BulletinGold #196
May 2018  
Vol 18 #5 

May 2018                         BG# 196                         Vol. 18 No. 05
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In this issue ...

 Keeping the Faith
By Rob Albright

 Mother’s Day Is a Waste By Joe Chesser

 Honor Your Mother!
By Joe Slater

 God’s Plan for Mothers
By Ron Bartanen

 What is the Church?
By Bill Brandstatter

 Goodbye, Mother!
By Larry Pasley

 Cowboy Logic
By Robert E. Guinn

 He’s not Heavy, He’s my Brother
By Travis Robertson

 Let Us Love One Another
By Kevin Rutherford

 We are God’s Billboards
By Jeff Arnette

Memorial Day By David R. Ferguson

The Origin of Decoration Day
By David Bragg

What’s the Birth Date of Your Church?
By J. Randal Matheny

Keeping the Faith
By Rob Albright

    Jesus is Lord and He calls us to an obedient faith (Romans 1:5; 16:26). This submissive attitude is demonstrated when one obeys the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus by being baptized into Christ (Acts 2:38; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 6:3-5). At this point, the Lord adds us to His spiritual family,the church (Acts 2:47).
    As Christians, we are to continue to be obedient as we follow God’s way for life, worship, and working in His kingdom. We must realize, there will always be the temptation to become complacent and that opens the door for Satan to cause us problems. There is that danger of falling away (Galatians 5:4)
    Becoming unfaithful doesn’t happen all of a sudden. We can take those”small” steps away from God’s will and before we know it, we are farther and farther away from God. Complacency may not appear to be a big deal at first, but then it can lead to a big problem.
    Let’s not be satisfied with anything less than doing the will of God. Ecclesiastes 12:13-”The conclusion, when all has been heard is: fear God and keep His commandments.”

- Rob Albright serves as one of the ministers at the Northwest Church of Christ in Greensboro, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.nwchurchofchrist.com/
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Mother’s Day Is a Waste
By Joe Chesser
 
    Mother’s Day is a waste of time and money. It is just a day of commercialism; a day to sell cards and flowers, candy and lunch. Everybody knows that the greatest promotion for Mother’s Day comes from Hallmark, AT&T, and FTD … and WalMart.
    Now that I have your attention, you need to know that I don’t believe the sentiments of the above paragraph. Some may view Mother’s Day like that, but I’m not one of them. Yet, I do believe that for many people Mother’s Day is a wasted opportunity.
    I was blessed with a great Christian mother, and am a Christian today due largely to her influence. But, sadly, I know first-hand about how to make Mother’s Day a waste; I have made more than my share of mistakes on Mother’s Day (you can’t ask my mom, but you can ask my kids about the messes I have made on Mother’s Day). So, from my experience and observation, I know that for many people, Mother’s Day is a day of wasted opportunities.
    Mothers are such special people. The pains of childbirth alone make them so. The love, devotion and care a mother gives her children are legendary. The hours of physical and emotional labor, the sacrificial spirit, and the sleepless nights so often go unnoticed and unappreciated. God gave mothers a special role, and He expects them to be honored and appreciated (Deut. 5:16; Lev. 19:3; Eph. 6:2).
    Mother’s Day is a special time to honor your mother, but you can waste that opportunity if you are content to give only a card or gift or phone call. Mothers appreciate gifts and cards, but what they truly want is your genuine attention. They don’t care about the cost or quality of a gift; what they care about is that you express to them the sincere affection you have for them in a way that most appropriately comes from you. To say, “I love you, mom,” is far more valuable than a steak dinner or diamond earrings … or a McDonald’s gift card.
    Mother’s Day is an opportunity for you to genuinely express your love and appreciation to your mother. Don’t waste it with inferior substitutions or token gifts. Don’t waste another minute. Take advantage of the time you have left to tell your mother that she is special to you, that you love her, and tell her so with genuine affection. She will be honored, you will be blessed, and the Lord will be glorified. (But you’d still better not forget the cards and gifts!)         

- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted at joeandareva@yahoo.com
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Honor Your Mother!
By Joe Slater

    “Honor your father and your mother” is the fifth of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:12). Though we do not live under the Old Testament law today, God brought nine of those commandments into the New Testament, including this one (Ephesians 6:1-3). Giving Mom a card and a box of chocolates on the second Sunday in May is fine, but God makes it clear in His word that honoring your mother goes far beyond a man-made annual holiday. How does God say we should honor our mothers?
    Love her! Young children seldom have to be told to do this – it comes naturally. The Scriptures call it “natural affection” (2 Timothy 3:3). It is the warm, tender devotion that you feel toward close family members. This very passage, however, warns of the danger of suppressing or even losing that natural affection. Cultivate love for your mother every day, not just “Mother’s Day.”
    Obey her! “Children, obey your parents” (Ephesians 3:20). Even Jesus submitted to His mother and Joseph (Luke 2;51). When I hear a young child defiantly saying “No!” to Mama (or Daddy), I see red! Parents who fail to correct such impudence swiftly and effectively (including some firm swats to the posterior) are inviting disaster. That leads to the next point . . .
    Speak respectfully to her! Sassiness and back-talk are not limited to small children. Though He was older, Jesus spoke respectfully to His mother and Joseph, even when correcting them (e.g. at the Temple, Luke 2:48, 49). No matter how old we are, we ought always to speak respectfully to our parents. Under the Mosaic Law, cursing a parent was a capital offense (Exodus 21:7). While this penalty is not in effect under the New Testament, it speaks volumes about the importance God assigns to speaking respectfully to our parents.
    Never hit her! This was another capital crime under the Law of Moses (Exodus 21:15). Of course this dealt with older children, not toddlers! A small child sometimes defiantly slaps his mother if he isn’t getting his way. Worse, parents sometimes allow children to suffer no consequences for such obnoxious behavior! Little ones may not know any better at first, but they will learn quickly if parents discipline them promptly and consistently. I have also known of cases where older children beat their parents; such conduct is criminal according to the laws of both God and men.
    Provide for her in her old age. Jesus rebuked the Jews of His day for evading their responsibility to provide for their aged parents (Matthew 15:4ff). Although popular culture looks to civil government to fulfill the need, Paul teaches that it is first and foremost a family obligation, and secondarily the responsibility of the church (1 Timothy 5:4).
    Honor your mother! Happy Mother’s Day!

- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com
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God’s Plan for Mothers
By Ron Bartanen

    Someone has jokingly said that while man may be the head of the home, the wife and mother is the backbone. To be man’s “equal”, a woman does not have to act, work or dress like a man. While men and women have different roles in life, they are equal in the sight of God.
    A woman, by her nature,  seems to be the more nurturing than a man, although this may not always be the case. For instance Roman-Emperor Nero’s mother was a murderess, while President George Washington’s mother was described as pious, true and pure. As we see the importance of motherhood being downplayed in today’s society, is it any surprise that so much confusion reigns? President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Into the woman’s keeping is committed the destiny of the generations to come after us.”
    As Mother’s Day is observed today, let us give proper honor to the mothers and grandmothers, especially to those that seek to guide their families in the way of righteousness. The apostle Paul’s fellow-laborer in the gospel, Timothy, had the advantage of two women who positively impacted his life before he ever knew Paul. The Apostle wrote Timothy, reminding him, “…I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt in thy grandmother Lois and thy mother: and I am persuaded that in thee also” (2 Timothy 1:5), later adding, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). The example set for him in the lives of these two godly women, coupled with their obviously sharing with him from the Old Testament Scriptures, prepared his heart and mind for the receiving of the message of the Gospel. We need more women (and men, too, for that matter) who will instill within their children at an early age a love for the holy Scriptures. For a generation to arise that will continue to honor the Bible in word and in deed, it is imperative that it be enlightened from the word of God—and, the sooner, the better, for “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
    The old saying, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world” could seldom have been more needed than it is in today’s world. I wonder if mothers may have been largely responsible for the condition in Israel as described in Judges2:10: “…there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.” As there seems to be a shorter supply of godly nurturers in today’s society, and our homes become dependent upon “public education” to raise and nurture the children, it cannot come as a surprise when godliness gives way to “politically correct” standards based on human folly, and not the word of God.        

- Ronald Bartanen preaches for Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://arthurcoc.com/
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What is the Church?
By Bill Brandstatter
 
    One of the important words in the New Testament regarding the people of God is “church”. It is used in a very special sense in the New Testament. The church was planned by God. (Eph. 3:8-11) He revealed the church to us in the New Testament and Jesus shed His blood to purchase the church. (Acts 20:28)
    The word “church” comes from a Greek word which refers to an assembled group of people: therefore, I cannot be the church by myself. I cannot worship as a church by myself. To be part of the church, I must be around and with other people who assemble together as Christians.
    The word “church” also refers to a specific group of people. Luke records “…the Lord added to the church daily those that were being saved.” (Acts 2:47) The unsaved are not part of the church. Only saved people are part of it. People do not join the church; the Lord adds them to it.
    The word “church” also refers to the spiritual body of Christ on earth. Paul records that Jesus is “to be head over all things to the church, which is His body.” (Eph. 1:22, 23) Paul repeats this again in Col. 1:18 by stating: “He is the head of the body, the church.”
    The word “church” refers to that which Christ established. Some folks will talk about “doing church”.  It is interesting that Christ said He would build His church in Matt. 16:18. The church worships as a group of people assembled together. (Acts 2:42; 20:7)
    The word “church” is spoken of in the singular sense. In Rom. 16:16 we read that the “churches of Christ salute you.” Here the word “churches” is used; but, we know from how it is used elsewhere that this verse is referring to local congregations throughout the Roman empire. For example, we read “…the church of God which is at Corinth.”  (1 Cor 1:2) Paul was at Ephesus and “called for the elders of the church.” (Acts 20:17)
    The church is a very important part of God’s plan to save man. He planned it before time began. (Eph. 3:8-11) Let us make sure we are part of the church of the New Testament. That church was made up of those who were saved as the Bible teaches. (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38) It was organized with elders as the overseers (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5) It is a group of people whose names are registered in heaven. (Heb. 12:23) Are you part of that church?
 
– Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Marion Church of Christ in Marion, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://marionchurchofchrist.com/
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Goodbye, Mother!
By Larry Pasley

    Walking through a supermarket, a young man noticed an old lady following him around. He ignored her for a while, but when he got to the checkout line, she got in front of him.
    “Pardon me,” she said. “I’m sorry if I’ve been staring, but you look just like me son who died recently.
    “I’m sorry for your loss,” the young man replied. “Is there anything I can do for you?”
    “Well, as I’m leaving, could you just say ‘Goodbye, mother!?’ It would make me feel so much better.” She gave him a sweet smile.
    “Of course I can,” the young man promised.
    As she gathered her bags and left, he called out “Goodbye, mother!” just as she had requested, feeling good about her smile.
    Stepping up to the counter, he saw that his total was about $100 higher than it should be. “That amount is wrong,” he said. “I only have a few items!”
    “Oh, your mother said that you would pay for her,” explained the clerk.
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    There are many situations in life where people pretend something to take advantage of others.
    The Bible records an interesting situation which involves pretense to gain advantage.
    In Genesis 38 We see the story of Judah and Tamar. Judah married and had three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah. Er married Tamar and because of Er’s evil ways, the Lord killed him. The custom in that day was, if the oldest son died without having an heir then the next older brother was to raise up an heir for his brother by having relations with his wife.
    Onan did not want to raise up an heir for his brother so he “spilled his seed upon the ground” so Tamar would not become pregnant. This displeased the Lord and he killed him also.
     Shelah was not yet grown so Judah asked Tamar to stay in her father’s house until Shelah was grown. Judah was afraid his third and last son would die also. He probably did not intend to ever have Shelah fulfill his obligation toward Tamar.
    So, after Shelah was grown and he had not fulfilled his obligation, Tamar takes things into her own hands and after the death of Judah’s wife, Tamar pretends to be a harlot, covers her face and places herself in the path of Judah. Judah sees her, does not know who she is, and Judah asks to have relations with her. Tamar asks him to give her his signet (seal), his cord and his staff as a pledge until he would send her a young goat. Judah agreed.
    Later, when he sent the goat they could find no harlot and the people said there had never been a harlot there.
    Three months later, Judah was told that Tamar had played the harlot and was with child. Judah was going to have her burned for her sin but when she was brought out, she showed the signet, cord and staff and said, “By the man to whom these belong, I am with child.”
    Judah responded, "She has been more righteous than I, because I did not give her to Shelah my son."
    Tamar had twins, Perez and Zerah, from this encounter with Judah.
    There are many sins involved in this story and we see God’s grace and forgiveness even in this Old Testament story. Tamar is one of the five women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus.
    May we always strive to live according to the will of God and be thankful for His grace when we fail.

- Larry Pasley serves as a minister with the Jackson Street Church of Christ in Alexandria, LA. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at http://www.JacksonStAlex.com
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Cowboy Logic
By Robert E. Guinn
 
    I saw a sign the other day in a restaurant that caught my attention. The words “Cowboy Logic” were inscribed on it with the following description: “About half your troubles come from wanting your way. The other  half comes from getting it.”
    It was such a simple yet very truthful sentiment.
    As we read and study our Bibles, we discover that every human being suffers from the same spiritual problem that separates us from a loving Creator, sin (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 3:23, 6:23). James put it this way: “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by  his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to  sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death,” (James 1:14-15).
    Sin offends and hurts our relationship with God. James teaches us, however, that avoiding sin is more than following a check-list of what we should and should not do. Jesus also emphasized this in His Sermon on The Mount (Matthew 5). He taught us that the moral issues of murder, adultery, oath-making, and hating our enemies should be corrected on a deeper level. Jesus also put it this way: “ What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual  immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person,” (Mark 7:20-23).
    What is our heart’s desire? Jesus taught us that we can determine the condition of our heart by knowing what we treasure or desire (Matthew 6:19ff). That desire then motivates the way we live.
    If we find ourselves troubled, maybe it is time for us to consider that cowboy logic. Are we struggling because we want something we cannot, or should not, want? Do we find ourselves disappointed because when we get what we wanted it did not deliver what it promised? Sin’s promise is tempting, but its pleasure is only temporary (Hebrews 11:25).
    The Bible teaches us that when we focus on and set our desire correctly on Jesus and the heavenly promises, we can be content no matter what life brings (Philippians 4:11-13; Hebrews 12:1-2). So, let us set our affections and desires on the things that are above and be satisfied in the Lord (Colossians 3:1-2).
 
- Robert Guinn preaches for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org
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He’s not Heavy, He’s my Brother
By Travis Robertson
 
    The story is told of two brothers around three years apart. The older one was a popular 15-year-old and had an abundance of friends. His younger brother, 12 at the time, was less popular and a little awkward around people. The younger of the two boys had developed slower than most boys his age due to a medical issue. The doctors who had been treating the boy were not sure what was going on, but the young boy would have sporadic seizures. The older brother loved his younger brother and included him in everything he could.
    One day the older brother was going on a hike with some of his friends and as was his habit, the older brother invited his younger brother to go. Even though his friends tried to talk him out of taking his younger brother he did not give in and the younger brother went. The hike was going well, and they hiked all day. On the way back, the older brother began noticing his younger brother’s breathing get heavier and he was falling behind. His friends yelled back, “keep up, come on.” The Older brother signaled to his friends to keep going and assured them that they would catch up. The younger brother’s breathing progressively became more labored and now he could barely walk. The boys sat down to take a break and as the younger brother sat down he began to have a seizure.
    The older brother became extremely worried and helped control his younger brother, after the seizure stopped the younger brother was not responsive. The older brother picked up his younger brother and began running down the mountain knowing he had to get him help and fast. As he caught up to the other boys they noticed that something was wrong, they could see the younger brother lying limp in the older brother’s arms who now had tears streaming down his face. The other boys asked to help, to maybe take turns carrying the younger brother, the older brother just kept running. As the older brother passed them he yelled back, “he is not heavy, he is my brother!”
    As Christians we have a responsibility to bear one another’s burdens. When we are struggling we need to be able to go to our church family for help. We also need to be able to help those who are struggling. Paul tells the churches in Galatia, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). When a brother or sister is struggling we need to be willing to pick them up and carry them, helping them along the way.

- Travis Robertson preachers for the Lake Norman Church of Christ in Huntersville, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at http://lakenormancoc.org/
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Let Us Love One Another
By Kevin Rutherford
 
    The church at Corinth had many problems. Some of those problems directly affected the relationships between brothers and sisters in Christ. The way those Christians were treating each other is the reason why Paul showed them a more excellent way. The more excellent way is love (1 Corinthians 12:31, 13:13)
    When Christians do not love one another there are going to be problems in the church. Not only will there be problems in the church but there will be Christians who lose their souls. John wrote, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:14, 15).
    Whether or not we love our brothers and sisters in Christ says a lot about our relationship with God (1 John 4:7-11). If we do not love our fellow Christians then we are not born of God, do not love God, and do not know God. We can claim to love God all we want to but if we are not treating our brothers and sisters in a loving manner we are simply liars.
    The greatest example of love is God’s love for mankind (1 John 4:10-11). God sent His Son to die for us. That gives evidence of tremendous love. We love God because He loved us and made it possible for our sins to be removed. John drew an important conclusion based upon these facts. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11).
    The love that we have for other Christians will be seen in the way that we live, and in the things that we do (1 John 3:16-18). If we see a brother and we have the ability to help them we will do so. In fact, it should make us happy to be able to help out a fellow Christian. If we are not willing to help each other we are not of the truth and our hearts condemn us before God (1 John 3:19).
    Our love for one another will greatly affect our eternal destiny and our influence in the community. Why would anyone want to be a part of a group if they do not believe the members of that group love one another? We need to have a genuine love for fellow Christians that will be obvious even to those who are in the world (Romans 12:9, 10). When they see the love we have for another it is possible they may be drawn to the church.
    To be Christ-like we must love one another. To be godly we must love one another. To have a strong influence on others we must love one another. To encourage each other we must love one another. To help each other we must love one another. To go to heaven together we must love one another. May God help us always to abound more and in our love for Him and in our love for our fellow Christians.

- Kevin Rutherford preaches for the Warners Chapel church of Christ in Clemmons, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://warnerschapelchurchofchrist.org/
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We are God’s Billboards
By Jeff Arnette

12For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.” (2 Corinthians 9:12-14; used by permission, ESV)
     What a humbling thought. We are God’s billboard in this cold and dark world. We are the primary means of advertising that God uses in this world. In all honesty, a huge part of God’s plan for saving the world is you and me. Each one of us has a part to play in God’s plan because we are all walking billboards for God’s love, mercy, and grace.
     First, notice that what we do will cause others to give thanks to God. Paul tells us in verse twelve that our service to others and to God will accomplish two important things. First, it will supply the needs of the saints and secondly, it will also overflow with thanksgiving to God. This tells me that how I live and act in this world is of great importance. Too many times we think that it doesn’t matter what I do because no one is watching. However, Paul reminds us that what we do will cause others to give thanks to God. Even scarier is the idea that the reverse is also true. How I live, and act can cause others to reject God. How many times have you heard of someone saying that Christians are all hypocrites? Too many times, right? This illustrates what Paul is saying here in verse 12. What we do influences other people. It can cause them to give thanks to God or it can cause them to reject Him.
     Second, notice that what we do will glorify God. Not only will they praise and give thanks to God for my actions. My actions will either bring glory to God or it will cause them to revile the name of Christ. My actions have a direct result on how others feel about God, about Jesus, and about the church. That should strengthen our resolve to do the right things and it should help us to always be mindful of our responsibility. It is our responsibility to bring glory to God. Some people always interject that it is not their job to glorify God. How could any rational Christian think that? It should be our goal, the goal of all Christians to bring glory and honor to God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 reminds us of that. Notice also that Paul says that how I submit to the gospel of Christ is seen by other people. I know it’s a scary thing but my level of commitment to Christ is freely seen by the world. I am a walking, talking billboard for Christ. So, what happens when I am faced with a difficult decision or situation and I fail to glorify God with my actions? I have proclaimed to the world that in the end, I am no different than everyone else, I am still lead by my desires and emotions instead of Christ, and that God is not worthy of their adoration or love.
     Next, I want you to notice that what we do is a confession of our faith. The choices I make and the things I do in this life is a confession of my faith. How I attend church, how I give, how much time I am willing to give to church functions, even how much I pray and study God’s word. These things are testimonies to the level of my faith. Each of us needs to carefully consider our level of commitment to Christ based on the amount of time we spend seeking Christ each day. I think a lot of people who like to consider themselves “Good Christians” would be humbled by the answer, provided they are honest with themselves. That is why James spent so much time talking about faith and works. What else shows the world and God how committed we are?
     Do you want to bring glory and honor to God? Do you want others to find the freedom of salvation in Christ? Then never forget that you are God’s billboard.

- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://centralhaywoodchurchofchrist.com
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Memorial Day
By David R. Ferguson

    Paul wrote in Romans 13:7, "Render to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor." This is Memorial Day weekend, and in that vein let us, too, give honor to all whom honor is due. Let us remember all of those who have gone before us who have made the ultimate sacrifice in order that we can still have those freedoms we cherish and hold so dear.
     Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, honors those who gave their lives in our nation's wars. It was shortly following the conclusion of the War Between the States that General John A. Logan inaugurated the holiday in 1868. Citizens began placing flowers on the graves of those who fell in battle, and now the fallen from all wars are commemorated.
    While President Lyndon Baines Johnson officially declared Waterloo, New York the birthplace of Memorial Day in May 1966, it is difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings. The cities and towns that suffered so much loss during those war-torn years that split apart our nation contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in General Logan giving his official proclamation on May 5, 1868. It seems to have been a natural manifestation of our nation's collective grieving process.
     Paul compared our Christian life to that of a soldier: "But I counted it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow-worker and fellow-soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need…."  (Philippians 2:25) And to Timothy he wrote, "Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 2:3) He also admonished us as soldiers to put on the whole panoply of God: "Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; withal taking up the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…." (Ephesians 6:13-17)
     As members of the Lord's army, and citizens of His Kingdom, let us also not forget our own fallen ones who have given their lives for the sake of the gospel: Stephen, Paul, Peter, James, etc. But most importantly, do not forget the sacrifice of the One Who made it possible for us to have the hope of eternal life: Jesus Christ, the one and only begotten Son of Almighty God.
     May the Lord bless you and yours!

- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lakelandchurchofchrist/ or davidferguson61@yahoo.com
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The Origin of Decoration Day
By David Bragg

    According to President Lyndon B. Johnson, Waterloo, NY is the birthplace of Memorial Day. But his 1966 pronouncement did little to dissuade the other cities making the same claim. Originally known as Decoration Day, it was first adopted to honor those who fell in defense of the Union during the Civil War (as ordered by General John A. Logan in 1868). New York was indeed the first state to adopt the annual observance (followed by all the Northern states). May 30th was selected because there were no battles fought on that day.
    That first official Decoration Day included a speech by Union General and future President James A. Garfield at Arlington National Cemetery, the former home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, to attendees there to decorate the graves of some 20,000 fallen warriors, both North and South. In the years to follow all the Northern States would adopt the annual day of remembrance, but it would not be until after World War I that the Southern States would make it the national observance that it is today: honoring the dead from all wars.
    We should remember all those who have served our nation. But of even greater significance is to honor those faithful soldiers in God’s church. We can find motivation to follow in their example as Christian soldiers knowing that God will remember us for good: "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on ... that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them" (Rev. 14:13).


- David Bragg serves as one of the ministers at the Northwest Church of Christ in Greensboro, NC and is co-editor of BulletinGold. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.nwchurchofchrist.com/ or his blog: http://davidbragg.blogspot.com/
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What’s the Birth Date of Your Church?
By J. Randal Matheny

    The United Methodist Church is celebrating 50 years of its birth with the merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church in 1968. An article published today interviewed witnesses who recalled the birth of the new denomination.
    The article’s title reminds one of Jesus’ words in Mark 9.1: “I tell you the truth, there are some standing here who will not experience death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.” The original witnesses to the new manifestation of God’s kingdom, in the church, have long passed away.
    Denominations count their beginnings with human leaders, names, and doctrines. They started in places far from the city of Jerusalem, just as the UMC started in Dallas, TX. None of them bear the marks of the church born of the Holy Spirit, by the will of God, on the day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2.
    The UMC contains many fine people who have the best of motives. But it is not the Lord’s church. Mergers will never attain the unity of the Spirit. A denomination, no matter how large or well intentioned, falls under the censure of Scripture for its departures from Jesus’ teaching and for its contribution to division.
    Blessed are those who belong to the Lord’s church which began in Jerusalem sometime in the decade of the 30s of the first century. Let us humbly embrace the teaching of Christ and be true Christians who obey him in all things. Let us abandon manmade divisions and be added to the number of the saved in the church of Jesus Christ.

- J. Randal Matheny edits and writes UPLift, an inspirational ezine. He
may be contacted here: <http://randalmathenycom/>. When reprinting this
material, please include the following: 
Copyright (c) 2018 J. Randal Matheny
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Editor: David Bragg