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  • Eugene Adkins 6:56 am on 2016-10-24 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Spiritual Analogies,   

    Get ready for the appointment before the appointment arrives 

    I have a dentist appointment for a cleaning today. Too late to prepare for it now!

    Preparing for a dentist appointment (i.e. brushing teeth, flossing, rinsing, etc.) the day of an appointment isn’t wise. Why? It should be obvious. Taking care of our teeth is something that needs to be done on a daily basis; getting ready for the appointment well before the appointment is the wise way to do it.

    No, I will not be going to my appointment today without evidence of past mistakes. The oral health of my past is my past and I can’t change that (all I can do is trust the repairs my dentist has made and take care of them), but I will be going knowing full-well what kind of efforts I have made before during the last six months to be ready for today.

    I do not think any reasonable person will disagree with any of this advice. Personal experience proves it to be true. So how beneficial would it be to take this advice and apply it our spiritual lives?

    We all have an appointment that we will keep and no phobia will prevent it (Hebrews 9:27). Preparation is key. And proper preparation doesn’t mean waiting until the day before. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not your judge, but your Judge and my Judge has been imploring people for millennia to use all of our life to prepare for eternity…not the day before (Ecclesiastes 12). Hence, we would all do well to follow his advice to prepare ourselves for the great appointment day (Acts 17:30-31).

    Today is the day of salvation because tomorrow may be too late. And it’s much better to live these words than to sing them.

    We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:55 am on 2016-06-20 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Spiritual Analogies   

    Watching the replay for ourselves 

    I spotted a spiritual lesson in the middle of a historic basketball game last night that was too good not to pass along.

    Two players, under the goal, were vying for position when the referee whistled one player for a foul. Well, the accused player couldn’t believe that he would be guilty of such an accusation! The open hands of an innocent plea and a disagreeable disposition of unbelief followed suit…that was until the player looked up at the arena’s replay screen which clearly showed his arm locked around the arm of his opponent; hence: a foul had indeed been committed, he was guilty as charged, he stopped arguing with the referee, and he got back to work.

    The lesson is this: when we look at the gospel and see an error in our lives, there’s no point in arguing with God against it – just look at the replay screen, repent, and get back to work.

    So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:19-25)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:37 am on 2016-05-03 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Spiritual Analogies   

    Don’t ignore God’s calling 

    God has a calling for everyone, and his calling demands our attention – it shouldn’t be minimized or ignored like a call from someone we don’t want to talk to…you know, the way we treat certain calls today because of caller id. Remember the time before caller id? The phone would ring and we had to answer it without knowing who was calling or why. Today, whether at home or on the road, our phones let us pick and choose which call we want to answer by revealing the caller – and I’m afraid many of us Christians have the same mentality toward the calling of God to serve him in his kingdom. If we maintain such a mindset toward God’s calling we’ll get stuck with the “I’ll call back later” mentality – a mentality which takes it for granted that God will answer us after our intentional repeated ignoring of him; God has caller id too, you know.

    For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:54 am on 2016-04-29 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Jesus as Judge, Spiritual Analogies   

    The Judge Who Wants Us To Succeed 

    Close to a year ago I read a story about a judge who spoke to a defendant standing before her after she recognized him as a childhood classmate.

    Several days ago there was a follow-up on the story with a very interesting twist. As the defendant was being released from jail, the judge was actually there to meet him with a hug. Talk about a judge who wants someone to succeed!

    Now that I mention it, there is actually a judge, who will be everyone’s judge, that wants us to succeed – and his name is Jesus.

    Despite the fact that we’re all individuals and law-breakers who deserve to be found guilty (Romans 3:23), the judge of the world (2 Corinthians 5:10) wants to know us, and he wants us to receive a leniency of the highest order in order that we may live eternally in him and with him (John 6:37).

    The next time you think no one wants you to make it, think about the judge who stretched out his arms wide for you upon the cross and who wants to greet you with the greatest hug ever given as we pass from this life to the next (2 Corinthians 5:8).

    Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33)

    #day-of-judgment, #jesus, #jesus-as-judge, #spiritual-analogies

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:23 am on 2015-11-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Spiritual Analogies, ,   

    If we want the shot to count… 

    I try to look for spiritual/scriptural connections when I watch TV, read news articles and walk around in this world. That’s why when I saw the video below, I immediately thought of, “…if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.” (2 Timothy 2:5)

    I’m not taking anything away from the shot – it’s amazing! But regardless of how amazing it is to our eyes, the shooter was out-of-bounds in the eyes of the rules…so the shot didn’t count.

    We would do well to remember Paul’s spiritual admonition to Timothy; if we want our shots in life to count, we need to make sure we’re on the right side of the out-of-bounds line.

    Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)

    (as a side-note, please keep in mind that TFR does not endorse any advertisements that may appear in connection to the video below)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 8:23 am on 2015-02-16 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Spiritual Analogies   

    A little "self" promotion on a post about "selfies" 

    I don’t mention my personal blog here in TFR very much, but, if you would humor me in a little “self”-promotion here, I believe several of you may find today’s post useful as a Bible class topic, a teenage devotional (or even for many adults) or a sermon outline that ties two relevant topics together: the world’s obsession with selfies and some important scriptures that deal with self. Here’s a link if you would like to check it out.

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:38 am on 2015-01-30 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Spiritual Analogies   

    Burr under your saddle? 

    Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,” (Ephesians 4:26)

    The burrs under our saddle tend to stay there longer than they have to. They aren’t necessarily hard to remove, but…old fashioned stubbornness, right?

    The longer a burr stays put, the more likely our anger is going to get the best of us. Much akin to the little teapot who can’t stand the pressure anymore – it’s going to let us know about it.

    But all burr and teapot analogies aside, the apostle Paul ties together anger and sin and putting off until tomorrow what should be done today as a warning for a very good reason; and if you’re human then you know what that reason is.

    Anger in and of itself is not wrong, but when that anger gets in and controls us and our plans then the anger has become a danger to our spirit which God desires to contain meekness, gentleness, kindness and holiness. You know, that stuff that anger tends to despise.

    So the next time we get a burr under our saddle let us remember that the burr isn’t only effecting us, it’s affecting the way we treat our horse and the other people who are riding with us, and it’ll only get worse if we ride with it through the night. So maybe, just maybe, it’s worth the time it takes to get down off our horse to do a little house…err, make that saddle cleaning.

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:54 am on 2014-04-22 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Spiritual Analogies,   

    The Wind Won’t Always Be At Your Back! 

    There’s an “old Irish blessing” that says, “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

    Several days ago, on a particularly windy day, I saw a butterfly flying from place to place, from flower to flower. Of all the flying creatures that you may think of that should probably “stay home” on a windy day I think it would be a butterfly; nevertheless, there he (or she) was, flying in the face of, even in spite of, the wind.

    That butterfly was a living example of Proverbs 24:10 which says, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” Truth of the matter is, spiritually speaking, the road won’t always be easy to travel! The wind won’t always be at our back! The rain won’t always fall gently! And we must be ready for those days. And we can be ready for those days, for indeed, the Lord has warned us ahead of time, and his word is there to prepare us.

    Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:57 am on 2014-04-15 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , investing, Spiritual Analogies   

    The only really long-term investment that never fluctuates 

    Money burns, gold melts, silver corrodes, houses fall down, pensions roll over, art fades, oil wells run dry and stocks go bust!

    But eternal salvation is found in the only thing that never loses its value in the sight of God – the blood of Jesus (1 Peter 1:18-19).

    How’s our really long-term investment plan looking today?

    Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 7:21 am on 2013-12-31 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Spiritual Analogies,   

    The way Politics work and how it relates to Sin 

    In no way can these few words describe all the ways that politics work – not even all the ways the Bible talks about. But I want to share one small example that can be very a good, but bad, representation of the “solutions” of politics and the futility of depending upon such leadership and how it can be analogous to sin.

    All across America there has been a big push by governmental leaders to go “green” in an effort to save the world, save the environment, and even save money. Saving money (or making it, depending upon where you sit), which is the root of “going green“, has actually been the aspect talked about the most, because if you want to get someone on board with a new idea let them know how they can profit from it right? So on and on the politicians and the commercials have gone…change your light bulbs, they save money…install new windows, they save money…buy energy efficient appliances, they save money. You get the idea – listen to what they say and you’ll save money by using less electricity.

    So the people listened, and guess what!? We won’t save money after all! In the state of Tennessee, electricity consumption was down, wait for it – but it was down too much! Now to compensate for the loss in revenue the electric authority is going to have to raise rates! In all of the number crunching the government only counted up the savings that could be created by the people but they “forgot” to consider the loss that it would cost it electric companies. If usage continues to go down then costs will continue to go up. Income must match outgo. So unless the electric company cuts it budget as much as the consumer cuts its usage then there is no point, and who wants to wait around for a government entity to cut their budget…not me!

    myopia

    The politics of men and women rarely, rarely work because the ideas used to implement the policies are often one-sided, shortsighted and nearsighted all in one.

    So how does of any this relate to this sin? Simple. Sin relies upon the wrong leadership. It promises a lighter burden and a happier life while creating a heavier load and increased vanity. Sin fails to consider the true cost due to the fact that it’s often one-sided, shortsighted and nearsighted all in one. It misses the big picture by focusing on the here and now and by rejecting the view that lets us see the here and after, and it’s not going to cut its budget!

    Politics and sin – for the most part they’ll carry us to same place. Oh that wisdom would return to the land. (Ecclesiastes 4:13; 9:13-18; 10:16)

    But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” (2 Peter 1:5-9)

     
  • TFRStaff 8:27 am on 2013-11-27 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , spider webs, , Spiritual Analogies,   

    The Beauty of the Web 

    It was early in the morning, and the sun was just coming over the horizon; dawn was breaking with all her quiet grace. During the night, the temperature had dropped enough that the grass was covered with tiny beads of moisture. Peering out through the glass patio doors in the dining room, I saw in my back yard something that I would like to share with you.

    In the sunlight, I could see that the entire yard (I mean all of it!) was covered with spider webs. Their white strands appeared to form a large, complete net over the whole back yard. Evidently, the webs had caught some of the moisture from the air, for they sparkled, first here, and then there, as the sun was reflected in these drops of moisture. It was breathtakingly beautiful.

    As I stood at the patio doors, wondering at the simple beauty of the sight, it dawned on me (no pun intended) that, despite the beauty of the scene, the picture had a sinister element. I had been looking from the viewpoint of a human who could destroy any spider’s web with the most casual movement of limbs. But those webs had not been spun for me; they were created in anticipation of catching some of the numerous small insects that venture out at night and in the early morning hours. From a “bug’s eye view,” these webs, regardless how beautiful they might be to the human eye, represented a danger that could easily be fatal.

    A spider is a predator, a very clever one too! He carefully prepares a trap and waits for his prey to become ensnared in the extremely strong, sticky strands of his web. His victims come to him; he does not have to pursue them. When they have fatigued themselves by their struggle to escape the web, which holds them, he quietly kills and devours them. As I thought further about this web, it occurred to me that Satan is quite similar to the spider!

    (1) Like the spider, Satan is also a predator; he preys on human beings. The apostle Peter indicated that Satan is a predator when he likened him to a roaring lion, one of the most fear-inspiring predators on earth. The Devil is our adversary, and his object is to “devour us,” to destroy us in an eternal hell. It is for that very reason that Peter also counseled his readers to be vigilant, watchful for the danger that Satan presents (1 Peter 5:8).

    (2) Satan lays his snares in much the same fashion as the spider. When the spider spins his web, he frequently places it in such a way as to intercept the natural path of his prey. Of course, his presence is a warning, so he hides himself, or lurks near the edge of the web where he is less evident. Satan has studied his prey and knows the weaknesses common to men. He knows how to lay his snares so that men will encounter them. And, like the spider, he doesn’t advertise his presence so that his victims often do not suspect his work is their demise. Only after they have been enslaved by the sin, which was so tempting, do they realize whose purpose the trap serves. Edward M. Bounds wrote, “The devil’s great device, his masterpiece of temptation is to destroy faith in his own existence.”

    Paul described covetousness (greed) as a snare, indicating that it led to destruction (1 Timothy 6:8-10). Satan is a schemer; the traps he uses look so innocent and inviting that he fools many men into thinking they are harmless. The anticipation of pleasure invites men to drink alcohol, take drugs, steal, commit fornication and adultery, etc., – all snares used by Satan. Just like the spider, Satan cannot force his prey into the web of sin, but his victims commit themselves to its traps (James 1:13-15).

    (3) Light benefits neither Satan or the spider. It was the rising sun that revealed the spider webs to me. The spider thrives on anonymity. He wishes his web to be invisible to his prey, and so darkness is his intimate friend. Satan also loves darkness. He wishes for men to be ignorant of his machinations so that he may take them captive at his will. If he appears as wholesome, it is a disguise (2 Corinthians 11:14,15). Fortunately, the light of God’s word exposes Satan’s wiles for what they are, and the careful bible student may discern and avoid being ensnared.

    One significant difference between the two predators is that when a fly becomes entangled in the spider’s web, he usually does not escape. God offers a way of escape to the man who has been entangled in Satan’s web of sin. It is frequently difficult, once the strands of worldliness tighten around a man, but in Christ there is freedom! Beware of our spiritual predator! – Allen S. Dvorak

    via the Good News Email sent by Dave Hart 

     
  • Eugene Adkins 7:07 am on 2013-09-17 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: American Ninja Warrior, , , , , Spiritual Analogies,   

    The Frustration of Falling Short 

    I’ve been a fan of the TV show “Ninja Warrior” long before it ever came to shores of America for a couple of reasons.

    1) It looks like fun!

    2) It looks like a lot of fun!!

    But at the same time I know the competition is serious business. Major, major training goes on. People’s lives are revolutionized, physically speaking, because of their desire to complete the physically and mentally grueling four-stage course. Thousands of people, including professional athletes, have attempted to conquer the feat lying before them to reach the top of “Mt. Midoriyama” but a very, very, very limited few have actually reached their goal.

    If you watch the show very long you’ll know one thing to be true – to fall short of your goal is to fall frustratingly short in a way that words can hardly describe! You see, if don’t already know, you only get one shot per year. Your run has to be perfect for it’s all or none!

    I hear a spiritual application in that!!!

    To fall short, well the spiritual application there is about as clear as day to anyone familiar with the word “sin” itself. But in case you don’t know, the word “sin” literally means, “to miss the mark, or to fall short of the standard.” And when it comes to life a standard from God has been given and it requires perfection. His righteousness is the standard and our sin causes us to fall miserably short of the goal!

    Yet when we, as Christians, fall short, slip, have a misstep or a momentary break in our concentration we have one who is there to pick us back. We have one who is willing and able to allow His righteousness to win the victory at Mt. Zion for us! We have a Savior who completed the courses of life and he completed them perfectly for us as Paul said in Romans 3:22-26: “…For there is no difference;  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

    But at the same time this Savior expects us to train, to fight, to run and to encourage others as they compete on their way through the stages of life and that’s why God’s word encourages us to stay in the game, to keep on keeping on even when failure comes our way. Jesus has the won the victory for us. He has the met the standard on our behalf. But He will not make us get up and He will not make us finish if we do not want to. And in that I say let’s keep going, competing and running toward the rest that will be found on top of Mt. Zion by faith our faith in Jesus lest we know what it feels like to fall frustratingly short of it all!

    Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” (Hebrews 4:1-2 – NKJV)

     
  • TFRStaff 6:22 am on 2013-08-02 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Spiritual Analogies, spiritual distractions, , Spiritual Renewal   

    Are We Weighted Down? 

    The army of Alexander the Great was advancing on Persia. At one critical point, it appeared that his troops might be defeated. The soldiers had taken so much plunder from their previous campaigns that they had become weighted down and were losing their effective-ness in combat. Alexander immediately commanded that all the spoils be thrown into a heap and burned.

    The Hebrews writer admonished, “Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience [endurance; steadfastness; perseverance] the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). The race before us is the Christian life. How often do we, like the “foolish Galatians,” allow things of this world to hinder us from our enduring faithfulness to God? If we are not careful we will allow such things as work, recreation, education, retirement plans, hobbies, and even our families weight us down and impede our growth and pursuit of the prize of the high calling of God (Philippians 3:4).

    As Alexander commanded his armies, we must not simply store in another place those things that hinder us from our fighting the good fight, but we must cast them aside and completely remove them from our lives— regardless how precious they may seem! Consider the results for the armies of Greece: “Alexander’s men complained bitterly but soon came to see the wisdom of the order. Someone wrote, ‘It was as if wings had been given to them—they walked lightly again.’ Victory was assured.” Remember, “No man can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24).

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:19 am on 2013-07-22 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Spiritual Analogies,   

    Guest Article: Anti-Virus Software for the Brain by Joshua Gulley 

    1 Peter 1:15-16 is what I thought of when I read this great article by Josh:

    The longer I am a Christian, the more keenly aware I am of my need for God’s grace. We are supposed to “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5), and I believe this to be my greatest failure as a follower of Jesus. We are supposed to have a filter—a kind of screening process our minds use to dismiss material that is not going to be healthy for us to think about. Philippians 4:8 describes the standard: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Using this set of requirements, we should probably dismiss MOST of the things we encounter on a daily basis as food for thought. I struggle to do this. There are images or ideas that enter my mind at times, and I know immediately that they are unhealthy for my spirit, yet I allow myself to follow them out. And, just like a mature tree is harder to remove from the ground than a sprout (and leaves an uglier spot in the ground once removed)—or just like the cooking dish is harder to clean after it has dried for hours—a thought process is harder to avoid once you have allowed it to take root in your mind. Once those neurons carve out a new path, they like to return and travel it again.

    God, help us to apply the filtration process in Philippians 4:8 to keep our brains free of the kind of trash that tends to lead us away from Christ. – Joshua Gulley

    Josh is a member of the Smithville church of Christ and he teaches music at the High School level. 

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:50 am on 2013-04-29 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Spiritual Analogies   

    Only the Outside??? 

    This morning I’m going to wash my daughter’s sippi-cups (or however you spell those things). But it may be that I’m going to be as good a dishwasher as I am a speller!

    dirty dishes

    (Photo credit: .imelda)

    Why’s that? Because I’m only going to wash the outside her cups. After all, it’s the outside that has all of the pictures that she likes to look at. And no one else can see the inside so they’ll think I did a good job. And it’s only the outside that I have to touch so why would I bother with the inside??? Maybe because the inside is what she’s actually going to be drinking from!!!

    What if we treated our lives the way I talked about treating my daughter’s dirty dishes? What if we only spent time cleaning up ourselves on the outside spiritually speaking? What if we made sure that we appeared to be spotless to the eyes of others but the inside of our heart acted, reacted and thought in a completely opposite way? If we did that then we’d hear:

    Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.” (Matthew 23:25-26)

    If it makes no sense to only wash the outside of dirty dishes then why would it make any sense to only have a desire to appear righteous? After all, isn’t it the inside that holds what’s important?

    Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:19-22)

     
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