The Gospel Observer

"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" (Matt. 28:19,20).
September 21, 2014


1) True Happiness (R.J. Evans)
2) Words to Help the Whole Man (Steve Wallace)
3) Things to Learn (Greg Gwin)
4) News & Notes


True Happiness
by R.J. Evans

It has been rightly said that "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." (Some have attributed the quote to Abraham Lincoln.) As if it were not bad enough that they deprive themselves of joy, some people also make life miserable for others around them.   In this article, let us offer some practical suggestions for Christians to be happy.  

1.  Trust in God.  The individual who places his faith and trust in God has a source of strength and delight that unbelievers do not understand. Solomon tells us to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding...And whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he" (Prov. 3:5; 16:20).  People who worry and fret may call themselves Christians, but their attitude mirrors a lack of faith and trust in God.  

2.  Love the Word of God.  "Oh, how I love Your law!  It is my meditation all the day" (Psa. 119:97). "How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!"  (Psa. 119:103). The Word of God is the truth (Jn. 17:17).  The precious Word of God provides hope, comfort, and joy to all who are lovers of truth.  Do you love the truth? (See 2 Thes. 2:10-12.)

3.  Live righteously. "Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.  Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy all you upright in heart!" (Psa. 32:10-11). "The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and trust in Him.  And all the upright in heart shall glory" (Psa. 64:10).  By way of contrast, those who are transgressors and fail to live righteously, the wise man tells them -- "the way of the unfaithful is hard" (Prov. 13:15).  

4.  Worship God regularly.  True worship is a joy and delight, and it is through worship of God that our hearts are lifted.  David said, "I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go into the house of the Lord'" (Psa. 122:1). "Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!  Tremble before him, all the earth...Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad" (Psa. 96:9, 11).  As we worship God, our minds should be completely centered upon God, not on children around us, someone's clothing, others getting up, texting nor surfing the Internet on our iPhone, etc. Worship is for the glory of God and for the joy and strength of His children.  Jesus said, "God is  Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (Jn. 4:24).  Thus, we should see clearly why, as Christians, we are told -- "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the Day approaching" (Heb. 10:25).  

5.  Keep a good conscience.  When standing before Felix, Ananias the high priest, and the Jewish elders, Paul remarked, "This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and man" (Acts 24:16). Timothy was instructed to hold on to faith and "a good conscience" (1 Tim. 1:19). When we are scripturally baptized, which "saves us," it is "the answer of a good conscience toward God" (1 Pet. 3:21). Thus, when you obey the gospel you allow the blood of Jesus to "purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God" (Heb. 9:14).  

6. Learn contentment. Some constantly murmur and complain.  They gripe about their wages, their job, the government, the weather, and whatever else comes to mind.  Some professed Christians complain about the elders, the preacher and his preaching, the song leaders, the Bible classes and teachers.  Their attitude bears little resemblance to the disposition of heart that the New Testament teaches.  Paul wrote, "Do all things without murmuring and disputing...Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content" (Phil. 2:14; 4:11).  May we all take note and learn from the example of the Apostle Paul.  A contented Christian is a happy Christian!

7.  Stay busy in constructive work.  Idleness breeds  gossip and discord  (1 Tim. 5:13).  Happiness comes to him who works persistently, consistently, and diligently in the service of the Lord.  The happy Christian is "not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord"  (Rom. 12:11).

Are you a happy Christian?

-- Via the bulletin of the Southside church of Christ, Gonzales, Louisiana, 9/1/2014


Words to Help the Whole Man
by Steve Wallace

Proverbs 16:24, "Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones" (KJV).  

God's word is, "Sweeter also than honey and the droppings of the honeycomb" (Ps. 19:10). Let us reflect for a moment on its effects on people who received it. Jesus' words to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus made their hearts burn within them  (Lk. 24:13-22). Philip's inspired words led to the Eunuch's going on his way rejoicing and Paul's words to his weary shipmates were sweet and healthy to them (Acts 8:35-39; 27:33-36). All agree on the good effects of the words of God. What about pleasant words from mere men?

The good effects of pleasant words are commended here. They are twofold. They are sweet to the soul, as honey is sweet (Jdgs. 14:14), and health to the bones. Bones here are "a synonym for the whole person" (TDOT, XI, 307,308; cf. Prov. 3:8; 14:30; 15:30). Health in our text speaks of the "therapeutic effect of wise words" (TDOT, XIII, 599). Hence, Lawson is in line with his comment on the effects of pleasant words when he writes, "They revive the drooping spirit, and strengthen the feeble knees" (Exposition of the Book of Proverbs, 380).  

What falls under the heading of "pleasant words"? Caution must be exercised as some seemingly pleasant words appeal to the worst sides of a person, such as pride and lust. A flattering mouth may lift us up to our own demise (Prov. 26:28). Likewise, "the lips of a strange woman drop honey...but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword" (Prov. 5:3,4). Let us now note pleasant words that do a person good.

* Pleasant words that are pure (Prov. 15:26; Jas. 3:17).  

* "The tongue of the wise is health" (Prov. 12:18).  

* "The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious" (Eccl. 10:12).  

* "Good tidings make the bones fat" (Prov. 15:30).  

* "Oil and perfume rejoice the heart; So doth the sweetness of a man's friend that cometh of hearty counsel" (Prov. 27:9).  

* "A faithful ambassador is health" (Prov. 13:17).  

* Words of those seeking peace (1 Pet. 3:11; Prov. 12:20; cf. 1 Sam. 25:23-25).  

The Bible has much to say about the power of words. As we have seen, pleasant words have a power all their own. Are such words a neglected part of your vocabulary? Remember, the words of God that are comforting and soothing.

"Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for edifying as the need may be, that it may give grace to them that hear" (Eph. 4:29).  

-- Via The Way of Truth and Life, May 18, 2014, Volume 5, No. 20


Things to Learn
by Greg Gwin

With the start of a new school year there comes an increased emphasis on learning.  Study and hard work lie ahead.  

But it is worth noting that there are some things we should NOT learn.  Jeremiah warned God's people to "learn not the way of the heathen" (Jer. 10:2).  Certainly this counsel is much needed in today's world. All sorts of wickedness and immorality are being promoted in our culture.  Young people -- be careful!  Don't let the influences of a sinful world take you on a path to eternal destruction.  We pray that you will have the wisdom to realize that the things of this world are temporary (1 John 2:15- 17) and the pleasure they bring won't last (Heb. 11:25).  

On the other hand, there are definitely some things that you need learn. "Learn to do well," so said Isaiah (1:17).  And Paul added, "learn to maintain good works" (Titus 3:14). These things do not come naturally, so you must work at learning them.  Spend some time thinking seriously about what you can do that will help the cause of Christ, promote His church, and assist his disciples.  There are many opportunities, but you must be looking for them -- and you must learn to use them.  

Of course, the most important thing to learn is obedience to God.  It is said, even of Jesus, that "though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered" (Heb. 5:8).  His example is the one we must follow (1 Pet. 2:21).  When we learn from Jesus, we find "rest for our souls" (Matt. 11:29).

Young people, as you begin a new year of learning, beware of the bad lessons out there.  Avoid them!  Commit yourself to learning the good things of God.  You'll never regret it.  

-- Via The Beacon, August 9, 2011


News & Notes

The gospel meeting at the church of Christ in Hoboken, Georgia, will be October 3-5: Friday: 7:30 PM, Saturday: 7 PM, and Sunday 9:30 and 10:30 AM.  The guest speaker will be Derek Long from Lake Butler, Florida.  The church meets at 5101 Main Street.

Emil Varney has requested the prayers of the saints for his son Kevin who had a heart attack September 25 and will be undergoing triple bypass surgery September 30.

Let those of us who are Christians also continue to remember in prayer Myrna Jordan, Jim Lively, Danielle Howard, Virginia Fontenot, Ronnie Davis, Rex and Frankie Hadley, Jewel Wilson, Mary Vandevander, Deborah Medlock, Shirley Davis, Sue Wooten, Dexter Roberts, and Colleen Henson.

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

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

Tebeau Street

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