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  • J. Randal Matheny 5:31 am on 2016-10-14 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Christian work, faithfulness, pew-sitters   

    How to keep people from falling, but what constitutes faithfulness? 

    The Missus and I travel this afternoon to speak at a regional event upstate, about 3-4 hours from us. I’ll speak tomorrow to men of the region. The Missus will speak to the women of the congregation hosting the event.

    The theme of the event is about how to prevent people from falling away. Since our Lord is the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep to go after the single stray, this is a good topic. And needed. Not a few leave the truth. (More …)

    • Eugene Adkins 6:55 am on 2016-10-14 Permalink | Reply

      Last Sunday evening I told everyone I was about to preach a “Sunday morning sermon” because the intro to my lesson revolved around the idea of coming together because of the cross of Christ, but that we’re not right with God just because we come together…we must all carry a cross of service to do that (I used the context of Luke 9:23 to support what I was saying). I ended up saying that whether it’s Sunday morning or Sunday evening, it’s still a thought that we all need to think about.

      • J. Randal Matheny 10:22 am on 2016-10-14 Permalink | Reply

        Hmm, we have just one meeting on Sunday here, so I couldn’t do that. Good thought, though.

  • TFRStaff 6:34 pm on 2015-08-25 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , faithfulness,   

    God Is Faithful 

    God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Cor. 1:9).

    No less than 10 times in the New Testament is God referred to as faithful. The word translated faithful means to be trustworthy, sure, true.

    Our God is trustworthy. He will do exactly what He says He will do. God has always been faithful. He cannot be any other way.

    In order for us to fully live for God we need to believe He will do for us what He said He would do. Sarah, the wife of Abraham, gave us a great example by receiving “strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised” (Hebrews 11:11).

    God promises eternal life to all who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9). Do you believe it? You should because our God is faithful.

    In Christ, Steve Preston


  • Larry Miles 2:39 pm on 2015-05-26 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Articles by Larry Miles, , , faithfulness, , , ,   

    Thoughts From The Book of Ephesians (Thought #1) 

    I have  been  working on  a  new series of   articles based on the  book of Ephesians– I have  12 “Thoughts”  done so far.  These  will take the  reader  through Eph. 2:10


    Thought # 1: The Writer and the Recipients

    Text: Eph. 1:1
    When people wrote letters back in Biblical times they put their name at the beginning of the letter. We do just the opposite. This is called the “salutation.” The Apostle Paul, at the beginning of this epistle, lets his readers know who he is, what his credentials are for writing the letter and to whom he is writing the letter.

    All of this is included in Eph. 1:1. Verse 2 is his greeting. Paul was not one of the original 12 Apostles. His Apostleship is by special appointment from the Lord Jesus. He received this as­signment to be an apostle to the Gentiles. Thank the Lord that he took this privilege and honor seri­ously. If he and others whom he reached with the Gospel had not, then we would not be here today en­joying the blessings of salvation.

    “…By the will of God.” It was and is God’s will that all mankind be saved and He has provided a way through His Son that all may be saved. But we all know that the majority of mankind, both past, present and future will not accept that way of salvation. Paul was faithful in his ministry (2 Tim. 4:6-8).

    Those whom Paul is writing to are named in the latter part of Eph. 1:1. The primary audi­ence of the writers of the Word of God was locally those in the first century, but we can share in these titles that Paul used for the Ephesian Christians on the basis of our faith and obedience to the Gospel.

    The recipients of Paul’s letter were the Christians in Ephesus. Ephesus was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire. Paul gives at least 2 names, perhaps 3, for Christians in verse 1. He calls them (1) “Saints; (2) faithful, and (3) in Christ Jesus.”

    A “saint” in the New Testament, is not a sinless person, but a saved sinner. Faithfulness to the Lord is required if one wants to enjoy all that God has for him or her. Paul stresses that Christians are “in Christ.” As I said earlier in this devotion: Christians are saved by grace, through faith, in bap­tism, for good works. Let all of us strive to dedicate our lives to the Lord and His Church and help others find their way out of darkness into the marvelous light of the Gospel.

    -Larry Miles

    Louisville, KY


  • TFRStaff 1:16 pm on 2015-04-03 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , faithfulness, ,   

    Stay Close (Ted Knight) 

    My Lady and I were in a mall on Tuesday, April 1st. As we walked along there was a man with a little boy who seemed about three years of age.

    The father said to him, “Do you want to go home and stay with Mommy and Daddy?” The little boy said, “Yes!” The father then told his son, “You must stay close to Mommy and Daddy because there might be someone else who would want to take you home with them.” (More …)

  • Glenda Williams 10:24 pm on 2015-03-15 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , faithfulness,   

    What does the Bible say about Christian living 

    By: Douglas M. Williams, Sr.

    “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me’” (Matthew 16:24).

    “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

    “Do not love the world or the things in the world” (1 John 2:15).

    “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

    “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

    “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

    We become a Christian by hearing, believing, repenting, confessing our faith, and being baptized for the forgiveness of sins, and then we must live for Jesus each day of our lives. The above scriptures give us information about this, and in fact most of the New Testament, 21 letters, is given to teach us how to live for Jesus and with our fellow man.

    Someone gave their idea of Christian living by saying, “Christianity is putting Christ on the inside, and then letting Him show on the outside.” Isn’t this what Paul is saying in Galatians 2:20?

    The song exhorts us to, “Live for Jesus, in life’s morning. At the noon-tide hour be His, and at eve, when day is turning, and inherit endless bliss. Live for Jesus, Give Him all thou hast to give; on the cross the world’s Redeemer, gave His life that thou mightest  live.”

    This is the life that is God’s purpose for us; it is the life that is lived joyfully; it is the life that is lived abundantly; it is the life that is lived in hope of heaven; it is all of this and much more because we live for Jesus.

    God bless us all as we obey Jesus and live for Him who died for us.

  • J. Randal Matheny 4:24 pm on 2015-01-10 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , faithfulness, spiritual birthday   

    Today is my spiritual birthday. It was 1971, best I recall. (I have the certificate stashed away somewhere.) I’m grateful the Lord called me to his freedom. He has proved faithful. I pray I may as well.

  • TFRStaff 11:52 am on 2014-08-08 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: faithfulness, ,   

    Not what we wanted to hear 

    “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” 2 Timothy 3:12.

    Well, that’s not what we wanted to hear!

    Here’s a description of the narrow road that few find, that Paul urges the young evangelist, Timothy, to travel. He begins Chapter 3 by describing the wide road that the many are on. It’s marked by “lovers of themselves, lovers of money … [those] without love … without self-control … lovers of pleasure … men of depraved minds” among many others. (More …)

    • Jack Wirtz 12:34 pm on 2014-08-08 Permalink | Reply

      “The world easily puts up with the mask of a religion which depends on itself, but the piety which derives its vigor directly from Christ is as odious to modern Christians as it was to the ancient Jews” [BENGEL].
      But not Christ.

      Galatians 2:20
      I am crucified with Christ, and no longer live, *I*, but Christ lives in me; but [in] that I now live in flesh, I live by faith, the [faith] of the Son of GOD, who has loved me and given Himself for me.

      Philippians 1:21
      For for me to live [is] Christ, and to die gain;

  • Eugene Adkins 6:33 am on 2014-05-15 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: faithfulness, , , ,   

    Remaining faithful through the “Bochim’s” of life 

    So it was, when the Angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept. Then they called the name of that place Bochim; and they sacrificed there to the Lord.” (Judges 2:4-5)

    The name Bochim (bo-keem’) means weeping, and in case you’ve never noticed, the children of Israel were well accustomed to shedding tears.

    In the particular case mentioned above the children of Israel as a whole were on the verge of resting from war and enjoying the land that had been delivered into their hands. But this moment of great joy was preceded by a day of great pain. And for what reason? What were the words of the Lord’s Angel that had cut them so deeply? What was it that changed their shouts of triumph to shouts of grief? What led them to name a location as a reminder of their pain?

    It was because they were told that their children would walk away from their God – from the God!

    But despite the fact that their children would turn their sin hardened hearts away from the law and grace of God, give special note to what this generation of Israel did in the face of the dreadful news. They stayed near to the Lord with hearts wide open, refusing to sacrifice their faith for their family. In fact, they sacrificed to the God of Heaven and Earth – the God of their Hormah (devotion) and their Bochim (weeping). They remained faithful through this great time of weeping, this great “Bochim” moment of their life.

    As I consider the lesson that this section of scripture contains I can’t help but think of the pain that still comes from watching a loved one walk away from God. It can be stifling. It can lead to a branding of certain days in our life as a “Bochim” that’s difficult to accept much less forget. But I believe whole-heartedly that the Lord understands. He knows the pain of loss! He acknowledges the difficulty that lies ahead. While living upon the Earth, the faithful will always face such hurtful faithlessness and we must be prepared for it.

    As those who are closest to us make their own decisions concerning their relationship with God let us not forget that if we stay near to his side, if we remember the sacrifice that he offered for us, if we allow the Spirit of God to produce a faithfulness in our heart, soul, mind and strength that refuses to turn back, then God will take care of the tears that came from every “Bochim” moment in our life as we enjoy the privileges of the promised land.

    Stay faithful to the Lord my brothers and sisters in Christ.

    for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:17)

  • J. Randal Matheny 8:01 am on 2014-04-15 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , faithfulness, , ritualism   

    Break the Easter egg — Did a church ever grow from an Easter celebration? 


    I hate to rain on your parade. But all this talk about taking advantage of Easter, when some people may show up at church for this one time during the year (throw in Christmas if you like), sounds like a bunch of bunkum.

    Did anyone ever convert to Christ from showing up in their Easter finest? Did any church suddenly grow from a fine Easter production? Did the Sunday after Easter suddenly swell with new members because an eldership and a preacher put on their Sunday best to impress the suddenly pious visitor? (More …)

    • Bernard Barton 8:47 am on 2014-04-15 Permalink | Reply

      AMEN!!!! Brother I know there will be auditoriums filled this coming Sunday even in the Lord’s church
      Even though we don’t celebrate Easter there will be many of the members of the church of Christ who will
      show up this one Sunday as pious Christians

    • John Henson 9:48 am on 2014-04-15 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, can’t I rant or rave just a little. I can tell them of “unknown tongues,” a similar KJV error in 1 Corinthians 14. Easter and unknown tongues. We speak in a tongue everyday, just not in an unknown one. Of course, there wouldn’t have been a problem if men hadn’t added words to God’s message! There’s my rant.

    • bgiselbach 12:29 pm on 2014-04-15 Permalink | Reply

      Very powerful, brother!

    • Weylan Deaver 10:29 am on 2014-04-16 Permalink | Reply

      Well said, Randal.

  • Eugene Adkins 7:33 am on 2014-04-04 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , faithfulness, , reliance upon God,   

    Constantly looking to self, or constantly looking to him? 

    And after going without food for forty days and forty nights, he was in need of it. And the Evil One came and said to him, If you are the Son of God, give the word for these stones to become bread. But he made answer and said, It is in the Writings, Bread is not man’s only need, but every word which comes out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:2-4 BBE)

    Look to yourself! This was the Devil’s cry, challenge and critique. He wasn’t looking for a fulfillment of 1 Thessalonians 5:21 – he was looking for an abandonment of Matthew 6:33. And what failed against Jesus often overcomes us.

    Self-denial is huge! How huge? This huge – Luke 9:23-25.

    Self-denial looks to God. A task that’s not always so enjoyable for those of us who aren’t prepared. It can be downright scary because we’re not as ready to change as we thought we were. That is, until we look at Jesus, and keep looking at him. With Jesus the veil is removed and the load is lightened. With Jesus negative emotions are replaced with faith-filled emotions. With Jesus we see our self better – and we see how better off we are when we deny our self and confess him.

    So the next time we’re challenged to “prove” something about our faith, we may want to stop and ask if our “proof” causes us to look to a reliance upon our self or to someone else beyond our self.

    So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?” But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:22-27)

  • TFRStaff 5:31 am on 2014-03-29 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , faithfulness,   

    Changing our world, one person at a time 

    self-control-evangelismBy Charles Box — As Christians we should be thankful that we have government. Government is “the group of people who officially control a country.” As Christians a part of our prayers should be for government. Paul wrote by inspiration of God, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

    Government exists for three basic purposes. First, government exists to protect the sacredness of human life. We were made in the image of God and therefore human life is precious. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26-27) Early on in man’s history God showed the responsibility of government in protecting human life “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” (Genesis 9:6) (More …)

  • Glenda Williams 3:40 pm on 2014-03-01 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , faithfulness, , ,   

    “I want to go as long as I can.” 

    Lou Davis Higgins, 94 years old, lives in the Woodbury, TN area, and is my husband’s aunt. Aunt Lou Davis, as we call her, became a Christian at the age of 13 years. She was baptized by brother Lidge Martin in Lucky, TN. She said, “I remember how wonderful I felt when I came up out of the water, and I feel more wonderful now.”

    Lou Davis Warren married Brady Higgins, September 9, 1939, and to this union came four boys: Jimmy, Glenn, David and Steve. They were married almost 56 years when Uncle Brady died.

    When visiting in Tennessee recently, we were blessed to visit and talk with Aunt Lou Davis. It was on a piercing cold, Wednesday afternoon. Aunt Lou Davis was making plans to go to Bible study at the Woodbury Church of Christ that night. She said, “I want to go as long as I can.” One might ask, “Well, why shouldn’t she?” Aunt Lou Davis is blind. She could easily have made any number of excuses for not going on that bitter cold night. She could have said:

    1. “It’s Wednesday night. It is not absolutely necessary that we attend Bible study on Wednesday night.”
    2. “It’s freezing weather outside. It’s just too cold to go. I might get sick, and it would be the death of me.”
    3. “I’m 94 years old. The Lord doesn’t expect people my age to attend every service. He understands.”
    4. “I’m blind.”
    5. “I can’t drive anymore, and I don’t want to put people out to come help me back and forth to church.”

    She could easily have offered these excuses. When I shared my thoughts with her about this article, she said, “That’s what they would be…excuses, not reasons.”

    Thank God for those devoted saints who trudge on toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus, setting a perfect example for us to follow.

  • TFRStaff 1:23 pm on 2013-11-17 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: faithfulness, , , , , , ,   


    Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.  From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.  I will abide in thy tabernacle forever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings.” Selah. (Psalm 61:14).  When my heart is overwhelmed. . .to be over-whelmed means, “to the mind covered or muffled up with sorrow.” [Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies].  What do we do when our hearts are simply overwhelmed?  This psalm should give comfort to many a person who has struggled in finding words to express to God. The psalmist tells us how to deal with situations such as this.

    First of all, we are instructed to pray.  The very thing that we may struggle with is what we are instructed to do. I am reminded of the statement made by the apostle Paul in Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”   The psalmist asked God to “attend unto my prayer.”  Listen or give attention to my prayer.  We have that assurance from God’s word in many places.  John states, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” (I John 5:14).  Don’t forget to pray!

    Second, remember what God has done for you.  The psalmist proclaimed, “thou hast been a shelter for me.”  Remember all the blessings you have enjoyed, both physical and spiritual.  When we look at what God has done for us, it should help us to face whatever is confronting us at the present time.

    Third, we need to abide in the tabernacle. To do so is to be in the presence of God.  We need to stay close to God.  We need to walk closer to God each day of our lives.  Notice another statement found in Psalm 27:5For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.”

    Finally, we need to trust God.  We may not understand why certain things happen, but we need faith that is strong enough to trust God.  (Psalm 62:8; Isaiah 26:3,4).

    Pray. . . Remember. . . Abide. . . Trust.

    Larry Cole – Montrose Church of Christ, Carthage, TN

  • Michael Summers 2:56 pm on 2013-11-11 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: chaplain, , , , faithfulness, , , reintegration, substance abuse recovery, trauma,   

    How May We Honor Military Veterans 

    Yesterday morning, I conversed briefly with an older member of the church I attend after our worship service concluded. Near the end of the service, the song director asked military veterans to stand and the congregation then concluded the service with a prayer song: “God Bless America.” The older brother in Christ told me that he had been in the U.S. Army during World War II and had been a Prisoner of War for about two months in 1945 after his capture by German forces. The horrible experience still scars him. He is not unique. While many military personnel return from combat zones reasonably healthy in mind and body, others bear scars they will never lose. We notice some quickly. They lost an arm or a leg; their faces still are scarred by burns from an explosion. Others have emotional scars. They witnessed charred remains of other Soldiers or were tortured as prisoners of war. Some may have performed acts for which they’re still ashamed, even though Christ forgave them long ago. Still others returned and have had trouble finding employment. They range from young enlisted Soldiers with high school diplomas to medical officers and chaplains with doctorates and master’s degrees. These too suffer; many occupied positions of great responsibility and supervised numbers of others in a combat zone, but now that they’re back home, they discover that potential employers don’t understand the skills and the leadership experience they gained. All these veterans hurt and may wonder if anyone really cares.

    On this Veterans Day, I ask, “How may we honor these men and women who volunteered to go where they might die in the service of our country, of us who live in the same nation?” This question applies also to Christians and military veterans in other nations. I mentioned already how our congregation concluded the service. Members also put together an eleven minute video with then-and-now pictures of veterans in the congregation which aired after the service. Another congregation hosted a breakfast for veterans and their wives as well as widow(er)s of military personnel. Some congregations invite veterans to lead the services on such days. These gestures help those who have deployed far away to reintegrate and to regain a sense of belonging once again. More help may be needed.

    A disturbing number of people who laid their lives on the line for us live homeless on our streets. They need different kinds of help; they’re homeless for diverse reasons. Some need mental health or substance abuse counseling. Others need vocational training, clothing, food, and a place to stay. They all need for someone to demonstrate compassion and to take initiative to help them. Again, some of these may even show up at your church’s worship services. You may wonder what happened to the young woman who used to sit in that pew after she returned from Iraq.

    Some veterans just need an opportunity to contribute. The reserve component chaplain who lost his preaching or teaching position when he deployed needs opportunities to serve. If the chaplain, medical doctor, or commander was/is a senior officer, they supervised what equates to a very large congregation’s worship and education activities, a missions organization, a small hospital, or a medium size business. They have real skills that the church and the community need. They may have lost the connections or (after their return) the confidence to gain appropriate employment to use those skills. They also may have had some of the traumatic experiences described above.

    I asked, “How may we honor these veterans?” Others question whether we should even though months ago they asserted, “We support the troops.” If you support the troops, now you have the opportunity to prove it. Thousands are returning to our communities and our churches. How will you prepare yourself and your congregation to help these veterans and their families? Jesus demonstrated compassion and healing throughout his ministry. Jesus, John the Baptist, and the Apostle Peter all interacted directly with soldiers; they addressed their medical, financial/ethical, and spiritual concerns. How will you honor our military veterans?

    • Jason B. Ladd 3:05 pm on 2013-11-11 Permalink | Reply

      You might enjoy this poem about families and absence, “While He’s Away: A Poem About Being Gone.” http://wp.me/p3BzWN-lB

      • Michael Summers 5:40 pm on 2013-11-11 Permalink | Reply

        Excellent poem, Jason. I conducted several retreats for families of deployed Soldiers; many comments from people at those retreats are reflected in the poem.

    • Brian Galloway 4:19 pm on 2013-11-11 Permalink | Reply

      I am a veteran and recently homeless (but not anymore). I was able to get out of that situation with the help of a lot of people; some Christians, some not. What I discovered along the way is that homeless people are modern-day lepers, as if homelessness is somehow contagious, and ‘normal’ people seem to think it’s safer to keep their distance. I also re-discovered the truth that Jesus did not come to make good people better but to rescue utterly lost people from a fate much worse than homelessness. Our social position in this life IS NOT de facto proof of our standing with Christ. Credible witnesses of that: Job, Naomi & Ruth, the apostle Paul, King David at certain times in his life, the prophet Jeremiah, John the Baptist, and plenty of others we’ll never hear about in this lifetime.

      • Michael Summers 5:37 pm on 2013-11-11 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Brian. As you may have inferred, I too am a veteran; I too have had tough times. Your comment about the modern-day lepers is right on track. I’m glad people did step forward to help you. Keep looking forward with hope and keep your focus on Jesus (who himself knew homelessness, acc. to Luke 9:58).

  • TFRStaff 9:34 am on 2013-10-03 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , faithfulness,   

    The fruit of faithfulness 

    “I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations” Psalm 89:1.

    That God is faithful is well established. This entire psalm declares this truth. And, oh, how good that is! We could not long endure without the Almighty following through and staying true to the provisions He gives to us and the promises He’s made to us.

    What is at stake is our faithfulness to Him. Faithfulness is one of the fruits of the Spirit that those who’ve obeyed the gospel are to grow in our lives, yet it seems we too easily sell the Lord out at the first twinge of temptation.

    We have so far to go to imitating our God in whose image we’ve been restored in Christ. The trustworthy saying in 2 Timothy 2:13 tells us, “If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

    So, let us celebrate His great faithfulness while recommitting ourselves to growing this fruit. As another psalm says, “It is good … to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night.”

    Are you growing in the fruit of faithfulness?

    Doug Kashorek

    Plattsburgh church of Christ


    author of Kin of Cain

    a Christian historical fantasy


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