[eternal_ink] October 8, 2004 Edition

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From: "Mary Ellen Grisham" <meginrose@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2004 11:47:13 -0500
ETERNAL INK
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     The articles within this publication remain the copyrights of the authors. 
Any permission to reproduce any article, in any format, must be granted  
by the author.
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Editor-in-Chief of Eternal Ink - Mary-Ellen Grisham - meggy88@...

Administrative Editor - David Davis - fishercaster@...

Devotions Editor - Annettee Budzban - ahrtwrites2u@...

Features Editor - Carl Phillips - CarlPhil10@...

Special Materials Editor - Ivie Bozeman - ivie@...

Eternal Ink Web Site - www.eternal-ink.com

ISSN#:  1528-9605

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Table of Contents

1) Mary-Ellen's Note

2) Editorial Position Available

3) Devotion

4) Feature

5) Prayer Requests

6) Humor

7) Poetry

8) Light Moments

9) Bible Study Feature

10) Memorable Words/Closing Words

ISSN#:  1528-9605

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1) Mary-Ellen's Note

During October, there are costume parties, trick r'treating, and harvest celebrations of various sorts.  Children are frequently concerned about "what they will wear" for school, neighborhood, even church parties.  There is an emphasis on masking, scary themes, and sweet treats.

While many Christian families place the focus on harvest themes, the roots of the Halloween custom are in rites that honor the dead, the ghostly, and the dark.  While many Christian families regard trick 'r treating as a neighborhood sharing with children who have been playmates all summer, others take advantage of the custom to commit atrocities.  The season of mellow fruitfulness and the bounty of God's earth can be marred by vandalism, crime, even death.

Most Christian families avoid horror themes, choosing instead to decorate with pumpkins, gourds, hay bales, mums, scarecrows, and items that suggest harvest and God's earth.  While children delight in dressing up, the costumes can reflect good rather than evil.  Storybook characters, cartoon animals, historical figures, or costumes of worthwhile occupations such as ballerinas or cowboys can be just as much fun for children who have a flare for acting and dressing up as the costumes of fearful design.
While children need to have fun and play, they should be encouraged to focus on the real, the worthwhile, and the positive, creative aspects of imagination.  

As Christians, we know that covering up, hiding, and masking are frequently attempts to avoid acknowledging that we have done wrong.  Adam and Eve learned this lesson the hard way, and it has taken humankind years of spiritual growth to realize that we must confess our mistakes and trust in the sacrifice of Jesus for our redemption.

Rather than flaunting our wickedness in "outlandish costume," we need to humbly make amends.

The best dress for any Christian is still the "wedding clothes" of faith, hope, and love.  (Expression based on the Parable of the Wedding Banquet, Matthew 22: 1-14)

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2) Editorial Position Available

The Editor of Eternal Ink is seeking a Christian poet to serve as Poetry Editor of Eternal Ink.  Most editions carry a poem or two, and having an Editor responsible for cultivating a group of writers who will contribute Christian poems would be a worthwhile addition to our staff.  We prefer a mature poet, seasoned in the faith, with considerable writing and critical skill.

If you are interested in applying for this editorial position, please contact
Mary-Ellen at the following email address:   meggy88@...

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3) Devotion

How Do You Recognize God's Love in Your Life?
By Annettee Budzban

 "What a man desires is unfailing love."  Proverbs19:22 (NIV)

        When my friend had her mastectomy, many of the normal concerns 
crossed her mind.  She wondered how her body would feel after having a breast 
removed.  She pondered over what was ahead for her.  She was apprehensive 
about going under the anesthesia.  But most of all, she was perplexed at what 
God was doing in her life. 

         After her surgery, she lay in her hospital bed with an oxygen mask on 
her face.  The cool whiffs of fresh air helped clear her foggy mind from the 
after effects of the anesthesia.  But the most refreshing sense was the fact 
that two of her sons were at her bedside.  One sat on each side of her, holding 
her hand closest to them.  In her foggy state of mind, she felt their comfort and 
strength coming through to her. 

         Days later when she related this to her pastor, he explained it was 
God's way of sharing His love toward her.  She realized that was why she could 
feel the support and the tender touch her sons' hands provided.  She knew she 
could face anything with God's love supporting her.

       We all search for God's love; oftentimes, we think God's love is some 
kind of spiritual feeling we need to find.  Other times, we look for it in 
wrong places, as we try to find it in relationships where God's love isn't 
displayed.  I have come to realize that God's love is found in many of the simple 
pleasures He provides for us on a daily basis.  We can see it displayed through 
things such as an answer to a problem; a compliment from a friend, spouse, or 
coworker; finding something we want to buy offered on sale; the beauty of a 
sunset painted across the sky. 

        However, God's greatest expression of His love isn't something we can 
see.  It's His forgiveness, love, and grace we receive when we accept Jesus as 
the Savior of our sins.  
        
          God's love is abundant and all around us.  But many don't recognize 
it or take the time to be conscious of it.  Let's stop for a moment today and 
think of the ways we can recognize God's love in our life.

(c)2004 Annettee Budzban 
ahrtwrites2u@...

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4) Feature

OCTOBER - CLERGY APPRECIATION MONTH
By Ivie Bozeman

 Clergy Appreciation Month is a special time for congregations to honor their pastors and their families for the dedication and blessings provided by these people.

 The services provided by our ministers are unique.  They are entrusted with the spiritual well being of the congregation.  If he or she does not carry out the designated responsibilities, the souls of their parishioners suffer.

 Besides living in a goldfish bowl, where the entire congregation and community are aware of their every move, they are expected to have perfect families and be perfect people, always be available, to have no problems of their own, and have all the answers to everyone else's problems.

 Clergy are human too.  They get tired, overwhelmed, depressed and burned out just like other people.  They have problems with their children the same as others in the church do.  They want time off from their jobs just as others do, but taking time off for private lives is often hard to do.

 The minister has days when he (or she) feels bad, needs a word of comfort or encouragement; but there's not always an understanding and sympathetic heart for one to turn to for help.  Even during their time of need, they are expected to reach out to others and perform with a lift to their voices and a smile on their face.

 God, through the Apostle Paul, instructed us to recognize his servants.  In I Timothy 5:17, we learn, "the elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching."  (NIV)

 Clergy Appreciation Month affords us an opportunity to make a difference.  We can come up with positive affirmations to make up for the times when life seems to push them downward.

 If you need ideas or suggestion on how to show your appreciation for your pastor, you may go to www.parsonage.org.    This site has a complete Clergy Appreciation Month Planning Guide that may be downloaded.

(c)2004 Ivie Bozeman
ivie@...

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5) Prayer Requests

If our nation were a business, we would be considered bankrupt.  If many of our State governments, school districts, and city governments were businesses, they would be considered bankrupt.  Though seldom mentioned, these dire financial conditions of many of our governing bodies is not healthy for the growth and freedom of our country.

The old saying, "You get what you pay for," is having a greater and greater relevance as the days go by; and for us, it is passed time to start making amends.  As the "markers" for our indebtedness are picked up by more and more countries hostile to our way of life, we will be neither safe nor free.

We need to consider our present economic condition seriously and pray fervently for our nation.  We need to pray fervently about the coming elections in November and do our very best to choose those who will lead us wisely.
 
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6) Humor--On Retirement

A teacher asked her young pupils how they spent their vacation.  One
child wrote the following:

We always used to spend the holidays with Grandma and Grandpa.  They
used to live here in a big, brick house, but Grandpa got retireded so
they moved to California and live in Palm Springs with a lot of other
retireded people.
  
They live in a condo-minimum and have rocks painted green to look like 
grass.  They ride around on big tricycles and wear nametags because they 
don't know who they are anymore.  They go to a building called a wrecked 
center, but they must have got it fixed because it is all right now.  They play 
games and do exercises there, but they don't do them very well.  There is a 
swimming pool, too, but they all jump up and down in it with their hats on.  
I guess they don't know how to swim.  

At their gate there is a dollhouse with a little old man sitting in it.  He 
watches all day so nobody can escape.  Sometimes they sneak out. Then they 
go cruising in their golf carts.  

My grandma used to bake cookies and stuff, but I guess she forgot how.  
Nobody there cooks; they just eat out.  And they eat the same thing every
night:  Early Birds.  Some of the people can't get past the man in the
dollhouse to go out, so the ones who get out bring food back to the
wrecked center and call it pot luck.  

My Grandma says Grandpa worked all his life to earn his retiredment and 
says I should work hard so I can be retireded one day, too.  When I earn my 
retiredment, I want to be the man in the dollhouse.  Then I will let people out 
so they can visit their grandchildren.

Author unknown
Shared by Ivie Bozeman

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7) Poetry

O God, O Teacher
By Monique Nicole Fox

O God, You have taught me from my youth.

And You continue to teach me in my adulthood
How to walk in your light and truth.

O Teacher, You have taught me your commandments,
Covenants, statutes, and ways
That I always follow and obey.

O God, I declare Your amazing deeds
Have been inspirational in my life.
Thanks for your direction, guidance and leads.

O Teacher, thanks for letting me do your will; 
Spreading the good news about Your glory
Through my poems; the world I hope to fill.

(c)2004 Monique Nicole Fox
Poet_MNF@...


"O God, You have taught me from my youth, and I still declare Your wondrous deeds." ~Psalms 71:17~

"Teach me your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name."  ~Psalms 86:11~

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8) Light Moments

The Trouble Tree

I hired a plumber to help me restore an old farmhouse, and after he had just 
finished a rough first day on the job, a flat tire made him lose an hour of 
work, his electric drill quit, and his ancient one-ton truck refused to start. 
As I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. 

On arriving he invited me in to meet his family.  As we walked toward the front door, 
he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. 
Upon opening the door, he had undergone an amazing transformation.  His tanned face 
was wreathed in smiles, and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss. 

Afterward he walked me to the car.  We passed the tree, and my curiosity got the better 
of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do at the little tree. 

"Oh, that's my trouble tree," he replied. "I know I can't help having troubles on the job, 
but one thing's for sure, those troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and the 
children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home and ask 
God to take care of them."
 
 "Then in the morning I pick them up again.  Funny thing is," he smiled, "when I come 
out in the morning to pick them up, there aren't nearly as many as I remember hanging 
up the night before." 

Author unknown
Shared by Ivie Bozeman

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9) Bible Study Feature

Spiritual Vitamin E
By Inez B. Norwood

I thought of this article while talking with a dear grandson who is now serving as a youth minister for a congregation in Tennessee.  Chris is so dedicated to his work that my heart swells with pride when I get a chance to talk with him or read something he has written. One day he brought out the idea that a visiting minister's message was to "equip the saints."  

My ears pricked up and I began to think of all the "E's" that jump out at me in studying about our Christian walk.  I have had some serious heart trouble and read a lot about things that will help strengthen the heart.  Vitamin E is said to be helpful, but when I tried to research the benefits on the internet, I am not convinced that all we read is certain to help as it is advertised to do.  But in researching the use of E's in our spiritual life, there is no question of the values to the individual Christian heart!  And the Word of God confirms that fact!  So you and I know we can depend upon that!

"Equipping the saints" is surely a Biblical topic and one which the Apostle Paul wrote much about!  He met with the elders of the Ephesian church on one occasion and was positive in urging them to "Feed the church of God, over which you have been made overseers."  The Lord has designed congregations to have bishops, or elders, to oversee the work of the church.  They are to meet certain qualifications before being named to that position by the individual congregations; then they are urged to "feed the church," which will help equip them!  For the saints to be fully equipped, they must know the Word!  To be true believers, one must know the truth. To teach others of Him, one must know the Word. 

Two other E's of importance that come to my mind and that I have found to be absolute essentials are encouragement and exhortation.  Many of us would have given up long ago had it not been for loved ones who encouraged us in our walk with Him!  Barnabas was known as the encourager.  Even those apostles who had the Lord walking with them "in person" had need of encouragement, and Barnabas was one who had that gift.  How many of us have had a dear brother or sister in Christ lay a hand on our shoulder or meet us with a warm hug or other greeting and lift us from despair.  It gave us strength to pick up and go on with our life!

I had grandparents who gave me all reason to believe in myself. I have thanked God many times for the encouragement they gave to me in my young days.  I hope we are careful to give that much needed warmth to our young people and struggling young parents.  It is truly a chain reaction set in motion by older Christians as they live among others!  May we, as aging Christians, never feel unneeded or unwanted!  A loving smile or note just might be what another struggling soul needs.  Inspiration, gave order in Heb. 3:12-13: "Beware brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God, but exhort one another daily, while it is called 'Today' lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."

We would understand from the reading from Hebrews that vitamin "E" (exhortation) is needed daily!  Through exhortation comes encouragement. Paul wrote to Timothy: "Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine." I Tim. 4:13.  Timothy was in Ephesus and the church was plagued with false teachers.   Paul knew the need for exhortation and encouragement if anyone did!  Due to the false teachers, the Ephesian church had great need for these spiritual vitamins!.

Another spiritual vitamin E can be found in Luke 10 vss 33-35.  The Samaritan who found the man robbed and left wounded by the side of the road had much empathy and enough time to assist the man in his needs.  He even gave additional money to the inn-keeper to care for him during the stay in the inn.  He made arrangements for any future monies the keeper of the inn might expend on the man's upkeep!  You and I must learn the lesson here, not only of the immediate need of our fellowman, but for his future needs.  We, too, are to meet our Maker in judgement, along with our neighbor - are we concerned about the eternal home for him also?  May God grant us such foresight and empathy!  What empty lives we would have if we do not become emotionally involved with people who are in need!

Endurance - Perhaps the most needed spiritual vitamin "E" would be Endurance. You and I can think of several people through our lives who became discouraged and simply left the Lord and His work.  Scripture gives us much needed advice: 

"Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you might be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." (Eph. 6:10,11) 

"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand." (Eph. 6:13)  

Quitting in the middle of the journey just will not get the job done! "Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life." (Rev.2:10). 

The church at Ephesus was upbraided in the book of Revelation for having "left her first love." (Rev. 2:4.)  More than likely when we would speak to "lukewarm" Christians, their cry would be "I never planned to leave my first love!"  It is a condition which creeps up slowly and unexpectedly!  We need to realize that the other vitamin E's mentioned in this article are good insurance against the malady of "losing our first love!" 

The battle will never be won "in our own strength," but in "the strength of the Lord!"  The armor is of God's design - we lean upon His strength and His provision.  Paul was confident that he could "do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil. 4:13). May we do the same!

(c)2004 Inez B. Norwood
vibn@...

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10) Memorable Words/Closing Words

"Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.  Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.  Live in peace with each other.  And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.  Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt.  Test everything.  Hold on to the good.  Avoid every kind of evil."   I Thessalonians 5: 12-22 (NIV)

Paul was pleased with the Thessalonian Christians because they were living in order to please God and were being faithful to the Christian teachings they learned from Paul.  The passage above is from his "final instructions" to them at the close of the first book written to them.  It is good advice for all believers.

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Until our next issue, may God bless you day by day, Mary-Ellen.

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