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  • J. Randal Matheny 8:26 pm on 2017-02-21 Permalink | Reply
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    VOTD: Psalm 119.2 

    “How blessed are those who observe [God’s] rules, and seek him with all their heart” (NET).

    Psalm 119 begins with two blessings. This is the second of the two. It pairs obedience to God’s commands and a full-hearted seeking of God. What few consider a blessing today is actually even more so in the new covenant of Christ. If it was a blessing under the old law, how much more so is it a blessing today.

  • J. Randal Matheny 4:10 am on 2017-01-28 Permalink | Reply
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    Psalm 119.86 

    So how the second line connect with the first?

    All your commands are reliable.
    I am pursued without reason. Help me! (NET)

    And in what sense is a command reliable?

    • Eugene Adkins 4:13 pm on 2017-01-29 Permalink | Reply

      I suppose a command is only as reliable as the one giving the command. As for the first part, I suppose the frustration would be the difficulty of reconciling how doing good leads to being treated wrongfully. Followed by a request of the good commander for help due to the psalmist’s view of the said commander’s commands.

    • J. Randal Matheny 4:42 am on 2017-01-30 Permalink | Reply

      I wondered if the reliability of the commands refers to the promises attached to them.

      • Eugene Adkins 5:50 pm on 2017-01-30 Permalink | Reply

        I don’t know. Perhaps both. Verses 89-90 seems to lean toward the emphasis of the one “settling” the word/commandment/law. Verses 92-93 seem to lean toward what you’re saying. I don’t think either view damages the other. The trustworthiness of God’s word definitely seems to be the point.

        After initially reading your question my mind was thinking more along the lines of someone being able to “promise” you the moon, but that doesn’t mean they can deliver on it. With God it is a much different story.

  • J. Randal Matheny 6:57 am on 2016-11-23 Permalink | Reply
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    When we opened our eyes this morning 

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

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

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

  • J. Randal Matheny 7:02 pm on 2016-10-06 Permalink | Reply
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    ‘The granddaddy of all laments:’ Psalm 88 

    By Sean Ashberry

    The Bible is not casual about evil and suffering. The Bible in fact is brutally honest about pain, misfortune, and the challenge it presents to faith. The fact of suffering continues to stand as one of the greatest challenges to the Christian faith. Its distribution and degree seems random and unfair. People have always asked how one might reconcile this reality with God’s justice and his love. Those are fair questions. (More …)

    • Eugene Adkins 8:14 am on 2016-10-08 Permalink | Reply

      We talked about this last Wednesday night while going through Revelation 6 where the martyred souls ask God how much longer will he allow the things to happen that happened to them; God’s reply was to rest and wait because more people would have to suffer and die. It’s then that I brought up the topic that the first paragraph talks about. I reminded the class that God readily tells his people that he works in ways for a purpose that we don’t understand at the moment because we often forget to tie moments together with eternity (Isaiah 55:8-9, 2 Peter 3:8).

      • J. Randal Matheny 8:31 am on 2016-10-08 Permalink | Reply

        Very good!

  • J. Randal Matheny 5:55 am on 2016-09-16 Permalink | Reply
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    The Bible declares—twice—that God is ‘deceptive’ 

    We teach our children the prayer, “God is good, God is great.”  How about we include in that prayer, “God is deceptive”? The Bible declares it not once, but twice. (More …)

    • johntpolkll 7:08 am on 2016-09-16 Permalink | Reply

      “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Matthew 7:2). “Judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy” (James 2:13). “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).

      • J. Randal Matheny 7:31 am on 2016-09-16 Permalink | Reply

        Great verses that reinforce!

  • J. Randal Matheny 1:52 am on 2016-02-17 Permalink | Reply
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    On Psalm 1 

    Great, short read on Psalm 1 by a good Okie brother.

    To whom will you listen? Who owns your attention? The wicked, sinners, and scoffers? Or “the law of the Lord”? That choice will determine whether life is anchored and fruitful or baseless and pointless. And ultimately whether we stand with the righteous or perish with the wicked. Don’t hurry past Psalm 1. Spend some time here. Think seriously and examine closely.

    He has a good devotional site worth following.

    #Psalms #devotionals

  • TFRStaff 1:29 pm on 2015-12-16 Permalink | Reply
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    What is said of God is said of the righteous—Psa 111 and 112 

    This song follows immediately upon the last in meaning. While that has set forth the praises of Jehovah as great and gracious, this declares the blessedness of the man who lives in true relation with Jehovah. The connection is clearly seen in the relation of the closing verse of the former, “The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom,” to the opening verse in this, “Blessed is the man that feareth Jehovah.” (More …)

  • J. Randal Matheny 7:06 pm on 2014-10-19 Permalink | Reply
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    He's knockin' on our noggin 

    Seven times in eight verses the author of Psalm 121 uses some form of the word “protect.” He’s knockin’ on our noggin to remind us that the Lord will indeed protect his people. He winds up covering all the bases: (More …)

    • Jack 8:24 am on 2014-10-20 Permalink | Reply

      Psalm 121 –
      I will lift up mine eyes, unto the mountains, From whence cometh my help! My help, is from Yahweh, who made heavens and earth. May he not suffer thy foot, to slip, May thy keeper, not slumber! Lo! neither will slumber nor sleep, The keeper of Israel. Yahweh, is thy keeper, Yahweh, is thy shade, on thy right hand: By day, the sun, shall not smite, nor, the moon, by night. Yahweh, will keep thee from all harm, He will keep thy life. Yahweh, will keep thy going out and thy coming in, from henceforth, even unto times age-abiding.
      (J.B. Rotherham, 1901)

  • J. Randal Matheny 9:44 am on 2014-06-21 Permalink | Reply
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    How to understand Psa 65.2: “all people approach you”? NLT translates it, “All of us must come to you.” Other renderings, here:


    How do you understand this phrase? Does all humanity here refer to repentant Israel? Obviously, it’s not teaching universalism. What is his point?

    • James 10:23 am on 2014-06-21 Permalink | Reply

      I think this is probably like other uses of ‘all’ to simply indicate all kinds, or from all nations like when God said He would pour out His Spirit on ‘all flesh’. We understand that He doesn’t mean animals and He doesn’t even mean every person, but Jews and Gentiles (Acts 2 and 10). Like the church is described that all nations shall flow into it. I think this is the same kind of thing. Perhaps a prophecy of the coming of the church when all (anyone who will) are able to come to God.

      • Randal 10:25 am on 2014-06-21 Permalink | Reply

        I’d not thought in exactly those terms, but it seems to hold water. I didn’t care for the NLT rendering, seemed a bit interpretative. Thanks.

    • Weylan Deaver 2:22 pm on 2014-06-21 Permalink | Reply

      According to my grandfather’s Psalms commentary (vol. I, p. 214), “To Him all flesh, because of sin, need to come.” Or, another possibility might be akin to the affirmation in Philippians 2:10 that every knee will bow to Jesus — that would encompass “all flesh,” whether saint or sinner.

      • Randal 2:26 pm on 2014-06-21 Permalink | Reply

        Your grandfather’s commentary would go then basically in the direction of the NLT, I suppose, certainly a strong possibility. I thought about the latter (though not in association with Pp 2.10), but the verse doesn’t seem to indicate an end-times perspective.

        Good thoughts, all, to put in the hopper.

    • Jack 2:44 pm on 2014-06-21 Permalink | Reply

      Psalm 65 composed by David is praise for a bountiful harvest in connection with the Spring festival of first-fruits (Lev. 23:10-14) during in a time when his kingdom was established and fruitful. There are three equal stanzas: (1) the grace of Yahweh (vs. 1-4); (2) the greatness of Yahweh (vs. 5-8); the goodness of Yahweh (vs. 9-13).

      It is always best when considering the use and understanding of OT passages in relationship to the Christian Age to check for cross references to what we have been given by Jesus and His ambassadors as the transition has been made between the things of flesh in a worldly kingdom to the spiritual things of a heavenly kingdom.

      We are comforted again and again that GOD always hears the prayers of the faithful, HIS congregation, and the prayers of those who earnestly seek HIM, “And without faith it is impossible to please HIM, for he who comes to GOD must believe that HE is and that HE is a rewarder of those who seek HIM.

      The TSK for instance gives us for verse 2 __ 10 OT references, 1 NT of Jesus to the Jews, 1 to a seeker, and 1 to the disciples..

      We see this in Cornelius where an angel of GOD told him, Your prayers and alms have gone up to GOD as a memorial before GOD… , and to send for Peter who would tell him all that he must hear. (Acts 10)

      1 John 5:13-15 (NASB) These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of GOD, so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence which we have before HIM, that, if we ask anything according to HIS will, HE hears us. And if we know that HE hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from HIM.

      David saw the day that salvation was offered to the world_ for all that humble themselves before the Son of GOD.

      Romans 14:11-12 (NASB) For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.” So then each one of us will give an account of himself to GOD.

      This is the “all” of whom David spoke.

      Blessing, be a Berean,

      • Randal 4:36 pm on 2014-06-21 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Jack, certainly we do seek to read the OT in the light of fulfillment in Christ, as well as within its original content.

  • TFRStaff 4:02 am on 2013-11-21 Permalink | Reply
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    10 thoughts to start the day 

    (From Psalms 116 and 118)

    1. This is the day the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
    2. I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.
    3. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear; what can man do unto me?
    4. The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.
    5. I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.
    6. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.
    7. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
    8. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people.
    9. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
    10. Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.

    —Jim Moffett

    Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day

    By Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock

    Warner Robins church of Christ, Warner Robins, Georgia


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


  • J. Randal Matheny 5:53 am on 2013-06-20 Permalink | Reply
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    Question about ‘the sins of our ancestors’ 

    Question: Is the thought of Psa 79.8 an inferior position to hold than is, say, Nehemiah’s confession of the sins of his people in 1.6? Verse 8 says:

    Do not hold us guilty for the sins of our ancestors!
    Let your compassion quickly meet our needs,
    for we are on the brink of despair. (NLT)
    Of course, we can read shades of Eze 18 in this verse, the truth that the son shall not suffer for the sins of the father. But how do you read this verse in the light of other Israelites who confessed the sin of their people? Does it fail to come up to the “spirituality” of the others?
    • Ron Thomas 2:53 pm on 2013-06-20 Permalink | Reply

      The consequences of a nation are experienced by those who live within that nation. With regard to Ezek 18, it has more to do with individual judgment.

      • J. Randal Matheny 4:20 pm on 2013-06-20 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Ron. You’re right, of course. At the same time, seems like there’s something else I’m missing here. I wrote about this verse today in my devo on my blog. But I’d like to dig more still. Seems to be one thing to suffer consequences, another to be held guilty for sins of the ancestors. Maybe I’m trying to slice it too thin. (Noted that the original doesn’t use the word “guilty” as the NLT renders it, but “remember.”)

        • Ron Thomas 5:49 pm on 2013-06-20 Permalink | Reply

          As I think on it, Randal. I see Exodus 34:7 as the application, and the Psalm passage as an appeal to a reprieve from that.

        • J. Randal Matheny 5:56 pm on 2013-06-20 Permalink | Reply

          Very likely, Ron. So would that be an inferior sentiment to ones like Nehemiah’s? Both of them, now that I think of it, are in the midst of the punishment.

          • Ron Thomas 6:39 pm on 2013-06-20 Permalink | Reply

            Not sure how to interpret “inferior sentiment.” I see it more as a “Please be merciful unto us, Lord” more than anything else.

            • J. Randal Matheny 7:27 pm on 2013-06-20 Permalink

              That was the idea I got from most of the commentaries I read earlier today as well. Hey, thanks for the ideas! I appreciate the thought given to it.

  • Eugene Adkins 8:16 am on 2013-03-30 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Joy of Worship, , , Psalms,   

    A Wonderful Old Testament Passage About Worship 

    People living under the New Covenant with God through Jesus aren’t called to replicate or duplicate everything done by our ancestors during their worship of God under the Old Testament, but there are certain aspects of proper worship that God requires today as much as he did then. One of which is found in Psalm 5.7:

    But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy; in fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.

    Attitude counts when we come to worship! A person can lift up this verse and apply it to present day followers of God without doing it any damage. As the church we are the household of God where God’s mercy is found (1 Timothy 3:15) and when we worship we are to look with respect to the dwelling place of God – the place our eyes desire to see (Revelation 4).

    Many of our own “spirit” problems and many of the denominations “truth” problems could be and would be solved if we only showed the proper fear during worship. Worship directed toward an Almighty God is not meant to be a free-for-all, do as we please, let’s get spiritual or a laissez les bons temps rouler thing. Nor is worship meant to be something done out of a routine where a dependence on pleasing God is based upon something we’re not doing instead of what we are doing!

    Psalm 5:7 shows us that there is meant to be a joy in coming to worship God in remembrance of the great things he has done, and the great things he is going to do. Psalm 5:7 also shows us that there is meant to be a recognition of who we are and who God is, and that when we recognize the difference, fear (a holy respect) will be shown in our hearts and in our actions. This is why Psalm 5:7 is a wonderful Old Testament passage about worship.

  • J. Randal Matheny 3:32 pm on 2013-01-29 Permalink | Reply
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    Psalm 13 right between the eyes 

    Psalm 13, as I followed our reading schedule, blew me away this morning. It even inspired the Portuguese devotional, which I translated into English. It’s still ringing in my ears and led, I have no doubt, to a powerful and productive day.

    Discovering the three parts of this psalm and how it unwinds (see link above), it takes the worry out of the sails of the ship called Despair.

    Read it now. From a tornado of doubt and anxiety, it will bring you down to settled peace of mind. Here it is in the ESV:

    1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
    2 How long must I take counsel in my soul
    and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
    How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

    3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
    light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
    4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
    lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

    5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
    6 I will sing to the Lord,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.

  • Chad Dollahite 2:27 pm on 2012-12-10 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Psalms,   

    “The End of the Wicked” 

    In Psalm 73, verses 3-14, Asaph contemplates the seemingly prosperous state of the wicked, admits that he was envious (v. 3), and laments that “They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men” (v. 5).  However, in verses 15-16, Asaph admits being a bit embarrassed at his thoughts, acknowledging that his thoughts, if heard by some, might cause one to stumble.  He further notes in verse 16 that the thought of causing one of God’s children to stumble was too painful for him to bear.  In verse 17, Asaph states that when he went into God’s sanctuary (i.e., he studied God’s Word, worshiped, meditated on God’s ways), then he understood the end of the wicked.  It is hard to conceive of any one of God’s children not having thought along the same lines as Asaph in verses 3-14 at some point or other in his/her life.  It is the age old question of, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” and, “Why do the wicked prosper?”  But, let us note carefully what the Holy Spirit inspired Asaph to write concerning the end of the wicked in verses 18 and 19 of Psalm 73. (More …)

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