Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 15 No. 1 January 2013
Page 5

A Moving Experience

Gary C. Hampton

Gary C. HamptonOne in six Americans move each year, with the average citizen of the United States moving 11.7 times over his lifetime. Since my dad preached, I have helped make up for some of you that have lived in the same house since birth. Teresa and I lived in: Jackson, TN; Henderson, TN; North Little Rock, AR; Mobile, AL; Valdosta, GA; Cookeville, TN; Knoxville, TN; and Jackson, MS.

Our current move presented us with a most unusual opportunity. Thanks to the gracious hospitality of Drew and Morgan Dulaney, we were able to settle into our work in Jackson before our house sold in Knoxville, with most of our “stuff” remaining there. The couple buying our house have an almost newborn baby. Three days after signing a contract to sell our house to them, our real estate agent asked if they could move in early. Teresa and I discussed it and decided it was what we would want someone to do for us, so we said yes.

This has resulted in the formation of an unusual friendship. They and their real estate agent have repeatedly thanked us. Several of our good sisters in Christ, who are helping pack everything up, have gotten to know the couple and their baby well. They and their agent have no church home. Their impression of us and our many brethren has resulted in the real estate agent and the couple expressing an interest in attending the Karns church of Christ.

Paul believed God could open doors and asked the brethren in Collosse to pray to that end. “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak” (4:2-4). He told the church in Corinth, “But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Corinthians 16:8-9).

Live the life of a Christian. Pray for open doors. Then keep your eyes open. You never know when God may give you an opportunity.

Paul in Prison

Nat Evans

It has long been recognized that we can learn a lot about a person when we see how he responds to pressure. Look at Paul while in prison. There is much to be learned as we study the life of the great apostle Paul.

Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep: In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me (presseth upon my daily), the care of all the churches. (2 Corinthians 11:23-28)

His Pen

Though Paul was in prison, he would not allow prison to rob him of his pen. Just think how poor this world would be without his prison epistles, among which is the great Book of Philippians (Philippians 1:1).

His Preaching

Paul would not let prison rob him of or hinder him in his preaching in the palace or throughout the whole Praetorian Guard (Philippians 1:13).

His Prayers

You can learn much about a person from his prayer life. Paul was a praying man. “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment” (Philippians 1:3-4, 9).

His Plan to Press on Toward the Prize

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

Peaceful Passing

Neither could prison rob Paul of the hope of his peaceful passing. When time would finally come for him to leave this world, he could truthfully say, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better” (Philippians 1:21, 23). “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

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