The Magpie and the "Best
An ancient fable has it that
the magpie is the best nest-builder among all the birds. And, according to the story,
once-upon-a-time all the birds gathered about the magpie to learn her technique.
"First, we find a nice sheltered spot," said the magpie. At this point the
eagle flew away crying, "I know, I know!"
"Wait!" shouted the magpie. "There is much more." But the eagle was
out of hearing, and henceforth made its nest in a sheltered crag among the rocks, thinking
this the ultimate.
"Next, we interlace some sticks to form a pocket," said the magpie. At this
the crow flew away cawing, "I know, I know!"
"There is more-- much more!" cried the magpie; but the crow was gone, to
build her nest of sticks, and brag that it was the finest of all nests.
And so it went. Each bird was content with only part of the instructions, and flew away
before the full story, with its relation of parts, could be told. According to the story
the magpie is still the only bird that builds a perfect nest.
Think of this fable and its moral, the next time you hear some preacher say salvation
is by faith ONLY. While it is true that the N. T. says we are saved by faith; it also says
we are saved by HOPE. (Rom. 8:24) But we fly away with partial instructions when we
conclude salvation is by "faith only" or "hope only".
A good concordance will show you there
are many elements in salvation. We are saved by GRACE (Titus 2:11) HOPE (Rom. 8:24) FAITH
(Lu.8:12) WORD (Jas.l:21) BAPTISM (1 Pet.3:21) GOSPEL (1 Cor.15:2) and "more, much
Of course CHRIST saves us, (Jn. 4:42) but there is a sense in which we SAVE OURSE LVES.
(Acts 2:40) We are saved by the BLOOD, WORKS, LOVE OF THE TRUTH, and CALLING ON THE NAME
OF THE LORD; and that without contradiction or conflict. All are related in God's one
great scheme of redemption. To illustrate this inter-relation, read the following
Merciful God sent His Son to shed His blood, and by His Holy Spirit revealed His truth,
that all who will hear, believe, repent, confess, and be baptized, may thus put on Christ,
being sanctified (set apart) (added to His church): and being faithful until death, may
have a home in heaven.
This is not set forth as the whole of God's plan, nor do I seek to put the PLAN before
the MAN. We must not fall into the error of the Pharisees, by accepting one command or
part of truth to the exclusion of others. We must seek the truth, the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth.
There are great foundation truths, generic in their nature, which embrace and include
particular truths; just as the necessity for obedience (Heb. 5:9) makes the thing
commanded necessary. (Acts 2:38) And he is a foolish "bird" indeed who changes
or ignores any instructions from the builder of earth and heaven.
- from PLAIN TALK, Aug 1964 issue, Vol. 1 No. 8
Still The Lords Day"
Let no one think that my dear Mom was not pleased and grateful for
being remembered on Mother's Day. For a couple of weeks after Mother's Day, she would
proudly display the cards that my brothers and I had sent her. (She also received Mother's
Day cards from those whom she had loved and nurtured and who thought of her as a
"second Mother.") Of course, I always called her, thanked her, and praised her.
She was humbly grateful for the good wishes and expressions of love. However, after a few
minutes, she would remind me that, "This is still the Lord's day," and that we
ought to be serving, honoring and praising him, "because this is just another day
invented by men."
That was my Mom. And this is my first Mother's Day without her. Unashamedly, I
confess that Mother's Day cards and displays in the stores have brought tears to my eyes.
This year, I cannot look for the "perfect card," the one that truly and tenderly
expresses the love and appreciation I have for her. This year, I cannot tell her how much
she meant to me and how much I loved her. But that will not stop me from honoring her. And
I shall do it in the way that she would want me to. I shall do it by remembering that,
"This is still the Lord's day."
Yes, this is the day upon which we remember and "show the Lord's death till
he come" (1 Cor. 11:23-26). This is the day upon which he rose from the dead (Lk.
24:1, 13, 21, 29, 46). Accordingly, as the Spirit has directed us, we shall "break
bread," and also "lay by in store" upon this day, his day, "the first
day of the week" (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2).
Thank you, Mom, for the reminder.
-- by Larry Ray Hafley, copied from the NEW
GEORGIA CHURCH OF CHRIST BULLETIN, May 12, 2002 issue
Life is hard. Life is frustrating. Life is stressful. Life is
Life is unfair. Life is cruel. Life hurts.
We all know how difficult and painful life can be. Do you ever wonder if there is
a way to escape it or at least a better way to cope? Is it possible to have inner peace
while the world around you is mad and life deals you one disappointment after another? Is
it possible to rise above it all?
There is. Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything
by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and
the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds
through Christ Jesus." The Bible says that real peace, lasting peace, peace in spite
of circumstances is possible. It is found in the right relationship with God through Jesus
Christ. A relationship where you are free to pray to God anytime, over any anxiety, and
ask for help. A relationship that gives you peace even though all your questions aren't
answered. A relationship where the peace you find will guard your heart and mind and not
allow life to break you and destroy you.
Understand that this relationship is not based upon some emotional high. It is not
rooted in some mystical experience. It is built upon a life of submission to the will of
God. The psalmist wrote of the peace of God when he said, "Mark the blameless man,
and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace" (Psalm 37:37). When a
person is living right with God he can know peace. Until one does, peace is elusive. Psalm
119:165 states, "Great peace have those who love Your law...". Those who respect
God's word and live their life by it are the ones who have the peace of God.
There is something about submitting your will totally to God in obedience of His
word that releases so much anxiety from within us. To the contrary of the thinking of
most, to obey God is liberating. When we
live totally under the sway of the Lord's will, things that disturb and harm others will
not touch us. When you put God first, everything else will fall in place. Even if it
doesn't, it won't matter. All that will matter is that you are right with your Creator.
Then, and only then, will you really own peace.
via SPEAKER, December 1995, Manslick Road church of
Christ, Louisville, KY