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

    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 9:19 am on 2016-07-06 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , learning, ,   

    Life a constant learning process 

    After 45-plus years of typing and keyboarding according to the proper system taught back then in the public schools, I learned that this too has a right-handed bias. I had always had a bit of problem reaching the number 6 with the index finger of the right hand. Recently, I tried it — against all True and Proper Doctrine of Typing — with my left hand. Problem solved!

    But could I adapt easily to reaching the 6 with my left hand, after all these years of forcing the right? I found I could, after just a short time. (More …)

  • Richard Mansel 12:37 pm on 2015-04-23 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: inspiring, , learning, motivational   

    What is the Value of Knowledge? 


    • James 1:57 am on 2015-04-24 Permalink | Reply

      Do you know someone who knows more Bible than any living human, but who gains nothing from it?


  • Eugene Adkins 7:11 am on 2014-08-01 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , learning,   

    Some people just never mature 

    I’ve met several Christians throughout the years who are exactly what I try to avoid being – too “smart” for their own good spiritually speaking! Their “Bible knowledge” is so complete they have no room for growth…and it’s a major turn-off to the majority of people around them without them even knowing it, or caring enough to realize it.

    But can’t you know the truth, some may ask? You sure can according to John 8:32! But that knowledge, in its completed form, comes from continuing in the truth – it comes from growing in it (John 8:31; 2 Peter 3:18).

    Does that mean we can never know the complete the truth about a particular topic from day one? Absolutely not. Just think about the nameless eunuch of Ethiopia (Acts 8:35-37). But at the same time remember the growth process that the apostle named Peter of Galilee had to experience concerning the possibility of salvation for gentile people years (literally years) after publicly preaching that the benefits of the gospel would reach “those who were afar off” (Acts 2:38-39; Acts 10).

    My advice, which I strive to remember to follow myself, to anyone who gets asked a Bible-based question from someone who tells you that they’re not trying to be argumentative but simply asking a question that they’re curious about because of a statement or position that you’ve publicly proclaimed is for you to take the question seriously and try to recognize the validity of the point that the question is raising. Phew! Talk about a run-on sentence. But I suppose run-on’s are needed when you talk about a marathon length problem.

    Concerning the sum of the situation, this one thing I have learned: when you are going to ask people to recognize their error you have to be able and willing to do the same with yourself! And the failure to do so reveals a lack of spiritual maturity that becomes obvious to everyone other than the person who stares back at us in the mirror. That’s why we’d all do well to be an Apollos-minded person, and not a Diotrephes.

    Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” (Acts 18:24-26)

    • Jack Wirtz 2:48 pm on 2014-08-02 Permalink | Reply

      It is customary among many evangelists to began their lessons by stating something similar to, “We do our best to teach and practice what has been given to us by the inspired writers of the New Testament. If believe we have erred we invite you to sit down with us and show us from scripture where you believe we are in error.”

      We have no Popes in our midst.

      • Eugene Adkins 5:07 pm on 2014-08-02 Permalink | Reply

        Invitations to sit and study don’t equate to expectations of error being realized. Humility is needed for such a situation, and unfortunately humility is not always a virtue when talking to a person who has painted themselves into a terrible corner but they don’t want to admit it, or they can’t. The Diotrephes syndrome has been around for quite a while, and unfortunately it continues to be.

    • Jack Wirtz 7:43 am on 2014-08-03 Permalink | Reply

      My apology, I misunderstood the focus of your comments.

      • Eugene Adkins 7:57 am on 2014-08-03 Permalink | Reply

        No apologies needed, Jack.

        I completely understand the point that you were making, and in principle I believe a lot of preachers within the church do strive to follow what you said for the most part, but my experience has been one that says that although we may not have any “elected popes” we do struggle with some individuals who have become one of the self-appointed type.

        When someone refuses to see the obvious because it contradicts a very hard-line stance, or a very poorly worded one, that they have taken it is silly for them to demand that others see their error when they will not see their own.

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Eugene Adkins 7:10 am on 2014-05-16 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , learning,   

    One Way to Avoid Becoming a Pharisee 

    Study the interactions between Jesus and Pharisees long enough and you’ll notice that they were more interested in disciplining the Law of God than they were in allowing the Law of God to disciple them!

    And if we want to avoid the same fate we must avoid the same mentality.

    But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Matthew 9:13)

  • John T. Polk II 4:01 am on 2013-06-17 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , learning, , ,   

    Studies in the Book of Proverbs 

    (#6) God Gives Wisdom to Those Who Listen 2:1-9

    Verses 1-5: The word “if” often is connected by conditions that must be met in order for a “then” to state a blessing or benefit. Since “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7), then it is absolutely essential to obtain knowledge. “Fear” here refers to “respect, awe, reverence” of the Lord. Without respect for the One who possesses the knowledge, the student will not learn! To “understand the fear of the Lord,” and “find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:5), a person must meet the following conditions:

    Verse 1 – “receive my words;”

    “treasure my commands;”

    Verse 2 – listen to wisdom;

    apply yourself to “understanding;”

    verse 3 – “cry out for discernment;”

    speak out for “understanding.”

    Verse 4 – to “seek” wisdom as one goes after “silver;”

    or “search” for wisdom as one would dig for “buried treasure.”

    Learning is not automatic, nor by osmosis, but comes only by effort and application, just as the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:15. Knowledge requires the infusion of God’s Truth, exercising of the mind, and diligent evaluation of action.

    Verses 6-9: “God gives wisdom…” through the following means:

    (1) “From His mouth,” comes “every word” (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3) which He has written for us to know (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 3:1-2);

    (2) “knowledge,” or accumulation of data from all sources, including the Word of God (Colossians 1:9-10);

    (3) “understanding,” is comprehension of what is learned (Luke 24:44-47; 1 John 5:20).

    God “stores up sound wisdom” for the “upright” who will increase their faith;

    God “is a shield,” or defense for those who “walk uprightly” in obeying the Truth;

    God “guards the paths of justice,” by showing Divine balanced decisions;

    God “preserves the way of His saints,” which is following Christ (Acts 18:25-26; 24:14).

    “Then,” and only then, can a person “understand,” or fully grasp:

    “righteousness,” or the upright way; “justice,” or honesty with God’s Law; “equity,” or evenness of application to all; “every good path,” which always leads to the right thing to do or say. This list in 2:9 may be close to the “weightier matters” in God’s Law, addressed by Jesus Christ (Matthew 23:23).

    Thought: “A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel” Proverbs 1:5.

  • TFRStaff 6:10 am on 2012-08-25 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , learning,   

    Experience is the Best Teacher 

    “Experience is a teacher, not the best one, and the tuition is high.”

    Brittany Davis

    Many people will agree with the experience is the best teacher quote without knowing the entire phrase. The Norwegian Proverb actually says, “Experience is the best teacher, but the tuition is high.” I agree, the tuition is high but experience is not the best teacher. For instance, as a child, I learned not to lie by lying. That lie cost me a very sore bottom. I learned obedience by being disobedient and again it cost me a sore backside; as you can see I needed lots of instruction. But God doesn’t intend for His children to learn through experience.

    The Bible is a book of prevention; if one is willing to listen. God told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit so they would not die (Gen. 2:15-17). Galatians 5:19-21 says, “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,envy, murders,drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Here, God tells us plainly that we cannot go to Heaven engaging in these acts.

    God affords us unlimited opportunities to repent and come back to Him but sometimes the consequences of our actions prevent us from utilizing those chances. Nadab and Abihu were priests and sons of Aaron. They’d seen the proper ways to offer sacrifices and work in the tabernacle many times, but in Lev. 20 they took matters into their own hands. They offered profane fire to the Lord, fire which He did not authorize. They didn’t get another chance to correct their actions because God sent fire to devour them. For these young priests experience taught them a fatal lesson.

    While God won’t send fire to destroy us today when we sin, we need to learn His word so that we can save ourselves the extremely high costs of learning from experience. The costs could be anything from shame, disease, a marred reputation or even death. Experience is not the best teacher, God’s word is and if we’d trust that He knows what’s best for us we could save ourselves a lot of heartache and stick around to make use of those innumerable chances He offers. What lesson can God’s word help you learn in order to avoid experience’s costs?

    In Christ, Steve Preston

    Sign up for BibleTalk, short messages from

    God’s word, by sending an email to


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  • Mike Riley 9:41 am on 2010-11-20 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , boredom, , doctor, find, learning, , room, waiting, written   

    On Boredom 

    Regarding boredom, I’ve can always find something profitable to do – even in a doctor’s waiting room. I always take a good Bible-related book written by one of the brethren, so that I’m constantly learning while I’m waiting.

    As I grow older, I’m very aware that time is of the essence: http://mbriley.preachersfiles.com/2006/01/08/making-wise-use-of-our-time/

    As our Lord once stated:

    “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).

    Here’s an article I wrote on being productive in a doctor’s waiting room:


  • Ron Thomas 9:48 am on 2010-04-23 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , learning   

    Learning Styles 

    I am currently writing an article on a debate I attend that never took place. My wife just rip me up in proof-reading (which is what I asked her to do). In the course of the article I mentioned that I learn by critical examination. I want my position critically examined in order for me to get a better handle on what is correct. I try to defend my position, but I am aware enough that when I am on the short end, I must rethink. This benefits me a lot.

    How about you? How do you learn best or, perhaps, to ask differently, how do you prefer to learn?

  • Richard Mansel 2:13 pm on 2010-04-07 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: learning, ,   

    What Can I Do? 

    My two chief talents are writing and thinking.  I spend a lot of time thinking and working through ideas and studying people and the ways of our culture. As a writer, I have committed myself to studying human nature and tendencies. When I preach and write, I try to discern how people will respond to what I am presenting. Accordingly, I desire to answer their rationalizations before they form them.

    I am ostensibly the absent-minded professor type. I need a secretary following me around to help me remember things. This is why I need to write full-time. I am filled with ideas, quotes, etc. I need to study, learn and write. It could fill my days, weeks, months and years. My mind is always hungry and life’s activities intrude. It gets very frustrating at times. But, this is how life is, I guess.

    I work on my novel in my head every day but I’ve not written a word all year. Life always gets in the way. Anyway…

  • Laura 10:52 pm on 2010-02-04 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: learning,   

    Recent advice I’ve given a Christian: The Old Testament is there for our learning. So when you study the historical accounts, the prophecies, and the poetry it captures, ask yourself, “what did God want me to get out of this?”

  • TFRStaff 12:13 pm on 2010-01-25 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , learning   

    Kevin W. Rhodes writes in his last blog post, “The Learning Curve:”

    One of the more frustrating situations people can encounter when they become Christians is the feeling that they are so far behind everyone else in biblical knowledge, understanding, application, and just life itself. Whether this is accurate or not depends on a whole lot of factors—age, background, and upbringing among them—but where you are when you begin your walk with Christ does not really matter that much. Everyone must begin somewhere and sometime in order to have a relationship with God. Therefore, it is more important that you recognize the value in beginning and persevering than worrying about how much you have to learn.

    His site doesn’t provide the usual page links, but you can read the rest by clicking HERE, then clicking on the link, “From Faith to Faith.” This post will be at or near the top. Worth your time.

    • Mike Riley 3:44 pm on 2010-01-25 Permalink | Reply

      Kevin states in his article: “We can restore respect for the Constitution.” Yes, we can, but only if we restore respect for God in our country, will restoration of the moral ideals in the Constitution take place.

      • Randal Matheny 4:02 pm on 2010-01-26 Permalink | Reply

        Just to clarify: I believe the statement Mike refers to is in another article, and not in the one quoted above. Just to avoid confusion.

  • philsanders 5:26 pm on 2010-01-16 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , learning,   

    God’s Providence 

    When God wants to make an impact on people’s lives, he usually sends another person. My parents, preachers, and other family influenced me profoundly in my developing years to become a Christian and to pursue ministry as a life. I was baptized by Carl Wills after hearing the preaching of a blind man, Tom Silva. Steve Bracken influenced me to preach the gospel. Many men mentored and blessed my life in those early days, giving me opportunities and showing me methods and techniques.

    In all of this I realize that it is God who makes us adequate as His ministers (2 Cor. 3:5). Preachers have always been my heroes, and God uses men to shape other men in this undertaking for eternity. God blessed me with wonderful, godly, and faithful teachers in my university experiences. I am so thankful to them.

    At 58 years of age and 40+ years of experience I am still learning and developing in my new ministry. God is opening up great opportunities to grow in His grace and knowledge. And I am thankful for the opportunity to serve.

    I so deeply appreciate all the posts I see in TFR. I am learning from you all how to think more like Christ and how to grow in faith. Thank you for being my brethren.

    Christ is all and in you all. I can see Him when I read your posts (Eph. 3:17).

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