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STEEL AND CONCRETE, February 2002 "He has brought me to his banquet hall, And his banner over me is love." (Song of Songs 2:4)

February 2002

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"Though I may Speak With Bravest Fire"
melody: "The Water Is Wide"
Traditional English Tunes in Midi Format

by Bro. Gregory Wamsley

February is a month associated with love, hearts, and Valentine's Day; a time of remembering loved ones with chocolates and flowers. After the candies are eaten and the flowers are dead and gone, where does the love go?

A world that's full of pride and lovelessness shows its hearts are in the wrong place. In Daniel, chapter 5, it speaks of two Babylonian kings, Belshazzar and Nebuchadnezzar, who had hearts of arrogance and pride; heart in the wrong place. God judged them both and found no love in them. The first was killed and the second was humbled.

Before 9/11/01, not much love was found in the hearts of Americans. Their hears were also filled with arrogance and pride. Satan used United and American airlines to bring terror to our face. God used that incident to unite America in love, thus putting her in her place.

Believers may admit they lack strong faith, but rarely admit they lack strong love. Leviticus 19:18 says, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love without deeds or expression of that love doesn't really exist. It's just a myth. The Bible also says that love is tangible. It can be seen and touched. Real love takes action. May I never forget 1st John 3:18 which says, "Let us love not in word or in tongue, but in deed and truth."

When I spend more time speaking against my enemies than praying for them in love, do I not lose my spiritual credibility? Those whom we may feel deserve love the least need it the most. I've seen people give without loving, but can I truly love without giving? God's anointed oil of love takes friction out of the world. Moody Bible Institute President Joseph Stowell said this concerning the world's heart condition: "There's too much mean and not enough mercy."

"So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them" (Genesis 1:27).

That reminds me that all people are created in God's own image and therefore everyone is special. When the realization set in that all people bear the image of the Creator, walls I built against race, color, and creed came tumbling down. Love doesn't build walls, love tears them down. Christ always looked beyond religious barriers. He looked directly into the hearts of all He met. He knew their hearts. Many were missing their "walk in love." For a hardened heart, He sought to soften or break it. For a hungry heart, He fed it. For a heart filled with faith and repentance, He gave it joy and forgiveness.

The world thinks that the way to improve oneself is to point out the wrong in others. God showed me that a heart filled with love for Him is only as real as a heart filled with love for others. God's love cost Him His only begotten Son. Before going to the cross, Christ said, "By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35).

To me, Christ was a "Love Revolutionary." It's easy to love a friend, but loving an enemy is to truly be Christ-like.

Pain and rejection felt in one's heart can result from many things: a child being rejected by parents, a husband who has turned his back on his wife, or friends and family who turn on each other. Rejection from people will, unfortunately, occur. I thank God that, as a Christian, rejection from God will never happen.

"As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love" (John 15:9).

These words make me think about the creator who knows my name. I feel great peace in knowing that He has my best interests in mind. The "Good Shepherd" protects me. I'm awestruck that He loved me enough to die for me. In Ephesians 3:18-19, I'm reminded of the love of Christ which passes knowledge. We can't physically measure God's love because He loves without measure.

In times of my deepest, darkest sorrow, I was surprised to find the light of God's never-failing love. 1st John 3:14 says: "We know that we have passed from death (darkness) to life (dawn), because we love the brethren." So, in these last days, some can't tell if darkness is fading or dawn is breaking. If Christians fail to see the lost as needing a Savior and love, then our world is dark, regardless of what time of day it is.

It's been said that God is love and love is a mark on the believer. I ask myself, "Do people see the mark on my heart?"

Christians are often thought of as being negative people who fight against things. That's unfortunate, because we should be seen as positive people who seek peace. God loves each of us far greater than we could love even our own children. He's encouraged me, loved me, watched over me, and cared for me when I didn't care for Him. Millions of children are His to watch. In 1st Peter 3:12, it tells me that His eye does not wander: "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

There is so much talk today about "becoming free." Many articles and books offer instruction on how to be free from this and that. One of the world's best-selling books is all about "living free." That best-selling book is God's Word, the Bible. Its message is from the unique perspective that true freedom is only found in God. Psalms 119:32 says: "I will run the course of Your commandments, For You shall enlarge my heart." Who wouldn't want to be released from their greatest trouble and be free? Often, I hear men talk about the day they'll be free from prison. Freedom that lasts doesn't begin in the future. Don't put the horse before the cart. Freedom that lasts begins in the heart.

In the body of Christ I've seen brothers fall. They suffer from the illnesses of gossip, scorn and lovelessness. When this happens, what they need is correction from a loving heart, not an accusing finger. Letting God change our brothers and us with His loving heart is the best way to change our troubled world. Ephesians 5:2 says: "Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us." I feel that to walk in love is to mimic the example Christ gave us and to offer the little acts of love and kindness to others that make life bearable. How often do we convince ourselves that we don't have time for others? Can't we think of others who need encouragement, thanks, or a letter saying, "I love you and I'm praying for you?" Even if our walk is only to the mailbox, let's take a life's "Walk In Love."

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).


"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
John 13:34-35

"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."
Matthew 5:44-45

1st Corinthians 13:4-8


"He who does not love does not know God, for God is love."
1st John 4:8

"And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
1st Corinthians 13:13

by Marcia Krugh Lesser
from "Standard" 9/01

In the midst of our mourning, God gives us a song
Assuring His children the time won't be long
Before we'll spend forever with the one who is gone ~
In the midst of our mourning God gives us a song.

In the midst of our crying, God gives us a dream
Assuring His people life's not what it seems,
And thought there is a heartache along life's troubled stream,
In the midst of our crying, God gives us a dream.

In the midst of our trials, God gives us a prayer,
Assuring His loved ones He'll always be there,
Though we're not exempt from pain and despair,
In the midst of our trials God gives us a prayer.

author unknown

Christian fellowship provides us with encouragement and love ~
It will help us on our journey till we reach our home above.

by Bro. Brandt

Every kindness done to others is a kindness done to Thee;
Christ-like love for all the brothers, may the world observe in me.

by Marcia Krugh Lesser
from "Standard" 9/01

What do you do when the person you are
Isn't who God wants you to be?
You know it's your pride that's in your way,
Keeping you from your knees.

What do you do when God seems far away?
His voice within can be heard ~
It speaks so loudly you cannot escape ~
It says to get into His word.

First thank God above for the fact
At least you're aware.
You know He's convicting your soul ~
The answer lies deeply in prayer.

by Mary Jane Profit

Our children come, our children go,
Sometimes seems like an endless flow,
All little faces leave their mark,
Some so much that they break our heart.

From within we gave and gave
These precious little lives to save,
We worked to heal the hurts they bore,
And still they always needed more.

And if we'd had the time we'd need
This child would heal, we would succeed.
Too often, though, the time's too rare,
It seems it's only us who care.

It's then we wonder if we're right
To take another, hold him tight.
Have we accomplished what we should?
Does this system do more harm than good?

And though our hearts are heavy now,
We know that this is right somehow.
For we have love to give and share
And open arms to hold and care.

And though most people wonder why
We give and give and then we cry.
Thank God for those who know the pain
Yet love and hurt and love again.


author unknown
from Our Daily Bread, 7/28/98

The story is told of a child psychologist who spent many hours constructing a new driveway at his home. Just after he smoothed the surface of the freshly poured concrete, his small children chased a ball across the driveway, leaving deep footprints. The man yelled after them with a torrent of angry words. His shocked wife said, "You're a psychologist who's supposed to love children." The fuming man shouted, "I love children in the abstract, not in the concrete!"

The following are from 1001 Humorous Illustrations For Public Speaking
by Michael Hodgin

The new minister watched the first person enter his office. Deciding he should look busy, he picked up the phone and began to talk: "Look, Deacon, about that money we need. I think I better handle it personally. No, yes, I think the funds will cover it. We better have our accountant handle it. O.K., talk to you later." While hanging up the phone he looked up at the visitor and said, "Good morning, how may I help you?" The visitor said, "You can't help me at all. I'm just here to hook up your phone."

A survey showed that 90% of accidents in one Church occured on the staircases, involving either the top or bottom step. This information was fed into the minister's computer to find out how stairway accidents could be reduced. The computer's answer? Remove the top and bottom step!

Question: What is the difference between a car accident involving a rabbit and one involving Satan? Answer: There are skid marks leading up to the rabbit.

A little boy's prayer: "Dear God, please take care of my daddy and my mommy and my sister and my brother and my doggy and me. Oh, and please take care of yourself, God, because if anything happens to you, we're gonna be in a big mess."

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"Though I may Speak With Bravest Fire"
Tune: "The Water Is Wide"
Words & arrangement: Hal Hopson, 1972

Though I may speak with bravest fire
And have the gift to all inspire
And have not love, my words are vain
As sounding brass, and hopeless gain

Though I may give all I possess
And striving so, my love profess
But be not giv'n by love within,
The profit soon turns strangely thin

Come, Spirit, come, our hearts control,
Our spirits long to be made whole
Let inward love guide every deed;
By this we worship and are freed.