STEEL AND CONCRETE, June 2001 "A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation." (Psalm 68:5)

June 2001

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"Glorify Thy Name"
Father, we love thee, we worship and adore thee,
Glorify thy name in all the earth!

by Bro. Gregory Wamsley

As Father's Day comes and goes, each person may reflect on just who their father is or was. Some might even think of him as the perfect father. Our minds may only remember the good things about our fathers. No matter how special, loving, caring, or honest your father is or was, God, the perfect father, is greater. All living fathers, whether good or bad, are in need of a Savior and Lord. I have a biological father and a step-father, both , if not saved, are also in need of a Savior and Lord. The Bible say that, in oneself, ". . . there is none righteous (perfect), no, not one" (Romans 3:10). We're only made perfect in Christ Jesus. ". . .that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus" (Colossians 1:28b).

The Bible shows how a common sinner, through spiritual rebirth, can become a child of God, the perfect father. "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him" (1 John 3:1).

As a son of God, it's my job to direct those who are lost to the cross and into the same adoption I now have in Christ Jesus. The gospel of John says: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12-13).

Every father expects his children to come to him in time of need. Our heavenly Father expects us even more so to come unto him in everything. Today, people put their hope in all kinds of things. They put hope in people, finances, and other things, all of which are false hopes and poor father substitutes. My hope is only in my heavenly Father. Can you say God is your Father? Have you become a child of God by declaring your personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord? If not, it's not too late. Without a sound "yes" to both questions, you won't know the joy of your true perfect Father, now or throughout all eternity. Your biological fathers are important, but not more important than the heavenly Father who awaits your acceptance of Him. Today you may or may not have a living perfect father, but in Galatians 4:4-7, it states that you can have an Abba (Daddy) Father in God the Father.

"But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba ! Father !' Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God."

Christ Himself made the following statement in John 14:6: "Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'" To know God, "The Perfect Father," through Christ Jesus is to know life as He intended it to be. Through and in Christ, we are adopted into that royalty: not worldly royalty, but spiritual royalty. I often wished that I could have been a father or at least have adopted a child. My heartfelt desire to be a father can't compare to God's desire to adopt the unsaved. It's true that in all time only one man had a perfect father, and that God-man was Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:48). Through your acceptance of His only son, Jesus Christ, you too can have "The Perfect Father."

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, in prayer plead the Gospel truth that you cannot save yourself and that 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 and the perfect father given in Christ. "So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. . . ." (Acts 16:31)

by Brother Curley L. Faulk

I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord in 1983. It wasn't long after that I began to struggle with thoughts of losing my salvation. Thoughts of dying before I had repented of newly committed sins caused my walk with Christ to be marred with guilt, fear and anxiety. I had mental pictures of God judging my failures; even proclaiming, "I can't believe you did this!." The most devastating, hurtful thought of all was that I was never really saved. I found it increasingly difficult to trust Jesus. I was not clear about where I actually stood with Him. I lived in real bondage, because fear and love don't mix. It wasn't until I discovered what happened to me that I truly felt saved. My eternal destiny was secured in the love of Jesus Christ.

If you were to ask the average Christian what it means to be saved, most wouldn't have a clue of how they even got that way. When we ask Jesus into our hearts, very significant events occur. We immediately become citizens of heaven (Phillipians 3:20). We gain our membership into a holy and royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:5,9). We become members of the family of God by spiritual birth (Ephesians 2:19 and John 3:5). We are the bride of Christ (Revelation 19:7). We're adopted as children (Galatians 4:5). We are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). For the believer to lose salvation, all of these events must be undone, and that's just not possible.

God's purpose of salvation is for us to be the eternal object of his kindness (Ephesians 2:7). In eternity past, God fore-knew that He'd pay the ultimate price with His only Son on the cross for damaged goods (us). Jesus purchased us anyway, knowing everything about us, long before we ever knew Him. On a cross at Calvary, God's plan was carried out through the shed blood of Christ. We didn't take part in it, nor did we deserve it. Jesus chose us. We didn't choose Him (John 15:16).

There's no scripture, by way of statement or illustration, where God has ever revoked the gift of salvation from a believer. When a person believes, they are given eternal life right then and there. At that very moment, that transaction is completed forever (Acts 16:31). Having done nothing to earn our salvation, we can do nothing to lose it! Salvation is not an "on again, off again, maybe I'll make it, maybe I won't" kind of faith.

At times we may believe we're not going to make it. Have courage, my fellow believers. God worked it all out in eternity past for our eternal benefit. "If we are faithless, He remains faithful" (2 Timothy 2:11-13).

Which of your sins did Jesus die for? He died for all of them~ From the historical vantage point of the cross, all our sins were yet to be committed. If Christ died for one of them, then truly He died for all of them! If the sins we commit after we're saved could annul our eternal relationship with Christ, then clearly those sins weren't covered at Calvary. When Jesus returns, it won't be to die for any sins He may have missed the first time. Forgiven is forgiven: past, present and future.

If our faith maintains our salvation, then what must we do to maintain our faith? Perhaps prayer? Maybe some Bible studies? A measure of church attendance and fellowship? Isn't that more like "saved by works?" Yes, it is. Once a condition is placed on a gift, it becomes a trade off, not a gift. God clearly said in His Word, "Grace is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8).

Many Christians want to have the advantage of Christ without giving up the pleasure of sin. In the Old Testament of the Bible we find Lot. He was a prime example of a "carnal Christian." Yet, later in 2 Peter 2:7, we find he is then declared as righteous.

The foundations of understanding Christianity begin to crumble once we begin to tamper with the eternal security of the believer. We're not saved again and again. In Romans 14:23, we find that to doubt our salvation is also a sin. Once saved, always saved. The very moment we surrender to the callings of Christ with the full expectation of His promise of eternal life, it's fulfilled. He won't fail us. The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29).

May you grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ!

by R.O.A.D. To New Life Ministries, Inc.

We have found that when the following five needs are met, an ex-offender has a high success rate of staying out of prison. When this happens, we have more tax-paying citizens and safer neighborhoods.

1. MENTORING: A Christian mentor could be someone like you who dedicates 5 hours per month to teach, exhort, and encourage a Christian inmate before and or especially upon release.

2. HOME CHURCH: A place where ex-offenders and their families are welcome for prayer, praise, worship, and fellowship.

3. JOB: Ex-offenders with an employable skill are often rejected by employers.

4. HOME: The transition from prison to being homeless is frightening to an ex-offender.

5. RESOURCES: Many ex-offenders leave prison with only the clothes on their back.

          "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'
          "Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink ? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'
          "The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'"
(Matthew 25:34-40)

If God is tugging on your heart to help with any of these five basic needs, please help us help them. Call R.O.A.D. (Redeemed Offenders As Disciples) for information at (410)-729-0700.

R.O.A.D. To New Life Ministries, Inc.
P.O. Box 1776
Millersville, MD 21108-4776

author unknown
submitted by Brother Dan Harney

by Brother Bill Garner

I'll tell you a little about this place and it's up to you to figure out the rest.
If you ever end up in a place like this, I'll simply wish you God's best.

It's definitely a separate world of its own,
Living with two thousand people and possibly feeling alone.

I've seen just about everybody you wouldn't want to know:
Murderers, thieves, even a bank robber who said he was a pro.

One guy shot and killed his mother and wife -
He had no more bullets, so he stabbed his son with a knife.

I often think of what could be worse;
It's no doubt Satan had him under a curse.

One hated his wife and kidnaped his son -
When God comes searching there's no place to run.

A true to the heart place this is and you'll meet them all -
Without Christ in one's life it's easy to fall.

Some are in wheel chairs, who've lost each leg.
One's in for stealing, he's too proud to beg.

Lessons unlearned in life, so much is missing. Making it out of here is truly a blessing.

If you are messed with, have faith in God and stand your ground -
Remember that His angels are there and all around.

You don't own much in here and what you do, you protect -
Keep your hands to yourself and someone else's ground respect.

You can get anything in here from pills to pot, cocaine or crank -
Don't pay the man and you'll get a shank.

Some may make it home, some may never leave,
Some are here for life, it's hard to believe.

Pick your friends wisely in life, ending up here would also be a crime,
No matter where you are, God's always watching, even if you're doing hard time.

by Brother Bobby L. Hamlett

God wants us to rest, not from the things he has for us but in the things he has for us.

His rest reigns in the innermost part of our being. Yes, it's deeper than temperament, personality, or emotions. It's not effected by job descriptions, education, or environment. It flows independent of possessions, comforts or conveniences.

Rest comes from grace, from the presence of the Word, from the comfort of the Holy Spirit, from the yoke of Jesus Christ, my Lord!

by author unknown
submitted by Sister Toni Morgan

Man's life is laid in the loom of time
To a pattern he does not see,
While the weavers work and the shuttles fly
Till the dawn of eternity.

Some shuttles are filled with silver threads
And some with threads of gold,
While often but the darker hues
Are all that they may hold.

But the weaver watches with skillful eye
Each shuttle fly to and fro,
And sees the pattern so deftly wrought
As the loom moves sure and slow.

God surely planned the pattern:
Each thread, the dark and fair,
Is chosen by His master skill
And placed in the web with care.

He only knows its beauty,
And guides the shuttles which hold
The threads so unattractive,
As well as the threads of gold.

Not till each loom is silent,
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God reveal the pattern
And explain the reason why

The dark threads were as needful
In the weaver's skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
For the pattern which He planned.

by Brother Gregory Wamsley

This is the day that my Father's made,
for the blood of His son He paid.

This is the life that I live for the Lord,
one of peace and joy in one accord.

This is my Bible, the Word that became flesh:
it's better than the rest,

It speaks of the One who came from heaven -
it speaks of the One who's the best.

submitted by Michael Hogdin

One day a little girl was with her father in the park. Suddenly, along came a motorcycle. The little girl said, "Look at that, look at that! One day I'm going to have a motorcycle just like that." Her father said in a stern voice, "Not as long as I'm alive, you're not." Later that week, the little girl was playing in the park with her friend. Along came that same motorcycle again and she said to her friend, "Look at that, look at that! One of these days, after father dies, "I'm gonna have a motorcycle just like that!"

The children begged for a hamster, and after the usual fervent vows that they alone would care for it, they got one. They named it Danny. Two months later, when Mom found herself responsible for cleaning and feeding the creature, she located a prospective new home for it. The children took the news of Danny's imminent departure quite well, though one of them remarked, "He's been around here a long time--we'll miss him." "Yes," Mom replied, "But he's too much work for one person, and since I'm that one person, I say he goes." Another child offered, "Well, maybe if he wouldn't eat so much and wouldn't be so messy, we could keep him." But Mom was firm. "It's time to take Danny to his new home now," she insisted. "Go and get his cage." With one voice and in tearful outrage the children shouted, "Danny? We thought you said Daddy!"

The little boy's mother was not having a very good day. While in the busy store she lost her temper and began yelling at her son. The little boy looked up at his mother and said, "Don't yell at me. I'm not daddy!"

A truly rich father is the one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.

AGE 4: "My Dad can do ANYTHING!"
AGE 8: "There might be one or two things he doesn't know."
AGE 12: "Naturally he doesn't understand."
AGE 14: "I never realized how hopelessly old fashioned he is."
AGE 21: "You'd expect him to say that. He's so out of date."
AGE 25: "He comes up with a good idea now and then."
AGE 30: "I wonder what Dad thinks I should do."
AGE 40: "I'll wait till I discuss it with Dad."
AGE 50: "What would Dad have thought about it."
AGE 60: "I wish I could talk it over with him one more time."

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