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  • J. Randal Matheny 6:32 am on 2016-12-28 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , encouragement, 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 …)

     
  • Glenda Williams 7:53 pm on 2015-03-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , encouragement   

    My brother is dying with bladder cancer. We visited him yesterday probably for the last time this side of eternity. My heart has been heavy since that visit, and today I wrote this poem as I thought of him and what he would say to me, his little sister.

    When I become a memory
    Think of me with a smile.
    Tears may fill your eyes,
    But only let it be for a little while.

    Remember all the good things we did.
    Remember when I was at my best.
    Remember only the good times
    And let go of all the rest.

    Remember when I was healthy
    And so full of life,
    Remember me young and happy,
    With a life free of strife.

    When I become a memory
    And am no longer here with you,
    Smile and be happy and remember
    My love for you is true.

    -Glenda Williams 3-05-2015

     
  • Ed Boggess 9:06 am on 2015-01-26 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , encouragement, ,   

    Illinois native Army Specialist Gabriel Garriga suffered from the severe burns he suffered when his Humvee exploded in a raging fireball in Iraq. Medics gave him a one in one hundred chance of survival. But in spite of the odds and after 29 surgeries, Gabe, as his family and friends call him, traveled the long road of recovery. For a long time he went through the process of rehabilitation in San Antonio at the Brook Army Medical Center. At the time he was just happy to be alive. Now he spends a lot of his time encouraging other soldiers recovering from their injuries. When I last read of him he was 20 and he was looking to the day when he could return to his Illinois home and resume a normal life. In my book Gab is a hero and is owed a great debt of gratitude from America. This is Just A Minute

     
  • Glenda Williams 11:05 pm on 2014-11-17 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , encouragement,   

    Mama said, "Everybody needs a church home…" 

    Mama didn’t have a high school diploma, but she was wise beyond her years. I’ve often thought had she been allowed to go to college, she would have been a great success at whatever she chose to do. With 17 brothers and sisters, she had to stay home after finishing the ninth grade to help out with things around home. She and I went to the same country school.

    One of the things mama taught me as a teenager was the importance of having a church home. I recall we were in the kitchen of our small country home when she said, “Everybody needs to be a member of a church. Then if they have a death or some trouble, they will have people who will help and support them. People that don’t have a church family don’t have people to help when they have trouble.”

    She had already taught me the distinctiveness of the church of Christ. She said, “Jesus built one church. There’s just one.” I knew early on the church He built was the One that wore His name, and the only one we can read about in the Bible. Denominations hadn’t come into the picture when Jesus established His church, the first church. She taught me this long before we started going to worship regularly. That’s a long story, and for another time.

    It’s true. Everybody needs a church home and for multiple reasons. Let’s consider some for a minute.

    1. We need a church home for salvation. Jesus gave His life as a sinless sacrifice for us that we might live with Him eternally in heaven one day. We can’t separate Christ and the church (Acts 5:23).

    2. We need a church home for fellowship. Christians are like family members. They laugh with us when we laugh, and they cry with us when we cry. They will stand beside us all the way. People seldom get into trouble when fellowshipping with followers of Jesus (John 17:12; 1 John 1:3).

    3. We need a church home for spiritual growth, to learn more of God’s word. Preachers and teachers spend endless hours preparing Bible lessons to teach others about the Lord, to increase the listener’s knowledge. We need a church home to be built up in the faith (Acts 2:42-47).

    4. We need a church home to obey the command to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). David said, “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1).

    5. We need a church home for comfort in difficult times (2 Corinthians 1:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11).

    The Lord intended the local church to provide much of the support and encouragement we need as His disciples.

     
  • Eugene Adkins 3:36 pm on 2013-12-25 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , encouragement, ,   

    You May Never See Your Effect Here 

    I had a chance to actually sit down yesterday after all the family-to-do things were over, and while doing so I caught about the last half of “It’s a Wonderful Life” on TV. I don’t believe there are very many movies out there that capture the point that the movie makes – that being, you just never know how much of an effect you may be having on others for the better!

    Sometimes it’s easy to get down when it comes to our outlook on life and the effectiveness that we may think we’re having on others as we work within and without of the church. A snail’s pace sometimes sounds like an improvement! Things can feel woefully mundane and monotonous. Our world can feel too small and our grasp on things too weak. And it seems like there are two hills to climb for every one to walk down…you know, the old “up hill both ways” story that all of a sudden feels like non-fiction.

    But the truth of the matter is that the light is being seen and the salt is being tasted as long as we’re out there mixing it up and leaving off the basket, bushel and shade. Small things do make big differences, and there are people who love us, care for us, appreciate us, and need us. It may not always feel like it but feelings aren’t the deciding factor – actions are! Yes life will always go on, but on to what is the question.

    Also keep in mind that the things that we do may not have an effect on the person we’re directly dealing with as much as it may the next person that they’ll be dealing with. Think of it like dominoes with a positive spin. Domino number three needs domino number one as much they needed domino number two! So just because you don’t see how you’re making a difference doesn’t mean that you’re not.

    when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.” (2 Timothy 1:5)

     
  • TFRStaff 8:50 pm on 2013-08-15 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: encouragement   

    Encouragement for cold feet 

    Psychologists conducted an experiment to determine the capacity of people to endure pain. They measured how long a person could stand barefooted in a bucket of cold water. They discovered one factor that enabled some people to stay in the water twice as long as others.

    If someone offered encouragement and support, the person could endure the pain twice as long as the one who received no encouragement.

    1 Thess 5:11 – “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

    Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:50 am on 2013-08-02 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , encouragement, , , , United States Marine Corps   

    Let’s Help Someone Else Finish Their Race 

    There’s a wonderful story coming out of Minnesota about a 9-year-old little boy who was running in a 5K race but he began to run out of a little steam toward the end. The boy finished, but the way he finished is what makes the story so great.

    As the boy found himself starting to run alone and getting discouraged he spotted someone who he thought might help him – Lance Cpl. Myles Kerr of the United States Marine Corps. The boy asked Mr. Kerr if he would run with him, and Mr. Kerr refused to turn him down and helped the young boy, Boden Fuchs, finish the race even when he wanted to give up.

    What a story!

    There are so many spiritual applications, the least of them being that we all need someone to run our race of faith with; we all need a little encouragement every now and then, and God’s word can provide the support and encouragement we need if we’re willing to listen to those who know what it’s like to be in our shoes: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [think Hebrews 11 here], let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” (Hebrews 12:1). And this thought goes without leaving out the very next verse which says, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

    There is no shame in asking for help while we run our race here on earth; there are days when we all run better than others and days when we run worse, and we should know how far a little bit of encouragement can go. The real shame comes from us having the ability to help others but leaving them behind to fail in their race. So let’s be the encourager that God wants us to be and helps others finish their race.

    Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,” (Hebrews 10:23-24)

     
  • Michael Summers 2:01 pm on 2013-06-28 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , encouragement, , , , , , toxic churches   

    Where Do We Go to Heal? 

    My journey of faith began in a family of faith and a family of worshipers (the Bible often calls the church a “household” or “family.”). My parents loved God and made assembling with other lovers of God a priority for us. They reminded us often that it was a privilege to assemble with other Christians, that in some nations it was definitely not a right to do so. While I have discovered that some communities of faith may be more toxic than healing, healthy faith develops best in community. There are times when we may need to go alone in prayer to express our pain and hurt to the Lord, but sometimes the occasions when we hurt the most are when the church that we thought didn’t care awakens to its responsibilities. Singing with a congregation, even listening if the pain is too great to sing or the song evokes particularly emotional memories, allows other believers to speak words of grace and love. Even when one’s presence challenges others to forgive or consider whether they should allow you to participate, growth in relationship to God and his people occurs. We all sin (Romans 3:23). We all need forgiveness. Assembling together allows others to bear one another’s burden (Galatians 6:1-2) and remember that being a part of Christ’s saved people is not an exercise in isolation nor about feeling good all the time about other Christians. Romans 15:1-3 says, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.'” We worship together to praise God, but also meet together to encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24-25). We should not gather as a church to hear a speaker verbally scourge the suffering, but we should search the scriptures together and pray fervently that we may help the damaged person heal and return to active service. If a person’s (or group’s) presence threatens the spiritual stability of the congregation, then we meet and discuss face-to-face how their actions endanger the health of the community while remembering to check our preferences to see if they align with the word and will of God.

    Because my parents encouraged me to make assembling with Christians a priority, when I encountered a difficult time in my life when it would have been easy to suffer alone and stop “going to church,” I kept going. I found it hard to pray at that point in my life and it was difficult to sing some songs. Some sermons were harder to hear and some well-meaning brethren just did not understand what I was experiencing. Still I kept assembling and I continued to read the Bible regularly (Strange, I think, that I found it hard to talk to God for a while but still was willing to listen to him). The small congregation embraced me and helped me to heal, using me when I was willing and my work would help others. Some told me that my presence encouraged them. I survived spiritually because that church and my family of origin loved me.

    Some hurting people have hurt themselves, and as part of the healing process, must realize and articulate the part they played in creating their pain. We call this repentance and confession; both acts are essential for spiritual healing. If they have never done so before, they will need (as did the apostle Paul) to wash away their sin in baptism (Acts 22:16). Some may be unable to reverse the effects of their actions; just as a physical amputee learns to function without a hand or with a prosthesis, they can learn to function in their new reality. Other hurting people have been abused – verbally, physically, or emotionally. They don’t need more abuse. They need love, and lots of patience.

    So, if you’re hurting spiritually, don’t try to solve your problems in isolation. Reach out for help to a community of faith, a church that takes God, Christ, and the Bible seriously, but that remembers also that it is the family of God and the body of Christ, an entity that heals rather harms. If you’re within such a group, and someone confesses difficulty, pain, or sin, don’t rush to ostracize. Pray and study to learn how you may help this person to heal and to grow up to become the healthy disciple God wants them to be. As Paul the apostle wrote, ” Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Romans 15:7). In the end, we all have fallen short, and that is why we need a family, a church, where we may heal and feel safe.
    .

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:34 am on 2013-05-15 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , encouragement, , Team Work   

    Give Someone an Ataboy…or an Atagirl 

    A little bit of encouragement can go a long way! And that’s good because it just so happens that a long way is how far many of us have to go.

    See if you can give an “ataboy” or an “atagirl” to someone today.

    Here’s some “ataboy’s” that I wanted to pass along with some links to boot:

    • Great job John T. Polk II for completing his posts on Psalm 1 through Psalm 150! Here’s the link to his last installment. – P.S. this praise is biblically (1 Thessalonians 5:11) and not the type of praise John talks about in the Psalm 150 🙂
    • Great job Stephen Bradd on a great Mother’s Day article on Audio Evangelism called “Shame to His Mother.”
    • Great job Mike Benson on an awesome post about the power and influence of godly women posted on Forthright. I’m going to put this in our bulletin soon.
    • Great job Don Ruhl on encouraging us to put our self in the shoes of another Bible character in another one of his short but challenging posts from his “Twice Blessed” devo’s.

    I would add others but I’m out of time, but I would like to quickly say to those of you who work hard to present the truth over the web: Great Job and Hang In There – you never know who your work may be encouraging.

    And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” (Acts 4:36-37 – NKJV)

     
    • J. Randal Matheny 7:56 am on 2013-05-15 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for mentioning these, especially our Fellow John P., for doing the Psalms. I failed to acknowledge his faithful execution of this fine task. I mention him here since it was all done on TFR. You’re right on your shout-out to the others as well.

      • John T. Polk II 12:52 pm on 2013-05-18 Permalink | Reply

        Randal,
        Thank you for your comment. I was on vacation for a week, and determined to “unplug.” The Lord willing, I’ll begin a Gospel Meeting Thursday, but am home for tomorrow. I do plan to begin a study of the Book of Proverbs soon, though. God be with you.
        John T. Polk II

    • John T. Polk II 12:53 pm on 2013-05-18 Permalink | Reply

      Eugene,
      Thank you for your comment. Keep up your good work.
      John T. Polk II

  • TFRStaff 7:25 am on 2013-04-20 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: encouragement   

    Greetings 

    In this country we greet each other by saying “Hello” or “Hi” or even “How are you doing”. Sometimes we just pass people by without saying anything. Those greetings are a way of acknowledging the other person when they come into contact with you. They convey friendliness but no real concern or care. Even using “How are you” nowadays carries no real interest in the life.

    What if we greeted people like Boaz greeted the reapers in his field. Boaz returning from a trip to Bethlehem greeted the reapers by say “The LORD be with you!” The reapers replied in kind: “”The LORD bless you!” What a way to start off the day. Boaz and his reapers obviously understood that our God was a part of their lives and took time to remind each other of it. Let us work toward doing that with our brethren today as a way of encouraging each other in our life for God.

    In Christ, Steve Preston

    Sign up for BibleTalk, short messages from

    God’s word, by sending an email to

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    or on the web at

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  • Eugene Adkins 8:30 am on 2013-04-06 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: encouragement, , , , , ,   

    THE WAY PEOPLE TALK by Winfred Clarke 

    Here’s a good little bulletin article that actually has a sermon outline for Nehemiah mixed in. I got it from the Montrose Church of Christ which is in a neighboring county. I thought some of you might find it useful.

    THE WAY PEOPLE TALK

    Most of us are aware that people are going to talk. Men are going to have their say about things. That doesn’t mean that what they say will always be right, but they are going to talk.

    What is said by people is an indication of what is in the heart, for it is out of the “abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.” So it behooves us to be sure that we say what we ought to say in spite of what people in general may say.

    You will see the importance of this in the book of Nehemiah. In the fourth chapter, you will find that which “Judah said,” that which the “adversaries said,” and what Nehemiah “said.” So here are at least three cases of people talking. But a great deal is learned from this as we see the “way people talk.”

    Remember that Nehemiah has returned from captivity and had undertaken the task of repairing the walls of the city of Jerusalem for such was “broken down” (Neh. 1:3). The job of restoration was underway as one group after another was given an assignment. As you read chapter three, you will see that one group would be working in one place, and the “next unto them” would be another. This is found time and again in this chapter. Look at verses 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12 of chapter three, and you will note this.  In the midst of all this activity, one will find people talking. What sort of voices will you hear?

    I. THERE IS THE VOICE OF DOUBT

    Listen to those of Judah as they say, “The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall” (Neh. 4:10).

    This is equal to saying “we can’t.” That means they would reach a point where they will just stop and not try. They would not put forth the effort that it would take for them to move through the rubbish. They would see it as insurmountable.

    How often have we heard these voices that would say, “it cannot be done,” but all we had to do was look around, and somebody was doing what some said could not be done. Yes, people will talk about those things that cannot be done, but they can be done.

    II. THERE IS THE VOICE OF DEFIANCE

    Notice, “And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease (Neh. 4:11).

    Here are people who are avowed enemies of the project being undertaken. They are not about to stand aside and allow this work to go unhindered. They will oppose it with all their might. This is nothing new, for the Devil has always opposed that which God would have done. His methods may vary, but he will oppose good works one way or the other.

    III. THERE IS THE VOICE OF DETERMINATION

    After the voices of those of Judah and the adversaries had been heard, there was need that Nehemiah speak. Somebody ought to say something that would boost the work. Somebody ought to be able to see something good. This is where the leadership of Nehemiah comes to the fore. It is said, “And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your house’s (Neh. 4:14).

    Nehemiah was not about to stand back and allow this good work to be destroyed. He is not about to allow those within and without to stop such an effort.

    It would indeed have been a sad day for the cause if he had not risen to offer encouragement. Suppose he had taken to bashing the work they were doing. You would never find good men involved in any such talk as this.

    Be it to the credit of Nehemiah, that in spite of what others would say, the work would go on and succeed. So will it ever be.

    Periodicals and Bulletins, Winfred Clarke

     
  • Ron Thomas 7:00 am on 2013-01-17 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: encouragement   

    Son of Encouragement 

    I don’t know if there are men on the moon, but if there are they must be using the earth as their lunatic asylum.” These words are attributed to George Bernard Shaw. If this is all that is known of him one would think that he is depressed continually and refuses to look at the bright side that people certainly have.

    It is to be admitted that it can be tough to look at the good side of people when all you see or hear is discouraging. Though it may be tough, consider Jesus. If there was a person to have lived who saw things as they truly were, but was unjustifiably condemned, and ultimately died a cruel and painful death—if there was ever a person who could actually have a perspective as George Bernard Shaw, it would be Jesus. Jesus, however, said: “Father, forgive them” because they don’t understand what they are doing. With that kind of spirit, how can we continually look at the negative? 

    For every person one may come in contact with that is less than desirable to know, there is another just waiting to brighten up the day. A challenge to us is what kind of person will I (we) be? It is easy to scour about, but it is better to be a “son of encouragement.” RT

     
  • TFRStaff 8:30 pm on 2012-10-16 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , encouragement,   

    Encouragement during the fog of depression 

    On a cool morning in July of 1952, Florence Chadwich waded into the waters off Catalina Island, intending to swim the channel to the California coast. Though an experienced long- distance swimmer, Florence knew this swim would be difficult. The water was numbingly cold, and the fog was so thick she could hardly see the boat that carried her trainer.

    Florence swam for more than fifteen hours. Several times she could sense sharks swimming next to her in the inky waters. Rifles were fired from the trainer’s boat to help keep the sharks at bay. Yet when Florence looked around her, all she could see was the fog. When she finally asked to be lifted from the water, she was only a half-mile from her goal. In a later interview Florence admitted that it wasn’t the cold, fear, or exhaustion that caused her to fail in her attempt to swim the Catalina channel. It was the fog.

    The struggles we face can sometimes cloak us in a fog of depression. Remember, even if you can’t see the end of your trouble, press on. God hasn’t brought you this far to leave you. He is standing there just outside the fog, waiting for your call.

    —God’s Lessons for Teens

    God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1

    We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We do not know what to do, but we do not give up the hope of living. We are persecuted, but God does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

    Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. Psalm 55:22

    [Jesus said]: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

    “Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:54 am on 2012-05-22 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: encouragement, ,   

    A Verse of Encouragement 

    Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah” (NKJV)

    How often did David encourage the people to trust God? Sometimes? Every once in a while? When they had no other choice? What about at all times?

    He encouraged them to pour out their heart to God. That’s not something that we can trust just anyone with! Ever poured your heart out to someone only to have them soak it all up and pour it back out to someone else? God won’t do that.

    David encouraged those who are looking for a refuge to stop looking, to start trusting, to start hoping and to start resting in the God of their salvation (vs. 1-2, 6-7).

    What other verses of encouragement (personal or congregational) from the Old Testament or the New Testament can you think of? Feel free to share what you think of.

     
    • D.H. Parker 8:55 am on 2012-05-22 Permalink | Reply

      Deuteronomy 33:26-27a “There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty. The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”

  • Eugene Adkins 6:58 am on 2012-04-19 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: encouragement, ,   

    What’s Waiting at the Top of that Ladder? 

    Yesterday, while reading my email from Audio Evangelism, I got to thinking about that ladder in Jacob’s dream. We all know what Jacob saw down here at the bottom rung. After all, we’re more than familiar with the ground view here on Earth. But can you imagine what the view is going to look like from the top of that ladder? We won’t be able to climb it alone that’s for sure, but through God’s grace we will see what it’s like to hit that top rung on “Jacob’s ladder” one of these days.

    Let this thought encourage you today – I know I’m going to try to let it encourage me.

     
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