Scott Gage

PO Box 3425
Fayetteville, AR 72702



March/April Issue 2009 - Volume 28   Number 2

Some Reasons For Hope

Some Reasons For Hope


“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

Every day we are bombarded with depressing news.  Look at the headlines of any newspaper and you will see dire predictions of the collapse of our economy and alarming stories about how bad the war on terror is going. In addition to this, we are constantly reminded of the frailty of the flesh when family members, neighbors and friends are stricken with cancer or some other terminal disease. Many people give in to depression and skepticism when faced with these circumstances.

The good news is that the Bible is full of stories of hope despite all of the bad news that the world throws at us. We need not despair even though many predict that our current recession could turn into another depression.  Look at the promise God gives us in Matthew 6:33.  We do not have to worry about what we will eat, what we will drink or what we will wear because God says if we put his kingdom first in our lives that all of these necessities will be provided for us.  This does not mean that we will have everything that we want, but it does mean that we will have everything that we need.  This is good news!  It is a reason for hope.

Peter assures us in 2 Peter 3:9, “ The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” This is good news, too!  God is on our side; He is not against us. He wants us to succeed; He wants us to be saved.  When Cain was angry with God and with his brother Abel, God pleaded with Cain and warned him, “So the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it’” (Gen. 4:6-7). God was calling Cain to take charge of his own emotions and desires and not let them lead him into something he would later regret. God was calling Cain to repentance. God wasn’t playing favorites. Cain could be accepted just as well as Abel. It was all up to Cain and the choices that he made. This story gives us hope today because we see how that God is not willing that any should perish.

These are only a couple of examples from the Bible of the many reasons that we have for hope in the world today. How is your outlook, my friend?  Do you have hope? You can enjoy many reasons for hope when you trust God and His word. Despair and skepticism may be knocking on your door today, but you don’t have to let them in. Instead you can open the door to everlasting hope by responding to the promises of God.

Scott Gage

Fayetteville, Arkansas



“And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family. That fiftieth year shall be a Jubilee to you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of its own accord, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine. For it is the Jubilee; it shall be holy to you; you shall eat its produce from the field. In this Year of Jubilee, each of you shall return to his possession.”

Leviticus 25:10-13

How would you like to have all your debts cancelled, any inheritance that your family had lost to be restored, and have a full year of paid vacation?

I just described what an entire nation was offered, not just once, but every 50 years!  It was called the year of Jubilee that God offered to the nation of Israel.  The Jubilee was a foreshadowing of an offer made to you, the offer of the gospel of Jesus.

The Jubilee was a time of liberty from personal debt and slavery.  All property was returned to its original owner or his descendants, and for the entire year they did not sow or reap their crops, but lived off of the Lord’s bountiful provision.

For you and me today, we see that Jesus came to pay the debt we owe for our sin.  He paid it with his life; the debt was cancelled and we have been set free from slavery to sin.

All who have sinned have forfeited their inheritance, but that heavenly inheritance has been restored by our elder brother, Jesus.  The paid vacation offered is for more than a year – it is eternal.

Jesus invites you to stop living only for yourself and begin to live in obedience to God.  He calls you to repent of your sin, confess Jesus as Lord, be baptized into Christ, and let him forgive your debt of sin, set you free, and give you eternal life.

Don’t turn down this great offer!  You must act now – time is limited!

West College and Third Church of Christ Bulletin

August 8, 2006

Being A Mother

(There is often no one in our lives who inspire more hope in us than our mothers. The “bill paid in advance” in this story, reminds us that we have eternal hope because Jesus has paid the bill for our sin.  …lsg)

“‘Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.’ Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.”  Proverbs 31:29-31

After 21 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner and a movie. She said, "I love you, but I know this other woman loves you and would love to spend some time with you."

The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my MOTHER, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally.

That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie.

"What's wrong, are you well," she asked?

My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.

"I thought that it would be pleasant to spend some time with you," I responded. "Just the two of us."

She thought about it for a moment, and then said, "I would like that very much."

That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary.

She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel's. "I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed," she said, as she got into the car. "They can't wait to hear about our meeting."

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way through the entries, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips. "It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small," she said. "Then it's time that you relax and let me return the favor," I responded.

During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation- -nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each others life. We talked so much that we missed the movie.

As we arrived at her house later, she said, "I'll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you." I agreed.

"How was your dinner date?" asked my wife when I got home. "Very nice.

Much more so than I could have imagined," I answered.

A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn't have a chance to do anything for her.

Some time later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined. An attached note said: "I paid this bill in advance. I wasn't sure that I could be there; but nevertheless, I paid for two plates - one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you, son."

At that moment, I understood the importance of saying in time: "I LOVE YOU" and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off till "some other time."

Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get back to normal after you've had a baby.... somebody doesn't know that once you're a mother, "normal" is history.

Somebody said you learn how to be a mother by instinct .... somebody never took a three-year-old shopping.

Somebody said being a mother is boring...somebody never rode in a car driven by a teenager with a driver's permit. Somebody said if you're a "good" mother, your child will "turn out good"...somebody thinks a child comes with directions and a guarantee.

Somebody said "good" mothers never raise their voices...somebody never came out the back door just in time to see her child hit a golf ball through the neighbor's kitchen window.

Somebody said you don't need an education to be a mother...somebody never helped a fourth grader with his math.

Somebody said you can't love the second child as much as you love the first ... somebody doesn't have two children.

Somebody said a mother can find all the answers to her child-rearing questions in the books...somebody never had a child stuff beans up his nose or in his ears.

Somebody said the hardest part of being a mother is labor and delivery...somebody never watched her "baby" get on the bus for the first day of kindergarten .... or on a plane headed for military "boot camp."

Somebody said a mother can do her job with her eyes closed and one hand tied behind her back…somebody never organized seven giggling Brownies to sell cookies.

Somebody said a mother can stop worrying after her child gets married...somebody doesn't know that marriage adds a new son or daughter-in-law to a mother's heartstrings.

Somebody said a mother's job is done when her last child leaves home...somebody never had grandchildren.

Somebody said your mother knows you love her, so you don't need to tell her...somebody isn't a mother.

Pass this along to all the "mothers" in your life and to everyone who ever had a mother. This isn't just about being a mother; it's about appreciating the people in your life while you have them...no matter who that person is.

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Clay Balls

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”  1 Samuel 16:7

A man was exploring caves by the seashore.  In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls.  It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake.

They didn't look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of the cave with him.  As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could.

He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and it cracked open on a rock.  Inside was a beautiful, precious stone!

Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls.  Each contained a similar treasure.  He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left.  Then it struck him.

He had been on the beach a long time.  He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves.  Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away!

It's like that with people.  We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel.  It doesn't look like much from the outside.  It isn't always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it.

We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy.  But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person.

There is a treasure in each and every one of us.  If we take the time to get to know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.

May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay.  May we see the people in our world as God sees them.

I am so blessed by the gems of friendship I have with you.  Thank you for looking beyond my clay vessel.

Thank you for being my Friend!

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I found ol' man Lister at the Bottomless Cup reading little Lester Lister's homework.  Lester had written about turtles.  It seems that little Lester is fascinated with turtles' ability to carry their houses with them and hide inside for protection.  

Ol’ man Lister said, “My grandson also says that a turtle can’t go anywhere when it tucks itself inside its shell, so it's kind of like a prison where the turtle have the key."

Lister put little Lester’s homework down, and I prepared myself for another dose of Listerine philosophy.

“You know, kid,” he said, “ I know a lot of folks that have a bad case of ‘turtlitis.’  They crawl into their shells labeled, ‘too busy, too poor, too old, too disadvantaged,' and never get anywhere.  They're prisoners who hold the key.  Now I know what my grandpappy meant when he would say, ‘Behold the turtle, who makes no progress till he sticks his neck out.'”

You know...I reckon he's right.  

Steve McLean

Lockney, Texas



Last summer the parson went to a seminar for preachers and they taught him to make his sermon titles more captivating.  Ol' man Lister and I believe that he learned his lesson well.   

His series of sermons last month was called “How to Make God Do Things."  Now the parson has always taught that God is God and we are not, so this definitely had our attention.  His meaning became clear as the sermon titles were completed.  

For instance, one of the more intriguing titles was, “How to Make God Laugh."  Ol’ man Lister and I agreed we weren't sure how to do that, and apparently neither did anyone else because that Sunday morning church house was packed.  

The parson spoke about how we get all wrapped up in our plans and schemes when only God knows what is ahead, and he concluded with the answer to his question.  

“How do you make God laugh?” the parson asked.  “Just tell Him your plans for the future."

You know...I reckon he's right.  

Steve McLean

Lockney, Texas