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  • J. Randal Matheny 9:39 am on 2017-03-16 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Corollaries, , , goodnewsin5words,   

    Confession: This time it’s different 

    What follows is something of a confession. Through the years, I’ve felt no shame or embarrassment to invite churches and individuals to financially support our efforts in missions. In the past, I’ve joyfully extended that invitation, believing fully in our task, as I still do. After several occasions, however, where we have lost larger amounts of monthly support, that ease of asking, that freedom to invite, has been lost. Perhaps it’s partly age, partly feeling tired of the process of fundraising, which I am no professional at doing, nor do I wish I were.

    We no longer have a wide base of contacts among Christians, after so many years on the field. In recent years, our friends have heard our pleas several times. How can we then place yet another burden upon them? (More …)

     
    • Karen 10:51 am on 2017-03-16 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t know if it’s appropriate for me to reply to this article, but I am speaking from my heart. Randal and Vicki are sort of my heroes. Long story, but because of their prayers, perseverance, and endless email discussions, I am now a Christian. I had been Catholic a large part of my life, but I was baptized last September and now am a member of the church of Christ. The journey was hard but rewards are awesome!
      My point of this reply is to note that even though Randal was a continent away, I was a part of his mission field via internet. One soul. Then I got to pray for another person in Brazil who also eventually became a Christian. Another soul. Now there are three others in their late teens who are going to church with me every Sunday. Two have rededicated their lives, and the third may be baptized soon. 5 souls. It’s a loving circle that originated by a single missionary in another country.
      How much does a soul cost? I guess as a new Christian I just do now understand these things, like how a thriving mission has lost a major amount of funding. It makes no sense when that is one of the basic commands given to us by Jesus. (Mt.28:19-20). We hear the last part of verse 19 a lot, but emphasis is seldom put on the first part. Sorry this was so log; I didn’t mean to “preach”, but a missionary from Brazil helped to save my life and my soul, and I am forever grateful.

      • Eugene Adkins 6:40 pm on 2017-03-16 Permalink | Reply

        Well said, Karen.

    • James Pasley 5:19 pm on 2017-03-16 Permalink | Reply

      Karen, thanks for your reply. It is always a blessing to hear good news even if it is in more than 5 words. Just one thought about the lost financial support: there is always more to do than there is money or time to do it. Each congregation is approached by multiple good (I want to emphasize the word good) mission works and they cannot afford to support them all, so they must choose some and reject others. In other situations, sad as it may be, a congregation’s giving may drop for some reason (loss of jobs, members moving away, members dying, members income dropping, inflation and rising costs, etc.) and they may be unable to continue financially supporting all of the work they once did. I am sure that the financial support Randall lost does not mean that those Christians no longer love and support him and his work, just that they are not able to with their dollars.

      • Katen 10:20 am on 2017-03-17 Permalink | Reply

        Oh no! I didn’t know there was a 5 word rule; sorry! Now I have to break it again! 🙂 I hope my reply did not offend anyone. That was not my intention. I did not mean to be disrespectful of the circumstances of others, and apologize that I did not make that clear. I know it is hard to make decisions when there are many good causes and not enough funds. My point was that sometimes there is a lot more going on behind the scenes than is indicated by statistical reports. My prayer is that God will provide a way for all those missions that help bring people to Jesus.

        • Karen 10:35 am on 2017-03-17 Permalink | Reply

          …and the reply was from Karen not Katan. I really should wear my glasses when I type!

          • Eugene Adkins 3:02 pm on 2017-03-18 Permalink | Reply

            Comments like the one you made aren’t limited to any number of words. No law against words of Christian love, even in the digital age (Galatians 5:22-23).

    • James McFerrin 6:55 pm on 2017-03-16 Permalink | Reply

      Karen, I attempted to reply to your recent comment on my post and for some reason, it seems that it did not go through. You asked about accessing the posts beginning at Genesis. My reply was that you could find them under “Chronological Bible Study” on the right side of this page or you can email me at ntpromise@gmail.com and I will send them to you.

  • J. Randal Matheny 6:01 am on 2017-02-22 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Corollaries, ,   

    Learning to trust God 

    Trust is a precious and rare commodity in the world. It is easily damaged and destroyed by thoughtlessness and selfishness. To place ourselves or a part of our hearts in the hands of another is a delicate step.

    We have learned therefore that trust is not to be extended lightly. We’ve become skeptical, even hardened against hurt. Love is a jittery bird, easily frightened.

    Coupled with our desire to see before we step, such reluctance to trust prevents us from having a full and free relationship with God. He deserves our unreserved confidence. He never fails his people. He always comes through. He never forgets a promise. (More …)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 9:32 am on 2017-02-01 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Corollaries,   

    A necessary battle 

    The people of God in some regions of the world, Brazil included, are locked in a necessary battle for their identity. Within their midst false teachings have arisen. Such teachings may emanate from newcomers. Often, however, trusted brethren change their message. Where they once proclaimed the truth, now they preach a modified gospel, which is no gospel at all, but a distorted version of it. (More …)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 9:52 am on 2017-01-25 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Corollaries, , spiritual security,   

    Spiritual security of the faithful 

    Women need a feeling of security, say many writers in the field of marriage and counseling. That observation seems to hold true in our experience. That security often means physical and financial security. Though today it’s socially anathema to say it, a woman often looks for a husband who will provide these things for her. She wants to feel protected.

    This was Naomi’s prayer for her daughters-in-law, after the death of her sons: “May the Lord enable each of you to find security in the home of a new husband!” Ruth 1.9.

    At the same time, we all need security. Let’s first define our terms. The dictionaries give something like this: “1. freedom from danger, risk, etc.; safety. 2. freedom from care, anxiety, or doubt. 3. something that protects or makes safe; defense.” No one can live on the cusp of danger. (More …)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 9:42 am on 2017-01-18 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Corollaries, , , ,   

    Those feelings of loneliness 

    Do you ever feel alone? When we feel that way, we’re probably not really alone. Feelings don’t do a good job of reflecting reality. They’re a result of our interpretation of events and situations. Since our views of reality are often skewed, our feelings seldom reflect what’s really happening.

    But let’s say, for sake of argument, that there are times when we’re really alone. Isolated. Estranged. Closed off from people. What would that be like? How would we really feel? (More …)

     
    • Karen 1:19 pm on 2017-01-18 Permalink | Reply

      The feelings of loneliness used to be an everyday occurrence for me. Even though I had lots of friends around me, there was always a feeling of emptiness and alienation. Something major was missing from my life, and sometimes the feelings of loneliness overwhelmed me.
      This past summer I discovered what that “something” was. It wasn’t a something but a someone. When I opened my heart to God last July and began to truly seek him, the loneliness started to subside. When I became involved with his church and was surrounded by a loving and caring group of brothers and sisters, I started to feel like I belonged…that I was not alone any more. After my baptism, I realized that not only did I have a wonderful local church family, but I was part of a very large family…a worldwide family. God is my father and Jesus is my brother. The warmth and love of such a family continually surrounds me. Although there are times my emotions fluctuate, I no longer feel that deep piercing loneliness. In Ps.68:6, it says that God places the lonely in families. I thank and praise him that he placed me in an eternal family!

      • J. Randal Matheny 3:35 pm on 2017-01-18 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for your honest words, Karen. I missed that passed in Psalm 68, or I might have included it. Great reference there!

  • J. Randal Matheny 11:11 am on 2017-01-11 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Corollaries, , gospel truth   

    No fake news here 

    The internet is awash with talk of fake news. It almost seems like those who talk most about it are most guilty of it. It wouldn’t be the first time for something like that to happen.

    The whole fake-news brouhaha appears to be politically motivated. Media groups pledge to root it out. They’re the same ones who were in the bag for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Something’s rotten in Denmark.

    But we can expect such things from the world. Corruption and dishonesty are to be found at every turn.

    In matters of the Spirit, however, we look for truth. We spurn human theologies and traditions in order to discover the right path of God. That search must turn to the Bible, where it will find its goal. (More …)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 10:52 am on 2017-01-04 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Corollaries, ,   

    Growth in spurts and increments 

    With the arrival of a new year, new resolutions and plans appear in the mind. It’s good to reevaluate one’s goals and objectives, analyze past performance, and plan for better results.

    Usually, plans made at the new year tend to be ambitious. The exercise gyms, for example, have their best attendance in January. That’s understandable. But neither should the small, incremental changes be despised. To borrow the language of Zechariah, let us not despise the day of small things, or as NET puts it, “small beginnings” Zech 4.10.

    Sometimes it’s easier for us to nudge up our efforts in small ways than by big changes. Tweaks can often accomplish more than drastic measures. (More …)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 6:32 am on 2016-12-28 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Corollaries, , intention, ,   

    Determine your year ahead 

    train-motion

    One writer described the year 2016 as the year of disruption. I dare say he’s correct in many ways, speaking as he is from an American perspective. Disruption was true around the world as well, with Brexit, Fidel Castro’s death, China’s growth, Venezuela’s continued death spiral, and a host of other sad tendencies.

    Brazil was no exception. President Dilma was impeached and removed from office. The economy slowed and joblessness grew. Corruption went beserk. (More …)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 6:01 am on 2016-12-21 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cheer, Corollaries, good will,   

    ‘He will give us peace’ 

    light-rays-forest

    Every year around Christmas time people occupy themselves with talk about peace. Religious folk who profess to be Christians experience a jump in warm wishes for peace on earth. At Jesus’ birth, the shepherds in the field heard a heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” Lk 2.14 KJV.

    The KJV translation, say some, tends to lead people to a bad conclusion about the possibility of peace on earth and good will toward, or among, men. There’s no doubt that people use the verse in a sappy, wishful sense. Better manuscript evidence points to a slightly different reading, with a far different meaning: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!” (NET). (More …)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 4:25 am on 2016-12-14 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Corollaries, , , ,   

    Where’s the urgency? 

    urgency

    Yesterday, a non-Christian and I resumed studying the Bible with a view toward his conversion. He wants to be baptized. His wife is a Christian. He feels left out of participation in worship. He wants to be a part of the body.

    He had stopped studying for months. He had an issue that he needed to deal with in his heart. But for all that, he just didn’t feel the urgency, even though he understood the connection between sin and perdition. (More …)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 7:01 am on 2016-12-07 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Corollaries, , , ,   

    Fake-news sites targeted by larger media outlets 

    Google, Twitter, and some traditional news media outlets are targeting what they call fake-news sites in an attempt to refuse them access to, or accounts in, their services. Twitter is shutting down numerous accounts of people they accuse of conspiracy theories and alt-right positions. Facebook has for some time been accused of tweaking their algorithms to give preference to left-wing news media.

    If ever there was a time when news organizations pretended to maintain neutrality and objetivity, it has long passed.

    Christians, of all people, nurture a special place in their hearts for truth—not only biblical truth, but truth in all its aspects and facets. (More …)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 9:44 am on 2016-11-30 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Corollaries, , , ,   

    Why we’re perennially shocked at deaths in large numbers 

    Photo illustration only, not of the crash mentioned below.

    Photo illustration only, not of the crash mentioned below.

    Almost an entire professional soccer team, with a gaggle of journalists and flight crew, perished Nov. 29 as they were arriving for the South American Cup in Medellin, Colombia. The team came from southern Brazil. Many of the journalists were well known nationally. Everyone is in shock over the loss of 71 lives. Only six survived.

    Apparently, electrical failure was reported by the captain before the plane, owned by a Bolivian company, fell from the sky.

    The loss of life is tragic. There is reason to be sad and to mourn. I wrote a short devotional piece, on DeusConosco.com, to help people deal with this moment. (More …)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 6:57 am on 2016-11-23 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Corollaries, , ,   

    When we opened our eyes this morning 

    empty-bedOne out of eight Americans die in their sleep. Surprisingly, one study found that people with sleep apnea are no more likely to do so than others. There’s a perception that the elderly die in their sleep more often than others. And, of course, there’s the dreaded Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

    In the Bible, people died in war, from sickness, of old age, and from personal violence such as murder. Just like today. The first sin we have record of outside of Eden was premeditated murder. Many died as a direct result of sin — think of Nadab and Abihu, Korah, Achan, Ananias and Sapphira.

    All death is a consequence of sin in the world. It was not a part of God’s original design. (More …)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 5:06 am on 2016-11-09 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Corollaries,   

    Stunning election results provide great opportunity 

    Americans awoke to stunning election results. I admit to a sense of relief that the Democrat nominee will not afflict the nation with harmful policies of every type. That relief at the moment is overpowering concerns for the future.

    God controls the affairs of men. He delights in upsets. What appears stable and unbeatable to mere humans he upturns with a mere word. In the halls of power men plan and plot, but God continues to do his will. (More …)

     
  • J. Randal Matheny 9:40 am on 2016-11-02 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Corollaries, , ,   

    Even under adverse conditions, the body of Christ can do much good 

    evil-society

    On some social medium, a brother whom I am not now able to identify said that we shouldn’t confuse the mess of the world—or in his instance, of the USA—with the good health of the church. His warning is appropriate, for the family of God often thrives in less than ideal circumstances. It often grows in the midst of persecution. (More …)

     
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