awaited him and all who love His appearing (2 Tim. 4: 8). Jude commends us all to the God who is able to keep us from falling (verse 24). Peter declares that “if” (that’s conditional, folks), “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 Peter 1:10-11).

Let us examine ourselves. Are we preaching a greased pole salvation? Are we guilty of binding “heavy burdens, hard to bear” when we ourselves will not move them with one of (our) fingers” (Mt. 29:3)? Let us balance warning with consolation that the committed and submissive Christian might be motivated to sing with rejoicing and praise: “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh what a foretaste of glory divine. Heir of salvation, purchase of God; Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.”

— Via Searching the Scriptures, June 1991, Volume XXXII, Number 6
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News & Notes

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of  Eddie Fullard who passed away February 2 at just 53 years of age.

Marilyn Roberts’ surgery went well, and she is now in the healing process.

Jim Lively has been experiencing some swelling of the lower legs.

Shirley Davis had been a week in the hospital, due to pneumonia; but is now back home.  She will soon be resuming her physical therapy for her knee replacement.

Pat Joyner also had to return to the hospital recently following her heart valve replacement surgery, but is also now back home.

Others to also be praying for:  A.J. Joyner, Anita Young, Doyle Rittenhouse, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Melotine Davis, Mary Vandevander,  Michelle Rittenhouse, Rick Cuthbertson, John Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer,  Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Lin
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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, living for the Lord; 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 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermon)

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The Gospel Observer (February 3, 2019)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
——————–

Contents:

1) “What Then Shall I Do With Jesus Who Is Called Christ?” (Bill Crews)
2) “Evidence of Things Not Seen” (Greg Gwin)
3) You Don’t Deserve Mercy (Doy Moyer)
4) News & Notes
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Jesus before Pilate_2

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“What Then Shall I Do With Jesus Who Is Called Christ?”
Bill Crews

When this question was asked by Pontius Pilate, Roman governor of Judea, Jesus was on trial in Jerusalem at the official residence there of Pilate. Pilate was addressing the chief priests, scribes and elders, the ones who had orchestrated this whole nefarious affair.

Prior to this, Jesus had been illegally arrested in the garden of Gethsemane — illegal because it was night, illegal because it was during Passover week, illegal because it was without any criminal charges. He had been arrested and bound and brought before Annas, ex-high priest and father-in-law to Caiphas. There, without any charges against Him, Jesus had been asked to tell Annas about His teaching and His disciples — an illegal “fishing expedition.” He was unlawfully struck in the face and taken to the house of Caiphas, the acting high priest, where were gathered chief priests, scribes and elders of the Sanhedrin (enough for a quorum).

There, hired false witnesses had been gathered to testify against Jesus — to no avail. That failing, Jesus was placed under oath and illegally asked if He were the Christ, the Son of God. When He answered in the affirmative, He was falsely charged with blasphemy and sentenced to die. The elders all agreed and then abused Him without mercy. At break of day a quorum of Sanhedrin judges (the elders) convened and quickly repeated what Caiphas had done — the meeting and the procedure were both illegal. From there Jesus was hurriedly taken to the residence of Pilate for two reasons: they could not kill Jesus without Roman permission, and they wanted Jesus slain by the Roman method of crucifixion.

After finally extracting from the Jewish leaders their capital charges against Jesus, manifold lies because they were not their charge of blasphemy, because they were all false, and because they had not been “found” in a judicial sense (such a trial had not taken place). But Pilate, based on their false charges, took Jesus inside, examined Him (Jesus made clear that His was not a secular kingdom and how He went about reigning as a king). Based upon His examination, Pilate came out and pronounced Jesus innocent and not worthy of death. From the protests of the mob he learned that Jesus was from Galilee, and immediately sent Him away to Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee and Perea and in Jerusalem for Passover. There Jesus would say nothing at all, was shamefully arrayed and mocked, then sent back to Pilate.

Pilate did not want to condemn Jesus to death and again declared His innocence. A disturbing message from his wife did not make the situation any easier. Some from the crowd reminded Pilate of his Passover practice of releasing a prisoner of their choosing. Rather than allow them to choose just anyone, he selected Barabbas, now in prison and bound with several others who had robbed and murdered in an attempted insurrection. Pilate then gave them a choice between Jesus and Barabbas (surely they would never want a man like Barabbas set free). He was wrong; leaders of the Jews had moved among the crowd ordering them to shout for the release of Barabbas. As stunned as he must have been, Pilate ordered the release of Barabbas and then uttered the words that serve as the heading of this article. It was Pilate’s and Pilate’s alone to make that decision, but he had not a clue as to the true identity of the man whose physical life was in his hands.

He did not know that this was indeed the promised Jewish messiah (John 1:41; 4:25-26), deity that had become flesh (John 1:1,14), the very one who created the heavens and the earth and all therein (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-16), the one who sustains that creation (Colossians 1:17); the Christ, the Son of the only living God (Matthew 16:15-16), the one sent by the Father in heaven to speak His words and to do His works (John 5:36; 6:38; 14:24), the only one on earth to live a sinless life (1 Peter 2:11-12), the one who was soon to die as a sacrifice for all the sins of all mankind (Romans 5:8; 1 John 2:2), the one who will one day return, raise and change all the dead, and judge the living and the dead (John 5:28-29; 2 Timothy 4:1); and the one who will receive the righteous into heaven and send the wicked into hell (Matthew 25:1-46). No, Pilate did not know these things. But he did declare His innocence, tried to absolve himself of any guilt, and yet delivered Jesus up to scourging, mocking, and execution by crucifixion.

This same Jesus, during His ministry on earth, chose, trained, and equipped His twelve apostles and sent them forth to preach the gospel (the good news of salvation and service — Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16). They offered all the opportunity to believe in and to follow Jesus with the reward of salvation and eternal life. They laid out all the evidence to prove that Jesus was who He claimed to be (e.g., see Acts 2:22-36). Then and now, every person who comes in contact with the gospel of Christ is faced with the same question asked by Pilate: “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” And He will either be ignored, rejected or believed and obeyed (Hebrews 5:8-9). Kind reader of this article, what will you do with Jesus; yes, what will you do with Jesus, now that you know who He is?

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 04, Pages 02-03, January 27, 2019
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“Evidence of Things Not Seen”
Greg Gwin

Picture her — a young girl taken captive in a war — an innocent victim in a dispute between powerful countries. Now, her freedom gone, she is obligated to perform slave duties in the house of the conquering army commander.

Who is this girl? She is a minor player in a well-known Bible account that centers on her slave master. And, who is her master? Naaman is his name, and his story is found in 2 Kings 5. Naaman, as you recall, was a successful army captain — but he was also a leper.

The lesson from this slave girl is found in verse 3 of the text. Without any hint of the hatred or bitterness that could have easily filled her heart, she suggests a positive cure for her master’s affliction. “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.”

From this minimal information we can classify the young girl as a person of great faith. Why? It is because of her one simple statement. The prophet she had reference to was Elisha. How did she know he could heal leprosy? Someone might suggest that she had seen him do it many times. No! In fact, he had never done it before! Jesus said, “many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian” (Lk. 4:27). She knew he could do because she had FAITH IN GOD!

Faith is the “evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). The Bible speaks of many things that we have not personally observed. Do you believe them anyway? There are many things that God has said, including eternal promises He has made to us. Do you trust Him? Are you confident that He has the power to do all things? Judgment and your eternal destiny will be determined by your reaction to things you have not seen.

How strong is your faith? Will you obey Him (Jas. 2:26)?

— Via The Beacon, January 27, 2019
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You Don’t Deserve Mercy
Doy Moyer

Have you seen these scenes where someone is taking vengeance on another, and at the point at which the one is about to drop the hammer, the other cries out for some form of mercy? Then, the avenger says something like, “You don’t deserve mercy!” Boom.

You don’t deserve mercy. Let that sink in a moment. That’s why it’s called mercy. Mercy cannot be deserved. If you deserved it, it wouldn’t be mercy. And the same goes for grace.

God offers us mercy and grace. We don’t deserve it. Yet, while we cry out for God’s mercy, He won’t just say, “You don’t deserve it” only to condemn us. Through Christ, it’s, “You don’t deserve it, but here it is. You are forgiven.”

Thank the Lord today for His mercy. We don’t deserve what He offers in abundance.

Ephesians 2:1-10; Romans 5:6-11; 8:1-2

— Via Articles from the La Vista church of Christ
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

The family and friends of Larry Welch; Pat & A.J. Joyner, Anita Young, Doyle Rittenhouse, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Jim Lively,  Mary Vandevander,  Gene Kaplan, Michelle Rittenhouse, Rick Cuthbertson, John Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer, Marilyn Roberts, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Lin
——————–

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, living for the Lord; 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 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermon

The Gospel Observer (January 27, 2019)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
——————–

Contents:

1) The Way of Man (Bill Crews)
2) Thank You, God, For Patience (John Thompson)
3) News & Notes
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The Way of Man
Bill Crews

One of the fundamental principles which must be embraced by those who truly believe in God, earnestly desire to honor Him as God, and ardently long to spend eternity in heaven with Him, is found in Jeremiah 10:23. It reads: “O Jehovah, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”

In this verse from one of God’s prophets can be seen the divine right and wisdom of God and the weaknesses and limitations of men. God is the Creator, and man is the creature; God is the Maker, and man is the made; God is the offended, and man is the offender; God is the sinned against, and man the sinner. God has the divine right to direct our religious and moral path; God also has the divine wisdom essential to that great task. Man has neither.

How can we frail creatures know what is pleasing to Him who is “over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6), whose thoughts and ways are above our thoughts and ways as the heavens are higher than the earth (Isaiah 55:8-9)? How can we devise our own way of salvation or provide our own way of redemption? We know not the way! The fact is we cannot and must not even attempt it.

Proverbs 3:5-6 reads: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” In the days of Isaiah God said to His people, Israel, “I have stretched out my hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good according to their own thoughts” (Isaiah 65:2).

Friend, are you directing your religious walk by what you think best or by the instructions of God’s word?

By His divine wisdom God knows how you must live, and by His divine right God has specified how you must live. It is yours and mine by faith to follow.

— Via The Roanridge Reader, January 6, 2019
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heb10_36

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Thank You, God, For Patience
John Thompson

We have so much to thank our heavenly Father for, but patience? Should we put patience on our list of things to be thankful for? Should it be part of our daily prayers? In a recent sermon on waiting on the Lord, patience was discussed at length. The selflessness of patience and the selfishness of impatience were often repeated themes in that lesson. The sermon was a very important and much needed exhortation and, hopefully, it has already produced positive results in your life.

But what is there about patience that makes it something to be thankful for? Is it something like rain or sunshine? No, it is probably something much more intangible than those things. Perhaps we should consider it to be a blessing from the Father, a blessing that benefits us immensely and without which we would find it virtually impossible to be pleasing to our Maker. I would suggest that we should thank God for creating this thing called patience that is so intimately a part of all that goes into making a faithful, fully committed, obedient Christian. Our thankfulness should include the fact that we are created with an innate capacity to learn what patience is all about, to appreciate its usefulness to the Christian, and to grow in its application as we live from day to day. We cannot endure without patience. We cannot persevere without patience. We cannot be gentle and kind without patience. We cannot trust without patience. We cannot love without patience. The bottom line is that we simply cannot be pleasing to God without patience.

Take endurance, for instance. How in the world are we to get through the darkness of difficult times to the light on the other side of the darkness if we do not endure? Patience is what gets us through. Patience enables us to remain calm; and when calm, we are able to reason things through. Patience puts us into the proper frame of mind consistent with prayer, with Bible reading and meditation, and with remembering that God has promised better things. Here is what Jesus wrote to some of the seven churches of Asia:

To the church at Ephesus: “I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary” (Revelation 2:3).

To the church at Thyatira: “I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first” (Revelation 2:19).

To the church at Philadelphia: “Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10).

Endurance is not consistent with some constantly happy-go-lucky, stress free, all’s right with the world time. No, endurance implies hard work, struggle, despair, temptation, persecution, and various and sundry other plagues of life. Endurance is our victory over such obstacles and patience is what carries us through. Some obstacles are specifically mentioned in the scriptures. Paul told Timothy he must patiently endure evil (2 Timothy 2:24), and he wrote to the Corinthians commending them for patiently enduring the same sufferings he experienced (2 Corinthians 1:6).

It seems, though, that we will more likely experience impatience than patience unless we can train ourselves away from that deadly attitude. Impatience is manifested in a variety of ways, such as: We cannot wait; we cannot tolerate, put up with, sit through, submit, or persevere. While impatient we may become irritable, agitated, fidgety, mouthy, obnoxious, disruptive. Impatience is selfish in that it places expectations upon others. If I expect you to cater to my need to not have to wait, who benefits? Not you. You are the one that my impatience is inconveniencing. My impatience benefits only me, and that is the essence of selfishness, i.e. seeing to my welfare at the expense of all others. When you get right down to it, impatience is a failure of endurance and perseverance. Impatience makes no provision for gentleness and kindness and destroys one’s capacity for love. Remember 1 Corinthians 13:4? Love is patient and kind.

But we can learn to be more patient. We must learn to be patient. And we can grow our patience by sitting at the feet of Jesus, the Master Teacher. Paul stated his desire for those Christians in Thessalonica, “Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:5, NKJV). No man has ever been calmer and more patient than the Christ Jesus as he proceeded through his trials and crucifixion.  “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).

Sometimes we sing “None of Self and All of Thee.”  Our hymn book leaves out the wording in verse 3 that is in bold type below:

“Day by day His tender mercy
Healing, helping, full and free,
Sweet and strong, and ah! so patient
Brought me lower, while I whispered,
‘Less of self, and more of Thee!’”

We sing “O Master, Let Me Walk With Thee.” Perhaps the next time we sing this song verses 3 and 4 will remind us of our responsibility to learn of and grow in patience.

“Teach me Thy patience! still with Thee
In closer, dearer company,
In work that keeps faith sweet and strong,
In trust that triumphs over wrong.
In hope that sends a shining ray
Far down the future’s broad’ning way,
In peace that only Thou canst give,
With Thee, O Master, let me live.”

Thank you, God, for patience. And, thank you, Adam, for the sermon.

— Via the University Heights Messenger, January 2, 2019, Volume 11, Number 1, Lexington, Kentucky
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“Blessed are You, O LORD; teach me Your statutes” (Psalm 119:12, NASB).
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Jim Lively had another fall last Wednesday, but this one had him in the emergency room for 10 stiches.

Others to remember in prayer:  Pat Joyner, Myrna Jordan, Anita Young, Shirley Davis, Melotine Davis, Doyle Rittenhouse, Rick Cuthbertson, A.J. Joyner, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Mary Vandevander,  Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer, Marilyn Roberts, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Lin

The Walnut Street church of Christ in Jesup will be having a gospel meeting February 6-10 with Ryan Hasty (from Auburn, AL) as their guest speaker. Wednesday  through Friday: 7 p.m.  Saturday: 10:30 a.m.  Sunday: 9 & 10 a.m.  The church meets at 567 East Walnut Street .
——————–

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, living for the Lord; 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 services9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermon

The Gospel Observer (January 20, 2019)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
——————–

Contents:

1) The Heavenly Mindset (Dennis Stackhouse)
2) Enlightened Eyes (Wayne Goff)
3) “A Cappella” (Greg Gwin)
4) News & Notes
——————–

Mat6_20

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The Heavenly Mindset
Dennis Stackhouse

In writing the church at Colossae, Paul said this in Colossians 3:1: “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”  We know the apostle is addressing baptized believers, as these people had been raised up with Christ, according to Colossians 2:12.  With that in mind, all Christian people should recognize this teaching as an encouragement to not allow worldly matters to interfere with a proper mindset, a heavenly mindset.  After all, Paul does instruct us to “keep seeking the things above.”  In other words, this is something the Christian never stops doing; it is a continual exercise, we are to keep seeking the things above as long we dwell in these earthly bodies.  This is the case because that’s where Christ is and we want to be where He is.  Our goal should be that of reaching heaven.

Colossians 3:2 continues this thought: “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”  If we can continually fill our minds with “the things above,” such as God and Christ in their heavenly home, the heavenly preparations being made for Christians (John 14:2-3) and our expectation to imitate God and Christ (Ephesians 5:1; I Corinthians 11:1), then our lives will be more reflective of what God wants them to be.  So it is entirely appropriate for Christian men and women to remove their focus from worldly things and concentrate their thoughts on heaven; in fact, the Scriptures strongly encourage us to do so.  Let’s consider a few more examples of this.

In Matthew 6:19-21, our Lord said: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  If worldly treasures have been replaced by heavenly treasures, the Christian truly is seeking the things above.  Jesus plainly said that our heart will follow after our treasure, so if that treasure is in heaven, we have our priorities in order.  Paul indicated that his desire was “to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better,” in Philippians 1:23.  Paul was undeniably focusing on the heavenly home.  In Philippians 3:14 he also said: “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  If this is not a focus on heaven, I’m not sure what it is.  Then in Philippians 3:20 we learn that the Christian’s citizenship is in heaven.  Doesn’t it make sense to focus on the “country” where our citizenship is?

The apostle wrote in II Timothy 4:8: “In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”  Could there be any better reason to embrace the heavenly mindset?  If we really did make heaven our priority, perhaps the things of this world would not be so troublesome to us; perhaps we would eliminate a great deal of frustration and anxiousness.  Make sure that heaven is your goal.

— Via article from the La Vista church of Christ
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eph3_4-5

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Enlightened Eyes
Wayne Goff

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in chapter one reads, “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power…”  (vv. 17-19). Paul prayed that the Ephesians would have enlightened eyes. My prayer for all of us is that we would have enlightened eyes, too.

Enlightened eyes see things that others do not see. In this text, God is giving us “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” as the means of that enlightenment. Today God’s revelation is fulfilled and complete, so that the Holy Spirit enlightens our eyes through the knowledge of the Scriptures. Additionally, wisdom may be prayed for so that this knowledge might be used properly. God gladly gives us wisdom when we desire it and ask for it (James 1:5).

Do you desire to have your “eyes” of understanding enlightened? If you do, then you already know to read the Scriptures habitually, for therein is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). Having read the Scriptures, you meditate on them day and night (Psalm 1:2). Having meditated on the Scriptures, you also learn to rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Finally, having done all of that, you make a personal application of them (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

More specifically, in our Ephesian text, Paul and God desire that your eyes may be enlightened so that you may know:

1. What is the hope of His calling. If you do not have the hope of eternal life, then you will not remain faithful throughout your lifetime. Satan is always striving to place doubt in your mind about going to heaven. God’s Word removes that doubt and strengthens that conviction as part of the enlightening of the eyes!

2.  What are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. Does Paul mean for us to comprehend what God gets from
His scheme of redemption? Or does Paul want us to comprehend the riches of our future glory? I have always taught that God wants us to know and appreciate what He has gotten out of the eternal plan of salvation. But we undoubtedly should strive to comprehend the greatness of our eternal reward as well! In order to do this, consider Revelation 20-21 as a starter. Meditate on the glories of heaven, and you will do more to make your calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10).

3. What is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power. We need to be reminded constantly that God is working in us both to will and to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Our eternal security is absolute from God’s standpoint. Nothing can prevent us from being saved, except ourselves! Read Romans 8:31-39 to appreciate this concept. Read also John 10:27-28 for another example of God’s power to keep us saved. Yes, we must “hear” the Shepherd’s voice and “follow” Him. Yes, we must “trust and obey” His will! But with God’s help we can become more spiritually-minded, have a greater enlightenment of our spiritual eyes, and rest assured of the promised rest that is before us. The real question remains: “How much do you desire to have your spiritual vision enlightened?”  Enough to seek and find?

— Via the Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 02, Page 02, January 13, 2019
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eph5_19

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“A Cappella”
Greg Gwin

The word “a cappella” is defined by the dictionary as: “music without instrumental accompaniment.”  It comes from a Latin word which literally means “as in the church.”  Interestingly, the etymology (origin) of this word, proves that at the beginning of the church (and for many centuries thereafter), the music in worship was singing  only, without  instrumental accompaniment.

— Via The Beacon, January 13, 2019
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“Give ear to my words, O LORD,
Consider my groaning.
Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God,
For to You I pray. 
In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch” (Psalm 5:1-3, NASB).
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:  Pat & A.J. Joyner, Anita Young, Rick Cuthbertson, Jim Lively, Doyle Rittenhouse, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Melotine Davis, Myrna Jordan, Shirley Davis, Mary Vandevander,  Michelle Rittenhouse, John Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer, Marilyn Roberts, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Lin

The Walnut Street church of Christ will be having a gospel meeting February 6-10. Wednesday through Friday: 7 p.m.  Saturday: 10:30 a.m.  Sunday: 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Guest speaker: Ryan Hasty (of Auburn, Alabama). The church meets at 567 East Walnut Street, Jesup, GA.
——————–

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, living for the Lord; 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 services9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermon

The Gospel Observer (January 13, 2018)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
——————–

Contents:

1) Habits (R.J. Evans)
2) Avoiding Bad Habits (R.J. Evans)
3) News & Notes
——————–

Eph4_22-24

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Habits
R.J. Evans

It has been said that, “habits are like comfortable beds, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.” It has also been said that “habits are like cable, each day as we do something in a pattern, we intertwine one thread with another.” And, of course, as the threads are woven tightly together, a cable is formed. Using this analogy, we need to realize that on any particular day, the thread we added was probably too small to gain much of our attention. But, after many threads have been woven in, we discover that together they have become a practically unbreakable cable or rope.

So it is with habits. There are good habits and there are bad habits. Daily practices over the course of time become habits that are practically unbreakable—so be careful what you weave.

To illustrate the above, concerning a bad habit, ask someone who has developed a bad habit and has attempted to break it i.e. the person who uses profanity, drinks alcohol, or takes drugs. It is my understanding that chain smoking is one of the most difficult of all habits to break.

But on the other hand, think of developing good habits. Think of how much good and positive results that are produced from these daily practices. Here are some suggestions or examples of good habits that we need to be incorporating into our daily lives.

DAILY Bible Reading. “Also day by day, from the first day until the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God” (Neh. 8:18).

DAILY Bible Study. “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

DAILY Prayer. “Lord, I have called daily upon You; I have stretched out my hands to You” (Psa. 88:9).

DAILY Cross Bearing. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Lk. 9:23).

DAILY Meditation. “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night” (Psa. 1:2).

DAILY Exhortation. “But exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:19).

DAILY Teaching. “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:42).

DAILY Growth. “So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily” (Acts 16:5) “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).

Do you want to become more like Jesus? Do you want to consistently grow and become stronger in the Lord? Then consider carefully the good daily activities just mentioned, and begin a life filled with good habits.

— via church bulletin for the Southside church of Christ, September 9, 1018
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Stop Bad Habits

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Avoiding Bad Habits
by R.J. Evans

(Editor’s Note: In last week’s article we focused primarily on good habits; this week we are focusing on bad habits. rje)

Whether we are aware of it or not, our actions in life consist mostly of habits that we have developed. Both good and bad habits play a huge role in our lives. How often do we stop and think that God is interested and concerned about the habits we have formed as we live from day to day?

Have we seriously considered any habits in our lives that are displeasing and not glorifying God? If we are honest with ourselves, we must confess and admit that there may be a number of habits in our lives which are actually sins. God, through His word, has something to say about this—He identifies them for us. In this article, let us note some bad habits that all Christians need to break.

Putting other things before God. If we aren’t careful, we allow our lives to become so cluttered and busy and full of worldly activities that, before we realize it, less important things are taking God’s rightful place in our lives. Our jobs, hobbies, recreation, entertainment, times with friends all have a place, but they should never come before our time with God in prayer, Bible study, and worshiping Him with other saints. Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). God assures us that we will have all we need and have a full life if we put Him first. (See also Lk. 8:14; 1 Thes. 5:17; Heb. 10:24-25)

Laziness. We do not have to read far into the book of Proverbs to see that laziness or slothfulness is a big problem (there are over a dozen passages in Proverbs that address this sin). It is so easy to become lazy and to slack off from our duties as a Christian. Some of our “duties as a Christian” such as homemaking, working diligently at our secular jobs, rearing our children, and, of course, Bible study, teaching, and worship require time and effort. The Apostle Paul tells us to “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:15) and “whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Col. 3:23). Laziness is a bad habit that must be overcome!

Poor stewardship. God has entrusted us with the responsibility of caring for our bodies, our souls, our money, our relationships, and our use of time. Are we responsible in these areas? We are not to allow bad habits of poor stewardship to hinder our lives. The Apostle Paul has instructed us to “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time” (Eph. 5:15-16). He also tells us that “you are not your own…For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Murmuring and complaining. These are two things that can destroy our good influence for Christ, even as far as dividing a congregation. Proverbs 6 tells us that God hates “one who sows discord among brethren” (v. 6). So, be very careful about what you say to and about other Christians. Why would the world want what we have if we aren’t contented and joyful? If we are constantly complaining and grumbling, then we give the world the wrong picture of what a Christian should be. We must rid ourselves of complaining habits if we are going to be happy and have a positive influence on others. The Apostle Paul plainly said, “Do all things without murmuring and complaining” (Phil. 2:14).

The list above is just a limited number of bad habits (or sins) that we must get rid of. Cultivating good habits in these areas will help us have fuller and more meaningful lives as Christians, and also enable us to have a good influence on all those who observe our lives. Let us “put off the old man” with his bad habits and “put on the new man” with his good habits (Col. 3:9-10). By so doing, we can show all those in our world of friends and associates what it is like to live a faithful, contented, joyful life in Christ. Yes, we need to live our daily lives AVOIDING BAD HABITS.

— Via church bulletin for Southside church of Christ, September 16, 2018
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News & Notes

Folks to be praying for:

Anita Young’s recent surgery went well. She is now in the healing process.

Barbara Thompson has been having some terrible pain in her shoulder. It had even caused her arm to lock in place for a while.

Others to remember in prayer: Pat and A.J. Joyner, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Jim Lively, Mary Vandevander, Doyle Rittenhouse, Rick Cuthbertson, Michelle Rittenhouse, Everleigh and Hazel Greer, Marilyn Roberts, John Stoval, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Lin
——————–

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, living for the Lord; 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 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (January 6, 2019)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
——————–

Contents:

1) Four Tactics of the Devil (R.J. Evans)
2) God is Unchangeable (Carrol R. Sutton)
3) News & Notes
——————–

Jude1_21

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Four Tactics of the Devil
R.J. Evans

The devil is our adversary or enemy.  Observe how he is described by the Apostle Peter: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).  In this short article, let’s notice four “devices” (2 Cor. 2:11) the devil will seek to bring into our lives if we are not duly vigilant:

1.  DISCOURAGEMENT.  You have been serving God so diligently, yet there are still so many trials and difficulties in your life.  The devil would love to see you throw up your hands and say, “I give up!”  You have been trying to faithfully serve the Lord, but it seems that you are all alone at times.  The devil would love to see you start asking “Where is God now?”

The great prophet Elijah experienced discouragement when he was fleeing for his life from wicked Jezebel.  He asked God to take his life (1 Kgs. 19:4); he felt that he was the only faithful servant on earth–“I alone am left, and they seek to take my life” (1 Kgs. 19:10).  The Lord told him to go to work on some jobs He had for him (1 Kgs. 19:11-17).  Furthermore, he was not alone.  God had “reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kgs. 19:18).  Thus, the faithful Christian must remember that there are setbacks in life, but they are temporary and common to all of God’s faithful servants.

2.  DISCONTENTMENT.  The devil wants us to look at our neighbors, our co-workers, those who do not fear God and think, “Oh look how much better they are doing than I am.”  This is exactly what happened to Asaph, the chief musician in the temple.  He stated: “But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped.  For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psa. 73:2-3).  He further became envious and very discontented when he considered their wealth, strength, pride, and arrogance.  He felt that way, as he stated, “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end” (Psa. 73:17).

Discontentment can lead to discouragement, and keep us from moving forward.  Let us all seek to develop the attitude of the Apostle Paul: “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content….Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (1 Tim. 6:8; Phil. 4:11).  Jesus came that we might be joyful—”These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (Jn. 15:11; see also Phil. 4:4).

3.  DOUBT.  The devil is a murderer and a liar from the beginning (Jn. 8:44).  He would love to have us to start questioning God.  He wants us to say, “Did the Lord really say or mean that?”  He did that with the first couple, Adam and Eve.

The Lord instructs that if we lack wisdom, to ask for it, and He will provide it for us (Jas. 1:5).  However, we must keep in mind what James has told us regarding this matter: “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord” (Jas. 1:6-7).  Doubt is truly an indicator of a lack of faith.  When Peter started walking on the water toward Jesus, he saw the boisterous wind, became afraid and began to sink.  Jesus then stretched out His hand, caught him and said, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matt. 14:31).

4.  DISREGARD FOR HIS WORD.  The devil would love for us to think we can do it our way and not according to what God has commanded.  Moses made this mistake in the wilderness.  God told him to speak to the rock in front of the grumbling Israelites, but he angrily struck the rock twice, totally disregarding God’s word (Num. 20:7-11).  This one act of disobedience kept Moses out of the land of promise—”Because you did not believe Me to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them” (Num. 20:13).

The devil leads man away from God’s word by false teachers.  The Apostle Paul warned: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.  And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:13-14; see also 11:1-4).

May we ever seek to do exactly as God has commanded in His word.  “Now by this we know that we know Him if we keep His commandments….For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome….Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” (1 Jn. 2:3; 5:3; 2 Jn. 9).

Have you noticed these four tactics against you and your family?  Jesus has won the victory over the devil and death (Heb. 2:14-15; 1 Cor. 15:57).  Therefore, we need to follow in His steps (1 Pet. 2:21-25).  Let us not be deceived and led astray by the devices of the devil.  We close with these words of encouragement: “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life….Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen” (Jude 21, 24-25).

— Via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, December 30, 2018
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Heb1_8

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God Is Unchangeable
Carrol R. Sutton

Daily we witness changes around us in both the plant and animal kingdoms. We also witness weather changes, which in turn produce changes in temperatures. As these changes take place, it becomes necessary for us to make changes in our eating, sleeping, working and playing habits as well as in our dress. Changes in styles and fashions and models are occurring frequently. It is interesting to note that most people are fickle. Certainly, men should change from sin to righteousness, but very often men change from right to wrong; from truth to error. Changes are often produced by gossip, lies, and false doctrines.

In Malachi 3:6, we read: “For I am the Lord, I change not. . . .” Although man is subject to change, we are assured that God Is unchangeable. This does not mean that God’s will for man is the same today that it was under the Mosaic age. In fact, we learn from Hebrews 7:12 that the priesthood was changed, and “there is made also of necessity a change of the law.” We are now under the New Testament. (See 1 Cor. 9:21; Heb. 9:16-17; 10:9-10; Jno. 12:48).

God is unchangeable in Character. He cannot be tempted with evil. He is holy. The Psalmist said: “Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy.”

— Via The Elon Challenger, December 2018, Volume 16, Number 4
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News & Notes

There will be a gospel meeting at the Walnut Street church of Christ February 6th-10th.  Services for Wednesday through Friday will be at 7 p.m.   There will also be a Saturday morning service at  10:30, and the Sunday morning services are at 9 and 10.  Ryan Hasty of Auburn, Alabama, will be the guest  speaker.  The church meets at 567 East Walnut Street, Jesup, Georgia.

Folks to be praying for:

Pat Joyner had her surgery that involved replacing her heart valve.  All went well.  She is now back home, healing and undergoing  therapy.

Larry Welch, who recently had surgery for cancer, has passed away.  We extend our condolences to all his family and friends.

Michelle Rittenhouse, who had become septic and was hospitalized with a fever of 105,  had to have surgery on her appendix.

Doyle Rittenhouse was glad to hear that his melanoma was not bad enough to have it removed when recently seeing his doctor.  He was told that he would  not have to come back for three months — unless the melanoma turns worse.

Rick Cuthbertson has now been through four chemo treatments and is doing better with it than he had in the past.

Others to remember in prayer: Myrna Jordan, Shirley Davis,  James Medlock, A.J. Joyner, Jim Lively, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, Melotine Davis, Joyce Rittenhouse, Mary Vandevander, Everleigh and Hazel Greer, Marilyn Roberts, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Kala Williams, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, John St oval, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Tommy Lin
——————–

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, living for the Lord; 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 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)

The Gospel Observer (December 30, 2018)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
——————–

Contents:

1) Bible Lands: Philippi (Mike Hardin)
2) Challenges for the New Year (Greg Gwin)
3) News & Notes
——————–

philippi_basilica

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Bible Lands: Philippi
Mike Hardin

The city of Philippi was in the first district of Macedonia, and the immediate destination of Paul and Silas upon reaching Macedonia. In Philippi, Paul and Silas successfully preached the gospel. They met and converted Lydia, “a seller of purple goods”; cast out an evil spirit; were scourged, jailed, and miraculously saved; converted the jailer and his household; and established the Lord’s church in this city.

Philippi received its name from its founder, Philip of Macedonia. In Acts 16:12, Luke refers to it as the leading city of Macedon, and also mentions its status as a Roman Colony. This status was a distinction in which the citizens of such a city took a great deal of pride, and this attitude is indicated by the complaint against Paul and his associates for seeking to introduce customs and  practices contrary to the Roman pattern (Acts 16:21-26).  Philippi was the place where Marcus Antonius and  Octavius defeated Brutus and Cassius (42 B.C.), which defeat overthrew the Roman Oligarchy and Augustus (Octavius) became Emperor. This battle in large measure determined the fate of the Roman Republic, which became the Roman Empire. Roman soldiers settled in Philippi under the orders from Anthony and set aside the territory of Philippi as a Roman colony. The position of Philippi was that of an outpost or fortress whose principal business was to ward off barbarian hordes and to preserve the Roman peace on the edges of the empire. The military atmosphere may have kept away Jewish settlers, thus preventing the establishment of a synagogue.

Geographically, Philippi was an inland town situated about ten miles north of the Aegean seaport of  Neapolis (modern Kavalla), from which it was separated by a continuous range of low lying hills.  Philippi’s maritime interests, entering at Neapolis, were safeguarded by the construction of a Roman highway, a spur of the great Via Egnatia.

The Roman Empire gave civilization two major contributions, peace and a great road system. The Roman-built Via Egnatia was a great military highway. The strategic and commercially viable Via Egnatia ran along the north of Macedonia, connecting Dyrrhachium on the Adriatic Sea with Thessalonica near the Aegean Sea. This was the prime route between Italy and Asia Minor. The Via Egnatia is the most famous road in the Roman Empire, the main artery in southern Italy, and was constructed by the end of the second century B.C. The total length of the Via Egnatia was 535 Roman miles (493 English miles). Thessalonica and Philippi were the principal cities of Macedonia having access to the Via Egnatia. The road was paved and 15 feet across. On a road such as the Via Egnatia a person could travel about 25 Roman miles (1,614.6 yards) per day, depending upon whether he was walking or riding.  The Via Egnatia was a great highway through which all the traders from east and west had to pass. Not only did the Via Egnatia make possible the economic boom that occurred in Paul’s day, but it played an important role in disseminating the gospel throughout Europe.

The Apostle Paul no doubt traveled the Via Egnatia between the cities of Philippi, Thessalonica, and Illyricum. Philippi for Paul was a strategic center for evangelizing Europe. It was well watered, in the midst of a very fertile territory, and close to it were some very rich gold mines.

The church at Philippi was established by Paul on his second Missionary journey, about  A.D. 52. At Troas “a vision appeared to Paul in the night; there was a man of Macedonia standing and beseeching him, and saying, come over into Macedonia and help us; and when he had seen the vision straightway we sought to go further into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel unto them” (Acts 16:6-10).

They sailed from Troas, and evidently, with a favorable wind, crossed the Aegean Sea in two days to Neapolis, a journey that would ordinarily have taken five days. From Neapolis they went up to Philippi. These circumstances: the vision at Troas, a ship being immediately available, and a favorable wind on his journey indicate that God was guiding Paul to the city of Philippi.

In Philippi, Paul and Silas “went outside the gate to the riverside, where they supposed there was a place of prayer.” One of the women, who heard them speak, was Lydia, “a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God.” Lydia was from Thyatira in Asia Minor. Lydia and her household were baptized into Jesus Christ (Acts 16:12-15). The conversion of Lydia represented the establishment of the first church in Europe. One of the possible sites for the baptism of Lydia is the River Krenides near Philippi.

Paul and Silas were cast into prison in Philippi and converted the jailor and his household (Acts 16:16-34). Paul had a great love and appreciation for the children of God at Philippi.

— Via Truth Magazine, January 2007, Volume LI, Number 1, pp. 27-28
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Challenges for the New Year
Greg Gwin

The beginning of a new year provides an excellent opportunity for us to pause, ponder, plan, and prepare for the future. We hope that the New Year will especially cause us all to think about our spiritual service to God and how we can improve in the fulfillment of our duties to Him. Let us challenge you in these specific areas:

–  Spend  more  time  in  prayer.  Don’t  allow  the  day  to begin  or  end  without  spending  time  in prayer  to  God.  Throughout  the  day,  stop  and  petition  Him  for  help  and  strength.  And,  by  all means,  don’t  just  wait  for  a  crisis  to  develop  before  you  think  to  pray. “Pray  without  ceasing”  (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

– Study your Bible more consistently. Use one of the available daily Bible reading schedules, or come up with  your own  plan to read on a regular basis. Don’t just rush through a few verses. Instead, really study the text to learn its meaning. Before you end a reading session, think about how you can make application of what you’ve read in a real and practical way. “Give attendance to reading . . .” (1 Timothy 4:13).

– Attend every Bible study and worship in this New Year. This, of course, is your duty — but it is also a privilege. BE HERE! Make this a high priority. Why would you not want to be present to worship God and study His Word?  “Not  forsaking  the assembling  of  ourselves  together  .  .  .” (Hebrews 10:25).

– Teach the lost. We all have friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members who are lost in sin.  They NEED us to share the gospel with  them.  Make  a  firm commitment  to  reach  at  least one of them with the “good news” this  year. If each Christian  would  bring just one person to the Lord each year, we could soon convert the whole world. Let’s do it! “Go ye therefore and teach all nations . . .  (Matthew 28:19).

– Live a pure, godly life. Nothing else matters if we are not living faithfully for the Lord. Think about this, and let it be manifested  in how  you  talk,  where  you  go,  who  you associate  with, how you  dress,  etc.  Others  are  looking  to  you,  and  evaluating  Christianity  on  the  basis  of  what  they see of it in you. “Ye are the light of the world . . . let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

In a very real sense, having a “Happy New Year” depends on how well you fulfill your spiritual duties to God. Think!

– Via The Beacon, December 30, 2018
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News & Notes

Folks to be remembering in prayer:

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Larry Welch who recently passed away.

Pat Joyner’s surgery went well.  She is now back home and recuperating.

Others to also remember in prayer: James Medlock, A.J. Joyner, Myrna Jordan, Jim Lively, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Rick Cuthbertson, Mary Vandevander, Everleigh and Hazel Greer, Marilyn Roberts, Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, John Stoval, Michelle Rittenhouse, and Tommy Lin
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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, living for the Lord; 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 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday:
2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)