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STEEL AND CONCRETE, August 2001 "I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, And not forsake them." (Isaiah 42:16)

August 2001

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"Gentle Shepherd"

by Bro. Gregory Wamsley

In December 1999, The Sun newspaper ran an advertisement entitled, "Christ is coming very soon." They spoke of compelling reasons for their belief. I too wish to give my reasons why I believe this to be true.

When I was younger, I used to hear people make the same claim. It would conjure up images of strange people walking around with "Doom's Day" signs which often read, "The end of the world is near" or "Christ is coming soon!" The evidence of Christ's return is all around us. His return was foretold in the Bible. The predicted warning signs are more prevalent today than ever before. One Bible scholar listed a great number of warnings pointing to Christ's return. I've read, studied and now list seven of my favorite prophesies or compelling warnings for my belief. Some of these seven have already happened, or are happening more frequently today.

Warning number one is and was a prophecy from Jesus Himself. In Luke 21:25-36, Christ spoke of Israel's fall and rebirth. Amazingly, in May 14, 1948, the state of Israel was reborn. Israel is often called "God's Time Clock," and the fig tree reference is of Israel.

Warning number two is the explosion of cults and the occult as foretold in Matthew 24:5. There are false christs with us today. We also have false religions, false prophets, and even false spirituality. Matthew 24:24 supports this fact: "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect."

In 1st Timothy 4:1, it warns that in "latter times," some will "depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons." Some of these deceiving spirits and demon doctrines are manifested in the psychic phenomena, spiritism, any worship other than the worship of God and any "religious" movement taking people away from Christ and the cross.

Warning number three is one that speaks of the massive increase of education and the seeking of knowledge in this age. This end time expansion was prophesied in Daniel 12:4: "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase."

Since the 1950's, there has been an explosion of people seeking: going "to and fro." Education, with the influx of computers and the world wide web, now extends to the whole world.

Warning number four is one of violence, wars, famine and earthquakes. In Matthew 24:6-8, we find the following: "You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs."

The Federal Government recently stated that 1 in 6 people in the United States suffers from hunger. Violence has become an epidemic in these war zones we call schools. The facts go on to show that since 1990, over 80 world conflicts were a result of a civil or ethnic dispute. Jesus said that just before His return, like birth pangs that intensify, we'd witness a greater occurrence of these signs.

Warning number five is what I refer to as "The New World Order." Daniel, chapters 7 to 12, and Revelation, the 13th chapter, speak of a one-world order and the mark of the beast. Today we have a centralization of world financial and political power emerging in Europe. A one-world oreder, one-world currency (the Euro), and one-world government are no longer the basis of fictional writings. These things, in their beginning stages, are with us today.

Warning number six is our crashing morality. Since my birth in the late 50's, I've personally noticed a great decay in our moral fabric. 2nd Timothy 3:1-5 gives us this warning: "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant , revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these." If those scriptures don't paint a picture of today, then I don't know what does.

Warning number seven is kind of a spin-off on the second warning. I think of it as the lack of or abandonment of one's true religious faith (apostasy). Without a doubt, many churches and Christians today have lost their first love. They have fallen by the wayside. Many deny the eternal truth of the cross and God's written word, the power of the Holy Ghost and His rightful place within the Trinity. In 2nd Timothy 3:5, it speaks of these so-called servants of God as "having a form of godliness but denying its power. From such people turn away."

There are many many more warning and signs of Christ's soon return. God has made His intentions clear from the beginning. God has given us an escape plan. The death of His only Son, Jesus Christ, opened an escape route into heaven. Life in heaven awaits all who put their trust and faith in the very one, Christ, who paved our way with the shedding of His precious blood as payment for our sins. The Bible tells us to comfort one another with the words of Christ's return as found in 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18:

"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words."

It's said that the return of Christ will be history's greatest event. The spectators who are not written in the Lamb's book of life will have bad seats for this event. Those whose names are written in the book won't need a seat. They'll be at center stage!

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, in prayer plead the Gospel truth that you cannot save yourself and you must confess to Him that you are a sinner and are in need of a Savior. Accept him into your heart as Savior and Lord. Christ commands that one must repent from their sins. Read his word (the Bible) and learn of the NEW BIRTH you'll be given in Christ Jesus. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. . ." (Acts 16:31).

Comments from the webmaster:
Are we living in the last days? Yes, and we have been living in the last days since Jesus rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and sent His Holy Spirit to us. The Holy Spirit was first given to believers on the day of Pentecost, 50 days after the Passover during which Jesus was crucified. This account is found in the book of Acts, chapter 2:

But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 'And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and manifest day. And it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'" (Acts 2:14-21)

Does it matter when the end of time comes? No, it certainly does not! Why? Because each of us has one lifetime in which to live, in which to realize that we are sinners, in which to learn of Jesus' gift of salvation in payment for our sins, in which to accept or deny that gift, and in which to tell others of that gift. For each of us, the end of time comes with the death of our body. If we are saved, the death of our body simply permits us to be with Jesus: "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord" (2nd Corinthians 5:8).

If we are not saved, the death of our body seals our fate to be eternally separated from God: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men . . . " (2nd Corinthians 5:10-11).

"I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live . . ." (Deuteronomy 30:19).

"The more you reaffirm who you are in Christ, the more your behavior will begin to reflect your true identity!"
(From Victory Over the Darkness, by Dr. Neil Anderson)

John 1:12 I am God's child.
John 15:15 As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1 I have been justified.
1 Corinthians 6:17 I am united with the Lord and I am one with Him in Spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.
1 Corinthians 12:27 I am a member of Christ's body.
Ephesians 1:3-8 I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.
Colossians 1:13-14 I have been redeemed and forgiven all my sins.
Colossians 2:9-10 I am complete in Christ.
Hebrews 4:14-16 I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:1-2 I am free from condemnation.
Romans 8:28 I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.
Romans 8:31-39 I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.
Colossians 3:1-4 I am hidden with Christ in God.
Philippians 1:6 I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.
Philippians 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven.
2 Timothy 1:7 I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
1 John 5:18 I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.
John 15:5 I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.
John 15:16 I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
1 Corinthians 3:16 I am God's temple.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
Ephesians 2:6 I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.
Ephesians 2:10 I am God's workmanship.
Ephesians 3:12 I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Ephesians 1:1 I am a saint.
Ephesians 2:18 I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 4:16 I can find grace and mercy in time of need.
Matthew 5:13-14 I am the salt and light of the earth.
Acts 1:8 I am a personal witness of Christ's.
2 Corinthians 6:1 I am God's co-worker. (1 Cor. 3:9)

by Brother Dan Harney

Have you ever felt that nothing could go wrong in your life and that everything you ever wanted seemed to come your way? Well, that was me a few years back. I had it all: a beautiful wife, two great sons, a big house, a successful career, and, of course, money in the bank! But it went to my head. Satan got hold of me and even though I was blind at the time, I now believe the old saying: "You shouldn't give the devil a ride because he'll always want to drive!"

I let the devil have his way with me. It started with me looking at pornographic videos and ended up with having affairs. When things are going right in one's life, they measure what's "right" by the possessions they have and the human relationships they make along the way. They also begin to think that enough is just never enough. The devil has a way of making you think you need more!

Oh, for a while I went to church all right, but I was only fooling others and myself. Matthew 23:28 tells us: "Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity."

On February 2, 1995, I gave my life to the Lord. The Holy Spirit pushed me out of my chair, literally lifting me up during an altar call. I was a broken man before the Lord, because I had lost my wife, my job, and I was in prison.

Now that I have Jesus Christ in my life, I'm a new creation. I have a joy as never before! So, my message is this: Turn to the Lord and surrender all to him. You can't do it alone. He will deliver you!


submitted by sister Toni Morgan

Several years ago a preacher moved to Houston, Texas. Some weeks after he arrived, he had occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change.

As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, 'You better give the quarter back. It would be wrong to keep it.' Then he thought, 'Oh, forget it. It's only a quarter. Who would worry about this little amount? Besides, the bus company already gets too much fare. They will never miss it. Accept it as a gift from God and keep quiet.'

When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, then he handed the quarter to the driver and said, "Here, you gave me too much change."

The driver with a smile, replied, "Aren't you the new preacher in town? I have been thinking lately about going to worship somewhere. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change."

When my friend stepped off the bus, he literally grabbed the nearest light pole, and held on, and said, "O God, I almost sold your Son for a quarter."

(Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read!)

submitted by Sister Toni Sorter

Nobody writes letters anymore. Sure, it's nice to get a phone call, but it's not the same. You can't re-read a phone call. There is no actual commitment in a phone call, either. Some people call perfect strangers everyday! People who write personal letters only do it for those they really care for; at least they used to. People today are afraid to write. Their spelling is not good and their handwriting is a scrawl. Yet all over America, people are searching through the day's mail hoping for just one letter amidst the junk and bills. They are looking for a simple sign that someone is willing to invest a half and hour in them, even if they have no news to tell. Your loved ones won't care about your spelling, but they care about you! They may not like to read, but they'll read what you write. We should be more willing to invest in each other and be willing to sign our name under the word "Love" at the bottom of our letters. If you are willing to do that, believe me, no one will ever notice or even care about your penmanship or spelling! "Father, help me to find time today to write to one person I care about."


by Lindsay Freeman
proudly submitted by Geoffrey Freeman

The tears that I cry have touched you so deep,
And it pains me not to weep and weep.

The things you have done, some bold yet ungodly,
Will pain me forever, yes, forever so sadly.

And the tears that I cry, that have touched you so deep,
It pains me not to weep and weep.

So what happened between us will change us forever,
But when will I forgive you? I don't know, maybe never.

So those tears that I cried that had touched you so deep,
But it pained you to see me weep and weep.

"Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him;
and if he repents, forgive him.
And if he sins against you seven times a day,
and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,'
forgive him." (Luke 17:3-4)

by Emily Matthews

At times, life's path seems filled with things That made the going rough,
And we wish there were a smoother road, For we feel we've had enough.

But, if we pause a moment and remember who's in charge,
The hills that loom ahead of us no longer seem so large,

And every rock before us, when we know we're not alone,
Becomes not just a stumbling block, but one more stepping stone.

You've overcome many things, and every time you've grown
Through sheer determination and wisdom that you've shown.

So, as you face this Journey, from the moment you begin,
Know that God will guide you, and you will have the strength to win.


author unknown
Six-year-old Angie and her four-year-old brother Joel were sitting together in church. Joel giggled, sang, and talked out loud. Finally, his big sister had enough. "You're not supposed to talk out loud in church." "Why? Who's going to stop me?" Joel asked. Angie pointed to the back of the church and said, "See those two men standing by the door? They're hushers."

by Michael Hodgin
One winter day, a friend and I took my little daughter Ellen to a movie for her birtday. As we prepared to exit the theater, I began to bundle Ellen up. Afterwards, my friend then asked Ellen, "How old are you?" "I can't tell you," Ellen replid. "Why?" asked my friend. Ellen held up her little hands and said, "Because I have my mittens on!"

by Michael Hodgin
An old woman who lived in a retirement home was having her 100th birthday. After his visit, her pastor spoke with a reporter and said, "Her mind is very keen and alert. By the time I got here, she was already caught up in all the exitement of the day." The reporer sat down next to the lady and began to intervew her. He eventually asked her, "Do you have any children?" She replied without hesitation and with a smile, "Not yet!"

by Gregory Wamsley, after Michael Hodgin
On his way home frm Bible study, Brother Gregry stopped for take out. Once back on the road, his car slid off the road and into a tree. A policeman arrived and saw a horribe sight smashed aganst the inside windshield. The officer called for help and then asked Brother Gregory, "Are you OK? Brother Gregory said, "I'm not hurt. God protected me, but the pizza sure is a mess!"

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by The Gaithers

Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us,
For we need You to help us find our way.
Gentle Shepherd, come and feed us,
For we need Your strength from day to day.
There's no other we can turn to
Who can help us face another day.
Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us,
For we need You to help us find our way.


Sign images are from the Manual of Traffic Signs by Richard C. Moeur