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  • Ron Thomas 6:14 am on 2017-01-19 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , life,   

    Counsel for Young and Old 

    1. Hear & Heed (Romans 10:17)
    2. Seek & Anchor (Colossians 3:1)
    3. Hide & Prevent (Proverbs 4:23)
    4. Bless (Matthew 5:16)
    5. Preach & Live (2 Timothy 2:15)
    6. Rejoice & Value (Philippians 4:4)
    7. Meditate & Direct (2 Corinthians 13:5)
    8. Resolve (Colossians 3:5)

  • J. Randal Matheny 8:08 am on 2016-10-08 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , life,   

    ‘Does the church have electricity?’ 

    church-lightA brother in Florida mentioned Saturday that the electricity in his home was supposed to be restored in a few hours, after Hurricane Matthew swiped the Atlantic coast headed north. A person asked, “Does the church have electricity?”

    The person was referring, of course, to the building where the church met. That’s unfortunately language, but you figure out how to get people to change their vocabulary.

    Her question, however, invites reflection on the state of our congregations. (More …)

  • John T. Polk II 7:39 am on 2016-05-12 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , life, , time and chance,   

    5-9-2016 Graduation Skills 

    When people graduate from High School or University, they should be looking ahead at life. Solomon made it simple in Ecclesiastes 9:9-11.  Plan to: 1) “Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life”—i.e., be in a close, stable marriage; 2) “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might”—i.e., work hard at honorable work; 3) “I returned and saw under the sun that-The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all”—i.e., everything is not under our personal control-live with it.  One is not alone in marriage; diligent work is rewarded and appreciated; life levels the “playing field” for everyone. Good advice!

    This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

  • J. Randal Matheny 5:24 am on 2016-05-04 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , life, , simple choices   

    I got fingerprinted at the police station 

    brazl-fingerprintAfter a bit of inconvenience, our Brazil ID cards got renewed yesterday, thanks to the Federal Police. We have a protocol slip in hand to prove that the cards are being processed. Should be able to get on a plane now, with some guarantee of getting back in the country. This card is proof that the holders thereof have a permanent visa. The passport in which that visa was stamped is long gone.

    Used to, we had to drive a couple of hours down to the coast, to the port city of São Sebastião, where the nearest Federal Police station was located. Now, one is about a two-minute drive from The Snuggery. But a ten-minute search for parking. We wound up parking in a nearby (paid) hospital parking lot and walking for five. No complaints.

    Both times I went in to the FedPol recently, they took my picture. They must think I’m a handsome card. And they asked me for my autograph. I must have given three or four of those. I didn’t know I was so popular. And fingerprints — all 10 digits! (I’m still trying to wash off the ink; no digital fingerprinting yet.) (More …)

    • fd4tht 6:10 am on 2016-05-04 Permalink | Reply

      It is good to hear perspectives from a clear mind in another culture. I always enjoy these posts. Thank God for heavenly citizenship, which grows sweeter as the years go by, to quote another hymn. 🙂

    • Valeria Ortega 8:30 am on 2016-05-04 Permalink | Reply

      I liked very much the thoughts “getting easier in old age”, “simpler and clearer choice”…agree completely. What a great way to embrace the years as they come!

  • TFRStaff 1:21 pm on 2015-09-21 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , life,   

    Hugh’s News & Views (Speed Me Up . . .) 


    Here is Wilfred A. Peterson’s sequel to his poem “Slow Me Down, Lord” that we ran last week. Both poems present valid perspectives. We need to strive for balance in our lives, a proper pace for living, knowing when we need to slow down and when we need to speed up. (More …)

  • TFRStaff 5:16 am on 2015-04-14 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , life,   

    Hugh's News & Views (Living Joyfully . . .) 


    It is wonderful to wake up in the morning from a peaceful night’s sleep and face the new day with joy and anticipation. I must confess that I have not always been as successful in doing either of these to the degree that I should have, but as I have gotten older I have grown in my appreciation of the fact that this is the way the Lord wants it to be, and I am thankful that I have grown in the ability to achieve that purpose. (More …)

  • J. Randal Matheny 6:49 pm on 2015-03-14 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Essays, , life   

    The moon hid behind the cloud to avoid seeing it 

    You’ll enjoy this story. By folks we know. Or thought we knew.

    So then there was the time….. – Not That Y’all Care.

  • John T. Polk II 6:34 pm on 2015-03-12 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , life,   

    3-10-2015 One-Way Life 

    Zechariah 12:1 NKJV: “Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him.” Each one of us has an individual spiritual part within that is who we really are. We die when this spirit leaves our body: “The body without the spirit is dead” (James 2:26 NKJV).  “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7 NKJV).  There is no return of our spirit to the earth, in any form, and we only pass this way once for there is no second chance after this life. “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27 NKJV), not another life on earth.

    This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

  • John T. Polk II 6:33 pm on 2015-03-12 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , life, our days   

    3-9-2015 Is It Your Time to Die? 

    Some think “when it’s your time to die, there’s nothing you can do about it.” David wrote: “LORD, make me to know my end, And what is the measure of my days, That I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah Surely every man walks about like a shadow” (Psalm 39:4-5 NKJV). To “measure my days,” means we should count our birthdays to remind us “how frail” we are. This expression does NOT say, “God has predetermined the length of every life,” BUT we need “to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12 NKJV). We should “number our days” but nothing says that God has our days numbered!

    This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

  • TFRStaff 3:26 pm on 2014-12-29 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , life,   

    Hugh's News & Views (Winter) 


    Three days ago I celebrated another birthday—number 77. I have passed the proverbial threescore and ten years and am approaching the added ten that come by reason of strength (Psalm 90:10). I do not know if I have entered the “winter” of life, but if I have I hope it is still early winter. I do not feel “old” (though admittedly there are some days when I feel older than I do on other days!) My doctor continues to give me a clean bill of health every year during my physical check up. I am on no prescription meds of any kind, and have never spent but one night in the hospital in my entire life. (No, I was not born in a hospital, but neither was I born in a log cabin!)

    I do not know the author of the following essay, but it speaks to all regardless of our age. I commend it to all of my readers for this, the last “News & Views” of 2014. Read it slowly and reflectively. (More …)

  • Eugene Adkins 7:09 am on 2014-08-26 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , life,   

    The vacuum of a miracle-less life 

    The origin of life? It’s all natural says the “naturalist”. Nothing too special. Just a game of odds, that’s all. And by no means a miracle! Highly evolved nothings…I mean animals – that’s what we are.

    And what of the emotions that we feel? Only chemicals it is said. Nothing is real. It’s only a reaction. And the love for your child? Only a deep functioning desire to see your DNA passed along. After all, that’s all an animal wants to do. And we’re just highly evolved animals anyways.

    And the tears that get shed from the loss of loved ones? They’re not real either. Just a response to the lessening of your chances for survival. That’s where it came from! It’s all thanks to the gift of evolution. Survival of the fittest, and you’re not “as fit” as you once were.

    I hear it from time to time on television. Scientists who believe in evolution but yet they use the word miracle. I believe it happens when they let their guard down and their humanity shows through. But of course if pushed on the subject they would say the use of the word miracle is only a figure of speech; much in the same way that an atheist uses God’s name in vain. The animal must take the place of the human to be rational after all. Everything has a natural explanation. Right? It has to! So says the unbeliever.

    Thus we are brought to the results of a miracle-less life. Nothing but a vacuum! A heart that becomes like the black-holes that are adored.

    Now I’m not saying that all atheists have no emotions. That’s not my point. My point is that the emotions that are as real as the nose on our face, to an honest atheist, do not matter because they are not real. They have no point outside of the forces of the evolutionary train pushing us forward on tracks that cannot be escaped. Tracks that go nowhere.  Tracks that take away our person-hood. Tracks that take away the reality of emotions. Tracks that take us away from miracles. Tracks that take us away from hope. Tracks that take us away from our Creator!

    Don’t get pulled into the vacuum that says it’s all naturally explainable. It can’t all be explained – at least not through man’s science, because man’s science doesn’t even know all of the questions!

    But there’s still that question of where did we come from? And so the atheist pushes on, looking for the answer that they already have. Looking for an answer, or rather a question that fits the answer that they have already accepted and given to others to be accepted. And yet the question remains, “What’s the point of finding an origin of life that has no effect on the way it all ends?” Is evolution actually looking for its own beginnings?

    Space may be one big vacuum, but the plug got pulled and the miracle of life began, not by chance but when in the beginning God….(Genesis 1:1).

    Related Article:

    • orangelolita 1:19 pm on 2014-08-26 Permalink | Reply

      Am I right in thinking that you believe scientists to be inhumane and unbelievers incapable of feeling any emotion that resembles wonder at the world around them. If so, you are deeply misguided fellow stranger.

      • Eugene Adkins 5:06 pm on 2014-08-26 Permalink | Reply

        Hello, OL.

        That was not my intent at all; nor was my point directed at all scientists because all scientists do not believe in evolution. That’s why I said “Now I’m not saying that all atheists have no emotions. That’s not my point.

        The awe of an atheistic scientist comes only from the admiration of the complexity of life without following the admiration and wonder to the end goal that it’s meant to have: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1). See also Romans 1:20-23. This isn’t because “I say it does” but because it’s the only end-point that atheism (whether scientific or not) leads to in relation to the existence of life.

        Plus, just to make sure we’re on the same page here, my main point was about the meaning of emotions that we experience in life such as love and not just necessarily the existence of life itself.

        Thanks for commenting.

  • John T. Polk II 7:56 am on 2014-08-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , life, , , , , , ,   

    (#202) The Proverbs of Solomon-30:11-14-Generation D(estroyed) 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-29:27 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. Proverbs 30-31 were added and preserved by the Holy Spirit. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 30:11-14: “There is a generation that curses its father, And does not bless its mother. 12 There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness. 13 There is a generation-oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up. 14 There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, And whose fangs are like knives, To devour the poor from off the earth, And the needy from among men.”

    After Jacob had worked 14 years to “earn” his wife, his father-in-law, Laban, said, “I have learned by experience that the LORD has blessed me for your sake” (Genesis 30:27). “Experience” is a great teacher, and often, a hard teacher. It has been truly said, “Happiness will never come to those who do not appreciate what they already have.” “A generation” without the experiences of life becomes (v.11) Loveless; (v.12) Hypocritical; (v.13) Arrogant; and (v.14) Cruel, and will need few enemies, for it will self-destruct. Children whose world consists of a video screen, whose mind is filled with make-believe, and whose heart seldom connects with real people, have no experiences to help them grow, and become slaves who serve without conscience! It is a lost generation that never sees “the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied” (Ecclesiastes 3:10).

    Verse 11: Those who disrespect the two who gave them life will not appreciate The God, His plan, and the life they have been given, “For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God” (1 Corinthians 11:12). Although the prevalence of divorce and single-parenthood has shattered the “DNA” of marriage, and taught successive generations this disrespect, those who turn to God’s Way will start a new generation of parental respect. It is when sin abounds that “the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12).

    Verse 12: It is difficult, almost impossible, for one to see one’s own sins. To such a generation, God send Jeremiah to say: “’For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, Yet your iniquity is marked before Me,’ says the Lord God. How can you say, ‘I am not polluted’” (Jeremiah 2:22-23). The Apostle Paul wrote: “For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord” (1 Corinthians 4:4). Any generation that is known for major problems with drunkenness, irresponsibility, sexually-transmitted diseases, drug abuses, recklessness, and hatefulness (Titus 3:3) has its hands full and should not be pointing fingers at the previous generation(s)! Jesus Christ condemned those who “outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:28).

    Verse 13: Jesus Christ described this attitude when He said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:29-33) While a generation may protest against their parents sins, it becomes guilty of its own sins, many of which are even worse than before (1 Kings 16:25)!

    Verse 14: The cruelty is seen because they don’t care about the “poor” and “needy.” Selfishness is so narrow-minded that it cannot admit, nor allow, others to benefit who have greater needs. Jesus Christ said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation” (Matthew 23:14)!

    A generation may be changed if enough of them “are converted and become as little children…Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4). Obeying the command to “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” will let a soul “Be saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:38, 40).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

  • John T. Polk II 8:33 am on 2014-06-04 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , good judgment, joking, life, madmen, , practical jokes, , ,   

    (#181) The Proverbs of Solomon 26:18-19-Impractical Jokes 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 26:18-19: “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, Is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, ‘I was only joking!’”

    A “madman” is a person who is out of control because he/she isn’t bothered by moral restraint, sympathetic feeling, or consideration for others. Anyone who indiscriminately “throws” around “firebrands” (or torches, bombs), “arrows” (or bullets, missiles), “death” (or ieds, drones, or other instruments of death) leaves a path of burned, wounded, or dead people! It does not excuse such behavior by simply saying, “I was only joking!” So-called “reality” TV shows that see “what people would do” set a standard of lies, deceit, and trickery that hardens the consciences of their audience against good judgment and sympathy. When angels of God warned Lot that Sodom would be destroyed for its perversions, “Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, ‘Get up, get out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city!’ But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking” (Genesis 19:14). When something is taken as a “joke,” then the responses to it are not real, and in their case, they died because of it!

    Christians are not to participate in such madness: “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:3-6). Such behavior doesn’t become a Christian. What is condemned is: “filthiness” which is behavior without morals; “foolish talking” which is empty conversation that shows contempt or ridicule; “coarse jesting” which is the double-entendre, underhanded, turned meaning of words. All of these are what worldly comedy, practical jokes, and other types of madness are made of. Christians can have “fun,” just not like “a madman.”

    Do not be deceived by “empty words” that say otherwise, God will hold each individual responsible for his/her behavior on: “the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ” (Romans 2:16). No joke!

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

  • J. Randal Matheny 5:30 am on 2014-05-25 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , life   

    Morning silence 


    Of morning's birth,
    No baby's cry awakes
    The dawning light of tender life,
    But clouds laden with cares
    Dropped in the dark
    Their tears.
  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2014-03-14 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , houses, , life, lives, , , , ,   

    (#164) The Proverbs of Solomon 24:3-6-Wisdom Builds Houses and Lives 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 24:3-6: “Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is strong, Yes, a man of knowledge increases strength; For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.”

    Building a house is an illustration of applied wisdom: the dream is expressed, detailed plans are made and then followed. Every house follows this procedure, therefore every house is an expression of wisdom. “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4). “Wisdom” shows the thoughtfulness of the plan; “understanding” shows the application to the materials; “knowledge” completes the details of the plan in building a house.

    When wisdom is applied to life, itself, it’s a strengthening exercise that makes one “strong.” A truly “wise” person first “knows” what should be the right course of action; second, realizes his/her personal, individual responsibility in “war;” third, knows to gather various opinions from “counselors” (advisors) to see if there may be other factors to consider.

    “Knowledge” gives “strength” to overcome many situations when “fools” don’t know what to do: “They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed” (1 Peter 2:8).

    “War” should not always just be associated with violent conflict between nations, but also with the spiritual “war” each one of us must fight: “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:11-12).

    It does no good to just follow the majority opinion, for the majority is not always right, as those who recommended sailing against the inspired prophetical advisory of Paul (Acts 27:9-21) found out!

    Another proverb teaches this same principle: “If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10).

    A wise man/woman will build a strong house, preparing for the storms of life by obeying the wisdom of Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:24-27).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

    • Sharon Brooks 7:51 am on 2014-03-14 Permalink | Reply

      Intelligence without wisdom as its guide is in fact small, rather than the perceived big.

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